Last time out I feel I was responding to an article on the subject of invisible disabilities, and given my limited word count, I don’t feel that certain ‘truths’ of the modern world were clearly explained.
Circling back is important for us all, because the ideas of medical and social models are critical to the way in which the world of community care and benefit decisions works today.
In the old days, essentially 20th century and before, you had to have a recognised disability to be disabled.
What? I hear your cry, but here I mean something recognisable such as cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome, spina bifida or a spinal injury.
Little help if you have a medical disease with permanent life-changing consequences (amputation, kidney failure, etc) or worse still you have multiple problems which span different labels, such as a physical disability, learning disability and a mental health problem.
Once labelled, you could get a new one.
In my case, with a disability consequent to injury, the surgery to ‘fix’ it (twice), side-effects of both, of medication, of perpetual long-term severe pain and not surprisingly depression, I would have been basically ignored as I required multiple labels.
Today, however, the social model has matured, and with the introduction of the 2014 Care Act, the new model is king. It firmly puts the social model into the driving seat.
The changes are vast, and many of those who are supposed to help us, have yet to catch up. For example, I was assessed to pay £100 weekly for my care, when legally I was required to pay nothing. A battle I alone had to fight.
However wrong it is, we have to take charge in representing our needs, which means both understanding them, and what is required to overcome them.
My interpretation of the problem described in the aforementioned article is that people finally recognising our needs, anticipating them, and taking action.
This is not before time when you consider the Equality Act already places an ‘anticipatory obligation’ on service providers to make reasonable adjustments before the need arises.
Since I ‘entered’ the disability community at 15 in 1985, people have changed from totally ignoring disabled people, to pro-actively taking action to help.
Bring it on, I say!
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