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Assignment on

BY

IMRAN AHMAD SAJID


M.Phil-2st semester
Date: December, 2009

Submitted To:

Sir. Shakeel Ahmad


Department of Social Work
Abstract

A disability is an inability to execute some class of movements, or pick up sensory


information of some sort, or perform some cognitive function that typical unimpaired humans
are able to execute or pick up or perform” (John Perry, 1995).

In ancient Greece the philosopher, Aristotle, advised getting rid of a child if it was
imperfect. Greek law even dictated that a newborn baby was not really a child until seven
days after birth, so that an imperfect child could be disposed of with a clear conscience.

This assignment report has three parts. Part one is the introduction of disability and
also presents some bitter historical realities about disable people. Part two deals with
conceptual clarification of some basic terminologies used in the disability study. After the
clarification of the concepts, part three of the report will discuss various models of disabilities
extensively.

i
Acknowledgements
All praises to ALLAH, the most Merciful, Kind, and Beneficent, and source of all
Knowledge, Wisdom within and beyond our comprehension. all respects and possible tributes
goes to our Holly Profit MUHAMMAD (Swal Allaho Alaihy Wasallam),
who is forever guidance and knowledge for all human beings on this earth.

Thanks to Sir. Shakeel Ahmad, the course instructor, who has


contributed enthusiasm, support, sound advice, particularly his supportive attitude was
always a source of motivation for me. He guided me in a polite and cooperative manner at
every step.

I am also in debt to all those writers who has written such informative and thought
provoking books and other material on such sociological issues.

Imran Ahmad Sajid

ii
Table of Contents
PART-I

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................1

SOME HISTORICAL BITTER REALITIES ABOUT DISABILITY.......................1

DISABILITY: SOME BASIC CONCEPTS....................................................3

IMPAIRMENT:...........................................................................................3
DISABILITY:.............................................................................................3
HANDICAP:.............................................................................................3
CLARIFYING THE CONCEPTS: IMPAIRMENT, DISABILITY AND HANDICAP................................3

WHAT IS A MODEL?.............................................................................5

MODELS OF DISABILITY.......................................................................5

THE TRADITIONAL / MORAL / RELIGIOUS MODEL.....................................................6


THE MEDICAL MODEL..................................................................................6
IMAGE OF DISABILITY...................................................................................................... 7
SOLUTION FOR DISABILITY:................................................................................................ 7
CRITICISM:.................................................................................................................. 8
THE REHABILITATION OR EXPERT/PROFESSIONAL MODEL ............................................9
THE TRAGEDY/CHARITY MODEL.......................................................................9
IMAGE OF DISABILITY ................................................................................................. 9
CRITICISM:................................................................................................................ 10
THE ECONOMIC MODEL .............................................................................10
IMAGE OF DISABILITY.................................................................................................... 11
USAGE OF THE MODEL..................................................................................................11
PROBLEMS / CHALLENGES TO THE MODEL............................................................................11
THE SOCIAL MODEL..................................................................................12
OTHER MODELS......................................................................................16
THE SOCIAL ADAPTED MODEL.........................................................................................16
THE MARKET MODEL....................................................................................................16
THE EMPOWERMENT MODEL............................................................................................17

CONCLUSION....................................................................................17

iii
Part-I
Introduction
‘Disabilities’ is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and
participation restrictions. An ‘impairment’ is a problem in body function or structure; an
activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action;
while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in
life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between
features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives' (WHO).1

This assignment report has three parts. Part one is the introduction of disability and
also presents some bitter historical realities about disable people. Part two deals with
conceptual clarification of some basic terminologies used in the disability study. After the
clarification of the concepts, part three of the report will discuss various models of disabilities
extensively.

Some Historical Bitter Realities about Disability


In ancient Greece the philosopher, Aristotle, advised getting rid of a child if it was
imperfect. Greek law even dictated that a newborn baby was not really a child until seven
days after birth, so that an imperfect child could be disposed of with a clear conscience.

Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism, speaking of congenitally impaired children,


said: "Take the changeling child to the river and drown it."

The 19th century saw greater segregation of disabled people. The workforce had to be
more physically uniform to perform routine factory operations. Disabled people were
rejected. They were viewed as 'worthy poor', as opposed to work-shy 'unworthy poor', and
given Poor Law Relief (a place in the Workhouse or money from public funds). Disabled
people became more and more dependent on the medical profession for cures, treatments and
benefits.

