A Different Perspective on Disability Equality

Diversity is what we have in
A Different Perspective on Disability
Laura (Mole) Chapman
Huddersfield University 11th Nov 2011
“paid pests.” These are the scholars “whose
function it is to disrupt and intervene in
conversations in ways that are disturbing and force
people to ask why they frame the questions in the
way they do or why they make the analysis they
(Marshall, C. et al 2006, P.21.)
Culture Change
• Tackling inequality is best understood as a
practitioner’s ethical commitment to realise
every learner’s rights in full.
• Cultural change takes both time and innovation:
it is neither immediately available nor instantly
(Adapted from Chapman, L. 2010)
Culture Change
Single /other
Rigid rules
Chapman, L. 2010 pg. 26
Flexible Principles
Key questions for education
Inequality raises key questions about whether
educators be aiming for the same for everyone or
fairness for everyone.
Should educators be trying to secure more equal
outcomes across a narrow set of measures, or do
we need a broader set of measures to reflect
different ambitions and notions of success?
From Kerr & West 2010 BERA pg .121
The disadvantage or restriction of activity
organisation which takes little or no
account of people who have impairments
and thus excludes them from the
mainstream of social activities.
Articulating Disablism
Fred Brown (the person) is a man with
cerebral palsy (the impairment). When the
barriers and disablism (the oppression) that
restrict Fred have been removed from
society, Fred will no longer be disabled, but
he will still have cerebral palsy and be called
Disabling Assumptions
The characteristics of disablism
The Facts
• Visually impaired people are four times more likely to
be verbally and physically abused than sighted
• People with mental health issues are 11 times more
likely to be victimised
• 90% of adults with a learning difficulty report being
Scope 2008
Compared with non-disabled people,
disabled people are:
• more likely to be economically inactive – only one
in two disabled people of working age are currently
in employment, compared with four out of five nondisabled people;
• more likely to experience problems with hate crime
or harassment – a quarter of all disabled people say
that they have experienced hate crime or
harassment, and this number rises to 47% of people
with mental health conditions;
"on the experience of disability, history is
largely silent, and when it is discussed at all, it
is within the context of the history of medical
advances. Just as women and black people
have discovered that they must write their
own histories, so too with disabled people.”
Oliver and Campbell 1996
The Medical Model of disability
the personal domain
• Medical approach to the problem.
• Defined by non-disabled professionals
• Equated to illness in terms of research and
• Care and benefits have been awarded to
compensate for personal tragedy.
The Social Model of Disability
the public domain
• The problem owned by the whole community.
• It defines the problem in terms barriers:
attitudinal, structural and systemic.
• Acknowledges the oppression and a requirement
for action.
• It recognises disabled people’s voice in
distributed or shared leadership.
Appropriate Dialogue
• Personal: inner, reflective, analytical, synthesizing. The way
issues are internalized. A process that makes sense. [Private
• Social: family and friends, deep, open, direct, love and
unconditional acceptance. [Personal voice]
• Professional dialogue: a closed ‘expert’ language - ‘jargon’ to
the outsider. The writer, the journalist and the professional
communicator… the questioning of technique and practice.
[Public voice]
• Learning dialogue: process of mentoring, coaching, and
tutoring. Enquiry, discovery, questioning, affirming. [Expert
• Community dialogue: process of debate and shared decision
taking. Trust, convention, shared understanding and protocol.
[Shared voice]
West-Burnham, J. 2009, pg 122
Social Justice
As stated by Prof. West-Burnham:
The principle of equality has to be reinforced and extended by the
practice of equity.
Equality: every human being has an absolute and equal right to common
dignity and parity of esteem and entitlement to access the benefits of
society on equal terms.
Equity: every human being has a right to benefit from the outcomes of
society on the basis of fairness and according to need.
Social justice: justice requires deliberate and specific intervention to
secure equality and equity.
(Chapman, L. and West-Burnham, J. 2010, pg.26)
Inclusive practice:
Inclusion is a process of identifying and breaking down barriers
which can be environmental, attitudinal and institutional. This
process eliminates discrimination thus providing all participants
with equal access.
Is an ongoing process of reviewing and developing practice in order
to adjust and celebrate diversity. It is the journey not the
(Chapman, L. 2006, pg 4. Unpublished)
Growth and Capacity building
Learning and Development
We must put into practice our socially just
We must move from passive discourse and
involvement to conscious deliberate, and
proactive practice in educational leadership that
will produce socially just outcomes for all.
(Marshall, C. et al, 2006, P.27)
Good bye!
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