While disability continues to be a matter of concern in contemporary society, people are in continuous attempts to see the phenomenon become less felt in the society today. These attempts however are hindered by the fact that the disabled perceive them differently. According to research, the disabled individuals may not get the sense in what the activists and the movements are trying to achieve. The hindrances posed by the existence of the disabled have yet to be solved in a manner that will not impact negatively on them. In point of fact, the people that are disabled may take the efforts aimed at eliminating characteristics of disability as a move that could stigmatize them. In reality however, the people carrying out such efforts do not want to stigmatize the disabled, but want to prevent the increase in the number of the disabled people in the coming generations. As one can expect, the disabled people must be involved in such efforts because actually, there are some disabilities that are genetic in nature. This paper is an attempt to explain the complexities surrounding the disability studies surrounding the elimination debate.
Respecting the Disabled While Eliminating Disability
The mad pride movement is among the attempts that have sparked confusion to the attempts to eliminate disability. Before focusing on the attempts to eliminate disability, it is crucial to understand what the whole thing entails. Apparently, eliminating disability is a multiplicity of attempts aimed at reducing the number of disabled people in the generations to come. Among the most common efforts used in eliminating such disabilities is using education and enlightenment efforts. Enlightenment refers to the process of telling people that which is likely to cause disabilities so that they can avoid them. For instance, enlightening people on the need to base their decisions to marry on a genetic makeup is a useful way of making the disability bearing genes disappear. While the disabled people’s movements are strongly against bio-medical approaches (Edwards, 1997, pp.407), it is a reality that the sociological approach must be combined with the sociological approach in addressing medical disability.
Contrary to common misconception, it is possible, and indeed easy to eliminate disability while respecting the disabled. The approach is quite straightforward. For instance, to achieve such respect and elimination efforts, the people can, through a sociological approach, inform and enlighten the disabled people the importance of having the menace eliminated in their children and all future generations. What is supposed to be done is to have the disabled people own the campaigns. In point of fact, making the disabled people view the campaigns as their own is the most effectual way of reducing resistance to change. Resistance to change is a common phenomenon in social circles. The most appropriate way of dealing with the problem is to have the people that will be subjected to the change own the change. This can be achieved through a number of ways. First and foremost, the people seeking to achieve the change must respect disabled people and accept them as part of the normal society.
Acceptance of the disabled people as part of the normal society takes the sociological approach to achieve. Through the sociological approach, the people seeking to eliminate disability should incorporate the disabled people into the normal positions in society. What this means is that the disabled should be able to access the employment opportunities and other social amenities. This will help to make the disabled feel like part of the normal society. In point of fact, people with disabilities will always feel stigmatized if they are secluded. If they are incorporated into the society, there is likelihood that they will be less stigmatized and will have a higher self esteem, which will allow them to embrace the disability elimination efforts. According to Beck (2009) in his narration of Expecting Adam, stigmatization, depression and isolation stress is one among the primary negative effects of disability. Such depression and stigmatization can make the disabled people decline to participate in the efforts of having.
Apparently, the main problem arises when the people seeking to eliminate disability prioritize medical approaches to the sociological approaches. For instance, taking a scientific approach to deafness can be stigmatizing and can cause resistance from the deaf people. Edwards (1997, pp. 407) defines audism as the attitudes that result in the medicalization of the cultural condition of deafness. He further explains how such medicalization faces resistance from the deaf people. The message Edwards is attempting to send is that the deaf people are not in favor of the medicalization, but rather the socialization of the phenomenon. After effectively applying the sociological theory and making the people accepted as a part of the normal society, the medical approach can effectively be applied.
The resistance of the medical model is further explained by Lewis (1997, pp. 160) where he says “. . . protesting the international domination of biological approaches to psychiatry and the ever increasing and widespread use of prescription drugs to treat mental and emotional crises”. Clearly, this quote is an indication that the biological or the biomedical approach should not be prioritized. Instead, it should be subordinated to the sociological approach since; it is through the sociological approach that the principles of the medical approach can be accepted by the disabled without making them feel unwanted. Among the medical approaches to be used is the education of expectant mothers to take prenatal precautions as to prevent the fetus from being deformed. Such things to be avoided include smoking. Another approach is to advise the disabled people on how consider genetics before considering marriage. Edwards (1997, pp.411) argues that people view medical technology as destructive technology.
In conclusion, it is quite clear that the only way through which the traits of disability can be eliminated without disrespecting the disabled people is through applying the sociological and the biomedical approaches in that order. In straightforward terms, the sociological approach should be used to gain the acceptance and support of the disabled people. Such support is paramount since the disabled people are directly involved in the reduction of disability characteristics. What I find most satisfactory about the essay is that it borrows from various peer reviewed literature and attempts to strike a balance between the sociological and the biomedical approaches. The weakest point about the essay is that it does not give the activities that enhance the sociological approach. If I had more time, I would seek to address the particular activities that can be used to enhance the sociological and the medical approaches. In writing this paper, I used a keen and detailed synthesis of the articles and a personal reflection.
Beck, M. (2009). Expecting Adam. In R. M. Baird, S. E. Rosenbaum, and S. K. Toombs (Eds.), Disability: the social, political, and ethical debate (pp. 83-93). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Edwards, R. A. R. (1997). "Hearings aids are not deaf": A historical perspective on technology in the deaf world. In L. J. Davis (Ed.), The disability studies reader (3rd ed.) (pp. 403-416). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
Lewis, B. (1997). A mad fight: Psychiatry and disability activism. In L. J. Davis (Ed.), The disability studies reader (3rd ed.) (pp. 160-176). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.