Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 26, Issue 2–3, pp 141–158 | Cite as

Reconsidering the Social Location of the Medical Model: An Examination of Disability in Parenting Literature

  • Colin Ong-DeanEmail author


This paper challenges the view that there is one medical model of disability monolithically and oppressively imposed on disabled people. Because the presence of disability may be ambiguous in any given case, multiple actors, lay and professional, may invoke particular medical models of disability and advance competing claims about an individual’s disabilities and related needs. The literature for parents of disabled children is seen as a resource on which parents can draw in making claims about their children’s disabilities and disability-related needs. Particular attention is given to the assumptions that this literature makes about the identity, resources and dispositions of the audience. Ultimately, these assumptions favor disability claims made by white, highly educated, upper-income parents.


advice books autism disability studies learning disabilities medical model of disability parenting social stratification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology MC 0533University of California-San DiegoLa Jolla

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