Social Work's Importance in the Field of Disabilities.

This post covers the role of social work in addressing the concerns of individuals with disabilities. At the end of this blog reader will be able to: 

  • Understand the significance of social work practise in the field of disability 
  • Discover the duties of a social worker.


  • Introduction
  • Relevance of Social Work in the Field of Disabilities
  • Social work and the meaning of disability
  • Areas of Social Work Intervention in the field of Disability
  • Other Areas of Social Work Involvement
  • Methods of social work in the field of disability
  • Role of Social workers in the field of Disability 
  • Disability Rights Perspective
  • Empowering People with Disabilities
  • Summary 


Supporting disabled individuals to live fuller, more independent lives, to pursue education and employment opportunities, and to contribute to their communities can be a highly gratifying career path. People with mental or physical disabilities frequently encounter a distinct set of daily obstacles. The difficulties faced by individuals with disabilities mostly rely on the nature and severity of their impairments.

Relevance of Social Work in the Field of Disabilities:

Disabled individuals have the same requirements as everyone else. They require companionship, a fulfilling career, a sufficient monetary cushion, leisure activities, and a cosy place to call home all at once. Unfortunately, the dominant social view of them is detrimental. Stigmatized families with a disability member are more likely to experience this. Some families lack the love and patience necessary to care for a person with such a disability. The family is the first line of defence when it comes to caring for a disabled loved one. The government has finally begun to acknowledge their rights and make genuine attempts to provide them with formal and non-formal schooling opportunities. Cooperative initiatives between non-profits and government entities provide these services.

Problem-solving and change management are the hallmarks of professional social work. A social worker's toolkit includes a wide range of practises geared toward improving the lives of people with disabilities and the communities in which they live. Service users, families, caregivers, and social service providers all work together as a team to identify needs, provide practical and emotional support, and empower both the service users and those who care for them to make positive changes in their own well-being.

Social work relies on a structured set of evidence-based knowledge and practise to guide its interventions. Therapeutic work is the major focus of social work practise. For example, casework, meditation, counselling, and group work can all be utilised by social workers. Other therapeutic modalities include crisis intervention and family therapy.

In addition to assisting individuals with disabilities, social workers also work with families that have a child or family member with a disability, as well as with groups around the world. Working in these areas involves a variety of activities, such as one on one practise, group work, neighbourhood development, public policy work, research, and advocacy on our part. Anti-discrimination laws, policies that protect people with disabilities, and disability programmes have all been developed by social workers. For people with disabilities and their families, social workers help to ensure social inclusion, community living, employment, family support, and rehabilitation.. The independent living movement's beliefs and philosophy have had a significant impact on disability social work theory and practise. Rather than creating clients who are reliant on services managed by experts, this movement aims to work in partnership with persons with disabilities to protect their rights as full members of society.

Social work and the meaning of disability:

The medical paradigm, which sees disability as a functional constraint, as well as an individual "problem," "pathology," "dysfunction," or "deviance," has been the prevailing perspective on disability in social work and social services (Brzuzy, 1997; Finkelstein, 1991). The individual/medical model, according to Oliver (1996), places the "problem" of disability within the individual and assumes that functional restrictions or psychological losses inevitably result from the deficit of the individual. The personal tragedy theory of disability, which holds that being disabled is a natural disadvantage that impaired people experience when placed in competitive social situations, is another name for this point of view. The medical or personal tragedy framework assumes that the disabled person has deficiencies and needs medical treatment, rather than seeing disability as intimately related to social, cultural, and political surroundings (Quinn, 1995b).

The topic of grief, loss, and mourning related to physical and mental handicap is also covered by social work. People with disabilities are frequently portrayed as suffering people who are going through painful transitions and crises for both themselves and their family. The intended results of social work intervention are seen to include recognising, accepting, and coming to terms with the impairment (e.g. Hartman, Macintosh, & Engelhardt, 1983; Krausz, 1988; Parry, 1980).

