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The Institute for Disability Studies
The Alin Beit Noam Institute for Disability Studies works to disseminate knowledge and develop advanced learning programs in the field of Disability Studies. The purpose of this institute is to promote, expand, and spread critical thought about disabilities within Israel. We believe that critical thinking will bring about fundamental changes regarding the acceptance of difference and the advancement of the status of people with disabilities in Israeli society.
Alin Beit Noam sees itself as a bridge between academia and the field and between theory and practice. Our institute is unique because it inextricably links our practical experience on the one hand, with both academic thought social advocacy concerning persons with disabilities on the other hand. From this unique position, Alin Beit Noam is developing a unique infrastructure that addresses the tension and dilemmas prevalent in the area of disabilities. The Institute will promote communication and foster connections between the therapeutic-rehabilitative-medical discourse and the social-cultural-critical discourse. From these connections, the Institute will seek to build new and more complex models of understanding of disability.
Training, education and research provided by Alin Beit Noam centers on three primary disciplines:
- Disability Studies: Disability Studies is a young and developing critical interdisciplinary academic field that began in the 1980's in the UK and the US. In Disability Studies, disabilities are examined and critically analyzed through a social and political lens. While the Medical Model categorizes disability as a pathological biological state that individuals contend with personally, the Social Model promoted by Disability Studies, sees disabilities as a social construct one that is created and dependent on stigma, oppression, and discrimination.
- Universal Design: "The design of products and the environment in a way that is accessible to every human being to the greatest extent, without the need for adjustments or special accommodation or design" (Ronald L. Mace). Universal Design challenges and moves beyond the traditional architectural design that operates from the traditional and oppressive paradigm geared towards the so called "normal" or "average person". Universal Design seeks to create a paradigm of design and architecture that recognizes and builds products and the environment to be suitable for all human beings; it accounts for women, children, elderly, people with disabilities, and people from different cultures etc.
- Developmental Disabilities: Over the years Alin Beit Noam has garnered and developed multidisciplinary practice based knowledge on various means and types of treatment and help for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. The specialties of Alin Beit Noam include: augmentative and alternative communication, assistive technology, psychotherapy groups, support groups for parents and siblings, employment, personal plans, placement, manual and motorized wheelchairs, building construction and design.
The primary activity of Alin Beit Noam’s Institute for Disability Studies is in professional training. The Institute delivers courses, seminars, lectures, evening learning sessions, and training days etc. The majority of these training activities are carried out in our center in Kiryat Ono. Others are organized in collaboration with Institutes of higher education.
Training at the Institute is geared to people with and without disabilities who are connected to the field of disabilities and/or work in it without having been exposed to Disability Studies during their education.
The institute at Alin Beit Noam gears its training to a wide audience including:
- Paramedical professionals and health service providers
- Policy makers
- People with disabilities and their families
- Students, researchers and academics
The Institute promote critical and applied research in the field of disabilities with the intention of advancing social change in Israel. With the transition of Alin Beit Noam to the Elga Campus, our research activities will expand.
The Institute is conducting various types of research including:
- Theoretical research in the field of Disability Studies
- Policy analysis
- Development and analysis of treatment programs
- Needs assessments
- Evaluation of solutions based on the Universal Design approach.