Sunday, 14 October 2012

Medical vs. Social


One piece of legislation all impaired individuals should get themselves thoroughly acquainted with is the Equalities Act 2010 (EA2010). Aha, you may say, what was different before.

Well, simply this … the Medical Model of Disability (MMD) defines disability by the individuals’ level of physical, sensory or mental functioning and performance … and doesn’t that make us sound like trained monkeys ... against medically determined norms in development. Fail to meet up to these levels and fail long enough and you are disabled. We are long term failures of the various medical intervention procurers, dispensers and providers to fix our shortfalls against their medically determined developmental norms. To be fair, the medical profession does not blame us for failing. However this way of seeing disability does impose a diminished view of us. It focuses entirely on what we cannot do. 


Though the MMD is still the arbiter of who will be considered impaired for the purposes of the EA2010, the act itself actually imposes a very positive view on disability. It does this by addressing disability through the Social Model of Disability (SMD). The SMD starts from the premise that those people who have been defined as disabled according to the MMD have an impairment …
You could look at it like this, the MMD declares us as being deficient whereas the SMD views us as having something extra. According to the SMD disability is imposed on individuals with an impairment by environmental or organisational deficits. See, positive from the start …