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Equal Treatment, Equal Access

Overview

For centuries people with disabilities were thought to be helpless, indigent citizens, and were forced into institutions and asylums without equal opportunity or equal protection under the law. The disability rights movement of the 1960s marked a critical turning point with the rise of a grassroots effort that eventually led to the legislative victories of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 (renamed IDEA in 1990) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.

According to the U.S. Census, about 56.7 million people, or 19% of the population, had a disability in 2010, based on a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe.  Less than one half of individuals (41.1%) aged 21 to 64 with a disability were employed compared to 79.1% of people in this age group without disabilities. Even in the digital age, access to the internet is unequally distributed. Findings of a Pew Internet survey reflect lower rates of internet use by individuals who have a disability compared to those without a disability (54% vs. 81).

Despite the fact that people with disabilities represent the largest demographic group in the nation, the disability community remains largely invisible and continues to face architectural barriers, discriminatory policies and negative attitudes on a daily basis.

The multi-grade lessons included in this curriculum unit seek to challenge myths and stereotypes about people with disabilities and to promote awareness of various forms of disability.

 

 

This lesson plan has been put together by the Anti-Defamation League, and a pdf version of the entire unit is available here.

 

 

Lesson 1 for Grades K–2

The purpose of this lesson is to begin to familiarize students with the term disability, and to raise awareness about the experiences of people with physical disabilities. Through children’s literature and personal connections with people who have a physical disability, students come to understand the capacity of people with disabilities to engage in activities that all people enjoy. Students will also come to know and recognize the International Symbol of Access to People with Disabilities.

Learning Standards

Reading

  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • R.3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

 

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

 

Lesson 2 for Grades 2–4

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the concept of disability to students by exploring the everyday experiences of people who have a hearing disability. Through hands-on exercises such as using sign language and appreciating music by means of sound vibration, students explore similarities and differences in the daily lives of people with and without a hearing disability. In addition, students are encouraged to challenge assumptions about the abilities of people with disabilities in general.

Learning Standards

Reading

  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • R.3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

 

Writing

  • W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

 

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • SL.2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

 

 

Lesson 3 for Grades 4–6

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the concept of disability to students by exploring and understanding daily experiences of people with a visual disability. By engaging in concrete activities such as transcribing Braille and learning about the achievements of activists like Helen Keller, students are challenged to rethink assumptions and beliefs about the abilities of people with disabilities. Students are also asked to consider issues of accessibility by noting barriers in the environment that may limit opportunities for people with disabilities.

Learning Standards

Reading

  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • R.3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • R.10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently

 

Writing

  • W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

 

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • SL.2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

 

Language Arts

  • L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • L.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

 

 

Lesson 4 for Grades 6–8

The purpose of this lesson is to increase understanding about learning differences and empathy for people who have them. Experts estimate that 6 to 10 percent of the school-aged population and nearly 40 percent of the children enrolled in the nation’s special education classes have a learning disability; yet most students don’t understand what learning disabilities are and those who learn differently frequently bear the stigma of being thought of as “slow,” lazy, or “weird.” During this lesson, students explore their own learning styles as the basis for understanding learning differences. Through simple brain research and articles, students learn the facts about learning differences, and through experiential exercises and personal testimony, students develop an appreciation for others with learning disabilities. The lesson concludes with a brief look at prominent historical and contemporary figures with learning differences and multiple intelligence theory in order to encourage an appreciation for brain diversity and emphasize the broad continuum of strengths and talents inherent in human beings.

Learning Standards

Reading

  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • R.6: Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
  • R.9: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

 

Writing

  • W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

 

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
  • SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

 

Language Arts

  • L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • L.6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

 

 

Lesson 5 for Grades 9–12

The purpose of this lesson is for students to examine how past prejudicial attitudes and social exclusion of people with disabilities led to the rise of a nationwide, grassroots movement for the recognition of equal rights, equal access and equal treatment of people with disabilities. Students will consider how ableist assumptions are rooted in past stereotypical portrayals of disability, and will be challenged to reflect on their own assumptions and attitudes towards people with disabilities. Students will also learn about current day issues concerning the disability community, and will work in concert with disability advocates to take action in their own community on a disability rights issue.

Learning Standards

Reading

  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • R.9: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • R.10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

 

Writing

  • W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • W.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • W.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • W.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • W.10: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

 

Speaking and Listening

  • SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • SL.2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
  • SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

 

Language Arts

  • L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • L.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
  • L.6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

 

 

Link to the original page is available here.

 


The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

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