Unit 26 Caring for individuals with additional needs
The medical model of disability views disability as a ‘problem’ that belongs to the disabled individual. It is not seen as an issue to concern anyone other than the individual affected. For example, if a wheelchair using student is unable to get into a building because of some steps, the medical model would suggest that this is because of the wheelchair, rather than the steps. However the social model of disability would see the steps as the disabling barrier. This model has the idea that it is society that disables people, through designing everything to meet the needs of the majority of people who are not disabled. There is a realization within the social model that there is a great deal that society can do to reduce, and ultimately remove, some of these disabling barriers, and that this task is the responsibility of society, rather than the disabled person. The social model of disability focuses on people’s attitudes towards disability. These attitudes are many and varied, ranging from prejudice and stereotyping, to unnecessary inflexible organisational practices and procedures.
An example of a medical model approach would be a course leader who refuses to produce a hand-out in a larger font for a visually impaired student. The student cannot therefore participate in the class discussion impacting on the students learning development and also could make that student feel isolated and alone. The medical model of disability also affects the way disabled people think about themselves. Many disabled people internalise the negative message that all disabled people’s problems stem from not having 'normal' bodies. Disabled people too can be led to believe that their impairments automatically prevent them from participating in social activities. This attitude can make disabled people less likely to challenge their exclusion from mainstream society. Regarding the social model, society is shown to disable...
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