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Learning About Diversity @ Your Library

A list of books and other resources in the Northern Highlands Collection.

Disability: Nothing About Us, Without Us!

“Nothing about us, without us!” The disability rights community has been chanting this slogan for decades, letting the world know that disability is part of the human experience. Disabled people don’t want to be regarded with pity or pushed to the margins of society, but fully valued, included, and in charge of their own destinies.

About one in every four people will become temporarily or permanently disabled in their lifetime, which means that the disabled community is one of the only marginalized groups you might join at any moment. Accessibility and inclusion, then, should be priorities for everyone. Disability inclusion requires accessibility--that is, making public spaces, schools, workplaces, and recreational venues easy for anyone to use. According to the social model of disability, people are disabled not by their medical conditions, but by a society that builds barriers to access, preventing people from fully participating and utilizing their talents.




But just as important are other kinds of barriers to accessibility, including negative attitudes toward disabled people, ableist language, policies that intentionally or unintentionally make it hard for disabled people to participate, and inaccessible transportation. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, passed in 1990, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, has not been altogether successful in integrating disabled people into all spheres of public life. 

Not all disabilities are visible, and the needs of those with “invisible disabilities” such as chronic illnesses, cognitive disorders, and mental illness, must also be considered if we are to be an inclusive society. 




Many contemporary thinkers about cognitive disabilities have embraced the neurodiversity model, which posits that disabilities such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and others are not diseases to be eliminated, but variations in the human brain that come with advantages and disadvantages. A society that values neurodiversity finds ways to welcome and accommodate people with all kinds of brains so that everyone can fully utilize their talents.

The videos, podcasts, websites, articles, and other information in this LibGuide are a sampling of the resources available in your school library and online. Fiction is included because literature helps readers understand others' perspectives. Click on the tabs to explore the collection. This list will grow, so if you have suggestions about resources to include, please share them! 

Books About Disability and Disabled People (click each tab & scroll to see more titles!)

Disability Visibility, ed. by Alice Wong

This collection of essays from contemporary disabled writers celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act focuses on issues such as disabled performers in the theater and the everyday lives of the community.



Cover ArtFrom the Periphery by Pia Justesen; Tom Harkin (Foreword by) 

From the Periphery consists of more than thirty first-person narratives of everyday people who describe what it’s like to be treated differently by society because of their disabilities. The stories are raw and painful, but also surprisingly funny and deeply inspiring.



Cover ArtDisfigured by Amanda Leduc 

The author looks at how disabilities and disabled characters are portrayed in fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to Disney, and how this influences the way people think about disability.




What Can a Body Do? bCover Arty Sara Hendren 

A fascinating and provocative new way of looking at the things we use and the spaces we inhabit, and an invitation to imagine a better-designed world for us all.




A DCover Artisability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen 

Covers the entirety of disability history in the United States, from pre-1492 to the present.




Cover ArtAbout Us by Peter Catapano (Editor); Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Editor) 

Boldly claiming a space in which people with disabilities can be seen and heard as they are—not as others perceive them—About Us captures the voices of a community that has for too long been stereotyped and misrepresented. Based on the pioneering New York Times series, About Us collects the personal essays and reflections that have transformed the national conversation around disability.


Cover ArtNeuroTribes by Steve Silberman; Oliver Sacks (Foreword by) 

WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.



Normal Sucks byCover Art Jonathan Mooney 

A writer diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD as a child explores the toll the system takes on kids who are not "normal" and advocates for a revolution in the way we think about diversity, abilities and disabilities.


TCover Arthe Pretty One by Keah Brown 

From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America.




Cover ArtSitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig 

From disability advocate with a PhD in disability studies and creative nonfiction, and creator of the Instagram account @ sitting pretty, an essay collection based on a lifetime of experiences in a paralyzed body, tackling themes of identity, accessibility, bodies, and representation.



Cover ArtLook Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison 

The author describes life growing up different in an odd family, his unusual talents, his struggle to live a "normal" life, his diagnosis at the age of forty with Asperger's syndrome, and the dramatic changes that have occurred since that diagnosis.




Cover ArtBeing Heumann by Judith Heumann; Kristen Joiner 

An influential disability-rights activist recounts her lifelong battles for education, employment and societal inclusion, in a personal account that includes coverage of her role in advising the Carter administration to help create the Americans with Disabilities Act.



Cover ArtWe Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist 

The Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker documents his coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor and his efforts to investigate past dates gone wrong to discover why he was still single.




Cover ArtHow to Be Human by Jory Fleming; Lyric Winik (As told to) 

A remarkable and unforgettable memoir from the first man with autism to attend Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, revealing what life is really like inside a world constructed for neurotypical minds while celebrating the many gifts of being different.




Autism in Heels by JCover Artennifer Cook O'Toole 

At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power.



Do Cover ArtYou Dream in Color? by Laurie Rubin 

The internationally acclaimed blind mezzo-soprano traces the story of her childhood in Southern California through the rise of her career as an opera singer, describing how she has overcome everyday and more challenging obstacles.

