Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Linda Blum


Ramon Cuevas is a physical therapist and the founder of Cuevas Medek therapy (CME), a physical therapy for children with severe physical impairments. Since creating CME he has taught and practiced throughout the world. Families bring their children to see Ramon in his Chile office and elsewhere around the world to see him for therapy. I have conducted in-depth interviews with parents and Ramon, more than five weeks of participant-observation, and analyzed various online materials related to CME. I found that the community that is formed around these families and Ramon provides an excellent example of how disability is constructed in the social context. Secondly, I examined the relationship between Ramon and his clients, finding that through his close relationship with families and his charisma, he is able to successfully maintain this community which normalizes disability. This thesis adds to the growing literature on the social construction of disability and the field of knowledge on non-mainstream healers.