Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

HUMS 375: Disabilities

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  Course Description

Examination on issues faced by persons with disabilities and the social injustice they have historically experienced. Different theories or approaches used to understand the situation of persons with disabilities will be examined. Particular issues and areas of need experienced by individuals having different types of disabilities (mobility, sensory, cognitive, etc.) will be explored. It will consider the consequences and dynamics of systemic barriers that threaten, compromise, or exclude the participation of persons with disabilities in social, economic, and political processes. Various perspectives on equality will be explored from the point of view of their impact upon this vulnerable population.

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

Proctored Exams: None



  • Mackelprang, R., & Salsgiver R. . (2015). Disability: A diversity model approach in human service practice (3rd ed). Belmont, CA: Oxford University Press.  
    • [ISBN-978-0-19-065640-9 ]
  • Shapiro, J. . (1993). No pity: People with disabilities forging a new civil rights movement.New York: Three Rivers Press.  
    • [ISBN-978-0-8129-2412-1]
  • APA. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association .  
    • [ISBN-978-1-4338-0561-5]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

People with disabilities are the largest minority group in our society, and nearly everyone is touched by disability issues. This course is designed to explore disability as a part of the universal human experience, like gender or race. We will be using a combination of texts and Web-based resources to achieve course objectives. The class is divided into three general content areas. In the first portion of the class, you will gain an understanding of definitions, stereotypes, and societal attitudes that have served to limit and oppress people with disabilities. You will also become familiar with the historical and legal treatment of people with disabilities in this country, and explore emerging trends that are working to reverse oppression and stigmatization. You will learn about the controversial ethical issues related to disability. In the second portion of the class, you will develop your knowledge of different types of disabilities and discuss the needs of specific populations. Through case studies and narrative accounts, you will gain insight into the personal experience of living with a disability. The third content area of the course focuses on human service practitioners, modes of service delivery, and models of professional practice. You will learn how to incorporate principles of the disability rights movement and independent living movement into your own career, in order to facilitate maximum societal participation and minimize barriers for persons with disabilities.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • To examine the dynamics of discrimination.
  • To explore methods of assisting persons with disabilities.
  • To examine systemic barriers to participation in society and strategies to overcome those barriers.
  • To explore disability theory.
  • To describe the role of interdisciplinary team members.
  • To examine ethical considerations related to this population.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Find, understand and summarize empirically-based research.
  • Explain the roles of interdisciplinary team members.
  • Describe systemic barriers and ways to overcome those barriers.
  • Explain discrimination of persons with disabilities and avenues to combat discrimination.
  • Explain the needs of persons with disabilities.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 585-650 90-100%
B 520-584 80-89%
C 455-519 70-79%
D 390-454 60-69%
F 0-389 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (15) 145 22%
Dropbox Assignments (4) 213 33%
Midterm Exam (1) 130 20%
Final Exam (1) 162 25%
Total 650 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 Introductions 5 Wednesday
Discussion 2 10
Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 5 10
Dropbox Assignment 1: Center for Independent Living (CIL) 27 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Thursday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 2: Disability Legislation Assignment 28 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 7 10
Midterm Exam 130 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10
Dropbox Assignment 3: Topic Assignment 28 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 13 10

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 4: Program Development Paper: 130 Wednesday
Final Exam 162 Saturday
Total Points: 650

  Assignment Overview

Text readings

Text readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments or weekly discussion postings. All graded assignments will rely upon information derived from our text readings.


Each week you will need to participate in 1-3 discussion topics. For full credit, you must provide thorough responses to all of the questions. Keep in mind that part of your grade for the posting is participation, meaning that you will need to respond to at least three (3) of your classmates’ postings for full credit. You must also participate in each discussion topic on two or more days each week. (Discussion 15 will require you to interview a Human Services professional. Please plan ahead.) For most weeks, your primary posting, or answer to the question(s) posed, will be due on Thursday, and your secondary comments, or responses to your classmates’ answers, will be due on Sunday. Discussion postings are graded according to the criteria listed in the Content area of the course.

