October: Disability Awareness Month

disability awareness month

In October, Yale observes Disability Awareness Month (nationally celebrated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month) to recognize our differences, including differences in ability. Engage with this month’s offerings and visit DAY Affinity Group’s disability facts page for more information about disabilities. 

Community members may celebrate other cultural and religious observances in October. Have we missed something?  Please let us know.

Engagement Opportunities:

Books and Library Resources

Yale University Library: Yale University Library has an extensive collection of books, electronic resources, and special collection manuscripts related to the disability community:

  • Books celebrating the disability community and highlighting their history include:
    • Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education
      A critique of how higher education stigmatizes disability and argument for the value of building more inclusive schools to allow better education for all.
    • The Routledge Handbook of Disability Activism
      A guidebook that discusses the current state and future directions of global disability activism and the wide range of activism tactics and strategies used around the world.
    • Disability Friendly: How to Move from Clueless to Inclusive

Written by disability activist John D. Kemp, this book explains how to create a workplace culture of inclusion for employees with disabilities. Available as an ebook and an audiobook.

  • Digital Collections
    Yale Library’s series of special collections can be found on the Disability Studies Resource Guide webpage, including the Yale Medical Historical Library Digitized Poster Collection. View and learn about the collection’s nearly 10,000 prints, posters, and drawings depicting how disability is represented visually.

Other Resources

Accessibility at Yale
This website is a central landing page to access related resources at Yale, including information on reporting a disability-related accessibility barrier.

Accessibility Services at the Yale Repertory Theatre 
Learn more about their offerings on their website.

Become a Disability A.L.L.Y
Learn how to effectively support people with disabilities in our community and navigate through the resources on inclusion from the CDC.

Disability Social History Project 
The Disability Social History Project documents and celebrates the history of the disability community, encouraging participation by the community to highlight disabled heroes, important historical events, and resources.

The Disability Visibility Project 
The Disability Visibility Project is an online community that champions disability culture and history.

Eight Facts about Americans with Disabilities
Information from government data and Pew Research Center surveys.

It’s Our Story
It’s Our Story expands and explores equal rights for people with disabilities by providing a platform for the collective voice of an empowered and engaged community.

Usability and Web Accessibility
This webpage hosts links to the university’s web accessibility policies and best practices for university websites.

LinkedIn Learning
Explore free courses on LinkedIn Learning, including courses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery has partnered with the app Smartify. Smartify is the only museum guide rated AAA for accessibility. Smartify is available in multiple languages and is user-friendly for those with a variety of access needs. Download the app to view what the Yale University Art Gallery has to offer.

The Yale University Art Gallery also has a Youtube Channel where each video has closed captions and are created and reviewed for accuracy.


Join the Disability Alliance at Yale’s monthly meeting to hear about what has been happening with DAY and learn more about how to get involved and contribute ideas, Online, October 5, 12-1 pm

New Haven Commission on Disabilities, Meeting, October 10, 6 p.m.
The Commission is responsible for seeking to reduce physical and attitudinal barriers confronting persons with disabilities. Visit the Commission’s webpage to confirm the date/time (meetings are anticipated to be held on the second Monday of every month).

Wish You Were Here, Special Accessible Performances, Yale Repertory Theatre, October 21 and 28
Visit the Yale Repertory Theatre for an ASL and Audio Description performance on October 21 and an Open Caption performance on October 28 of Wish You Were Here, chronicling a decade of life during and after war, as best friends forever become friends long lost—scattered and searching for home.

Accessible Connecticut
Connecticut is working to reduce barriers and create new experiences to welcome visitors with disabilities, their families, and friends. From wheelchair access to sensory-friendly events, explore just a few of the places in Connecticut already offering programs and services dedicated to welcoming guests of all ages and abilities.

Sensory-Friendly Activities
Explore a growing database of sensory-friendly/autism-friendly activities in Connecticut and beyond, prepared by “Be Like Buddy.” Activities include theater performances, museums, play gyms, and more.

