Confident assertions 2

July 4, 2003

I was disappointed with Christopher Ball's reference to disabled people. In identifying self-esteem as "key to success in higher education", Ball says that this can be learnt and taught by anyone "with the possible exception of the severely disabled". This statement is a throwback to a medical model of disability in which the "problem" lies with the individual. The real issue is about creating an environment that recognises diversity and promotes equality of opportunity for all.

Higher education should be proud of its achievements, but there is still a lot to do to meet obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act Part 4. The National Disability Team is working with institutions and organisations to further understanding and develop good practice.

Highlighting a group of students is not a particularly good way of increasing their self-esteem.

Mike Adams
Director, National Disability Team

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