General Question

raum's avatar

What are your thoughts about the medical model of disability VS the social model of disability?

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2 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

The disconnect between the two is that the medical model does not and cannot address all aspects of a disbale persons life, nor can it comepnsate for impairments.

For instance, developmental dispabilities such as Down syndrome cannot be addressed through medical means, but call for social and eductational interventions.

Mariah's avatar

I hope this great question gets more answers.

I think both concepts have merit, and that the social model applies more to some conditions and some individuals within conditions than others.

My health condition is very painful. Even if we lived in a perfect, infinitely accommodating society, I would still consider myself disabled, because the pain itself stops me from doing things I want to do. I want my condition cured because being in pain inherently sucks.

Compare this with something like autism or deafness. Many (not all) people with these conditions don’t consider themselves disabled. Their condition makes their interactions with others more difficult, but this isn’t inherent to the condition. If society were more accepting of differences and willing to meet others where they’re at, deaf or autistic people might not have a hard time at all. This is part of why you often hear deaf or autistic people saying they don’t want to be “cured.” They consider their status a part of who they are, and they can see a path forward for mitigating the difficulties that come with their condition that doesn’t involve changing who they are.

This is where I find that most people with physical disabilities differ; most of us would opt to be cured if it were possible.

However, I hear from many wheelchair users (e.g. cerebral palsy) who feel they would not be in any way limited by their status, except for the fact that cities are not designed in an accessible way. This fits the social model too.

Both models are important, imo. Whether society or your biology limits you more is highly individual.

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