Starter Pack

A colleague asked the readings I’d recommend for newly disabled people or those who are just coming into understanding themselves as disabled people.

Here’s my quick list for that. My goal, if a newly disabled person is asking me about what I suggest they read, is to show them that there’s a community and a political life to being disabled – and that we have shared experiences and community to turn to.

I get asked a lot around physical and cancer-related disabilities, so this list does have a certain push in that doesn’t address neurodivergence very well (and would have different things to suggest there – and send them toward groups like ASAN and friends from those communities).

So, here’s my list:

I’d supplement this with others more specific to the person, and, if asked for a book recommendation, I suggest Harriett McBryde Johnson’s Too Late to Die Young memoir. That was the memoir first suggested to me as I became disabled by a disability mentor of mine (who is younger than me because crip elders don’t always line up with chronological age).

There are also a list of blogs I recommend (on this site on a different tab), but primary among these are Imani Barbarin’s Crutches & Spice and Bill Peace’s Bad Cripple. And I urge them to get on Twitter and follow Alice Wong and the Disability Visibility Project, if social media is their jam.

Also, not everyone wants to get readings upon becoming disabled, and that’s okay too!

Author: techanddis

Dr. Ashley Shew, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech. Please address queries to shew@vt.edu.

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