Over the course of eight years, I have begun to see disability much differently than I used to. One of the most common questions I get from audience members is "How did you deal with all the disability and deformity on a day to day basis [at the Care Center in Vietnam]?" It is in these questions, I am reminded of how society has taught us to view disability: as something abnormal and most times, a condition to pity.
To better explain the way our society looks at disability and how our individual perspectives fit into it, Dr. Charles Bailey gave me this "Four Models of Disability" to help understand how we look at disability and how we can progressively move forward to integrate disability as natural condition within our society.
Application of the models
The four models listed above simply categorize four ways in which people classify "disability" and how they see people with disabilities. Everybody uses one of the models or a mixture of them – consciously or unconsciously. These models influence our thinking, our way of talking and our behavior.
The following chart provides some examples of how people with disabilities tend to be seen by other persons and what consequences this could have.