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Handbook of Disability Studies

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Handbook of Disability Studies

Gary L. Albrecht & Katherine Seelman & Michael Bury

Pub. date: 2001 | Online Pub. Date: June 22, 2009 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412976251 | Print ISBN: 9780761916529 | Online ISBN: 9781412976251 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Chapter 4: Definitions, Models, Classifications, Schemes, and Applications

Barbara M. Altman

Definitions, models, classifications, schemes, and applications It has been observed that there is no neutral language with which to discuss disability (Williams 1996; Zola 1993; Linton 1998), and yet the tainted language itself and the categories used influence the definition of the problem (Williams 1996). For that reason, the objective of this chapter—to define disability—is a daunting one. Thus, while reading this chapter, I ask that readers try to suspend their own preconceived notions of the meaning of the term disability to realize the commonalities and differences among and between definitions and the usefulness of this variety. Part of the difficulty of defining disability has to do with the fact that disability is a complicated, multidimensional concept. Because of the extensive variety in the nature of the problem, a global definition of disability that fits all circumstances, though very desirable, is in reality nearly impossible (Slater et al. 1974). Attempts ...

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