Roughly 54 million people with disabilities live in the U.S., and there are many more millions of people with disabilities around the world. Not surprisingly, differences among people with disabilities are often as notable as differences between people with and without disabilities. And, while the lack of homogeneity among people with disabilities makes creating a valid taxonomy under this term difficult if not impossible, there is commonality among people with disabilities that justifies an authoritative resource on positive psychology and disability; that is, they have experienced discrimination and marginalization as a function of their disability.
This volume assembles chapters by leading scholars in disability and positive psychology to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the state of the field. Chapters are organized into thematic sections, beginning with an introductory section on overarching themes in positive psychology and disability. The second section highlights the application of positive psychological constructs to disability. These constructs includes quality of life, self-determination, adaptive behavior, optimism, hope, problem solving, forgiveness, gratitude, and spirituality. The following section addresses systemic issues in disability that impact on positive psychology, again turning to disciplines beyond psychology (special education, rehabilitation sciences, and family and disability policy) to address areas in which positive psychology can be applied. A fourth section examines positive psychology in populations with specific disabilities, including physical disabilities, cognitive and developmental disabilities, severe multiple disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders.
Disability has always been associated with "differentness" and, consequently, people with disabilities have throughout time been treated as such. As the first handbook to consider disability from a strengths-based perspective, this volume provides a catalyst to accelerate the application of positive psychology to how disability is understood.