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Accessibility Training for Teaching Assistants at USC: Terms and Definitions

Organized and developed by a collaboration between Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Graduate Student Government (GSG) and USC Libraries as a resource for acccessibility training for teaching assistants.

Terms and Definitions

  • Ableism - Prejudice, bias, and/or discrimination against people with disabilities
  • Accessible - The conditions under which a facility, program, activity, class, or space is readily usable by all individuals with or without assistive aid(s) or devices.
  • Access Barriers - Any system, action, or interference that prevents people with disabilities from using spaces, resources, or participating in activities.
  • Accommodation - A modification or adjustment made in order to make a facility, program, activity, class, or space accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Assistive Technology - Technology, devices, and equipment that assist people with disabilities (including, but not limited to, mobility assistive devices like wheelchairs, assistive technologies for visual impairments like screen readers, assistive technologies for hearing impairments like hearing aids, assistive technologies for cognitive impairments like memory aids).
  • Disability Inclusion - The creation of an environment that is accessible, supportive, and equitable such that people with disabilities are able to fully participate in all social, scholastic, and communal activities.
  • Medical Model of Disability - An older, outdated paradigm that sees disability as a condition in need of diagnosis and medical treatment.
  • Social Model of Disability - The social model understands disability as produced by the way that society is organized, rather than differences among people. The social model argues that society is built to meet the needs of only those seen as hyper-able, actively creating barriers for anyone who does not fall into this idealized category. Instead of advocating for medical intervention, the social model looks for ways to remove barriers (physical, intellectual, cultural, and educational) in order to make spaces accessible to all people (for example, UDL). This model understands people with disabilities as active community members and participants in decisions about accessibility, rather than as simply patients or recipients of care.
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - A framework that refers to the deliberate engineering of spaces, programs, services, tools, and facilities so that they are inclusive and usable to the maximum number of people.

Additional Resources

For a more comprehensive glossary of disability related terms, see: Glossary of Disability-Related Terms | DO-IT