Disability has also been discussed in social work from an ecological or psychosocial angle. For instance, Mackelprang and Hepworth (1987) emphasised the significance of incorporating social variables such as stigma, architecture, and awareness of a societal framework created by the able-bodied into the medical perspective of disability. According to this theory, interactions between people and their environments, as opposed to internal processes within the individual, determine the degree of disability. Indeed, social workers have stressed the value of including and making accommodations for persons with disabilities; nevertheless, they have mainly refrained from actively participating in the disability rights movement, which was started by those with disabilities and their supporters.

Social work has shifted in recent decades to emphasise perspectives on empowerment, strengths, and resilience (Burack-Weiss, 1991; Saleebey, 1997). Social work embraced the empowerment framework, which is concerned with the rise in the social, economic, and political influence of disadvantaged groups relative to privileged portions of society, drawing on the work of Solomon (1976). (Hahn, 2005). The empowerment perspective has encouraged social workers to collaborate with oppressed groups in recent years, such as people of colour and those who are poor (May, 2005); however, practise with people with disabilities, who are more affected by the conventional medical model than other vulnerable populations, has not been greatly influenced by the theory (Felske, 1994; Linton, 1998; Morris, 1991; Moxley, 1992; Zola, 1989). Although studies (Gillam, 1998; Hiranandani, 1999) imply empowerment of disadvantaged groups may be relatively ephemeral in a hegemonic socio-political atmosphere with skewed power relations, empowerment has tended to revolve around transient initiatives that are thought to have permanent results.

According to the strengths perspective, all people and communities have strengths like talents, capacities, knowledge, and resources. According to the strengths perspective, having a handicap can both be a source of limitation and an opportunity for growth. Because of this, practise with persons with disabilities aims to consider their talents rather than their limitations in service design, delivery, and evaluation (Raske, 2005). In spite of oppression and prejudice, the resiliency concept affirms the inherent qualities in people and families who have surmounted obstacles in their personal, social, and environmental environments (Bernard, 1991). The risk with the resilience approach is that those who "overcome" their impairment are viewed as "disabled heroes." The idea that anyone can "overcome" a disability and perform extraordinary achievements may be perpetuated by disabled heroes, who can still be soothing to the able-bodied and inspirational to those with disabilities. Wendell (1997) made the observation that the majority of disabled heroes had tremendous social, economic, and physical privileges that the majority of individuals with disabilities do not. The idea of the strong disabled hero establishes an ideal that most disabled people cannot fulfil, heightening their sense of "otherness" in the process.

No social work viewpoint has, to date, had the transformative potential to alter social and individual ideas regarding disability, despite the fact that empowerment, strengths, and resiliency perspectives have helped the field of social work get closer to fulfilling its basic mission (Raske, 2005). No one of the aforementioned approaches, according to Raske, "had embraced the notion that disability must be redefined to sever its socially constructed link with functional impairment and, thus, with discrimination" (2005, p. 99). According to Raske, who cites Pfeiffer (2001), disabilities would vanish if society was really adaptable and provided for people with disabilities.

Overall, despite the good things that have happened in social work, the field hasn't done much to advance the rights of people with disabilities. Social work research, literature, and practise in this area have lagged behind other fields that deal with oppressed populations (Gilson, Bricout, & Baskind, 1998; Mackelprang, 1993; Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996; May, 2005). Despite the shift in social work toward an ecological, empowerment, and strengths-based perspective, the medical model of disability still has a significant impact on policy analysis research. This is because it minimises the influence of social and political factors on the lives of those with disabilities and reduces disability to a few "objective" criteria that measure functional limitations without consulting those with disabilities. Disability policies that rely on the framing of a disability as an individual problem minimise the possibility of more enabling approaches to human welfare that are focused on participation, social integration, and equal citizenship (Priestley, 1999).

