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Social & Medical Models of Disability | Integration is not Inclusion | FAQs | Article 24 of UN Convention | Salamanca Statement | News Archive | Inclusion is the Future

The Medical Model


"Disabled People are Sick"

The medical model judges our quality of life before we are even born, when it is assumed that a significant impairment would make our lives not worth living. If the impairment is not diagnosed until after our birth the news is usually met by a desperate attempt to find a label to hang round our necks. This is in order to find the right specialist to treat us.

Impairment is the focus of attention

The mistake is made of thinking that a person's needs are as a direct result of their impairment. Everything is done to help the person by trying to make them more "normal", believing that this alone will lead to a better quality of life.

"The glass is half empty"

People with impairments are usually sent to the specialist rather than the specialist coming to them. This has led to widespread segregation and the imposition of an alternative lifestyle. For children with impairments this can take them away from their families and communities. It often replaces peer relationships with child/adult relationships, cutting young people off from their own cultures.

Assessment centres
Special playgroups
Special schools
Respite care centres
Adult training centres
Day centres
Special transport
Special clubs
Sheltered workshops
Group homes
Youth detention centres
Special hospitals
Nursing homes
Prisons, etc
Means tested benefits
Provider-led services

The result of this is that people with impairments become trapped and are forced to lead very shrunken lives. This is what disables us.

As the disabled person is seen as the problem, the rest of the world learns to ignore their role in perpetuating this situation. Some have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

The World Remains Unchanged

Read more about ALLFIE and our seven principles of inclusive education, join us, or donate to support our work in removing barriers to equal education.

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