This course will look at diversity and differences in the US from a historical and cultural perspective. The curriculum will explore differences in race, gender, and disability as they have evolved through history with emphasis on the impact of the Civil Rights Movement. Student will learn how the current climate of strengths, celebrating diversity, and self-advocacy has developed.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about what types of criteria are in place to provide support to individuals with disabilities through the federal and local government, such as social security, VESID, and accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They will be able to utilize this knowledge in accessing future employment, housing, and support services. Students will also learn about funding issues related to services for individuals with disabilities, and the impact of lobbying and self-advocacy.

Guest speakers and field trips will allow student to learn more about specific disabilities such as visual impairments, culture of the deaf, and spinal cord injuries. Documentary and films will be utilized to help emphasize the “People First” philosophy of looking at individual differences.