General Article About Disability

Topic Selected: Disabilities Book Volume: 393

The social model of disability

We encourage the use of the social model as a way of understanding disability. It says that disability is created by barriers in society.

The barriers generally fall into 3 categories: 

  • the environment – including inaccessible buildings and services 
  • people’s attitudes – stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice 
  • organisations – inflexible policies, practices and procedures

The issue is the ‘disabling environment’ and the negative attitudes towards disability.

Disability is caused by an unaccommodating environment, negative attitudes and organisational structures:

  • Inaccessible transport
  • Poorly designed buildings
  • Segregated services
  • Stereotyping
  • Lack of understanding
  • Too few sign language interpreters

Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

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