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Disability as a Form of Diversity

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Society
Wordcount: 2795 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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There are lots of different forms of diversity out there. We may all think that just people of color are the only form of diversity we have, but its not. People with disabilities come in every shape and form and are grouped together with minorities because they are viewed lesser in society. This paper will share, how people that have disabilities are also an aspect of people of diversity. This paper will share, many different aspects of disabilities and diversity and the research behind how it connects. There is an overwhelming amount of research about how important it is to have an inclusive class and society for disabled and diverse people. This paper will give examples and research-based evidence about how disability and diversity go hand and hand.

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One of the first journals I read about this topic is called, Higher Education and Disability: Past and Future of Underrepresented Populations. Leake and Stodden talked about how racial and social integration are key factors in student success and belonging. They are trying to show new phases for students with disabilities and how they will feel more accepted and don’t feel outcasted. The study was constructed to show how if they make students with disabilities feel more accepted, they will excel in their work. This shows how important it is for students to feel more included than being put into their label and claim they are not deemed acceptable to the rest of society.

In the research aspect, they showed a table of many different diversities and peer reviewed articles on them with higher education. They made sure to show how it is important for the teacher to have a welcoming classroom and how to advocate for the student properly. They also talked about raising awareness by writing articles and getting the word out there. The more information we put out about this the more aware teachers and members of society will be. In the research they found out a lot of information showing how other ethnicities and disabilities don’t get written about or advocated for.

In Diversity, Difference, and Disability: Conceptual Contradictions and Present Practice in Inclusive Schooling for Students with Disabilities it talks about how disability is governed by numerous contexts and how we should use disability and diversity as a form of acceptance and advocate for it. It compared the different disabilities with the different ethnicities and how they are different in the form of diversity. In the research done by Winzer and Mazurek, they focused on inclusive schools and found that there are different accommodations needed for students with disabilities. They looked at different learning styles and different abilities for the students and how that affected the learning environment. One of the major outcomes was how diversity stresses the communalities among students and social beings. Saying that disability is merely a social construct and we need only change the social context to eliminate discrimination and segregation simply denies the problem (Winzer and Mazurek).  Schooling must be reasonable to help calculate the educational benefit. As a teacher you must be able to accommodate for your student and their needs.

The research presentation by Mona and Williams called Disability as a Diversity Variable: A Call to Action Within APA Governance; it talks about how to increase cultural competency of disability and multiculturalism within psychology and explores the impact of societal beliefs about disability within APA governance. They looked at minorities and people with disabilities and looked into how they were discriminated. In the presentation, they also showed how disabled people were viewed from the past, until now. They took different models such as, the moral model, medical model, and minority medical and looked at what the disability was and how the societies response was over the course of history. They also talked about disability etiquette and what not to say to a disabled person. I did think when they showed the models, there was a difference between the moral model and the minority model. In the moral model there was more blame/punishment from society and for the minority model (social or minority group model) there was more empowerment/social justice. In this article they also talked about how there’s more focused articles on individuals with disabilities. They found that to, imply micro-affirmations so there is more acceptance in society for people with disabilities. The three models used gave different perspectives about how people with disabilities were viewed throughout history.

The Outreach and People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultures: A Review of the Literature article focuses on, outreach models, illuminate the many challenges to effective outreach, and to document the nature and prevalence of national disability/diversity outreach by the federal government (Chairperson, 2003). Chairperson did a scan of nine federal agencies’ disability/diversity outreach activities was conducted. He chose these nine federal agencies because they used to illuminate challenges and had effective outreach. The models of outreach that were found in the literature were categorized as: the community-based model, the grassroots model, the train-the-trainer model, the peer-to-peer model, the partnership model,and the support socialization model.

The research and literature were reviewed and analyzed for information on outreach. Focused on and/or included the key words outreach, minority, disability and/or diversity. He found sites for people with disabilities from diverse cultures to identify relevant unpublished studies, progress reports, briefing papers, and position statements. The review identified operational definitions of outreach and principal outreach themes found in the literature. Types of outreach were described, and examples provided. The challenges of outreach are discussed within the framework of barriers to access and appropriate services for full community integration and independent participation by people with disabilities from diverse cultures (Chairperson, 2003). This report has clear implications for research and policy focused on people with disabilities from diverse cultures. It identifies outreach themes and models that may have a positive impact on some of the more intractable obstacles facing people with disabilities from diverse cultures and the federal agencies mandated to serve them. As a teacher this is important to ask the students about their home life and how they are affected by their diversity/disability.

Another article I read by Fuchs, Mathes, and Simmons, called, Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies: Making Classrooms More Responsive to Diversity, talked about how to make classrooms more responsive to diversity and the different ways to help students learn and feel accepted in the classroom. In this research there were different schools, teachers, and student used in this. Teachers were advised to inspect the student pairings to determine whether one or more were socially incompatible. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), a version of class wide peer tutoring, by comparing the reading progress of three learner types — low-achieving students with and without disabilities and average-achieving pupils — to corresponding controls. Cooperative learning is an important strategy for restructuring traditional classrooms to promote student achievement, self-esteem, race relations, and the inclusion of virtually all students who are presently instructed in special, bilingual, and gifted education. They found that, irrespective of type of measure and type of learner, students in peer tutoring classrooms demonstrated greater reading progress than control students (Fuchs, pg. 23). Students in PALS classrooms made significantly greater progress than their counterparts in No-PALS classrooms across the three reading measures. Moreover, the magnitude of these statistically significant between-group differences appears educationally important. This is important to improve the betterment of the student and make sure they are not looking down on someone who has a disability or is a racially diverse student.