In the last part of the 19th century, a growing number of scientists, writers and
politicians began to interpret Darwin's theories of evolution and natural selection for their

1
Disabilities. (2009). In the website WHO-World Health Organization. Retrieved on November 28, 2009 from
http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/

1
own ends. These 'eugenicists' believed that they could improve the quality of the human race
by selective breeding. They argued that people with impairments, particularly those born with
one (a congenital condition), would weaken the gene pool of the nation and reduce
competitiveness.

Increasingly, disabled people were shut away in single-sex institutions for life, or sterilised.
Separate special schools and day-centres were set up that denied disabled and non-disabled
people the day-to-day experience of living and growing up together.

Eugenicists (Eugenics is the Study and practice of selective breeding applied to


humans, with the aim of improving the species2)-campaigned for and won these measures
using false science. Mary Dendy, an active eugenicist campaigner in the 1890s, in Feeble
Mindedness of Children of School Age, asserted that children classified as mentally
handicapped should be:

"detained for the whole of their lives" as the only way to "stem the great evil of
feeble-mindedness in our country."

These theories became important at a time when industrialised countries, such as Germany,
France, Britain and the USA were competing to create empires. It was important to empire
builders to feel superior to other races.

An International Congress in Milan, in 1881, outlawed Sign language, as it was feared that
deaf people would outbreed hearing people.

In Germany, during Hitler's Third Reich, there was a series of propaganda films to
show how disabled people were 'useless eaters', a burden on the state, and should be sterilised
or got rid of.

140,000 physically and mentally disabled adults were murdered in 1939-40 at the hands of
the doctors.3

2
Eugenics. (2009, December 11). In the website Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:58, December
12, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eugenics&oldid=330985924
3
History of Attitude to Disable People. (Feb 06, 2008). In the website BFI-Because Films Inspire. Retrieved on
November 28, 2009 from http://www.bfi.org.uk/education/teaching/disability/thinking/

2
Part-II
Disability: Some Basic Concepts

Impairment:

Impairment is a physiological disorder or injury. In the words of Victor Finkelstein


(1980) “[impairment is] lacking part or all of a limb, or having a defective limb, organ or
mechanism of the body.”4

Disability:

A disability is an inability to execute some class of movements, or pick up sensory


information of some sort, or perform some cognitive function that typical unimpaired humans
are able to execute or pick up or perform” (John Perry, 1995). A rather more standardized
definition of disability has been given by UK Disability Discrimination Act 1996. It defines it
in the following words,

“disabled person’ is a person who has a ‘disability’. A person has a ‘disability’ if:

‘he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-
term adverse effect on her or his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’
(Section 1(2) of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), UK.)

Handicap:

Handicap is “the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by disability” (Victor


Finkelstein, 1980). Or a handicap is an inability to accomplish something one might want to
do, that most others around one are able to accomplish (John Perry, 1996).5

Clarifying the concepts: Impairment, Disability and Handicap

4
Victor Finkelstein (1980). Attitudes and Disabled People: Issues for Discussion. [Monograph No.5]. New
York: World Rehabilitation Fund, Inc. p. 3. Retrieved on November 28, 2009 from
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/finkelstein/attitudes.pdf
5
John Perry. (1996). Two Concepts of disability and handicap. In Center for the study of language and
information. Retrieved on November 28 from http://www-
csli.stanford.edu/~jperry//disabilities/batya/node2.html

3
The distinction can be made between these three concepts through the following
example. A man had a leg amputated. Therefore he is impaired, and since he would have a
reduction of his locomotive ability, he is disabled. If, however, he has a satisfactory
prosthesis, a sedentary job, a car adjusted to hand controls and leisure activities which are not
too active; he might well not be restricted in activity and therefore not handicapped (Victor
Finkelstein, 1980).

But there is a hot debate on the definition of disability. The definitions presented here
represent a specific model of disability, i.e. the medical or individual model, which has most
probably been presented by the medical practitioners. While there are other models of
disability which do not agree to this individualized definition of disability and they have
presented images of disability in a very different perspective/model. This leads us to the
debate of models of disability. The rest of this document will throw light on various models
of disability.

4
Part-III
What is a Model?
Model, perspective, and theoretical framework are
interchangeable terms. They are usually used to refer to the same thing.
A Model, more specifically, refers to a hypothetical description of a
complex entity or process.6 A model is not the real world but a human
construct to help us better understand real world systems.7 It enables us
to be directed in a systematic way. In Urdu, the word Tanazur (‫ )تناظر‬is
perfect for model or perspective. For a more simple clarification of the
concept look at the figure 1? Is the glass half fill or empty? It can be
seen in either of the ways. In one model the glass is half fill in the other Figure 1. Model: Is the Glass
Half-full or Half Empty?
model the glass is half empty.

