As of spring 2022, Dr. Toste will design and teach a new signature course at UT Austin titled Disability Advocacy: Historical, Legal, and Social Perspectives. Signature courses are designed for first-year students to explore new interests and engage with UT's academic community through specialized courses matching faculty expertise across campus.
This course is designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of advocacy and empowerment as these concepts relate to individuals with disabilities. Students will examine a variety of topics related to the history of disability and the disability rights movement, and legal rights and protections for people with disabilities in the United States. These topics are explored through engagement with legislation and case law, lived experiences of people with disabilities, and analysis of barriers to access across the lifespan. We consider the root causes of disability discrimination, learn legal tools available to respond to this discrimination, and consider various avenues of effective advocacy, including research-based strategies that may assist individuals with disabilities to acquire skills that foster self-determination across the lifespan. Students will also be exposed to social perspectives on disability as they relate to autonomy and decision-making, disability culture, education, and international comparative legal protections. The course will consist of a blend of lecture, discussion, whole and small group activities, and guest speakers with varied perspectives.