Disability Resource List

autism puzzle image

In light of our PREFACE theme and our class reading, The Curious Inciden of the Dog in the Night-Time, here is a list of links that relate to disability.  You may find these resources helpful when working on the Popular Cultural Analysis Paper and/or the Critical Response Paper.

This list is available thanks to the English Department at USC Upstate.

This Washington Post op-ed is a little longer than most, but it discusses the drafting of the ADA and is pretty much essential reading for anyone interested in it:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/24/why-the-americans-with-disabilities-act-mattered/


These two  New York Times op-ed titled “Special Education and Minorities” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/20/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/special-education-and-minorities.html?_r=0 and “Is Special Education Racist”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/opinion/is-special-education-racist.html make good companion pieces. They not only address the intersection of race and special education, touching on the last and current topics of the Preface progrem, but they also make for good readings during the Critical Response assignment. Some students may get some good ideas for their final paper here.


  • GOVERNMENT: The Americans with Disabilities Act (http://www.adaanniversary.org/) offers an Anniversary Kit, featuring videos, resources, publications, and monthly themes centered around issues of accessibility, ADA history, legal issues, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT: The US Government’s Mentalhealth.gov site offers an interesting view of the public face of mental health in government today. The choice of “Featured Topics” and “What to Look For” could offer interesting opportunities for rhetorical analysis of audience, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT: Chirlane McCray (First Lady of New York City) offers an editorial about her family’s experiences with depression and discusses the ways that this personal story will shape public policy in New York in the New York Daily News article from 26 Feb. 2015, “How We Will Shatter the Mental Illness Stigma
  • HISTORY: For people interested in doing archival research, historical I-Searches, or Web-based projects with students, the Digitizing Bull Street collection (http://www.digitizingbullstreet.com/story/) offers an interesting online collection of history, documents, and images of the South Carolina State Hospital at Bull Street (a mental health insitution) which opened in the late 1820s and is only now being entirely dismantled to make room for new development. A related PBS Documentary called Down on Bull Street (http://video.scetv.org/video/2365482560/also offers an online preview of film footage of the buildings as they now stand.
  • POPULAR CULTURE: Many may already know of the Parenthood TV Series’s representations of Aspergers (now Autism Spectrum), but doing a quick search of Parenthood and autism gives you an interesting picture of the medical and public response to those popular culture representations of both children and adults on the autism spectrum (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Parenthood+autism). Parenthood  is available on Netflix.

  • SCIENCE: This article about “Your Brain on Metaphors” from The Chronicle of Higher Education does not directly address autism spectrum disorders, but it does offer what I find a provocative perspective on the question of literal and figurative language that is so troubling to our narrator in The Curious Incident. The neuroscience-humanties connection also offers fun ways to get students to consider multiple critical perspectives and the value of multi-disciplinary research and interdisciplinary answers in their projects. Similarly, “Your Brain on Fiction” from The New York Times takes a neuroscience perspective to the question of fiction and reality, a question that the fictional narrator explores in attempting to “write” the story we read.
  • POLICE: The Atlantic in 2013 wrote a feature story about “How Police Officers Are (Or Aren’t) Trained in Mental Health” in response to a police shooting. As police-public relations increase in the public consciousness, this issue may allow students to draw interesting connections with their own awareness of race- and poverty-related issues in law enforcement. Students may also find and/or conduct rhetorical analysis of sample police guidelines for responding to people with mental illness at the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (“The Problem of People with Mental Illness” at http://www.popcenter.org/problems/mental_illness/print/).
  • HISTORY: The Disability History Museum online digital collections: http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/dhm/lib/results.html?browse=1&collection=*&q%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=&dates%5B%5D=&dates%5B%5D=&view=table&num=all
  • HISTORY: The Historic England Web site includes a section on Disabilty History in the UK, filled with quotes, images, and other multimedia resources, the site offers a great overview of changing attitudes and policies toward disability. I am particularly partial to the 19th century section here: https://historicengland.org.uk/research/inclusive-heritage/disability-history/1832-1914/ Subtopics include: Asylums: The Way Forward?, Daily Life in the Asylum, The Changing Face of the Workhouse, and The Daily Life of Disabled People. The “Abandon Hope” report on the Rosewood State Training School in Maryland from 1946 seems like a nice pairing with this historical overview.
  • HISTORY: Browse the gallery at the Disability History Museum to see popular culture representations and other images of disability from the past 125 years.
  • ADVOCACY: The Antidefamation League offers “A Brief History of the Disability Rights Movement” at http://archive.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/fall_2005/fall_2005_lesson5_history.html
  • UNITED NATIONS: There are several United Nations reports, commisions and resolutions on disabilty, including this one from 2006: Mainstreaming Disability in the Development Agenda

Articles and Book Chapters


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