Medical Model. Essay

1410 words - 6 pages

People with disabilities have been portrayed as abnormal, deserving of pity and not as individuals who are entitled to enjoy the same opportunities to live a full and satisfying life as other members of society. This approach has also been accompanied by a way of thinking about disability (known as the 'medical model' of disability, among other names) which has been described in the following terms:"Disability tends to be couched within a medical and welfare framework, identifying people with disabilities as ill, different from their non-disabled peers, and in need of care. Because the emphasis is on the medical needs of people with disabilities, there is a corresponding neglect of their wider social needs. This has resulted in severe isolation for people with disabilities and their families."Finkelstein (1991) regrets the wide acceptance of the medical model, but views it as a component of a broader model of which he defines as the 'social death' model of disability. He critiques the work of Miller and Gwynne (1972) for adopting: 'the simplistic assumption that to be permanently disabled means that the individual is intrinsically non-equal to their peers (i.e. without help, a no-being)' (p. 26).Brisenden (1986) also opposes the medical model and argues that the emphasis on clinical diagnosis proceedes to a 'partial and inhibiting view of the disabled individual, (p. 173). He says that this model ignores the fact that frequent hospitalization and medical treatment are in itself disabling factors about being disabled. He further suggests that the individual should be allowed to determine how a specific medical suugestion fits into the overall medical economy of their life (2000,p. 25).In recent years, however, this approach has been superseded by a broader understanding of disability, referred to as the 'social model'. This analysis recognises that the circumstances of people with disabilities and the discrimination they face are socially created phenomena and have little to do with the impairments of people with disabilities.According to the medical model, which is primarily expressed through the World Health Organisations's definition, the individual Disabled person is seen as the problem.This model views the body as sick or defective and as being in need of a cure. It believes Disabled people are sometimes physically unable to do those everyday activities that non-disabled people can take for granted because of their bodies. For example, it is seen as better - or more "normal" - for a person to be able to stand and walk, even if slowly and with difficulty, than to get around more quickly and comfortably using a wheelchair.The problem with the medical model is that it only highlights some of the things which dis-able a person and puts all the emphasis on the individual.Organisations who use the medical model of disability believe the solution to these problems is to be able to offer individual medical aids or operations which would enable the...

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