Disability History Awareness Month Resources
Below is a collection of resources shared by OSPI:
Disability History Awareness Month
Disability History and Awareness Month (RCW 28A.230.158) takes place during October to increase awareness, respect, and acceptance for people with disabilities, and to bring a greater sense of pride to people with disabilities. People with disabilities created most of the resources included below. OSPI’s priorities are referenced with the goal of providing resources that school districts, administrators, and people with disabilities can use as they relate to the priority areas.
This is a list of external resources not produced by OSPI. Please review each resource to ensure it fits your needs. Some resources share stories; some of which may have content considered sensitive.
Growth Mindset – Pride
Pride is described in the dictionary as “pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself.” Pride can be found in many places, including in movements such as the Disability Rights Movement, and in self-advocacy, and it shows up in many of the categories below.
- NCIL Disability Pride Toolkit – The Independent Living Paradigm shows the difference between the Medical Model and the Independent Living Model, as well as testimonials from youth with Disability Pride, and other helpful resources on Pride.
Leadership – Self-Advocacy
Self-advocacy is a right that people possess so they can speak for their own rights and make decisions impacting their own life—that the person affected should be the essential contributor. “Nothing About Us Without Us” became the slogan for the Disability Rights Movement, which embodies the idea of self-advocacy.
- ASAN – Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a nonprofit organization run by and for people with autism, and advocates for topics important to people with autism and other disabilities.
- PAVE Youth – Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment has a specific section for youth, offering videos and articles on disability pride, leadership, and other useful resources and links.
- NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness offers resources on mental health, with an emphasis on education and advocacy. There are tabs with overviews, treatment methods, support, and threads to share and communicate on.
- ACT – Advocating Change Together creates plans and training materials with the goal of addressing three areas: Empower individuals, connect them to the disability rights movement, and work together to build stronger communities.
- SABE – Self Advocates Becoming Empowered is a United State’s national self-advocacy organization with the mission to “ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends, and to learn from their mistakes.”
Evidence-Based Practices, Professional Development
The following resources include experiences presented by people with disabilities, both by professionals talking about their disabilities, or on personal blogs. Many talk about how their disability has impacted their professional lives, and some speak to how they advocated for change to better integrate people with disabilities into their fields.
- Disability Visibility Project – In addition to blog posts written by Alice Wong and guest blog writers, the podcast has short interviews with people with disabilities in several different professions, as well as experiences in other walks of life, such as parents with disabilities. Some may bring up sensitive topics, content, or language.
- Rooted in Rights – Rooted in Rights has several videos on their Storytellers Series which “aims to increase authentic representation of people with disabilities, cultivate emerging creators and activists, and promote accessible social video as a form of activism.” Rooted in Rights also has a blog with several different authors and topics, as well as a
podcast about parents with disabilities talking about their lives, both as a parent and their childhoods.
- Autistic Hoya – A blog by Lydia X. Z. Brown, a nonbinary disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer with autism. There is also a tab for ableist terms and language. Please be aware of the disclaimer that some of the words on the list would be considered inappropriate.
- My Diversability – The three pillars of Diversability are connect, showcase, and empower. Diversability also offers a series where someone with a disability takes over their Instagram to post pictures and their story. “People with disabilities are more than just ‘people with disabilities.’ We are entrepreneurs, executives, whatever we want to be. We are people with diverse abilities.”
Resource Allocation – History
History helps with an understanding of where a community has been and major events that have happened. Disability history covers the largest minority in America and the struggle that brought about the Disability Rights Movement. A few current news sites have also been included.
- Advocacy Monitor – “The Advocacy Monitor is a project of the National Council on Independent Living, a leading cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities that represents Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), individuals with disabilities, and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.”
- Disability Scoop – A news source with articles on people with disabilities and events that effect the community.
- Disability in the News by Do-It UW – Compiled news articles, mostly from Google Alerts, that covers news on disability for Do-It with University of Washington. Updates weekly.
