Our main aims are to empower disabled people, to campaign for equality and to improve local services. Our guiding philosophy is the Social Model of Disability and we are fully committed to these concepts. We sincerely believe that the Social Model has changed the lives of many disabled people and the attitudes of many others.
What is the Social Model of Disability?
The social Model of Disability identifies specific systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) that mean society is the main contributory factor in disabling people. In particular that:
Impairment is an injury, illness, or congenital condition that causes or is likely to cause a long-term effect on appearance and/or limitation of function of the individual. Disability is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in society on an equal level with others due to social and environmental barriers. Impairments and chronic illness often pose real difficulties for disabled people but they are not the main problems. It is the ‘barriers' which exist in society that create the main problems. The three main areas of barrier are:
- Environment (including inaccessible buildings and services)
- Attitudes (stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice)
- Organisations which operate inflexible procedures and practices
Disabling barriers experienced in the past can continue to have an adverse effect. For example, disabled people who attended segregated schools may have gained lower academic qualifications than their non-disabled peers, because their ‘special' school failed to provide a proper mainstream curriculum.