Our Understanding of Disability

Real works with the social model of disability and the human rights model of disability.


Social Model

We believe people are disabled by unfair behaviours and practices in society, not by their impairment. We consider that our impairments are a natural part of human difference. We believe disability is a label placed on us by others. This is because of what they see as difference from “normal”. We do not need to be “cured”. We should not be expected to adjust our lives to fit in with others’ expectations.


Human Rights Model

We aim to make sure that disabled people achieve all of their human rights. We think it is important to act when human rights are not achieved.

We recognise the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities’. We aim to help our service users understand, access and enjoy these rights. In particular:

  • equality before the law without discrimination
  • the right to make their own decisions
  • the right to have their family life respected
  • freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
  • an inclusive education
  • a decent standard of living
  • support to get involved in society and live in the community
  • access to the places people want or need to go
  • access to the information they need


Who does this include

We consider our definition of disabled to include anyone who:

  • has an impairment
  • illness
  • injury
  • long-term health condition
  • may face barriers to being included in society, whether they self-identify as disabled or not

This includes, but is not limited to, an Equality Act 2010 definition of disability.

To avoid doubt the people we support includes:

  • deaf people
  • people with learning disabilities
  • people with sensory impairments
  • people with physical impairments or differences
  • people with mental health conditions
  • people with autistic spectrum conditions
  • people with long-term health conditions including:
    • diabetes
    • epilepsy
    • people who are HIV positive



We recognise:

  • having more than one impairment is complex
  • When disabled people also have other qualities protected under by the Equality Act they experience multiple difficulties
  • people have experience things differently if they:
    • are born with impairments
    • got their impairments through illness
    • got their impairments through injury
    • got their impairments through ageing
  • the impact of disability on people’s lives and opportunities varies. This happens especially where people are part of more than one equalities group. For example, disabled and also lesbian or gay, or from a minority ethnic group.
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