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What do we mean by disability?


Disability is quite a complex term that many people describe in different ways.

In this step, Dr. Tess Bright (LSHTM) provides an overview of past and prevailing frameworks for understanding and describing disability. This includes the charity model, the medical model, the social model, the human-rights model, and finally the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, otherwise known as the ICF.

It is also important to consider attitudes to disability, and this video from Professor Tom Shakespeare (also available in the See Also section below) describes how attitudes to disability have changed over time. In particular, he highlights the social model of disability, which was developed in the 1970s, marking a turning point in the disability movement. These two videos in combination help to build a picture of the complexity of disability, and the different ways it is understood.

When considering the ICF model, what environmental factors might influence the lives of people with disability in your setting? What are the attitudes towards disability in your setting?

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Global Disability: Research and Evidence

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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