The Types Of Disabilities Health And Social Care Essay

2968 words (12 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Health And Social Care Reference this

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The basic aim in this chapter is to describe about disability of a special person, mentioning its nature of irregularities, types of difficulties faced by them and its remedy, kinds of disabilities and category model wise disabilities.

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The term disability when it is explained with respect to humans refers to any condition that impedes the completion of daily tasks using traditional methods. A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.

Some disabilities are not obvious to outside observers; these are termed invisible disabilities.[2]

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a person with a disability is defined as

A person that has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term or substantial effect on a person’s ability to carry out day to day tasks.

Some disabilities are not obvious to outside observers; these are termed invisible disabilities.

Types of disabilities include various physical and mental impairments that can hamper or reduce a person’s ability to carry out his day to day activities. These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his or her day to day activities.

These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his day to day activities as previously. Disability can be broken down into a number of broad sub-categories, which include the following

This includes people with no vision, or some functional vision. For example, screen readers are used by the blind to read web pages, and someone with poor vision may use screen magnification or adjust their browser settings to make reading more comfortable. This group also includes people with color blindness and those with eyesight problems related to ageing.

Disability in mobility can be either an in-born or acquired with age problem. It could also be the effect of a disease. People who have a broken bone also fall into this category of disability. [3]

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can sometimes lead to lifelong disabilities. This kind of injury mostly occurs due to severe accidents. The injury can be either complete or incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the message conveyed by the spinal cord is not completely lost. Where as a complete injury results in a total dis functioning of the sensory organs. In rarest of cases spinal cord disability can be a birth defect.

Brain Disability

A disability in the brain occurs due to a brain injury. The magnitude of the brain injury can range from mild, moderate and severe. There are two types of brain injuries:

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

ABI is not a hereditary type defect but is the degeneration that occurs after birth.

The causes of such cases of injury are many and are mainly because of external forces applied to the body parts. TBI results in emotional dysfunctioning and behavioral disturbance.

Vision Disability

There are hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from minor to various serious vision injuries or impairments. These injuries can also result into some serious problems or diseases like blindness and ocular trauma, to name a few. Some of the common vision impairment includes scratched cornea, scratches on the sclera, diabetes related eye conditions, dry eyes and corneal graft.

Hearing disability

This category includes people that are completely or partially deaf. People who are partially deaf can often use hearing aids to assist their hearing. Hearing impairments can be evident at birth or occur later in life from several biologic causes, for example Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve or the cochlea.

Cognitive disability

Is a kind of impairment present in people who are suffering from dyslexia and various other learning difficulties. People having dyslexia face difficulties in reading, writing and speaking.

Invisible Disabilities

Invisible Disabilities are disabilities that are not immediately apparent to others. It is estimated that 10% of people in the U.S. have a medical condition considered a type of invisible disability.

1.3 Anomaly Of Special Persons

It is likely that different people could have different responses to the question of whether any of the above-listed characteristics would result in disability, and some might say, It depends. This illustrates the differences in the terms disability and handicap, as used by the U.N. Any of the above traits could become a handicap if the individual were considered disabled and also received disparate treatment as a result.

figure 1.1: Anomalies of a special person

1.4 Comparison Of Normal & Special Person

For a normal person major life activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working and receiving education or vocational training.

Special people are those who lack in any of the following abilities as compared to the normal person

Visionary problem [Blinds]

2. Hearing and speech problem [Deaf & Dump]

3. Physical disabilities [Missing any part of body]

4. Mental disability [Mentally Abnormal]

1.5 Categorization

The categorization of a special person with respect to their disability can be of the following nature.

