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5 Free Disability Courses Available Online

For those of you who seek to learn more about disability rights or working with people with disabilities there are many online courses which you can audit for free. The courses offer a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities and how you can work towards securing basic human rights and adequate care for people affected. There are still many problems in the care system related to the way that people with disabilities are treated and often their basic human rights are not prioritized in the way that they should be. With the material available online to learn more about the needs, rights and concerns of people with disabilities, you can develop the skills to make a real impact.

Disability Awareness and Support (University of Pittsburgh)

Offered by the University of Pittsburgh, this course aims to help students to address disability within education. The course is aimed at people who are working in education and helps them to understand how to be confident and competent in communicating with and assisting students with disabilities. The course introduction explores the United States legislation related to disabilities in higher education as well as definitions of disability. The second week focuses on how to accommodate disabled students within the university setting. In week three, you will focus on developing your own course material that is accessible and, finally, in week 4 you will apply what you have learned by responding to case studies. The course will take approximately 7 hours and suggests that you dedicate 1-2 hours of studying per week.

Able-Minded – Mental Health and People with Intellectual Disability (University of Queensland)

The Able-Minded X series offered by The University of Queensland, Australia, aims to increase understanding of mental-health issues and ethical decision-making for people with intellectual disabilities. This course focuses on mental health by teaching us about the complexities of diagnosing mental health issues in people with intellectual disabilities as well as how we would go about diagnosis using screenings and assessments. Furthermore, the course looks at treatment and the legal and ethical complexities of health care with regards to patients who might need substituted consent in order to make decisions about their own care. The legal and ethical issues discussed here provide valuable knowledge for students who are thinking about careers in human rights and are interested in how legislation might help people with disabilities to have a role in the decision-making process.

Through My Eyes (University of Queensland)

This course is part of the Able-Minded 101x series, in which you will learn more about the abilities and hardships of individuals who are living with disabilities, and is provided by the University of Queensland in Australia. The series aims to broaden our perspective by giving voice to people with disabilities who have the capacity and the skills to live a normal life with the right understanding and assistance. It also focuses on the vast inadequacy of health services offered and how we could go about providing better health care. In this course in particular, we hear from over 100 disabled contributors from around 17 different countries around the world who will share their own stories. The contributors talk about their own struggles as well as what they do to stay healthy and happy, how they plan to live independently, how they deal with complex care and how they come to terms with having a shorter life-span.

Education for All: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion (University of Cape Town) 

Provided by the University of Cape Town, South Africa, this course looks at how we can include children with disabilities in the education system. You will learn about providing inclusive education in schools which are not specialised for students with disabilities, so that these students can participate without feeling segregated. In line with this, you will learn about the barriers and difficulties faced in making education inclusive. The course also celebrates diversity, with regards to the particular kind of diversity which is provided by people with disabilities, and how communities can welcome and support this diversity. In addition, the course was created by teachers, professionals and parents who are interested in developing inclusive education and you will hear from a range of people with experience in disabilities. You can join this 8-week course for free and have access to all the materials for the length of the course.

Global Health and Disability (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

With a focus on the impact of disability globally, this course is provided by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The course studies how people with disabilities are overlooked on a national and international level and the barriers they are facing in accessing health, rehabilitation and education services. The course aims to raise awareness of the importance of the health and well-being of people with disabilities in the context of global development. You will learn about ways to reduce societal stigma against disability and how access to health care is a human right which includes specific services such as rehabilitation. In this course you will also hear form people around the world, including many low-income countries, who will describe their experiences with disabilities. This course is an excellent asset to anyone interested inclusion and how improving health services has an impact on global development and human rights. This course will take 3 weeks with the commitment of 4 hours of study per week.

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) provides information about online courses, jobs, paid internships, masters degrees, scholarships and other opportunities in the human rights sector and related areas.