Learn to Bring Disability Studies Into Your Courses

International scholar Dr. Mara Sapon-Shevin will lead a workshop at Arizona State University April 24-25 on revising syllabi and incorporating disability studies into more courses.

Topics will include conceptual framing of disabilities and reviewing the social and cultural constructions of disability.

For more information on the workshop and how to register, click the image below:

Disability Studies Workshop copy


The Washington Post

Autistic boy allegedly abused by two girls in St. Mary’s considered them friends, mom says

A Southern Maryland teen diagnosed with autism in elementary school still thinks two girls charged with continuously assaulting him are his friends, according to the boy’s mother. St. Mary’s County police say the 15 and 17-year-old girls allegedly assaulted the boy from December to February of this year, sometimes taping the assaults on their cell phones. The 16-year-old boy, however, does not appear traumatized by the situation. Read more.

Insight Into Diversity

Two Lenses, One Focus: Teaching About Disability

Karen Meyer, who is deaf, uses experiences from her longtime reporting position for ABC 7 in Chicago to teach college courses on disability issues and awareness. Meyer teaches two courses at DePaul University– Disability Culture highlighting real life situations and Chicago’s Disabled Community in which students learn about local disability service organizations. In one class exploration, students experienced what it’s like to navigate Chicago’s Navy Pier in a wheelchair. Learn more.

The New York Times

Disability Studies: A New Normal

Disabilities Studies courses, certificates and programs of studies are emerging in colleges across the U.S., according to a report from the New York Times. About 35 colleges and universities now offer the program in both undergraduate and graduate coursework. According to the report, students learn about disability history, theory and ethics, among other courses. Read more.

Boston Globe

OPINION: Digital Education Shouldn’t Bypass Disabled 

While building and construction standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act have greatly improved physical accessibility for the disabled community, the technology and education realms still lag behind, according to this column by Kyle Shachmut.

Shachmut, the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts, writes about his personal experiences, as both student and teacher, navigating the world of higher education as a blind person. He calls for an initiative that would prompt technology manufacturers and purveyors of education to create equal access to digital curriculum for disabled students as society moves ever more into a digital world. Read more.

The New York Times

“Campus as Obstacle Course”

Alex Watters, a graduate of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, takes Roger Martin on an accessibility tour of his former campus. Watters damaged his spine soon after beginning his freshman year, which caused difficulties — physically and otherwise — upon returning to school, according to the piece. The article discusses everything from Watters’ accident to his advocacy for disability issues to his advice for future college students with disabilities.

One important note about the writer: perhaps in order to gain a better sense of Watters’ daily experience, Martin navigates campus in a manual wheelchair.

Media Workers with Disabilities Needed for Research Study

Melissa Sgroi, chair of the Communications Department at Misericordia University is doing a study on media workers with disabilities and is seeking media professionals with disabilities of any type who took at least one journalism or communications course in college (no degree required). They must have had a disability as a student and are now working in some facet of the media — TV, radio, PR, graphic design, advertising, etc.

The study is important because there is no literature addressing media professionals with disabilities who made the transition from college to work (and very little about students in journalism/mass communications education). Sgroi believes the results will shed light on their experiences and thus help educators and others improve these experiences in the future.

Full announcement below

Melissa Sgroi, a doctoral candidate at Wilkes University who is also a communications educator and former print and broadcast journalist, is conducting a research study titled “The Essence of the College-to-Career Experience of Media Professionals with Disabilities.” The study seeks to describe the experience of media professionals with disabilities who took course work in journalism or mass communications in higher education and successfully made the transition from college to the media workplace. A degree is not required.

Media professionals with disabilities are invited to share their perceptions of their experiences in college and their careers. This knowledge and insight may help educators, media professionals, and industry leaders improve the educational and workplace experiences of both students and workers. You must be willing to participate in an hour-long interview and submit a media product that you feel in some way represents your experiences. Some information in the interview may be considered sensitive or personal in nature. All information will be kept strictly confidential and your name will not be used in results or reports.

To qualify, you will:

  • Be a full-time, part-time, freelance, contract, retired, or currently unemployed worker in any business or non-profit organization in which your work directly contributes to the creation of media products.
  • Have a disability.
  • Have taken journalism or mass communications course work in postsecondary education at a two or four-year degree-granting institution in the U.S. A major or degree is not required.
  • Have had a disability as a postsecondary student.
  • Be a legally independent resident of the United States.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.

All participants will receive lunch at a restaurant of their choice with a maximum value of $20. Please contact Melissa Sgroi at melissa.sgroi@wilkes.edu or (570) 674-6744 to receive more information.


Young adult with disability an inspiration to students

Several high school students listen attentively to the young man standing before them. Not long ago, Jesse Riddle, who has a learning disability, had been sitting where they are.

But with drive and determination, he is living his dream of helping people with disabilities find employment. In the process, he has become an inspiration for the students of Osceola County.

Downtown Devil

Student doesn’t let blindness hold her back from pursuing her dreams

A girl sits on a couch, laughing and smiling frequently. Her colorful, bright dress matches her vibrant personality. A black Labrador, Olivia, is sprawled on the carpet contentedly. She’s never too far away from her owner, criminal justice sophomore Katherine Chavez.

In conversation, Katherine has a peculiar tendency to look above the head of whomever she’s speaking with, like she expects the person to be taller than he or she really is. It’s a rough subject to bring up, as if calling attention to the elephant in the room. But why does she do that?

The answer: Katherine can’t see.