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Why is it important to recognise Disability History Month?

We are now about halfway through Disability History Month and I have seen very little being done in school or workplaces to represent this. I have been told about a few events that are taking place but finding out any information about them is nearly impossible. This is so often the case with events like this and it really shouldn’t be like this. So, I wanted to use this blog to discuss why including Disability History is so important.

Understanding: As someone with a disability, I am fully aware of the lack of understanding there is about disability and the impact having a disability can have on our lives. If we are openly talking about disability, then this is something we can work on. However, this does need to be led by someone who lived experience of disability to ensure that there is correct understanding.

Acceptance: Along with understanding, if disability is being talked about and shared with everyone then hopefully it will become a less hidden subject that people are scared to talk about. By showing that disability is not something to be scared of talking about, this can create more acceptance.

Inclusion: One of the things that is really important for me is inclusion. Schools, workplaces, museums, theatres are all places where disability history can be talked about and explored in order to promote inclusion. If all other areas of history are being talked about but not disability history then inclusion will never be achieved. But as I mentioned earlier the number of events or schools talking about disability history this month is almost non-existent.

Representation: I was talking to someone earlier this week about how it is often very hard to feel represented in history when disability history is rarely talked about. Being able to see other people with similar lived experiences is so empowering and helps people with a disability to feel represented rather than hidden away.

Giving a voice: As I mentioned earlier, I believe that disability history should be talked about in discussions led by those with lived experience. This means that you can give a voice to people that for so long have been silenced, talked over, and ignored.

I would like to say that when we talk about disability history we don’t need to go really far back to the Romans or Ancient Greeks but living memory. However, when discussing specific people please don’t start making assumptions about if a person has a disability.

Finally, it may be Disability History Month, but disabilities don’t disappear when this month ends. The inclusion of disability history should be there all year round.


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