Beyond Accommodation: Changing the Disability Frame

Beyond Accommodation: Changing the Disability Frame | Teaching in Troubled Times | UC Berkeley

We're in a university environment that like most universities sets rather ablest terms for its norms. If it didn't for instance, it would be entirely imaginable by every member of this university to have disabled people seen as an integral part of this university.
Mel Chen

Event Description

Discussions of disability on college campuses often focus on how we can support and accommodate individual needs and meet compliance requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. With this panel of and dialogue sessions, we hope to expand that important conversation. On November 18, 2019, Berkeley faculty, graduate student instructors, staff, and students were invited to think in creative and visionary ways about culture, structure, teaching and learning, and broader institutional transformation. Some key discussion questions included:

  • How can we as a campus start to look at disability from a framework of equity, belonging and social justice, rather than solely as a matter of individual accommodation?
  • What is the range of disability-related experiences in our classrooms, departments, organizations and campus community? What strengths and assets do they offer?
  • What challenges are created by the structures, spaces, assumptions, and narratives about ability and disability within which we work?
  • How do they normalize certain types of experience?
  • How do they impact the distribution of power and resources? How do they affect individual success and well-being? How can we address these challenges?
  • What are some creative ways to think about curriculum, pedagogy, advising, mentoring and classroom culture that move us beyond “accommodation" to full inclusion and belonging?
  • What does new research tell us about how to think about all of these issues?