Celebrating Disability Pride Month

Friday, July 1, 2022

On July 26, 1990, the landmark legislation known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, and the first Disability Pride Day was held. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and changed how people with disabilities access spaces like school, transportation, and jobs. 14 years later, Chicago would be the first city to hold a parade as part of their celebration. Disability Pride Parades are now held globally throughout July to celebrate disability culture and promote visibility of the positive pride felt by people with disabilities. 

Celebrating Disability Pride Month provides an opportunity to remove the stigma around living with a disability. “I've personally experienced people openly display pity and sadness regarding my lived reality, which ultimately serves to diminish disability identity and self-worth,” said Benjamin Salentine, associate director of Health Sciences Managed Care at UI Health.

Although people with disabilities make up the largest minority in the United States, with nearly 50 million individuals, this group is often overlooked in conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As part of UIC, UI Health can be proud of the disability resources and advocacy we support through the department of Disability and Human Development at UIC's College of Applied Health Sciences. This internationally recognized center works toward research and community-engaged service across the spectrum of disability, including advocacy, culture, education, health promotion, history, policy, [MC1] [SS2] and technology. This includes acting as the state's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEED) through the department's Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD), in addition to hosting the Great Lakes ADA Center, whose mission and research focus on increasing voluntary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

By celebrating Disability Pride Month, we all can better understand the experiences of those living with a disability and ensure people with disabilities are included as meaningful participants in our communities.

Kelsey Bernardin, a physical therapist at UI Health, loves the way her disability informs the care she provides patients.

“When treating patients with disabilities, I think it actually helps me care for them in a unique and individualized way since I can understand where they are coming from,” she said.

UI Health is committed to ensuring care and services at our facilities are accessible and understandable to all. We are currently renovating more inpatient rooms to ensure we always have the appropriate beds for patients with disabilities. We also provide accessibility resources and services, so our patients are safe and comfortable. This includes a range of transportation and transferring equipment, as well as auxiliary aids, such as communication boards and sign language interpreters. UI Health's Disability Coordinator is also available for more information or assistance. Visit our Accessibility Resources page to learn more.