Medical Model Of Disability

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Introduction Definitions serve to illuminate the understanding by society at a given time on any matter. To define something means to explain the meaning or significance of a word. The writer will discuss in this essay how the word disability has been defined and redefined through time. Cultural Changes in defining disability Anthropology is the study of the many different features of human beings within communities of the past and present. Anthropology focused research has revealed that reactions and thoughts on disability vary among different cultures and the different types of impairments (Hanks and Hanks 1948, Scheer and Groce, 1988, Miles, 1995,2001, Ingstad and Whyte, 1995, cited in Oliver and Barnes, 2012). The writer will discuss two…show more content…
The medical model portrays the disability as being an individual problem or a personal tragedy. The traditional medical model of disability includes diagnosis, treatment, and cure, management or medication of disease (Casstevans, 2010). It sees the disabled person as ill and in need of treatment or a cure. Therefore, the medical models solution is that a successful treatment or rehabilitation will fix the disabled person or normalise them. The medical model can also be seen as a scientific process which includes observation, description and differentiation. The process then moves from recognising and treating symptoms to identifying disease aetiologies and developing specific treatments (Clare, 1980). The Disabled People’s movement criticises the medical model because they believe it is based on a false notion of normality with people being expected to fit into a certain criteria. They are judged relative to how closely they fit the criteria. They are judged on what they can and cannot do (Shah and Mountain, 2007). The World Health Organisation (1980) integrates elements of both the social and medical model. They express the view of disability as being any restriction or lack of ability due to one’s impairment to carry out an activity within the specific requirements considered normal for a human being. According to the World Health Organisation’s (1980) International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and…show more content…
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s European and North American disabled activists became highly vocal reflecting dismissive attitude towards the individual, treatment focused, medicalised model attitude of disability. They claimed the discrimination led to abuse of disabled people and in turn psychological and social welfare effects this had on the disabled people. The Union of Physically Impaired against Segregation added these concerns into the fundamental principles of disability which pointed out that people were disabled by society and not by their impairment. This resulted in the development of the social model in 1976 (Barned and Oliver 1990). “The social model breaks the causal link between the impairment and the disability” (Oliver and Barnes, 2012). The model promotes the disability as being created by society. Society has barriers which disables people with an impairment. Examples of barriers includes having no ramps in public places for disabled people who use wheelchairs or by having poor job prospects for disabled people. The social model explains that disability does not occur due to impairment but is “attributable to the physical, attitudinal and communication barriers created by society or, perhaps more accurately, which society fails to dismantle or change” (Kinrade, 2015). The Social model is not a complex model. It merely
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