Attitude of General Public, Family Members, and Health Professionals Towards People With Intellectual Disabilities (PWID)

Attitude of General Public, Family Members, and Health Professionals Towards People With Intellectual Disabilities (PWID)

Mythili Hazarika (Gauhati Medical College Hospital, India) and Sandamita Choudhury (151 Base Hospital, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1223-4.ch011

Abstract

Attitude defines one's behavior towards the people with intellectual disability (PWID). History on PWID indicates influence of psycho-social, biological, religious, and educational factors for the existence of stereotypical attitudes. But since the early part of the 21st century efforts have been reported across countries in integrating the PWID in the community at large. Families of PWID undergo high levels of stress and emotional reactions which call for intervention. Families often adopt strategies to hide the existence of a disability, which delays the treatment and rehabilitation of PWID. Also, stakeholder attitudes towards them highly influences their rehabilitation and integration in the mainstream society. Hence, this chapter is an attempt to focus on the importance of attitude towards individuals with intellectual disability by general public, family members, teachers, students, employers, and health professionals and its implications and further recommendations for the betterment of their condition.
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Background

Intellectual disability (ID) is one of the most common disabilities across countries. Braddock and Parish (2002) have defined disability as socially determined interpretation of impairment by others. Therefore the whole concept of ID or how to define or categorize people with ID (PWID) has been always affected by how people in different places, cultures at different periods of time have defined it and perceived it. Rehabilitation of PWID has largely been affected by changing concepts and attitudes. Attitudes are learned pre-dispositions to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner to a particular person, behavior, event, thing, belief or situation in a direct or discreet manner. According to Charles Osgood, an attitude has three dimensions i.e. Moral (good or bad), potency (strong or weak) and activity (active or passive). These dimensions classify people’s attitude towards ID. As relationships with significant others as well society are important determinants for the quality of life of individuals with ID our chapter is focused on attitudes towards them and their various dimensions of life which are significant factors for their adaptation and assimilation in the society.

The authors would focus on attitude towards persons with intellectual disabilities (PWID) worldwide and the review of literature will give an overall insight about this population. The terms mental retardation (MR) and intellectually disabled (ID) is used interchangeably in this chapter.

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