A month-long celebration and observance, Disability Pride Month promotes mainstream acceptance and awareness of the positive pride felt by people with a disability during the month of July. Disability Pride Month each year coincides with the month the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed on July 26, 1990. The ADA provides civil rights protection for the disabled and prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The first Disability Pride Parade was held in 2004 and now take place all over the country to celebrate disability culture, influence, and ending the stigma around living with a disability. Additionally, the month serves as an opportunity to educate the public not only on the continued challenges the disability community faces, but the strengths and joys the disability community has.
Roughly 26% of Americans today live with a disability, whether it be mental or physical, yet there are many who still do not disclose their disability for fear of discrimination and stigma. Many therefore, never disclose their disability and often conceal their disability. Disability Pride Month encourages individuals to be “loud and proud” about their disability and away from the stigmas.
Writing for the Harvard Social Impact Review, Dr. Kathleen Bogart, a disabled Associate Professor of Psychology at Oregon State University, says that it can be difficult, but necessary for the disability community to be proud. In fact, she encourages individuals to take a note out of the early LGBTQI+ movement:
Like the early gay pride movement, disability pride is a radical shift from the typical way of thinking. Why would someone be proud of their disability? I, for example, am proud because my disability motivated me and gave me the specific expertise and emotional lived experience to devote my career to improving quality of life for disabled people. I am proud because my face makes me distinctive -- I have a tiny bit of a celebrity status. People remember me after seeing me once, far better than I remember them. I am proud because my disability gives me a unique perspective of the world. I am proud because my disability has connected me to so many interesting and kind people in my disability community.
Supporting individuals with their disability is the biggest avenue to providing opportunities for people to take pride in their neurodivergence. For those that work in higher education, involving the disability services offices across campus is essential to destigmatizing the disability community. By normalizing access for students both in academic and non-academic settings it ensures that all students succeed, whether it’s ensuring buildings are accessible to those with mobility issues or those on the autism spectrum are supported in social settings.
With Symplicity Accommodate, institutions can ensure that their campuses, whether in person or online, have equal access. Accommodate allows for disability services to communicate, in one system, across campus to help students with all aspects of a student’s success by identifying campus resources for students. By modernizing the accommodation request process with a fully ADA-compliant interface, Accommodate allows students to seamlessly submit requests, submit notes to disability offices for questions, connect with note-takers, have assistive devices checked out and tracked, build workflows to ensure that all campus offices are staying connected, and more. It is up to universities to make sure that they build a culture of accessibility by providing students with the confidence that their campus ensures and cohesive communication between colleagues, and easily track accessibility resources like study room availability, software and device inventory, and more. Utilizing Symplicity Accommodate’s reporting tool can empower disability services offices to proactively engage and train faculty, staff, and campus leaders on the needs for the campus' disabled student population and build pride and confidence within their disabled student population and helping them have confidence to succeed.