The essay will begin by looking at what normality and social construction is and how it works. To explain social construction I am using the specific topic of disabled children. I will look at some theoretical perspectives
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HOW CONVINCING DO YOU FIND THE ARGUMENT THAT NORMALITY IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED. DISCUSS IN RELATION TO ONE OR MORE AREAS WITH WHICH YOU ARE FAMILIAR. I am convinced about the argument that Normality is socially constructed. This essay will look at how Normality is socially constructed in relation to disability and how it can impact on their life chances and choices in later life. The essay will begin by looking at what normality and social construction is and how it works. To explain social construction I am using the specific topic of disabled children. I will look at some theoretical perspectives on how social construction works, Mead and Cooley and their labelling theory, labelling theorists and their theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy, I have explored the medical and social models of disability. Through out this essay I will include different published writings these will include media newspapers, an academic journal and various Internet sources, and look at how the media plays such a large part in how we are socially constructed. We can begin this essay by thinking about what is 'normal' we can argue that our concept of Normality is gotten through the media, and that all children at birth are labelled and the society is the perpetuating force behind the list of all ism's (such as sexism, racism) of all people who do not fit into the mainstreams of ideas of 'normal' but that is an essay in itself. The notion of Normality is crucial in this area of disability, since those powerful, dominant groups have social constructed it. Society has constructed norms and how disability has been portrayed as a deviation from such a norm.
Me is the person society sees you as. Mead sees that we internalise who we are and what we should do through the response of others to our actions. We interpret responses from others using our social knowledge of meanings. Mead also felt the self develops through learning and socialisation. Labelling theorists came up with the term self-fulfilling prophecy to describe what happens to labelled individuals. Being labelled as something outside society's norms damages a person's social identity and self-image and a labelled individual may begin to act out their label. This can have devastating effects on a disabled child for example, if a child with learning difficulties is branded as temperamental and hard to control and begins to self prophesise then imagine what could occur in the classroom. As children begin to encounter difficulties in schools they are usually referred to experts who are asked to identify the child's difficulty. Often the response is to give the child's difficulty a label. This label increases the child's chances of being referred to a special education class. Today only if a child has been statemented can or will the funds be found to provide the necessary help. If a child has for example a disability such as dyslexia then they will require some one to one help and possibly would benefit from adaptations and aids in making their educational milestones possible. The new disability bill in Wales and England Jan 2000 have made the following provisions for education of disabled people in education from nursery through to higher education. It will become unlawful to treat a child less favorably on grounds of their disability, fail to take steps to change policy, practice or procedures which place a disabled child at a
This is because if the majority of adults who are able bodied and of an average learning capacity, are socially constructed to think that beauty as the media portray it, and intelligence as something that can be measured simply by using an IQ test, don't see and interact with disabled people on a normal daily basis then how can disabled children ever be socially constructed in any other way than they are today. If the new disability provisions are properly funded there should be no reason why disabled children of tomorrow cannot be fully integrated into not what are mainstream schools but just schools that provide an education regardless of differences. The disabled people's movement believes the 'cure' to the problem of disability depend on the restructuring of society. Unlike medically based 'cures', which focus on the individual and their impairment, this is an achievable goal and to the benefit of everyone. 'Social model', suggests those disabled people's personal and collective disadvantage is due to a complex form of institutional discrimination. Social workers activities should be directed at enabling and empowering individuals and groups to overcome the disabling effects of such barriers. In order to overcome this disabling effect of disadvantage and discrimination, support should be offered in a way that allows people to exercise choice and control, by encouraging self- determination, enabling people to become as independent as possible, taking part in mainstream community life rather than being consign to segregated settings (Oliver, 1991). Therefore, to challenge discrimination against disabled people, we must begin in our schools. Our fight for the inclusion of all children, however 'severely' disabled, in one, mainstream, education system, will not make sense unless the difference between the 'social' and the 'medical' or individual model of disability is understood.
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