Defining Disability

This semester, we have talked about images, portrayals, and stigmas of individuals with disabilities in the media. However, what are disabilities? Let’s take a look at how disabilities are currently defined and protected.

Definitions of disability and beauty have changed over time; “concepts of beauty and comeliness were different when physical injury, smallpox marks, and other scarring were more common” (Disability and History). The Americans with Disabilities Act was originally written in 1990, and originally required business, buildings, transportation, public transportation, and other services to accommodate the disabled. Currently, the ADA defines a person with a disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability” (What is the definition of Disability under the ADA?).

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OAS Scholarship Applications are Open

The Office of Accessibility Services has several scholarships available to their students. The scholarships that are available for the Fall 2017- Spring 2018 academic year are officially accepting applications. Please visit the OAS Scholarships Page to view what applications you may be eligible for and apply. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 7 at 5pm. 

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AAAS Summer Internships

The American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.  Their AAAS Entry Point! program recruits, screen and refer  students with disabilities for summer internships with the government, university research experiences and other industries.

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Russell Harvard: Actors in "Tribes"

Huh? What did you say? Can you repeat that? I didn’t hear you.”

We ask these questions frequently. We have our headphones in. We’re on our phone. We’re not paying attention. These questions are common-place, but the play, “Tribes,” uses these questions as a form of abuse.

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"Breaking Bad" and RJ Mitte: Positive Light on CP

“I am not in danger. I am the danger.” – Walter White, Breaking Bad

RJ Mitte, Walter Jr. in Breaking Bad , threatens the pejorative perceptions of individuals with disabilities. In August 2016, Mitte spoke with the “ Irish Examiner ” and stated, “We know lots of progress is being made but the industry must do more to help disabled people work both in front of and behind the camera. During the Paralympics, there will be more disabled people than ever before on TV but this shouldn’t be something that just happens every four years.”

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Survey seeks to better understand WVU's accessibility

WVU has undergone a self-survey of its Americans with Disability Act (1990) compliance. As a part of this self-survey, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is seeking to better understand how students, faculty, staff and the community view WVU’s accessibility, both the ways in which the University is doing well, and where there is room for improvement. Please take a few minutes to complete the WVU Accessibility Survey.

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Authenticity in Acting: Bringing Performers with Disabilities into the Spotlight

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for the Office of Accessibility Services’ media-focused blog post. This week, we take a look at a June 2016 New York Times article about actors with disabilities . We consider the catalytic role that actors with disabilities have in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the creative arts – and in our society at large. 

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