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All Abilities Awareness

Every year, The Accessibility Services Office and the McQuade Library partner to celebrate All Abilities Awareness in October. Each year looks different, but every event celebrates the diverse abilities that make Merrimack College a vibrant community.

Where to Learn More

What are Disability Studies?

Using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches, Disability Studies sits at the intersection of many overlapping disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Programs in Disability Studies should encourage a curriculum that allows students, activists, teachers, artists, practitioners, and researchers to engage the subject matter from various disciplinary perspectives.

Disability Studies is about:

  • Challenging the view of disability as an individual deficit or defect that can be remedied solely through medical intervention or rehabilitation by "experts" and other service providers. Rather, a program in Disability Studies should explore models and theories that examine social, political, cultural, and economic factors that define disability and help determine personal and collective responses to difference. At the same time, Disability Studies should work to de-stigmatize disease, illness, and impairment, including those that cannot be measured or explained by biological science. Finally, while acknowledging that medical research and intervention can be useful, Disability Studies should interrogate the connections between medical practice and stigmatizing disability.
  • Studying national and international perspectives, policies, literature, culture, and history with an aim of placing current ideas of disability within their broadest possible context. Since attitudes toward disability have not been the same across times and places, much can be gained by learning from these other experiences.
  • Encouraging participation by disabled students and faculty, and ensuring physical and intellectual access.
  • Prioritizing leadership positions held by disabled people. At the same time, it is important to create an environment where contributions from anyone who shares the above goals are welcome.

From The Society for Disability Studies

Where Should You Start?


Disability Studies: Foundations & Key Concepts




Boyle, J. R., & Scanlon, D. G. (2009). Methods and strategies for teaching students with mild disabilities: A case-based approach. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Publishing.


Friend, M., & Bursuck, W. D. (2008). Including students with special needs: A practical guide for classroom teachers (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.


Gould, P., Sullivan, J., & Waites, J. (1999). The inclusive early childhood classroom: Easy ways to adapt learning centers for all children. Philadelphia, PA: Gryphon House.


Lee, O., Miller, E., & Januszyk, R. (2015). Ngss for all students. United States: National Science Teachers Association.


Mastropieri, Margo A., and Scruggs, Thomas E. (2013) The Inclusive Classroom: Strategies for Effective Differentiated Instruction. 5th ed. N.p.: Pearson Education


Meltzer, L. J., Roditi, B. N., Taber, S. E., Steinberg, J. L., Biddle, K. R., Caron, K. B., & Kniffin, L. (2005). Strategies for success: Classroom teaching techniques for students with learning disabilities (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.


Meltzer, L., & Koegel, L. K. (2010). Promoting executive function in the classroom (what works for special-needs learners). New York: Guilford Publications.


Swanson, L. H., Harris, K. R., & Graham, S. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of learning disabilities, Second edition (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.


Vaughn, S., Bos, C. S., & Texas-Austin (2015). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Ingram.