1.5.1 Blind Person

As it is very evident from the name that blind cannot see anything from their eyes .This type of disability in any special person may be present by birth, or he can suffer through any accident or by any other mean.This category can further be described as:

figure 1.2: Categorization of a blind person

1.5.2 Deaf And Dump

The Special persons having this disability lack in them the problem of either hearing or speaking and sometimes both. This category can further be described as:

figure 1.3: Categorization of a deaf and dump person

1.6 Model For Disabilities

Any sort of disability in a special person which includes blind, deaf and dump, handicapped, etc is directly connected to brain from where it is sensed and controlled.

BRAIN_2

figure 1.4: The brain model [4]

Brief descriptions of disability models are explain as follows:

1.6.1 The Moral Model

This is historically the oldest and is less prevalent today. However, there are many cultures that associate disability with sin and shame, and disability is often associated with feelings of guilt, even if such feelings are not overtly based in religious doctrine. For the individual with a disability, this model is particularly burdensome. This model has been associated with shame on the entire family with a member with a disability. Families have hidden away the disabled family member, keeping them out of school and excluded from any chance at having a meaningful role in society. Even in less extreme circumstances, this model has resulted in general social ostracism and self-hatred. [4]

The Medical Model

The medical Model came about as modern medicine began to develop in the 19th Century, along with the enhanced role of the physician in society. Since many disabilities have medical origins, people with disabilities were expected to benefit from coming under the direction of the medical profession. Under this model, the problems that are associated with disability are deemed to reside within the individual. In other words, if the individual is cured then these problems will not exist. Society has no underlying responsibility to make a place for persons with disabilities, since they live in an outsider role waiting to be cured.

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The individual with a disability is in the sick role under the medical model. When people are sick, they are excused from the normal obligations of society: going to school, getting a job, taking on family responsibilities, etc. They are also expected to come under the authority of the medical profession in order to get better. Thus, until recently, most disability policy issues have been regarded as health issues, and physicians have been regarded as the primary authorities in this policy area. [5]

One can see the influence of the medical model in disability public policy today, most notably in the Social Security system, in which disability is defined as the inability to work. This is consistent with the role of the person with a disability as sick. It is also the source of enormous problems for persons with disabilities who want to work but who would risk losing all related public benefits, such as health care coverage or access to Personal Assistance Services (for in-home chores and personal functioning), since a person loses one’s disability status by going to work.

Rehablitation Model

The rehabilitation model is similar to the medical model; it regards the person with a disability as in need of services from a rehabilitation professional who can provide training, therapy, counseling or other services to make up for the deficiency caused by the disability. Historically, it gained acceptance after World War II when many disabled veterans needed to be re-introduced into society. The current Vocational Rehabilitation system is designed according to this model.

Persons with disabilities have been very critical of both the medical model and the rehabilitation model. While medical intervention can be required by the individual at times, it is naive and simplistic to regard the medical system as the appropriate locus for disability related policy matters. Many disabilities and chronic medical conditions will never be cured. Persons with disabilities are quite capable of participating in society, and the practices of confinement and institutionalization that accompany the sick role are simply not acceptable.

Disability Model

This model regards disability as a normal aspect of life, not as a deviance and rejects the notion that persons with disabilities are in some inherent way defective.

As Professor David Pfeiffer said:

…paralyzed limbs may not particularly limit a person’s mobility as much as attitudinal and physical barriers. The question centers on ‘normality’. What, it is asked, is the normal way to be mobile over a distance of a mile? Is it to walk, drive one’s own car, take a taxicab, ride a bicycle, use a wheelchair, roller skate, or use a skate board, or some other means? What is the normal way to earn a living?”

Most people will experience some form of disability, either permanent or temporary, over the course of their lives. Given this reality, if disability were more commonly recognized and expected in the way that we design our environments or our systems, it would not seem so abnormal.

The cultural habit of regarding the condition of the person, not the built environment or the social organization of activities, as the source of the problem, runs deep. The disability model recognizes social discrimination as the most significant problem experienced by persons with disabilities and as the cause of many of the problems that are regarded as intrinsic to the disability under the other models.

