Social model of disability The social model of disability is a way of viewing the world, developed by disabled people. Independent Lives' strategy and vision are based on the social model. The model says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference. Barriers can be physical, like buildings not having accessible toilets. Or they can be caused by people's attitudes to difference, like assuming disabled people can't do certain things. The social model helps us recognise barriers that make life harder for disabled people. Removing these barriers creates equality and offers disabled people more independence, choice and control. If you would like to find out more about the social model of disability, click here.