The Medical And Social History Of Down 's Syndrome Essay

The Medical And Social History Of Down 's Syndrome Essay

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  Down’s Syndrome and other mental disorders have faced much discrimination and medical advantages throughout the years. David Wright’s Down’s looks into these challenges and changes by investigating both the medical and social history of Down’s Syndrome. In the prologue, he states that when studying the history of a genetic syndrome it is easy to lose sight of the individual. The purpose of this book is to investigate “the medical and social history of Down’s Syndrome...while foregrounding the fact that the subjects of inquiry...were and are unique individual” (15). Wright excellently investigation of the disease in society as well as in medicine but he falls short in showing his subjects as unique. Instead, he focuses on the doctors and simply describing them in groups. This is seen throughout each stage of history Wright explores.
  David Wright begins the history by explaining Down’s origin in western society. It is in the beginning that we see these individuals categorized into a larger group known as an “idiots”, this is the group Wright addresses throughout the majority of his book. An idiot is a person who has the inability to think or care for themselves naturally(20). Since he only refers to them in the larger group he is failing in addressing his subjects as individuals.
  Next we see developments in philosophy with the scholar John Locke and his theories of the human conscience. His philosophy is that every human, normal or an idiot, has the ability to learn and become a part of society if given the proper environment for learning (23). This sparked an interest in society to educate the individuals known as idiots, showing a slight positive shift for those mentally disabled whose family could afford educational servic...


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...r, he fully explores the unique individuality of his subject. That being said, Wright must show them as individuals in this segment because individuality is important when discussing civil rights. The lobbyist and families had to show that their family member with Down’s Syndrome were people just like everyone else so Wright emulates that. Therefore, he did not use the individual in the way he was attempting to in this book but solely because it was what this chapter’s argument was.
  Throughout the entire book, David Wright explores the social and medical history of Down’s Syndrome. He does this by investigating each stage starting with the philosophy behind the origins and ending with the road to acceptance. During this, he fails to show that each individual is unique and they transcend their disorder. Thus falling into the same habit of many historians before him.

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