Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


First Advisor

Derek Ford

Second Advisor

Sahar Sattarzadeh

Third Advisor

Tamara Stasik


The goal of this thesis is to critically analyze the structures currently present within the education system that exclude individuals possessing certain brains and bodies from the socially constructed “norm.” The lens of critical disability studies is utilized to shed light on the spatial, curricular, historical, and disciplinary elements of the education system as we know it. Specifically, this thesis focuses on the primary education classroom, since students solidify many of their biases and schemas about the world and people around them at this juncture. After reviewing the ableist rhetoric that manifests itself in schools and society as a result of the social construction of “normal,” the specific mechanism of disability children’s literature is analyzed in order to shed light on an avenue for fostering greater inclusion in primary classrooms. The aim of critically analyzing the current education system is to work for a better, more inclusive future for differently-abled students that views the incredible strengths that exist outside the lines of “normal”.