Social Model of Disability

MK CILThe Social Model of Disability Explained

The disabled people’s movement has had an impact on today’s society and with it has come a new language and an increased understanding of the impacts of disability. For many, the concept of the Social Model of Disability has led to a new understanding and has changed their lives. MK CIL is run on this ethos and guiding philosophy.

Whilst many view the model as the need to replace steps for ramps and to increase the width of doorways, the model provides far more. For many people, the model provides a new and empowering way to live their lives, the opportunity to have real choice and control and to be involved in everyday society.

This traditional view of disability is known as the “Medical Model of Disability” or “Individual Model of Disability”, because society views disabled people by their medical problems. It is critical to note this is not just a reflection of the medical world. The Social Model of Disability starts from a different perspective. It acknowledges that an individual has a medical condition (referred to as an impairment) for which medical intervention may at times be needed. However, the perspective moves on to recognise that every disabled person is a human being and is entitled to be treated equally. In doing this, the approach is to identify and to challenge those aspects of society that erect barriers preventing disabled people from participating and restricting their opportunities.

A wider understanding of the impact of different issues has been developed and these are now seen as the need for:

  1. Full Access to Our Environment
  2. A fully Accessible Transport System
  3. Technical Aids – Equipment
  4. Accessible/Adapted Housing
  5. Personal Assistance
  6. Inclusive Education and Training
  7. An Adequate Income
  8. Equal Opportunities for Employment
  9. Appropriate and Accessible Information
  10. Advocacy (Towards Self-advocacy)
  11. Counselling
  12. Appropriate and Accessible Heath Care Provision

MK CIL is committed to ensure that all of our services and projects are developed in line with these 12 needs.

The Elephant and Giraffe an example of the social model of disability.

A giraffe was proud to win an award for “Best Giraffe Home of the Year.” It was tall and elegant like himself, with a wood workshop in the cellar. He had a good friend, an elephant, who was good at woodwork. The giraffe wanted to get involved in joint projects with the elephant, so he invited him round….. read on The Elephant and Giraffe Story


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