Models of Disability
Models of Disability are tools for defining impairment and, ultimately, for providing a
basis upon which government and society can devise strategies for meeting the needs of
disabled people. They are often treated with skepticism as it is thought they do not reflect a
real world, are often incomplete and encourage narrow thinking, and seldom offer detailed
guidance for action. However, they are a useful framework in which to gain an understanding
of disability issues, and also of the perspective held by those creating and applying the
models.

Models of Disability are essentially devised by people about other people. They
provide an insight into the attitudes, conceptions and prejudices of the former and how they
impact on the latter. From this, Models reveal the ways in which our society provides or

6
Model. (n.d.). in the website Wordnet online Dictionary. Retrieved on December 12, 2009 from
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=model
7
What is a Model. (October 23, 2009). In the website Starting Point: Teaching Entry Level Geosciences.
Retrieved on December 12, 2009 from http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/models/WhatIsAModel.html

5
limits access to work, goods, services, economic influence and political power for people
with disabilities.8

The most dominant models in the disability field are Medical Model and the Social
Model. These two have been extensively discussed and debated. Here on these pages we will
present various models of disability and pay more attention to the medical and social model.
The models in this text will be presented in chronological order and not in the order of their
importance.

The Traditional / Moral / Religious Model

In this model, the attitude of the society towards disabled people was atrocious.9 This
Model views disability as a punishment inflicted upon an individual or family by an external,
usually supernatural, force. It can be due to misdemeanors committed by the disabled person,
someone in the family or community group, or forbearers. Birth conditions can be due to
actions committed in a previous reincarnation.

Sometimes the presence of "evil spirits" is used to explain differences in behavior,


especially in conditions such as schizophrenia. Acts of exorcism or sacrifice may be
performed to expel or placate the negative influence, or recourse made to persecution or even
death of the individual who is "different".10

In some cases, the disability stigmatizes a whole family, lowering their status or even
leading to total social exclusion. Or it can be interpreted as an individual’s inability to
conform within a family structure. Conversely, it can be seen as necessary affliction to be
suffered before some future spiritual reward.

The Moral/Religious model is an extreme model, which can exist in any society
where deprivation is linked to ignorance, fear and prejudice.

The Medical Model


8
Models of Disability. (n.d.). in the website Center on Disability and Human Development. University of Idaho
Moscow. Retrieved on November 27, 2009 from http://www.idahocdhd.org/DNN/LinkClick.aspx?
fileticket=l2Fbz509YAs%3D&tabid=621
9
Perspectives on Disability. (n.d.). in the website National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism,
Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities. India: Retrieved on December 12, 2009 from
http://203.129.234.217/nt/images/stories/schemes/perspective%20to%20disability.doc
10
Ibid.

6
Image of disability

The Medical Model holds that disability results from an


individual person’s physical or mental limitations, and is largely
unconnected to the social or geographical environments. It is
sometimes referred to as the Biological-Inferiority or Functional-
Limitation Model.
Figure 2:Medical Model

This model is illustrated by the World Health Organization’s definitions, which were
largely devised by doctors:

• Impairment: any loss or abnormality of psychological or anatomical structure


or function.

• Disability: any restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to


perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a
human being.

• Handicap: any disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from impairment


or a disability that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal for
that individual." (from WHO Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and
Handicaps, 1980).

From this, it is easy to see how people with disabilities might become stigmatized as
"lacking" or "abnormal".

Solution for disability:

The Medical Model places the source of the problem within a single impaired person,
and concludes that solutions are found by focusing on the individual. A more sophisticated
form of the model allows for economic factors, and recognizes that a poor economic climate
will adversely affect a disabled person’s work opportunities. Even so, it still seeks a solution
within the individual by helping him or her overcome personal impairment to cope with a
faltering labor market.

In simplest terms, the Medical Model assumes that the first step solution is to find a
cure or, to use WHO terminology, to make disabled people more "normal". This invariably
fails because many disabled people are not necessarily sick or cannot be improved by

7
remedial treatment. The only remaining solution is to accept the "abnormality" and provide
the necessary care to support the "incurable" impaired person. Policy makers are limited to a
range of options based upon a program of rehabilitation, vocational training for employment,
income maintenance programs and the provision of aids and equipment.

