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A New Perspective

A New Model of Disability

Some college students are embarrassed about having a disability.

They want to forget about special education.
They are tired of being labeled, or being seen as "different".
They want to make a fresh start.
They want to be "normal"!

If this describes you, it's time to think about disability in a whole new way: the Social Model of Disability. In the Social Model of Disability, disability is a facet of diversity and is very normal.

The old, out-dated Medical Model
In the past many folks, including K-12 Special Education professionals, saw disability as a medical problem. Having a disability was seen as a "deficiency" that needs to be "fixed". Thankfully, this view is out-dated!

The new, inclusive Social Model
At UMD, we subscribe to the Social Model of disability. The Social Model:

  • Sees disability as one of multiple human differences.
  • Believes that disability can be a barrier when interacting with the environment or society.
  • Understands that accommodations remove these barriers, thus providing access to University classes and programs.
  • Recognizes that all of us - students, faculty, and staff - are responsible for lowering/removing barriers.

The Social Model empowers disabled students with independence and dignity. Accommodations remove the barriers- they are not "advantages" or "extra help". Students with disabilities must maintain the same standards as all students, with or without accommodations.

In DR, we strive to make the accommodation process easy and normal as possible, but we can't accommodate a student until we know the student is here and what they need. The student is always in the driver's seat. Only you can make it happen!


Grievance Process

If a student believes reasonable accommodations have not been provided in an effective or timely way, or if they believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability, the following steps should be taken.
1. Discuss the situation with their disability specialist
2. If the situation is not resolved, the DR Director will be brought into the discussion.
3. If still not resolved, the student may consult with the Office of Human Resources for incidents involving faculty or staff, or the Office of Student and Community Standards for incidents involving other students..

Legal Resources

Americans with disabilities have been legally protected from discrimination since the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 of this act and the ADA/ADAAA guide all college disability support offices, including the Office of Disability Resources at UMD.

Disability Law

Other Legal Resources

© 2014 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 11/27/12 04:35 PM
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