An Examination of Disability Care: Contemporary Care Practices and Ways L'Arche Communities May Shape Them
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L’Arche communities are Christian, faith-based communities where people with and without disabilities share life with one another. This international organization is a unique example of what it looks like to fully embrace differences between persons and practice life together. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the unique characteristics and practices of L’Arche communities, and to suggest ways in which these qualities can be adapted to contemporary practices of disability care in physical therapy. I first give a brief history of disability care in the United States, followed by a survey and analysis of contemporary models of disability in the United States, the anthropologies that support them, and how these models play out in disability care. Contemporary practices in disability care are largely shaped by the medical and social models of disability, but share a common anthropology of personhood and value. However, L’Arche challenges the account of personhood informing many of today’s practices. By considering the characteristics and practices of L’Arche communities, disability care via physical therapy can be shaped and perhaps improved on.