This article describes a 12-step model that can be used for policy analysis. The model encompasses policy development, implementation, and evaluation; takes into account structural foundations of policy; addresses both legal formalism and legal realism; demonstrates contextual sensitivity; and addresses application issues and different conceptualizations of IDD.
Introduction and Overview
This article has two basic purposes: first, to offer a model for analyzing proposed or new policy; and second, to demonstrate how, by relying on values, the core concepts of disability policy, and conceptualizations of disability, analysts and policy makers can collaborate to develop policy connected precisely to a problem or problems that warrant a public-policy response.
We begin by stating the three premises that underlie our policy analysis model, and discussing four important aspects of public policy. Thereafter, we point out the distinction between a policy framework and a policy analysis model. Since the model we discuss later (see Figure 2) is based on an earlier framework (Turnbull, 2001), we provide the reader with an overview of that 2001 framework. We then describe our proposed policy analysis model and summarize the actions and steps involved in its use. Three current public laws are used as examples of the model's respective actions and steps. We conclude the article by describing distinctive uses and different roles of users of the model, and discussing how policy analysis needs to be responsive to different (and changing) conceptions of intellectual disability (ID) and closely related developmental disabilities (IDD).
Premises and Aspects of Public Policy
Three premises underlie our model. The first is that law is a form of social engineering: law regulates the relationships of people to each other and of the governed to their government. The second is that policy (statutes, regulations, and case law) are the enforceable foundations for disability policy, since no formal policy exists in the absence of legal authorization and authorization is feeble unless it can be enforced. Thus, proclamations and declarations are not our concern here. The third is that there is a distinction between a policy framework and a policy analysis model.
Aspects of Public Policy
Definition of public policy
Public policy is not a natural state of relationships between the governed and their governments. Instead, public policy consists of legally binding relationships intentionally created by duly authorized individuals or entities (“policy makers”) at the federal, state, or local government levels. The relationships are codified as statutes, regulations, guidelines, and advisories.
Formalism and realism
The above definition is consistent with Pound's (1933) foundational definition of law, in that it reflects “legal formalism”—laws and regulations codified and thus “on the books.” However, it does not take into account Pound's corresponding definition of law, namely, “legal realism”—how individuals and agencies implement the policy, and thus “on the streets.”
Process of policy making
Policy makers create policies from available options, thereby preferring some options to others. They describe their choices in terms of goals and objectives, often (and preferably) describing the criteria for their choices. Having chosen an option, policy makers then specify the action that identified individuals or entities, or both, must take to implement the law and foster the results (goals and objectives) they have identified. Policy makers intend that implementation is applied consistently to a defined category of circumstances within a specified sphere of public action.
Purposes of public policy analysis
The purposes of policy analysis are to assist three constituencies of policy analysis, understand existing policy on the books (formalism), evaluating it as is applied (realism), and either retaining or jettisoning existing policy, amending it, or proposing significantly different and new policy. Those constituencies are policy makers in federal, state and local legislative and executive branches of government; program administrators who implement policy; and researchers who evaluate policies' effects. The principal beneficiaries of their efforts are individuals with IDD, their families, members of the general public, and individuals and entities charged with implementing policy.
Granting that courts' decisions are an element of policy on the books, we do not include here the judiciary as a constituency of policy analysis. Judges interpret and apply constitutional, legislative, or regulatory policy. They thereby create policy, but they do so in factually limited contexts and for the narrow purposes of resolving conflicts. As precedent-setting and often dispositive of the meaning of legislative and regulatory policy as their decisions may be, the courts do not have the same roles as legislative or regulatory entities.
Policy Framework vs. Policy Analysis Model
Policy frameworks are useful because they describe inputs, the interaction of policy and practice, and the outcomes affecting people with disabilities and their families. Additionally, and as shown later in Figure 1, they organize and chart how inputs influence policy and practice, and how outcomes relate to each other. A framework is a set of ideas and a basic conceptual structure (Webster, 1990). The interested reader can find a discussion of the AAIDD framework for understanding how policy affects outcomes in Schalock et al. (2010) and Turnbull and Stowe (2014). Other frameworks that address outcomes for the quality of lives of families affected by disability can be found in Chiu, Kyzar, Turnbull, Summers, & Gomez (2013), Zuna, Summers, Turnbull, Hu, & Xu (2010), and Zuna, Turnbull, & Summers (2009).
