Rehabilitation training is primarily focused on the medical assessment/treatment of disabilities (i.e., conditions, diagnoses, procedures), with a need for increased understanding of the personal experience of disability and related societal misperceptions. The presentation will demonstrate how the humanities can better inform rehabilitation professionals, patients, and society about the personal experience of disability, and how persons with disabilities can be realistically and positively perceived. Artistic representations of individuals with physical, sensory, and psychological disabilities from ancient to modern times will be presented, with a review of concurrent laws/policies, emphasizing personal and societal biases towards individuals with disabilities throughout history. Past artistic representations (e.g., Bosch, Brueghel, Davinci, Degas, Kahlo) will demonstrate how disabilities have been misunderstood in terms of demonic possession, character flaws, divine punishment, etc., leading to mistreatment, as well as how the disabled are now portrayed more realistically and as “normal” in modern arts/literature. Interventions and training guidelines are offered.
Understand how the humanities can be used to improve the health and functioning of individuals with disabilities
Understand how individuals with physical/sensory, psychological, and intellectual disabilities have been represented, perceived, and treated throughout history
Understand how government policies and laws have discriminated against and led to mistreatment of individuals with disabilities throughout history
Understand how individuals with disabilities are more accurately and positively represented within the humanities today
Discuss suggested arts-based interventions to improve personal and societal perceptions of persons with disabilities