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J. David Smith

J. David Smith, Ph.D., earned both baccalaureate and graduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. He was awarded a second master’s degree and his doctorate from Columbia University. His professional experience includes work as a public school teacher, counselor, professor, dean and provost. He has made numerous invited presentations to national and international audiences and regularly contributes to the professional literature on education, human services, and public policy through journal articles. He is the author of eleven books. One of the integrating themes of Dave Smith’s research and writing has been a concern for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.

There are 23 included publications by J. David Smith :

TitleDateViewsBrief Description
The challenge of advocacy: The different voices of Helen Keller and Burton Blatt. 1997 121 The writer talks about how the voices of Helen Keller and Burton Blatt can challenge educators of mental retardation to hold firm to a belief in the miracle of unconditional and sustained commitments and to a legacy of hopefulness.
The Continuing Dilemma of Educating Children with Mild Learning Problems. 1978 257 Despite the relatively great volume of professional debate regarding the elimination of categories within the field of special education, much effort continues to be invested in defining various subpopulations of exceptional children. Categorical def...
Darwin’s last child: Mental retardation and the need for a romantic science. 1999 119 The writer discusses how Charles Darwin's deep love for his youngest child, who had mental retardation, contrasted with his theory that people with mental retardation were evolutionary mistakes.
Defining disability up and down: The problem of “normality.” 2008 87 In 1993 an article that has become a classic in public policy was published in The American Scholar. In this essay, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan discussed the ways through which behaviors that have been considered deviant subsequently come to...
Diagnosing Mr. Jefferson: Retrospectives on developmental disabilities at Monticello. 2007 69 For a number of years, I have been intrigued by what might be termed the retrospective diagnosis of developmental disabilities. In my book Minds Made Feeble: The Myth and Legacy of the Kallikaks (J. Smith, 1985), I expressed amazement that psychologi...
Ethical Considerations in Teaching Self-Determination: Challenges in Rural Special Education. 2008 1478 The development of self-determination skills in students with disabilities is a priority in special education. Its importance is particularly significant for students who are attending schools in rural areas. Instruction in self-determination also ra...
Fancher on Gould, Goddard, and historical interpretation: A reply. 1988 29 Contends that R. E. Fancher's (see record 1988-31600-001) evidence concerning intentions behind retouching of photographs of the Kallikaks in H. H. Goddard's (1912) study of mental retardation and heredity fall far short of challenging S. J. Gould's ...
From whence came mental retardation? Asking why while saying goodbye. 2007 64 Reflections of the Senior Author The senior author (senior in more than one sense) was given cause to reflect on the meaning of the term mental retardation when he received his 30-year certificate and pin for continuous membership in the American As...
Histories of special education: Stories from our past, insights for our future. 1998 765 The history of special education is a collection of the memories and stories that serve as a foundation for the field. Historical research sometimes reveals previously overlooked insights. It is also an opportunity for understanding aspects of people...
An investigation of date of birth in the incidence of learning disabilities. 1986 400 The literature on the epidemiology of various handicapping conditions reflects the interest that researchers have had in the possible role of seasonal variations as correlates of the incidence of specific disabilities. This study investigated the pos...
Laura Bridgman, mental retardation and the question of differential advocacy. 1997 121 Accounts of the life of Laura Bridgman, who was deaf, was blind, and had a reduced sense of smell and taste, illustrate the differential in the valuing of, and advocacy for, people with mental retardation and people with disabilities. Bridgman (1829–...
Learning disabilities: Individual needs or categorical concerns? 1978 716 Despite the fact that the field of learning disabilities has grown dramatically in recent years, many questions remain unanswered or disputed. In the absence of a clear definition of learning disabilities, the authors suggest that it has become an ed...
Liddy, a child found and lost: A voice across time. 1997 534 The subject of children whose physical and psychological development takes place in the wild or in isolation has long intrigued philosophers and scientists. The term "feral" has been used to refer to such children. Reports of feral children are rare....
Looking backward, looking forward: Mental retardation and the question of equality in the new millennium. 2000 60 The writer considers the influence that the growing power of genetic science may bring to bear on people with mental retardation. Within the next century, the eradication of what are thought to be diseases, disorders, and defects may be possible. As ...
Margaret Mead and mental retardation: Words of understanding, concepts of inclusiveness. 1997 31 The writers reflect on the work of Margaret Mead, who is recognized as one of the founders of American anthropology, to highlight some of her insights on mental retardation. Mead's study of the island society of Samoa revealed a society where everyon...
Old texts and “felt necessities”: Proceeding with caution. 1997 467 In the following article, J. David Smith looks at the eugenics movement of the early 20th century, a movement that used "scientific" research and evidence to assert that undesirable traits were largely hereditary and to create social policy that woul...
The power of mental retardation: Reflections on the value of people with disabilities. 2000 103 The writer reflects on the value of people with disabilities and discusses how Floyd Cochran, former chief recruiter for the Aryan Nations, and Eldridge Cleaver, former spokesperson for the Black Power movement, were affected by their experiences of ...
A reply to Kauffman. Letters. 1982 233 We read with interest your editorial statements in two recent issues of EEQ (2:2 and 2:3). Your comments contain some most interesting elements and are alluring as intellectual exercises. We feel obligated, however, to respond to some of your percept...
Review of the book: The unlikely celebrity: Bill Sackter’s triumph over disability. 1999 75 Bill Sackter's Triumph Over Disability. T. Walz. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998. In 1981, I saw Mickey Rooney in a made-for-television movie entitled Bill. In the movie Rooney portrayed a man who had lived for more than...
Speaking of mild mental retardation: It‘s no box of chocolates, or is it? 2006 2117 The meaning of the category and concept of mild mental retardation is explored through the words of fictional characters and the accounts of real people who have been injured and stigmatized by the label. Examples of the extremes to which people have...
Thoughts on the changing meaning of disability: New eugenics or new wholeness? 1999 821 In 1927, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Virginia law in the case that came to be known as Buck v. Bell ( 1927). Carrie Buck was the first person to be eugenically sterilized under the authority of that law. The law allowed a stat...
Trading one myth for another?: With apologies to Dr. Brabner. 2008 45 Six years ago I asserted in print, with some sense of daring, that it was time to admit that the term mental retardation was a myth, a “false and unhelpful categorization of people with very diverse needs and characteristics” (Smith, 2002, p. 64). I ...
Who was Deborah Kallikak? 2012 185 The Kallikak Family was, along with The Jukes: A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease, and Heredity, one of the most visible eugenic family narratives published in the early 20th century. Published in 1912 and authored by psychologist Henry Herbert God...