Dropbox Assignments

You will complete three (3) short written assignments that lead to the final Program Development Paper, which is a research and critical thinking paper. Each assignment will be graded independently, as presented in the Grading Criteria section of this syllabus. See the detailed description for each assignment below in the Course Outline section.


There will be a midterm and a final exam. Each is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions and is computerized. You will not need a proctor. The exams may be taken in the Quizzes area of the course.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Reading the assigned texts is essential to doing well in this class.

Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Context for Practice & Chapter 1
Shapiro: Introduction & Chapter 1
“People First Language” article by Kathie Snow, found in the Content area or at http://www.disabilityisnatural.com/images/PDF/pfl09.pdf. Please note that this is required reading and sets the language standard as we discuss and write about sensitive issues in this course. You are responsible for all of the content in this article and for adhering to language guidelines in all assignments, including discussions and written assignments.
Plagiarism Tutorial, found in the Content area
Discussion 1 Introductions
Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic found in the Discussions area. Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Also include why you are taking this class and/or what you hope to gain from studying this topic. Postings are due by midnight Wednesday.
Discussion 2
Course Guidelines Discussion. Read the course guidelines. Respond to one of the five questions posted in this topic. Also, review all of the posts submitted by your classmates in order to enhance your understanding of course expectations. Post any questions you may have for me. Postings are due by midnight Wednesday.
Discussion 3
Reflect on your attitudes and values about disability. You may or may not have been aware of your attitudes before completing the readings. Which of your own stereotypes were challenged by the readings? Has your thinking changed as a result of the readings? If so, how? Why is it necessary for human service professionals to examine their own attitudes? Postings are due by midnight Thursday, and all secondary comments are due by midnight Sunday.
· Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapters 3 & 4
Shapiro: Chapter 2
Eugenic Sterilization Laws” by Paul Lombardo, University of Virginia. Read this essay on sterilization and the eugenics movement. It is important to note that people with disabilities were sterilized from the early 1900s until the mid-1970s. Become familiar with the case of Carrie Buck, a young woman whose sterilization set the legal precedent for this practice.
Discussion 4
Both texts illustrate how depictions in the media of individuals with disabilities serve to reinforce oppressive stereotypes. For this assignment, find a representation of disability in the media. You can chose a character from a movie or television show, an image from print ads or billboards, a newspaper article highlighting a person with a disability, etc. Describe the image in detail so that your reader can visualize the image. Cite your source. After selecting and describing your images, answer these questions: Do you think this depiction negatively or positively portrays a person with a disability? Which stereotypes from the readings does this image reinforce? How could this image have portrayed disability more positively?
Discussion 5
Define/describe the social/minority approach to disability. Contrast this model with the medical and moral models and provide two differences between the social/minority model and the earlier models. Also, provide an example from the disability rights movement that reflects the social/minority approach.
Dropbox Assignment 1: Center for Independent Living (CIL)
Using the Virtual CIL online database found at http://www.virtualcil.net/cils, find a center for independent living near your hometown or place of work. Give a brief description of the philosophy and services offered at your local center for independent living. Your description must answer the following two questions:

Are the services aimed at decreasing societal barriers or providing individual support services, or both?
How closely do the philosophies and services of this center resemble those of the first center for independent living established by Ed Roberts? Provide at least two (2) examples.

You may obtain this information from a Web site (if available–many do have Web sites) or by calling or visiting the center. Complete the assignment in APA format, with a title page and a reference page in proper format. Submit your completed assignment to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
· Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapter 5
Shapiro: Chapter 4
Read the IDEA fact sheet posted in the Content area of the course and the document “Developing Your Child’s IEP” by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. This PDF document presents a parents’ guide to the IEP process, which IDEA establishes as the central process in the education of a child with a disability. Take note of the roles of various team members, “related” and “supplemental” services children are entitled to, and modifications/accommodations in the educational setting.
You are expected to be knowledgeable on the provisions of Titles I-III of the ADA. Refer to this link for a Frequently Asked Question tip sheet which clearly outlines the three titles of ADA: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/q%26aeng02.htm.

