Impaired maybe but not disabled
DISABLED Responsible Organised People (Drop), a Gloucester-based charity-to-be, believe that although people have impairments, they are disabled by the society in which they live.
According to the medical model, disability is intrinsic; impairments will inevitably reduce the quality of an individual's life.
Iain, a key member of eight-month-old aspiring charity Drop, said the medical model, adopted by the NHS and the education system, is disheartening, and "bad for self-esteem".
"It's as if it's my fault, " said another member of Drop, Katie, who lives in Gloucester, and is physically impaired.
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She said she is disabled, not by her impairment, but by society. Drop has helped her to recognise this.
The group believe that the medical model is dehumanising and focused on the "problems" just of individuals when the real problems lie in the world around them.
After all, the wheelchair is not the problem – it's the stairs.
"The problem isn't us" said Iain, 38. "This society is big enough and rich enough to make better choices so that we can all access it."
Impaired individuals must be empowered, states Drop, and therefore the social model, which refuses to see impaired people as intrinsically disabled, is more conducive to bringing about change.
The group's 40-year-old chairman, Liam, who represents the mental health perspective, is another advocate of the social model.
"All the people in the group have impairments, be they physical, mental or sensory. We do not actually live with disabilities, but we are disabled by society."