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  • Demystifying Disability

  • What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally
  • By: Emily Ladau
  • Narrated by: Emily Ladau
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Demystifying Disability

By: Emily Ladau
Narrated by: Emily Ladau
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Summary

An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible, inclusive place.

People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us - disabled and nondisabled alike - don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on the important disability issues you need to know about, including:

  • How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability
  • Recognizing and avoiding ableism (discrimination toward disabled people)
  • Practicing good disability etiquette
  • Ensuring accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events
  • Appreciating disability history and identity
  • Identifying and speaking up about disability stereotypes in media

Authored by celebrated disability rights advocate, speaker, and writer Emily Ladau, this practical, intersectional guide offers all listeners a welcoming place to understand disability as part of the human experience.

Includes a downloadable PDF of Resources and Further Reading from the book

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Emily Ladau (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“If being a good ally to disabled people is your goal...Ladau’s guide is a goldmine.” (Book Riot

“Activist and writer Emily Ladau is a responsible guide and advocate for change, and her book is one that everyone could benefit from reading.” (BookPage)

“Emily Ladau provides a welcoming, easy-to-read guide to disability. I highly recommend this book to readers seeking to deepen their understanding of disability and ableism.” (Haben Girma, human rights lawyer, speaker, and author of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

What listeners say about Demystifying Disability

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  • Coral
  • 13-10-21

Disappointing PC rant of a Undergrad

This book listens like you have been cornered by a undergrad with a cause at a table with some pamphlets. The message is good however the author needs to learn to give the reader space to are their own conclusions rather than presenting a conclusion and then giving a example which isn't flushed out. She has chosen first person narrative, and tends to refer to her mother which gives the text the feeling she is talking your ear off rather than authority in field. The author in future would do well to leave out " phew" at the end complexes grammar stretches by inviting the reader in a illustratable story or by developing a larger vocabulary to allow for ideas such as the interplay of thought and language as a self-reinforcing loop with each reinforcing the mentality of the individual towards a ridge view of the concept.

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  • Dvdmon
  • 23-10-22

Mildly useful

As a non-disabled person married to someone with a disability, I was encouraged to read this book by my wife, who seems to be more and more pointing out ableist attitudes I seem to have about things, especially around COVID. So it would have been nice to have the Ladau's take on COVID and how it effects those with disabilities, and she does mention it very briefly, but really doesn't give it any real attention.

I think this is a great primer for those who have really almost no exposure to people with disabilities, at least not close exposure, and disability rights issues. A lot of the scenarios Ladau talks about are truly cringeworthy and to my ears sound like incredibly obvious, but I suppose that my experience has already clued me in enough to where these things are not particularly useful. They are like... "duh!" About the only suggestions I found useful personally were ones around always asking people before asking questions or really doing anything in terms of an interaction. I'm such an introvert that I generally don't strike up conversations with random strangers regardless of their disability status, so I'm not sure whether this will help much, but it did make good logical sense and might actually clue in some extraverts - and make them less pushy not just to disabled folks but to everyone, lol! The other part was around unintentionally "ableist" language that's used as general terms not really with those with disabilities in mind. Such words as "blind" and "lame" which people could use other words, but aren't actually referring to people with disabilities but rather general conditions. Like "he was blind to the concept of ..." or "That's a really lame idea." Such words have been so coopted into the language that I really wonder how many disabled people really take offense at these, and whether talking about this is focusing in the wrong area.

In other words, there are lots of bigger fish to fry when it comes to disability, and fixating on what I would consider to be minutia when there are serious harms being committed against disabled people, either by exclusion or active harassment, sems to be not the best way to win advocates and allies.

Ladau does thankfully cushion some of this by talking about how it's very easy to slip up and that even she does it, so I appreciated that. But I do think that fixating on some of these, especially very early on in the book, puts a big emphasis on what I consider to be extremely minor issues in the grand scheme of things. How about addressing the lower hanging fruit first, and working your way down to things that may (or may not?) offend some of the disabled community? And I do mean "some" because, as Ladau reminds us, disabled people, like really any group, are not a monolith.

The book also is very much an example of identity politics and talks a lot about intersectionality, privilege, etc. This is great if you are on the left end of the political/cultural spectrum and vibe with these concepts. But for anyone who isn't really in agreement about the current obsession on the left with identity (whether you are more conservative, centrist, or even on the left yourself, but just not in love with this aspect of the current political/cultural fixation), the concepts are thrown out as if they are just part of the accepted reality when it comes to the "correct" worldview. Given that at least half of the US is not so inclined, I don't know if this was the best choice. My thought is that if Ladau wanted to reach the largest number of people and convince them to both read the book and take the messages to heart, that some of this rhetoric could have been left out without compromising 98% of the overall message.

I do really like the reference section because it provides a lot of great items, both books, movies, and videos, to learn a lot more about those with disabilities and from various different perspectives.

I think in general the book has a good overall message and it definitely has its interesting and useful pieces even for those of us who have had a fair amount of exposure to disability issues and those with disabilities, It has some insights into the lives of those with disabilities that I wasn't really that familiar with despite my experiences. There are, however, issues with some of the message that I think are going to turn a lot of people away and dismiss it out of hand, which is unfortunately because I think the larger message of inclusion and respect for those with disabilities is an important message that people of all political and cultural stripes would benefit from hearing and thinking about.

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  • Cynthia Raines
  • 01-03-22

Easy to read disability primer

An excellent read for those who are wanting a primer on disability, living with a disability and tips on how to not be an ableist. I have spent my life around many disability advocates and this narrative was super engaging and supportive of those who have little to no experience with people with disabilities.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-21

Perfect

Masterfully written and so helpful for those of us outside the communities of disabilities. Thank you for sharing your experiences.