1.7 Identify Disability

Another important issue related to the topic of the definition of disability has to do with disability identity. There are many persons who unarguably fit within the first prong of the ADA definition who do not consider themselves disabled. …there are many reasons for not identifying yourself as disabled, even when other people consider you disabled. First, disability carries a stigma that many people want to avoid, if at all possible. For newly disabled people, and for children with disabilities who have been shielded from knowledge of how most non-disabled people regard people with disabilities, it takes time to absorb the idea that they are members of a stigmatized group. Newly disabled adults may still have the stereotypes of disability that are common among non-disabled people. They may be in the habit of thinking of disability as total, believing that people who are disabled are disabled in all respects. …They may fear, with good reason, that if they identify themselves as disabled others will see them as wholly disabled and fail to recognize their remaining abilities, or perhaps worse, see their every ability and achievement as ‘extraordinary’ or ‘courageous’.

The reason that so many people reject the label disabled is that they seek to avoid the harsh social reality that is still so strong today. Having a disability, even though the ADA has been in place for almost a decade, still carries with it a great deal of stigmatization and stereotyping. It is ironic that those who could benefit from the law choose not to do so because they wish to avoid the very social forces that this law seeks to redress and eradicate.

People who may fall under the coverage of the ADA because of the presence of a genetic marker are certainly not likely to think of themselves as disabled. While there may be discomfort at the thought of coming under this label, it is worthwhile to recognize that no one with a disability, visible or otherwise, wants to experience the stigma and discrimination that is still all too common for those who society considers disabled. There are many others who do not consider themselves to be disabled but who do experience discrimination.

1.8 Remedy

From a policy point of view, there are two possible options that could be pursued to avoid coming under the coverage of the ADA: (1) an amendment to the ADA to explicitly state that persons with genetic markers are excluded from coverage under the definition; and/or (2) separate legislation to redress discrimination based on genetic characteristics.

The first option would operate like the proverbial phrase, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The possibility of genetic discrimination is quite real, and it would be a poor bargain to lose one’s civil rights in exchange for avoiding disability based stigma. It could also cause significant problems with legal interpretation of the ADA definition; the risk is that courts could use any exclusion to deny ADA coverage to others.

The second option is also politically and legally fraught with risk. Politically, people with genetic markers are a much smaller group than the very large confederation of disability organizations and individuals who came together to work towards passage of the ADA. Thus, the chances of gaining the strong legal protections that are now available in the ADA are not very high. It could also be expected that well-financed corporate interests would oppose such legislation. Enactment of any new legislation would be a tough, uphill battle that would probably result in a compromised version of the original proposal. In addition, the existence of two overlapping pieces of legislation could result in unfavorable judicial interpretation.

On December 13, 2006, the United Nations formally agreed on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, to protect and enhance the rights and opportunities of the world’s estimated 650 million disabled people. Countries that sign up to the convention will be required to adopt national laws, and remove old ones, so that persons with disabilities would, for example, have equal rights to education, employment, and cultural life; the right to own and inherit property; not be discriminated against in marriage, children, etc; not be unwilling subjects in medical experiments.

The ADA provides a legal remedy when this occurs. Since the ADA definition recognizes the social construction of disability, whether it can apply to a person is a function of the social treatment that the individual receives. In other words, the question of whether a person with a genetic marker is covered by the definition does not arise in the abstract. If the individual has experienced discrimination based on the individual’s physical or mental characteristics, then that individual may take advantage of the ADA to redress that discrimination.

1.9 Conclusion

The disability rights movement is working towards a society in which physical and mental differences among people are accepted as normal and expected, not abnormal or unusual. We have plenty of methods and tools at our disposal to accommodate human differences. Paradoxically, the growth of technology in our lives provides us with both the ability to detect more human differences than ever before, as well as the ability to make those differences less meaningful in practical terms. How we react to human differences is a social and a policy choice. We prefer to advocate for a social structure that focuses on including all people in the social fabric, rather than drawing an artificial line that separates disabled people from others.

