Schools of Communications, Health Sciences celebrate contributions of individuals with disabilities

April 25, 2021

Students work in a control room.

The School of Communications' Ability Media in partnership with the School of Health Sciences' occupational therapy program delivered a live broadcast highlighting the contributions of individuals with disabilities last week in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The hour-long show included live voting from viewers on best actors and actresses in movie roles, as well as a discussion on disability in media.

"It was such a great team effort to showcase disabilities in film and television," said Dave Stevens, professional in residence in the School of Communications. "Doing our first live broadcast was a big challenge, but with so many amazing students working with us, it was a show that Quinnipiac can be proud of. This is just the start of many great programs to come."

The initiative was developed by the occupational therapy department, and brought to life by students in the School of Communications.

"Shows like this benefit students in the school because it shows that they can make a difference," said School of Communications Dean Chris Roush. "Ability Media has students in all of our majors – graphic design, public relations, advertising, media studies, film and journalism – working together to present to the world that they need to pay more attention to this demographic. More than 27 percent of the U.S. population identifies as having a disability, but there’s no disability beat at major news organizations."

Ability Media is one of the ways the university is working to address one of the worst issues in media today – the lack of representation of people with different abilities, both in careers in communications and in representation in shows, movies, and other media content, Roush said. "That’s what we’re supposed to do in academia – look at our field and work to solve its problems. Shows like this shed a light on those issues and get people thinking," he added.

Ability Media will launch a summer program for high school students with different abilities who want to learn broadcasting and media skills as a way to promote these areas as future career possibilities.

"The program is part of the School of Communications' larger initiative with Ability Media, and enables us to take the message beyond the University, to talented high school students who will be coming our way in the next few years," said Terry Bloom, associate dean of the School of Communications. "Change takes time and the best way to create change in our industries is create the most talented and dedicated storytellers we can to go out into the professional world and enact that change from within. This program is a great launching pad for just that kind of innovative thinking about not just our stories, but also our processes. It’s open to high school students of any ability and I can’t wait to see the amazing work that will come from letting these creative talents loose."

Watch the broadcast

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