As it has come up in the Welfare Reform Bill debate, and people are asking, here is a quick starter on models of disability.
The Medical Model of Disability
This is the classical view of disability, disabled people are broken and need to be fixed. Most of society and a lot of doctors still stick to this model.
The Social Model of Disability
This is a model created by disabled people themselves, and is very popular with disabled people. It says that the problems we face largely result from the failure of society to adapt to our needs and treat us as equals. We aren’t broken, we don’t need fixing, we’re just people like anyone else. Adapting to our needs can mean everything from replacing steps with a ramp, to acknowledging that mental illness does not make people an axe-murderer and that it is not better to be dead than use a wheelchair, to recognising that someone may need a different pattern of work to accommodate their disability. It really just comes down to treating disabled people as equals,
The Bio-Psycho-Social Model of Disability
The Bio-Psycho-Social Model is a perversion of the Social Model, intended to allow organisations such as large insurers and governments to limit support to people with long term disabilities. It pretends to adopt the Social Model, but then claims that because it acknowledges the need for ramps and so forth, any remaining disability is solely due to the disabled person failing to work hard enough at adapting to their disability, and that therefore they don’t deserve support. So I’ll just wish all my dodgy connective tissue to start working properly, my DNA to magically rewrite itself and ignore the fact that, even through Class 1 opiates, it frequently feels like I have burns across significant parts of my body.
The Bio-Psycho-Social Model of Disability was created by academics at the
sponsored by Unum, an American insurance multi-national that was branded ‘an outlaw company’ and subject to huge class action losses for running ‘disability denial factories’. Guess which American insurance multi-national advises the Department of Work and Pensions on disability benefit policy. University of Cardiff