The Social Model of disability

The Social Model of Disability states that people with impairments are ‘disabled’ by barriers in society that exclude and discriminate against them.

From a Social Model perspective, there is a radical difference between impairment and disability:

Image heading: The Social Model of Disability. A circle with a map of the world contains the text: The problem is the disabling world. Arrows point outwards from the circle to the barriers put in the way of people with impairments. The Barriers are:  Badly design buildings.  Stairs not ramps.  No lifts.  Special schools.  Few sign language interpreters.  Discrimination.  Inaccessible transport.  No parking places.  Isolated families.  Poor job prospects. A text box at the bottom reads: The Social Model of Disability states that the oppression and exclusion people with impairments face is caused by the way society is run and managed.
  • Impairment is an individual’s physical, sensory or cognitive difference (for example, being blind, living with chronic pain, experiencing bipolar, having M.S. or a learning difficulty).
  • Disability is the name for the social consequences of having an impairment. People with impairments are disabled by society. Disability is a social construct that can be changed.
Image heading: The social model and the Labour Party. Diagram shows a red circle with the Party logo inside. Text in the circle reads: the problems are Party rules, norms and perceptions. Around the outside of the circle are arrows pointing to the issues faced by disabled members in the Party. The issues surround the circle. They are grouped as follows:  Rules include: systems, structures, processes, strategies, services, and communication.  Perceptions include: assumptions, discrimination, attitudes, disbelief, harassment, stereotyping, prejudice and apathy.  Norms include: venues, transport, language, immediacy, the outside, the unknown. At the bottom is a text box that reads: using the Social Model of Disability we see the exclusion disabled members face is caused by the way the Party is run and organised.

We’ve taken the Social Model of Disability and applied it to the Labour Party. We have started to identify what the Party has to change in order to become inclusive of disabled people.

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