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Disability Awareness: Celebrating Gifts, Honoring Identities

Oct. 16, 2020
Disability Awareness graphic

DPS strives to recognize cultures and identities year-round. With equity as our core identity, we aim to celebrate the significant cultural moments of our students and staff, especially those that have not been historically and consistently recognized. During the month of October, we are celebrating Disability Awareness, both in the DPS community and across the nation.

As with every cultural celebration, we want to recognize that there is no singular experience common to every student, family, or staff member with a disability. Each individual may have a different preference for how they self-identify – whether that’s using “person-first” language (e.g., person with autism) or “disability-first” language (e.g., autistic) – or whether they experience their disability as a core part of their identity at all.

This month, we are sharing essays and articles from members of the DPS community related to disability awareness. While there is currently no nationally recognized Disability Awareness Month, we hope to use the next several weeks to raise awareness of a wide range of disabilities and to celebrate the gifts that individuals with a disability bring to our community. For example, Governor Polis recently proclaimed October Dyslexia Awareness Month, as that is the United States’ most prevalent disability. More resources about dyslexia are available from the Colorado Department of Education’s dyslexia handbook. We also encourage you to learn more about the history of people with disabilities in America in this report by the United States Department of Labor, which names October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Events and Resources:

Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) Conferences

TED Talk by Kaden Forsha, “the Chatterbox Ninja”

  • Colorado sixth-grader Kaden has ADHD and Dyslexia and has been on both seasons of the TV show American Ninja Warrior Junior, where he finished in the top eight both seasons. He will be giving a TED Talk on Nov. 2; video will be available following the event.

Here are some of the many Disability Awareness recognitions within October: