Family Network on Disabilities

INformation Hub

Disability Awareness

Disability Awareness

Updated, January 2018

Parent Centers receive many calls and emails each year from people looking for materials on disability awareness. People need these materials to help community members, employers, organizations, and residents learn more about disabilities and what it means for people to live with a disability or raise a child with a disability. Having information about disability awareness can be put to many different uses–from classroom instructional units, to Girl Scout information fairs, to school reports, to youth groups. This resource page (what’s below) provides just a sample of selected materials available from different organizations.

Parent Centers also receive many requests for information about inclusion of children with disabilities in all walks of life, and especially in regular classes and the daily activities of our schools. We are pleased to offer you a separate page of resources on the subject of inclusion, to be found at:

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Materials To Raise Awareness of Disability

highly rated graphic with star and blue ribbon, which indicates that this resource has been highly rated by CPIR's review team of staff at Parent Centers from all regions of the country

What do parents experience when they first find out their child has a disability?
Read You Are Not Alone, written by a parent to other parents.

Ever wondered what it’s like to have a disability?
A site for young people, courtesy of the Center for Disability Information & Referral (CeDIR).

Friends Who Care.
FRIENDS WHO CARE® is designed to help children better understand what it means and how it feels to be a young person with a disability. This educational program gives students the opportunity to learn what is involved when someone has a disability and how they adapt to live life, go to school, or work as independently as possible.

Count Me In.
The COUNT ME IN puppet program is designed to help children and adults learn about disabilities and chronic illnesses in an effort to bridge the gap between typical students and those with disabilities.

Disability History Museum.
The Disability History Museum’s Library is a digital archive that only exists online. It contains digital versions of images, texts, and other artifacts related to disability history that have been gathered from libraries and private collections across the country. Materials in the Library date back to the 18th century and represent all disability categories across the life span. The goal is to create a theme-based, searchable collection of primary source materials that will help expand knowledge and understanding about the historical experience of people with disabilities in the United States.

Access and Opportunities: A Guide to Disability Awareness.
The VSA arts’ Disability Awareness Guide is an informational tool for those who want to gain additional knowledge about disability and tips for social etiquette and positive interactions. The guide is a starting point for readers to increase their basic knowledge, initiate discussion, and clarify myths and facts about people with disabilities. It is a tool that will start readers on their way to a better understanding of disability issues and the disability community as a whole.

Medical problems…from the perspective of the children who have them.
Bandaids and Blackboards is a website designed to help people understand what it’s like to grow up with a medical problem, from the perspective of the children and teens who are doing just that. These young people have become experts at coping with problems that most of us have never heard of. They’d like you to know how they do it, and they hope that you’ll be glad you came to visit.

Cromwell Center for Disability Awareness.
The core of the Center’s work is disability awareness education. Check out the teacher resources the Center offers.

National Health Observances.
Every year, the National Health Information Center offers an annual list of health observances by month. These are opportunities to educate others about health risks and conditions, and usually involve being able to obtain outreach and activity materials from the sponsoring organization for the event.

Council for Disability Awareness.
The CDA is a nonprofit organization committed to informing and educating the American public about the widespread and growing frequency of disability, and the financial impact it can have. A large part of its mission is providing helpful resources and information to wage earners, their families, the media, employers, and anyone concerned about disability and the impact it can have on the finances and lifestyle of American families.

Videos at YouTube.
Visit, search using the phrase “disability awareness,” and you’ll find many a video on this subject.

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Materials on Disability Etiquette

Tips on interacting with people who have disabilities.
From the United Spinal Association, this series of resource pages covers the basics, gives terminology tips, and includes closer looks at etiquette for interaction with people who have a range of different disabilities.

Disability etiquette brochure.
Much more than a brochure, this online publication gives tips on interacting with people across a diversity of disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs and those with cognitive impairments, speech difficulties, deafness or hearing impairments, visual impairments, or blindness. You’ll also find etiquette tips about service animals,  appropriate language, talking about disabilities, and common courtesies.  Brochure is available in English and in Spanish.

Etiquette, according to Easter Seals.

From the Office of Compliance and Equity Management.

Accommodation and Compliance Series: Disability Etiquette Tips For Speaking Engagements.
From JAN, the Job Accommodation Network.

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**Highly Rated Resource!  This resource was reviewed by 3-member panels of Parent Center staff working independently from one another to rate the quality, relevance, and usefulness of CPIR resources. This resource was found to be of “High Quality, High Relevance, High Usefulness” to Parent Centers.

SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information & Resources