Beyond Normal

The topics we will examine in this course will be disability and advocacy. The class will cover the historical precedents related to people with special needs, how they are reflected in contemporary popular media and literature, and best practices of engagement in the world for those with and without identified disabilities. The class will explore best practices in understanding living and learning challenges through universal design, understanding accommodations, the ADA (American Disabilities Act), Civil Rights Act and other relevant legislation. We will explore ways to support and advocate for self and others by looking at the particular needs and challenges for those labeled as having disabilities. We will examine models of successful inclusive living and learning environments that exist in education and communities all over the world such as Camphill Villages and L'Arche communities. Overall goals of advocacy for self and others will be emphasized through readings, discussions, interviews, and self-exploration.

NOTE:  This course is offered as a hybrid with required in-person meeting times as stated and online component is asychnronous (no required meeting time).

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
172: MW 1:00-1:50pm - hybrid
Spring 2024
Civic Engagement

Rebekah Cummings

Rebekah Cummings

Dr. Rebekah Cummings is most at home in nature and especially loves listening to babbling brooks and river rapids. As an educator, Rebekah mentors and guides students as they engage with the learning process. She supports students in not only demonstrating what they have learned but also in articulating what they think about what they've learned. In addition to First Year Seminars on Autism and on the Image of the Child, Rebekah has taught courses in child development, family stress and resiliency, and early childhood education at both ASU and Virginia Tech. Rebekah is a support parent for Parent to Parent Family Support Network – High Country and facilitates High Country Families on the Spectrum. In both capacities, she provides information and support to parents of children on the Autism Spectrum and in the broaderautism phenotype (i.e., Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD/ADHD). Rebekah also serves on the Innovative Approaches steering committee which focuses on making positive, long-lasting change for children, youth, and families with special healthcare needs. She presents locally and regionally with a focus on understanding and respecting sensory-processing differences and supporting transitions for those on the Spectrum. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and holds a Ph.D. in Human Development.

Rebekah served as director of Lucy Brock Child Development Lab Program here at ASU and was a preschool teacher at Berea College and Virginia Tech. Her grounding in the Reggio Emilia Approach, her time as an Extension Agent for 4-H/Youth Development, parenting her own son, and serving as an academic coach leads her to believe that every child - indeed every person - is capable, competent, and inquisitive. Through these experiences, Rebekah has learned that interests, skills, and needs are individual; therefore to truly reach someone, you must learn to "speak" their language - a language unique to that person.