Vol. 3, Issue 6, Part O (2017)
Disability, technology and independent living
Pankaj Singh Kushwaha
Disability is an integral part of human diversity. Basically, it denotes the physical differences and points out the exclusion from the mainstream strata of the society. Disability discourse has been taking place since the World War II. Those debates were around the health of the individuals, normalcy of human bodies and similar ability to perform the activities. Consequently, the disabled people/persons with disabilities were characterised as people with health deficit or imperfect bodied individuals. This clinical perception was challenged by the Disability Rights Movement in Europe. Mainly, they have refuted the physical deficit perspective of the disability. This fresh emerging discourse over disability does define disability as a social construction and social marginalisation. After these two opposing understandings, the debate over the idea of qualitative life starts. The followers of Medical Model, who purely stick with health would believe that the heavy medical intervention can provide qualitative life to those individuals who are suffering from physical pain and functional restriction. Furthermore, they argued that ‘normalisation’ is the only way to get rid of physical pain to overcome individuals’ inabilities. While, the Social Model of Disability which were purely concerned with the social process of marginalisation argued that, the idea of ‘qualitative life’ does not exist. It is purely constructed and spread as a normal feature of human beings. After this stark controversy, technology played a fundamental role in the life of disabled. It enabled them to use facilities like mobile phones, computers, Internet, Social Media, E-mail etc in their daily routine. Technology, not only has credited a sense of independence in the life of disabled individuals, but also has encouraged them to include themselves in ordinary society which includes education, employment and so forth. In this brief paper, I would try to address the debate over conceptualisation of disability, mainly the Medical Model of Disability and Social Model of Disability. In the second section, I would present a succinct discussion over the idea of qualitative life with regard to the persons with disabilities. In the third section, I will give attention to the technological contribution to the disabled community and attempt to conclude this debate by discussing neutral contribution of technology. It will also focus on how the technology enhances the independent living of disabled individuals. While addressing the issues above, I will concentrate on the practical difficulties, restrictions and limitations concerning disabled individuals rather than following the ideologically bounded rationality.
How to cite this article:
Pankaj Singh Kushwaha. Disability, technology and independent living. International Journal of Applied Research. 2017; 3(6): 1032-1037.