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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

The Social model of disability

What is disability?

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.’ - GOV UK

There are 3 models of disability, social, medical and moral. The moral model states disability is an act of God. The medical model believes disability is undesirable and requires treatment. 

The social model of disability, developed in 1995 by activists, states that the barriers in society makes someone disabled and not their impairment. If society was set up to be accessible there would be no restrictions. It was created because disabled people were excluded from society and were often institutionalized. 

Types of barriers can be attitudinal, communication and physical. Examples of barriers are, buildings with only stairs when entering, no accessible toilets, no lifts or assuming disabled people can’t do something. Removing these barriers would mean disabled people have the same choices and independence. It allows people to really think about the actions they can take to become inclusive and change their attitude towards disability. 


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