The chosen subgroup for this essay is disabled children, inthe UK, there are 800,000 children underthe age of 16. A disabled person has a physical or mental condition that limitstheir movements, senses, or activities (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/disability).
The most common physical disabilities include paralysis, blindness and deafnesswhereas the most common mental disabilities are autism and downs syndrome. Fordisabled children the most common disabilities impairments are social andbehavioural, learning disabilities and stamina,breathing and fatigue (http://www.dlf.org.
uk/content/key-facts). Disabilities are generally different in termsof how severe an individuals condition is, for example an individual with downsyndrome may be very limited in terms of the activities that are available tothem where as another individual who is relatively mildly affected may be ableto hold down a job and be more independent. Theorists argue that disabled people face social oppressionand that they experience a large amount of inequality in all areas of theirsocial life in terms of education, health care, employment, housing, and transport(Barneset al, 1999).The lack of transportation, leisure facilities and otherservice provided to disabled people can affect an individuals independence aswell as how they enjoy their day to day activities.
Most disabled people findit difficult to do things such as taking public transport and climbing up thestairs in their own home as well as in public places. According to equalityhumanrights.com in GreatBritian there was an overall increase between 2009-11 and 2012-14 in thepercentage of disabled and non-disabled adults who reported having difficultyaccessing services in the areas of health, benefits, tax, culture, sport andleisure. In 2012-14 this was 45.3% for disabled people compared with 31.
7% fornon-disabled people.Disabled people are also less likely to be in employmentthan non- disabled people. Although the UK Government Employment SupportProgrammes have been extensively reformed since 2010, there are still concernson how effective these programmes are for disabled people (www.equalityhumanrights.com). Oneof the main concerns is that 35% of non- disabled people are more likely than18% of disabled people to be employed using the Work Programme.
Even though there has been anincrease in both non-disabled and disabled people being in employment inBritain in 2015 to 2016, 47.6 % of disabled adults were in employment, incomparison to almost 80% of the non-disabled population. Furthermore 50% ofdisabled people who were unemployed but wanted to work could not find asuitable job to accommodate their needs (http://oro.open.ac.uk).Research also shows that 50% of disabled people are more likely to be employedin manual jobs and earn a lower than average wage. Disabled people have difficulties with their standard ofliving, there is a high proportion of disabled people living in poverty or are materiallycompared to someone that is not disabled.
Across the UK 59% of families with disabled children, fell below thehousehold income resulting to them living in material deprivation. Evidence hasalso shown that disabled people face inequalities in the education sector andthat disabled people are more likely to have no qualifications thannon-disabled people (Disability Rights Task Force,1999). The way children with disabilities are treated is likely tobe affected by the underlying perceptions of disability, the medical and socialmodel are two concepts. The medicalmodel interprets disability as a problem caused by a certain impairments orimpairments. Therefore, the role of the individual with the disability is toaccept the interventions being imposed on them to help them fit into society(McKenzie and McAllister 2010). Incontrast to the social model which states that society does not cater to peoplewith disabilities to live “normally” (Swain et al, 2004). This is often associated to physicalfacilities such as ramps, lifts and accessible toilets being provided.
It also associated with the attitude andvalues people in society hold on disabled people and how that could have aneffect on how this could enable or disable the individual’s participation.Scot (2010) showed that disabled children were given lessopportunities than their non- disabled peers to make their own decisions. Thesocial model states that disabled children are at a disadvantage in societysince society fails to adapt or support disabled children with the same chancesas their able- bodied peers. Normally the term vulnerability expressed the idea that anindividual is at risk of being harmed by something or someone that is of dangeror threat (Heaslip, 2013), and are often inferred from some weakness orinadequacy in the person concerned. However, according to Batchelor (2006) andWilletts (2010) when vulnerability relates to disability in such a way thatportrays them to be weak, inferior and dependent on people who are strongerthan them (Batchelor 2006, Willetts 2010).This portrays people with disabilities in a negative mannerand fails to acknowledge the fact that although certainly there are some areasin which disabled children are more vulnerable than their peers, they also havestrong qualities that their peers may not have. Vulnerability can cause people to mainly focus on what people cannot doand what they may be at risk from, instead of focusing on what an individualcan do and the potential they have to achieve their goals.
Sociologists have argued that disabled people experiencestigma, which is a strong label that can discredit and change the way anindividual is perceived. Erving Goffman(1959) had shown the ways in which others perceive an individual to beingregarded to how that individual present themselves on the outside. Goffman(1959) believed that even the most fundamental implications of labelling couldhave an impact on how an individual interacts in society and could result tothe being stigmatised for the rest of their life.
In accordance to labellingtheorist (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 socialgroup describes them that way.