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Enhancing Diversity: Thinking Differently About Disability Clayton Keller. Disability Symposium Creighton University April 21, 2005. Enhancing Diversity: Thinking Differently About Disability. “How can you be a teacher?”

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Enhancing diversity thinking differently about disability clayton keller l.jpg

Enhancing Diversity: Thinking Differently About DisabilityClayton Keller

Disability Symposium

Creighton University

April 21, 2005


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Enhancing Diversity: Thinking Differently About Disability

  • “How can you be a teacher?”

  • An uphill struggle to have the issues of educators with disabilities recognized and addressed within a special education professional organization


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Overview Of My Talk

  • Different ideas about disabilities

    • Descriptions

    • Implications for diversity efforts

  • Fostering opportunities

    • Justice

    • Education

    • Advice


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Ideas About Disability

  • A typical or lay view

    • Person = disability

    • Language

      • The handicapped

      • The blind musician

      • Suffers from…

      • Wheelchair-bound

    • Implications for diversity

      • Diversity as a value doesn’t honor what is viewed as unfortunate or missing


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Ideas About Disabilities

  • An enlightened view

    • Person ≠ disability

      • Person is the same as everyone else

      • Person first, then the disability

    • Language

      • The person with disabilities

      • The teacher who is deaf

    • Implications for diversity

      • Diversity as a value doesn’t honor what is viewed as the same


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Ideas About Disabilities

  • An environmental view

    • Person ₪ environment ≈ disability

      • Emphasis is on changing the environment

        • American Association on Mental Retardation’s classification of mental retardation “focuses on the pattern and intensity of supports needed to enable a person to participate in valued settings and activities” (http://www.aamr.org/sis/pdf/sis_overview_nasddd.pdf )

          • Intermittent, Limited, Extensive, Pervasive

    • Implications for diversity

      • Diversity as a value doesn’t honor changing differences


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Ideas About Disabilities

  • An activist and rights-based view

    • Disability → person

    • Language

      • Disabled person

    • Implications for diversity

      • All of what diversity as a value honors is present


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Ed Roberts

  • Parallels in Time: A History of Developmental Disabilities

    • Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities


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Creighton’s Mission

  • Service to others, the importance of family life, the inalienable worth of each individual, and appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity are core values of Creighton.

  • …Creighton’s education is directed…to the promotion of justice.


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Fostering Opportunities

  • What constitutes justice?

    • “[This book] is based on the view that while notions of justice have always been implicit in the discussion of the theoretical, policy and practical issues concerning the education of people with disabilities, these notions are seldom made explicit and subjected to sustained analysis….[W]hile there is widespread recognition that as a group people with disabilities have been subjected to social practices which are fundamentally unjust, there is a lack of clarity on what constitutes injustice and what would constitute a socially just community for people with disabilities.”

      • Rizvi & Christensen, 1996, Disability and the Dilemmas of Education and Justice, p. 2


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Fostering Opportunities

  • What might constitute justice in the education of students with disabilities at Creighton University?

  • Such justice will not consist of

    • Charity

    • Service

  • Such justice will require compliance with laws like Section 504 and the ADA


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Fostering Opportunities

  • Such justice should go beyond compliance with the laws

    • Legal compliance may not be enough

  • The education should be invitational

    • Anticipating needs and having many accommodations or supports in place normally versus solely providing them only when asked


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Universal Instructional Design

  • Universal Design: The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design(North Carolina State University, Center for Universal Design)

  • Universal Instructional Design: A pedagogical analogy

    • “[Such qualities] should be built into the instructional design and operating systems of educational materials--they should not have to be added on later.” (Orkwis & McLane, 1998, p. 9)


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Fostering Opportunities

  • The education should be inclusive

  • Students with disabilities can see themselves, their lives, and their concerns in their education, in ways that can also be seen by others

  • For example:

    • Civil rights

    • Ethical debates

    • Policies

    • Literature

  • http://www.disabilityrag.org


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Supports Within Professions

  • Careers for All and Workforce Development

    • American Association for the Advancement of Science

      • http://www.aaas.org/programs/education/CareersAll/index.shtml

  • Breaking New Ground Resource Center: Cultivating Independence for Persons with Disabilities in Agriculture

    • Purdue University

      • http://pasture.ecn.purdue.edu/ABE/Extension/BNG/Resource%20Center/resourcecenter.html

  • Educators with Disabilities Caucus

    • The Council for Exceptional Children

      • http://www.cec.sped.org/diversity/edc.html


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Fostering Opportunities

  • Suggestions for individuals with disabilities (Karp, Anderson, & Keller, 1998, p. 275)

    • Take control over your life

    • Desire to succeed

    • Strive for your goals and be persistent

    • Find opportunities that best fit your goals and your needs

    • Reframe your disability to see it as a positive

    • Use learned creativity

    • Construct networks for support and personal improvement

    • Be independent and interdependent by using those people and resources that can help

    • Ask for accommodations you need

    • Use a portfolio of experiences and accomplishments


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Fostering Opportunities

  • Suggestions for faculty (selected from Karp, Anderson, & Keller, 1998, p. 277)

    • Ask about each individual’s conception of him- or herself and his or her disability

    • Create a campus environment where individuals feel accepted

    • Encourage all students to actively determine how they best learn and function as students and how to communicate that to others

    • Allow students to make accommodations and adaptations they need

    • Encourage students to be both independent and interdependent

    • Create mentor-mentee relationships

    • Assist students in building a portfolio of accomplishments


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Characteristics for Developing a Just Education for Students with Disabilities at Creighton University

  • Openness to communication

  • Willingness to question one’s own and others’ assumptions about disabilities and education

  • Creativity to generate solutions

  • Courage to put solutions to appropriate tests

  • Honesty to accept the results of such tests

    • Adapted from Keller, Anderson, & Karp, 1998, p.11


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