The Social Model of Disability

The social model of disability suggests that disability arises from the ways in which society is organised, rather than the actual impairment that an individual has.

Information about the social model can be found here:

Discover More The social model of disability
Students can begin by drawing a table out that highlights the comparisons and contrasts between the two models.

From this, students could conduct their own social model assessment of an identified environment, such as, the school/college they are in, the local leisure centre, shopping centre etc. What barriers to accessing services can they identify for disabled members of the community (reminding them of the broad nature of disability). What could service providers do to overcome these barriers?

Hence, this model does not see individuals as necessarily having a disability, but rather focuses how they are disabled by society. For example, being a wheelchair user would not necessarily be an issue if our environment and cities were designed for their needs. Maybe as a class exercise, you could ask students to consider a very different kind of city and environment, such as one that was deigned by and for wheelchairs users or the visually impaired only. If a city was built only for wheelchairs users or the visually impaired, who would this then disable?


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