The Medical Model of Disability

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Medical Model of Disability
The medical model of disability is one that is primarily concerned with the justification of disability. It sees disability purely as a problem of the individual, without any discrimination between the impairment faced and the disability itself. “Any economic or social deprivation encountered by disabled people was located within the individual and their impairment.” (Swain et al., 2003) To put it simply, a disabled person is seen as faulty and in need of fixing or curing. Disabled people are by definition then dependent on others to help them and decide on care/treatment for their disability. Disability is a tragedy, and focusses on what a person cannot do. This results in segregation of disability, giving anyone perceived as different a label due to the fixation of “normality” by society (referring to people by their disability… “he’s a Down’s baby,” “she’s the dwarf”), lack of individual respect and the ignorance of cultural, social and institutional barriers that disabled people face in trying to lead their own independent lives. Paul Hunt wrote an essay in 1966 arguing that due to society’s treatment of disabled people in the past and society’s high regard for the “normal,” disabled people have felt themselves to be “unfortunate, useless, different, oppressed and sick,” and although this may not be how disabled people actually see themselves, due to the constraints placed upon them, this is how they have been forced to view themselves. “Unfortunate” because they haven’t had the opportunity to marry, have children and contribute to earning their own money and independence; “Useless” due to their inability to contribute to the economic wealth of society, relying instead on charity and feeling of less worth than the “breadwinner;” Feeling part of a minority and singled out as “different” due to their physical disability against the “stares of the curious;” An overwhelming feeling of “oppression” due to society not allowing the...
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