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disability pride month

Teaching About Disability Pride Month

July 13, 2023

Teaching About Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month. These lessons can help teach about disability rights activism, ableism and how we all can support the rights of people with disabilities.

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July is recognized as Disability Pride Month. It’s an important time to recognize and celebrate achievements, experiences and landmark legislation that supports people in the disability community.

The Americans with Disabilities Act became law on July 26, 1990, creating equal opportunities for people with disabilities; 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which supports students with disabilities in getting accommodations for their academic success and access to learning.

Here are some of the downloadable lessons, activities and an on-demand webinar available for free on AFT Share My Lesson: 

All the way to the top lesson cover

All the Way to the Top Educator’s Guide, Grades K-5, Sourcebooks

Use this guide to teach the inspiring, true story of Jennifer Keelan, an activist whose participation in the Capitol Crawl protest for disability rights when she was just 8 years old encouraged Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Jennifer Keelan

Access Is a Civil Right: Capitol Crawl Lesson Plan, Grades 7-9, Disability Equality in Education

This lesson plan and worksheet are a guide for how you can have a discussion with your students about the history of the ADA and, more specifically, the Capitol Crawl, which was a protest that was successful in urging Congress to vote on the ADA. The lessons focus on a nine-minute video that tells the story of the Capitol Crawl.

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Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann and Disability Rights Activism, Grades 4-8, ADL

This lesson features Judy Heumann, who faced discrimination for using a wheelchair as a child and as an adult. When she was told her wheelchair posed a “fire hazard” when she tried to get a job as a teacher, Heumann sued the Board of Education for discrimination, and then became the first teacher in New York City to use a wheelchair. Throughout her life, Judy Heumann, referred to as “the mother of the disability rights movement,” fought for the rights of people with disabilities in the U.S. and around the world. This lesson offers ways to consider our schools and communities need to continue to address the rights and fair treatment of people with disabilities.

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boy in wheelchair reading

Understanding and Challenging Ableism, Grades 6-12, ADL

Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) of people in the U.S. are living with a disability. Ableism, which is bias or discrimination against people with disabilities, can take many forms, including: employment or housing discrimination; lack of accessibility on streets, buildings and public transportation; stereotyping and ableist language; lack of media portrayals or stereotyped depictions of people with disabilities; bullying; and more. Use this lesson to help students understand and reflect on examples of ableism in their own lives.

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anatomy of an iep

How to Read an IEP: 5 Things Teachers Should Look For, Grades K-12, Understood

Have you ever read through a student’s individualized education program and felt unsure about what to focus on? Every general education teacher will have students with IEPs in class at some point. That’s why knowing how to read and understand an IEP is so important. Learn about the best practices for getting the most important information from an IEP and how they apply to your classroom.

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Crip Cramp

Crip Camp: Language, Power and Ableism Lesson, Journeys in Film, Grades 9-12 and Higher Education

This four-part lesson introduces the concept of ableism and emphasizes the importance of intersectionality to disability justice. Topics include having an agreement on use of language in discussions; defining ableism and connecting it with other forms of oppression and discrimination; exploring the difference between intention and impact; and ways communities can reclaim words that have been used in hurtful ways.

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woman painting with a wheel

Ending the Stigma: Strategies for Disability Justice for Teachers and School Staff, Grades preK-12, Disability Equality in Education

This five-star, for-credit webinar features concrete strategies for how education can be used to end the stigma of disability faced by our students, along with practical content and advice on how to discuss the topic of disability in your classroom regardless of the subject or age taught. Educators will also learn what can be done at a schoolwide administrative level to create inclusive and disability-informed schools. 

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Inclusive Education: Lesson Plans and Resources

In this collection, you will find resources to help students better understand different disabilities, promote inclusion, challenge ableism, and make accommodations for others.

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Susan Youssofi
Susan Goldstein Youssofi, a native of the Washington, DC metro area, has been working on the Share My Lesson team since spring of 2013. She works on outreach and engagement efforts to inform educators about Share My Lesson, from the quality of the resources to the functionality of the site to fun... See More
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