Describe the Medical and Social Modes of Disability

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2.3 Describe the medical and social models of disability The Medical Model of Disability The disability is the focus. A society that separates, creating "special” facilities away from community life. This model focuses on the lack of physical, sensory or mental functioning, and uses a clinical way of describing an individual’s disability. There are certain ‘norms’ in development and in functioning against which the person is judged – the focus is on what they cannot do, rather than what they can do. This model defines and categorises disabled people by their impairment, and it casts the individual person as “the victim” or “the problem”. Many disabled people have rejected this model. They say it has led to their low self-esteem, undeveloped life skills, poor education and consequent high unemployment levels. Above all, they have recognised that the medical model results in the breaking of natural relationships with their families, communities and society as a whole. The Social Model of Disability Everyone is an individual. The person may have different needs and living requirements Disabled people have arrived at a different ‘model’ to help understand the situation. They are challenging people to give up the idea that disability is a medical problem requiring ‘treatment’, but to understand instead that disability is a problem of exclusion from ordinary life. This is what is known as the ‘social model’ of disability, requiring a change in society’s values and practices in order to remove the barriers to participation that can discriminate against disabled people. The disability experienced is often caused by the approach taken by society/individuals, which take no account of people with impairments and their associated needs, thereby excluding them from mainstream activity. Thus, an individual is not prevented from reading a magazine because of blindness,

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