Issues in Providing Learning Support for Disabled Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Models of Disability

Individual and charitable models

It is not just medical personnel who need to re-evaluate their approach to disability. There are many people who individualise the problems experienced by disabled people. One aspect of this approach is typified as the 'charitable' model of disability. From this perspective the disabled person may be seen as a tragic individual who needs help to cope with their loss. Alternatively some disabled individuals may be held up as exemplars who have bravely triumphed over adversity. Such images have been used in fund-raising campaigns run by various charities and may indeed provide motivational stimulus. The danger of this approach is that can lead to disabled people being seen as objects of pity who need to be cared for and protected from the demands of daily life. This approach also relies on a 'feel good factor' in that people are encouraged to support disabled people as a deserving cause. There is also a danger doing things for disabled people rather than with them, or even enabling disabled people to organise things for themselves.

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock