Intersections in Rehabilitation

Virtual Speaker Series

Women's silhouettes in various colours

This Virtual Speaker Series will bring perspectives stemming from Critical Race Theory to inform clinical practice, teaching and research in rehabilitation sciences. Specifically, the Speaker Series will provide Critical Theoretical frames and research to understand racism, equity, and social-justice in the context of rehabilitation sciences in Canada. Critical perspectives are needed to transform and reframe our understanding of health outcomes for all Canadians.

The Virtual Speaker Series will bring together leaders who incorporate Critical Theory to understand health outcomes and experiences in populations who are marginalized. A renowned international panel of speakers from the University of Alberta, University of Victoria, McGill University and San Francisco State University will bring knowledge from Indigenous perspectives, lived experience, and expertise in disAbility studies, social justice, and Critical Race Theory. With regards to Indigenous perspectives, we aim to incorporate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #22: “We call upon those who can effect change within the Canadian health-care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients”.

As we move through the Speaker Series, we are developing associated modules to support reflection and continued learning related to each Speaker's talk. We encourage you to explore each one as they become available!

Thanks to the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine for funding to support this series. Organized by Drs Andrea MacLeod, Cary Brown & Allyson Jones.

Registration Information

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  1. You can attend the Virtual Speaker Series for free.

  2. Pay a modest fee to receive a certificate of completion at the end of the Virtual Speaker Series.

Intersections in Rehabilitation Virtual Events

Intersectionality and the Health of Black Canadians

On Demand

Dr. Bukola Salami
University of Alberta

Betty Yu will discuss how normative ideologies about language, race and disability result in the systematic pathologization of race and the persistent racialization of disabilities in the field of speech-language pathology. She will support this argument using illustrations from her recent work, including 1) a Disability and Critical Race Theory (DisCrit)-informed critique of the language differences and language disorders distinction in speech-language pathology, 2) the role of colorblind racism in the conceptualization of the ideal speech-language pathologist, and 3) how the practice of accent modification perpetuates raciolinguistic discrimination. She will discuss the implications of these findings for disciplines in the rehabilitation sciences that are rooted in the medicalization and pathologization of difference.

Access Course

A DisCrit-Informed Examination of Pathologization, Ableism & Racism in Speech-Language Pathology

On Demand

Dr. Betty Yu
San Francisco State University

Betty Yu will discuss how normative ideologies about language, race and disability result in the systematic pathologization of race and the persistent racialization of disabilities in the field of speech-language pathology. She will support this argument using illustrations from her recent work, including 1) a Disability and Critical Race Theory (DisCrit)-informed critique of the language differences and language disorders distinction in speech-language pathology, 2) the role of colorblind racism in the conceptualization of the ideal speech-language pathologist, and 3) how the practice of accent modification perpetuates raciolinguistic discrimination. She will discuss the implications of these findings for disciplines in the rehabilitation sciences that are rooted in the medicalization and pathologization of difference.

Access Course

Language, discrimination, and access to early intervention

On Demand

Dr. R. Sabah Meziane
University of Ottawa

Dr. Andrea A.N. MacLeod
University of Alberta

In this talk, we will draw on Critical Race Theory, particularly Yosso (2005)’s conception of Cultural Wealth, to explore how language background and experiences of discrimination can lead to barriers in accessing early intervention. Early intervention is essential for children with developmental disabilities to become healthy and productive adults. Early intervention rests on the collaborative efforts of parents, communities, and service providers to identify and support children at risk. For children from marginalized families, particularly those who are new Canadians, early identification is a major challenge due to differences in languages, knowledge of the health care system, and perspectives and expectations relating to development. Since commonly used screening and assessment tools are not adapted to diverse cultures or different language backgrounds, practitioners both over and under identify children who could benefit from early intervention. The “wait and see” approach disadvantages children from minoritized communities as early intervention, when adapted to the needs of families, can greatly improve a child’s prognosis. We will wrap up by exploring strategies to engage families and center their home language and culture in early intervention.

Access Course

Taking responsibility for culturally fitting approaches in speech and language services alongside Indigenous peoples

Tuesday, May 17 | 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm Mountain Time

Dr. Sharla Mskokii Peltier
University of Alberta

Dr. Jessica Ball
University of Victoria

This presentation calls upon rehabilitation practitioners to think critically about the canon of theory, methods and tools that are held as universal, standardized, and mainstays of professional practice, and to consider carefully whether and which of these are truly representative and responsive to the goals, values and needs of service recipients. The speakers refer specifically to speech and language services, and to the frequent mishandling of speech-language service delivery with Indigenous children. However, much of our critique and call to action are applicable across all kinds of diagnostic and intervention services.

Our emphasis is on relational practice that opens opportunities to learn about the values, goals and needs of families and communities in regard to communication, and to generate novel approaches that are culturally and community-fitting. A good outcome of this presentation will be that listeners will get beyond intonations about Indigenous children and families being “hard to serve” and will instead turn their gaze upon their own professional practice, and how this can result in Indigenous people experiencing cultural unsafety when they encounter the clinical ancillary service system.

Towards Justice: Equity and Accountability in Rehabilitation

Tuesday, June 7 | 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm Mountain Time

Dr. Hiba Zafran
McGill University

White supremacy and structural violence are at the root of health and social inequities in complex ways. Such systemic problems require systemic solutions. Social accountability emerged in the 1970s in the Global South, and draws on multiple critical theories to bridge between systemic institutional design and social movements intended to empower and liberate. It focuses on creating processes that hold individuals and groups responsible for ensuring that their decisions and actions embody the forms of justice that marginalized groups demand and deserve. This lecture will outline and illustrate principles and strategies for an intersectional approach to social and community accountability, with examples and implications from/for institutions and organizations that teach about and offer rehabilitation.