Medical Model vs Social Model of Disability

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  • Social Model vs Medical Model
    • Medial Model
      • Strengths
        • Labelling can be seen as positive as it can lead to funding opportunities(labelling theory)
        • Can lead to medical interventions (Sarro cited in Slayter, 2017). A dominant positive for life-limiting medical conditions and/or disabilities.
      • Criticisms
        • Not all impairments are able to be medically treated (ALLFIE, n.d.)
        • Does not encourage inclusivity nor celebrates diversity (ALFFIE, n.d.)
        • Excludes individuals from society by not providing them with the resources and adjustments they require (ALFFIE, n.d.)
        • The views and opinions of disabled people are not valued on the same level as medical professionals (Brisenden, 2007).
        • The medical facts cannot define the whole of the disabled person (Brisenden, 2007)
      • Key Ideas
        • Individuals are disabled due to their impairment
        • The impairment should be fixed by medical treatments and procedures (Bartlett and Burton, 2016)
        • The model is very closely associated with giving labels to people with impairments (Bartlett and Burton, 2016) i.e. labelling theory
        • A disabled person is 'suffering' from their impairment (Bartlett and Burton, 2016)
        • Sees the impairment as the most important thing about the individual
    • Social Model
      • Key Ideas
        • Society and the environment should be adapted to suit people with impairments (Bartlett and Burton, 2016)
        • Focuses on removing barriers to enable people with impairments to have better life chances (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • Disability is imposed on top of the impairment which has come about through societal changes (UPIAS, 1975)
        • The model was formed through an activist group known as the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation - also known as UPIAS (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • The model was coined by Paul Hunt
      • Strengths
        • The model united disabled people through political action when establishing the Social Model (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • Simple and effective. Very important when dealing with politics (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • Social barriers can be distinguished and lifted (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • A significant move in the right direction in helping to improve the mental health of people with impairments. More education and knowledge in regards to impairments is more common since the model was introduced (Shakespeare, 2016)
      • Criticisms
        • A simplistic idea (Shakespeare, 2016) as societal change takes many years to occur
        • Due to perceptions and opinions that have been formed by the medical model, it is hard to separate impairment from disability (Shakespeare, 2016)
        • It is not realistic for all conditions and disabilities (Sarro cited in Slayter, 2017)
        • Does not recognise the struggles that individuals face with their disability. It only focuses on the impact society is having (We Can and Must Do Better, n.d.)


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