What the disability is?

There are many ways of defining and understanding disability.

This is relevant to both – individuals and social institutions or Countries and international organizations.

Those who carry out the models of acting based on social policies, should pay their attention on the definition of disability.

Analyzing the changes in thinking during the past few years, it can be noticed that the perception of disability in medical terms is no longer on the first place but it is shifted towards the social consequences of this phenomenon. The main approach for many decades have seen a person with disability mostly as someone who requires treatment and support – usually for charity and rehabilitation. It took away the right to self-determination and autonomy. Although there are following changes, this approach is still noticeable in common thinking and sometimes even in institutions, often leading to the appearance of mechanisms of excluding people with disabilities from social life.

However, thanks to the involvement of disabled people themselves and the organizations created by them, there is a huge change in perception of the person with disability which is seen as a citizen who should be given all the rights, especially the right to self-determination and autonomy. In this approach, a disabled person becomes an independent actor on the stage of social life, having the same civil rights as the able-bodied, subject to the same social obligations. He/she is not anymore the recipient of benefits or the object of charity, but becomes a full-fledged participant in social life.

This way of thinking provides adequate adjustments for disabled students at University of Warsaw.