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Attitudes to disability

In this video, Professor Tom Shakespeare describes how different attitudes to disability changed the way disability was understood across the world.

In this step, our lead educator Professor Tom Shakespeare contextualises how the interaction between impairment and societal barriers can form the concept of disability, building upon Dr. Mactaggart’s presentation on the bio-psychosocial model of disability.

Prior to joining the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Professor Shakespeare was a Professor of Disability Research at Norwich Medical School, at the University of East Anglia. He co-authored the World Report on Disability whilst working at the World Health Organisation, and has had a long involvement with the disabled people’s movement both in the UK and internationally.

In this video, he describes how different attitudes towards disability, and the response of disabled people to this in the 1970s, changed the way that disability was understood and described across the globe. He explains the positive advocacy that arose from this movement, and the way that thinking about disability has since developed.


Use the comments section below to reflect on Professor Shakespeare’s interview, and the prevailing attitudes towards disability and children with developmental disabilities in your setting.

  • How does a child’s impairment interact with society to form a developmental disability?
  • How is developmental disability understood in your setting?
  • What are the attitudes towards disability in your setting?
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Integrated Healthcare for Children with Developmental Disabilities

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