Areas of Social Work Intervention in the field of Disability

The following crucial roles are involved in social work practise with people with disabilities:
  • Enhances customers' participation in examining a wider variety of options and choices;
  • Enables clients to communicate more effectively with professionals, bureaucrats, and organisations that frequently do not recognise or value their desire for self-determination; mobilises and aids in empowering groups of persons with disabilities to seek alternative programmes and policies that could improve their position at the organising level.
  • Social work interventions are founded on an organised body of knowledge and practise that is supported by evidence. The therapeutic component of social work interventions is its main focus. Casework, meditation, counselling groups, crisis intervention, family therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, and bereavement work are just a few examples of the various therapeutic approaches that can be applied. Building and maintaining relationships with service users and their families is essential to the job of a social worker. In social work, finding, creating, and providing appropriate services to service users and their families or carers are all part of the job.
  • Participation with service users, their families, and other team members in person-centered plans.
  • Administration and producing reports.
  • Other pertinent internal and external services and resources, and coordination with them.
  • Keeping in touch and networking with pertinent individuals and services
  • Empowering and promoting
  • Welfare and defence are effective.
  • Enabling access to information and services about legal rights, benefits, and obligations.
  • arranging for and gaining access to residential, family-based, and other types of home support programmes.
  • Facilitating access to independent living and residential care.

Other Areas of Social Work Involvement 

  • Identifying gaps in current provision and seeing or developing new services
  • Highlighting inequality and working to bring about change in social policy, agency policy and societal attitudes. 
  • Promotion of Equal Opportunities and nondiscriminatory practices. 
  • Developing and maintaining best practice in the field of disability in line with professional social workers association
  • With a person-centered plan, people with disabilities can take the lead in the planning process to the greatest extent possible, make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives, plan in a way that respects the needs of family members and caregivers and their role in the person's life, receive assistance in identifying goals and the means by which they can be attained, investigate flexible and varied supports, and be included and fully participate in community life. By offering a variety of supports to retain independence, keep living in their own homes, transition to more independent living arrangements, learn new skills, and engage in the local community, a person-centered plan may help persons with disabilities continue to live in the community.

Methods of social work in the field of disability

Several statements that are applicable to practise can still be made if the three primary social work methodologies are taken into account. Casework, for instance, is not extinct because the social model of disability has replaced the individual model. Instead, it views casework as one of several potential avenues for expert engagement. It neither affirms nor disproves that some people may experience grief or lament for a lost able-body, but it makes the suggestion that such a perspective shouldn't rule the social worker's evaluation of what the issue may be. "A man who contacted his local social services office to seek help with getting his ceiling painted was instead treated to a lengthy visit which has to do with the need the social worker saw for him to come to terms with the fact that he had, some years ago, broken his spine," Shearer (1981) cites as an example.

Therefore, grief counselling or grief work may be useful in certain situations, but not all or even a considerable number. Based on Alf Morris' concept of the handicapped family, the entire family may end up becoming the focus of casework intervention for some disabled persons, especially those with progressive diseases who require long-term assistance that can only be provided by a casework partnership.

Similarly, group work does not always need to concentrate primarily on the requirement to develop a therapeutic environment in which people or families can come to terms with disability. Additionally, groups can be used to share information on specific benefits, know-how on where to find specific services, and even on a self-help basis to give people the self-assurance to assert that their disability is not caused by physical impairments but rather by the way society frequently excludes them from daily life. Additionally, as explained in a recent discussion on residential care, the group can serve as the primary method of restoring impaired people's autonomy (Dartington, Miller and Gwynne, 1981). Staff and residents could plan their activities and set priorities at meetings in the small residential groups. They provided residents with the chance to take charge of their lives and allowed staff to engage in "social work." 

It's fascinating to think about the possibility of intervention utilising community work techniques. Many access reports and guidelines have already been created, and there are also a number of local access groups that concentrate on the ways that the physical environment inhibits people. A few community workers have set up "forum" gatherings of all organisations serving and advocating for disabled people in a specific area, and these have been helpful in challenging local authorities over budget cuts, guaranteeing that disabled people's needs are taken into account in pedestrianisation plans, and other things. Additionally, it is feasible to see community work techniques being employed in disability groups if the term of "community" is broadened beyond its purely geographical connotation to include the concepts of moral communities (Abrams 1978) or psychological communities (Inkeles 1964). For instance, the Spinal Injuries Association today employs a welfare officer whose responsibility it is to empower the organization's 3,000 paraplegic members to use their pooled knowledge and experience to solve their own problems and provide information and assistance.

