Adapting the Social Model By Kiersi Coleman

We are different from our able-bodied counterparts because most people still do not understand or accept the social model of disability and instead support the medical model. The medical model depends on the notion that our disabilities need a cure or can be cured and we will then live a happy life. The social model is based on the idea that we can adapt our society to meet the needs of those with disabilities, which will lead to many having a higher quality of life.

Some able-bodied people also do not expect us to live an enjoyable and fulfilling life. For example, many are surprised when we go out in public or see us out late at night. It also seems they do not expect us to have personal relationship or families. Able-bodied people often expect us to be eternally childlike and angelic. I have noticed that many people with disability awareness give someone with a disability a gold star for getting up in morning. I recently posted a blog entry titled, “Disability awareness cannot be achieved by wearing a color. Awareness is achieved by including people in a community and not making them feel marginalized or patronized.”

I believe part of adapting to the social model is for everyone to treat people with disabilities how they want to be treated. However, for those who do not experience disability, it may be natural for them to project how they would feel if they suddenly lost their current abilities. The concepts presented in this blog have been hard for me to swallow, but represent my experience and the experience of my friends with disabilities.


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