Deaf Culture and the Medical Model

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The Deaf Community in Relation to the Medical Model and the Social Model Introduction Since its dawn, disability has been conceptualised using various models. Disability however, is not the focus, but rather the people and the community in which they live, as disability goes much further than the nature of the impairment. Hence the imperative nature of the Deaf community and how it relates to both models, and the subsequent core of this essay that will follow the discussion on the models. The two particular models used for the purpose of this essay will be the medical and social models of disability. Deafness is a complex construct consisting partly of social phenomena and has a strong focus on community, access to resources, and empowerment. More central than this, however, is the essential role of sign language and residential schools in continuing the traditions and aiding in language acquisition within the Deaf culture community (Gregory & Hartley, 1990). Lastly, these two models will then be used to critically compare the similarities and differences of the attached articles. The Medical Model The medical model conceptualises deafness as abnormal (C. McClain et al 1997 & M. Thornton & S. Downs 2010), a disability (P. Ladd 2005 & C. McClain et al 1997), oppression (McClain et al 1997), and pities those with hearing loss (McClain et al 1997). It therefore views disability as a condition or impairment that requires treatment (C. McClain et al 1997 & M. Thornton & S. Downs 2010). Hence its focus on diagnosis and treatment of varying degrees of hearing loss (P. Ladd 2005 & C. McClain et al 1997) and the neglect of the social and economic needs. Furthermore the medical model focuses on dependence which results in disempowerment as it sees the person as a patient and passive participant in the process. Thus not giving them any say and bypassing their rights to
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