The Pain Of Ableism And Disability Prejudice With Michelle Nario-Redmond, PhD

Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Michelle Nario-Redmond, PhD

Disability does not equal inability, but ableism can create barriers that limit opportunities and perpetuate prejudice. It’s time for society to recognize and address the harm of ableism and work towards a more inclusive, equitable future for all. In this episode, Dr. Michelle Nario-Redmond, Professor of Psychology and Biomedical Humanities, joins us to discuss the painful realities of ableism and disability prejudice. As an expert in stereotyping, prejudice, and disability studies, Dr. Michelle sheds light on the damaging effects it has on individuals and society as a whole, and the many ways in which ableism intersects with chronic pain and disability. She highlights her work and research on ableism, including her publication, “Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice“. Through her advocacy work and research, Dr. Michelle has dedicated her life to raising awareness and fighting against ableism and disability prejudice. In this episode, we explore the many ways in which ableism and disability prejudice can be seen, and talk about how to improve the lives of people with a disability. Tune in and be educated about the pain of ableism.

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The Pain Of Ableism And Disability Prejudice With Michelle Nario-Redmond, PhD

In this episode, we’re raising awareness around ableism and the many ways it intersects with chronic pain and disability. My guest is Dr. Michelle Nario-Redmond. Michelle is a Psychology and Biomedical Humanities Professor specializing in stereotyping, prejudice and disability studies. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology and her research focuses on group identification, wellness, political advocacy and social change.

In 2019, she published a book called Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice and is the 2021 recipient of the Society for Teaching of Psychology’s Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. Dr. Nario-Redmond is passionate about reducing disparities in health and increasing access and universally-designed solutions for organizations.

We explore the many manifestations of ableism as well as disability prejudice and how ableism is painful to disabled people and the greater society. If you’re interested in a resource on the topic of ableism, make sure to check out Dr. Nario-Redmond’s book called Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice. You can find that by going to the website Without further ado, let’s begin and learn all about ableism.

Michelle, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here.

It’s great to be here, Joe. Thanks for inviting me.

This is officially our first episode on ableism, which I’m excited to talk about. I had this brief conversation with some colleagues at a health conference. Their response to this topic was, “Doesn’t the Americans with Disabilities Act cover most of this?” I was like, “No. There’s a great book that you have to read,” which is Michelle’s book. I’ll point all of you to it.

The book is called Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice. It’s a fantastic, deep read. It’s very evidence-based on the topic. Whether you’re an educator, a clinician or someone who’s living with a chronic health condition and interested in this topic, this is my main resource. This is why I wanted to have you on. Thank you for that resource and that work. The word ableism is foreign to some people. A good place to start is if you could define what ableism is and what it means.

Ableism in a nutshell is disability prejudice, which takes many forms. As social psychologists, we tend to focus on interpersonal forms of prejudice, which relate to the ABCs. A is the Affect or Attitudes that we have toward people that we may perceive as having disabilities or experiencing disabilities. The B is the Behavior that we enact, whether it is avoidance or imposed help that we do when we confront people who experience disability or whom we learn experience disability.

The C stands for Cognitions, beliefs, stereotypes and ideologies that we have that inform some of the assumptions that we make. There have been many different definitions out there. The book certainly addresses institutional discrimination but prejudice includes behavioral discrimination and policy-based practices that we enact that may be well-intended but treat people in this particular group differentially.

One of the things that stuck out for me as I’m reading your book and you mentioned this throughout the book is that ableism and this disability prejudice that you defined cuts across all humans, no matter what human group. Whether they’re affluent and top of the food chain or marginalized, this cuts across all of them. Although, there are groups where this is more prevalent.

It’s also relatively novel in the field to think about disability prejudice writ large. We tended in the past to focus on the stereotypes of the blind and particular stigmas of people with mental health conditions face or people with chronic illness and pain. It became clear because we started to listen. Scholars started to listen to people about the disability experience and there was a much more globalized reaction toward the entire group. It is such that people will try to drag someone across the street if blind assuming they have a physical impairment or will yell at someone in a wheelchair assuming they also have hearing-related impairments.

