Thursday, July 21, 2016

My way = Your way

Today in class we looked at disabilities and to what extent they are the medical diagnosis or social constructs alongside analyzing how intersectionality played a role as well. Our speakers, Kelly George and Clare Mullaney, did a good job at introducing the huge topic that is disabilities in a way that was interactive.
Kelly George, Clare Mullaney and part of the UPenn Cohort

The lecture started with the question, what is a disability? One of the answers that really resonated with me was “an opportunity for polite words”. Abled bodied people tend to see disabled people as sad and frustrated people because they can’t be like abled bodied people. However, disabled people are just like everyone else. They might have a different way to do things but in the end, both abled people and disabled people can do the same things.

A big point that we addressed in class what the differences between the medical approach and social approach to disability. The medical approach says that individual is at fault for being disabled while the social model says that the fault is on society for not catering to disabled people. One example that they gave was that a person in a wheelchair is not disabled until the sidewalk doesn't’ have a cut out for them to get up on top of it. The medical model would say it's the individual's fault for being in a wheelchair while the social model would say that it is society’s fault because they don’t make the sidewalk accessible to wheelchairs.

While it is true that the social model holds various good point, the medical model also provides many benefits to the individuals like access to medicine and services that they otherwise might not be able to access if they didn’t have that label of being medically disabled. They both work together in a lot of cases.

When we started our small group discussion, someone brought up the question of when is an accommodation for someone who is disabled going to affect other people negatively. No one could really think of such an instance but they brought up how extra time was abused at their school by kids that didn’t really need it while the kids who actually need it was left out because other people would abuse it.

Owl made of  paper with braille 
Landscape made out of shapes with different meanings 
After group, we went to the Common Touch exhibition which displayed interactive pieces of art one way or another related to the history of blind individuals. There were examples of braille and how there was a dispute over which style should be used. There was also samples of a blind person writing a letter for someone who can see. During this time period, there were no real accommodations for people with disabilities. I really liked being able to touch the art and get to read about the experiences of individuals with disabilities.

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