Policy Analysis Model
In contrast, a policy analysis model depicts a process of defining a problem, specifying criteria for choosing a response, comparing alternative responses, accounting for resources and barriers, and proposing and using procedures and standards for evaluation (Dye , 2013). A policy analysis model is a linear process that explicitly relies on the core disability-related concepts, is value-driven, and takes into account discrete conceptualizations of disability. As such, a policy analysis model requires analysts and policy makers to adhere to a strict sequential process for understanding how policy is made (“policy development”), applied (“policy implementation”), and found to have consequences (“policy evaluation”).
Policy Framework Example
The policy analysis model described in this article builds on a framework we developed in 2001 (Turnbull, 2001). That earlier framework, displayed in Figure 1, holds that there are core concepts of public policy affecting individuals and families; they are found in statutes, regulations, and case law (especially the Supreme Court's); and they drive federal policy in three major domains of disability policy—education, human and social services, and health care (Turnbull, 2001; Turnbull & Stowe, 2001a). Here, the core concepts operate at the “books” level: they are enforceable written rules of conduct.
The core concepts also affect how professionals, individuals, and families implement the policies that they administer. Here, practice is policy “on the streets.” The “practices/streets” approach is ecological at three levels of government (federal, state, and local) and across three service sectors (education, human and social services, and health care). Finally, various factors, external to the core concepts, policies, and partnerships, influence them and thus policy-related outcomes; we called these “influencing factors” and acknowledged that some are predictable while others are not.
In reference to Figure 1, and as a result of analyzing all disability-related federal statutes and Supreme Court and other precedent-setting decisions concerning disability rights, we identified 18 core concepts of disability policy (Turnbull, Beegle, & Stowe, 2001), and then created a taxonomy for them: three overarching constitutional principles (life, liberty, and equality), three complementary ethical principles (family as foundation, dignity, and community), and three similarly complementary administrative principles (capacity, individualization, and accountability). Finally, we prepared a tool for analyzing policy “on the streets” (at the practice) levels—the ecological approach made practical (Stowe & Turnbull, 2001).
Policy Analysis Model: Actions and Steps
As depicted in Figure 2, our policy analysis model involves 12 steps. These steps encompass four actions: (1) identifying the context (steps 1–5), (2) describing the various choices (step 6), (3) choosing the criteria for making a choice and actually making the choice (steps 7 and 8), and (4) implementing the choice, evaluating its effects, and providing feedback (steps 9–11).
Three current public policies are used to help explain and show the relevance of each of the 12 steps. The first policy is antidiscrimination, as codified by the Americans With Disabilities Act (1990, 2008). Antidiscrimination policy and its constitutional foundation of equal protection/opportunity foundation are not process outcomes. They are substantive rights of an individual with a disability and serve as doorways to other rights. One of those other rights—here, our second example—is children's rights to a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Our third example is a cluster of policies (Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act (1980) and Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (2010)) that, together, acknowledge that families are foundational for, and the primary ecologies of, individuals with disabilities. The family support provisions of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (2000), the federal foster care and adoption policies, and the federal child-abuse policies exemplify the primacy of the family.
Step 1: Needs, Problems, and Interests
Needs and problems
Analysts should begin with the proposition that there is no reason for policy except to respond to identified needs. Under this assumption, their first step is to conduct an interest analysis (Turnbull, 1981) in order to determine who has what needs and thereby what policy responses, if any, are warranted. An interest analysis consists of a series of questions. Collectively, they require analysts to embrace the complexities of policymaking. Analysts begin by asking, “Who has what needs?” and then, “Should policy respond to the needs?” If the answer to the second question is “yes,” the next question is about the intended beneficiaries of a policy.
