two students chat with a guest consultant who is in a wheelchair.

In Tandon Senior Lecturer Allan Goldstein’s disability studies course, students work in teams with a guest consultant with a disability to explore that person’s interests, abilities, and desires. “One of the most exciting class sessions is when we all first meet,” says Goldstein of the project-oriented class, which culminates with each team presenting a person-centered documentary or other digital storytelling piece portraying the guest consultant. The syllabus also includes assigned readings, lectures, and field trips to make students familiar with the issues people with disabilities face.

a student presents his film about one of the guest consultants to the class and the consultants

a guest consultant watches the short film the students made about her life

“I’m drawn to this subject because I am an older sibling and guardian of a Willowbrook State School survivor,” Goldstein reflects. “We are all variations on the theme of being human.”

The course is a core requirement of NYU’s disability studies major, but Goldstein says it’s suitable for everyone.

“Students enjoy learning that we all want work and love,” he says, “and consultants find increasing self-esteem by educating their typical student partners about life with a disability.”

a student chats with a guest consultant who is in a wheelchair while drinking coffee

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