Disabilities vs. Eugenics: The Selection of the Ideal American

Modern day society does not resemble the ideal, utopian world. Even though we have advanced in how society views those with special needs, there is still room for improvement. This project combined my American History and teacher education coursework in an effort to, first, understand historical attitudes towards those with developmental disabilities and, second, to fight lingering misconceptions by promoting recognition of every individual’s unique worth. During the Eugenics Movement of the early 20th century, those with disabilities were ostracized, and many worked to ensure that disabilities would not be passed on through forced sterilization. Thankfully, times have changed, and those with disabilities can express themselves, Special Olympics being one of these outlets. Special Olympics allows those with disabilities to showcase their passion through sports. When the athletes are doing what they love, the sky is the limit. As a future special education teacher, it is important to recognize a child’s strengths, talents, and vital contributions to this world instead of focusing solely on labels. I hope that, through this presentation, I can encourage the audience to destigmatize the following label: disability. I appreciate your careful consideration of my potential entrance into the MEHA conference.