The Power of Disability – Preface



There is a pretty good chance you are directly or indirectly connected to the power of disability. The majority of people are.Power of Disability Book Cover

For starters, one-seventh of the people on the planet have a disability, which makes people with disabilities the largest minority group in the world. When you factor in their family, friends, and allies, which I conservatively estimate as another three in seven, the disability community comprises four-sevenths of the world’s population.

What you might not know is the full extent of the collective achievement of people with disabilities.

That’s because the history books have largely ignored them, aside from notable exceptions like Beethoven, Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, and Temple Grandin. Or credit has been given to someone else.

That’s why I have written this book. The time has come to recognize people with disabilities for who they really are: authoritative sources on creativity, resilience, love, resistance, dealing with adversity, and living a good life.

As you are about to read, people with disabilities have been instrumental in the growth of freedom and the birth of democracy. They have produced heavenly music and exquisite works of art. They have delighted children and the young at heart with some of the most popular stories ever written. They have made us laugh, touched our souls, and taught us how to love. They have unveiled the secrets of the universe. And they have been on the front lines fighting for justice.

They are still doing all those things and more.

This book has two audiences. The first is those who haven’t given people with disability much thought, other than to be inspired by the occasional feel-good story. Before my daughter Liz was born with her disability, I was in this category. As for Liz, she continues to write and perform poetry, teach art, paint, and offer her work to the public at I would like this book to enrich your life the way the disability community has enriched mine.

The second audience is people in the disability community. I would like this book to bring us together and to make disability a greater force to be reckoned with.

The Power of Disability is designed to be a source of everyday wisdom for the everyday reader. Each of the ten lessons in the book has a short explanation of why I chose it, followed by multiple real-life stories, many of them about people you know. These are sprinkled with quotations and “Did You Know . . .” facts. Each profile is a bite-sized chunk of a well-rounded and fascinating life.

My hope is that after reading this book, you will help rewrite history and change the conversation about disability.