The chosen subgroup for this essay is disabled children, in
the UK, there are 800,000 children under
the age of 16. A disabled person has a physical or mental condition that limits
their movements, senses, or activities (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/disability).
The most common physical disabilities include paralysis, blindness and deafness
whereas the most common mental disabilities are autism and downs syndrome. For
disabled children the most common disabilities impairments are social and
behavioural, learning disabilities and stamina,
breathing and fatigue (http://www.dlf.org.uk/content/key-facts). Disabilities are generally different in terms
of how severe an individuals condition is, for example an individual with down
syndrome may be very limited in terms of the activities that are available to
them where as another individual who is relatively mildly affected may be able
to hold down a job and be more independent.
Theorists argue that disabled people face social oppression
and that they experience a large amount of inequality in all areas of their
social life in terms of education, health care, employment, housing, and transport
et al, 1999).
The lack of transportation, leisure facilities and other
service provided to disabled people can affect an individuals independence as
well as how they enjoy their day to day activities. Most disabled people find
it difficult to do things such as taking public transport and climbing up the
stairs in their own home as well as in public places. According to equalityhumanrights.com in Great
Britian there was an overall increase between 2009-11 and 2012-14 in the
percentage of disabled and non-disabled adults who reported having difficulty
accessing services in the areas of health, benefits, tax, culture, sport and
leisure. In 2012-14 this was 45.3% for disabled people compared with 31.7% for
Disabled people are also less likely to be in employment
than non- disabled people. Although the UK Government Employment Support
Programmes have been extensively reformed since 2010, there are still concerns
on how effective these programmes are for disabled people (www.equalityhumanrights.com). One
of the main concerns is that 35% of non- disabled people are more likely than
18% of disabled people to be employed using the Work Programme.
Even though there has been an
increase in both non-disabled and disabled people being in employment in
Britain in 2015 to 2016, 47.6 % of disabled adults were in employment, in
comparison to almost 80% of the non-disabled population. Furthermore 50% of
disabled people who were unemployed but wanted to work could not find a
suitable job to accommodate their needs (http://oro.open.ac.uk).
Research also shows that 50% of disabled people are more likely to be employed
in manual jobs and earn a lower than average wage.
Disabled people have difficulties with their standard of
living, there is a high proportion of disabled people living in poverty or are materially
compared to someone that is not disabled.
Across the UK 59% of families with disabled children, fell below the
household income resulting to them living in material deprivation. Evidence has
also shown that disabled people face inequalities in the education sector and
that disabled people are more likely to have no qualifications than
non-disabled people (Disability Rights Task Force,1999).
The way children with disabilities are treated is likely to
be affected by the underlying perceptions of disability, the medical and social
model are two concepts. The medical
model interprets disability as a problem caused by a certain impairments or
impairments. Therefore, the role of the individual with the disability is to
accept the interventions being imposed on them to help them fit into society
(McKenzie and McAllister 2010). In
contrast to the social model which states that society does not cater to people
with disabilities to live “normally” (Swain et al, 2004). This is often associated to physical
facilities such as ramps, lifts and accessible toilets being provided. It also associated with the attitude and
values people in society hold on disabled people and how that could have an
effect on how this could enable or disable the individual’s participation.
Scot (2010) showed that disabled children were given less
opportunities than their non- disabled peers to make their own decisions. The
social model states that disabled children are at a disadvantage in society
since society fails to adapt or support disabled children with the same chances
as their able- bodied peers.
Normally the term vulnerability expressed the idea that an
individual is at risk of being harmed by something or someone that is of danger
or threat (Heaslip, 2013), and are often inferred from some weakness or
inadequacy in the person concerned. However, according to Batchelor (2006) and
Willetts (2010) when vulnerability relates to disability in such a way that
portrays them to be weak, inferior and dependent on people who are stronger
than them (Batchelor 2006, Willetts 2010).
This portrays people with disabilities in a negative manner
and fails to acknowledge the fact that although certainly there are some areas
in which disabled children are more vulnerable than their peers, they also have
strong qualities that their peers may not have.
Vulnerability can cause people to mainly focus on what people cannot do
and what they may be at risk from, instead of focusing on what an individual
can do and the potential they have to achieve their goals.
Sociologists have argued that disabled people experience
stigma, which is a strong label that can discredit and change the way an
individual is perceived. Erving Goffman
(1959) had shown the ways in which others perceive an individual to being
regarded to how that individual present themselves on the outside. Goffman
(1959) believed that even the most fundamental implications of labelling could
have an impact on how an individual interacts in society and could result to
the being stigmatised for the rest of their life. In accordance to labelling
theorist (Becker, 1963) deviance is the not a natural aspect of behaviour.
People are not naturally deviant in the way they act or behave until a social
group describes them that way.