Old World-new territory: European perspectives on intellectual disability

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People with intellectual disability share the mixed fortunes of the diverse countries in that they live, as well as the social and political changes that mark life in Europe at the close of the twentieth century. The European Union exerts its influence through common policies and centrally funded initiatives which promote the social and vocational integration of people with intellectual disabilities. At the same time, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe are building a new and as-yet untested social order. This paper outlines the distinctive features of European identity. Some of the gains already achieved on behalf of Europeans with intellectual disability are presented, as well as some of the problems which continue to threaten their well-being and inclusion. It is suggested that partnerships between countries and regions can help to chart new territory for citizens of the Old World.

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