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Happy Disability Pride Month (Ways to celebrate!)

Did you know that the disability community has a pride month? It’s July, because this is the month the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. In honor of Disability Pride Month, we can take a look back at the ADA, what it means for us today, and how we can celebrate Disability Pride month!

(Please note that this post will use disabled people/people with disabilities interchangeably. Please use whichever terminology you’re more comfortable with).

The ADA Then

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26th, 1990, by President Bush Sr. The purpose of this law is to protect people with disabilities against discrimination in several spheres of life.

The ADA required buildings and public transportation to be accessible for people who have physical disabilities and utilize mobility aids. It ensured that closed captioning would be available on all public service announcements. Additionally, it allowed for employees with vision, hearing, or speech differences to receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

We can all celebrate what a huge milestone this was for the disability community! However, as you probably know from personal experience, there is still a ways to go. What does the ADA mean for us 33 years later?

The ADA Now

While the ADA made some powerful changes in society, its progress has been halted by a few barriers.

One barrier is that there are still plenty of spaces that are inaccessible. Some businesses have not invested in making their physical locations accessible. They may have a website without keyboard navigation, alt text, or captions for their videos. Public transportation can be inconsistent, placing the burden onto the disabled person to hire a private service for drop offs and pickups.

While employers have been fairly inclusive over which types of disabilities need accommodations, such as autism or ADHD, there are still cultural barriers that could prevent someone with a disability from being integrated into their workplace. Some people cannot work for 8 hours a day in a traditional setting and may opt to work remotely.

In addition to the legal barriers disabled people encounter, there are also social and cultural attitudes that persist that cannot be changed by laws. This necessitates self-advocacy and advocacy to help change our cultural norms surrounding disabilities so that we can all live in a more inclusive, accessible world. One way you can be an advocate is by celebrating Disability Pride Month!

What is Disability Pride?

Disability pride does not mean that you always have to like everything that goes along with having a disability. There are some challenges and frustrations that come from having a disability and living in an able-bodied, neurotypical world. Instead, disability pride is a commitment to casting off the shame that society heaps upon those from being outside the norm. If you are ready to embrace your disability pride, here are some ways you can join the festivities:

  • Make a social media post: You can make a post talking about what disability pride means to you or your thoughts on the ADA. Be sure to use the growing hashtag #disabilitypridemonth on your Instagram and Tiktok content!

  • Encourage others to learn more: There’s still many misconceptions about autism, or any disability for that matter. You can help provide a valid source of information by sharing an article by an autistic or disabled writer! There have been so many excellent blog posts about topics in the Autistic community that people may not be familiar with, such as stimming, special interests, or sensory profiles. If you’re looking for some inspiration, maybe one of our blog posts would resonate with you?

  • Learn more about disability history: Our community has some deep roots that predate the passage of the ADA. Perceptions and experiences of people with disabilities can also vary by time, place, and culture. Pursue an opportunity to learn more about disability history this July. If you have not watched the documentary Crip Camp, that would be a good place to start!

  • Attend and in-person event: This is less common, but some states do have Disability Pride events in person. The states that were listed by the ARC that have in person events are: California, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. However, new events pop up all the time, so you can always see if there is a disability pride event going on in your area.

If you would like to talk to someone about what disability pride means for you as an Autistic person, our coaches would love to explore this concept with you. Reach out to us today to learn how to start your autism life coaching journey!

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