Disability

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What is AODA an acronym for? Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005)
What is “ableism”? - Disables people with impairments - Discriminates against people who have disabilities - Privileges ‘able-bodied’ people by catering to their abilities - Creates pressure to keep up/seem normal and if you cannot ‘keep up’ you fall behind - Devalued anyone who doesn’t meet a certain level of physical, mental, or cognitive competence
The Social Model of Disability: Distinction between disability and impairment A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities (response to impairment/how it affects their lives). Impairment is a weakened or damaged capacity (physical capacity). “Disability is the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a society which takes little or no account of people who have impairments and thus excludes them from mainstream activity. (Therefore, disability, like racism or sexism, is discrimination and social oppression)” (Morris, 2). “Impairment is a characteristic, feature or attribute within an individual which is long term and may or may not be the result of disease or injury and may 1. affect that individual’s appearance in a way which is not acceptable to society, and/or 2. affect the functioning of that individual’s mind or body, either because of, or regardless of society, and/or 3. cause pain, fatigue, affect communication and/or reduce consciousness” (Morris, 2).
The Social Model of Disability: Difference in the terminology “disabled people” and “people with disabilities” (according to the social model) - To use the term “people with disabilities” is to define us by our impairments because here the word “disability” means impairment—what our bodies can’t do. It robs us of the language we need to describe oppression and discrimination. In contrast, to use disability to mean disabling barriers enables us to move away from the assumption that it is impairment which determines our life chances. If impairment determines our experiences then the only things that can be offered are treatments and cures, and services (residential care, segregated schooling, etc.) which prevent us from doing the kinds of things that non- disabled people do because we are not recognized as full human beings. - Disabled people are those people with impairments who are disabled by society.
What are the disabling barriers, according to this model? - The disabling barriers of prejudice, discrimination, and social exclusion - The disabling barriers of unequal access and negative attitudes - Disabling social, environmental, and attitudinal bar- riers which are a daily part of our lives
Disability as a social rights issue How does the British Council of Disabled People think of disability? → Disability is the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a society which takes little or no account of people who have impairments and thus excludes them from mainstream activity. (Therefore, disability, like racism or sexism, is discrimination and social oppression). In what way does this model politicize disability? → Puts the onus on accessibility and not on the medical conditions. → People are disabled by society, not by their various conditions
"Young carers” and the disability rights perspective How does the “young carers” as “little angels” narrative illustrate the problem of non-disabled people having control over narratives of impairment? How does that social model shift that narrative from “disabling attitudes” to a disability rights perspective? → This “little angel” who is missing school all of the time to aid the disabled parent. That makes it seem like the child is acting the parent, and the parent is acting the child. It is demeaning, and takes away the dignity of the parent as a fully qualified parent, capable of taking care of their child. → The Social Model of Disability would shift it over to what kind of social assistance the families need, in order to have a family situation that does not require this of the children. → Not every form of disability is a form of weakness, that needs “little angels” to care for individuals. Disabled people should be able to live as equal members of society.
Difference between accommodation and accessibility Many people argue that the accommodation model is ableist in a way that the accessibility model is not. - The accommodation model requires the person who has the disability to be responsible for seeking accommodation, which puts a burden on them. The accommodation model discriminates against people with disabilities because people with disabilities have to go out of their way to be accommodated. This model puts ‘able-bodied’ people first, meaning everyone else has the privilege of getting everything they need without asking for it. - Whereas, “accessibility, alternatively, means that a space is always, 100% of the time, welcoming to people with disabilities. Accessibility means that ‘accommodations’ are integrated into a space and are not particularized to an individual — but rather created for our society as a whole” (Pyral). The accessibility model allows for all people to be able to access the same things. No one is discriminated or put above anyone else, everyone is just able to
Accommodation Model vs. Accessibility Model What is the Accommodation Model? The person who has the disability is responsible for seeking accommodation A burden on the person with a disability Outs the individual with a disability, because it causes them to have to ask for help publicly to get help Accommodation Model is seen as ablist University of Western Ontario works on the accommodation model What is the Accessibility Model? The institution/organization/etc. is responsible for ensuring EVERYONE with all types of needs, is accommodated and made able By creating completely accessible spaces (the space is always, 100% of the time, welcome to people with disabilities)
Overall, “Old Age, Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring Conceptual and Material Connections”: Socially constructed identities Among most philosophers and theorists, it is now a truism that identi- ties, or at least some identities, are socially constructed. These identities include gender identity, racial identity, and what we might call ability identity, as a disabled or non-disabled person. To this list I also want to add age identity, in particular, age identity as an elderly or aged person.1 To regard these identities as socially constructed is to say, rst, that they are not “natural”; that is, they are not entities that exist in “nature” independent of human agency. As the work of Simone de Beauvoir revealed (1952), one is not born, let alone conceived, a woman, an Aboriginal, a dis- abled person, or an elderly person, but rather becomes a woman, an Aborig- inal, a disabled person, or an elderly person. Second, to regard these identi- ties as socially constructed is to say that they are created, reinforced, and sustained, although not necessarily with intention or full consciousness, through normative conventions, relations and practices.
