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Name (Last, First):
Class section (1 or 2):
Red ID:
General Studies 420: Disability & Society
Spring 2019
Assignment #4
“Disability as a Means of Innovation” Inquiry Paper
10 points
For this assignment investigate the following topic: The Straw Ban
Background: There is great debate around the subject of straws and their impact on the environment.
Within this debate have emerged unique perspectives of people in the disability community.
You are required to write a two-page paper, double spaced, 12 point font, addressing the following
points and questions. You must include the section title above each response. Failure to follow
formatting guidelines will result in a loss of 2 points.

Introduction – 1 point
Opening statement of topic area (1 short paragraph)

References & Summaries – 6 points
Name the websites, readings, blogs, and/or documentary films you utilized in your inquiry. You
should use at least 3 reputable sources with distinct perspectives. Include links to any online
sources used. What were the main points or arguments of each source? Write a 1 paragraph
summary of each source (total of 3 paragraphs worth 2 points each).

Class Connections – 1 point
Which of these fundamental areas does this topic touch on? Choose 2 areas. How does the topic
relate to the areas chosen? Explain. (1 paragraph)
○ Ableism, Social Model of Disability, accessibility, accommodations, assistive technology,
inspiration porn, disability rights, respectful language, intersectionality

Reflection – 1 point
I used to think that… Why did you think that? Now I think that… Why do you think that
now? What changed in your thinking? (1 paragraph).

Closing – 1 point
In this context, how is disability a tool or a means of innovation? How has the straw ban debate
evolved toward new possibilities as a result of disability representation? Or how has it not
evolved toward new possibilities? Explain. (2-3 sentences)
Disability-Related Language Standards
in Written Assignments
Students are expected to submit well-thought-out and well-written assignments. Failure to
proofread and edit assignments, and failure to use appropriate language (relevant and
respectful terminology related to disability) will result in points loss. (Please seek help at the
SDSU Writing Center if your English writing abilities are not yet proficient.)
In determining appropriate disability-related language, you will need to educate yourself about
diverse perspectives when it comes to language use. At this point in time, it is standard
disability etiquette to use person-first/people-first language. However, it is important to
understand and respect identity-first language as well.
Person-First Language
For the purposes of this course, you will be expected to use person-first language and
dignifying language as a way to demonstrate consciousness about respecting people with
disabilities. In general, person-first language is appropriate to use if you are not immersed in
the field of disability (which is most GS 420 students) or if your audience consists of children,
youth, and/or general lay people who do not know about the social model of disability. Personfirst language is an educational tool that is widely embraced by a diverse array of people with
disabilities, and allies and organizations that support them. It is encouraged in written
publications. GS 420 students need to become intimately familiar with person-first language
and language that promotes dignity and use it for all assignments.
Identity-First Language
Identity-first language is appropriate if you are a person who experiences disability and prefers
identity-first language. It is also appropriate if you are a person immersed in disability culture
who understands the social model of disability. And out of respect, if you are referring to or
speaking with someone who identifies with their disability first, you should feel comfortable in
using identity-first language. If you can argue your case and satisfactorily justify your use of
identity-first language in your assignments from a disability studies perspective, then we will
excuse your use of non-person-first language. But, within each assignment, you must clearly
identify yourself as a person who qualifies to use identify-first language, as described above.
(You should do this in parentheses immediately following any sentence using identity-first
language). Note: Many in the Deaf and autistic communities prefer identity-first language.
See some examples of person-first language and dignifying language choices on the next page.
Promoting Respectful Language
Person-First Language Suggestions
Don’t Say…
Down syndrome children
The disabled
Disabled people (unless you can justify
from disability studies perspective)
The mentally ill
Wheelchair children
Autistic boy
Instead Say…
Children who have Down syndrome
People with disabilities
People who have disabilities
People who experience disability
People with mental health disabilities or
People who experience mental illness or
mental health disabilities
Children who use wheelchairs
Boy who experiences or has autism
Boy who is autistic
(note: some self-advocates do prefer
“autistic boy”/identity-first language)
People who experience Cerebral Palsy
People who have Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy people
Dignifying Language Suggestions
Don’t Say…
Dying of AIDS
Instead Say…
Living with AIDS
“Suffers from” dyslexia
“Suffers from” autism
“Suffers from” anything
Wheelchair-bound/Confined to/Bound to a
Is disabled but is very successful
Experiences/ has dyslexia
Experiences/ has autism
Experiences/ has …
Uses a wheelchair
Wheelchair user
Is successful and has a disability/is
disabled (only point out disability if
Kids with disabilities
Kids who have disabilities
Kids who experience disability
Accessible restroom/stall, parking
Special needs kids
Handicapped restroom/stall, parking
*Terminology changes as society changes. These guidelines are fluid and will hopefully change
in years to come as our society becomes more inclusive.
Person-First & Identity-First Language Links
Here are some resources which further explain the distinctions between person-first and
identity-first language, and inspiration porn.
Disability is Natural – People First Language by Kathie Snow
Why person-first language doesn’t always put the person first

Why Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First

GS 420 students are also expected to stay away from inspiration porn in all assignments. See
Stella Young TEDx Talk (link on the last page) for further explanation of inspiration porn.
Inspiration Porn Links
Stella Young TEDx Talk: Inspiration Porn and the Objectification of Disability

Wikipedia: Inspiration Porn

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