Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau

This book is due for release on 7th September 2021:

About the Book:

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.

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

• How to appreciate disability history and identity
• How to recognize and avoid ableism (discrimination toward disabled people)
• How to be mindful of good disability etiquette
• How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability
• How to ensure accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events
• How to identify and speak up about disability stereotypes in media.

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

My Review:

As soon as I found this on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it. I liked the definitions of disability from interviewees and the fact that one of the people is someone I know from an online disability community.

I have Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus and four visual impairments and have so many experiences of different treatment from different people throughout my life.

I have experienced both ignorance and acceptance from people and life has been, and still is, a constant fight for inclusion.

I know so many people with disabilities will identify with me on this.

15% of the world’s population has some type of disability.

I don’t need disability to be demystified for me as I live with my disabilities every day but this is exactly the type of book that I know could help many people who need to know more about the world of disability and what those of us with disabilities are constantly up against.

Demystifying Disability will be good for those who think they “know it all” as they live with, or know, people with a disability. I believe everyone can learn more.

Like Emily Ladau, I am a wheelchair user and I identified with her experiences. I also learnt about her disability.

Another part of this book that I loved was her discussion of visible versus invisible disabilities, since I have both. My glasses and wheelchair are a marker of my visual disabilities, as are my scars from my shunt surgeries for hydrocephalus.

However, unless I let people know I have hydrocephalus, let them know what it is and how it affects me, they have no idea that I have it or how serious it is.

Likewise with my glasses. I have them but people cannot tell how strong my prescription is or that they only allow me to “see” the very little I can and that they don’t correct my visual difficulties, that nothing will. I embrace all these parts of me and encourage those who do not to do so and for others with disabilities to embrace their own uniqueness.

Demystifying Disability is a friendly but firm nudge in the right direction for people who think the world is accepting of people with disabilities.

It will challenge your perception of disability whether you have a disability or not, and I hope it will go a long way in producing more real change in society.

I think, and hope, it is the kind of book that will let people know that they shouldn’t judge people based on what they “think” a person with a certain disability will look, or move, like.

I sincerely wish I could have had access to this book when I was growing up, as I think it will have gone a long way in shaping people’s attitudes.

The message this book gives is that all of us with disabilities should love ourselves as we are and that everyone can learn something, no matter how much they think they know.

Because we can all keep learning.

Thanks to Emily Ladau for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars.

Pre-order on Amazon here:


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