The media has played a role in shaping the perception of people with disabling conditions throughout time. Media images of people with disabilities have been used as a metaphor for the human condition throughout history. Sometimes the disability is the focus in an attempt to sway the viewer to a certain opinion, positive or negative. Sometimes the portrayal is in conjunction with a celebrity to emphasize society’s efforts to raise the downtrodden helpless individual up to a point where he or she can function, raise funds for research to eliminate that particular condition, or marvel at the unique talents possessed by a “savant” with a singular brilliance. Most often, the individual with a disability is used to allow society to reflect on itself, its own good deeds, its own worth and its own safety.

Media Exhibit
Media Timeline