Diversity Today - Models of Disability
Disability equality... Models of disability
There are two well-known models that have influenced modern thinking about disability; the ‘medical’ model and the ‘social’ model. These provide a framework for understanding the way people with impairments experience disability:
Suggests that a disability is caused by the barriers that exist within society and the way society is organised, which discriminates against people with impairments and excludes them. The focus is the individual and their needs.
This model focuses on the disability. It puts the impairment in the foreground. It is concerned with causes of disease and defines and categorises conditions, distinguishes different forms and assesses severities.
Disabled people developed the social model of disability because the traditional medical model did not explain their personal experience of disability or help to develop more inclusive ways of living.