Who has a direct interest? Typically, these will be individuals or families affected by disabilities, or both. Unlike a focus solely on personal outcomes, a focus on family outcomes is equally necessary—families are the core of society and the early and often continuing context for the person, as family support and child/adult protection statutes acknowledge.
Because policy is concerned with systems, services, and programs, others with direct interests include the affected administrators and direct-service professionals. Researchers and others who focus on outcome or process evaluation also have an interest. The question is not just who has a direct interest, but what is the nature of their respective interest. Individuals with disabilities, their families, and their service providers, at all three levels of government, have an interest in antidiscrimination and free appropriate public education; they are the most affected stakeholders. But individuals and entities that must comply with those policies are also affected, as are individuals without disabilities, taxpayers, and researchers.
Having identified the interested parties, analysts then must ask, “What is the extent and nature of the needs of the directly and indirectly interested parties?” Here, analysts have to ask, “Who are the intended primary, secondary, and tertiary beneficiaries of a policy?” At the same time, they must ask, “Who would not benefit from the policy but, instead, be burdened by it?” Here, analysts engage in a benefit-burden analysis.
A direct-interest analysis seems to assume that there are no indirect interest parties. That may be so, but it is difficult to imagine who they are, and to draw a not affected boundary around them. As much as individuals with disabilities are affected by ADA and IDEA, so too are those individuals and entities that must comply with those statutes and those without disabilities whose environments and lives are affected by integrating people with disabilities and their families (beneficiaries) into the environments from which they have been absent.
Separation of power and federalism
The interest analysis questions also come into play with respect to any one or more service systems, such as health and child-welfare systems, and at any level of government, including child welfare, federal, state, and local entities. The considerations of systems/separation of power and levels/federalism apply at each level of analysis that follows. Accordingly, we do not restate them hereafter, except for emphasis as needed.
Benefits and burdens
Yet another question begs an answer: “What are the nature of the interests and likely effects of policy over time?” Does IDEA's large but short-term cost (education from birth through 21) yield a larger long-term (entire-life) gain in developing the capacities of students with special needs? Do ADA's requirement that programs must make reasonable accommodations excessively benefit the programs, but benefit too few people with disabilities?
Compatible or competing interests
Analysts' next questions ask about the relationship of indirectly and seemingly unaffected constituencies. The questions become: “Who has similar and dissimilar, or compatible or incompatible, interests? What constituencies do not have compatible interests, such that they have competing equities? What is the nature and degree (extent) of the incompatibility and competition?” For example, IDEA balances the interests of children without disabilities against the interests of those with disabilities when those with disabilities impede the education of those without by being in the same curriculum (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414 [a] – [d]).
Having identified the needs/interests, analysts' final question is: “Whose interests prevail over others'?” This is a question of priorities. Without answering that question, analysts will not know which goals and objectives to prioritize. The interest analysis allows analysts and especially policy makers (e.g., legislators or executive rule-makers charged with making policy, not simply analyzing it) to identify who has a stake and the nature of the stake, and then, assuming that not all interests can be satisfied, to favor one interest over another, or several over others. Favoring interests then allows policy makers to set goals and objectives for the favored interests. Thus, for example, the sanctity of life interests of newborns with disabilities affect the practice of medicine and the behavior of child-protection and child-adoption and foster care entities.
Step 2: Goals and Outcomes
Having completed an interest analysis, analysts must set goals and link them with the favored interests, to maximize them, and with the disfavored interests, to minimize them. As stated, goals are aspirational: they express a desired consequence.
That explains why goals are large, generalized statements of desired outcomes. For example, ADA and IDEA are examples of how Congress enforces the 14th amendment's equal protection guarantee. Accordingly, both statutes declare four goals of national disability policy: equal opportunity, independent living, full participation, and economic self-sufficiency. ADA imposes obligations of non-discrimination on identified (“covered”) public and private entities, and provides for enforcement and remedies. IDEA confers rights on students and parents and corresponding duties on schools. Together, these two statutes advance the over-arching constitutional principle of equality and the over-arching ethical principle of dignity (Turnbull & Stowe, 2001a). If taken out of the context of the other provisions of IDEA and ADA, these goals will be simply statements of hope. Alone, they do not accomplish action.
