Book Reviews

Demystifying Disability [is] a fantastic primer for improving your understanding of disability and ableism. This book will give you the history, ideas, language, etiquette and practical tools you need to begin your journey to becoming a more knowledgeable and aware ally, along with resources for where to go next.

Erin Sells, NPR’s Books We Love 2021

Ladau’s narration highlights her passion for the subject, elevates the listening experience…The detailed and descriptive portions of the guide are delivered with clarity and emphasis, while more lighthearted and humorous anecdotes are presented playfully.

Michelle Kitty, Booklist Starred Review of Audiobook Version

Ladau has written an essential resource that readers can refer to at any time, browsing chapters individually or reading straight through. A must for libraries.

Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

Demystifying Disability is a great starting point for anyone looking better to understand the diversity of human experiences, but will be especially useful to those who wish to build inclusive spaces or make their own work more accessible.

Shelf Awareness

If being a good ally to disabled people is your goal . . . Ladau’s guide is a goldmine.

Book Riot

Emily Ladau provides a welcoming, easy-to-read guide to disability. I highly recommend this book to readers seeking to deepen their understanding of disability and ableism.

Haben Girma
Human Rights Lawyer, Speaker, and Author of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Emily Ladau has crafted an absolutely essential guide to understanding disability. In it, she dispels countless myths that surround the disabled experience, while providing practical tips for interacting with disabled people in healthier and more positive ways. I’ll be sharing with everyone I know!

Shane Burcaw
Author of Laughing at My Nightmare

Emily Ladau has done her homework, and Demystifying Disability is her candid, accessible cheat sheet for anyone who wants to thoughtfully join the conversation. A teacher who makes you forget you’re learning, Emily makes the intimidating approachable and the complicated clear. This book is a generous and needed gift.

Rebekah Taussig
Author of Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body

Demystifying Disability is a great primer for anyone who wants to learn more about the largest minority in the world, and how to lead with accessibility at the forefront.

Victor Calise
Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Emily Ladau has written an immensely clarifying book that disabled and non-disabled people alike will find incredibly useful. Demystifying Disability is both comprehensive in its scope and easy to understand. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Eric Garcia
Author of We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation

From general disability knowledge, to disability rights, to ableism, to what to say and what not to say, this book will provide everyone with more understanding and empathy (not pity!) about what it really means to be disabled and what non-disabled people can do to be better allies, friends, parents, and partners with the disability community.

Amy Webb
Author of the award-winning Charley and Emma picture book series

Readers searching for an entry to the disability conversation won’t find a more useful volume than Emily Ladau’s Demystifying Disability…[Her] narration straddles the line between passion and compassion. She’s the teacher who will stay after school to offer extra help, cheering you on until you’re ready for the exam. Righteous, but never a scold, Ladau points out some of her own mistakes, noting that even disabled people are capable of ableism.

James Tate Hill, Literary Hub

A well-designed, user-friendly educational resource, this straightforward guide belongs on public and school library shelves.

A. E. Siraki, Booklist Starred Review of Print Version

Emily Ladau is a responsible guide and advocate for change, and her book is one that everyone could benefit from reading.


Demystifying Disability is a generous and approachable companion to the world of disability—especially for people who are (for the time being, at least) not disabled. This book is an expansive, welcoming, and generous guide to disability history, culture, activism, and etiquette. I’ll be using it as a reference book for years to come.

Ann Friedman
Co-author of Big Friendship

Whether you have a disability, or you are non-disabled, Demystifying Disability is a MUST READ. Emily Ladau is a wise spirit who thinks deeply and writes exquisitely.

Judith Heumann
International disability rights advocate and author of Being Heumann

Emily is a once-in-a-generation kind of writer and activist whose legacy can’t even be quantified. When Emily enters a room, she changes it forever. The world needs her. The world needs this book.

Liz Plank
Award-winning journalist and author of For the Love of Men

Demystifying Disability is a powerful reminder that disability is a vast spectrum with a wide range of voices and experiences. Emily Ladau expertly addresses so many of the common issues and pitfalls (and how to learn from them) able-bodied people face when attempting to be supportive of the disability community.

Grace Bonney
Author of In the Company of Women

Demystifying Disability is a game-changer in so many ways. This book is long overdue and is a must read for both new and experienced allies.

Chris Ulmer
Founder of Special Books by Special Kids

This wonderfully accessible and intimate volume delivers a comprehensive review of the complicated topic of the disability experience. Everybody should read this book.

Emily Perl Kingsley
Writer for Sesame Street

Exceptionally well written, impressively comprehensive, deftly organized and presented, ‘Demystifying Disability’ is an immensely practical, intersectional DIY guide for understanding and responding to disability as part of the human experience.

Midwest Book Review

Emily Ladau has gifted the disability community with a short, simple book that packs in just about everything we wish our friends and families understood about disability but don’t know how to tell them…Although honest, Ladau’s book is especially kind.

Josie Byzek, New Mobility

This book stands out for its gentle simplicity…Ladau is a magnificent writer who could have turned this into a textbook, but didn’t. This is an ‘every-person’s’ book, easy to pick up and read from any page.

The Self-Help Whisperer