The Center for Research on Ability and Disability (RAD) is a new center in the College of Educational Studies at Chapman University, Orange, California, directed by Don Cardinal, Ph.D., Professor.The RAD Center seeks to understand the ability within the socially constructed notion of disability through research, policy and action.
Don Cardinal, Ph.D., Professor.
About the Center
Disability is both a perception and a reality. Some rightfully argue that any discussion of disability only serves to disregard or minimize the person labeled. Others suggest that what most call a disability is simply human variation (see discussion on neurodiversity). Regardless of the argument, how we view the social construct called disability impacts laws and policy, and most importantly, lives.
There is growing research evidence that the social construct of disability itself is disabling, creating a sense that people have limitations that may or may not actually be present. The Center for Research on Ability and Disability will investigate this phenomena, draw attention to its findings and if warranted, help to identify and promote social and professional behavior and programs which serve to mitigate the restricting effects on those who are characterized as different. Every attempt will be made to understand and collaborate with self-advocates who offer a perspective that is grossly under-represented in the professional literature.
A special note: While autism will not be the only focus of the center, as a group, people with autism have clearly demonstrated that they are not a group to be studied by others, rather, a group to be consulted in all professional and social matters that pertain to them or to be followed in matters led by them. The Center for Research on Ability and Disability will honor this lesson.