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Disability Studies in Education


Audri Sandoval Gomez and Aja McKee, featuring Susan Gabel, Ph.D.

This module aligns with the following DSE tenets:

  • contextualizes disability within political and social

  • privileges the interest, agendas, and voices of people labeled with disability/disabled people

  • promotes social justice, equitable and inclusive educational opportunities, and full and meaningful access to all aspects of society for people labeled with disability/disabled people.

  • assumes competence and reject deficit models of disability.

Disability intersects with race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual and gender identity, religion, and all other forms of difference. Understanding inclusion and diversity from the perspective of disability studies in education can help teachers facilitate learning environments that respect and honor difference in its many forms."  - Dr. Susan Gabel

What is Disability Studies in Education?

Disability studies in education [DSE] is a growing field seeking to increase “visibility and influence” in many areas of educational research and practice (American Educational Research Association Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group [AERA DSE SIG], 2007). DSE scholars have collectively established a vision for the field by contending that a DSE approach seeks to “promote the understanding of disability from a social model perspective” to “challenge social, medical, and psychological models of disability as they relate to education” (AERA DSE SIG). In addition, DSE scholars such as Gabel (2005) maintain that a DSE perspective not only situates disability within political and social contexts, but also supports full inclusive education of students with disabilities as a civil rights issue and ability studies in education.

We invite you to expand your knowledge of DSE by exploring this website. This website is designed for educators, students, and perspective students to learn more about DSE. For those in the field of education, it is designed to provide professional development in the area of DSE and is notable for general and special educators to explore in an effort to understand and share the world of disability, and make an impact on the students they work with. 


  • American Educational Research Association Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group [AERA DSE SIG], 2007

  • Gabel, S. (Ed.) (2005). Introduction: Disability Studies in Education. In S. Gabel (Ed.), Disability Studies in Education: Readings in theory and method. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

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