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Jonny Wilkinson: Altering the way we see disability

Posted by on May 22, 2016

They were heady times in 2001. Well, they were for the impairment community.

This was year zero for the letting loose of the New Zealand Disability Strategy. This beast was a totally various enchilada. It was an entire brand-new approach to disability. It was based on the Social Model of Disability as opposed to the Medical Model.


The core of the concept was that individuals weren’t disabled in their own right, they might have impairments, however it’s the neighborhood or society or the physical environment that creates the disability.

Magnificent! It was a revitalizing idea.

An example I use to describe the idea of the Social Model of Disability is that a number of us have damaged vision. However, we live in a society where corrective glasses and contact lenses are readily offered. If we resided in a society where contact lenses and glasses weren’t offered, those individuals who require them would be handicapped.

This remains in sharp contrast with the Medical Model, which concentrates on the handicapped person as the issue and efforts to repair the problem or, additionally, manage it.

rights-disabled_1024x1024The method had 15 goals, covering all the normal locations of one’s life that largely determine whether you have a decent time on this Earth, or a crap one. These encompassed education, leadership, cultural identity, employment and entertainment.

The time has actually come to reassess and renew the technique and (to use excellent ol’ Whangarei lingo) I’m stoked that I have actually been selected to the evaluation committee, responsible for this important work, albeit in an advisory function. The reason I wanted to be included was to make sure that our disabled neighborhood is represented and have a say about the method forward.

One of the primary issues of the very first strategy has actually been its aspirational nature was pull down rather by a low level of execution. This point was highlighted by Chris Ford in his MA Thesis on the subject, “High on Aspiration, Low on Implementation: The development and execution of the New Zealand Disability Strategy”.

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