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Accessibility Studies

Washington State Celebrates Disability History Month in October

A new curriculum has just been published that promotes awareness and acceptance of disability: One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project.  It was sponsored by the Washington State Governor's Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) in partnership with two local educators, Adina Rosenberg and Sarah Arvey, as a guide for schools to address Disability History Month.

According to Washington law RCW 28A.230.158, every  October, each public school is expected to  provide instruction, awareness, and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities.  The act was passed a decade ago with the following statement:

"The legislature finds that annually recognizing disability history throughout our entire public educational system, from kindergarten through grade twelve and at our colleges and universities, during the month of October will help to increase awareness and understanding of the contributions that people with disabilities in our state, nation, and the world have made to our society. The legislature further finds that recognizing disability history will increase respect and promote acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities. The legislature further finds that recognizing disability history will inspire students with disabilities to feel a greater sense of pride, reduce harassment and bullying, and help keep students with disabilities in school."

The Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds was created in 2017 with offices in Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia and an An Advisory Committee was form representing diversity across the 3 service regions and having a supermajority of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. This is consistent with the mantra of "nothing about  us without us", which is consistent with the justification for Central Washington University's Accessibility Studies Program. 

Dr. Naomi Petersen, originator and director of  CWU Accessibility Studies recently chatted with the authors at the Northwest Conference on Teaching Social Justice where 1500 educators gathered to consider ways to address inequities and misunderstandings regarding all people experiencing exclusion and marginalization. 

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