Ellen Ryan Book Series 2009

ABILITY SPEAKS: TALKING WITH A PERSON WITH DISABILITY

Ellen B. Ryan and Karen A. Bannister
Girona, Spain: Editorial Aresta, 2009.

It is difference, not sameness, which fuels change and ensures our cultural evolution. Cultural advancement rests on incorporation of richly different perspectives and interpretations of the human experience.  Why is it then that the points of view of those with impairment continue to be largely ignored? Why do stereotypes continue to govern interactions between individuals with and without disability? And why does the cultural majority remain largely ignorant of the social and environmental barriers that exclude people with disability?

For individuals with disability to achieve full inclusion, social change is absolutely essential. Through more successful and rewarding interactions between persons with and without disability, improvements in the overall social acceptance of disability will take place. To this end, we describe problems typical in interability communication, that is, between people with and without disability, and we then highlight ways for communication partners to enhance their interability communication skills. We rely heavily on numerous personal memoirs of individuals with disability to develop the overall discussion, and we illustrate key points with selected quotations. Ability speaks through these excerpts about adaptation, lessons learned, and wisdom achieved by people with different abilities and disabilities.

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