What is Redefining Disability?
Redefining Disability is an interactive blogging project I developed in order to promote better representation for people with disabilities in the media. It began as a 14 post blog series about television and movie characters with disabilities. When that ended, some readers suggested that it would be helpful have posts that were geared more toward writing and developing solid, authentic characters with disabilities and including them in meaningful ways.
Discussing the series with another blogger, I realized that there is a need to talk about advocacy, self-determination, and empowerment in broader context.
How will it work?
Beginning in September 2014, I’ll be posting short stories that feature some of my own characters who have disabilities. Along with the stories, I’ll also make topical posts about things like
- Common clichés.
- Introducing and discussing concepts about disability.
- Handling sexuality.
- Adaptive equipment/assistive technology
- And more.
My goal is to generate discussion in the comment threads on those posts. I’ll put together new posts each month based on the comment threads and reader polls.
Depending on how that goes, we may also have a feedback group where authors can share their own work and ask for input and/or open discussion threads on the blog.
Eventually, I hope to collect all of the posts and the discussion may generate an edit them for publication as an e-book.
Who Is This For?
- Storytellers — any person who likes to tell stories, in any media format. It doesn’t matter if you have published professionally or not. Fanfiction authors and unpublished writers are welcome. So are professional authors/creators.
- People with disabilities, their friends, and family members — Anyone who is interested in better media representation for people with disabilities.
- Anyone who works with people who have disabilities — teachers, employers, medical professionals, clergy, coworkers.
“Disability” is a huge umbrella term. It encompasses the experiences of so many different groups of people that I don’t feel comfortable as the only voice making suggestions or writing “how tos.” I can share my perspective, but I feel that it’s important to share the perspectives of others as well. I want there to be as many voices as possible offering as many different perspectives as I can include.
How can I get involved?
Follow My Blog.
- If you’re on WordPress, click the follow link in the sidebar.
- If you’re not on WordPress, you can subscribe via Email or RSS.
- You can also find me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. I share each Redefining Disability post on my social media feeds.
Join the Discussion
Each post will have some questions and a call for feedback. Share your thoughts with me so that I can tailor the series toward the things that you’re interested in. Readers have already helped me learn more appropriate terminology than what I had been using and broadened my awareness of issues related to portrayals of Autism Spectrum Disorders. There’s a lot I still have to learn, and I want to know how I can make this series helpful to you.
The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge
I’ve put together a list of questions that can apply to people with disabilities and their allies/loved ones. Do this blogging challenge at your own pace and link back to the main challenge page. Share the challenge and your posts with your social media feeds and anywhere else you regularly post content.
Share Redefining Disability Links
If you’re interested in this topic and my posts are relevant to your blogs and your social media feeds, I would appreciate it if you share them.
I write about the craft of telling stories and about how stories affect and represent the cultures they come from. So, my posts will focus mainly on storytelling, but I don’t want to ignore the broader issues. I’m also interested in social change and equality, and I post fairly often about how books, film, and the internet contribute to shifts in cultural perception.
My plan is to focus more on the writing aspects, because that’s what my readers seem interested in right now. Since my goal is to make this project interactive, the focus may shift depending on what regular readers and contributors want to ask about.
- Posts titled Redefining Disability are part of the original 14 part series.
- Posts titled Redefining Disability for Writers will focus on character development and issues specific to writing stories.
- Posts titled Redefining Disability: the Next Generation will be discussions about empowerment, self-advocacy, and combating discrimination.
- Posts titled The Redefining Disability Project are general and apply to both subtopics.
Redefining Disability posts go live on Tuesdays, as I have them. There will be at least one per month for as long as there’s enough interest.
Sunday Summary posts will keep you up to date on where the series is headed and review any discussions that have happened over the week.