The basic aim in this chapter is to describe about disability of a special person, mentioning its nature of irregularities, types of difficulties faced by them and its remedy, kinds of disabilities and category model wise disabilities.

The term disability when it is explained with respect to humans refers to any condition that impedes the completion of daily tasks using traditional methods. A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.

Some disabilities are not obvious to outside observers; these are termed invisible disabilities.[2]

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a person with a disability is defined as

A person that has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term or substantial effect on a person’s ability to carry out day to day tasks.

Some disabilities are not obvious to outside observers; these are termed invisible disabilities.

Types of disabilities include various physical and mental impairments that can hamper or reduce a person’s ability to carry out his day to day activities. These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his or her day to day activities.

These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his day to day activities as previously. Disability can be broken down into a number of broad sub-categories, which include the following

This includes people with no vision, or some functional vision. For example, screen readers are used by the blind to read web pages, and someone with poor vision may use screen magnification or adjust their browser settings to make reading more comfortable. This group also includes people with color blindness and those with eyesight problems related to ageing.

Disability in mobility can be either an in-born or acquired with age problem. It could also be the effect of a disease. People who have a broken bone also fall into this category of disability. [3]

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can sometimes lead to lifelong disabilities. This kind of injury mostly occurs due to severe accidents. The injury can be either complete or incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the message conveyed by the spinal cord is not completely lost. Where as a complete injury results in a total dis functioning of the sensory organs. In rarest of cases spinal cord disability can be a birth defect.

Brain Disability

A disability in the brain occurs due to a brain injury. The magnitude of the brain injury can range from mild, moderate and severe. There are two types of brain injuries:

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

ABI is not a hereditary type defect but is the degeneration that occurs after birth.

The causes of such cases of injury are many and are mainly because of external forces applied to the body parts. TBI results in emotional dysfunctioning and behavioral disturbance.

Vision Disability

There are hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from minor to various serious vision injuries or impairments. These injuries can also result into some serious problems or diseases like blindness and ocular trauma, to name a few. Some of the common vision impairment includes scratched cornea, scratches on the sclera, diabetes related eye conditions, dry eyes and corneal graft.

Hearing disability

This category includes people that are completely or partially deaf. People who are partially deaf can often use hearing aids to assist their hearing. Hearing impairments can be evident at birth or occur later in life from several biologic causes, for example Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve or the cochlea.

Cognitive disability

Is a kind of impairment present in people who are suffering from dyslexia and various other learning difficulties. People having dyslexia face difficulties in reading, writing and speaking.

Invisible Disabilities

Invisible Disabilities are disabilities that are not immediately apparent to others. It is estimated that 10% of people in the U.S. have a medical condition considered a type of invisible disability.

1.3 Anomaly Of Special Persons

It is likely that different people could have different responses to the question of whether any of the above-listed characteristics would result in disability, and some might say, It depends. This illustrates the differences in the terms disability and handicap, as used by the U.N. Any of the above traits could become a handicap if the individual were considered disabled and also received disparate treatment as a result.

figure 1.1: Anomalies of a special person

1.4 Comparison Of Normal & Special Person

For a normal person major life activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working and receiving education or vocational training.

Special people are those who lack in any of the following abilities as compared to the normal person

Visionary problem [Blinds]

2. Hearing and speech problem [Deaf & Dump]

3. Physical disabilities [Missing any part of body]

4. Mental disability [Mentally Abnormal]

1.5 Categorization

The categorization of a special person with respect to their disability can be of the following nature.

1.5.1 Blind Person

As it is very evident from the name that blind cannot see anything from their eyes .This type of disability in any special person may be present by birth, or he can suffer through any accident or by any other mean.This category can further be described as:

figure 1.2: Categorization of a blind person

1.5.2 Deaf And Dump

The Special persons having this disability lack in them the problem of either hearing or speaking and sometimes both. This category can further be described as:

figure 1.3: Categorization of a deaf and dump person

1.6 Model For Disabilities

Any sort of disability in a special person which includes blind, deaf and dump, handicapped, etc is directly connected to brain from where it is sensed and controlled.

