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  • Discipline(s): Education Psychology
  • Available: Fall Semester 2024 Spring Semester 2024
  • Course Type: Seminar & Practicum
  • Taught in: English
  • Course Fee: $75.00
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: No

EDUC / PSYC 355: Critical Disabilities Studies: Seminar and Practicum

Important Notes:

  • Students in this course are encouraged, but not required, to enroll in EDUC/PSYC 430: Human Development in Culture based on the complementary nature of their practicum placement.
  • This course was previously CESP 354.
  • Spots are limited. An application is required, which you will receive by email. The Umbra Institute will not be able to guarantee enrollment to all that apply.

Course Structure
This course has two main academic components: one experiential (practicum) and one reflective (seminar). The practicum provides you with direct experience in an inclusive professional setting for 3 hours per week. The seminar meets every week for 1.5 hours to explore disciplinary theory through readings, discussions, and personal reflection.

Course Description

The course intends to give a multicultural view on differently abled persons and how societies respond and handle the issue. Focus is based on the different forms of disability (acquired vs. inborn), how to empower a differently abled person in order to reinforce resilience and how to reach as much independence as possible in case of a critical disability. Students will gain insight on how different countries respond to disabilities and which policies of integration are adopted.

All students enrolled in this course will complete three contact hours per week with VIVA Sports Association. VIVA Sports Association is the first athletic program for kids and adults with motor and/or intellectual disabilities in Perugia. Students will assist the professional staff in managing the athletic activities, helping children and adults with a variety of disabilities play sports, including fencing, ping-pong, volleyball, and basketball to develop social and motor skills. In addition, students will also collaborate with VIVA staff in designing new activities.

The goal of this course is to foster greater awareness of the experiences of differently abled people and reflection on the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into society by assuming a critical perspective. It also introduces students to cultural engagement based on mutual benefit and growth through dialogue and hands-on experience. The course is designed for students willing to broaden their cultural perspectives, develop a heightened sense of intercultural awareness and sensitivity, and see different communities from a comparative, global standpoint. Students who commit to this course should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible.

For more information on VIVA, visit VIVA’s website 

Important Note: The Critical Disabilities practicum will be on Wednesday afternoons. For this reason, you will not be able to enroll in other courses that will conflict with these afternoon meetings. You will receive an individual email regarding their course schedule in order to work out any necessary changes.

Course Objectives
In this course, you will

  • gain a heightened sense of intercultural awareness;
  • improve critical thinking and communication skills;
  • connect with an organization that strives to move beyond “compassion” and “medical help” in order to integrate people with disabilities into society;
  • empower people with disabilities to be independent and self-supported;
  • develop a theoretical framework to analyze and reflect on the practicum experience; and
  • increase understanding of how culture influences perspectives and behaviors towards disability.

Course Materials
Mandatory course reader

Course Fee
$75.00 – Includes transportation to and from VIVA association