The Social Model has been developed by disabled people in response to the Medical Model and the impact this has on their daily lives.

Under the Social Model, disability is caused by the society in which we live and is not the ‘fault’ of an individual disabled person, or an inevitable consequence of their limitations.

Disability is the product of the physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers present within society, which lead to discrimination. The removal of discrimination requires a change of approach and thinking in the way in which society is organised.

The Social Model takes account of disabled people as part of our economic, environmental and cultural society. The barriers that prevent an individual taking part in society are the problem, not the individual.
Barriers still exist in education, information and communications systems, working environments, health and social support services, transport, housing, public buildings and amenities. The devaluing of disabled people through negative images in the media – films, television and newspapers – also acts as a barrier.

The Social Model has been developed with the aim of removing barriers so that disabled people can have the same opportunity as everyone else to determine their own life styles.

A simple example is that of a wheelchair user. He/she would not be disabled if he/ she lived in an environment which provided the ability to gain full access to buildings and their facilities in the same way that someone without his or her impairment could do.

The Social Model of disability has fundamentally changed the way in which disability is regarded and has had a major impact on anti-discriminatory legislation.

This Inclusive Communication Hub is based on the Social Model of disability.

This model underpins the UNCRPD (Convention on the rights of disabled people)