BRAIN_2

figure 1.4: The brain model [4]

Brief descriptions of disability models are explain as follows:

1.6.1 The Moral Model

This is historically the oldest and is less prevalent today. However, there are many cultures that associate disability with sin and shame, and disability is often associated with feelings of guilt, even if such feelings are not overtly based in religious doctrine. For the individual with a disability, this model is particularly burdensome. This model has been associated with shame on the entire family with a member with a disability. Families have hidden away the disabled family member, keeping them out of school and excluded from any chance at having a meaningful role in society. Even in less extreme circumstances, this model has resulted in general social ostracism and self-hatred. [4]

The Medical Model

The medical Model came about as modern medicine began to develop in the 19th Century, along with the enhanced role of the physician in society. Since many disabilities have medical origins, people with disabilities were expected to benefit from coming under the direction of the medical profession. Under this model, the problems that are associated with disability are deemed to reside within the individual. In other words, if the individual is cured then these problems will not exist. Society has no underlying responsibility to make a place for persons with disabilities, since they live in an outsider role waiting to be cured.

The individual with a disability is in the sick role under the medical model. When people are sick, they are excused from the normal obligations of society: going to school, getting a job, taking on family responsibilities, etc. They are also expected to come under the authority of the medical profession in order to get better. Thus, until recently, most disability policy issues have been regarded as health issues, and physicians have been regarded as the primary authorities in this policy area. [5]

One can see the influence of the medical model in disability public policy today, most notably in the Social Security system, in which disability is defined as the inability to work. This is consistent with the role of the person with a disability as sick. It is also the source of enormous problems for persons with disabilities who want to work but who would risk losing all related public benefits, such as health care coverage or access to Personal Assistance Services (for in-home chores and personal functioning), since a person loses one’s disability status by going to work.

Rehablitation Model

The rehabilitation model is similar to the medical model; it regards the person with a disability as in need of services from a rehabilitation professional who can provide training, therapy, counseling or other services to make up for the deficiency caused by the disability. Historically, it gained acceptance after World War II when many disabled veterans needed to be re-introduced into society. The current Vocational Rehabilitation system is designed according to this model.

Persons with disabilities have been very critical of both the medical model and the rehabilitation model. While medical intervention can be required by the individual at times, it is naive and simplistic to regard the medical system as the appropriate locus for disability related policy matters. Many disabilities and chronic medical conditions will never be cured. Persons with disabilities are quite capable of participating in society, and the practices of confinement and institutionalization that accompany the sick role are simply not acceptable.

Disability Model

This model regards disability as a normal aspect of life, not as a deviance and rejects the notion that persons with disabilities are in some inherent way defective.

As Professor David Pfeiffer said:

…paralyzed limbs may not particularly limit a person’s mobility as much as attitudinal and physical barriers. The question centers on ‘normality’. What, it is asked, is the normal way to be mobile over a distance of a mile? Is it to walk, drive one’s own car, take a taxicab, ride a bicycle, use a wheelchair, roller skate, or use a skate board, or some other means? What is the normal way to earn a living?”

Most people will experience some form of disability, either permanent or temporary, over the course of their lives. Given this reality, if disability were more commonly recognized and expected in the way that we design our environments or our systems, it would not seem so abnormal.

The cultural habit of regarding the condition of the person, not the built environment or the social organization of activities, as the source of the problem, runs deep. The disability model recognizes social discrimination as the most significant problem experienced by persons with disabilities and as the cause of many of the problems that are regarded as intrinsic to the disability under the other models.

