This week and next week my posts will be a little shorter than usual because of two activities that can take up a lot of time and energy for disabled folks and their caregivers: (1) arguing with doctors and insurance companies and (2) undergoing medical treatment. This week arguing is the big activity and next week it’s surgery. Ooops, did I say arguing? I meant advocating.
So far this week, I’ve logged about two hours each day arguing or doing research to support my arguments that my husband needs a particular appointment, medication, or treatment. A lot of it has been around getting my husband an orientation for his new motorized wheelchair, which we were told would automatically happen when the wheelchair was delivered. Instead, the wheelchair was dropped off, we were handed a manual, the headrest was adjusted, and that was it. The wheelchair is a very complicated machine and the manual is very dense. My husband’s disabilities make it hard for him to read. We’ve figured out a few of the features, mostly by trial and error, but I’m sure there are things we haven’t yet figured out. An ongoing issue is adjusting the foot rests, which are high enough that my husband accidentally smashed one into the oven door, breaking the door into a million little pebbles of glass. We obviously need the orientation!
For this week’s shorter post, I am sharing some of my favorite sources for folks who want to learn more about disability and accessibility in the classroom (and beyond). There are many brilliant people writing about disability these days (yay!) and my aim here is not to mention all of them. The sources I’m highlighting here are good ones, I think, for folks who are newish to thinking about disability and accessibility—in other words, these are some good starting points.
On the less scholarly side of things, here are my favorites:
- “When You Talk About Banning Laptops, You Throw Disabled Students Under the Bus” by Katie Rose Guest Pryal – This article can help you understand how seemingly “common sense” classroom requirements may actually disable some students.
- “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much” by Stella Young (TED Talk) – Young explains what’s wrong with framing disabled folks as “inspiring.”
- Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (film) – This documentary follows some disabled teenagers who attended a camp for disabled kids in the ‘70s as they grow up and become disabilities rights activists.
On the more scholarly side of things, here are a few articles and books:
- “Where We Are: Disability and Accessibility—Moving Beyond Disability 2.0 in Composition Studies” by Tara Wood, Jay Dolmage, Margaret Price, and Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson – This article focuses on teachers of writing, but the ideas can be applied easily to many other disciplines
- Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education by Jay Dolmage – This book examines structural ableism in academia.
- Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life by Margaret Price – This book explores how “mental illness” is understood and constructed in academia.
And some authors I recommend, in addition to the authors of the works I’ve noted above: