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Inclusive Education Project Podcast

Dec 10, 2019

Today’s guest takes us on a fascinating and educational journey into ableism,  the study of disabilities and prejudices of disabilities.

Dr. Michelle Nario-Redmond, a social psychologist at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, joins Amanda and Vickie to discuss changing people’s perceptions about disability.

Michelle is the author of Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice, and the mom of a 23-year old daughter with spina bifida, who was raised to be a proud, disabled woman.

Show Highlights:

  • Michelle provides an overview of the origins of ableism, and of which literature can be found in political science, psychoanalysis, psychology, and disability studies.
  • There are several distinct sources of prejudice that impact individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, such as:
  • an evolutionary/biological basis for fear: humans have a need to feel safe and secure, and might have avoided those who signaled poor health, even in those instances where there was no contamination factor. 
  • the fear of becoming disabled, since most disability is acquired through spinal cord injury or old age.
  • how the media portrays individuals.
  • Ableism is the study of prejudice and discrimination against people who are considered to have a disability.
  • The ABC’s of ableism:
    • A - attitudes 
    • B - behaviors
    • C - cognitions 
  • Michelle addresses the preferred language to use when referring to the disabled. Are they “living with a disability” or do they “have” a disability? Just ask the person their preference! Everyone will have a reason why they prefer one term over the other.
  • “Experiencing” a mental health “condition” is a kinder way than saying “mental illness” because the latter term pathologizes those who have depression, schizophrenia, etc.
  • There’s a new hashtag out from people working in this field doing disability studies and activism, reminding others that disability isn’t a bad word: #saytheword.
  • Although born of existing legislation, when we continue to use the words “special needs” we occlude the notion that these are human needs and civil rights.
  • Michelle, Amanda, and Vickie discuss essential and non-essential qualifiers in the context of a conversation, and the “R” word.
  • Peer-pressure holds a lot of power. 
  • One way to speak up when someone is being micro-aggressive is to ask, “What did you mean by that?” 
  • Michelle shares a personal story and the resulting lesson she learned when she made a faux pas during an encounter with a young woman with Down’s Syndrome at a theme park.
  • Michelle discusses her next steps, which include policy issues.


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IEP website

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

Get the Book Here! Read Excerpts Here!

Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice, by Dr. Michelle Nario-Redmond 

<—20% Discount with Promo Code BBR56 through December 31, 2019—>

Mentioned Hashtags:

  • #saytheword
  • #cripthevote