Demystifying Disability:
What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally

An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible, inclusive place.

Named one of the best books of 2021 by NPR and a 2021 Booklist Editors’ Choice!

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Click here for a plain language summary and translation of the book by Becca Monteleone and Emily Ladau.

Order your copy of Demystifying Disability:

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

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

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
Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally by Emily Ladau

About the book

Disabled people are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us–disabled and non-disabled alike–don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on important disability issues you need to know about, including:

  • How to appreciate disability history and identity
  • How to recognize and avoid ableism (discrimination toward disabled people)
  • How to be mindful of good disability etiquette
  • How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability
  • How to ensure accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events
  • How to identify and speak up about disability stereotypes in media

Authored by celebrated disability rights advocate, speaker, and writer Emily Ladau, this practical, intersectional guide offers all readers a welcoming place to understand disability as part of the human experience.