Courses in Disability Studies: Learn More About Disabilities

Considering a Course in Disability Studies? 

If you would like to learn more about disabilities and how to support those with disabilities, a course in disability studies would be an excellent choice for you. Disability studies is a vibrant area of study that was developed over the past 40 years with academics presenting with a disability. It is both multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary, informed by scholarship from sociology, history, political science, literature, policy studies, law, cultural studies, economics, geography, anthropology, theology, philosophy, gender studies, the arts and media studies. The good news is there are so many courses in disability studies.  

About Disability Studies 

Using multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, disability studies sit at the intersection of many overlapping disciplines in sciences, humanities and social sciences. Courses in disability studies should encourage a curriculum that enables students, activists, artists, practitioners, teachers and researchers to engage the subject matter from various disciplinary perspectives. Disability studies is all about challenging the view of disability as an individual deficit or defect that can be remedied solely through rehabilitation or medical intervention by experts and other service providers. Rather, a course in disability studies should look at theories and models that examine political, cultural, social and economic factors that define disability and help to determine collective and personal responses to difference.  

At the same time, disability studies should work to de-stigmatise illness, disease and impairment, including those that cannot be explained or measured by biological science. While acknowledging that medical intervention and research can be useful, disability studies should interrogate the connects between stigmatising disability and medical practice. It also involves encouraging participation by disabled faculty and students and making sure they have intellectual and physical access. In addition, it is about prioritising leadership positions held by disabled people. At the same time, it is crucial to create an environment where contributions from anyone who shares the above goals are welcome. 

What Will I Learn? 

A course in disability studies will help you to develop your critical awareness of the factors operating in the world of disability. You will also become aware of the ways in which various different issues overlap and explore ways to work around these. Also, you will be encouraged to look at both your own attitudes and the attitudes of other people towards those with disabilities. You will be provided with a foundation in disability awareness, in particular the social model of disability and you will be introduced to the concept of ‘sociological imagination’ and thinking sociologically. The extent to which Irish law currently caters for the rights of those with disabilities will be examined.  

Education approaches such as integration, inclusive education and segregated education for those with disabilities will help you to gain an understanding of the relationship between the economy, education and the demands of the labour force and how they can exclude disabled individuals from participating in the workplace. The course will examine the more practical issues in the lives of those with disabilities and explore the concept of social and disability exclusion from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will be introduced to the discipline of psychology and learn about the concept of negotiated learning. 

If you’re serious about doing a course in disability studies, check out courses near you in the national course finder.  

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