The aging population is at a state of development that is not as focused on employment, and thus has difficulty finding its place in a society that defines people by their careers. Research is needed on the issues of aging workers, such as training needs, career transition issues, and retirement planning. Research is also needed on which accommodations, workplace modifications, and changes to policies and practices positively impact the retention and continued productivity of an aging workforce. Counselor practitioners are in a unique position to contribute to needed research design conceptualization, metrics, and analyses to test the multiplicity of interventions we will be exploring in the coming years to keep our aging workforce healthy and intellectually engaged in the employment environment. Counselors are experientially qualified to provide the needed services to keep this population productive and more fully engaged in their communities and continuing employment.
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This chapter reviews the history of treatment toward people with disabilities (PWDs) in the United States. Early immigration literature and the apparent attitudes and treatment toward PWDs, as well as certain other immigrant populations, were blatantly prejudiced and discriminatory. Antidisability sentiment became more evident with immigration restriction, which began as early as the development of the first North American settlements. The eugenics movement essentially died down after World War II, primarily because of Social Darwinism and the Nazi extermination of an estimated 250,000 German citizens and war veterans with disabilities. The survival-of-the-fittest concept and natural selection in the 21st century appear to have morphed into a survival of the financially fittest ideology. With the aging of America and millions of baby boomers moving into their golden years, the financial portfolios of these individuals dictate what the quality of their lives will be, like at no time before in American history.
In the past quarter of a century, several attempts have been made to categorize the different sources of negative attitudes toward individuals with disabling conditions. This chapter integrates the major approaches in the domain of attitudinal sources toward people with disabilities and offers a new classification system by which these attitudes can be better conceptualized and understood. Some of the major categories included are: (a) conditioning by sociocultural norms that emphasize certain qualities not met by the disabled population; (b) childhood influences in which early life experiences foster the formation of stereotypic adult beliefs and values; and (c) psychodynamic mechanisms that may play a role in creating unrealistic expectations and unresolved conflicts when interacting with disabled persons. Parental and significant others’ actions, words, tone of voice, gestures, and so forth, are transmitted to the child and tend to have a crucial impact on the formation of attitudes toward disability.
- Go to chapter: Religion and Disability: Clinical, Research, and Training Considerations for Rehabilitation Professionals
Religion and Disability: Clinical, Research, and Training Considerations for Rehabilitation Professionals
It is clear that laypersons, health professionals, and researchers are interested in addressing the importance of religion in society and in health care. However, if we are to use religion effectively to improve the health of individuals, there is a need to better educate current rehabilitation professionals and students about religion, to critically evaluate the existing literature on disability and religion, and to develop practical suggestions for rehabilitation professionals to appropriately use religion to promote positive health outcomes. Rehabilitation professionals need to collaborate with faith-based organizations to improve the physical and mental health of persons with disabilities, as well as their ability to reintegrate back into their communities. Such collaborations are particularly important given the resources that are available in most community churches (e.g., church vans, counseling services) to assist persons with disabilities with transportation and provision of social support.