Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, in partnership with The Center for Child and Human Development, will initiate a new interdisciplinary program on Disability Studies.

“Consistent with the Georgetown traditions of social justice and building on the expertise of the Georgetown Center for Child and Human Development in the area of disability, the IDSP [interdisciplinary disability studies program] is designed to help students understand and work to overcome the barriers to full participation of people with disabilities in the community and society,” said Toby Long, associate professor in the Center for Child and Human Development, in a statement to the Hoya.

Graduate students seeking to earn a masters in professional studies with this concentration will complete 30 credits of coursework through the school of continuing studies. The advanced professional certificate, which requires 15 credits to complete, will also be offered.

IDSP is within the scope of the disciplines of health, law, education, business, public policy and the humanities according to the brochure. IDSP will contain three tracks: developmental disabilities, early intervention and mental health systems of care for children of youth.

The IDSP provides graduate students with the proper skills to assume leadership roles in disability service, research, public policy and advocacy. Some of the courses to be offered include Foundations of Disability Studies, Disability and Culture, Research Methodologies and Disabilities and Program Evaluation and Monitoring.

Along with Georgetown University’s principles, the program seeks to stress the importance of community involvement to help others overcome physical or mental barriers to fully participate in society.

“The interest in disability studies is growing across campus bringing together diverse groups of faculty and students,” Long said. “Like so much in life, the time just seems right for GU to develop a disability studies program.”

The anticipated start date of the program is September 2010. Leaders in the initiative are excited about the implications of the program.

“We anticipate that students interested in the program will be very diverse and represent service providers, advocates, policy makers as well as scholars interested in exploring the socio-political construct of disability,” said Long.

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