Compare And Contrast The Medical Model Of Disability

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This essay will provide a comparative analysis of two different theoretical approaches to disability. These approaches include the medical model of disability and the social model of disability. Disability is a socially constructed concept that can be viewed from either a medical or social perspective. These models will be further discussed by comparing the deficits and merits of each model and how these models are interpreted. To understand these models further, various theories will be applied to uncover cultural understandings of ‘disability’. Social policies around ‘disability’ will also be explored using the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a policy framework and how these frameworks create implications within practice.…show more content…
These social factors prevent adequate participation and contribute to the experiences of people with disabilities (Smith 2001). Strengths of the medical model include a long history of disability research to develop knowledge and understanding of disabilities, where many successful treatments have been developed because of this research. Disability activists argue that this emphasis on a person’s biomedical condition is dehumanising as the medical condition is given primary consideration (Dirth & Branscombe 2017). A limitation of the medical model is its focus on individualising, which leads to stereotyping and defining people by a condition or limitations, causing social degradation. Another limitation includes imposing a paternalistic approach to problem-solving, while this has good intentions, it concentrates on a culture of care and therefore provides justification in institutionalisation and segregation. A limitation of the medical model is the thinking and language used perpetuates a notion of fixing. Haller et al. (2006) argue that ‘language has always had the power to define cultural groups’ (p. 61). The medical model is regarded as an inaccurate interpretation of disability forming the basis of oppressive and exploitative relationship between disabled and non-disabled people (Smith 2001). This proposes that the medical model insufficient to achieve equitable outcomes and achieve inclusion for people with disabilities (Dirth et al.

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