Disability 101: Medical Model vs Social Model

Erin Human

Disability 101
Medical Model vs Social Model

[image of a question mark]
what is a “model” of disability?
In this case, “model” means a certain way of thinking about disability.
what is the Social Model of Disability?
To understand this concept, it’s useful to compare it to the “medical model” of disability.

[table with Medical Model bullet points at left, vs Social Model bullet points at right]

Medical Model:
The person is disabled by the abnormalities and deficits of their own body and/or brain.
Social Model:
The person is disabled by their environment and its physical, attitudinal, communication, and social barriers.

Medical Model:
Disabled people are broken, abnormal, or damaged versions of human being and should be fixed, cured, and/or prevented.
Social Model:
Disabled people are normal, valid varieties of human being and should have equal rights and access to society, just as they are.

Medical Model:
Since the disabled…

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The difficulties that get overlooked when your autistic child is verbal


I am blessed with a daughter who has a large vocabulary and clear dictation. She can read fluently and make up complex sentences. She can remember accurate facts about things and repeat these readily. She can make choices, recall events and express her opinion.

As a result of all of the above it is assumed (wrongly) that her autism is mild, has limited impact on her life and something to be of little concern about.

People are too quick to assume if a child is verbal that everything is fine. 

Let me assure you that just because an autistic child can speak it does not mean their autism is mild.

Having speech does not mean a child necessarily understands what you are talking about.

Having speech does not mean there are no learning difficulties.

Being able to talk does not mean a child can effectively communicate.

Most of my autistic…

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Multimodality and fairness in #acwri

Academic Emergence

Could a multimodal approach to academic writing be a harbinger of fairness in recognition of a diverse 21st century literacy landscape?

Some key quotes and reflections from recent #acwri readings

This post is linked to others on multimodality here and here. It helps me keep track of readings, but it may be of interest to both teachers and learners of academic writing including Research Writing, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Academic Literacies, and Writing Studies. All bolds are mine (they refer to key words in my research).

Multimodality refers to a field of application rather than a theory (Bezemer and Jewitt, 2010, p. 180 cited in Archer and Breuer, 2016, p. 1).

Most research on academic discourse has been based on the analysis of written text and as a result, most classes on the teaching of academic writing have concentrated on language (p.1)

What is seen as ‘academic’ writing…

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Adventures of Super Aspie Grrl the beginning

Visible. Now. Fantastic.

Adventures of superaspiegrrl

Video Documentation of Autistic Action #1 by Annette Foster

photography and video by Rachel Parry

Adventures of Super Aspie Grrl the beginning

I have been trying to start this blog for two years. Each time I get up the courage, I somehow make an excuse to myself that it’s not good enough. I am very good at making drafts and then never publishing them. Actually I think that is my speciality!

I am a multidisciplinary visual performance and live artist, PhD researcher and autism self advocate. I was diagnosed six years ago at the age of 39 with Aspergers and it has taken a long time for me to accept myself, and I am still working on it. As soon as I was diagnosed I knew that I wanted to make visual and performance art work about my experience of autism. Once again it took me 4 years to finally…

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The Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical

Angry Autie

“Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity.”

“Tragically, as many as 9,625 out of every 10,000 individuals may be neurotypical.”

“There is no known cure for Neurotypical syndrome. However, many NTs have learned to compensate for their disabilities and interact normally with autistic persons.”

The neurotypical people are a misunderstood people who suffer from a terrible mental syndrome and they need all the support that they can get. NT Syndrome, sometimes referred to as ‘mundane man malady,’ is a huge part of my life; my parents, my family, the vast majority of my friends, and even past girlfriends all have NT Syndrome but they’re learning to cope with it and I’m very proud of them all. It really warms my heart to see my loved ones trying to overcome their disorder.

