The Social Model of Disability


A social model of disability is defined as an entity that provides a perception or an ideology concerning the cause and the relationship between a disability and the society.  It focuses on the extent that people with disabilities are influenced by the society and the barriers they are likely to encounter within the society they live.

 General description of social model of disability

Disabled people started the social model because the traditional medical model failed to explain their personal experience of disability or provide inclusive ways of living. The social model of disability outlines that a disability emanates from the organization of society but not the impairment within an individual.  The model seeks to eliminate the challenges or barriers that may affect life choices for disabled people.  The elimination of the obstacles creates chances for the disabled people to participate as independent and equal beings in the society. They can take facilitate their lives and make choices in the various aspects of the life.

How it underpins positive attitudes towards disability

The social model of disability underpins positive attitudes towards disability by empowering people with disability by improving their quality of life. It helps the people with disability to understand that the problems they encounter in their life does not emanate from their disabilities but originate from the societies they live (Oliver, 31).  The model carries the implication that physical, communication, attitudinal and social environment must change to help people with different impairments to participate in society on an equal entity with others. In addition, the model seeks to change society to accommodate people living with impairments and support the ideology that people with disability have the right to participate in societal activities like any other citizen.


From the above description, one can conclude that the social model of disability poses a significant influence on the attitudes of the society to the people with disability.  It does not deny the reality of impairment nor its impact on the individual. Therefore, medical practitioners should make appropriate use of the social model of disability to promote positive attitudes within a society.