New disability history course offered in university program


Counseling and special education faculty member Jodell Heroux teaches on Dec. 4 in the Education and Health Services Building Room 232.

Special Education 210WI, History of Disability, is a new course at Central Michigan University, offered for the first time during the fall 2018 semester.

The course meets the requirements for the university program subgroup IIIB: Studies in Social Structures, and is also a writing intensive course.

The course was created and taught by JoDell Heroux, the coordinator of special education clinical experiences in the department of counseling and special education.

Heroux said the course reviews major historical events with a focus on disability.

“Most people think about disability from a medical model paradigm," Heroux said, "the social model is a part of disabilities studies, and it really looks at disability from a different perspective."

Heroux said it is important for people to learn about disabilities because everyone is affected by them, whether they or someone in their family experiences disability.

“Disability impacts everyone,” Heroux said. “Disability is the only minority group anyone can join at any time.”

Andrea Jasper, chairperson for the department of counseling and special education, said the reason they wanted the course offered to the wider CMU community was because disabilities affect people throughout their entire lifespan.

“We are very for helping people see the value in those who have disabilities and wanting to have opportunities for education and exposure so the stigma surrounding disability is lessened and people who have disabilities are seen as valued individuals,” Jasper said.

Jasper said they thought it was important that everyone have access to the course if they wanted to understand more about disabilities.

“The course may not look that interesting or meaningful on the surface, but once you’re in it and we start discussing, it’s amazing how much it resonates with students,” Heroux said.

For the spring 2019 semester, SPE 210 WI will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Education and Human Services building Room 232.

There are still spots available to register for the course. There are no prerequisites or corequisites for the course.

For more information on the course, email Dr. Heroux at