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IDS104 Introduction to Disability Studies- Human Services Providers

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Human services providers working in the disability sector, or engaging with persons with disabilities, should understand theoretical perspectives, societal attitudes and perceptions of disability. It is also important for them to be aware of how such perspectives, attitudes and perceptions impact on service design and development, particularly their consequent impact on people with disability. This assessment provides an opportunity for students to critically reflect on the content of the first two modules in this subject, and to demonstrate their awareness and analytical capacity through a review of historical and current trends in social and service responses to disability, both internationally and in Australia.


Developing a framework for critical analysis of policies and practices which will be further developed and strengthened over the course of this subject. As such it prepares you to effectively assess and analyse the development policies plans and proposals within their historical and critical context.


Write a reflective essay in which you consider the following:

  • The social construction of disability and how it may impact on the lives of people living with disability.
  • Cultural perspectives of disability and how they may differ from one another.
  • The role of Human Service workers in working within the disability field, and how you might contribute to the sector.

Answer

Introduction

People have their various way of responding to the disabilities. In many of the cases, we respond much negatively towards such issues whereas sometimes we consider it as the strength to lead a productive life (Corr McEvoy & Keenan, 2014). It is to be indicated that the impact of disability on the individuals depend on several factors. In this study, we will discuss these determined factors that have the clear influences on the lives of the individuals. Along with the social construction, we would provide the fruitful insights about the cultural perspectives of disability. Furthermore, the study will also present the idea of the Human Service Workers within the field of disability. Accordingly, we would present the analysis of our beneficial contribution to this sector.

Discussion

In general cases, we always perceive ‘disability’ as the medical model based on the human impairments. However, ‘disability’ can be defined as the physical and mental condition that is creating limitation on the movements, activities, and senses of a person. It is true that we often visualize the ‘disability’ not just as the medical issue, but as the societal issues (Garcia et al., 2015). We generally gain such perspectives due to the huge social impact on the disabilities. For instance, the people who are deaf, they do not consider their incapability to hear as the form of disability. It is notable that people belong to the deaf community use different signs as their language. The reliance of the society can even sometimes put them at a disadvantage in several specific situations. It usually depends on how the society treats the people with the physical or mental disabilities. The initiative undertaken by PWDA (People with Disability Australia) is much commendable in such cases (Kanter, 2015). PWDA is the organisation of the disability rights and advocacy that was found in 1981. The organisation supports the people with disability to raise their concerns about their needs and requirements. Such social construction is creating the significant impact on people in the society.

PWDA has undertaken several remarkable initiatives for the people with the physical or mental impairment. The organisation provides the preferable rights-related information, referral services, and advices to the people along with their associates.  The advocacy assistance is also provided to them for the betterment of their future (Karl et al., 2013). The organisation is the representative of the sector of interests that are constituted by the people with different disabilities. The organisation even provides the adequate supports by consulting with the government in terms of providing the adequate training on the disability-rights. Therefore, it can be mentioned that the social construction has the significant impact on the people with several mental and physical disabilities.  

The definition of disabilities is explained in different ways based on the purpose and types. The cultural perspectives on disability depend on the status in the society given to the people with several mental or physical disabilities. The understanding of the cultural perspectives helps in shaping our intellects regarding the concepts of human being or personhood. I have observed that in the small-scale society has the closer interaction with the individual members. On the other hand, the large scale societies are more related with the interpersonal relationships with the individuals (Dunn & Andrews, 2015). The reliance of the society can even sometimes put them at a disadvantage in several specific situations. It usually depends on how the society treats the people with the physical or mental disabilities.  It depends on the people in the society how they treat these individuals to create their own identity. The cultural supports and social behaviour help the disable people lead a normal life. In fact, the cultural behaviour helps these people to utilize their disability as their strength to live a productive life. The use of the positive language and proper interpersonal skills to communicate with them is much beneficial to influence their lifestyle (Hemingway & Priestley, 2014). The use of the proper and positive language is thus considered as the key ways to guide the experience of a person with disabilities. It is even our responsibility to utilize the positive cultural traits for dealing with the people who have been suffering from physical or mental impairment.  

The Human Service field presents the unique approaches to meet the needs and demands of the human through the interdisciplinary knowledge base. This field broadly considers the prevention of the emerging issues and improvement of the overall quality parameter of the service population. The Australian Association of Social Workers has been providing the enormous supports to improve the lifestyles of the people with disabilities and impairment. These group of social workers emphasis the principles of the human dignity and social justice along with the human rights (Goodley, 2016). The social workers are prioritizing the holistic understanding the human impairment to make them stronger human being. They are much focused on improving the lifestyle of these people along with their families and communities. They are more concerned about providing them several necessary services, such as justice services, advocacy services, all levels of education, indigenous support services, early intervention services, and associated policy services (Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 2016). The improvement of their families and communities are the major concern of the social workers.

Conclusion

I have reflected upon the impact of the social and cultural perspectives on people with physical and mental disabilities. The understanding of the cultural perspectives helps in shaping our intellects regarding the concepts of human being or personhood. I have observed that in the small-scale society has the closer interaction with the individual members. On the other hand, the large scale societies are more related with the interpersonal relationships with the individuals. It depends on the people in the society how they treat these individuals to create their own identity. The reliance of the society can even sometimes put them at a disadvantage in several specific situations. It usually depends on how the society treats the people with the physical or mental disabilities.

References

Corr McEvoy, S., & Keenan, E. (2014). Attitudes towards People with Disabilities–what do people with intellectual disabilities have to say?. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(3), 221-227.

Dunn, D. S., & Andrews, E. E. (2015). Person-first and identity-first language: Developing psychologists’ cultural competence using disability language. American Psychologist, 70(3), 255.

Garcia, S. F., Hahn, E. A., Magasi, S., Lai, J. S., Semik, P., Hammel, J., & Heinemann, A. W. (2015). Development of self-report measures of social attitudes that act as environmental barriers and facilitators for people with disabilities. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 96(4), 596-603.

Goodley, D. (2016). Disability studies: An interdisciplinary introduction. Sage.

Hemingway, L., & Priestley, M. (2014). Natural hazards, human vulnerability and disabling societies: a disaster for disabled people?. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 2(3).

Kanter, A. S. (2015). The Americans with Disabilities Act at 25 years: lessons to learn from the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Karl, R., McGuigan, D., Withiam-Leitch, M. L., Akl, E. A., & Symons, A. B. (2013). Reflective impressions of a precepted clinical experience caring for people with disabilities. Intellectual and developmental disabilities, 51(4), 237-245.

Mackelprang, R. W., & Salsgiver, R. (2016). Disability: A diversity model approach in human service practice. Oxford University Press.

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