Cover ArtUnbroken by Marieke Nijkamp 

An anthology of stories in various genres, featuring disabled characters and written by disabled creators, ranging from established best selling authors to debut authors.




Cover ArtThe Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais 

Deaf teen Maya Harris must navigate a new life--and love--in this own-voices novel from award-winning author Alison Gervais. When Maya is forced to attended a hearing school, she sets out to prove that her lack of hearing won’t stop her from chasing her dreams.




Cover ArtGirl on the Line by Faith Gardner 

Life's tough when you didn't expect to be living it. But now that Journey has a future, she apparently also has to figure out what that future's supposed to look like. Some days the pain feels as fresh as that day: the day she attempted suicide. Her parents don't know how to speak to her. Her best friend cracks all the wrong jokes. Her bipolar II disorder feels like it swallows her completely. But other days, they feel like revelations. Like meeting the dazzling Etta, a city college student who is a world unto herself. Or walking into the office of the volunteer hotline, and discovering a community as simultaneously strong and broken as she is. Or uncovering the light within herself that she didn't know existed.


Cover ArtA List of Cages by Robin Roe 

Landing a coveted elective to serve as an aide to the school psychologist, Adam, a student struggling with ADHD, is assigned to track down a troubled freshman he discovers is the foster brother he has not seen in five years.




Cover ArtNot If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom 

Demanding to be treated the same as everyone else in spite of her blindness, Parker doles out tough-love advice to her peers, refuses to cry after losing her father, and stubbornly shuns a boy who broke her heart years earlier.




Cover ArtA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer 

Eighteen for the three hundred twenty-seventh time, Prince Rhen despairs of breaking the curse that turns him into a beast at the end of each day until feisty Harper, a teen with cerebral palsy, enters his life.




Cover ArtWhen Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan 

All seventeen-year-old Dylan Mint wants is to keep his Tourette's in check and live as a normal teen, but during a routine hospital visit he overhears that he is going to die, and in an attempt to claim the life he has always wanted he makes a list of "Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It" and sets out to have some fun.



Cover ArtA Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman 

In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.




Cover ArtPlank's Law by Lesley Choyce 

Trevor, a teenage boy who has Huntington's disease, connects with an old man who helps him live life to the fullest.




Cover ArtBecause You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas 

Ollie, who has seizures when near electricity, lives in a backwoods cabin with his mother and rarely sees other people, and Moritz, born with no eyes and a heart defect that requires a pacemaker, is bullied at his high school, but when a physician who knows both suggests they begin corresponding, they form a strong bond that may get them through dark times.



Cover ArtTurtles All the Way Down by John Green 

Aza Holmes, a high school student with obsessive-compulsive disorder, becomes focused on searching for a fugitive billionaire.

Media About Disability & Disabled People

Disability and the Law
  • ADA National Network
    Provides information, guidance and training on how to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to support the mission of the ADA to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.”

  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
    Leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities.

  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
    Leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues.

  • United States Department of Labor Disability Resources
    Access to various resources through the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy. Information regarding benefits, housing, technology, education and employment among others is included.

  • American Association of People with Disabilities
    A national cross-disability rights organization that advocates for full civil rights for Americans with disabilities.

  • United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
    The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities.

Disability in History and Society
  • A Brief History of the Disability Rights Movement 
    From the Anti-Defamation League, a history of activism by and on behalf of disabled people over the past hundred years. Includes a glossary of terms.

  • Disability History Museum
    Library of virtual artifacts, education curricula, and museum exhibits designed to foster research and study about the historical experiences of people with disabilities and their communities.

  • National Arts and Disability Center
    Promotes the full inclusion of audiences and artists with disabilities into all facets of the arts community.

  • Disability Visibility Project 
    The Disability Visibility Project is an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture.

  • Removing Barriers
    This short animated video shows various ways a society can accommodate people with disabilities by removing barriers to full participation. This is the social model of disability in action.

  • Neurodiversity: What You Need To Know
    Neurodiversity means that brain differences are just that--differences, and that all brains come with their own set of challenges and gifts. 

  • “Nothing About Us Without Us”...including the use of this slogan
    A disability rights activist explains why “Nothing About Us Without Us” is a necessary principle for demanding that disabled people, so frequently overlooked, patronized, and abused, be the authoritative voices about their own rights and needs.

  • 30 Years After a Landmark Disability Law, the Fight for Access and Equality Continues
    This 2020 Time Magazine article examines the progress made since the passage of the ADA, and the long way to go before the achievement of full equality.

  • American Deaf Culture
    Although some people may consider being deaf or hard of hearing a physical difference, many consider it to be a cultural/linguistic identity. 

Resources and Organizations
  • CDC: Disability & Health
    A thorough introduction to disability, including definitions of terms, data, inclusion, and more.

  • Disability Organizations
    The National Center on Journalism and Disabilities has organized this master list of nearly a hundred disability organizations, organized into 17 categories. 

  • American Foundation for the Blind
    Mission of the American Foundation for the Blind is to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. They mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data.

  • Inclusion International
    An international network of people with intellectual disabilities and their families advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.