Teaching the History of Disability and Building Inclusive Learning Communities, Pre-recorded virtual talk
Watch an educator panel speak on teaching the history of disability and creating the processes and practices essential to building inclusive communities. This session is presented by Facing History & Ourselves, an organization that uses “lessons of the past to help us create a better future.”


Code of the Freaks
Code of the Freaks is a documentary that examines the representation of disabled characters in Hollywood.

Watch Code of the Freaks on Kanopy for free with your public library card or university login.

Musical Matters: Deaf and Disabled Artists on Inclusivity
This documentary discusses
 West’s Broadway revival of Spring Awakening and the actors’ thoughts on the importance of seeing themselves represented in theater.

Who Am I To Stop It
Who Am I To Stop It showcases the global movement of disability arts and documents the lives of three artists after brain injury.

Organizations, Offices, and Centers of Engagement

Disability Empowerment for Yale (DEFY)
Learn more about Yale’s only undergraduate advocacy and affinity organization for students with disabilities, DEFY and review the Disability @ Yale Survival Guide

Disability Alliance at Yale (DAY)
DAY creates an environment that is open and inclusive for all individuals impacted by disability, through engagement, education, and advocacy.  The group also focuses on ways to support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of staff with disabilities.

Disabled Law Students Association (DLSA)

The Yale Law School Disabled Law Students Association works to create an inclusive environment by providing accommodations and making sure needs are met for all students under a diverse umbrella of disability. Anyone who identifies with this affinity group is welcomed into this community to ensure that all legal professions are accessible.

Graduate Students Disability Alliance (GSDA)

The Graduate Student Disability Alliance was created to establish a sense of community among all graduate students within the broad disability umbrella, advocate for its members, and foster a sense of belonging on campus. Members are supported while they navigate graduate school and beyond.

Medical Students with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses at Yale School of Medicine (MSDCI)

MSDCI at Yale School of Medicine advocates for a medical field that is inclusive to care providers with any disability or chronic illness. It seeks to empower people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to pursue careers in the field of medicine and includes many sub-groups to ensure a sense of community and belonging among all who seek to be a part of the medical field.

Delta Alpha Pi (DAPi)

Delta Alpha Pi is an international honor society for students with disabilities. DAPi provides students across all of Yale’s programs and schools with the opportunity to celebrate the adacemic and leadership achievements of students with disabilities, raise awareness of the disability community at Yale, and serve the broader community while increasing the knowledge of scholarship around disability studies.

Disability Peer Mentorship Program

The Disability Peer Mentorship Program through the Poorvu Center provides students with disabilities and learning differences with a diverse network of support at Yale.

SAS Peer Liaison Program

The Peer Liaison Program provided through Yale College connects upper-class students with first-year students to help connect them with identity programs and support options. SAS’s PL group are co-hosting meetings with the cultural centers for their purpose and how they support first years:

  • Afro-American Cultural Center- Saturday, October 14, 2023, 3:15 pm 5:00 pm
  • Asian-American Cultural Center- Saturday, October 28, 3:15 pm 5:00 pm

The SAS lounge is now open to all students most nights for socializing or studying.

  • 35 Broadway, Monday-Thursday 6:30 PM-10 PM

The SAS Assistive Technology also hosts Team Events:

  • Wild Card Wednesdays- Assistive Tech Drop-In Hours
    • SAS Lounge 6:30 PM-10 PM
    • October 4 - Best AT for ADHD
    • October 11- Best AT for Dyslexia
    • October 18- Best AT for Limited Mobility Disabilities
    • October 25- Best AT for Mental Health Disabilities
  • Black & Students with Disabilities
    • October 6, 5-6 PM at AFAM House (211 Park St)
    • Mixer event with information for what students that identify as Black and what SAS does/offers

New Haven Disability Services
Review resources designed for residents and visitors with disabilities to ensure they have equal access to the City’s programs, services, and activities.  

Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility (OIEA)
OIEA coordinates the university’s accommodations program for faculty and staff members with documented disabilities as well as handling all discrimination, harassment, and retaliation concerns of students, faculty, and staff.

Student Accessibility Services at Yale
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) works with all Yale students, including those in Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and all Professional Schools to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.

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