Book Review

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY by Emily Ladau

I received a gifted copy of DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY by Emily Ladau from Random House / Ten Speed Press!

Rating: 5 / 5

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY states it’s objective in the subtitle “What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally”. This is a short book that delivers a lot of information on what a disability is, language around the issue, and the dos and don’ts of being a try ally. It promotes inclusivity and accessibility.

The author Emily Ladau (who also narrates the audiobook for this) was born with Larsen syndrome, a genetic physical disability which includes multiple factors. She approaches her subject with positivity and with a frank discussion that everyone will make mistakes, even herself. She looks at the way today’s world is different and better for people with disabilities compared to when her own mother (who also has Larsen syndrome) was growing up, but with a long ways to go. She is very clear that this is her own perspective and each person’s experiences and perspectives is different.

This book provides a lot of great information. I really appreciated the discussion on person centered language (saying “a person with a disability” emphasizing that they are a person first) versus identity centered language (saying “a disabled person” emphasizing that the disability is part of their identity). Working in mental health, this is something that has come up in how documents are to be written. Emily Ladau has her own choice for how she wants to be addressed and provides an explanation, but the bottom line she provides is that everyone has the right to make their own choices.

This was a very approachable and quick read, but it gave me a lot to think about. I think this is a fantastic book for everyone to pick up and read!

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