Thursday 22-11-2018 - 00:00
Today marks the start of Disability History Month, a month in which the struggles of disabled people are remembered, and our victories celebrated.
Check out our new political education video on the social model of disability.
Disability History Month first started in 2010, in the wake of the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrats Coalition Government. It had become apparent that disabled people’s rights were at risk of being rolled back, particularly with regards to access and inclusion in education. Inclusive education had just been described as “ideological” and we have seen cut after cut after cut in the eight years that followed. Disabled children and students were six times more likely to be excluded from school than their non-disabled peers, and a disproportionate number were forced into homeschooling due to the lack of reasonable adjustments and provision in schools.
The need for a Disability History Month is far from over. Education is not accessible to the majority of disabled people at any level. However, it shouldn’t just be accessible, but inclusive. We must strive beyond just being able to sit in the classroom, to actually having curriculum content that has relevance to us as disabled people and features us not just as an afterthought, but as key figures in academia and different subject areas.
We must know our history, the people who have come before us and the struggles lost and won. As the next generation of the disabled people’s movement, young disabled people and disabled students, we must know what came before us in order to shape our demands and our tactics.
For Disability History Month this year, we are launching our political education hub - a bank of resources for any disabled student or students' union to use and bolster disability activism on their own campuses. From setting up a disabled students group, to running political education classes at your own institution, we hope that this political education hub is an invaluable resource to disability activists.
The first video being launched is on the social model of disability and features Dr Mike Oliver who coined the term and wrote the first book on it. The social model of disability is seen by many in the disabled people’s movement as being liberatory, yet it is almost never taught in our classes or discussed on our campuses. Where the education system fails us once again, disabled people must take educating ourselves and disseminating this information to others into our own hands.
This is why we have produced five more videos that will be released during Disability History Month on key topics: Social Model of Mental Distress/Madness, Deaf Culture, Independent Living, Inclusive Education and History of the Disabled People’s Movement.
Please let us know what you are doing for Disability History Month so we can feature you on our social media!
NUS Disabled Students’ Officer
Don't forget to check out our new political education video on the social model of disability.
To find out more about the Disabled Students' campaign click here and also follow us on Twitter.