That’s how I got started. It was by recognizing this cross-impairment, cross-sectional population-wide group membership. This is the largest minority group that we are describing, those of us that study prejudice and discrimination. It does cut across. It’s interesting that because it is a group that anyone can join, that makes it unique in terms of the types of fears and misperceptions that people have about the experience. Unlike some other racial, ethnic or sexual minority groups even, this is not something that people readily opt into or can’t. It’s not foreclosed on them. Most of us, if we don’t already, will experience disability at some point.

That comment right there hit me quite hard as I read that in your book. This is the biggest minority group and growing depending on what literature you read. In some way, you may be part of this minority group somewhere in your life course. People think if they come into the world “as a normal non-impaired able-bodied person,” that’s the way life is and that nothing could potentially happen to them. I’m not going to be part of that group so to speak.

I’m reading that we’ll spend at least 11 years of our lives if we live as long as projections have us at 75 or so. Many people weave in and out of disabilities and varying abilities. It’s a very fluid, hard-to-pin-down concept.

You’ve already talked about this a little bit here at the top of the episode here. Where and how does ableism manifests itself in our society?

It’s so pervasive. I’ll share some quick examples of maybe some of the more benevolent or paternalistic forms of prejudice that disabled people encounter and some of the more hostile forms. Some people are more familiar with pity and experiences that assume others to be less capable or in need of help. This group of people, the societal dependence, if you will. There are a lot of assumptions that accrue to that concern about a group of people for whom may be more difficult or at least perceived to be more difficult.

Pity often bleeds into things like envy if you begin to construe or recognize that perhaps some people are receiving what others call special privileges because they have “special needs.” That can lead to jealousy for things like the ever-coveted parking spot or extra time in school. If people assume that disabled people are somehow scamming the system, that can lead to what ends up becoming an increasing problem in society, which are disability hate crimes. It is when people are targeted, robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted because of their disability status.

Ableism includes general fears. They are fears that may be below our awareness that we are even experiencing at the moment. It’s disgusted reactions or fears that this is somehow a contagious condition that can lead to avoidance behavior even for things like cancers or traumatic brain injuries that are clearly not contagious. We can talk about that more.

With this open enrolment status of the group, it is a group that many of us are joining, have joined or have lived our whole lives within. That lends a special status in terms of an existential fear of meaninglessness and perhaps fear of our bodily vulnerability to decline to disease or injury. That certainly plays a role too.

There are new forms of ableism that people are starting to talk about that others might think, “Why is that prejudicial?” When we see people approaching disabled people and telling them, “You’re so inspirational to me. I can’t believe you got up today. If I were you, I wouldn’t want to live at all,” this has been deemed inspiration porn or objectification of folks who are not necessarily doing anything extraordinary.

They are living their lives, taking public transportation, going to work and having lunch, yet are approached. Their privacy is invaded and questions are often asked. I’ll often say it’s not that disabled people aren’t worthy of admiration and respect. Usually, this form of ableism that’s objectifying is about things that we wouldn’t approach others and tell them they were inspirational for doing but because our expectations are so low for people with disabilities, it seems surprising.

I want to unpack two things that you mentioned, which are important, especially in the realm of chronic pain. As a physical therapist, that contagion idea rings true to me. Working in a general sports and orthopedic practice, I might come across people who have an ankle sprain but we might consider it as a mild injury. I might come across someone who has an amputation or someone with chronic low back pain.

I’m treating them all at the same time in a wide-open gym area, which is very common in a physical rehabilitation setting. I’ve seen other patients display what I would consider uncomfortable behaviors. They’re riding an exercise bike next to someone who has a disability or who they know has fibromyalgia with this idea, “Does this person have something? Am I going to catch this from them?”

It’s interesting to watch those human behaviors play out in real-time. As a professional, I’m used to interacting with different people daily. Even living in New York City, I see this happen on the streets of New York City all the time. I’m always wondering what’s going through someone’s mind that they think that they could catch chronic pain, depression or fibromyalgia.

I’d love to talk about that. I wonder too if this has been exacerbated since the pandemic. Everyone is wearing masks, washing hands and are highly aware of actual contagion. What the scholarship seems to show is that we may not even be fully aware that we are exhibiting these behaviors, much less conscious of the fact that these may be contagion-related fears. The scholarship seems to suggest that there may be an evolved disease avoidance mechanism that for some people becomes overgeneralized or hypersensitive.