Step 3: Objectives and Means
Objectives are specific, discrete statements that advance the goals and thus the overall outcomes. They are instrumental; they are statements of means, of how the aspirations will/should/may occur. There must be congruence between the goals and the means; the latter must advance the former. Accordingly, ADA addresses objectives (access, inclusion, and participation in the covered entities) and means (reasonable accommodations). Similarly, IDEA declares objectives and means. These are nondiscriminatory evaluation, appropriate individualized education programs, and least restrictive placements in education. IDEA obliges educators to achieve the means by using evidence-based interventions and by developing the capacities of research and parent systems.
Steps 4 and 5: Resources and Barriers
Practicality modifies goals and objectives. However ambitious a statutes' aspirational goals and objectives are, they will be attainable and the means will be effective only to the extent that resources are available or are made available and conversely, to the extent that constraints exist or arise and are not mitigated.
Resources (Step 4) are the bridges between goals and objectives on the one hand and attainment on the other; likewise, constraints (Step 5) are the chasms that must be bridged. To know what the resources and constraints are, contexts must be analyzed, inventorying those that are known and those that are reasonably foreseeable. Here, analysis is quintessentially ecological: contextual factors will either facilitate or impede policy (Shogren, Schalock, & Luckasson, in press).
Resources consist of those federal, state, local governmental, and private-sector capacities that exist or can be developed. Constraints consist of the absence or insufficiency of those capacities. Often the same resources and barriers are identical or nearly so. A resource may exist but be insufficient, and thus be a barrier to full achievement of goals and objectives. A barrier, if it is a shortage of a resource, can be addressed effectively by capacity-building initiatives—by enlarging the capacity of a given resource. Thus, federal tax credits for making accessibility accommodations advance the ADA goals, just as IDEA's provisions against using federal funds to promote segregated education advance its goals of antidiscrimination and integration/inclusion. Similarly, federal assistance to state child welfare agencies supports family-based foster and adoptive care, and federal withholding of funds penalizes health-care providers who may discriminate against a newborn solely because of disability.
Invariably, fiscal considerations come into play. Two issues arise. First, what is the fiscal cost of responding generously, responding moderately, or not responding at all? Second, the answers to these questions have to be balanced against a large number of competing social and other costs. How do analysts know what the resources and constraints are? Typically, two sources of data are available. The first consists of research and knowledge of evidence-based practices. The second consists of evidence acquired by legislative hearings, public comment on proposed laws or regulations, or other means of securing information or sentiments of the interested parties. Research is one set of data; testimony is another. Both are invaluable.
Step 6: Competing or Complementary Choices
At this point in the process, analysts will have identified the interested parties and the nature of their interests, the goals and objectives to be achieved by the policy, and the resources and the constraints. They now identify the choices that policy-makers may make. Here, analysts return to the previous steps of interest analysis (step 1), goals (step 2), objectives (step 3), and resources and barriers (steps 4 and 5). As we have noted, they do so in order to articulate the choices that policy makers may select. These choices may compete with each other; one group of interest-holders prevails over another. Or they may complement each other; several groups of interested persons or entities may have mutual, not-inconsistent satisfaction of their needs. The key in step 6 is to be clear about the relation of interests and needs to goals, objectives, and capacities.
Step 7: Criteria for Choice
Analysts now must answer this question: “What are the criteria that policy makers should use to make a choice of policy?” Our answer is: “the core concepts.” There are two reasons to use the core concepts as the criteria. First, they are the indispensable ideas that have driven and reflected disability policy since the last third of the twentieth century. Second, they express not just ideas but the values that underlie the ideas.
For example, a policy of educating all children with disabilities expresses that those children are valuable and that their education is also valuable to them and to society at large. A policy against discrimination based solely on disability values integration and the achievement of diversity within a larger community of common interests. A policy favoring adoption and foster care values family-based care over other types. And a policy of prohibiting medical discrimination based on disability generally values sanctity of life over quality of life.
