Strategies for Change

Social Model of Disability

In this weeks SFC session we explored the medical, charity and social model of disability and it effects that it has of disabled people. Some of the comments from participants included;

“The medical model makes me so angry”. “The HSE forces us to use the medical model to get the equipment we need to enable us to live our lives”

The charity model of disability was then explored. For those that don’t know what this is – again created by non-disabled people, this depicts us as again tragic and again pitiful and is used to use and exploit us to fundraise. Again disability is seen as the problem of the body and good non-disabled people should pity us and give disability services/organisations (run by non-disabled people) monies to “service us”). The impact of this model as told by participants include:


“our impairments have to be cured”

“victims of our impairments”

Other comments – “you poor pet” – we might be “lucky” and get a pat on the head, we can’t take part in “normal” everyday things and of course we “cannot learn” so we cannot work.

“The medical model is like being in a Straight jacket”

As quoted by Peter Kearns

“the key to unlocking this process of transformation of disabling barriers lies in the knowledge & life experience of disabled activists working from the social model. This is why WE are experts of the ’Lived-Experience’ and need to take the lead as Disabled-Activists at all stages of Transformation of disabling Societal oppression”.

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