Friday, April 4, 9:00 - 10:15 a.m.,
MERGE/Iowa City Co-Lab (Ped Mall, 136 S. Dubuque St.)

TLC Credit:  Traditional, UI REACH

Interactive Session: Teaching Critical Disability Studies

Patricia Bahr (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research) will share assignments from her course, Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility for Online Instruction. The course explores universal design for learning, assistive technology, and accessibility, providing students with a reading or writing disability simulation. 

Erin Barnes (Rehabilitation and Counselor Education) will share an assignment from her course, Counseling for Related Professions, that has undergraduates complete person-centered plans for homeless clients, many of whom experience psychiatric and/or chronic health conditions. 

Krista Davidson (Communication Sciences and Disorders) will share an assignment from her course, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, that asks students to design and create an augmentative communication aid for a client.

Jennifer DiVita (Communication Sciences and Disorders) will share her experience teaching Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology, in which graduate students under DiVita’s supervision provide speech therapy services to individuals with pediatric speech and language disorders. The course emphasizes collaboration with team care members.

Naomi Greyser (GWSS, American Studies, English) and Isabella Brauhn (College of Public Health) will share an assignment from their sex and popular culture course that asks students to consider just and unjust distributions of sexual agency and analyze the strategic work of disability activists who respond to objectification, disenfranchisement, and excision from publics, public spaces, and categories of the human. 

Jennifer Janechek (Rhetoric) will share an assignment she designed for two diversity-focused literature and rhetoric courses that introduce students to disability studies as a lens through which to analyze arguments and literary texts; the assignment encourages students to understand the importance of using inclusive language.

John Manak (Biology and Pediatrics) will discuss his practice of bringing into his classroom individuals with genetic disorders in order to generate discussions about living with such a disorder and ultimately teach understanding and acceptance.

Meredith Saletta (Communication Sciences and Disorders) will discuss her General Education course, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Both traditional students and UI REACH students participate in the course.


Disability is a universal human experience. Like gender, race, class, and sexuality, disability affects everyone in multiple ways, shaping and informing our notions of normality, family, community, fitness, and worth. Disability Studies, one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields in the humanities, social sciences and health sciences, examines abilities in the context of societies and cultures as they change over time. This symposium will consider the pervasive (though often unnoticed) influence of disability on and in the performing, visual, and literary arts, in philosophy and religion, in political and economic life, and in everyday language, as we explore when and how minds and bodies “misfit.”

On April 4-6, 2019, Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered, will bring leading disability scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss the relevance and importance of disability to their respective fields.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Baker Teacher Leader Center, 319-335-5623, in advance.