  • Invisible Disabilities Association
    "The frequently invisible nature of illness and pain may lead to disbelief about that illness or pain by those surrounding the person who lives daily with invisible disabilities. This disbelief can lead to misunderstandings, rejection by friends, family and health care providers. It may also lead to accusations of laziness or faking an illness. Our mission is to encourage, educate and connect people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe."

  • National Association of the Deaf
    "Nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America."

  • World Health Organization - Disabilities
    Overview of disabilities and related resources by the World Health Organization.

  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network
    ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. 

Fighting Stigma, Promoting Respect



Note: Documentaries are available from a variety of sources, including your local public library, YouTube, PBS, Vimeo, Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other streaming services. However, it's important to note that availability is subject to change due to copyright and license issues. These resources are not always available for free.



Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution 

"In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” (a term no longer used) in the Catskills, exploded those confines. Jened was their freewheeling Utopia, a place with summertime sports, smoking and make-out sessions awaiting everyone, and campers experienced liberation and full inclusion as  human beings. Their bonds endured as many migrated West to Berkeley, California — a hotbed of activism where friends from Camp Jened realized that disruption, civil disobedience, and political participation could change the future for millions."


Vision Portraits

“Four artists impacted by blindness. Four different paths to the imagination. A documentary feature that chronicles the experiences of several blind artists including John Dugdale (photographer) and Ryan Knighton (writer). It specifically focuses on the ways each artist was impacted by the loss of their vision and how their creative process thrives in spite of their blindness.”


"Jennifer Brea’s Sundance award-winning documentary, Unrest, is a personal journey from patient to advocate to storyteller. Jennifer is twenty-eight years-old, working on her PhD at Harvard, and months away from marrying the love of her life when a mysterious fever leaves her bedridden. When doctors tell her it’s “all in her head,” she picks up her camera as an act of defiance and brings us into a hidden world of millions that medicine abandoned.

In this story of love and loss, newlyweds Jennifer and Omar search for answers as they face unexpected obstacles with great heart. Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jennifer connects with others around the globe. Like a modern-day Odysseus, she travels by Skype into a forgotten community, crafting intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly. Jennifer Brea’s wonderfully honest and humane portrayal asks us to rethink the stigma around an illness that affects millions. Unrest is a vulnerable and eloquent personal documentary that is sure to hit closer to home than many could imagine.” 

Who Am I to Stop It?

“Who Am I To Stop It is a documentary about the traumatic brain injury community made by a filmmaker with disabilities from brain injury. It follows three artists as they navigate social isolation, stigma, and rebuilding their identities. They practice the arts to re-connect to their own sense of self-pride and to their larger communities. Rather than emphasize the injuries themselves or highlight medical aspects of disability, we explore consequences of institutional and internalized ableism. Through visual arts, music, and personal narrative, the subjects explore questions around poverty, sexuality, faith, family, success, and community. Using a biopsychosocial framework, Who Am I To Stop It deftly uncovers what lies beneath the surface for so many peers with brain injury and their communities.”

Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

"To mark National Autism Awareness Month in April, Colorado State University and Rocky Mountain PBS have teamed up to produce and air a documentary about the influence of Temple Grandin, CSU's world-famous animal scientist who has overcome struggles with autism to revolutionize farm-animal welfare. The documentary is narrated by actress Claire Danes, who played the role of Grandin in an acclaimed HBO biopic. Grandin's work as a pioneering expert in livestock behavior and humane handling is explored in the documentary. It describes Grandin's difficulties with autism, and the persistence she summoned to dramatically influence animal agriculture while also becoming a hero to people with autism and their families. "




Disability Matters

Competitive employment and empowerment for people with disabilities is the emphasis of this show. Broadcast live and captioned in real-time for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and discusses how people with disabilities can secure career opportunities and how employers, organizations and individuals can support employment and empowerment of people with disabilities. 

Disability Visibility Project Podcast

This is life from a disabled lens. Disability Visibility is a podcast featuring conversations on politics, culture, and media with disabled people. If you’re interested in disability rights, social justice, and intersectionality, this show is for you. It’s time to hear more disabled people in podcasting and radio. 

Pushing Limits

A half-hour radio show providing critical coverage of disability issues and bringing the insight of the grassroots disability movement to the general public. Pushing Limits advances the voices of people who live with disabilities. It is produced by a collective of media makers and activists who themselves live with disability.

Disarming Disability 

Disarming Disability Podcast was founded in 2019. The podcast's mission is to powerfully deconstruct disability through candid conversations with experts exploring topics related to disability. The podcast looks to educate, empower, voice, and build a more inclusive society.  Our vision is that people will connect to the history, policy, stories, and research on disability to launch their advocacy efforts and create more inclusive communities.

The Neurodiversity Podcast

The world needs neurodiversity. The gifted brains, unusual talents, and fresh perspective of neurodivergent people drive innovation and change things for the better. The Neurodiversity Podcast introduces you to these brilliant, quirky, amazing people, and brings you thought-provoking conversations with leaders in psychology, education, and technology, as we work to broaden the definition of normal.