Social Valorisation Theory is a concept that has gained significant attention in recent years. It is a theory that argues that individuals with disabilities are often excluded from society, and that this exclusion is not due to their disabilities but to social attitudes towards them. The theory suggests that social attitudes towards individuals with disabilities can be changed by valuing their unique contributions to society.

The Origins of Social Valorisation Theory

Social Valorisation Theory was first proposed by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, a Canadian-American psychologist, in the 1970s. Wolfensberger argued that individuals with disabilities were often devalued and excluded from society due to negative attitudes towards them. He proposed that by valuing the unique contributions of individuals with disabilities, society could become more inclusive and accepting.

The Core Principles of Social Valorisation Theory

There are several core principles of Social Valorisation Theory:

The Impact of Social Valorisation Theory

Social Valorisation Theory has had a significant impact on disability policy and practice. It has led to a shift away from institutional care towards community-based care for individuals with disabilities. The theory has also influenced attitudes towards individuals with disabilities, leading to greater acceptance and inclusion in society.

The Criticisms of Social Valorisation Theory

While Social Valorisation Theory has been influential, it has also faced criticism. Some argue that the theory places too much emphasis on the individual’s contribution to society, rather than focusing on their inherent worth as a person. Others argue that the theory does not adequately address the structural barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from fully participating in society.


In conclusion, Social Valorisation Theory is a powerful concept that has had a significant impact on disability policy and practice. While it has faced criticism, its core principles of valuing individuals with disabilities and promoting inclusion and integration remain important today. By embracing these principles, society can become more inclusive and accepting of individuals with disabilities.