Figure 3: Medical/Individual Model of Disability

Criticism:

This Functional-Limitation (Medical) model has dominated the formulation of


disability policy for years. Although its therapeutic aspects can not be rejected out-of-hand,
which may cure or alleviate the physical and mental condition of many disabled people, it
does not offer a realistic perspective from the viewpoint of disabled people themselves. To
begin with, most would reject the concept of being "abnormal".

Also, the model imposes a paternalistic approach to problem solving which, although
well intentioned, concentrates on "care" and ultimately provides justification for
institutionalization and segregation. This restricts disabled people’s opportunities to make
choices, control their lives and develop their potential.

8
Finally, the Model fosters existing prejudices in the minds of employers. Because the
conditional is "medical", a disabled person will ipso facto be prone to ill health and sick
leave, is likely to deteriorate, and will be less productive than work colleagues.

The Rehabilitation or Expert/Professional Model

The Rehabilitation Model has provided a traditional response to disability issues and
can be seen as an offshoot of the Medical Model. Within its framework, professionals follow
a process of identifying the impairment and its limitations (using the Medical Model), and
taking the necessary action to improve the position of the disabled person. This has tended to
produce a system in which an authoritarian, over-active service provider prescribes and acts
for a passive client.

This relationship has been described as that of fixer (the professional) and fixee (the
client), and clearly contains an inequality that limits collaboration. Although a professional
may be caring, the imposition of solutions can be less than benevolent. If the decisions are
made by the "expert", the client has no choice and is unable to exercise the basic human right
of freedom over his or her own actions. In the extreme, it undermines the client’s dignity by
removing the ability to participate in the simplest, everyday decisions affecting his or her life
(e.g. where they should live, what activities they should do, when underwear needs to be
changed or how vegetables are to be cooked etc).

The Tragedy/Charity Model

Image of Disability

The Tragedy/Charity Model depicts disabled people as victims of circumstance,


deserving of pity. This and the Medical Model are probably the ones most used by non-
disabled people to define and explain disability.

Traditionally used by charities in the competitive


business of fund-raising, the application of the
Tragedy/Charity Model is graphically illustrated in the
Children in Need appeals in which disabled children are

Figure 4: Source:
http://iampakistan.files.wordpress.com/
2009/02/1100571314-1.jpg
depicted alongside young "victims" of famine, poverty, child abuse and other circumstances.
Whilst such appeals raise considerable funds for services and equipment which are not
provided by the state, many disabled people find the negative victim-image thoroughly
offensive. In fact Children in Need has been described as "televisual garbage … oppressive to
disabled people". Some go as far as interpreting the tragic portrayal as a means of
maintaining a flow of donations and keeping able-bodied people in work.

Criticism:

The Tragedy/Charity Model is condemned by its critics as disempowering, and the


cause of much discrimination. Speaking on the BBC Nabil Shaban (a disable) said: "The
biggest problem that we, the disabled have is that you, the non-disabled, are only
comfortable when you see us as icons of pity." Because disabled people are seen as tragic
victims, it follows that they need care, are not capable of looking after themselves or
managing their own affairs, and need charity in order to survive.

From tragedy and pity stems a culture "care". Although highly praiseworthy in many
respects, it carries certain dangers. Numerous charities exist in the world to support and care
for people with a particular type of disability, thereby medically classifying, segregating and
often – as with the Medical Model – institutionalizing many disabled people.

The idea of being recipients of charity lowers the self-esteem of people with
disabilities. In the eyes of "pitying" donors, charitable giving carries with it an expectation of
gratitude and a set of terms imposed upon the beneficiary. The first is patronizing; the second
limits the choices open to disabled people. Also, employers will view disabled people as
charitable cases. Rather than address the real issues of creating a workplace conducive to the
employment of people with disabilities, employers may conclude that making charitable
donations meets their social and economic obligations to creating a fair and accessible
society; while, in fact it has just the opposite effect.11

The Economic Model12


11
Models of Disability. (n.d.). in the website Center on Disability and Human Development. University of Idaho
Moscow. Retrieved on November 27, 2009 from http://www.idahocdhd.org/DNN/LinkClick.aspx?
fileticket=l2Fbz509YAs%3D&tabid=621
12
Disability. (2009, December 10). In the website Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:33,
December 12, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Disability&oldid=330917485

10
It is very technical model of disability. It requires proper attention to understand this
model.

Image of Disability

Under this Model, disability is defined by a person’s inability to participate in work.