In the article Voices of “Disabled” Post-Secondary Students: Examining Higher Education “Disability” Policy Using an Ableism Lens, it talks about the experiences of post-secondary students with diverse abilities. The ways in which ‘disabled’ postsecondary students make meaning of their experiences in postsecondary education. In the experiment there were, eight participants (self-identified disabled post-secondary students) were recruited from post-secondary institutions in Calgary, Alberta. Five themes (hegemonic voice, voice of the body, voice of silence, voice of assertion, voice of change) were identified within a body-social-self framework (Hutcheon and Wolbring, pg. 7) They found that there is a need to demonstrate a critical examination of higher education policy and its capacity to address differences in ability. I found this article very interesting and that it showed different forms of disabled diversity and how they made it through postsecondary. This good in thinking about modifications for all different levels of students with disabilities.

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 In the article Could you hold the door for me? Including disability in diversity, its about how to help those unfamiliar with disability studies by providing a context for disability on which psychologists can build. It’s about the ways in which disability is like and unlike other minority groups; and the language that is used to describe disability. The 1st part of the article presents data on disability training in graduate clinical programs and on training accessibility for graduate students with disabilities. The 2nd part is an introduction to disability studies and includes 3 core concepts of disability issues in psychology. The research talks about three main models used to describe disability: the moral, medical, and social models. The social model incorporates the idea of people with disabilities as a minority group. Elements of disability require daily management and can be barriers to functioning at different levels. This article introduced several issues related to disability (Olkin, pg. 8). The first part illustrated ways in which both the topic of disability and students with disabilities in graduate training are marginalized in psychology. For the oppression of people with disabilities to be addressed within psychology, disability will have to board the diversity train. This article had different aspects to talk about minorities and disabled people and how it should be approached.

 In the next article, Equal Opportunities International Emerald Article: Embodying disability in diversity management research, it talks about, an embodied approach to disability into the field of diversity management research. It also, critically examines previous diversity management research and it draws on previous disability research in the social sciences to develop an embodied approach to disability for diversity management research. The paper argues that an embodied approach is required because previous diversity management research on disability ignores important aspects of disability. This paper also has aims to introduce an approach to disability into the field of diversity management research. Organizations need to draw on the bodily knowledge of disabled people if they are to understand the specific problems, experiences and needs that disabled people face in work organizations (Thanem, pg. 298). This paper gave a different outlook with diversity in management and how disabled people play into it.

 In Disability as Diversity: A Difference with a Difference, it talks about, disability is a significant and powerful cultural category; like race and gender, disability is a cultural construct that assigns traits to individuals—and discriminates among them—on the basis of bodily differences. They talk about different ways that books and films have portrayed diverse people and how we can improve ourselves in the future. The article also talked about, how disability was viewed throughout history. It gave examples of World War 2 and different things that occurred in the past and how diversity was viewed back then. In the U.S., people with disabilities are increasingly visible in public spaces and open about their disabilities, their physical presence in public life represents only a rather limited kind of access. This is a really good article to bring up the history of disability and how to improve and move forward from the past.

 The last book I researched was, Routledge International Handbook of Diversity Studies. This book touches on matters of numerical diversity, theoretical diversity and the relevance of contemporary diversity debates. It also talks about the different forms of diversity and disabilities. It talked about different impairments and how to help people out with this. Disability is first and foremost about the disadvantaged social status and inequitable life opportunities experienced by people whose bodies and minds are designated impaired by representatives of scientific medicine and other professions. Disabled people have not received any form of help in society and how we can help them further improve. This was followed by discussions about: impairment and numerical diversity; theorizing disablism in diverse ways; and how disablism relates to contemporary diversity debates. I think this was very interesting and gave a wide range of topics about diversity.

 In conclusion, I feel like this paper made me realize a lot of different things about students with disabilities and the different forms of diversity as well. These studies all showed the different things that is needed and/or need to be improved on. I believe the results from this showed to make sure they feel accepted and feel represented as well. Looking back from history and how people with disabilities were treated before and then now, it shows a good leap. There is still a lot more needed to make these conditions and the environment around them even better. This paper talked about the different aspects of race and how to not mix this all in with disability. Yes, they are two different things that can be brought together but there are also some major differences as well. Moving forward, there needs to be a lot of further actions needed to be taken to get students with disabilities more accepted in the cultural norm. We as teachers, need to advocate for them and help improve their lives and surroundings as best as we can. It doesn’t matter what type of student enters your classroom, you should always make sure they feel as accepted and comfortable as they possibly can.


  • Leake, D. W., & Stodden, R. A. (n.d.). Higher Education and Disability: Past and Future of Underrepresented Populations.
  • Mona, L. R., & Williams, J. (n.d.). Disability as a Diversity Variable: A Call to Action Within APA Governance.
  • Winzer, M., & Mazurek, K. (n.d.). Diversity, Difference, and Disability: Conceptual Contradictions and Present Practice in Inclusive Schooling for Students with Disabilities.
  • Chairperson, L. F. (November 20, 2003). Outreach and People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultures: A Review of the Literature.
  • Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Mathes, P. G., & Simmons, D. C. (n.d.). Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies: Making Classrooms More Responsive to Diversity.
  • Hutcheon, E. J., & Wolbring, G. (n.d.). Voices of “Disabled” Post-Secondary Students: Examining Higher Education “Disability” Policy Using an Ableism Lens.
  • Olkin, R. (n.d.). Could you hold the door for me? Including disability in diversity.
  • Thanem, T. (n.d.). Equal Opportunities International Emerald Article: Embodying disability in diversity management research.
  • Cousar, T. G. (n.d.). Disability as Diversity: A Difference with a Difference.
  • Thomas, C. (n.d.). Routledge International Handbook of Diversity Studies.


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