Web Sites:

http://idea.ed.gov/: This is the government-maintained Web site for IDEA. This is recommended reading only – not required.

http://www.ada.gov: This is the ADA home page! You will find a wealth of information, from ADA regulations for small businesses to standards for accessible Web pages…and everything in between. Spend some time exploring the database.
Discussion 6
In this post, each student will have the opportunity to educate the class on a specific tool or topic contained in the ADA home page. Find a subject area, tool, link or narrative story related to disability issues from the ADA home page that is of general interest to you. Provide the web address of the specific resource, a brief summary of what you learned, and how you plan to apply the information to your job or personal life. For example, you can find information on accessible day-care centers, ADA policy in criminal justice and police departments, disability rights issues, emergency preparedness and response programs for people with disabilities, job accommodations, customer service programs, architectural accessibility, etc. In other words, there is something for everyone here. Monitor the discussion site and choose a topic that has not been covered by another classmate; there are hundreds of links, so it is reasonable for each student to find a unique one. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the ADA home page and explore “Other Items of Interest.”
Dropbox Assignment 2: Disability Legislation Assignment
Read the two case studies available in the Content area of the course. Choose the case study which is most relevant to your area of interest or work. Write an essay that addresses the following questions/scenarios:

1. What are the barriers preventing the individual from fully participating in work, school and/or society?
2. Assume the role of advocate, in partnership with the individual. With your understanding of disability legislation, how would you advocate for this person? What specific changes would you recommend, based on either ADA or IDEA protections, to maximize participation for this person?

Complete your essay in APA format, including a title and reference page. Submit your completed assignment to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
· Shapiro: Chapter 9
Instructor-posted material in the Content area

Web Sites:
http://www.notdeadyet.org/docs/disqual.html: Read these journal-referenced statistics on disability and quality of life.
Discussion 8
Consider a time when you made an important decision that was viewed as unwise by a parent, spouse, teacher or other important person. In your posting, describe the example from your life, including the result or consequences of your decision. People with disabilities are often told they are unfit to make important decisions, including decisions about where to live, whether to raise children, who should provide care for them, and if and where they should work. Do people with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions – even when considered “unwise‟ by professionals or guardians? What is ‘self-determination’? What is the role of the human service professional in this circumstance?
Discussion 7
For this post, refer to the case of Larry McAfee described in the Shapiro text or the case of Little Ashley in the content section. Give two examples each of macro- and micro-level factors affecting McAfee’s/Ashley’s quality of life. Describe how these factors were affecting McAfee’s/Ashley’s quality of life and contributing to their choices to pursue assisted suicide/surgical intervention. How can human service providers facilitate improved quality of life for people with disabilities?
Midterm Exam
This exam covers material from the readings, Web-based resources, and additional information posted in the content section of the course for Weeks 1–4. The format is multiple choice. You will have 65 minutes to complete this 50 question exam. You are permitted to reference the texts; however, given the time frame, you will not have time to look-up most of the questions. You may take the exam between Wednesday and midnight Sunday.
Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapters 6-8
Discussion 9
Discuss the primary issues facing people with physical or mobility impairments. Why is it advantageous to define a physical disability from a social model perspective? Give an example from the narrative by Karen Pendleton of an event in her life that illustrates the social model perspective. Or, you may provide an example from someone you know who has a mobility impairment.
Discussion 10
Address the following: 1.) Describe your current job and then discuss what accommodations could be implemented so that a blind or visually-impaired person could perform this type of work. 2.) How does Deaf culture compare with ethnic culture, and provide an example of Deaf culture?
Dropbox Assignment 3: Topic Assignment
You should begin your topic selection and research for the Program Development Paper due in Week 8. Review the criteria for the paper in the Content area to get you started in the right direction, and read the assignment description under Week 8 as well. Submit your topic to me for approval. Include a paragraph description of the program you plan to develop. Also begin work on your reference page; you are required to use at least 4 sources outside of class texts, which must be journal/scholarly articles. Provide 2 sources that you plan to use (in APA format), with a brief summary of each article’s content. You will receive feedback on your topic selection, and can use the next 3 weeks to work on the project and contact the instructor with any questions. Submit your completed assignment to the correct Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
• Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapters 9-11
• Community-Based Treatment information provided in the Content area
Discussion 11
Select one question from the discussion prompts 1-4, and post your response. Also, answer question 5 regarding the role of human service professionals in facilitating empowerment with this population. *Questions can be found in the Discussion area of the course
Discussion 12
Post your response to any discussion question. Also, give an example from the narrative by Donna Orrin (or someone you know who is affected by mental illness) of the role of human service providers in her experience with mental illness. *Questions can be found in the Discussion area of the course.
Dropbox Assignment 4: Program Development Paper:
Continue working on your Program Development Paper due Wednesday of Week 8. Do not wait until the last week to contact the instructor with questions or concerns.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapters 13 & 14
Discussion 14
Even if you do not regularly come into contact with people with disabilities in your career, the principles of the strengths approach, empowerment approach and independent living model can be applied in many creative ways. Give at least 2 examples of how you might incorporate the 5 objectives of the Independent Living Model into your current job, or the career field you would like to enter.

