chapter  3
66 Pages

The Minority Group and Medical Model Paradigms

To view disability issues solely as medical is analogous to viewing gender issues as gynecological or racial issues as dermatological. The actual medical losses of sight, hearing, intelligence, or limbs cause less heartache than the prejudice, discrimination and intolerance that so often follows and attends the loss (Glideman, 1979; Bell & Burgdorf, 1983; Hahn, 1987; Oliver, 1994; Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996; Rioux, 1996). “People with disabilities are handicapped mainly by society’s mistaken beliefs about their abilities” (About being sensitive, 1995, p. 3). One needs to go beyond physiological or cognitive conditions to gain a full understanding of disability (Rioux, 1996). “Many people with disabilities believe that the obstacles they face are often as much the result of society’s attitudes as they are any physical limitation of their bodies and their minds” (People in Motion, 1995, p. 2). How we define disability and respond to persons who have them, depends on our economic and social structures and central values (Oliver, 1990, p. xii).