A hierarchy of impairments: the absence of body size in disability accommodations with universities.

Pritchard, Erin (2019) A hierarchy of impairments: the absence of body size in disability accommodations with universities. In: Disability and the University: A disabled student's manifesto. Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 129-136. ISBN 9781433167805

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This Chapter is a response to the lack of acknowledgement of body size as a disability within Universities. As someone with dwarfism, my identity as a disabled person is often contested, affecting me in receiving appropriate disability accommodations, including a size suitable gown for graduation ceremonies to size suitable facilities within different university buildings. As both a disabled student and currently an academic, the lack of proper accommodations has affected both my studies and my career. In one instance, I was forced to resign from my role as a Research fellow at one UK University due to them refusing to provide reasonable adjustments. Even when University facilities have been lowered, they are there to accommodate for wheelchair users. This does not necessarily benefit people with dwarfism as wheelchair users are considered to be taller and have an average arm length. This chapter argues that body size as a disability has been largely ignored creating a hierarchy of impairment when it comes to providing disability access within universities. Using some of my own experiences as examples, this Chapter demonstrates how disability access largely revolves around wheelchair users, ignoring the needs of people with dwarfism. For example, with the standard university lecture theatre there is now a removable set of seating to accommodate for wheelchair users, but no seating that is actually size suitable for people with dwarfism. This Chapter calls for more inclusion of body size when providing disability accommodations within universities and argues that disability accommodations do not begin and end with accommodation for wheelchair users. This is not to suggest that accommodations for wheelchair users should be frowned upon, but that universities need to diversify and expand to include a larger range of impairments in their accommodations. It will highlight what universities should provide for students with a body size that exceeds the norm, from disability facilities that accommodate for different body sizes to appropriate graduation attire.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Disability and Education
Depositing User: Erin Pritchard
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 09:43
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 09:43
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2997

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