A022.Module on Differently-Abled

The definition of ‘Disability’ has gone through three stages of evolution in the last century.
Initially, disability was looked at through the framework of the ‘Charity model’. As per the ‘charity model’, Persons with Disabilities (PwD’s) are those who need help. Unable to look after themselves, they needed to be looked after and protected. They need others to make decisions on their behalf. The focus here was on emphasising the helplessness of disabled people. The main criticism of the charity model was that it took away autonomy, independence and rights away from the disabled individual.
Gradually, the world moved to the ‘Medical model’ of disability. As per the medical mode, the focus is on the impairment or in other words what is “wrong” with the person. It highlights deviations from the ‘norm’ and tries to narrow that gap. The medical model clearly underlines that “problem” lies with the individual and what they can or can’t do.
The disability movement worldwide is now looked at through the lens of the ‘Social model’. As per the social model, disability exists because of the barriers in attitudes, laws, infrastructure and policy. So, for example, the wheelchair isn’t the problem, the stairs are or being deaf isn’t a problem but the lack of a sign language interpreters. The focus of the social model is on PwD’s participating fully in society, living independently, working productively and having full control over their lives.
It is, on the basis of the social model, that the 3 As framework of disability have been developed. As per the 3 As framework, if Attitudes, Accessibility and Affordability are looked after, PwD’s can live complete and satisfactory lives. Accordingly, the rest of the booklet has been divided as per the 3As. Please note, that the recommendations only cover physical disabilities as intellectual disabilities are beyond the scope of the PIL. In addition, technology is and will continue being a game changer when it comes to PwD’s and city planning. However, the focus here has been on the now and present.