This month Jessica Dashner presented us with excellent resources and information about Disability and Ableism. Here are the three main messages from her presentation:
Disability: Traditional definitions focus on a person’s limitations in comparison to a standard considered “normal.” The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. An alternative model views disability as an interaction between a person and their environment that prevents the person from doing what they need or want to do. This framework is useful in identifying beneficial environmental changes.
Ableism: Discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. This can be carried out in direct or indirect ways through both language and actions.
Several disability-related legal policies have been passed over time. There are ongoing issues with enforcement of these policies. The Independent Living Movement focuses on the deinstitutionalization and empowerment of people with disabilities.
There are many ways to create a more inclusive environment. These include: focusing on what a person can do instead of can’t do, asking before trying to help someone, being considerate with the language you use (non-offensive terms, person-first or identity-first language as appropriate), and prioritizing environmental changes that improve accessibility.
For more information on existing resources and how to be a more considerate ally check out the links below!
Blogpost written by Lindsey Steinberg
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