Voices of “Disabled” Post Secondary Students: Examining Higher Education “Disability” Policy Using an Ableism Lens

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Abstract

A comprehensive understanding of the experiences of post secondary students with diverse abilities is needed. The ways in which 'disabled' postsecondary students make meaning of their experiences in postsecondary education was explored. Eight participants (self-identified disabled post secondary students) were recruited from post secondary institutions in Calgary, Alberta. Five themes (hegemonic voice, voice of the body, voice of silence, voice of assertion, voice of change) were identified within a body-social-self framework. Findings demonstrate a continued need for critical examination of higher education policy and its capacity to address differences in ability. The concept of ableism (hegemonic ability preferences which inaugurate the norm) is presented and is demonstrated to be of utility as an analytical lens. Findings are highly anticipated to address existing literature gaps and to be of importance to policymakers, researchers, and ability-diverse student populations.

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