Disability Social Work Textbook

Diagram featuring the social work planned change model, pre-engagement, engagement, assessment, intervention, termination and evaluation overlayed with anti-oppressive practice, critical cultural competence and intersectionality as well as empowerment-oriented principles of disability social work practice
Figure 1

I am pleased to announce that my co-editor Dr. Lisa Johnson and I are in the end-stages of putting together an open-educational resource textbook entitled: Social work practice and the disability community: An intersectional anti-oppressive approach. Our first two chapters are live: Disability 101 and a theoretical practice model.

Statement of Aims: The main goal of this book will be to introduce an intersectionally-informed[1] and critically culturally competent approach to anti-oppressive social work practice[2] with disabled people[3] in the United States. 

Our primary objective is to present an innovative practice model for social workers to use with disabled people. The main themes woven throughout the book will be intersectionality theory, the critical cultural competence framework and anti-oppressive practice. Our secondary objective is to present the experiences of a range of disabled people with different social identities in various service areas as a way to inform better social work practice. 

We prioritize the voices of disabled people and their experiences with different parts of the health, education, justice and social service arenas. We will accomplish this by pulling together a team of authors who are practitioners, educators, researchers, and advocates with a range of social identities, including disability identities. This textbook’s structure and the new theoretical framework it presents will be a draw for social work educators. Scholars have identified the significant need for more disability-related content in social work curricula given the significant prevalence of disability worldwide. 

Designed as a main textbook for social work courses at the bachelor’s and master’s level or for social work practitioners in the field in the U.S., this work moves beyond a traditional segregated approach to the exploration of disability-specific populations, instead taking a more intersectional approach in discussing specific service areas while weaving in information about the experiences of disabled people with a range of social identities. 

Abstract: Given the high prevalence of disability worldwide, the status of disabled people remains an area of concern for practitioners who seek to respectfully engage with a stigmatized and often oppressed population. The book encourages practitioners to draw on intersectionality theory, the critical culturally competent framework and anti-oppressive practice approaches to contend with the concerns facing disabled people today. These issues include parenting, mass incarceration, ableism, aging and employment, among others. This title acknowledges difference and multisystemic privilege and oppression while also drawing readers’ attention to the importance of solidarity and allyship when it comes to meaningful social work practice with and social change for disabled people. 


[1] An intersectional perspective focuses on the mutually determined influence of multiple, intersecting social identities on our lived experiences within systems of privilege and oppression (Cho, Crenshaw, and McCall, 2013). 

[2] Anti-oppressive practice involves interrogating institutions and structures to recognize how even when social workers are trying to do good, we can replicate bad. Link this to anti-oppressive practice (Baines, 2011).

[3] We use disability-first language in keeping with current preferences in much of the disability community and the preference of one of the authors, who is disabled.

Introduction

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

1. Disability 101

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

2. A practice model for disability social work 

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Rose Singh, MSW, PhD candidate, Memorial University School of Social Work

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

3. Major disability policies

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

4. Health and personal care services

Esther Son, MSW, PhD, College of Staten Island-CUNY, School of Social Work

5. Education and transition to adulthood

Sharyn DeZelar, MSW, PhD, Saint Catherine University, School of Social Work

Olivia Elick, MSW candidate, Saint Catherine University, School of Social Work

6. Child protection

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Robyn Powell, BSW, JD, PhD, Stetson University School of Law

7. Gender, gender identity, and gender expression 

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Katie Sweet, MSW, Mystic Valley Elder Services

8. Sexual orientation and sexuality

Shanna Katz Kattari, PhD, MEd, CSE, ACS, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Ami Goulden, MSW, PhD candidate, University of Toronto School of Social Work

9. Mental health and substance use disorder treatment

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Rose Singh, MSW, PhD candidate, Memorial University School of Social Work

10. Employment, housing and poverty 

Michael Clarkson-Hendrix, MSW, PhD, State University of New York, Fredonia

Mallory Cyr, MPH, Association of Maternal and Child Health Professionals

11. Domestic violence and sexual assault 

Michelle Ballan, MSW, PhD, Stonybrook University School of Social Work

12. Law enforcement and criminal legal systems 

Sandra Leotti, MSW, PhD, University of Wyoming School of Social Work

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University School of Social Work

13. Aging and end-of-life

Alexandria Lewis, MSW, EdS, University of Missouri School of Social Work

14. Disability resistance movements

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Conclusion

Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD, Salem State University, School of Social Work