Understanding Disability by Michael Oliver

Understanding Disability by Michael Oliver

by Adam Goodwin | 2014 | Last Update:  March 25, 2014

The Book

I recently read Michael Oliver’s Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice (2nd edition) (2009).

I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend one interested in disability read the book.

The Social Model

There was one page, page 45, that struck a cord with me.  As I wrote in a recent post about how to be healthy, Oliver has a similar model about disability.

The Individual Model

The Individual Model is based on this:

  • Personal problem
  • Medical Help
  • Adjustment
  • Prejudice
  • Attitude
  • Control
  • Care
  • Policy
  • Individual adaptation

The Social Model

The Social Model of Disability that Oliver presents looks a little more like this:

The Models

A quick analysis of both models reveals starting differences between the two models.

The Impact

I think there is a major impact.  It moves away from ‘Me’ and ‘I’ to ‘Us’ and ‘We.’  This is where society needs to move in order to have a stronger, more robust, and equal and equitable world.

We must move from Me to We in all of our thinking!

This is essential to the sustainability and long-term success of each individual in the world’s one nation: the human nation.  We cannot blame individuals for everything.  We must look at the big-picture and notice the policies, rules, regulations, environment, and processes we have created that have led to certain events.

A Call To Action

What are your thoughts on Michael Oliver’s model?  Do you agree or disagree? What are some of the strengths?  What are some of the weaknesses?  How can you apply this in your day-to-day life?

Further Reading

Based on your reading of this blog post, you may also be interested: A Political, Social World.


These are one person’s thoughts and opinions.  I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.

Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: