Explain the social model of disability

Explain the social model of disability and how it relates to the case study below. Consider some common social myths about people with intellectual disabilities – particularly in relation to the capacity to parent, and the ability to learn.  Consider how these social myths might relate to the people in the case study below

  • 3. Discuss what are the important factors to consider when writing about people with disability using person-first language and examples

Include a slide with references that informed your answers.


My name is John I was born in Argentina and came to Australia with my parents when I was three years old.  My father died in a car accident when I was six and my mother Rose had to raise me on her own.  I didn’t do too well at school and dropped out when I was fifteen.  The school said I was mentally retarded, but I feel I just took longer to learn things than others.

I met Jean when I was in my late thirties.  I was a single man renting a unit in Oxley.  I was working at the meatworks in Riverview at the time.  Jean caught the same train as me every morning.  She worked at the Endeavour Foundation sheltered workshop at Wacol.  I remember she used to stare at me and keep giving me the eye.  She was a typical girl who liked having fun. We soon got to talking.  She seemed like fun.  I liked to go out drinking with my friends from work and I invited her along one Friday night.  After a rather heavy night of drinking, we took the train back to her mother’s place at Darra and had it on.  I had told Jean I wasn’t looking for anything serious at the time and she said she understood.

We kept seeing each other on the train to work after our big night. Jean kept asking me if we could go out again, but I kept putting it off.  I could see she wanted more, but I liked my freedom.  Jean isn’t that bright.  She kept saying to me that I was her boyfriend.  The more she said this, the more I wanted to run the other way, but my mother had always taught me to be nice to women.  I could see that Jean had an intellectual disability, and that she probably had been treated badly by other guys.

For a month or so after our date, the train trips to work involved me listening to Jean talk about our supposed relationship.  I ended up letting her think I was her boyfriend, as it seemed easier.  Things changed dramatically though when one morning Jean told me she was pregnant and that I was the dad.

From that point on I had to work out what was the right thing to do.  I spoke to my Mum, and eventually Jean and I moved in with my mother.  We had a baby boy who we named Corey.  Jean needed a lot of help from my Mum in looking after Corey.  In his first six months, Stephen would cry all day.  My Mum stepped in when Jean got frustrated, she would do most of the housework and cooking.  This meant I could still go to work at the meatworks.

As Corey has got older, we are noticing he is taking longer to do things. My Mum says that Corey was much more delayed in crawling and walking than I was as a child. He is now approaching three years old and is still not saying much. My Mum worries that he doesn’t respond to his name and spends hours playing on the toy phone. Corey also doesn’t eat much.  He seems more interested in chewing on paper in children’s books. He also doesn’t want to play very much with us or other children and seems to get caught up in his own little world.

While Corey may be different to other kids, Jean and I think my Mum worries too much.  I don’t want Corey to be treated differently or teased at school like I was.  I am also sick of hearing from Jean and Mum about how they don’t get on together.  Jean wants us to move out, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.  The Department of Child Safety says that we need Mum there or else Corey will have to go into care.  I feel a bit trapped by the whole situation.  I hadn’t planned to be a dad and sometimes the bickering between Mum and Jean gets too much for me, and so I escape to the pub.  My Mum wants to take a holiday back to India to see her family there.  I don’t think I could cope if she goes.

Jean has started to go to a playgroup at the local community centre.  This group is run by a social worker. The social worker wants to meet with all of us to talk about Corey and what supports through the NDIS may be available to him.  Jean used to get disability supports when she went to Endeavour, but since she has had the baby, she doesn’t have any help other than my mother.  Jean’s mother Sandy is no longer talking to her.

We are hoping that the NDIS can help us out a bit more.  Jean would like some money for a bit of jewellery and clothes. I would like to get my driver’s licence and a new car.

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