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  • Writer's pictureJoe

The Social model vs medical model of disability

Today I wanted to talk about the two different models of disability. There’s the social model and the medical model. Allow me to explain the difference the social model of disability essentially changes the way you perceive disability.

 Here’s a simple example of how the two models differ in perspective. If a person is unable to climb stairs, the medical model focuses on making the individual physically able to climb stairs. The social model tries to make stair-climbing unnecessary, such as by replacing the stairs with a wheelchair-accessible ramp. According to the social model, the person remains impaired with respect to climbing stairs, but the impairment should no longer be considered disabling in that scenario, because the person can get to the same locations without climbing any stairs. 

I personally dislike the medical model allow me to elaborate, the medical model feels very restrictive and rigid to me and that makes me feel uncomfortable because all disabilities are on such a spectrum that it feels very close minded to say Hannah has Cerebral Palsy and as a result definitely will not be able to speak etc. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s certainly beneficial to be aware of potential challenges and limitations that come with different conditions. However, that does not mean these should feel set in stone or like I certainly won't be able to speak because of Cerebral Palsy, because at the end of the day people are different in almost every way so why would disabilities be excluded from that. 

The reason I felt it was important to bring attention to these different models is because personally I feel like it's very easy to internalise the inaccessibility of society and put that on onto ourselves and think we’re the burden. My hope is by speaking about this. It will help someone shift their mindset and realise that they aren’t a burden and they are not creating an issue by going out into society like our able bodied or neurotypical counterparts do. Society has a long way to go in the realm of accessibility. The good news is establishments need us to help them become accessible and inclusive and if they are willing to listen and cooperate with us that will in turn bring change and progress for everyone involved. Making our social experiences more enjoyable and equal to everyone else because that’s what we deserve.

I think to some degree this resonates with everyone because we’ve all had at least one situation where we’ve not been invited to a party or at least not felt comfortable enough to go. We all know how anxious or perhaps lonely we felt in those moments, and quite frankly the less those moments happen the better. 

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Jul 06, 2020

Very true.

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