"If you believe people have no history

worth mentioning, it's easy to believe

they have no humanity worth defending"

William Loren Katz

What is it?

States are taking an important step in the promotion of further understanding and awareness of disability history and the disability rights movement by designating a week (or more) to acknowledge the role and contributions of individuals with disabilities in our society. During an established Disability History Week, states will require their public schools to infuse instruction and activities related to disability history into the existing school curriculum.


It is important that our youth understand history in order to appreciate how individuals with disabilities were once viewed and treated. During Disability History Week, students will be provided with the opportunity to learn how people with disabilities were instrumental in changing history, and how they became active participants in changing societal attitudes about their needs, desires and capabilities. By teaching disability history in schools, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that history is not repeated and that there continues to be movement towards an even more accessible society in future generations.


Many states are following the precedent set by West Virginia in establishing the third week of October as Disability History Week. Thus far, all states are targeting the month of October, which is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month.


Click here to review Disability History Week legislation in the states.

How to do it in your state.

With the growing need for a Disability History Week across the country; we have compiled the tools to help you develop the legislation in your state. If you have any other questions please let us know.


National Disability History Week initiative 8-5-09

Disability advocates across the country are mobilizing to help create understanding and celebrate the history of individuals with disabilities! Since West Virginia passed the first Disability

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Riverside Elementary Class promoting NYS DHW 5-14-09

A third grade class at Riverside Elementary School has been collaborating with the Catskill Center for Independence in finding ways to promote disability awareness in their school. This year, the

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NYS Disability History Curriculum is now available! 11-19-08

The Museum of disABILITY History is pleased to announce that lesson plans as well as supplemental information are now available! These can be found through the Teacher Resources section of the

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Legislative Updates

New York State

Updated: 5-10-12


Updated: 9-2-11


Updated: 8-25-11

View All Legislations