The way people think and talk about disability has changed a lot over time. A very outdated way of thinking is responsible for a limited view of disability, which has had a lot of negative impact on the lives of people with disabilities.
So what is disability? This timeline shows you a brief history of disability theories and updates you on some current ideas.
Medical Model of Disability
People with disability were understood as lesser humans
The Start of Fairer Times
Disability Rights Movement
Created major positive change across the world and paved the way for the Social Model of Disability. This movement still fights for equal rights for people with disability today.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) was an act passed by the Parliament of Australia in 1992. The DDA protects individuals across Australia from unfair treatment in many parts of public life. The Act makes disability discrimination unlawful and promotes equal rights, equal opportunity and equal access for people with disabilities.
My Choice Matters:
NSW Consumer Development Fund
Established by the NSW Government to help people with disability live life their way.
NDIS: The National Disability Insurance Scheme
A new disability support system for Australia, designed to give people with disability a greater choice and control over the support they receive, providing eligible individuals with funding based on their personal needs and lifelong goals and aspirations.
Social Model of Disability
This model sees disability as the relationship between a person’s medical condition and the restrictive environments that they find themselves in.This theory supports the idea that the environment is the issue that needs to be “fixed” rather than the person’s condition. It doesn’t reject the real need for support in managing conditions but shifts the way we think, so everyone adapts to make things fairer.
The Social Model of Disability is the result of over 30 years of activism by the Disability Rights Movement. This movement continues to advocate for equity for people with disability across the world.
This way of thinking has resulted in the community seeing disability as:
- Barriers that stop people with different abilities from participating in society.
- A community responsibility to create a society that strives to include everyone.
Medical Model of Disability
This theory saw disability as something that needed to be “fixed” with medical intervention. This outdated way of thinking has caused community to see disability as:
- a shortcoming, a negative life and a situation where only experts can help.
Now that you have a more up-to-date understanding of the history and theories relating to disability, why don’t you check out some of the practical Inclusive Action tips that have been suggested by families and Early Connections staff.
Let’s remove disability barriers!