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University News | 04.22.24

‘Disability Visibility’: Common Book selection celebrates the breadth of disabled people’s experiences

The Common Book Committee and Adler University Library have selected the anthology “Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century” as next year’s Common Book title.

Cover of Disability VisibilityEdited by disability activist Alice Wong, the book brings together a collection that gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community.

Faculty are encouraged to integrate the book in courses and programming throughout the next Common Book year, which begins Sept. 1 and runs through the summer of 2025.

“This title addresses a critical topic when we talk about social responsibility, and it’s a topic none of our previous Common Book titles have explored,” said Library and Learning Services Senior Director Ariel Orlov. “This is essential reading for all future clinicians and for staff and faculty working to meet the needs of all our students.”

According to the United Nations, about 15% of the world’s population live with disabilities, making this community the world’s largest minority group, with any of us acquiring a disability and joining the community at any time Some disabilities are visible, while others are not outwardly apparent yet people with disabilities are often underrepresented or misunderstood in media and popular culture. The Common Book selection seeks to help bring these experiences to light through first-person accounts.

From essays and blog posts to manifestos and eulogies, the anthology celebrates and documents today’s disability culture while inviting readers to question their understanding of disabilities and abilities.

Books are now available to faculty and staff to allow them to begin planning ways to utilize the book and engage with students and colleagues. Those on the Chicago and Vancouver campuses should have received them in their mailboxes. They may also pick up a copy at their respective campus library. Online staff and faculty may request a Kindle copy through this e-book request form. Copies of the book will be available for students on all campuses at the start of the fall semester.

“It’s vital at Adler we seek to better understand and share experiences of disabled people,” said Christena Gunther, assistant director of Disability Services and Student Affairs. “Several of our staff, students, and faculty live with disabilities or have a loved one who is disabled. Often the communities that our graduates will serve as practitioners are experiencing different disabilities. Since disability has a long history of being ignored or derided due to stigma and unfamiliarity, I look forward to openly exploring the complexity, challenges, and joy of living with a disability in the coming year.”

Editor’s note: Students can learn more about accommodations on the Chicago and Online campuses online, by emailing  the Disability Services Office or calling 312-662-4141. For the Vancouver Campus, students can email Student Services or call 236-521-2433.

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