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Promoting equality for disabled people

The Social Model of Disability

We believe that to achieve equality for disabled people then we must view disability through the social model.

The Social Model of Disability, developed over the last 40 years by disabled people, is a radically different Model to the Medical and Charitable approach to disability. It holds that people with impairments are 'disabled' by the barriers operating in society that exclude and discriminate against them.

The Social Model not only identifies society as the cause of disability but, equally importantly, it provides a way of explaining how society goes about disabling people with impairments.This is sometimes referred to as a "barriers-approach".

"The Social Model frames disability as something that is socially constructed. Disability is created by physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers and these can be changed and eliminated. This gives us a dynamic and positive model that tells us what the problem is and how to fix it. It takes us away from the position of "blaming" the individual for their shortcoming. It states that impairment is, and always will be, present in every known society, and therefore the only logical position to take, is to plan and organise society in a way that includes, rather than excludes, Disabled people." - Barbara Lisicki, 2013

Page last updated:
20 Apr 2023

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