Chapter 2 traced the differing conceptualizations of the ‘problem’ of intellectual disability during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Contemporary social policy frames the problem primarily as one of social exclusion: the disparity between the quality of life and status of people with intellectual disability and that of other citizens. Rights-based policy has multiple strategies to bring about change to the structural and ideological aspects of society and at the micro individual level. Specialist disability service systems are a core component of policy implementation and deliver a complex array of services: direct support to individuals or families with tasks of everyday living; development and maintenance of social networks; building community and organizational capacity to support inclusion of people with disabilities; and individual or systemic advocacy to challenge disadvantage and discrimination.
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