The Medical model of disability focuses on the condition rather than the individual. It views people with disabilities as being imperfect, and as something which must be cured when possible. This leading to a person with a disability being encouraged to act or look ‘normal’ to fit into society, therefore treating people with disabilities as a victim.
The Social model of disability challenges societies views of people with disabilities and impairments. Developed by disabled people highlighting their right to choices. It also challenges society to become more inclusive without the view that people with disabilities have a problem which needs ‘fixing’ or to pity them
When looking at mainstream education for children with Special Educational needs (SEN) we can see how the social and medical models of disability has a effect.
The medical model views children with SEN as being ‘ faulty,’ it focuses on the diagnosis and labels the child. The medical model believes that when necessary children should be segregated from their peers. The social model on the other hand supports that children should be acknowledged for their strenghts, interests and their individual needs. Children with SEN must be valued and respected. The social model also believes that adequate training to include all children (inclusive practice) where relationships are nurtured and diversity welcomed.
The Medical model believes that the child should ‘fit it’ and ‘to change’ in society and in mainstream education. Yet the social model believes that it’s the practitioners who must change, changing views and possible stereotypes within the setting. The Medical model also believes that the child should follow the same curriculum yet with out any extra support in doing so. The Social model agrees that children with SEN should follow the same curriculum but differentiated to make it achievable and to meet all the children’s individual needs.
The Medical model although professionals maybe viewed as controlling and the Social model feels children should have a choice and should be allowed to live their lives. They do agree that specialist and a array of therapies, some of which are carried out in mainstream education have a positive impact on the child.
Definition by the Governments Department for Education and Skills defines special educational needs as a child who has learning difficulties or disability which makes it harder for a child to learn and access education.
The Code Of Practice states that children have special educational needs if they have learning difficulties which require special educational needs provisions made for them, which is significantly greater difficulties in learning than the majority of children of the same age.
These legal definitions gives a child with Autistic Spectrum disorder (ASD) the right to a broad and balanced curriculum, of which a Early Years practitioners have a legal duty to do so and to meet the child’s individual needs.
Stereotyping and labelling is common for children who have SEN. It is reflected by societies lack of knowledge and assumptions. Children with ASD can be viewed as being ‘unusual’ and ‘odd’ as they can behave differently to perhaps their own children. If the child with ASD displays negative behaviours this can be misunderstood and can lead to isolation in the community, for example the family not being invited to family gatherings. Terminology has developed over the years the term Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is widely used when referring to a child whose development falls within the spectrum. Although some people object to the word disorder as this has medical connotations. Autism and Autistic are accepted term also and are perhaps most familiar. It is preferred to always mention the word child or children before mentioning Autism ‘ This is to acknowledge that a child is, first and foremost, a unique individual and should not be defined solely by their Autism’...
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