The Social Model of Disability
One of the key factors underpinning the Social Model of Disability is the distinction made between a person’s impairment and their disability.
- Impairment is used to refer to the actual attributes of a person in terms of limbs, organs or mechanisms, including psychological
- Disability is used to refer to the restrictions caused by society when it does not give equivalent attention and accommodation to the needs of individuals with impairments
- The Social Model of Disability should be used as a starting point for how society views disability and used to continue the work towards equality.
Social Model of Disability
- The person has the impairment but society causes the disability
- Seeing the person first and the impairment second
- Support to live independently is built around the person’s needs and preferences
- Support to make informed and individual choices. To remain in control
- Positive view of self. An automatic assumption of inclusion in social or work activity
- Society organises itself in such a way that causes barriers to people with impairments
- The social model requires society to adjust to the impaired person’s needs, therefore removing the factors that disable the person
Historically, the Medical Model of Disability is used, and it is this model that is challenged by Suffolk Coalition.
Medical Model of Disability
- The person’s impairment is the problem and they are disabled
- They are defined by their disability
- They are dependent. Choices are limited
- Often internalised negative view of self. Automatically prevented from taking part in social or work activities
- Their options are subject to the approval of the professionals involved, the ‘helping expert’
- The view is that it is the disabled person who must adapt or be excluded by the way in which society is constructed and organised
Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People does not agree with the Medical Model of Disability. Instead, we follow the Social Model of Disability.