Disability-Rights Model vs Medical Model

The disability-rights activist, Carol Gill of the Chicago Institute of Disability Research, described the traditional forms of discrimination that disabled people have faced, as well as the progress toward social inclusion that has been made in the last two decades.

She then explained the differences between the medical model of disability and the disability-rights model of disability.

Adherents to the medical model believe that a disabled person's problems are caused by the fact of his or her disability and thus the question is whether or not the disability can be alleviated. Advocates of the disability-rights model, on the other hand, believe that a person with a disability is limited more by society's prejudices than by the practical difficulties that may be created by the disability. Under this model, the salient issue is how to create conditions that will allow people to realize their potential.

Lisa Blumberg '74, *Wellesley*, Spring 97, *Disability Rights, Choice, and Reproductive Technology*, p 29.