Hiram College

Despite the fact that people with disabilities represent the largest minority group in the U.S., they are often excluded from studies on discrimination and prejudice.

Hiram College Professor of Psychology Michelle Nario-Redmond, Ph.D., and her students intend to generate awareness of this disparity. Dr. Nario-Redmond, Hiram sophomore Alexia Kemerling and 2017 Hiram graduate Nina Lester presented their research on disability prejudice and ableism last month at the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues international conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

Nario-Redmond also presented “Disability Identification and Disability-Rights Advocacy: Implications for Emerging Adults.” Dr. Nario-Redmond, who has research interests in stereotyping, prejudice and disability studies, says that little research has been conducted in field of psychology on ableism.

Kemerling, Lester and Nario-Redmond presented “Hostile and Benevolent Forms of Ableism: Fear, Pity, Dehumanization, Jealousy.” During the talk, Lester, who now works at Guidestone in Cleveland to help provide therapy to girls undergoing recent trauma, highlighted advocacy steps citizens can take to draw awareness to disability discrimination. Kemerling, meanwhile, gave advice to faculty on how to make their classes more accessible, what to do if they commit a micro-aggression toward a person with a disability and also how to detect their personal biases.

Both Lester and Kemerling received funding: Lester’s in the form of a scholarship from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and both Lester and Kemerling from Hiram’s HPAC, or Health Professionals Affinity Committee, to attend the conference.

“Nina and Alexia have been so invested in this project, coding countless qualitative survey responses and generating their own activist pages for the ableism book (Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice). They are the kind of undergraduate assistants that we all dream about; their dedication has made our collaboration extremely productive,” says Nario-Redmond.