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'More than just a month': Disability Awareness Month meaningful for Katie

October is Disability Awareness Month, a month that aims to create better awareness about disabilities.

Katie Crawley, Accessibility Representative, MSVUSU

October is Disability Awareness Month, a month for able-bodied and disabled bodies alike. Disability Awareness Month aims to create better awareness about disabilities, what being disabled looks like, what it means, and ways that society needs to be fixed to help create a livable world for disabled people. Accessibility goes beyond just a wheelchair sign. When you think about practicing accessibility in everyday life, you may think of putting ramps in places, helping people who are visibly struggling, and respecting people who are disabled ; but accessibility is so much more than that. Accessibility means being mindful of noise levels, fewer bright lights, fully working elevators in all buildings with more than one floor, providing learning and living tools such as sign language translators, text-to-speech tools, alternative texts, the list is quite extensive! How can you help? Ask people if there are any ways you can change the environment around them to make them more comfortable, like turning out the lights, lowering the TV volume, or turning off scented air fresheners. Another area I wanted to delve into is diagnosis. Diagnosis is, unfortunately, what a lot of people - especially practitioners and governments – assume is the first 'step' to being disabled. Diagnosis can be incredibly expensive - assessments for ADHD or autism can cost over 2000 dollars.- And for people without family doctors, people living in rural areas, or people unable to leave the house, diagnosis is not possible. So... does that make them any less disabled? No, of course not! Diagnosis is considered a luxury now, and not everyone has the privilege to get one, so if someone tells you they have self-diagnosed autism, ADHD, or another disability, please be kind to them and don't invalidate their feelings. They're likely struggling very hard to navigate a life that not only isn't made for them, but also invalidates their existence every day.

Please practice disability awareness all the time, not just in October, and let's create a world where disabled people can thrive instead of just survive!


Below I share a special message about what Disability Awareness Month personally means to me, and how you can support people living with disabilities. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I encourage you to email me at suaccessrep@msvu.ca.




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