Using people-first language, how would one write a reflective paper on what severe/multiple disabilities are based on the Multiple Disabilities Analogy and the "Willowbrook Institution Photographic...

Using people-first language, how would one write a reflective paper on what severe/multiple disabilities are based on the Multiple Disabilities Analogy and the "Willowbrook Institution Photographic Essay" in APA format?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To be able to write your essay, you'll first need to understand what people-first language is. People-first language refers to language we can use to speak about people with disabilities without making the people feel dehumanized. People-first language essentially refers to language etiquette. The basic principle behind the language is to form a sentence in which the person is named first and the disability is named second in order to emphasize the fact that individuals with disabilities still are people. One example would be that, using people-first language, we would not want to say "'asthmatic person'"; instead, we would want to describe the person as "'a person who has asthma'"("People-first language").

To write your essay, you'll also want to develop an understanding of what the Multiple Disabilities Analogy is along with what the "Willowbrook Institution Photographic Essay" reveals. As access to your sources is limited, the following are some ideas to help get you started.

Multiple disabilities is simply a term we use to refer to any person who has more than one disability. Such individuals might have a sensory disability along with a motor disability. The term is frequently used to refer to individuals who have intellectual disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, autism, and mental retardation. Such individuals will frequently have cognitive disabilities as well as sensory and movement disabilities ("Multiple Disabilities"). For example, individuals with cerebral palsy will have disabilities with body movement, "sensation, depth perception, and communication" ("Cerebral Palsy"). One-third of cerebral palsy patients are also found to have trouble cognition and epilepsy ("Multiple Disabilities"). Individuals with autism and mental retardation will have similar disabilities. Hence, the Multiple Disabilities Analogy is a means of analyzing multiple disabilities associated with such problems. It's especially important to understand that those with multiple disabilities will feel ostracized, afraid, angry, and will withdraw from society and may even self-inflict injury. They will also display immature, impulsive behavior, making it difficult to form relationships. They may also have limited abilities to care for themselves. In addition, such individuals may have other numerous health problems, including "seizures, sensory loss, hydrocephalus, and scoliosis" ("Multiple Disabilities"). One thing we learned from the Willowbrook institution is that we absolutely do not want to put individuals with multiple disabilities in such institutions that will aggravate their natural emotional, behavioral, and physical problems; doing so is inhumane. The Willowbrook State Development Center in New York was forced to close after a very revealing court case involving the New York State Association for Retarded Children v. Carey. The case exposed that those living in the institution were living under "horrific conditions"; hence, it can be assumed that one thing you should be gaining from looking over your "Willowbrook Institution Photographic Essay" is an understanding of exactly how horrific the conditions were and exactly how those conditions contributed to the disabled individuals' natural emotional, behavioral, and physical problems, rather than assisted them with such problems ("The Closing of Willowbrook"). The Willowbrook court case opened the doors up to establishing civil rights for those with disabilities and "set important precedents for the humane and ethical treatment of people with developmental disabilities living in institutions" ("The Closing of Willowbrook"). Therefore, as you reflect on what to write in your essay, you will reflect on what it means to have multiple disabilities, what kind of emotional, behavioral, and physical problems are associated with multiple disabilities, and what kind of treatment for multiple disabilities would be considered either humane or inhumane.

To write your paper, you'll also want a thorough understanding of exactly what a reflection paper is. Reflective essays are specific types of essays geared towards examining and observing a writer's progress through a specific experience. Reflective essays will not only "explain and analyze" the writer's development, they will also "discuss future goals" ("Reflective Essays"). Hence, for your particular paper, you will reflect on what you've learned about what it means to be an individual with multiple disabilities, what you've learned about inhumane practices through the "Willowbrook Institution Photographic Essay," and what you've learned about how individuals with multiple disabilities need to be treated instead in order to prevent their natural emotional, behavioral, and physical problems. Plus, you might even want to reflect on how to protect the civil rights of individuals with multiple disabilities. Your paper will contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, unlike typical argument papers, the introduction does not necessarily need to contain a thesis. Instead of a thesis, you will just want to make the purpose of your reflection crystal clear, which would be the purposes named above. The body of the reflection paper will elaborate on each of the reflection points also named above, especially reflecting on where and how you developed your understanding, citing sources as needed. Finally, in the conclusion, like all conclusions, you will summarize your main points, which in this case, will be a summary of the new-found understandings you have reached concerning individuals with multiple disabilities ("Reflective Essays").

Finally, to be able to write your paper using the APA style, you simply need to understand that APA is merely a method of citing your sources, both in the body of the paper and as a list of sources at the end, as well as a method of formatting the paper. I would not worry much about APA formatting while you are writing the first draft of your essay; just be careful to note the names of authors, titles of sources, and page numbers on which you found information you quoted if any. Once you have a satisfactory full first draft written, you can then go back and review the APA guidelines for formatting the paper and citing the sources. A style guide detailing how to format in-text citations, format the reference list, and format the paper, as well as offering a sample paper already written using the APA style can be found under the article "APA" on the webpage titled "Research and Documentation Online: 5th edition" on the website