School resources

It’s important to celebrate abilities and break down the barriers involved in every aspect of modern living in Australian society.

These pages aim to provide useful resources to assist employers, educators and the wider Australian public to engage more closely with people with disability.

Teacher resources provide curriculum-aligned lesson ideas and activity sheets aimed at educating students about IDPwD, along with ways to acknowledge and celebrate the important contribution that people with disability make to our community. Student resources provide information about IDPwD, facts about disability, interviews with people with disability who are employed, and two fun and engaging interactives.

Colorful educational posters are also available for teachers to help promote IDPwD events at schools.

The social model of disability

According to the disability charity Scope, the social model of disability proposes that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for people with disability. When barriers are removed, people with disability become independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.

People with disability developed the social model of disability because the traditional medical model did not explain their personal experience of disability, or help to develop more inclusive ways of living.

Changing attitudes

Barriers are not just physical. Attitudes found in society based on prejudice or stereotypes also disable people from having equal opportunities to be part of society.

Models of disability

Traditionally, society has taken a medical model approach to disability, which focuses on a person’s physical, mental, psycho-social or intellectual impairment or ‘deficit’, always with comparison to ‘normal’ people. Under this model, these impairments or ‘deficits’ need to be ‘fixed’ or changed by medical treatment, surgery or other intervention, even when the impairment or difference does not cause pain or illness. This model creates low expectations and leads to people losing independence, choice and control.

While the medical model focuses on what is ‘wrong’ with the person, the social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, specifically because of the assumption that all people’s needs are the same. It says that disability occurs because society has focused exclusively on one group’s needs — those who do not have impairment. The social model shows that impairment need not lead to disability, and focuses on how to remove the disabling features of contemporary society.

View the social model of disability video.

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