The following Disability Awareness resources were assembled by the staff of the Utah Parent Center provide just a sample of selected materials available from different organizations.

Materials To Raise Awareness of Disability

What do parents experience when they first find out their child has a disability?
Read You Are Not Alone, written by a parent to other parents.

Ever wondered what it’s like to have a disability?
A site for young people, courtesy of the Center for Disability Information & Referral (CeDIR).

Friends Who Care
FRIENDS WHO CARE® is designed to help children better understand what it means and how it feels to be a young person with a disability. This educational program gives students the opportunity to learn what is involved when someone has a disability and how they adapt to live life, go to school, or work as independently as possible.

Count Me In
The COUNT ME IN puppet program is designed to help children and adults learn about disabilities and chronic illnesses in an effort to bridge the gap between typical students and those with disabilities.

Kids on the Block
The Kids on the Block has developed over 40 different programs addressing various disabilities, educational and medical differences, and social concerns. Each topic is thoroughly researched and field-tested before it becomes available to schools, community service organizations, hospitals, and special interest groups. A complete curriculum accompanies each topic area, including scripts, answers to questions children ask, background information on the topic, character biographies, resource materials, follow-up information, and continued support from the KOB National Office.

More Materials for Schools

Disability History Museum
The Disability History Museum’s Library is a digital archive that only exists online. It contains digital versions of images, texts, and other artifacts related to disability history that have been gathered from libraries and private collections across the country. Materials in the Library date back to the 18th century and represent all disability categories across the life span. The goal is to create a theme-based, searchable collection of primary source materials that will help expand knowledge and understanding about the historical experience of people with disabilities in the United States.

Medical problems…from the perspective of the children who have them
Bandaids and Blackboards is a website designed to help people understand what it’s like to grow up with a medical problem, from the perspective of the children and teens who are doing just that. These young people have become experts at coping with problems that most of us have never heard of. They’d like you to know how they do it, and they hope that you’ll be glad you came to visit.

Cromwell Center for Disability Awareness
The core of the Center’s work is disability awareness education. Its three principal programs are:

  • the Student Disabilities Awareness Program, which is primarily for students in Grades 3 through 6 and which has been successfully adapted for students through Grade 12;
  • the Future Educator Disabilities Awareness Program, for college and graduate students who intend to pursue careers in education and for any other individuals who plan to work in an educational setting; and
  • the Workplace Disabilities Awareness Program, for employees at all levels in any workplace.

National Health Observance
The National Health Information Center offers its annual list of health observances by month. These are opportunities to educate others about health risks and conditions, and usually involve being able to obtain outreach and activity materials from the sponsoring organization for the event.

Council for Disability Awareness
The CDA is a nonprofit organization committed to informing and educating the American public about the widespread and growing frequency of disability, and the financial impact it can have. A large part of its mission is providing helpful resources and information to wage earners, their families, the media, employers, and anyone concerned about disability and the impact it can have on the finances and lifestyle of American families.

Videos at YouTube
Visit, search using the phrase “disability awareness,” and you’ll find many a video on this subject.

Materials on Disability Etiquette

Tips on interacting with people who have disabilities.
From the United Spinal Association, this series of resource pages covers the basics, gives terminology tips, and includes closer looks at etiquette for interaction with people who have a range of different disabilities.

Etiquette, according to Easter Seals.

From the Memphis Center for Independent Living.

From the Office of Compliance and Equity Management.

Accommodation and Compliance Series: Disability Etiquette Tips For Speaking Engagements.
From JAN, the Job Accommodation Network.

spread the word
The word “retard(ed)” hurts millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and their friends. In a joint effort by Special Olympics and Best Buddies, their effort to end “The R-Word” has been gaining popularity and success since its inception in 2008. Across the United States and around the globe, young people on college campuses, in high school cafeterias and business offices have joined this movement of mutual respect and human dignity. The goal of this movement is to: get people to stop and think about their hurtful and disparaging use of the word “retard” and pledge to stop using it. Their site includes a media kit, a place to pledge to stop using the “R-Word” and more information on their efforts and what you can do to get involved. Visit their website to videos, download fact sheets and event and activation ideas, posters and flyers and more!

People First Language

TAESE’s Booklet “Disability Awareness: A Primer of People First Language”
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

“Do the words used to describe you have an effect on your life? You bet! Contrary to the age old “sticks and stones” lesson we learned as children, words do matter! People First Language (PFL) represents more respectful, accurate ways of communicating. People with disabilities are not their diagnoses or disabilities; they are people, first.” –

As explained by the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC):
People First Language describes what a person HAS, not what a person IS.
Are you myopic or do you wear glasses?
Are you cancerous or do you have cancer?
Are you freckled or do you have freckles?
Are you disabled or do you have a disability?
People First Language puts the person before the disability.

“Handicapped”, “Disabled” or “People with Disabilities”: Which description is more accurate?
Using “the handicapped”, and even “the disabled”, usually evokes negative feelings (sadness, pity, fear and more) and creates a stereotypical perception that people with disabilities are all alike. Just as all people who have brown hair are not alike, all people who have disabilities are not alike. Many people who have disabilities would never think of themselves as “handicapped”. In the 1990’s, the federal special education law dropped the term “handicapped” and replaced it with “disability”. The community of persons with disabilities is the largest minority group in our country. It includes people of both genders and from all regions, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. About the only things people with disabilities have in common with one another are: 1) having a body function that operates differently and 2) often encountering prejudice and discrimination. Unique to the community of persons with disabilities is that it’s the only minority group that any person can join in the split second of an accident.

Council for Disability Awareness
The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) is a nonprofit organization committed to informing and educating the American public about the widespread and growing frequency of disability and the financial impact it can have. Since it began in 2005, the Council for Disability Awareness has engaged in communications, research and education about disability. A large part of their mission is providing helpful resources and information to wage earners, their families, the media, employers and anyone concerned about disability and the devastating impact it can have on the financies and lifestyle of American families.