Does the new sick and disabled movement hate the social model?

The social model can been a cornerstone concept in the liberation of disabled people over the last 50 years as disabled people fought for civil and human rights as people who are able to contribute to society if their environment is made more accessible. However, in recent months I have seen the sick and disabled movement question the social model as the way forward.

They argue that the social model is just about the physical environment and in their eyes disabled people who are not “sick” have it “easy” because their issues can be solved, but sick people are just unemployable and that’s biological fact and time we accepted it, and just give them the money to sit on beanbags all day. They are therefore desiring a return of the medical model where people with conditions are seen as naturally inferior.

For me, I feel they have misunderstood the social model and it argues that disability is the disadvantages placed upon people with conditions which is social constructed. This goes beyond just the physical environment and includes social policy and anything which has been constructed including employment.

When I say everyone can work I do not mean in the traditional sense and I believe the way we work should change and is changing to accommodate a wider range of needs. As someone who does experience chronic pain and fatigue on top of an apparently easy condition, I work from home and manage my lifestyle accordingly.

It is however in the best interests of the new sick and disabled movement to assume these changes are not possible and this is why they are now attacking with hatred the social model.

If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

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