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Disability Justice: Disability Justice Readings and Lessons

This guide includes recommended readings as well as example lesson plans on how to incorporate disability justice with information literacy.


Welcome to the Disability Justice Guide! This guide includes recommended readings on topics related to disability justice as well as sample lesson plans on how to incorporate disability studies and disability justice into information literacy instruction. 

Quote from Mia Mingus, "Understanding disability and ableism is the work of every revolutionary, activist and organizer—of every human being. Disability is one of the most organic and human experiences on the planet. We are all aging, we are all living in polluted and toxic conditions and the level of violence currently in the world should be enough for all of us to care more about disability and ableism."


Lydia XZ Brown: Dreaming Disability Justice into Our Future

Information Literacy Lesson Plan on Disabled People and Media Representation

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Students will be able to explain 'the hierarchy of credibility' and assess representation or lack of representation of disabled people in news media sources.
2. Students will identify the problems that arise when important perspectives are left out of the narrative by analyzing a source that centers medical professionals and a source that centers disabled people.
3. Students will be able to describe why it is important to seek out perspectives of those who are most affected by events but may not appear in news stories.

Lesson Plan

1. Introductory Activity: Looking at the authority of a source. How do you know when an author is credible? 

2. Mini Lecture on how the news and academic publishing often focus on 'experts.' Discussion of 'hierarchy of credibility'. When news stories discuss new legislation, who do we hear from? When does trusting experts backfire? What do we learn when we listen to those most affected? 

3. Activity Idea #1: Look at the following readings from The Disability Visibility Project and The New York Times.
-Take notes as you read the articles and then answer the following questions: 

  • Who are The New York Times interviewing in their article? What information do the interviewees provide? 
  • What are the main points of The New York Times article? 
  • Looking at the article in The Disability Visibility Project, what surprised you? 
  • What information did Saltz provide in her article that would have been beneficial in The New York Times article? 
  • Why do you think Saltz's interview was left out of The New York Times? 

4. Activity Idea #2: Search a news aggregator (e.g. Google News or Apple News) for disability legislation, such as The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

  • As you go through a few news articles, write down the article titles and authors. 
  • For each article, summarize what the article is about. Who is most highlighted in the article? 
  • Following the group activity will be a debrief of findings. 

5. Activity Idea #3: Find a writer on the Disabled Writers website and look more into some of their works. Share their perspective and a few examples of their works with the class. 

6. Takeaways from the lesson. Why is it important for us to think about who may be missing from a story? Why should we seek out perspectives of those most affected by something that the news is reporting? 

Association of College & Research Libraries Frame & Knowledge Practices:

Knowledge Practices
- Understand how and why some individuals or groups of individuals may be underrepresented or systematically marginalized within the systems that produce and disseminate information.
- Experts also understand that value may be wielded by powerful interests that marginalize certain voices.