Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ability Ally: Moving Toward an Inclusive Institution

By : Alisha Abbott - Allies For Inclusion: Exhibit Coordinator, Saint Louis University & Amy Brinkley - Research Assistant, Saint Louis University

The Ability Institute at Saint Louis University is pleased to announce a forthcoming initiative that promotes awareness of disability related topics.  Borne out of its parent project, Allies For Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit, The Ability Ally Project is an educational training offered to institutions that wish to create a more inclusive campus environment for people with disabilities.  
The Ability Institute’s original initiative, Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit, was created by Saint Louis University (SLU) graduate students in the Disability in Higher Education and Society course under the direction of their instructor, Karen Myers, PhD.  Evolving from a class project into a sophisticated exhibit, Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit debuted at SLU on October 27, 2010.  Since its debut, The Ability Exhibit has been displayed at numerous colleges and universities, and it received national recognition at the 2011 and 2012 ACPA College Student Educators International annual convention.
The Ability Ally Project is designed to be The Ability Exhibit “in a box”.  The specialized instruction contained within the Ability Ally training is designed to educate faculty, staff, and students on how they can be allies for disability inclusion.  Participants will learn how to create environments inclusive for students with disabilities.  The training will include a pre and post-assessment; a range of interactive activities to engage participants; and discussions about disability-related topics, including person-first language, universal design, and the disability movement.  Faculty and staff who complete the training can display an Ability Ally placard at their work space, which identifies the space as an inclusive environment for people with disabilities.  Upon completing the training, students will receive a wristband identifying them as an Ability Ally.
The Ability Ally Project will be available for purchase in January 2014. If your institution is interested in hosting The Ability Exhibit or purchasing an Ability Ally training workshop, please visit our website at www.slu.edu/theabilityexhibit.  If you have additional questions about The Ability Institute, please contact Alisha Abbott at aabbott7@slu.edu.


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