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What patterns can be distinguished in the way interaction between people with disabilities and their society develops? Is the ‘reduction of difference model’ the next model of disability?

By Ian Ulyatt


A review of the literature reveals a number of studies showing that it is possible to summarise the way people with disabilities are treated. It is possible, for example, to identify changes in their status, over the years and even centuries. It also is possible, more generally, to consider models of concepts that identify the main constraints on behaviour towards and by disabled people. Four disability models were identified in the literature that dominated before the present time. A genealogy could be established – a summary of what changed and what remained the same over time. It is claimed a fifth model is coming into its own at present, which appears to summarise people with disabilities. This model was developed based on analysing a series of 350 interviews. The responses were used to identify the nature of present changes from the previous model, and to confirm that the new model does identify a proper next area of development.\ud This fifth model, the ‘Reduction of Difference Model’ (RDM), identifies a number of important changes to the earlier models. During many centuries, ‘the problem’ was the disabled person. One solution was that a person with disabilities was taken to have no place in society and hence to require help only to satisfy a few basic needs. Alternatively, in the RDM ‘the problem’ is (the nature of) society. This model typically identifies areas where disabled people do need help in order to support activities where they do not (for example when contributing in employment

Topics: N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies
Year: 2010
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