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Disability and imperfection through the medical model of disability

This has led me to think again about the relationship between the two. The Medical Model of Disability Disabilities have traditionally been described with reference to medical conditions that they were seen to arise from. This has been highly influential, over the last 30 years, in shaping policy, practice and attitudes to disabled people. The social model stemmed from the publication of Fundamental Principles of Disability in 1976.

Disability is the product of the physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers present within society.

  • Geneva, WHO, Searchable online versions available at;
  • Accessibility, given this re-definition, is the ability of the learning environment to adjust to the needs of all learners;
  • The construct of special needs fits the medical model in two ways; it suggests that disabled people need help and that said help necessitates specialist support;
  • This facilitates a pragmatic application of WCAG 2;
  • This design can be said to be accessible if it facilitates full interaction by all users irrespective of assistive technologies or access approaches that may be adopted by some.

The social model takes account of disabled people as part of the economic, environmental and cultural society. The WHO revised its definitions of disability, in part as a response to this social model, and from the realisation that the medical model was of very limited use in defining effective responses in meeting the needs of disabled people.

In the ICF disability is described as: Building on the social model the IMS Global Learning Consortium, introducing its work developing technical standards for accessibility in e-learning, offered a more education specific definition of both disability and accessibility [4]: It is therefore not a personal trait but an artifact of the relationship between the learner and the learning environment or education delivery. Accessibility, given this re-definition, is the ability of the learning environment to adjust to the needs of all learners.

Accessibility is determined by the flexibility of the education environment with respect to presentation, control methods, access modality, and learner supports and the availability of adequate alternative-but-equivalent content and activities. The needs and preferences of a user may arise from the context or environment the user is in, the tools available e. Accessible systems adjust the user interface of the learning environment, locate needed resources and adjust the properties of the resources to match the needs and preferences of the user.

For an example see Torn Shakespeare and Nicholas Watson 2001 [5]. They argue instead for an Embodied Ontology: Functional Models of Disability The term accessibility is widely used in the context of web design.

The W3C describes web accessibility thus: Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.

What is important in the design of web-based applications or content is how the diversity of users access the computer. This design can be said to be accessible if it facilitates full interaction by all users irrespective of assistive technologies or access approaches that may be adopted by some. These functional profiles could be generated by disabled people themselves, possibly with the help of advisors, inputting their specific access approaches and requirements to a web-form.

Such profiles have great potential in personalisation approaches to accessibility and in analytics based approaches to identifying accessibility issuesas discussed elsewhere in this blog.

These are targeted at web developers and cover what is normally referred to as technical accessibility. The development of web assets or applications is a process.

  • Medical model of disability The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised;
  • The social model has had widespread influence;
  • These functional profiles could be generated by disabled people themselves, possibly with the help of advisors, inputting their specific access approaches and requirements to a web-form;
  • Even Work Capability Assessments the assessment for disability and sickness benefits in the UK is tested by an assessment of the things your body can and cannot do.

Accessibility considerations need to be built into the everyday practices across the web product life-cycle from conception and specification through development to delivery and maintenance. This facilitates a pragmatic application of WCAG 2. The social model has had widespread influence. References All web-links checked 10 October 2012 [1] World Health Organization, 1980 International classification of impairments, disabilities, and handicaps.

Models of disability and their relation to accessibility

A manual of classification relating to the consequences of disease. Geneva, WHO, Searchable online versions available at: Barnartt and Barbara M. Exploring Theories and Expanding Methodologies:

  1. The charity model encourages non-disabled people to work to support and save disabled people from their personal tragedy of disability.
  2. The social model stemmed from the publication of Fundamental Principles of Disability in 1976. The W3C describes web accessibility thus.
  3. In the ICF disability is described as. Exploring Theories and Expanding Methodologies.