While there are many introductions to disability and disability studies, most presume an advanced academic knowledge of a range of subjects. Beginning with Disability is the first introductory primer for disaibility studies aimed at first year students in two- and four-year colleges. This volume of essays across disciplines—including education, sociology, communications, psychology, social sciences, and humanities—features accessible, readable, and relatively short chapters that do not require specialized knowledge.

Lennard Davis, along with a team of consulting editors, has compiled a number of blogs, vlogs, and other videos to make the materials more relatable and vivid to students. "Subject to Debate" boxes spotlight short pro and con pieces on controversial subjects that can be debated in class or act as prompts for assignments.

part 1|52 pages

Defining Disability

part 2|23 pages

Deafness and Deaf Culture

chapter 7|10 pages

Talking Culture

Deaf People and Disability Studies

part 3|35 pages

The History of Disability

chapter 10|6 pages

Disability History

chapter 11|14 pages

Defectives in the Land

Disability and American Immigration Policy, 1882–1924

chapter 12|13 pages

On the Margins of Citizenship

Disability Activism and the Intellectually Disabled

part 4|53 pages

Disability, Identity, and Social Justice

chapter 13|8 pages

Disability and Race

chapter 14|13 pages

Coming to Claim Crip

Disidentification With/In Disability Studies

chapter 15|23 pages

What Wounds Enable

The Politics of Disability and Violence in Chicago

part 5|25 pages

Experiencing Disability

chapter 18|4 pages

The Spoon Theory

chapter 19|3 pages

Ableism and a Watershed Experience

chapter 20|3 pages

O.C.D. in N.Y.C.

chapter 21|2 pages

Living With Schizophrenia

The Importance of Routine

chapter 22|11 pages

The Two-In-One

part 6|57 pages

Disability and Culture

chapter 24|12 pages

Little People, Big Woes in Hollywood

Low Pay, Degrading Jobs, and a Tragic Death

chapter 25|6 pages

The Ethics of Hodor

Disability in Game of Thrones

chapter 26|5 pages

From a Bendy Straw to a Twirly Straw

Growing up Disabled, Transnationally

chapter 27|5 pages

The New Kid in Primetime

What Speechless Has to Say

chapter 28|11 pages

An Advertising Aesthetic

Real Beauty and Visual Impairment

chapter 29|4 pages

Your Body Isn't Your World

The Heroes of the Mad Max Video Game, and Disability

chapter 30|6 pages

Autis(i)m and Representation

Autis(i)m, Disability Simulation Games, and Neurodiversity

chapter 31|3 pages

Why I'm a Crippled Poet

part 7|48 pages

The Disability Yet To Come

chapter 32|10 pages

Disability Studies in K-12 Education

chapter 33|20 pages

Presuming Competence

chapter 34|6 pages

Disability and Innovation

chapter 35|6 pages

“What Will You Gain When You Lose?”

Deafness, Disability Gain, Creativity, and Human Difference

chapter 36|4 pages

Disability Studies

A New Normal

part 8|39 pages

Subject to Debate