Ableism is a form of discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities. It is based on the belief that disability is an abnormality or a lack, and that able-bodied people are superior. This can result in negative attitudes and actions towards individuals with disabilities, as well as a lack of access to resources and opportunities that able-bodied individuals have.
What is able-bodiedism in social work?
In social work, "ableism" refers to the ways in which individuals with disabilities are treated unfairly or with bias within society and the ways in which social work practise perpetuates these inequalities. This can take the form of practises and policies that exclude or marginalise people with disabilities or a lack of consideration for their specific needs and experiences. Social workers have a role to play in challenging ableism and promoting inclusiveness, for example, by advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and working to create more accessible and inclusive environments.
Features of able-bodiedism.
Some common features of able-bodiedism include:
Attitudes: negative attitudes and beliefs about people with disabilities, including stereotypes, prejudices, and assumptions of incapacity
Accessibility: a lack of physical, social, and economic accessibility for people with disabilities This includes inaccessible buildings, transportation, and technology.
Stigma: stigma surrounding disability and people with disabilities, including shame, blame, and negative stereotypes.
Exclusion: exclusion from mainstream society and opportunities, including education, employment, and social activities.
Systemic barriers: institutional and systemic barriers prevent full participation in society for people with disabilities, including discriminatory policies and practices.
Medical model: the medical model of disability, which views disability as a problem with the individual and their body rather than a problem with the environment or societal attitudes.
Tokenism: the tokenistic representation of people with disabilities in media, politics, and other aspects of society, rather than meaningful inclusion and participation.
List of theories associated with the term "able-bodiedism".
Here are some of the theories commonly associated with the term "ableism":
Social Model of Disability: This theory argues that disability is not a medical problem but rather a social construct. It argues that the barriers and limitations faced by people with disabilities are created by society's attitudes and the physical, social, and economic environment.
Intersectionality: This theory acknowledges that people with disabilities experience multiple forms of oppression, including ableism, racism, sexism, and others.
Disability Rights Movement: This is a political and social movement that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and works to eliminate ableism and promote inclusion and accessibility.
Universal Design: This theory emphasises the importance of designing environments, products, and services to be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability.
Critical Disability Studies: This is an interdisciplinary field of study that seeks to challenge and transform societal attitudes towards disability.
Accessibility as a Human Right: This theory asserts that accessibility is a basic human right and that all individuals, including those with disabilities, should have equal access to the physical, social, and economic environment.
Social Work and Disability: This theory recognises the role that social workers can play in promoting inclusion and challenging ableism through advocacy, direct service, and policy development.
Historical Timeline of this term "able-bodiedism"
Here is a brief historical timeline of the term "ableism":
1800s-1900s: During this time, people with disabilities were often institutionalised and treated as objects of pity or fear. They were often excluded from mainstream society and faced significant barriers to education, employment, and social activities.
Mid-1900s: The Disability Rights Movement emerged, as people with disabilities began to organise and advocate for their rights and for an end to ableism. This was a time of significant change, as the medical model of disability was challenged and the social model of disability gained prominence.
1970s: The first federal legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, was passed in the United States. This legislation prohibited discrimination based on disability in programmes and activities receiving federal funding.
1980s: The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in the United States, providing comprehensive protections against discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, and other areas of life.
1990s: The term "ableism" was first used to describe the discrimination and prejudice faced by people with disabilities.
21st Century: Ableism continues to be a significant issue, and the struggle for disability rights and inclusion continues. Advances in technology, such as assistive devices and accessible environments, have made progress, but much work remains to be done. The concept of ableism continues to evolve as new forms of oppression and exclusion are identified and challenged.
Here are some sources that can provide further information on the topic of ableism:
"Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice" by Ellen Brantlinger Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
"Disability Theory," edited by Tobin Siebers Published by University of Michigan Press, 2008.
"The Social Model of Disability: An Outdated Ideology?" by Mike Oliver published in the Journal of Social Policy, 2000.
"Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History" by Ruth O'Brien published by Cambridge University Press, 2001.
"Disabled People and European Human Rights: A Review of the Implications of the European Convention on Human Rights for Disabled People in Europe," edited by Jane Irving and Michael Football published by Disability Press in 2003.
"Disabled Lives and Public Policies: A Comparative Study of Disability Policy in the Developed World," edited by Mark Priestley and Michael Oliver Published by Policy Press, 2005.
"Ableism and Ethics," edited by Nancy J. Hirschmann and Susan E. Wendell Published by University of Illinois Press, 2013.