*** For next week*** You will be required to interview a human service provider. Begin thinking about whom you will interview. You may select someone you know, or seek out a professional in a career you are interested in learning more about. Some possibilities include social workers, independent living counselors, rehab/vocational rehab counselors, community support workers, special education teachers/team members, caseworkers, etc. If you think you will have difficulty finding someone to interview, e-mail or call me for a referral to someone you can interview.
Discussion 13
Explain the social model of assessment. How can you use this model even if you are working in a health facility or other setting which requires an impairment-based assessment, or any assessment that ignores societal barriers?
Mackelprang & Salsgiver: Chapter 15
Discussion 15
For the final posting, students are required to interview a human service provider. If the interviewee is someone you are not acquainted with, introduce yourself as a college student of human services/disability studies and explain the purpose of your call. Most human service professionals are happy to share information with students and consider it a part of their professional duty. Conduct a brief 5-10 minute interview covering the following topics: title, work setting (i.e. hospital/school/community-based), description of the job/services provided, and role in working with people with disabilities. Post your findings from the interview and describe which role, based on the four functions of human service practitioners from the text that your interviewee most closely resembles.
Dropbox Assignment 4: Program Development Paper:
For the final research-based paper, you will identify a problem faced by people with disabilities that presents a barrier to their participation in society. You are urged to select a topic which is relevant to your work or personal interest to make this project a more meaningful learning experience. The goal of this paper is to synthesize all of the material we have covered in order to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of a diversity model approach to disability, the needs of specific populations, and practice approaches sensitive to disability culture. The paper will begin with a definition of the problem, including an historical perspective. You will need to think critically and design a macro- or meso-level solution or program, based in disability theory, to address the barrier and facilitate greater participation for persons with disabilities. You will outline the program in detail, including the philosophy, setting, and role of human service providers and people with disabilities. In the Content area, you will find sample topics and a detailed grading rubric.

Your paper must be completed in APA format, and must reference four (4) or more scholarly/academic sources, such as peer-reviewed journal articles. You may use the course texts as references in addition to other research findings, but these do not count toward the four (4) outside sources required. The length requirement for the body of the paper is five (5) pages; this does not include the title, abstract or reference pages. Submit your paper to the Dropbox by midnight on Wednesday.
Final Exam
The final will be the same format as the midterm exam. Again, you will have 65 minutes to complete 50 multiple-choice questions. This exam covers material from the readings, Web-based resources, and additional information posted in the content section of the course for Weeks 5–8. You may reference your texts, but your success on the exam will depend on your knowing the material before beginning the test. You may take the final exam anytime between Wednesday and midnight Saturday. Good luck!

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog). Therefore, if you are experiencing extenuating circumstances, it is your responsibility to notify me prior to a due date. A grade penalty may apply.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.