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Disability Studies

Chalkboard with Disability isn't the problem. What's the problem is convincing others that it's not a problem. Lais Kari


Disability Studies is an academic area of interdisciplinary inquiry, not an applied field. Therefore, it can be difficult for service practitioners to recognize how its scholarship can be used in their work. However, disability studies’ core concepts actually provide a philosophical framework that can support the development of a strong resource office. Without its foundational guidance, the service industry and we, as professional service providers, can easily maintain structures and systems that continue to marginalize disabled individuals.  

Read, Engage, Reflect




  • What main points do you take away from engaging with these materials?
  • Why are they significant for you?
  • What will you do differently as a result?

Why Does This Matter?

Service providers who are guided by disability studies scholarship tend to: 

  • Read about the history of disability and marginalization
  • Recognize and explore their power and privilege as professionals
  • Ask students’ for their ideas about how to remove barriers
  • Engage with the campus community to find systemic solutions to barriers
  • Consider ways to minimize steps for disabled students to receive accommodations 
  • Considers politicization and disability identity a part of student development

Service providers who do not consider disability studies scholarship in their work tend to: 

  • Put most of their resources into providing individual services 
  • Focus on students qualifying for accommodation and worry about over-accommodation 
  • Focus on compliance over usability
  • Frame the problem as belonging to the student
  • Refer students to professionals for remediation
  • Establish policies and procedures that are effective for their staff and faculty

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