Disabilities and Social Engagement: Inclusive Classroom Preparation for Pre-Service Art Teachers

Alyssia Ruggiero

Appalachian State University


In light of disability studies’ recent examinations of the dichotomy between medical and social models in terms of their influence upon attitudes toward people with disabilities, the author discusses her selection of course materials for a college-level course, Art and the Exceptional Learner, targeted to pre-service art teachers. Structured teaching opportunities with disabled high school students and adults are also recounted, as well as student reactions to these experiences. The conclusions of both author and students favor a social model as the best foundation for establishing inclusive classrooms in U.S. public schools, which in turn are thought to have the best potential to bring about social change that favors better understanding and acceptance of disability across the social spectrum.

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