Definitions for Disability Studies

While there are more terms in Disability Studies than the ones included in this post, this is a good starting point and simple explanation of some of the common terms used in DS.

Disability in Children's Literature

By: Ciara Saavedra


       Keywords for Disability Studies describes ability as a “quality in a person that makes an action possible” (Adams et al. 12). Today, ability is seen as a simple binary term that encompasses two parts to it- ability and disability (Adams et al. 5). From this definition, these terms function as opposites of one another which leaves little space for those who fall in between (Adams et al. 12). The Oxford English Dictionary defines ability as, “the quality in a person or thing which makes an action possible; suitable or sufficient power or proficiency; capability, capacity to do, or (now rare) of doing something” (“ability, n.”). This definition alludes to the Industrial Revolution as it gives the impression that ability gives way to efficiency; thus seeing the body as a means to producing an end (Adams et al. 12). The OED also defines ability…

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Definitions of Disabilities

A useful little breakdown of some major Disability definitions.

Disability in Children's Literature

By: Meredith McDevitt


       According to Keywords for Disability Studies, the term blindness is defined as “a condition of the flesh as well as a signifying operation” (Adams et al.34).  The term includes many different things, times, and places, as well as different styles of writing within the lines of disability and the human eyes (Adams et al. 34). The definition has transformed over centuries, today it represents a wide variety of disabilities that affect language and the body. The Oxford English Dictionary defines blindness as blind condition; want of sight” (“blind, n.”). Adams addresses blindness as a transitioned term, from a physical medical definition, to including more of a variety within quantitative standards.


       Adams defines the term Crip within Keywords for Disability Studies as “an alternative to both the old-fashioned and rejected ‘disabled person’ and the new, more formal terms ‘disabled person’ or ‘person with a…

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