Step 8: Final Choices
Now that analysts have identified, defined, and given examples of the core concepts, policy makers are in a position to make their final decision. Here, they may choose one policy and apply it to one federally assisted enterprise. That is what Congress did in enacting IDEA—it chose to value education. Or policy makers may choose a broader approach, as Congress did when it enacted ADA and made it apply broadly to private and public sectors of American life.
Step 9: Implementation
Whatever policy makers decide to do, they will authorize specified federal, state, or local agencies to take action; they may appropriate funds for those agencies to use to carry out the policy; they may create rights and duties; and they will subject certain sectors of the public and private sectors to obligations. In taking these actions, they are creating “policy on the books” (i.e., legal formalism) and “policy on the streets” (i.e., legal realism).
Analysts now seek to answer this question: “What happens when implementing agencies interact with the beneficiaries of the policies and other interested parties?” In asking that question, analysts revisit the interest analysis (step 1) and focus on to what extent, the interests that the policy intends to satisfy are being timely and effectively satisfied, and how and why? The analysis here merges “interest analysis” with “functional analysis” (Turnbull, 1981): What function does the policy play in the lives of the directly and indirectly interested parties and in the lives of parties who apparently have scant or little interest? This is a question about fidelity: is the implementation faithful to the goals, objectives, and use of resources? If so, there will be little reason to change the policy. If only a little or if not, there may be reason to change the policy or its implementation.
Step 10: Evaluation
Evaluation determines whether the purposes of the option are achieved. In this regard, evaluation assesses: (a) the degree to which the goals and objectives are attained at the federal, state and local levels and thus the extent to which the needs of the intended beneficiaries are satisfied and their “problem” is addressed—the fidelity issue; (b) the degree to which previously identified resources and barriers, and new or augmented resources facilitate or impede implementation with fidelity; and (c) the degree to which the criteria for choice—essentially, the core concepts—are reflected in the implementation. Evaluation should be based on an evaluation framework and an evaluation process that guide evaluation according to the goals and objectives, resources and barriers, inputs into the practice, the outputs of the practice, the short and intermediate range outcomes for the intended beneficiaries and for others, the long-term impact of the policy on the beneficiaries and their “problem,” and the effect of the policy on other interested parties.
Step 11: Feedback
Evaluators need to categorize the evaluation results so that analysts and policy makers will understand what steps, if any, should be taken with respect to the policy as it is expressed “on the books” and implemented “on the streets,” consistent with the criteria for choices. This is facilitated when the feedback is provided in a timely manner and user-friendly format.
Step 12: Restart
Based on the evidence from the evaluation, the policy process begins again. Here, the choices are to do nothing (leave the policy and its implementation alone), repeal the policy altogether but take no other action, repeal and replace the policy with another, or amend the policy but not inconsistently with its original articulation.
Uses of the Model and Changing Conceptions of Disability
Distinctive Uses and Different Roles of Users of the Model
The policy analysis model just described and depicted in Figure 2 can be used at the federal, state, or local levels, or at any combination of them: it is “federalism friendly.” It also can be used for any single, freestanding system of service delivery or any combination of one or more service systems: it is “system(s)-friendly.” It can be used in legislative and executive regulation-making functions: it is “separation of powers” friendly. It accounts for different ecologies: it is “context sensitive.” These discrete uses imply that there are two different users of the model: those who do policy analysis and those who make policy. They often work collaboratively, but they have different roles. Here, we separate the roles for the sake of clarity.
Some analysts will be staff to policy makers; others will work in university or think-tank settings; others will work in advocacy entities. One of their roles is to think on behalf of policy makers—to analyze for them. Analysts adhere to a process that allows policy makers to make a choice of one or more solutions to one or more needs that justify a response from government. Analysts describe; they do not prescribe. By contrast, policy makers prescribe, usually through legislation and regulations, what policy should be (policy development), how it should be carried out (policy implementation), and how it should be evaluated (policy evaluation). In a word, the analyst offers choices; the policy maker chooses, taking the analysis into account.
