Disability On The Internet

Picture of a gray computer keyboard with one key blue with a white wheelchair symbol
Are you looking for internet content about disability that's more than dry, repetitive information, weepy inspirational stories, or bogus miracle cures? Believe it or not, there really is a rich, varied, and worthwhile Disability Culture out there. You just have to start at the right places and keep an open, curious mind.

Here are a few places to begin:

Exploring Websites

The core of the internet is still the basic website with combinations of printed word and graphic content. In the disability sphere, there are the usual informational sites, but also some that are more like magazines or personal diaries. Here are three places you should visit on the regular ...

A website and accompanying Facebook page that fosters lots of lively discussion about disability issues and culture. Founder Alice Wong specializes in profiles and interviews with interesting people with disabilities.

As you might guess from the title, Smart Ass Cripple is funny. But even the weirdest, most hilarious pieces by blogger Mike Ervin have a serious point that most people with disabilities can relate to. Expect a little profanity, and a lot of wisdom.

This is a great website if your main interest is in education and kids with disabilities. It's not quite as active as some other sites, but there's a huge back catalog of terrific articles on making schools accessible and special education more integrated and inclusive.

Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are basically free radio shows for your computer, iPod, or iPhone, and often produced by true amateurs ... ordinary people sitting at their kitchen tables with a laptop, a microphone, and basic sound editing software. And there are several disability-themed podcasts you can listen to that are entirely produced by people with disabilities. Here are three ...

Emily Ladau and Kyle Khachadurian are good friends. They are smart, articulate, funny, and curious. And they each have a different disability. In each program, they take on ... and sometimes debate ... some kind of disability-related topic, like: accessibility (or the lack of it), disability language, and reacting to weird things people think and say about disability. The Accessible Stall is like listening in on a conversation between friends. It's interesting and delightful.

This program focuses on a very large but less understood segment of the disability community ... people with chronic illnesses and "invisible" disabilities. The hosts explore the gray area between being sick and being disabled, and how chronically ill people can carve out the kind of identity, pride, and civil rights recognition that other people with disabilities are doing more and more.

Disability With Drew is a new podcast that started last December. Host Andrew Gurza takes on some of the hot topics in disability activism and culture, such as: disability in politics, asking for help, and even "accessible fruit." Andrew has also already included several guests on his podcast. Listen to all the episodes to date, and make sure to come back regularly for more. 

Watching YouTube

YouTube is the leading tool for amateur video creation and sharing. It's also one of the richest sources of content produced by people with disabilities. The three here are just a small sample of the best out there ...

Robyn is a physically disabled athlete from the United Kingdom. She's also fun to watch and listen to, and she's got a lot to say about the day to day experience of disability, as well as commentaries on disability issues, popular culture, fashion, and sexuality. She produces several videos each month.

Michele Kaplan is a disabled YouTuber from New York City, with a deep interest in disability activism. Her videos deal with disability discrimination (aka "ableism"), myths about disabled people, and specifics about her own disability life day to day. All that might sound heavy, and it's definitely all important, but she's got a great personality and a good sense of humor, so her videos are never, ever dull.

Shannon's channel is a little different, because in addition to being a wheelchair user, she is also a working actress and comedian. So, her videos are usually more like sketches or pranks, and she often ... though not always ... works her disability into her act. Shannon is hilarious. She's obviously having fun, and you will want to be her.