This article focuses on how the medical profession, organizations, and universities should incorporate the social model of disability into their regulations and policies to advance justice for individuals with disabilities. Traditionally, disability has been viewed through the medical model, which postulates that one’s individual body or mind is medically impaired and diminishes the person’s quality of life. The model overemphasizes individual difference or disability diagnosis as something that should be treated at an individual level through medical intervention, and ignores social factors that impact the development of physical and mental conditions. Moreover, this pervasive attitude towards disability permeates institutions and causes individuals with disabilities to have to adapt to existing environments. Furthermore, it leads to increased stigmatization by placing direct blame on the person for their own disability, and results in greater isolation of individuals from mainstream society. Conversely, the social model of disability illuminates the societal barriers that explain one’s disability. By utilizing this framework, the systems that negatively influence people with disabilities will be compelled to change, thus effectively accommodating and empowering them to achieve their potential. This paper discusses the benefits of the social model of disability, such as its role in fostering socially equitable outcomes and systemic changes that result in more understanding attitudes. In doing so, this work will illuminate how the social model can help redefine disability. More significantly, the social model of disability will propel people to move from a mindset of ostracization and derision to empathy and compassion. Along with discussing what existing entities have successfully included ideas from the social model, this work explores possible implications and offers a roadmap to advocate for individuals with disabilities.

Plain Language Summary

This paper compares models of disability. The medical model believes that people are not “normal” if they have a disability. It blames them for not fitting in. The social model believes society hurts people with disabilities. It wants to create better environments for them. This paper discusses how to do that.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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