Changing Conceptualizations of Disability
The analysis of policy requires that analysts and policy makers take into account different conceptions of IDD, since the conception of disability influences resources and constraints (steps 4 and 5 of the model), competing choices (step 6), implementation activities (step 9), and evaluation (step 10). We submit that there are at least five models for understanding IDD (Turnbull & Stowe, 2001b): These models relate to human capacity, the public, culture, technology, and ethics and philosophy. We discuss each of them briefly, showing how they affect or are affected by one or more of the three policy examples discussed earlier.
This model subsumes three complementary but different sub-models. Each is a foundation for ADA's and IDEA's anti-discrimination principle; each is subsumed in IDEA's principle of free appropriate education; and each is implicated in laws protecting newborns and ensuring foster or adoptive care for children with disabilities. Briefly stated, the medical sub-model addresses ID as a pathology that is preventable or remediable through the various disciplines of medical science; thus, for example, CAPTA—the Baby Doe law—creates a rebuttable presumption in favor of medical treatment. The psychological sub-model relies on evidence that humans flee to or from stimuli; thus, IDEA requires educators to consider using positive behavior supports as a response to a child's behavior for which the child is disciplined at school. The educational sub-model holds that every person is capable of learning, if they receive effective training; thus, the zero reject principle in IDEA declares that “all” children with a disability have a right to a free appropriate public education.
The human-capacity model challenges analysts to identify which of these three sub-models constitutes a resource or constraint on a particular policy. Can ADA-covered entities be made accessible through reasonable accommodations? Do those accommodations address the medical, psychological, and educational needs of persons with disabilities? Does IDEA sufficiently address those needs in students? Are there sufficient numbers of well-trained personnel to meet the needs of people with IDD or their families through individualized and sufficiently intensive interventions? If the answers are “no” or “not enough,” then the constraints must be mitigated by resources.
This model invokes five sub-models. The sub-model related to law asks about the constitutionality of law, existing or proposed legislative responses, and judicial interpretations. The economics sub-model asks about the state of the public fiscal and resource allocation (affordability). The public administration sub-model is concerned with the capability of a public system to deliver efficient and effective services that policy makers authorized and for which they appropriated funds. The social welfare sub-model challenges policy leaders to consider how a policy allocates power among various constituencies. The demographics sub-model inquires into the existing profiles and trends in profiles depicting the population of the country, state, or locality as a whole, with special emphasis on disability, age, and ethnic, linguistic, and cultural attributes.
How do the requirement for an interest analysis and the public model complement each other? The interest analysis makes it clear that individuals and families affected by disabilities are not the only ones with interests. Balancing their interests with those of other affected individuals may well require legal, administrative, or financial accommodations to their needs, such as under the “reasonable accommodations” rule: the size of the enterprise or the cost of accommodation. Even the nature of the enterprise (its sectarian nature) must be taken into consideration. These are defensible interests in a capitalistic economy. In special education, school safety, discipline, student behavior, and the use of positive-behavior interventions must be considered. With respect to newborns and young or even older children with disabilities, the type, number and quality of professionals in health care and child-welfare agencies must be taken into account. The analysts can specify type, number, and quality of professionals in part by returning to the human development model and by considering the public sub-models. If, for example, the issue is IDEA and special education, the human development model and its three sub-models apply because IDEA addresses children's cognitive, behavioral, developmental, and functional capacities. The next question then is whether these three types of capacities are or should be informed by the public studies model—what law to apply, what economics, etc. Analysts create a matrix showing the interaction of models with each other; in that way, they clarify the areas of activity policy makers should target.
