Extraordinary acts are not reserved for the special few. The vast majority of people are making the world a better place, including people with disability. That’s why I wrote my new book – to awaken the world to the power of disability. I am optimistic about what we can do when everyone’s gifts and talents are welcomed and enabled.
~ Al Etmanski

The Power of Disability - 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World

“This book reminds us of what we have in common: the power to create a good life for ourselves and for others, no matter what the world has in store for us.”~ Michael J. Fox

The Power of Disability book cover

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Since the fall of 2020 Al has helped to organize the Disability Without Poverty movement. They seek implementation of the Canada Disability Benefit the equivalent of a basic income. 40% of Canadians with disabilities live below the poverty line.

Read more and folllow their progress here.

Stories from the book

Christa Couture Sitting on the Ground

I attended Christa’s performance as a singer-songwriter several years ago and have followed her expanding career as a storyteller and radio host ever since. She is no stranger to loss and the grief that accompanies it. She has a rare and precious perspective on hardship, setback, and being different. Read Christa’s story from the chapter Lesson 6, “Adversity is an Opportunity.” 

Carmen Papalia doing the Blind Field Shuffle

I was drawn to Carmen’s work because of his focus on trusting relationships. His Accessibility Manifesto for the Arts is a testimony to trust between citizens, institutions and those in authority. It can also be read as a manifesto for citizens on how to make government more accessible. Read Carmen’s story from Lesson 9, “Nothing About Us Without Us.” 

Yayoi Kusama with Pumpkin

I first experienced Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room in a museum outside of Copenhagen. Thankfully there was no lineup since contemplating your place in the universe takes time. Now she is known as the priestess of polka dots, but she was ignored for decades like English artist William Blake. Both created in obscurity and embody the power of imagination. Read Kusama’s story from Lesson 7, Art Blooms at the Edge. 

What readers are saying

"The Power of Disability is an instruction manual for becoming truly human.The stories are readable and highly compelling suitable for young and old. There should be copies in every school and business on the planet."
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Caroline Casey
Founder, The Valuable 500, an initiative making global businesses inclusive
“This is the first book I’ve ever read where I thought, I need to buy a box to give away to others."
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Adam Kahane
Director of Reos Partners and author of "Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change”
“Etmanski engages every reader, whether new to the world of disability or an old hand, with thoughtful insights on the value of difference. This book made me laugh, made me cry, made me proud.”
Yazmine Laroche
Former Chair, Muscular Dystrophy Canada