It also assesses the degree to which impairment affects an
individual’s productivity and the economic consequences for
the individual, employer and the state. Such consequences
include loss of earnings for and payment for assistance by
the individual; lower profit margins for the employer; and
state welfare payments. This model is directly related to the
Charity/Tragedy model.
Figure 5:
http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00746/ima
Usage of the Model ges/Index1.jpg

The Economic Model is used primarily by policy makers to assess distribution of


benefits to those who are unable to participate fully in work.

Problems / Challenges to the Model

The challenge facing the Economic Model is how to justify and support, in purely
economic terms, a socially desirable policy of increasing participation in employment.
Classical economic laws of supply and demand stipulate that an increase in the labor market
results in decreased wages. Arguably, extending access to work through equal opportunities
reduces an employer’s labor costs, but other factors come into play.

The value of labor is based upon its contribution to marginal cost, i.e. the cost of producing
the last unit of production. This only works when employees make an equal contribution to
marginal cost. However, evidence suggests that disabled employees make a lower
contribution than their work colleagues do, resulting in losses in production and lower profits
for the employer.

Employers may recognize compensations for any loss in employing less-productive


disabled employees through kudos, publicity, customer alignment and expansion arising from
their presentations as an organization with community values. However, employers are not
generally altruistic and hold the economic viability and operational effectiveness of their

11
organization as higher priorities than demonstrating social awareness. Their economic option
is to pay disabled employees less or have the losses met through subsidy.

The problem for the users of Economic Model is one of choice. Which is better: to
pay the disabled employee for loss of earnings, or the employer for loss of productivity? The
first carries stigma for the disabled person by underlining their inability to match the
performance of work colleagues. With the latter, difficulties arise in correctly assessing the
correct level of subsidy. The productivity of a disabled employee may well change, as well as
the marginal costs of the total workforce.

This leaves one outstanding difficulty for the socially minded economist. How do we
achieve an equitable, effective, value-for-money distribution of disability related benefits? It
is likely that there will be people with disabilities that prevent them from doing working.
There will be others whose productivity levels are so low that the tax benefits to the public
purse are outweighed by the employment subsidy. In economic terms, these people are
unemployable and should be removed from employment to supplementary benefits, saving
the expenditure on the subsidy. But is this socially acceptable? This apparent conflict has
created ambiguity in agreeing social security goals and has led to stigmatization of disabled
people as a burden on public funds rather than partners in the creation of general social
prosperity.

Social security benefits are not designed to remove disabled people from poverty. The
policy maker needs to balance equity (the right of the individual to self-fulfillment and social
participation through work) and efficiency. The true value of the Economic Model is
maintaining this balance in the macroeconomic context of trade cycles, inflation,
globalization and extraordinary events such as wars.

The Social Model

The social model of disability proposes that systemic barriers, negative attitudes and
exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) are the ultimate factors defining who is
disabled and who is not in a particular society.13 Central to this model

13
Social model of disability. (2009, December 7). In the website Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved
18:40, December 12, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?
title=Social_model_of_disability&oldid=330322904

12

Figure 6: Social Model


is the belief that individuals with disabilities have a right to access, belong to, contribute to,
and to be valued in their local community. 14 This model focuses on the strengths, abilities,
and experiences of people with disabilities. Supporting individuals with disabilities in this
model does not mean helping them to become “normal,” but instead focuses on tackling the
social or physical barriers the individual faces in daily living.

In contrast to the medical and charity models of disability, the social model is based
on knowledge of the experiences, views, and practices of people with disabilities. The model
understands individuals with disabilities as experts on their own lives and as experts on
disability; it does not necessarily see difference as problematic or necessarily negative.

From the perspective of the social model, people with disabilities have faced
prejudice and discrimination. Therefore, many who subscribe to this orientation believe that
attention should be paid to restructuring society, not treating the individual.

The Social Model views disability as a consequence of environmental, social and


attitudinal barriers that prevent people with impairments from maximum participation in
society. It is best summarized in the definition of disability from the Disabled Peoples’
International:

"the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the
community on an equal level with others, due to physical or social
barriers."

The Social Model is also, sometimes, referred to as the Minority-Group Model of


Disability. This argues from a socio-political viewpoint that disability stems from the failure
of society to adjust to meet the needs and aspirations of a disabled minority. This presents a
radically different perspective on disability issues and parallels the doctrine of those
concerned with racial equality that "racism is a problem of whites from which blacks suffer."
If the problem lies with society and the environment, then society and environment must
change. If a wheelchair user cannot use a bus, the bus must be redesigned.

To support the argument, short-sighted people living in the U.S. or the UK are not
classified as disabled. Eye-tests and visual aids – which are either affordable or freely
available – means that this impairment does not prevent them participating fully in the life of

14
Models of Disability. (n.d.). Opt. Cit.

13
the community. If, however, they live in Pakistan or India with no such eye-care available
they are severely disabled. The inability to read and subsequently learn and gather
information would be counted as a severe impairment in any society.15

This Model implies that the removal of attitudinal, physical and institutional barriers
will improve the lives of disabled people, giving them the same opportunities as others on an
equitable basis. Taken to its logical conclusion, there would be no disability within a fully
developed society.

The strength of this Model lies in its placing the onus upon society and not the
individual. At the same time it focuses on the needs of the individual whereas the Medical
Model uses diagnoses to produce categories of disability, and assumes that people with the
same impairment have identical needs and abilities.

The Social Model faces two challenges. Firstly, as the population gets older the
numbers of people with impairments will rise and making it harder for society to adjust.
Secondly, its concepts can be difficult to understand, particularly by dedicated professionals
in the fields of charities and rehabilitation. These have to be persuaded that their role must
change from that of "cure or care" to a less obtrusive one of helping disabled people take
control of their own lives.

15
Ibid.

14
Figure 7: Social Model of Disability

The Social Model’s limitations arise from its failure to emphasize certain aspects of
disability. Jenny Morris adds a feminist dimension. "While environmental barriers and social
attitudes are a crucial part of our experience of disability – and do indeed disable us – to
suggest that this is all there is, is to deny the personal experience of physical and intellectual
restrictions, of illness of the fear of dying" (Morris, Pride against Prejudice, 1991). In other
words, there are many competing elements of oppression and discrimination that create
interactions and effects that can’t be wholly accounted for by the Social Model. For example,
black disabled people face problems of both racial and disability discrimination within a
system of service provision designed by white able-bodied people for white disabled people.

15
Other Models

The Social Adapted Model

This is a new model, built upon the Social Model, but incorporating elements of the
Medical Model. It accepts that impairments, be they biological, functional, cognitive or
otherwise, are significant factors in defining the overall phenomenon of disability, but
stipulates that more disabling problems are created by social and environmental causes. Not
all problems of impairment can currently be addressed, but if we recognize our environment
as discriminatory we can do much to change through socio-political means.

Unlike the Social Model, the Social Adapted Model recognizes that the inability of
some disabled people to adapt to the demands of society may be a contributory factor to their
condition. However, it still maintains that disability stems primarily from a social and
environmental failure to account for the needs of disabled citizens. The advantage of this
Model is that it does not concentrate on individuals’ limitations, but takes account of peoples’
capabilities and potential.

The Market Model

The market model of disability is a new model that builds on the social model in
recognizing people with disabilities and their Stakeholders represent a large group of
consumers, employees and voters. This model looks to personal identity to define disability
and empowers people to chart their own destiny in everyday life, with a particular focus on
economic empowerment. This model makes no judgements about ability, focusing on
tangible and measurable results. Its mantra is 'results, at all levels, create value'. By this
model, based on US Census data, there are 1.2 billion people in the world who consider
themselves to have a disability. An additional two billion people are considered Stakeholders
in disability (family/friends/employers), and when combined to the number of people without
disabilities, represents 53% of the population. This model states that, due to the size of the
demographic, companies and governments will serve the desires, pushed by demand as the
message becomes prevalent in the cultural mainstream. 16

16
Disability. (2009, December 10). Opt. Cit.

16
The Empowerment Model

The empowering model allows for the person with a disability and his/her family to
decide the course of their treatment and what services they wish to benefit from. This, in turn,
turns the professional into a service provider whose role is to offer guidance and carry out the
client’s decisions. In other words, this model “empowers” the individual to pursue his/her
own goals.[3]

Conclusion
Models of Disability are tools for defining impairment and, ultimately, for providing a
basis upon which government and society can devise strategies for meeting the needs of
disabled people. They are often treated with skepticism as it is thought they do not reflect a
real world, are often incomplete and encourage narrow thinking, and seldom offer detailed
guidance for action. However, they are a useful framework in which to gain an understanding
of disability issues, and also of the perspective held by those creating and applying the
models.

The moral/religious/traditional model still prevails in most parts of every society. The
medical and social model are the most extensively debated models of disability. The
Economic Model is used primarily by policy makers to assess distribution of benefits to those
who are unable to participate fully in work. No matter what model we use for defining
disability the question is the adaptation of these people into the society.

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References
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