 Case work

According to the individual model of disability, the issues that disabled people face are directly tied to their condition. Therefore, the professional's main responsibility is to adapt the person to his unique impairment. This has two aspects: first, physical adjustment through rehabilitation programmes intended to get the person as close to normal as possible; and second, psychological adjustment that aids in the person accepting his physical limitations. Since it is considered that disabled people have suffered a substantial loss, depression may develop in them. Similar to people who must lament or grieve over the loss of loved ones, a process of grieving or mourning will need to be worked through in order to come to grips with this loss. Only after completing such processes can people learn to cope with incapacity or death. These mechanisms have been described by some authors as requiring completion of a number of stages or steps. Newly disabled paraplegics come to grips with their impairment through a four-stage process, according to a recent research (Weller & Miller 1977) conducted at New York University Hospital.
  • Shock is the first stage and is the immediate response to the physical and psychological assault of spinal cord damage. It is frequently characterised by crying, hysteria, and, rarely, psychosis with hallucinations.
  • Denial is the second stage; it is the refusal to believe that there will not be a full recovery.
  • Stage 3 - Anger: frequently directed at people who are physically active around and serves as regular reminders of what has been lost.
  • Stage 4: Depression. Depression is a reasonable and sensible reaction to the condition of having a severe and persistent impairment. It is also a stage that must be passed if adjustment, rehabilitation, and integration are to be accomplished.
A psychologist could mistakenly believe that a client with a disability wants to concentrate largely on the disability or its repercussions since a disability frequently entails motor, cognitive, sensory, or mental health issues (Dunn & Dougherty, 2005; Dykens, 2006; Olkin, 1999b; Reeve, 2000). Many customers with disabilities only desire better lives, even though some may suffer with loss-related emotions or require the right kind of skill development. For instance, some clients could require psychological assistance to improve their quality of life through the resolution of relationship issues, the selection of a vocation, or the development of transitional plans to their next developmental stage (Eklund & MacDonald, 1991)

People with disabilities have distinct strengths just like everyone else, which is becoming more widely acknowledged (Shogren, Wehmeyer, Buchanan, & Lopez, 2006). A client whose strengths are acknowledged and developed has a more positive self-image and is better able to handle life's challenges (Dunn & Dougherty, 2005; Dykens, 2006; Olkin, 1999b). Education, personality qualities, creativity, talent, social connections, and availability of required resources are examples of personal strengths. The self-worth, empowerment, and resiliency of a client with a handicap are increased through interventions that take into account their personal strengths (Dunn & Dougherty, 2005; Dykens, 2006).

The intervention used will depend on why the client is requesting psychological services. Increased self-determination, or having the freedom to choose one's own course in life, may be the focus of interventions (Duvdevany, Ben-Zur, & Ambar, 2002; Nota, Ferrari, Soresi, & Wehmeyer, 2007; Shogren, Wehmeyer, Reese, & O'Hara, 2006). Self-determination is promoted by working with a client to improve his or her self-advocacy abilities (Goodley & Lawthom, 2006; Olkin, 1999b; Reeve, 2000). People who stand up for their own demands in terms of personal relationships, social, economic, and political opportunities may feel more empowered and content.

Group work

According to the social model, disability results through ongoing interactions between people and their settings (DePoy & Gilson, 2004; Gill et al., 2003; Hahn, 1999; LoBianco & Sheppard-Jones, 2007; Longmore, 1995; NIDRR, 1999; Smart, 2001; Smart & Smart, 2007). This concept focuses on the dynamic interactions of their unique traits with the natural, built, cultural, and social surroundings (such as circumstances, functional status, and personal social attributes) (NIDRR, 1999). For instance, a newly hired disabled person who relies on a walker for mobility may have physical and psychological obstacles at work and must discuss suitable accommodations with the employer.

The social model emphasises social and functional accommodations while illuminating how settings may obstruct or promote individual functioning by establishing or removing obstacles to full involvement (Linton, 1998). Allowing people with disabilities to make their own decisions, educating the public about disability issues and attitudes, and implementing legislation to assure equal access and protection are some solutions. Universal design can be used to create accessibility for everyone (Olkin, 1999b; Smart, 2001). According to this paradigm, a psychologist can help a client develop positive disability identity and self-advocacy skills, or they can seek outside advice to make sure the client has access to reasonable accommodations, chances for involvement, and a voice in decision-making.

Community Based Rehabilitation Programs

A number of initiatives are being made on a global scale to support the integration of people with disabilities into society, usually on behalf of and for them rather than by them. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR), one of the main initiatives of the United Nations Development Programs, is led by Einar Helander, who asserts that "CBR is a learning process, not a blueprint or readymade answer" (Dalal, 1998).

A "plan for enhancing the quality of life for the disabled persons by improving service delivery, by offering more equitable opportunities and by promoting and defending their human rights," according to the definition of community-based rehabilitation. Additionally, "a strategy within community development for the rehabilitation, equalisation of possibilities, and social inclusion of all people with disabilities" may be used to define community-based rehabilitation. People with disabilities, their families, communities, and the relevant health, education, vocational, and social services work together to implement CBR. No other concept in the history of social services in India has attained the same level of popularity so quickly as CBR. With the growing recognition that institutional services are not only significantly more expensive but also do not fully integrate persons with disabilities into society as a whole, a global movement was born. CBR is viewed as a novel strategy that gives families and communities control over the welfare of their people who have impairments. The key to CBR's success is getting the local community, families, and persons with disabilities involved in the programme. In the Indian cultural context, where social and communal ties are fairly strong and deeply ingrained, CBR is very suitable. Utilizing these ties' potential for social action initiatives related to recovery is a challenge. Current thinking holds that CBR initiatives should collaborate with and draw resources from already-existing community development initiatives. In India, the idea and application of CBR have come a long way. The early enthusiasm has subsided, and now people are more aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by CBR in practise. In attempting to put this idea into practise, much experience has been acquired. The obstacles specific to the social realities of India should be easier to overcome with the aid of this experience. Professionals in India must learn from both their successes and failures if CBR is to succeed in their country.

Many of the volunteer and non-governmental projects that are currently running in India are run by groups that have been around for a while and have gotten a lot of support both inside and outside the nation. However, a closer examination of the programmes reveals a number of inconsistent elements. For instance, some authors who have written on rehabilitation programmes in India have said that many of these groups and programmes are supported and recognised for their efforts rather than their accomplishments. According to these authors, a closer examination of these initiatives reveals that frequently they are just a collection of activities without a clear purpose or long-term viability. It is known that they are frequently expensive but ineffective, which leaves them dependent on donors constantly and makes it challenging to reproduce the programmes, especially if the donors were to cease paying them (Thomas, 1998). In most situations, the initial programme plan does not have methods for assessing the outcome of activities and their expenses, or a system of regular monitoring and assessment based on some quantifiable metrics. This paradox exists partly because many of the programmes are fund driven rather than need driven. Long-term, these programmes work against the cause of the expansion of rehabilitation services. It at most provides support for the participants in a programme; but, the programme itself has limited long-term survival. Because the organisation can't function without the donors' generosity, it has occasionally led to absurd situations where the program's stated goals change from one ideology to another based on changes in the donors' priorities and attitudes. Repeated failures of this sort weaken the confidence of customers in the efficiency of welfare initiatives.

Role of Social workers in the field of Disability

The only members of rehabilitation teams who have the skills and accountability to concentrate on patients' social needs and lives are frequently social workers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of social workers to assist teams in understanding this "new" notion of social independence and client autonomy.