- National Park Services: Disability History – A series of seven articles about Disability History in America. The articles include Early and Shifting Attitudes of Treatment, Educational Reform, Military and Disability, Presidents and Disability, the Disability Rights Movement, and the National Park Service and Accessibility.
- Disability Rights History Timeline – A timeline that is structured by year on major events that happened in Disability Rights and what led to that point. From 1817 to 2005.
- NCLD Youth Timeline – Offers a look at the history of people with disabilities. The timeline starts in 1770 and continues through 2006. The website version of the timeline is interactive; a PDF version is also available.
Allyship and Intersectionality
Intersectionality is the acknowledgment that diverse identities overlap within communities. A person could face oppressions such as having a disability, being from the LGBTQ+ community, being a person of color, or others.
Allyship is those without disabilities assisting those with disabilities. Allies offer support and can help amplify the voices of people with disabilities. They can also help others without disabilities understand why equity is important.
- Be An Ally – A list of how to be a good ally such as actively listening, practicing accountability, supporting identities and communities, taking actions, and more.
- The Dos and Don’ts of Disability – A video of people with a disability explaining how someone can help and why it is important to ask someone if there’s anything needed to assist before acting.
- Curriculum for Self-Advocates – While it’s listed as being for self-advocates, there is great value in giving it to someone in an ally role. It explains how people with disabilities feel, the effects of certain stereotypes, and how best to assist someone with a disability. It deals almost exclusively with autism.
- 10 Ways to be a Good Ally to Disabled People – A list, written by a person with a disability, about how people without disabilities can be a good ally.
- Accessibility is Cool – How to create accessible media, mostly videos. Includes how to make transcripts, why describing videos is important, alt text, and more.
- Do-It Resource List – Do-It compiled a list of resources for educators in K–12 including videos and publications.
- Crip Queer Pride – A video about a person who has a disability and is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and their view on the overlap of their identities.
- All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism – An anthology of poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings by people of color with autism.
- Celebrating my LGBTQ Pride Helped Me Find Disability Pride – A blog post by someone from the LGBTQ+ community and how pride from one identity led to discovering pride in another.
- Ramp Your Voice: Black, Disabled, and Proud – Ramp Your Voice! has several categories, but this category is specifically about intersectionality. There are several articles written by Vilissa Thompson, LMSW, the woman who runs the website, as well as interviews with other people with disabilities.
Media often lacks representation for people with disabilities. Below are lists of novels and publications with characters with disabilities, many written by authors with disabilities, as well as some videos centering around people with disabilities and their experiences.
- Children’s Books: Portrayals of People with Disabilities – A list of children’s books with characters with disabilities listed by disability. Each includes the title, author, short synopsis, and recommended grade level of each book.
- Ombuds Book Resource Guide – Ombuds offers a more recent list of books for children about characters with disabilities. Each has a title, author, year published, summary, disability, and which resource they highlight in the Ombuds’ lesson plan. The list is sorted by recommended grade level.
- Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction and Disabled People
Destroy Fantasy – A collection of essays, short stories, and poems penned by writers with disabilities who offer a voice and vision to readers with disabilities who lack representation in the genre of science fiction and fantasy. The essays offer questions in the representation of people with disabilities, pointing out flaws in novels, shows, and movies while highlighting pieces that influenced and inspired their love for the genres. Uncanny offers some free content on their website and content warnings at the top of each page. Please be aware there are mentions of sensitive topics in some content and you should check to be sure each piece meets your needs.
- Ted Talks: I am Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much – Stella Young talks about turning people with disabilities into an inspiration, and how living with a disability doesn’t need to be seen as inspirational.
- Rooted in Rights documentaries – Rooted in Rights has mini documentaries about problems that people with disabilities face, such as plans for natural disasters, reentry for inmates with disabilities, and sub-minimum wage.
- Ombuds’ One out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project is a lesson plan written for middle school age students to celebrate the history, identities, and diversity of people with disabilities. This project is structured mainly around videos featuring children with disabilities and their lives.
- Disability Rights Washington offers a lesson plan called Portrait of the Whole Person which was designed for elementary age students to introduce them to how disability rights fit into the larger Civil Rights Movement.