Disability History Month

The NASUWT supports UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) (new window), which takes place between 22nd November and 22nd December each year. The first Disability History Month took place in 2010.
This event is about celebrating the lives and history of disabled people, recognising our rights and the past struggles for equality.

The aims of Disability History Month are to:

  • celebrate the struggles and achievements of disabled people;
  • create greater understanding of the barriers in society that disable people;
  • look at the history of how such barriers are fuelled by negative attitudes and customs, whilst recognising this as oppressive;
  • develop and campaign on what needs to be changed for disabled people to achieve full equality in all areas of life;
  • make equality a daily reality. The UK Government have passed the Equalities Act 2010 and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, yet much needs to happen to make these Rights a daily reality for the 12 million disabled children and adults in the UK;
  • recognise the multiple identities of disabled people, including the full range of impairments and link with disabled people also struggling against sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.

UKDHM is based on the ’social model’ understanding of disability, which the NASUWT both supports and practises. This involves a shift away from a ‘medical model’ perspective, one that views disabled people primarily as having medical problems that need rehabilitating or 'fixing'.

The social model recognises instead that barriers of environment, organisation and attitudes disable people and understands that these barriers need to be minimised and adjustments made across society, so that disabled people can exercise their human rights.

This year’s theme - Disability and Art - examines artists with a disability and artists who have featured disability through a social model lens, but also seeks to understand the attitudes existing at different times over history towards disabled people through their portrayal in art.

Teaching resources can be downloaded from the UK Disability History Month who held a day workshop on this year’s theme on Saturday 21st October. Details can be obtained by contacting UKDHM at rlrieser@gmail.com.