Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Institutional Ableism Examples

Institutional Ableism Examples

- Children with Disabilities segregated from other students in classes
- Class trips are planned without checking to see if places to visit are accessible for students with disabilities

- Classrooms do not have assistive technology for learning
- Staff development programs do not include information about universal
instructional design

- A town votes down a proposal to fund additional classroom aides or tutors for students with disabilities
- Students with disabilities are not part of curriculum materials – books,
videos. etc.
Health Care
- Funding for Medicare resources for people with disabilities is cu
- Opposition to universal health care places people with disabilities at risk
of losing health care benefits

- Managed care decisions made by insurance companies limit resources for people with disabilities to cut costs
- Lack of health care insurance places people with disabilities at increased risk of death and poor health

- Decisions about right to die based on belief that living with a disability is
“fate worse than death.”

- A medicalized view of people with disabilities invalidates their ability to control their lives

- Lack of accessibility or assistive technology enabling people with disabilities to participate in local government meetings, committees
- Focus on privatizing services based on for-profit jeopardizes support for programs for people with disabilities

- Cutting funds for programs that benefit people with disabilities

- Sponsoring charity events, but not supporting independent living programs

- Use of “normal,” “beautiful” people in
- Absence of people with disabilities portrayed in movies, TV

- Lack of books on tape or in Braille, use of subtitles on videos
- Focus on disability as tragedy to be overcome

- Focus on people with psychiatric disabilities as serial killers, murderers
- Assumption that person with a physical disability should not compete with “normal” athletes –
unfair competition (PGA disallowing golfer who needs to use a golf cart)
- Assumptions that able-bodied athletes are superior to disabled athletes
(Olympics and Paralympics)

- Sport drug rules that exclude people with disabilities (asthma medications)

© Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2007


  1. I was actually considering the "right to Die" argument in relation to ableism while I was reading. More than the issue of whether someone would rather die than live with a disability is the issue that you cannot elect to die if your disability causes you constant pain. The happy Christian Right, generally white upper class society deciding that Dr. assisted suicide should be illegal based largely in biblical authority. My 92 year old grandmother, who's disability has her in constant pain with little relief short of being knocked unconscious for long periods of time. She actually sits around theorizing on how to take her life, seriously and the response of the medical community is to give her anti-depressants. Talk about social injustice, taking away a persons right to make decisions about their end of life care should be at the forefront of the health care debate.

  2. 5 years ago, my grandma was having numerous mini strokes. she was confused, seemingly in physical pain, and very depressed. told she could enter into a coma with her next stroke, she relied to her eldest child her desire to end her life.

    since the medical industry requires & creates standards and guidelines, she may've fit into a hypothetical legalized 'right to die'. she could've been killed.

    5 years later, she is at a good weight - she remembers to feed herself - she has what she can express as fun and happiness in her life - and she cannot speak.

    disAbilities in medical, educational, employment industries are *not* perceived as being as various as they truly are. instead one sweeping law, much like the Eugenics Movement showed those in western states at least, can kill numerous amounts of individuals.

    just something to add to thought.