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Social Model of Disability 

Over a white background, the green words 'Social Model of Disability' arc over Equal Lives characters (left to right); a feminine-presenting, dark skinned person standing with their hands together, a fair-skinned, feminine-presenting person seated in a silver manual wheelchair, looking upwards to the person with the headscarf, and smiling slightly, also facing the person with the headscarf, a masculine-presenting person with blonde hair, fair skin and a closed-mouth smile on their face, is standing using two elbow-crutches with forearm cuffs. Underneath the characters, is Equal Lives' logo.

Why Equal Lives works to the Social Model of Disability

What are the Models of Disability?


There are 3 main Models of Disability:


Medical Model of Disability - This model focusses its attention on the impairments of a disabled person. If the impairments are improved or removed then the barrier will no longer exist. The onus is on the individual to overcome the barrier through medical intervention.


Charity Model of Disability - This model portrays disabled people as a group of people that need charity in order to improve their lives. It can be disempowering, disheartening and portray people as victims.



Social Model of Disability - The Social Model of Disability is a model that was created by disabled people in the '60s and '70s and developed over the last 50 years. Its foundations are built on the idea that people are disabled by the barriers created within society. This includes physical barriers, attitudes, perceptions and access to information. 


How can the Social Model of Disability help disabled people?


The Social Model of Disability pushes the responsibility away from the individual and out across society to address and remove barriers to independence.  It gives disabled people the confidence to challenge the barriers they experience and encourages wider society to be aware of the barriers faced by disabled people. Adopting the Social Model of Disability creates an inclusive and equal society for all. It empowers disabled people, giving them choice and control over their lives so they can live barrier free. 


How has the Social Model of Disability influenced Equal Lives?


As a Disabled Persons' Organisation, Equal Lives has the views and experiences of disabled people at its core. Our Trustees all identify as disabled and our membership is made up of disabled people, their carers and allies to disabled people. Their voice and experiences steer our work. Our services all exist to empower disabled people and support them to lead independent lives.


Here's an example of the Social Model in action - where the Broads Authority have incorporated accessibility into a previously completely inaccessible area. 
Click the button to watch the video - featuring our very own staff member, Igor!

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