“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”Maya Angelou
How did we get here?
Some of us may have arrived at this site because we have a loved one with a disability and we want to learn how to do better.
Others are here to improve professional skills. We’re the teachers, the social workers, the doctors and nurses, and other direct service providers who serve people with disabilities.
And some of us are here because we’re people with disabilities too. We grew up with our own internalized ableism and are just beginning to explore what this part of our identity means to us.
No matter how you got here, I like to think that we are all traveling this path together. I hope this also means we can help each other along the way.
With something as big and diverse as disability, none of us can hope to “get it right” on the first try (and maybe not even on the 91st). But if we don’t talk about it and learn from each other, we’re not going to get any better at this either.
So let’s make a deal.
We’re going to mess up. That’s what happens when we use our own core beliefs to interpret other people’s experiences. But while we can’t help where we came from, we can set our own direction forward.
Others are going to mess up too. No one can know your unique story or what you came through to get here. All we can do is our best – and then learn from our mistakes.
We’re going to handle this with grace. When we mess up, it’s important to give ourselves some grace. We’re learning and doing the work. If we’re doing it for the right reasons (and learn from our mistakes), we’re still on the path.
Along the same lines, we need to give others the grace that we give ourselves. By all means, correct and clarify when you see ableism, but do it with kindness.
Ready to get started?
If you are a person with a disability, a family member, a partner, or a friend who wants to be a better ally, it may be easier for you to start with the section of this site for families. This part of the site includes major concepts but without all the theory and history that are involved in a deeper dive.
The professional section of the site includes that deeper dive, in the form of a 4-part training series on ableism. This section can still be helpful to people with disabilities and their families but you’ll want to have some basic understanding (like definitions) from the families section first.
Last but not least…
This information is presented as a jumping off point and is not intended to address every aspect of disability in America. Disabled Americans are extremely diverse and it would be impossible for one website could capture every experience.
After you learn some of the basics here, consider listening to some of the many other people with disabilities worldwide who have chosen to educate and advocate.