In their interactions with patients and the teams, social workers may also need to underline more strongly their function as educators. Social workers must be aware of the new realities of disability living, which are significantly less constrictive and give customers more options than in the past. The disability rights group frequently views the overemphasis on coping with worries about living with a handicap and "heroic" attempts to restore "normal" functioning as misplaced. They claim that such practises are founded on prejudices, too pessimistic assumptions about what it will be like to live with a disability, or assumptions about life in institutions. The majority of the general population probably isn't aware of the large number of people with disabilities who can today live, work, and shop in normal communities while also developing deep social bonds despite having severe disabilities. To help newly damaged people and their families understand how life may be rich and complete even after acquiring a severe disability, social workers must get familiar with case examples and be able to explain this perspective (or even connect patients with such people). Such knowledge may also cause people to reevaluate the work and focus they are required to put up in order to make relatively little improvements in their physical abilities, which may not be worth the effort.

Social workers also play a crucial role in assisting the rehabilitation team and the patient with the process of handing over decision-making authority from the experts to the patient. People with disabilities should be able to weigh and express their preferences with regard to the various treatment alternatives by the time of discharge, and ideally even before that.

Disability Rights Perspective

If social workers want to broaden their knowledge to encompass options, resources, and services that go beyond what is currently accessible, they may need to establish continuous relationships with independent living facilities and other alternative information sources (Zola, 1983). This implies that social workers may have a responsibility in advocating for clients and systems inside their organisations, with third party payers, and with lawmakers, in order to guarantee that funds and services are available for individuals with disabilities. The animosity that many persons with disabilities experience can be significantly reduced by working actively with social workers to achieve services that support independent living.

Some activists openly question whether professionals can be relied upon to assist in working toward the empowerment of people with disabilities in light of the medical and rehabilitation establishment's failure to even acknowledge these relatively new perspectives that are now embraced by the disability rights movement. They believe that far too many rehabilitation specialists have over the years tended to encourage reliance rather than independence (Berrol, 1979; Zola, 1979). However, a recent study reveals that social workers might be getting a little bit closer to the hopes and objectives of persons with disabilities (Beaulaurier & Taylor, 2000). Based on their research, the authors draw the conclusion that social workers may play a crucial role in serving as a bridge between those seeking health services and the organisations that provide them. However, social workers must first educate themselves and have their consciousness increased before they can do that. Professionals in health and rehabilitation may have the best of intentions and may be "dismayed" to hear that they are contributing to the development of "technological dependence" and that doing so is incompatible with the objectives of disability rights movements for empowerment, self-determination, and social integration at the community level.

It is crucial to acknowledge that the disability rights movement has mostly been a self-help movement up to this point, and that occasionally it has adopted an antagonistic stance against professionals who they have not perceived as being very supportive. Therefore, it can be social workers' responsibility to show these groups that they have valuable expertise that will serve their needs. According to Berrol, professionals who want to encourage independent living and the empowerment of persons with disabilities must exercise non-dominant leadership in their fields of specialisation, provide services, be active advocates, share their specialised knowledge, and offer training. They must guarantee that there are the same chances for positive role models to emerge as there are for the people with abilities. (1979; Berrol)

The roles of educator and advocate may be the ones that are most helpful to and appreciated by the disability rights community as social workers start to engage with them (Zola, 1983). The duties that social workers play today are not new. This does, however, imply that effective communication with this population may place a greater emphasis on advocacy, case management, community organising, and organisational practise.

Empowering People with Disabilities 

The requirement for social work macro and mezzo abilities may increase in managed care settings. According to Tower (1994, p. 191), client self-determination may be "the first thing to go" when social workers struggle to balance their workloads due to rising caseloads, rising service needs, and declining social service funds in the health care sector. Social workers may disagree with clients and client groups as a result of the rising activism and assertiveness of many people with disabilities. A refocused conceptual framework that will support and encourage selfdetermination is necessary for effective social work practise with people with disabilities. This framework must be created to give people with disabilities more options and choices, to better prepare them to deal with professionals, bureaucrats, and organisations that frequently do not recognise or understand their increased need for self-determination, and to mobilise and support groups of people with disabilities in considering alternative policies and programmes that could improve their situation.

