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Essay on Disability Rights


The primary source reading that I chose is the Activism Education and Disability by Judith Heumann, and the theoretical lens reading is ‘Those Who Can’t, Teach: The Disabling History of American Educators.” By Kate Rousmaniere. The theoretical lens reading looks at the history of school teachers with disability identifying how the educational systems, practices, values, and professional norms have been made to exclude people with disabilities from employing them as educators. This is because people have developed a norm concerning people with disabilities unable to participate in any promising professions. This affects many people with disabilities since they cannot get a chance to participate in the teaching occupation. This lens is appropriate since it connects with the ideology in the primary source that people should be isolated hence lacking the chance of getting an education which later affects their lives as they cannot get into any profession because they lack expertise. Different societies have developed various types of stereotypes concerning people with disabilities. This hence makes the people start fearing those with disabilities and isolate them. For instance, in many occurrences where a family member is disabled, they end up losing friends and family members due to the fear of associating with a disabled person. This applies in workplaces where most workers do not want to be identified with disabled people. Thus, the author of the primary source says that there is a need to continue fighting for disability rights so that they may experience equality and bring to an end the discrimination.

Strategy Used

According to Heumann, when she was young, other disabled people could have failed to gain an education because the schools were not accessible. This is because the schools did not have wheelchair-accessible paths for those with a disability to use. Through protests by parents who had disabled children, the Board of Education developed strategies that would accommodate students with disabilities. In addition, when Heumann completed her studies and wanted to get her teaching license, she could not get it due to discrimination she faced during her interviews besides the challenge of accessing the offices. She protested the discrimination she faced using the media and was able to sue the Education Board, and finally obtained her license.

Moreover, it was difficult for her to obtain a job as a teacher, and when she attained the position, she faced difficulties with accessibility. From her example, it is clear that many disabled people suffer discrimination and other challenges which make them fail to achieve their ambitions. This is also evident from the theoretical reading, which shows that teachers lack employment because they are disabled. Therefore, protests by disabled people have been effective since it has led to the creation of the development of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recognizes and fights for the rights of disabled people internationally. This has made disabled people have equal opportunities to travel, study and work in different countries without challenges such as discrimination and lack of accessibility. Therefore, the protesting strategy has greatly enabled disabled people to experience equality in a society full of inequality. Despite protests being an effective strategy for ending discrimination against disabled people in the different communities, all people internationally standing to fight discrimination is the most effective approach to ending the injustice in the society. This is because all people will be able to recognize that disability can affect anyone at any point in their lives.


The reading I chose incredibly touched my heart since I have experienced many disabled people suffering. For instance, some of my peers who are disabled have been unable to acquire education due to discrimination they face from others and the lack of special schools set for those with disabilities. This is also because of the lack of trained professionals to handle students with disabilities. Failing to educate the disabled makes them lack opportunities to help them achieve their ambitions. The reading interested me since disabled people have been able to stand against the inequality they face in society and become their advocates. Having international rights for the disabled is an excellent strategy for helping those with disabilities since they will be able to attain education and jobs without challenges. The teachers who have been experiencing discrimination, such as being sent to teach in the marginalized locations, are now celebrating as they will exploit their full potential without facing challenges. However, as all people join the disabled people to stand against the discrimination they face will lead to more equality in the society. Creating awareness about accepting the disabled and fighting for their rights will make them feel appreciated by the community. Therefore, besides governments developing rights movements for the disabled, the community should uniformly support them to ensure equality in society.


Heumann, J. (2016a). Our fight for disability rights — and why we’re not done yet.

Rousmaniere, K. (2013). Those who can’t, teach: the disabling history of American educators. History of Education Quarterly53(1), 90-103.


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