from Hannah Jane Upson, Undergraduate Researcher
Projects & Films
As a disabled student myself, I highly recommend before coming to college watching the film Crip Camp. It displays what it can look like to be in community with other disabled people as a young adult and the unique support and love that can be found in this kind of community. The film offers a narrative of the disability rights movement from the perspective of one group of disabled people during this era. The movie also provides history for the creation of bills such as Section 504. 504 was one of the first bills that pushed for universities be made accessible to disabled people. You can go to the Crip Camp website to find more educational materials on disability history and culture that extends outside of what the film captures.
The Disability Visibility project led by Alice Wong , a leader in contemporary disability rights covers a variety of topics related to disabilities. The goal of the project is to spread disability media and culture.This project produces materials in all forms including podcasts with transcripts and the book Disability Visibility.
Sins Invalid is a performance and activist organization led by disabled artists of color and LGBTQ / gender-variant artists. Their website is a great platform to learn about disability justice. They have a variety of educational workshops on what it looks like to commit to social justice principles as a means of integrating analysis and action around disability, race, gender, and sexuality within a community.
Accommodations/Services for Students with Disabilities
Every college has its own way of providing accommodations for students. Universities often have a service for students with disabilities office that can be utilized to receive accommodations. This space can be a difficult place to navigate at times dependent upon the structure of the office and your own personal background. To assist in this process I highly recommend reviewing the following document written by Alec Frazier. Alec Frazie is an austic man who has been a long time advocate for disability rights and works actively with Autistic Self Advocacy Network. This document contains a list of potential questions you can ask your university disability services office and different resources to utilize when transitioning to college:
University Services for Students with Disabilities offices at times can use a medical or social model of disability or a blend of the two as the founding principles of their office.
To learn more about the Social and Medical Model of Disability:
As a disabled student myself, being part of the disability community for the first time in college has brought me immense joy. Here at Virginia Tech we have the disability alliance and caucus, a space for Virginia Tech community members with disabilities and their allies to come together and engage in community building, mutual support, and advocacy. I would recommend looking to see if your university has this kind of space. Some universities may have disability cultural centers or disabled support groups that can act as places of community too.