By David Wright
For a hundred and fifty years, Down Syndrome has constituted the archetypal psychological incapacity, simply recognisable through designated facial anomalies and actual stigmata. In a slender clinical feel, Down Syndrome is a standard sickness as a result of the presence of all or a part of an additional twenty first chromosome. it truly is named after John Langdon Down, the British asylum clinical superintendent who defined the syndrome as 'Mongolism' in a chain of lectures in 1866. In 1959, the illness was once pointed out as a chromosome 21 trisomy via the French paediatrician and geneticist Jï¿½rï¿½me Lejeune and has due to the fact that been often called Down Syndrome (in the English-speaking global) or Trisomy 21 (in many eu countries). yet young children and adults born with this chromosomal abnormality have a major collective heritage past their glaring significance to the background of scientific science.
David Wright, a Professor within the heritage of medication at McMaster collage, appears to be like on the care and remedy of people with Down Syndrome - defined for far of historical past as 'idiots', - from Medieval Europe to the current day. the invention of the genetic foundation of the and the profound alterations in attitudes, care, and early identity of Down Syndrome in the genetic period, displays the interesting scientific and social heritage of the disease.
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Additional info for Down's Syndrome: The History of a Disability
But social circumstances—poverty, bureaucracy, a lack of alternatives—resulted in a wide range of individuals being placed in these nominally lunatic asylums, including children suffering from permanent mental disability and adults experiencing cognitive decline associated with acute medical conditions or old age. Contemporary observers criticized this situation, in particular the practice of mixing idiot 42 the philosopher’s idiot children with possibly violent adult lunatics. In an era where philanthropic organizations were busy establishing orphan asylums and institutions for the incurable, it was only a matter of time before individuals would organize in support of separate treatment for children with permanent mental disabilities.
These Victorian asylums would create the institutional environment for the identiﬁcation and articulation of Mongolism as a distinct disease entity. Although many of the terms used in this and subsequent chapters today constitute out-dated and offensive language, readers will understand that the usage in this book is historical and necessary for understanding past attitudes to mental disability. Keeping this in mind, this book will no longer use quotation marks around historical terms. The King’s Prerogative The identiﬁcation of Down’s Syndrome arose after centuries of deliberation about the legal, religious, and medical status of individuals who were incapable of governing their own affairs.
The superintendent of the Earlswood Asylum for Idiots in Surrey (England), Down had long been a visiting physician to the London Hospital and a regular participant at the London Anthropological Society. Several papers read before the Society in 1863–4 attest to its members’ fascination with the relationship between racial difference and cranial physiognomy. 1 Following Blumenbach, Down identified patients at his asylum who appeared ‘Malay’, others whose features resembled ‘Ethiopian’, still others ‘Aztec’, and of course the numerous representatives from ‘the Great Caucasian family’.
Down's Syndrome: The History of a Disability by David Wright