Economic Model of Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – over 20 years old – has left a positive imprint on the state of accessibility in the United States, and yet it has had unintended consequences. As yesterday’s New York Times article tells it, New York City’s small businesses have been hit by lawsuits for violating the ADA,…

Read More Suing In The Name of Accessibility…Or Profit

This week, I came across two articles on my feed that illustrated the friction between two overlapping approaches in the disability market: protecting people with disabilities by law, and encouraging people with disabilities to be independent and work for themselves.

Read More Blind Entrepreneurs: Should Their Businesses Be Protected by Law?

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Advertising is a powerful medium that influences and redefines culture. Be more inclusive of people with disabilities in advertisements, and this market will not only be culturally engaged, but motivated to contribute with their wallets. Businesses that recognize this early on reap the rewards of including this large demographic – and remain competitive in an U.S. economy that will be weighed down by the pressures of increased Social Security payouts, higher health care expenses, and changing preferences of an increasingly older country.

Read More Using Advertising To Engage, Not Alienate, Consumers With Disabilities

In advertising, the inclusion of people with disabilities is a double-edged sword: is it intended to highlight the disability, or the person, or both? If the disability is highlighted, it is usually because the business is selling products that accommodate the disability. For companies that do not directly sell to people with disabilities, utilizing a person with a disability in an advertisement is a delicate exercise that may backfire.

Read More Hey, That Limb Is Missing! Debunking Disability Stereotypes In Advertising

Disability issues have undergone dramatic changes in the last several decades, and sociologists have attempted to frame these changes in the context of two well-known models of disability: the medical model and the social model. Yet, given the issues that consumers with disabilities deal with on a daily basis, these models do a poor job of communicating the economic value of the disability market to businesses. A different model, the economic model of disability, tries to bridge the two popular models and reframes the disability market in terms that better explain the disability market to businesses.

Read More The Economic Model of Disability: A Powerful Framework for Business Decisions