This model seeks to diminish the stigma of disability and enhance the esteem with which individuals with disabilities are regarded by those without disabilities. The questions the cultural model raises are: “How do creative media, such as literature, drama, and poetry depict individuals with disabilities?” Under an interest analysis, there are related questions: How does a former depiction affect their status now, and how is the history likely to change, or not, when policy is enacted? How do stigma and valorization affect, and how will they be affected by public policy? Recognizing that disability is a social construct, the ADA defines a protected person as one who is regarded as having a disability, and IDEA proclaims that low expectations are one of two major barriers to better school outcomes for students with disabilities. Similarly, child-abuse law values sanctity of life and presumes in favor of treatment. As with respect to the human-capacity and public models, there are issues of resources and constraints relative to how people with disabilities are “regarded” and thus supported or not through publicly funded service systems.
This model seeks to increase an individual's functional abilities by providing technological supports and redesigning the physical and educational environment. It takes into account the degree to which hard technologies, such as assistive and medical rehabilitation technologies, are effective in preventing or ameliorating disabilities. The model is concerned, however, with more than hard technologies. It asks about soft technologies—the capacities of professionals and their systems to research, develop, and effectively apply hard technologies. That is why ADA covers communication entities and why IDEA defines the related service of “assistive technology” to mean technologies that are already made (off-the-shelf), adapted (modified to be useful to any given individual), or specially made for the individual (bespoken technology). Under an interest analysis, those with IDD and their families have an interest in benefitting from technologies as they progress from rudimentary to sophisticated. The technological model thus is an extension of the human development model.
Ethical and philosophical model
This model seeks to identify and establish the ethical duties of individuals and groups toward individuals with disabilities. It poses the question: “What is the right or wrong of a policy?” It challenges analysts and policy leaders to identify the ethics by which they make policy and the ethics under which practitioners, researchers, and individuals and families affected by disability are to be treated. The ethical model may rely solely on secular grounds, solely on theological ones, or on both. The ethical model underpins the ADA's declaration that disability is a “natural consequence” of the human condition and therefore no justification for discrimination. That language can be understood as expressing a natural law sense that all people—especially those with disabilities—have certain inalienable rights.
The interaction of the five models
Theoretically, each model is discrete from the other. In fact, the models frequently interact and/or combine. For example, human capacity development depends on the enforcement of a constitutional right to least restrictive/drastic means, namely, the right to attend school with those who do not have a disability (the law sub-model). Underlying the right is the right to associate—a liberty to be with those whom one chooses; one's choice can be impaired by stigma (the cultural model); and one's claim to decent treatment (protection from discrimination), also invokes the ethical model. Accordingly, ADA proclaims that disability is a “natural consequence” of the human condition and therefore not a justification for discrimination. Likewise, under IDEA, educators' use of evidence-based techniques for teaching and assistive technologies contributes to human development and serves the purposes of the law to create opportunities and de-stigmatize. Further, under both ADA and IDEA, an ethic of acknowledging a person's claim to personhood and dignity depends on how the person's capacities are developed, valued as a cultural matter, and facilitated by technology. Thus the human-capacity development model, the public, cultural, and technology models combine to benefit individuals and their families and the systems that serve them.
Although these four models coalesce around benefit and service, the public and ethical/philosophical models are concerned with the nature of individual and collective rights and responsibilities. Each rests on a legal and ethical rights approach and by inference legal and ethical duties. Both are means to human development; and both are the ends, or values in and of themselves, that affirm human dignity, not just human development.
Our policy analysis model is based in part on policy research we published in 2001. The core concepts (statements of values codified by Congress or expressed by the Supreme Court) and conceptualization/models research of 2001 now contribute to a policy analysis model that encompasses policy development, implementation, and evaluation. The policy analysis model discussed in this article requires a process involving actions and steps, and within that process, it requires analysts and policy makers to take into account five conceptualizations of IDD. Because it entwines these two approaches and requires action (analysis), it is more than a framework. Further, the model takes into account the American constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers. It acknowledges the differences between legal formalism (policy on the books) and legal realism (policy on the streets). It is ecological; it takes context into account. It can be used to analyze policy as a constitutional principle (antidiscrimination) or as authority for service sector provision (special education and child welfare). It is cross-disability and age-neutral. And it demonstrates that policy makers and analysts must embrace the dynamic nature (and complexity) of disability policy development, implementation, and evaluation.