1.7 Identify Disability

Another important issue related to the topic of the definition of disability has to do with disability identity. There are many persons who unarguably fit within the first prong of the ADA definition who do not consider themselves disabled. …there are many reasons for not identifying yourself as disabled, even when other people consider you disabled. First, disability carries a stigma that many people want to avoid, if at all possible. For newly disabled people, and for children with disabilities who have been shielded from knowledge of how most non-disabled people regard people with disabilities, it takes time to absorb the idea that they are members of a stigmatized group. Newly disabled adults may still have the stereotypes of disability that are common among non-disabled people. They may be in the habit of thinking of disability as total, believing that people who are disabled are disabled in all respects. …They may fear, with good reason, that if they identify themselves as disabled others will see them as wholly disabled and fail to recognize their remaining abilities, or perhaps worse, see their every ability and achievement as ‘extraordinary’ or ‘courageous’.

The reason that so many people reject the label disabled is that they seek to avoid the harsh social reality that is still so strong today. Having a disability, even though the ADA has been in place for almost a decade, still carries with it a great deal of stigmatization and stereotyping. It is ironic that those who could benefit from the law choose not to do so because they wish to avoid the very social forces that this law seeks to redress and eradicate.

People who may fall under the coverage of the ADA because of the presence of a genetic marker are certainly not likely to think of themselves as disabled. While there may be discomfort at the thought of coming under this label, it is worthwhile to recognize that no one with a disability, visible or otherwise, wants to experience the stigma and discrimination that is still all too common for those who society considers disabled. There are many others who do not consider themselves to be disabled but who do experience discrimination.

1.8 Remedy

From a policy point of view, there are two possible options that could be pursued to avoid coming under the coverage of the ADA: (1) an amendment to the ADA to explicitly state that persons with genetic markers are excluded from coverage under the definition; and/or (2) separate legislation to redress discrimination based on genetic characteristics.

The first option would operate like the proverbial phrase, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The possibility of genetic discrimination is quite real, and it would be a poor bargain to lose one’s civil rights in exchange for avoiding disability based stigma. It could also cause significant problems with legal interpretation of the ADA definition; the risk is that courts could use any exclusion to deny ADA coverage to others.

The second option is also politically and legally fraught with risk. Politically, people with genetic markers are a much smaller group than the very large confederation of disability organizations and individuals who came together to work towards passage of the ADA. Thus, the chances of gaining the strong legal protections that are now available in the ADA are not very high. It could also be expected that well-financed corporate interests would oppose such legislation. Enactment of any new legislation would be a tough, uphill battle that would probably result in a compromised version of the original proposal. In addition, the existence of two overlapping pieces of legislation could result in unfavorable judicial interpretation.

On December 13, 2006, the United Nations formally agreed on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, to protect and enhance the rights and opportunities of the world’s estimated 650 million disabled people. Countries that sign up to the convention will be required to adopt national laws, and remove old ones, so that persons with disabilities would, for example, have equal rights to education, employment, and cultural life; the right to own and inherit property; not be discriminated against in marriage, children, etc; not be unwilling subjects in medical experiments.

The ADA provides a legal remedy when this occurs. Since the ADA definition recognizes the social construction of disability, whether it can apply to a person is a function of the social treatment that the individual receives. In other words, the question of whether a person with a genetic marker is covered by the definition does not arise in the abstract. If the individual has experienced discrimination based on the individual’s physical or mental characteristics, then that individual may take advantage of the ADA to redress that discrimination.

1.9 Conclusion

The disability rights movement is working towards a society in which physical and mental differences among people are accepted as normal and expected, not abnormal or unusual. We have plenty of methods and tools at our disposal to accommodate human differences. Paradoxically, the growth of technology in our lives provides us with both the ability to detect more human differences than ever before, as well as the ability to make those differences less meaningful in practical terms. How we react to human differences is a social and a policy choice. We prefer to advocate for a social structure that focuses on including all people in the social fabric, rather than drawing an artificial line that separates disabled people from others.

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