Disability Sector Challenges

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For the purpose of this essay the author will focus on three of the main challenges which she feels are most profound in the disability sector. The three challenges are; education, employment and work force and the lack of support for people with disability living in the community. To begin, the author will explain the definition of the term disability under the National Disability Act and the World Health Organization.

Under the National Disability Act, 2005 the term disability means the “substantial restriction in the capacity of the person to carry out a profession, business or occupation in the State or to participate in social or cultural life in the State because of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment”
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These challenges can vary from, discrimination in education, to lack of funding, lack of staffing, lack of support received from people with disability living in the community to lack of funding and finance in the sector.

In relation to the three challenges both the medical and social model are relevant. The medical model of disability has its focus on the lack of capacity to function. This emphasises impairment in physiological and psychological body functions and anatomical or biological structures (Oliver, 1996 pp. 30-43). Any intervention is approached from a medical perspective, with outcomes focused on health and illness. Although the medical model has a contribution to make in the field of intellectual disabilities for individuals with higher support needs, it can also restrict others from being involved in everyday activities and social interaction (Oliver, 1996). This may deny them the opportunity for creativity and self-expression and for reaching any potential they may have.
A social model of disability is associated with improving the quality of life of
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An example of this would be, the 21% budget cut which was decided upon the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) in 2011. Although the government has increased the numbers of Special Needs Assistants through Budget 2015, the previous tearing away of this service and lack of funding for the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) has resulted in poorer outcomes for children and young people with disabilities. In research carried out by the Association for Higher Education Access Disability shows that school-leavers with a disability are four times less likely to progress to higher education (Association for Higher Education Access Disability, 2012). This links in with the Census figures, which indicated that people who have a disability are three times more likely to leave school before they reach fifteen years (Census,
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