Rita Vaičekauskaitė


Plenty of factors define the social situation of people with spinal injuries. However, only few discrete factors get appropriate attention in the scientific researches. Furthermore, the question we state is whether the scientific researches present the true situation of people with disabilities in particular of people with spinal injuries.
According to Šliogeris, the problem is that research could create new reality which is based on the discovery not of given, existing world but on the invention of the new world and its design. That is why very often the object of academic recognition is an artificial construct, which has nothing in common with existential and everyday experience [22]. Indeed, in the studies of disabilities we do lack attention for real social experience due to the long-lasting tradition to explore disability as a pathology or deviance. However, in all countries of contemporary society it is a strong orientation to move away from clinical (medical) paradigm towards social paradigm in understanding and evaluating disability.
Furthermore, qualitative research methodology is very a lot promising in exploring situation of people with disabilities as a true one because knowledge are based on social experience of people’s life quotidian. Indeed, the method of interview we used in our research is very helpful to gather data from real experiences of people with disabilities. However, the interview has no objective meaning and there are no standard methods to arrive at essential meanings and deeper implications of what is said in an interview [26]. Ruškus [18] analysis of disability representations through long historical course tells us that disability in particular in press is represented in stereotypical, stigmatized, infantilized terms, with a lot of negative attitudes and ambivalence. Therefore, it is reasonable to draw back our attention to discussion about possibility to reflect true image of reality.
People suffering from spinal traumas find themselves in a very difficult situation. A medical model rejecting individuality considers these people to be passive receivers of health care services. Social model interprets disability not as a problem of the person himself but as a complex combination of circumstances, most of them being of social origin and belonging to social environment. Thus, solution of a problem requires social actions. Most people with spinal injuries have motor disability for the rest of their lives. Most often such people used to be energetic, active, resolute, had enormous personal and professional potency. After sustaining injuries in traffic accidents, when diving, jumping or in any other risky situations, these people become dependent on a wheelchair and lose the possibilities of self-expression in the society. Thus, they suffer from psychological problems (depression, insecurity, and despair), social isolation (limited possibilities to use resources, facing environment, which is not adjusted to their needs as well as negative attitudes of people) and other problems. A qualitative research was carried. Thus, 25 respondents were selected for the research from all 10 counties in Lithuania. The number of males and females is similar, i. e. 13 females and 10 males.

Keyword(s): disability, social, spinal injury.
DOI: 10.5200/200
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