Tips for Practicing Anti-Ableism

Allied Media Projects (AMP) cultivates media strategies for more just, creative and collaborative world. AMP convened close to 2,000 people annually in Detroit to innovate and exchange strategies through the Allied Media Conference.

Excerpt from Allied Media Conference (AMC). Full text here: AMC Accessibility


Above all else, access is an attitudinal issue. We are influenced by a society steeped deeply in prejudicial attitudes about people with disabilities. The inclusion of disability issues as a social justice concern requires time, exposure, and political will. What follows is a brief synopsis of points to consider and reflect upon as you continue in your work.



  • Recognize that disabled people are inherently worthwhile.
  • Listen to disabled people’s stories, experiences and perspectives.
  • Understand that having a disability does not make our lives any more inspirational, pitiful, or tragic than others. Our disabilities are ordinary and familiar parts of who we are.
  • Use the phrase “disabled people” or “people with disabilities.”
  • Understand that no single accommodation will work for all disabled people. One solution does not fit all, but increased access does benefit everyone.
  • Ask before you offer help to a disabled person. What you assume to be helpful may not be. Start with a friendly but non-intrusive question: “Can I provide assistance?” Be okay if the answer is no.
  • Be aware. Disabled people are experts about their own lives and what we need.
  • Avoid using language that equates disabled people’s bodies/minds with brokenness i.e. “lame, blind, dumb, stupid, have a fit, spazz out” etc, etc.
  • Recognize that the words “cripple, defect, handicap, spastic, freak, retard, and crazy” to name but a few, have been used to bully and oppress disabled people.
  • You may hear diasabled people calling each other “crip” or “gimp.” This is “insider” language, akin to “queer” and not appropriate for use by non-disabled people.