Separate but Equal?: Chapter 2 of Academic Ableism

Dolmage continues his exploration of how disability accommodations do currently manifest themselves, both within the academy and within other aspects of society. He provides several examples that primarily center around the kinds of technologies designed to “enable” people with disabilities to utilize things designed entirely with their abled counterparts in mind. The chapter touches on how so often teaching faculty tack on additional provisions for students with disabilities while keeping many of their practices and fundamental approaches to pedagogy completely static. This approach quite often leaves the student with a disability in the awkward position of accommodating themselves and often results in an inequitable expenditure of effort to achieve the same level of success or academic standing as is expended by their fellow students. This chapter made me consider what changes need to be initiated to library instruction to ensure that pedagogy and lesson design put accessibility concerns first rather than continuously relying on students with disabilities to shoulder the undue burden of their own education. In my estimation, it isn’t enough to leave course design entirely to an accessibility office’s discretion of accommodations. It is important for disability concerns to be rooted at the heart of critical pedagogy, because, as Dolmage points out, disability does not discriminate.

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