PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Empowering people with disabilities is now something that you can major in at Arizona State University.

Disability Studies at ASU is the first Bachelor's degree program of its kind in the nation. It focuses on making better lives for people living with disabilities.

[WATCH: ASU student 1st in U.S. to major in study empowering people with disabilities]

For the past seven years, professor Theresa Devine works to make the curriculum a reality.

“It’s a whole Bachelor’s degree, and it’s such an important contribution,” said Devine. "For instance, say you’re a police officer and being able to understand the difference between someone who is truly drunk or someone who has autism."

“I was like, 'This is so cool! This is what I need,” said Cecilia Shortman, one of the first-ever students to major in the study, not just at ASU, but nationwide.

Despite there being 20% of people in the U.S. population having a disability, Shortman says the amount is increasing.

"This population itself is growing tremendously and at home, the Hopi Tribe is also writing their Hopi education code again. With writing that code, there’s a lack of professionals,” said Shortman.

As a psychologist for the Hopi Tribe Department of Education, Shortman is hoping to expand her outreach by addressing social injustices, misapprehensions and learning disability law.

Again, it’s a newly approved major that Devine encourages all ASU students to look into because disability studies can apply to a variety of careers.

 


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