July is Disability Pride Month

Did you know July is Disability Pride Month?

It commemorates the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which went into effect on July 26, 1990. Here are some helpful things to know about disability.

  • Diverse—Disability is a natural part of human diversity. In fact, people with disabilities make up one of the most diverse subgroups of the population, comprising representation from every race, gender, age, economic status, and culture.
  • Universal—About 1 in 4 Americans are disabled and most people will experience disability at some point in our lives, particularly as we age. Disabilities can be physical, mental, and emotional. Sometimes disabilities are apparent, but people can also experience “invisible disabilities”. It’s helpful to consider this as we create programs for our participants or make plans for our own lives so that accessibility is always at the forefront.
  • Useful—Disabilities enhance our collective ability to think creatively and make societal improvements. The problem solving associated with navigating an inaccessible world can spur us to innovate. People with disabilities are hardworking, tenacious, resourceful, self-aware, and know when and how to ask for help. Put simply, disabilities are useful, which is part of the reason we should never reference disabilities to characterize something negatively. For example, rather than using the phrase “blind spot” to convey a weakness, consider using more accurate terms like “weakness” or “gap”. Instead of describing something that’s disorganized as “crazy”, consider calling it what it is: “disorganized”, “unpleasant” “outlandish”, or “wild”.

Finally, disability is not a bad thing and not everyone who is disabled wishes we weren’t. When I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, for instance, I recognized the opportunity to engage in self-reflection, focusing my attention on forgiveness, gratitude, and personal healing. Disability is an important facet of the human perspective. Take this month to celebrate it knowing we look forward to engaging you in more discussions.

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