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the effects of normalizing post secondary institutional practices and social relations on students who have multiple disabilities and complex identities( file size: 464k )

Turner, A. E.

Medium Type:

Mental health, learning disabilities, post secondary students, normalization, barriers, disability services, social justice, disability rights, oppression, cultural model, social model of disability

Dr. Gloria Filax

This paper will address the effects of normalizing post secondary institutional practices and social relations on students who have multiple disabilities and complex identities. The paper will include the power and knowledge theory which has its origins within the work of Michel Foucault the French philosopher. Also included is the Critical Disability Theory which originated from academic studies and professional education in the Western world in the 1970s and continued into the 21st century. Within the Critical Disability there is an increase in the abilities of people with disabilities to access their civil rights and have a quality of life. This paper will also look at the Social model of disability that had its origins in the United Kingdom in the early 1970ís by groups of disabled people who had taken charge of their own organization. The cultural model of disability had its origins within the social model of disability but its focus is on the experiences of the people with disabilities and how they are in control of their own lives and how they manage their own lives. The inclusion of the concept of Intersectionality that applies when a marginalized group of people have many intersecting problems that make their lives uncomfortable and hard to manage is also included in this paper. This is important because the writer of this paper has many intersecting social identities that she has had to manage throughout her academic experiences while at three different universities. There is an extensive discussion regarding the topic of Direct and Indirect Discrimination, Denial of Accommodations, and many new and innovative projects that have been successfully implemented at many colleges and universities by students who have disabilities that have improved the relations between the students with disabilities and the various departments that they encounter while at the colleges and universities where they are students. A very important point that is stressed towards the success of students with disabilities is that they learn to advocate for themselves and learn all they can in regards to communicating to others about their disabilities. The implementation of seminars on these important advocacy issues should be included within the responsibilities of the disability service departments at the colleges and universities. A large segment of the paper includes the topic of learning disabilities and mental health which the author of the paper has encountered throughout her experience at three separate universities. The inclusion of various ways instructors, service providers at the colleges and universities should be working with this very vulnerable population includes documentation, accommodations, involvement of faculty members, orientations tailored to students with disabilities, and the disclosure of disabilities.