Courses in Critical Disability Studies are taught by the Texas Center for Disability Studies; these courses have been offered through the School of Social Work since 2010. These core courses provide a foundation for Critical Disability Studies.

Note:  Course number for all CDS courses: CDI 360K undergraduate level or CDI 387R for the graduate level of each course

Core Courses

Introduction to Disability Studies: Making Systems Work for People with Disabilities (CDI 355.2)

This web-based course provides an overview of disability policy. Topics include the history of the disability rights movement, relevant federal and state legislation, legal and ethical issues, services and supports through federal and state programs, the political economy of disability, and disability culture, advocacy, and leadership issues.

Introduction to Disability Studies: The Social Construction of Disability (CDI 355.1)

We focus on the social and cultural context of disability, with an emphasis on how disability is defined and understood at the micro and macro levels. Attitudes, language, and adjustment theories will be considered from a personalist view. A deep understanding of the longstanding social oppression of the disability community, as well as ways to initiate social change, are integral to the course.

Texas Center for Disability Studies Elective Courses

Women and Disability (CDI 355.6)

The voice of women in multiple minority statuses is largely missing from discussions of disability. This course examines the meaning and experience of being female and disabled and/or a cultural/ethnic minority member. An in-depth examination of the intersection of sex-roles stereotypes, disability stereotypes, and cultural stereotypes occurs through readings, interviews, and research.

Aging and Disability (CDI 355.3)

This course studies individuals who are either chronologically older or who may be experiencing functional changes typical of older persons. This course identifies strategies for supports for families, friends, service providers, organizations, and members of the community to improve the lives of older persons. Topics include the aging process, a paradigm for dementia care, specific medical concerns, community membership, community building, team building, decision making, and family supports.

Developmental Disabilities and Self-Advocacy (CDI 355.5)

This course covers life-span issues for individuals with developmental disabilities. Topics include the impact of social and cultural values, including attitudes toward children and adults with developmental disabilities, institutionalization, service options, sexuality, forced sterilization, self-advocacy movements, and aging.

Family Support, Self Determination, and Disability (CDI 355.4)

This course provides teachers, professionals in the disability field, self-advocates, and families strategies for working with, and supporting families who have a member with a disability. Originally developed by family members, it has been updated with input from individuals with disabilities. Topics include: philosophy of family support and self-determination, cultural competence in supporting families, assessing needs and determining supports, identifying and coordinating resources, skills for working together with families and self-advocates, and evaluating family support.

Sexuality & Disability (CDI 355.7)

In this course, we will review the intersection of sexuality and disability and the complex historical influences that impact discussions of sexuality in relationship to disability.  The intersection of sexuality and disability is rarely acknowledged or analyzed.  People with disabilities have been viewed as asexual, hypersexual, or as victims, where their agency as sexual beings is overlooked. This course will explore the social justice issues surrounding disability and sexuality using the perspective of social work values and ethics to guide learning. Particular attention will be given to the concepts of diversity and inclusion in relation to disability and sexuality.

University-wide Elective Courses

Critical Disability Studies welcomes submissions for cross-listed courses from any department, program, or school. We are interested in courses that do more than simply include texts by or content about disability or disabled people. The program cross-lists those courses where illness, health, disability, and/or madness are not only used to demarcate groups and identities but are also critically (historically, structurally, analytically) examined in relation to race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, indigeneity, age, nation, etc.  We view this conceptual analysis of power, knowledge, and activism as an indispensable component of Critical Disability Studies.


Six hours chosen from:


ANT 302

Cultural Anthropology


ANT 349C

Human Variation


CSD 308K

Perspectives on Deafness


E 376M

Studies in Ethnic American Literature


EDP 376T

Topics in Educational Psychology


NUR 371

Disability of the Life Course

KIN 352K

Studies in Human Movement: Topical Studies


KIN 360

Programming for People with Disabilities


CDI 360K

Current Social Work Topics


WGS 393

Sick/Slow/Mad Crip Theory

UGS 302

What does it mean to be normal? Perceptions of Autism and Neurodiversity

UGS 302 Disability Advocacy: Historical, Legal, and Social Perspectives
CDI 355.7 previously S W 360K Leadership Training: Autism   
MUS 379K Musicking and Disability 

Please Note:


All courses in the Critical Disability Studies minor must be taken on a letter-grade basis, and students must earn a minimum grade of a C.




Nick Winges-Yanez, LMSW, PhD  

Phone: 512-232-0740