The institutionalized medical language of mental disability is, at best, pejorative and situates mental conditions squarely within an individual disease framework. Terms such as “mental disease” and “mental disorder” construct psychological, emotional, and behavioral conditions as innate, biological, pathological states independent of socioeconomic, cultural, and political context. Likewise, the prevailing medical model of mental disability — which defines disability as an individual’s “restriction in the ability to perform tasks” and handicap as “the social disadvantage that could be associated with either impairment and/or disability” — serves to establish a direct causal relationship between individual impairment and disability.In contrast, the social model of disability, theorized by disabled activist and scholar Michael Oliver, views disability as something imposed upon persons by an oppressive and discriminating social and institutional structure and that is over and above their impairment.
I don’t know, I’m on a language kick today. Finding some very interesting perspectives.
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