Laura Bridgman, mental retardation and the question of differential advocacy.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
J. David Smith, Professor, Department Chair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: 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 (1829–1889) attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston and was tutored by Samuel Gridley Howe (1801–1876). Howe was an early advocate of education for students with mental retardation, however, when he obtained funding to educate these students, his blind students resented deeply the presence of students with mental retardation. Bridgman's journal entries outlining her resentment toward these students illustrate that she may been acutely aware of the very real potential of being perceived incompetent and of the social consequences inherent in that perception. Bridgman's attitude can perhaps be explained as an attempt to avoid stigma by association and can explain the phenomenon of differential advocacy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1997
developmental disabilities, disability, advocacy, education, specialized education

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