The Social Model Of Disability Aims To Equalize All!


Lots of people are not aware of what disability is. It is important to know and understand the meaning of disability and identify the disabled in the right terms. At times it could be confusing when different people use different definitions of disability. The British Council of Disabled People has always been following the Social Model of Disability in contrast to other models of disability which are all individual models and place the disabled as an oppressed lot. For instance, the medical model, which is the classic and one of the best known models, focuses only on the impairment itself. Other models such as the administrative model, view disability as an assessment process and the charity model views disability as some kind of personal tragedy.

Disability may be termed as a restriction or disadvantage in doing things, more on account of some faults being committed by the society and the way it is run and organized. The world ignores people who have impairments and leaves them out and sometimes even stops or hinders them from doing things other people do. Disability is therefore a kind of discrimination, very much like racism and sexism.

Impairment is when a person is injured or suffers from a disease for a prolonged period that differentiates the person from others. The impairment could affect the brain or the body, or it could also be accompanied with pain, or it tires the person, or affects speech or memory functions, etc. Impairment does not cause disability and impairment does not make disability the right description or definition of the disabled.

The Social Model developed for the disabled helps describe and take suitable proactive steps against discrimination. The model does not insulate the disabled for the cause to the problems. By using the social model, the plan can identify areas that need changes and investigate societal attitude towards disabled people, such as why some people hesitate conversing with the disabled or why disabled people are prevented or hindered from getting into some buildings.

The Social Model permits the disabled to campaign collectively for betterment, like for changing attitudes towards being considerate to the disabled, or providing easier access to buildings in spite of the impairment of the disabled.

The Social Model also helps the disabled to talk about human rights and equality for themselves. The disabled can discuss what they can do to make people more equal rather than tell all and sundry about their limitations and difficulties.