Disability as a human characteristic cuts across the life span and affects people in all areas of society. As a result, it has relevance in nearly any academic major that prepares students to work with, and for, individuals. Some CSU academic programs may not highlight this relevance much while others have developed curriculum that is more inclusive of the diversity of humanity.
One college in particular offers majors that incorporate disability signficantly. The College of Applied Human Services offers several academic programs related to individuals with disabilities. For example, Occupational Therapy prepares graduate students to work in a therapeutic environment with individuals with disabilities. Social Work also prepares both undergraduate and graduate students to interact with a variety of individuals with different needs, including those with disabilites. In addition, the School of Education emphasizes the diversity of needs of learners that include the characteristic of disability.
CSU also offers courses in American Sign Language through the department of Languages, Literature and Cultures. These courses are taught by both hearing and Deaf instructors and prepare students to be fluent in sign language.
While the variety of courses courses and academic programs offered at CSU include and highlight those with disabilities as individuals, the experience of having a disability may not be as readily apparent.
As part of the awareness efforts of RDS, a course has been offered every semester that tries to illustrate the common experience of people with disabilities. This course, listed as OT355: "The Disability Experience in Sociey," is taught by the RDS director.
The course attempts to provide students with an overview of the various issues that affect a person with any disability. It is designed in support of a social model of disability (rather than an individual model) which incorporates the knowledge gained from the field of Disability Studies. This field of study is informed by those with disabilities and focuses on the commonalities as well as the differences related to the disabled community.
Although taught through the Occupational Therapy department, OT355 is open to students in all majors. However, students must have had either a sociology or psychology course as a prerequisite. As a 300 level course, students are expected to engage in the material presented through on-line exams, papers, and in-class discussion.
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