In addition to the symptoms listed above…

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Neurodiversity 101

Erin Human

neurodiversity 101

Neurodiversity 101

It’s a big word for a simple idea!

neuro/brain [image of head with brain]
diversity/range of different kinds [image of landscape with trees, water, animal]
= a range of different kinds of human brain

neurodiversity is not
– a belief system
– a personal opinion
– a political position
– a theory

by itself, it is just a neutral fact of human life:
neurodiversity exists!

[image of text/speech boxes]
more and more, people are saying they
are pro-neurodiversity
support neurodiversity
celebrate neurodiversity
those are personal opinions; people may agree or disagree that neurodiversity is a good thing, but that it is REAL is undeniable.

bonus neurodiversity vocab words:
neurotypical: having the most common, typical kind of brain
neurodivergent: having any kind of brain that is not neurotypical
neurodiverse: having a variety of people with neurotypical and neurodivergent brains; refers to a group or group environment, such as…

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The Autistic Community does not support Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

Absolutely! ☺

ABA Controversy Autism Discussion

Evidence to Listen to Autistic People and that the Autistic Community does not support Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

It is a sad state of affairs that there was even a need in 2017 to publish research evidence that supports the stance that autistic adults should be considered as “experts” and involved in matters relating to autism, but clearly there was.   Despite this the alternative of autistic people being ignored, dismissed or silenced by others remains a common occurrence, experienced by many activists who wish to do nothing more than help autistic children have their needs met and grow up accepted for who they are, feeling safe and competent.  One example we hear over and over is the classic rhetoric used by ABA proponents “do not listen to autistic adults as they are able to communicate, use social media so are not like your ‘low-functioning’ 3 year old child”.


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Nothing about you without you – the Labour party manifesto for disabled people

Fantastic! Alongside the LP Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto, the LP is demonstrating its deep commitment to us all 🙂

Politics and Insights

dis manifesto.pngFOREWORD

Over the last seven years disabled people have borne the brunt of the cuts inflicted on them by the Conservative Government and the Coalition before them.

The cuts have had a detrimental effect on the lives of disabled people, cutting living standards and undermining their access to education, social care and to justice.

Two years ago the United Nations (UN) convened a committee to investigate state violations of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Last year the UN published their report and concluded that the Conservative Government had committed ‘grave, systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities.’

This is a damning indictment of the treatment of disabled people by the Conservatives, one which shames us as a country.

We believe in a social model of disability, a society which removes the barriers restricting opportunities and choices for disabled people. As such…

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Political Post

Yes, yes, yes! This is what we have been saying – and tried to embody within the Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto: http://www.neurodiversitymanifesto.com & facebook.com/LPANDmanifesto/ 🙂


(Image from http://7bna.net)


I find myself embroiled in a conflict between disability and difference. Add to that the political climate that we are in and I’m here, wanting to shout. I must have more self-belief and stop being embarrassed about having an opinion. I am an intelligent adult after all, not only that, I am an self-identified autistic adult, parent, and teacher, I see things as if looking through a kaleidoscope.

The Merton news of taking Autism diagnosis away from the CAMHs service has caused uproar, and rightly so, but take a look at your own local pathways, how long is the wait for assessment? Will they see those over 11? How about those over 35? Are local services being reduced or quietly disappearing altogether?

The message:
Services cannot cope. The NHS and schools are underfunded.
Politically Brexit was going to save the NHS, Academisation was going to save…

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“Call the doctor!” – Speaking to clinicians about Autism and mental illness


I am at Melbourne airport, waiting for my delayed flight to leave for home. I just had to get a replacement boarding pass and handed it in to get a new one for the cancelled flight. The flight attendant said ‘Doctor Purkis?’ and I replied ‘Yes’ quite confidently – this fib was easier than explaining why I was incorrectly titled as a doctor.

The reason  for my undeserved Doctor-ing was that last night I spoke at a conference for paediatricians ad psychiatrists who work with people with ADHD and Autism. The events company organising the conference must have just thought all the speakers were doctors, hence the mix-up.

The presentation was one of the best talks I think I have done – not so much due to my delivery or even the content of my slides. The beauty of my talk yesterday was the audience of around 150 psychiatrists and…

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