Developmental Social Work and People with Disabilities


in Social Work and Social Development

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732326
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863471 | DOI:
Developmental Social Work and People with Disabilities

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This chapter discusses what has been called the rights-based, developmental approach to social work with people with disabilities. Drawing on social development ideas, the chapter focuses on the campaigns of the disability rights movement to normalize the lives of people with disabilities and to ensure their integration into economic, cultural and political activities. It emphasizes three aspects of the right based developmental approach, namely: the emergence and institutionalization of disability rights; the mainstreaming of people with disabilities into community living; and finally their engagement in the productive economy. Referring to statistical data and case examples, it shows that much more needs to be done to implement the rights based developmental approach. In addition, outmoded “expert” and medical approaches still exert considerable influence and need to be challenged.

Keywords: independent living; rights-based approach; disability; social work; social development

Chapter.  8693 words. 

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