Breaking Barriers in Education: Understanding and Combating Academic Ableism

by Wendy Torres (@Tech_snacks)


Breaking Barriers in Education: Understanding and Combating Academic Ableism
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By Wendy Torres
Coppin State University
Senior Instructional and Digital Accessibility Specialist
Twitter Handle: @Tech_snacks
Text version of book
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Wendy Torres has been teaching for over 21 years and has a BA in Special Education and a Masters of Educational Leadership in Instructional Technology. She has taught at all levels from Kindergarten to Higher Ed. She is currently the Senior Instructional and Digital Accessibility Specialist, as well as an Adjunct Instructor for Coppin State University. She is part of the Maryland Technology First committee. 

Wendy with her family. She has two children. One is an African American female who is holding up a high school diploma, She is wearing a white dress. Wendy is in the middle smiling wearing a blue dress. She is a Hispanic woman. Her son is to the right of her. He is an African American male who is ten.
Wendy is married with two kids.(Jasmine and Xavier)
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Session Learning Objectives 

1.Upon completion, participants will be able to identify at least 4 examples of academic ableism.

2.Upon completion, participants will be able to identify 4 strategies they can use to train Faculty members about best practices for avoiding academic ableism.

3.Upon completion, participants will be able to identify 4 assistive technology tools that they can use with students to make their content more accessible.
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The barriers disabled students face is not their disability. It is ableism.
Ableism refers to discrimination, prejudice, or societal mistreatment of individuals with disabilities. It can manifest in various forms, including physical barriers, negative attitudes, and lack of accommodations or resources for those with disabilities. Ableism can also perpetuate stereotypes and harmful assumptions about individuals with disabilities, limiting their opportunities and quality of life.
Ableism hurts.
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Photo by Jasmine Obasogie shared with permisson from both Jasmine and Xavier
Academic Ableism presents a real barrier for students.
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"Some examples of academic ableism include:
-Not following an IEP, 504 Plan, or other disability accommodations
-Providing inaccessible classroom materials
-Using disability as a punchline or mocking people with disabilities
-Talking about a person instead of directly to them, or speaking on their behalf
-Questioning if a person is actually disabled"
-Veronica Lewis