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Character Development

Character Development
  • Plos One : Cnv Analysis in Tourette Synd... (by )
  • A Christmas Carol (by )
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (by )
  • The Phantom of the Opera (by )
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One billion people--or about 15 percent--of the world’s population experience some form of disability. Disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one-fifth of the estimated global total—or between 110 million and 190 million people—experience significant disabilities.

WHO also says that persons with disabilities, on average as a group, are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates.

Disabled World reports that in most of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, females have higher rates of disability than males. Disabilities may be cognitive or relate to hearing, vision, or mobility. They can also be psychological, relate to the spinal cord, or be “invisible,” meaning that the person looks physically healthy, but can have a metabolic, mental, or other type of disorder that people can’t easily identify.

Many famous people have disabilities, including Dan Aykroyd who was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger Syndrome. His symptoms disappeared by the time he was age 14. Engineer Howard Robart Hughes, Jr., who was also a film producer and director, had debilitating symptoms of social avoidance behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Famed author James Joyce treated his schizophrenia with alcoholism.
Another key topic, mental illness has dominated headlines in recent years. WHO released recent data stating that one in four people worldwide will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.

Examples of mental illness include anxiety disorders, ADHD, autism, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, depression, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia.

Many characters in literature have various disabilities. The Tiny Tim character from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens wears leg braces and uses a crutch. In an article in Live Science, Russell W. Chesney, M.D. states that he believes that Tiny Tim suffered from a combination of rickets and tuberculosis.

Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo has deforming kyphosis, Eric from Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux has a severe facial deformity, and Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is mentally handicapped.

By Regina Molaro

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