I’ve enjoyed poking around two websites that have timelines of events relating to disabilities.
One is from the Lives Worth Living website (the name of a PBS documentary which has received high praise in the disability community).
Some of their material is taken (with attribution) from another, more detailed timeline found on the National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth (NCLD/Y) website.
Both of these are extremely interesting to me, since I’m relatively new to the world of disabilities and have not been aware of much of the history that is told here. It’s encouraging to see how much progress has been made, but it’s also clear we have a long way to go!
This caught my eye, on the (NCLD/Y) website:
“1800: First Medical Classification of Mental Disorders
Phillipe Pinel writes Treatise on Insanity in which he develops a four-part medical classification for the major mental illnesses: melancholy, dementia, mania without delirium, and mania with delirium.”
In light of the recent controversy over the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it interests me to learn of the development of the concept of “mental illness” (a term no longer in use). [See also this excellent statement.]
Not satisfied with the simple description of Pinel’s work, I of course did a web search that led me to, among other things, a rather lengthy academic paper, reproduced on the NIH website. I guess I could make a full-time job of studying this history, but I’m afraid I’ll have to do it a little at a time. Perhaps I can circle back at a later date and report on what I’ve learned.
UPDATE: in doing further research, I discovered another timeline, and some of the dates here are not quite the same as in the others.