Overall, “Old Age, Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring Conceptual and Material Connections”: The social construction of impairment So far, I have argued that impairment is conceptually constructed; that is, the term “impairment” itself is given a de nition by extension, by pick- ing out certain states of certain physical features and attributing signi - cance to them as fundamentally de ning particular individuals and groups of individuals as atypical, abnormal, or defective. I also want to argue that impairment is socially constructed in a second way, that is, materially. Impairment is constructed materially rst, by means of maternal mal- nutrition, fetal alcohol syndrome, or the ingestion of teratogenic drugs, all of which cause harm to fetuses before birth, and second, by means of workplace injuries, environmental hazards and contaminants, or simple deliberate human aggression, which cause harm to the limbs, organs, and physiological systems in children and adults. Notice that there is both an individual and a societal component to this material construction of impairment.
Overall, “Old Age, Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring Conceptual and Material Connections”: The social construction of old age I believe that assumption is mistaken. Years lived and life stages attained are also socially constructed and interpreted, and there is no de - nite, biologically given number of years lived that, by itself, constitutes being old or that provides an immutable and inevitable foundation on the basis of which social aging processes are built. Years lived do not, of them- selves, constitute one’s age—whether young age, middle age, or old age. Aging is not a “natural” process; that is, it is in no way outside of culture. This is not to deny that, like impairment, the process of aging may entail real suffering, physical and/or psychological. My intention here is not to deny the reality of the body or the immediacy of changing capacities that may accompany the process of aging for some, though not all, persons. But within different social contexts, characteristics of the aging person may or may not be recognized as liabilities and defects—rather than, for example, reserves of wisdom.
The difference between conceptual social construction and material social construction Conceptualism: the theory that universals can be said to exist, but only as concepts in the mind. Material: denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit.
Disciplines of normality People of all ages inter- nalize the negative valuations of impairment and old age and, as a result, almost everyone participates in the social conspiracy to pretend that there are no impaired or aged people. Assimilationist pressures are among the key tools of oppressive systems such as ableism and ageism. Using Susan Wendell’s terms, I would describe these practices as being the results of the “disciplines of normality” (Wendell 1996, 88). She points out that as the pace of life increases, “[e]veryone who cannot keep up is urged to take steps (or medications) to increase their energy, and bodies that were once considered normal are apathologized” “Keeping up” is a normative requirement, and anyone who has trouble keeping up is, in effect, rendered impaired and expected to compensate as much as possible. Individuals with these socially conferred impairments are often expected to try to act so as to compensate for the impairments, to engage in substitute activities designed to reassure others that the individual is still functional or to change their appearance --> not impaired.
Normative ideas of uniformity Both ableism and ageism incorporate normative ideas of uniformity. Every body should be similar, with similar abilities and energies, and, among other requirements, the ideal human body is a body that has not lived a long time and does not have any of the features designated as impairments. Those individuals with bodies that for one reason or another fail to conform are expected, nonetheless, and despite the difficulties or even impossibilities, to attempt to t in or assimilate.
Ableism and Ageism The systems of ableism and ageism function to make, respectively, certain bodily features (limbs, organs, or systems), and certain numbers of years lived, into social liabili- ties, rationalizations for subordination, and sources of shame. In Western societies, thanks to ableism and ageism, it is taken to be self-evident that lives with so-called impairments, and lives that are elderly, are of lesser value than lives without so-called impairments or lives that are youthful. These lives are even considered, in some cases, not worth living.
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