The medical and social models suggest (although they do not imply)different views about the impact of disability on well-being, anddifferent views about how disability is relevant to reproductivedecisions, medical interventions, and social policy. Those who accepta social model of disability regard the association between disabilityand well-being as highly contingent, mediated by a variety ofenvironmental and social factors. They question conceptions ofwell-being that give a central role to the possession or exercise ofthe standard array of physical and mental functions, as thoseconceptions imply, or are often taken to imply, that well-being isprecluded or diminished merely by the absence or limitation of thosefunctions. [see SEP entry (forthcoming) on “Disability: Health,Well-Being, and Personal Relationships”] As a result, theygenerally see the disadvantages of disability not only as externallycaused, but as less formidable than they appear to people who viewdisability in largely biomedical terms. These differences arereflected in the conflicting assessments of life with disabilitiesfound in the bioethics and public policy literature on the one hand,and disability scholarship on the other (contrast Brock, 2005 withGoering, 2008).
Although it is subject to dispute and qualification, the distinctionbetween biological impairment and social limitation is relevant tomany normative and policy issues, especially those concerning thechoice between measures that modify the disabled individual or alterhis environment. In this section, we consider the role of thatdistinction in addressing the critical question of how the experiencesof people with disabilities are relevant to those issues. Thedisability rights movement has long complained that the perspectivesof people with disabilities are too often ignored or discounted. Theslogan that served as the title for James Charlton's 1998 book,Nothing About Us Without Us (Charlton, 1998; Stone, 1997) hasoften been invoked to demand the inclusion of people with disabilitiesin policy making and research concerning disability. The slogansuggests that they have both a unique perspective to bring to thoseactivities and a right to take part in them. But what is the“us” to whom the slogan refers? Do persons with differentdisabling traits have enough in common to claim that there is a“disability perspective” to bring to bear on policy andresearch?
To understand the differences and similarities between handicapped athletes and their non-handicap peers is the first step in creating a program that best meets the child's needs.
Although the three authors wrote different pieces, all three essays demonstrate the frustrations, struggles, contemplations, and triumphs from a disabled person’s point of view and are aimed at a reader with no physical disability...
In a world where individuals are all expected to be social, people with AS/HFA are seen as disabled. The implication is that if environmental expectations change, or in a different environment, they may not necessarily be seen as disabled. As we have known in relation to other conditions, concepts of disability and handicap are relative to particular environments, both cultural and biological . It may be time to extend this way of thinking to the field of AS/HFA. We could imagine, for example, people with AS/HFA might not necessarily be disabled in an environment in which they can exert greater control of events. The social world is very hard to control, whilst the technological world of machines is in principle highly controllable. Equally, people with AS/HFA might not necessarily be disabled in an environment in which an exact mind, attracted to detecting small details, is an advantage. In the social world there is no great benefit to such a precise eye for detail, but in the world of maths, computing, cataloguing, music, linguistics, craft, engineering or science, such an eye for detail can lead to success rather than disability. In the world of business, for example, a mathematical bent for estimating risk and profit, together with a relative lack of concern for the emotional states of one's employees or rivals, can mean unbounded opportunities.
These two versions of the social model are not incompatible, differingmainly in emphasis. The discrimination stressed by the minority groupmodel generally leads to, and is expressed in, the societal failure toaccommodate people with various differences. In some contexts, it isappropriate to analogize people with disabilities to racialminorities; in others, it is important to reject a dichotomy betweendisability and normality and treat impairments as continuousvariations. If one goal of social policy is to remove discriminationand its enduring disadvantages, another is to encompass the full rangeof human variation in the design of the physical environment andsocial practices.
The advantage of both of these models is that individuals with AS/HFA are understood in terms of an underlying dimension, and that this dimension blends seamlessly with normality, so that we are all situated somewhere on the same continuum. Most importantly, to reiterate, one's position on the continuum is said to reflect a different cognitive style . Dimensional models also do not require a line to be drawn between ability and disability. Finally, they avoid the notion that individuals with AS/HFA are in some sense qualitatively different from those without AS/HFA. Such a notion is increasingly hard to defend in the light of intermediate cases. These are easier to accommodate in terms of quantitative variation.
You need to understand the difference between genetic disabilities (apparent from birth, like some eye conditions, Cerebral Palsy, Spina bifida, and Down's syndrome), acquired disabilities (those that can occur at any time in a person's life, like AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and injuries causing paralysis), and developmental disabilities (those affecting learning, such as Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder).
These different understandings of the relationship of impairment tolimitation inform two contrasting approaches to disability, oftendescribed as opposing models: the medical and social. The medicalmodel understands a disability as a physical or mental impairmentof the individual and its personal and social consequences. It regardsthe limitations faced by people with disabilities as resultingprimarily, or solely, from their impairments. In contrast, thesocial model understands disability as a relation between anindividual and her social environment: the exclusion of people withcertain physical and mental characteristics from major domains ofsocial life. Their exclusion is manifested not only in deliberatesegregation, but in a built environment and organized social activitythat preclude or restrict the participation of people seen or labelledas having disabilities.