Health and rehabilitation social workers' core duty will undoubtedly continue to be direct practise with clients who have disabilities, with a possible increased secondary focus on mezzo and macro skills. However, this practise must place more emphasis on empowerment goals than merely adhering to treatment plans that have been given by doctors or using our standard psycho-social clinical methods. Developing self-help skills and motivation in people with disabilities is necessary to promote their independence and empowerment. The disability rights movement served as inspiration for independent living programmes, which place a strong emphasis on helping clients help themselves.

In order for the customer to become independent, the staff's responsibility is to offer only the pertinent training and problem-solving required for service acquisition and usage. The transition from relying on staff to exercising self-direction signifies the change from a "client/patient mentality" to a "consumer mentality" (Kailes, 1988).

In order to assist people in making the shift from the passive role of patient to the active role of informed and empowered consumers, social workers can approach their practise in a similar manner. The advocacy practises that have been discussed and laid out by several writers seem to be very helpful for health social workers in their work with disabled individuals.

Guti√©rrez (1990) has identified four psychological changes that are particularly important in empowering clients: (1) self efficacy - the belief that one’s actions can produce desired changes, (2) group consciousness - identification as a member of a class and recognition of how political, social and physical structures effect the class, (3) reduction of self-blame for negative consequences of being a member of the class, (4) assuming personal responsibility for change - preparing to take action to improve one’s own situation. As social workers assess their practice with people with disabilities they need to focus more on helping them accomplish these personin-context changes.

However, the lack of control that many persons with disabilities feel during the course of their therapy is not just a psychological phenomena. In order to assist their clients in pressing for inclusion in the planning and choices that will be made regarding their care, social workers in health and rehabilitation settings must develop and exhibit these abilities. To assist clients in becoming skilled negotiators and advocates for their own interests, social workers will also need to give their practise position as educators more consideration. As a result, practitioners will need to adapt their usual strategies to place greater focus on working with organisations and systems that help individuals recognise problems, partially pinpoint their roots, and make educated guesses about potential remedies. The employee engages others in conversation about power and conflict, challenges their preconceived views, and tries to maximise their potential (Grosser & Mondros, 1985).

In such practise, emphasis is placed on knowledge and proficiency with the advocacy and negotiation mechanisms that concentrate on interacting successfully with bureaucracies, administrative structures, and centres of power that make decisions and distribute resources. Social workers might need to interact with those working in the independent living and disability rights movements more strategically and carefully in order to achieve this. This shows that there is a need for more agency agreements and interorganizational discussions to collaborate on issues and concerns, set agendas, and create mutually beneficial understandings.

Finally, health social workers need to become more knowledgeable about the specific problems that the disability population faces. Social workers who provide direct services must be sensitive to problems like the isolation and lack of a sense of community that many persons with disabilities go through. These emotions are frequently the result of infrequent interactions with other disabled persons. Persons who have recently developed disabilities should interact with strong disabled people. Pinderhughes advocates forging connections with natural support networks including family, religious communities, fraternal organisations, and social clubs while writing from the perspective of an ethnic minority (1994). People with disabilities just did not have such organic gatherings of networks of people who share comparable traits and a yearning for empowerment until quite recently.


But in the last 25 years, people with disabilities who labour to build and provide more useful community services have achieved significant progress. In certain areas, independent living facilities have been planned, created, and run by and for persons with disabilities. These facilities frequently work with organisations that are more advocacy-focused. They support and create online news communities, electronic bulletin board services, and newsletters and newspapers. To connect their clients to such functional communities, social workers must be intimately familiar with them. This calls much more than just being aware that these sources exist. In order to establish and maintain connections and networks between these services, groups, and their own health services organisations, social workers must also possess the community liaison skills (Taylor, 1985; Weil & Gamble, 1995).


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