In other words, it is like back in hunter-gatherer times when it became advantageous for the species to become more familiar, trust those that are within their social group and be warier of those who are strangers. That includes those who may signal to be immoral people or have ulterior motives but also people who may demonstrate characteristics that are assumed to be deadly or contagious even though we didn’t have germ theory back in the day.

Some of the things that disabled people, not all, may manifest in terms of shaking, irregular gait or wounds that may or may not be on the surface are associated with some of the world’s deadliest infections. Yet we know cancer, traumatic brain injury and amputation are not physically contagious. It’s irrational to assume that we could somehow become infected. Since I think of these unconscious mechanisms that are, for some people, overactive, there is this almost knee-jerk reaction. It happens primarily among people who’ve had minimal contact with people with disabilities, not so much with those who are more familiar and have more complicated understandings.

Some studies show that people won’t wear the same sweater if they think it was worn by someone with a traumatic brain injury before. They won’t swim in the same pool with someone who’s been labeled with a mental illness. They won’t even shake hands with someone who is deemed to have some kind of physical disability. Those are somewhat intractable kinds of fears that may be less amenable to some of the interventions that seem to work to help mitigate these biases.

We clearly learn these things too. It’s hard to tease apart the extent to which people are born experiencing these fears. Usually, you have to grow up seeing a parent jerk you away from someone that you’re about to approach because they’re using a cool piece of equipment or have an unusual appearance. Kids are curious but then they learn quickly, “This is something to be feared based on my parents’ reactions.”

It's hard to tease apart the extent to which people are born experiencing fears towards disability. Click To Tweet

It’s the evolutionary perspective. That’s in your book. It’s fascinating that on some level, our brain or nervous system may have become acutely aware of someone with an antalgic gait or a painful walking pattern might mean that they have an illness that I could catch, like the bubonic plague or something like that.

In this society, that doesn’t serve as a protective response because you can’t catch these things that we’re talking about. The other thing that you mentioned and is in your book and is worth going into detail about because social media has elevated this is this inspiration porn. I’ve seen this shared online in multiple places. We should probably describe what inspiration porn is first. Can you do that for our audience?

This is a somewhat controversial topic. When you share at least some of these ideas with students who aren’t familiar, they’re trying to differentiate why this is a bad thing that humans are inspired by certain people who exceed their expectations. I find it fascinating that inspiration isn’t the problem. We are inspired, especially by people that we know who have accomplished something or who have managed a chronic health condition in a way that makes us feel like, “I can do this too,” but it becomes objectifying.

It’s called pornographic to the extent of social media in particular but this happens in person too. We’ll see a meme, a Facebook post or an Instagram photo with a person who is either visibly disabled or uses a piece of equipment but sometimes, their bodies are atypical. Maybe they’re larger. Older people also experience this. They’re doing something fairly ordinary. They’re going to work, going out on a date or to prom or playing basketball.

You have this reaction among viewers who see this meme and are like, “This makes me feel guilty because I’m being lazy sitting on the couch. Here’s this person who we typically think of as incompetent, incapable and weak doing something that I complain about. I should be grateful. If they can do this, what’s my excuse?” You see these as part of the memes in things that say, “Look at them doing this. What’s your excuse?”

If that person uses a prosthesis to walk or run, what’s your excuse why you can’t finish them? Some of them go a lot deeper than that though that I’ve seen online. Some of them are more subtle depending on how you look at them and others are inspiration porn. It’s not inspiring. I don’t know if you want to call this microaggression or a macroaggression or where that fits into that conversation.

You reminded me of an example of one that I show in class. It shows a disabled woman in front of an ocean view. The caption says, “Never ignore a person with a disability. You never know how much they can inspire you. Share if you agree.” It’s almost perpetuating the idea. Other stranger examples may be more in line with microaggressions but they are media-based. It could be where someone who may use a wheelchair, for example, gets up because they don’t necessarily use the wheelchair full-time.

We’re such a species that’s used to categorizing people as either this or that and nothing in between. When you see someone stand up from their piece of equipment or set down their cane, others say, “It’s a miracle. I can’t believe it.” There’s a particular meme of a woman. I believe she’s a little person. She is up in her wheelchair. She is standing up and reaching for something on a top shelf. The caption says, “There is a miracle in aisle five.”

That has happened to people. People have been approached. Others have gotten down on their knees in airports at the sight of someone who transfers from their wheelchairs. There’s a real lack of understanding of how varied impairments can be and how variable different disabilities are. We do tend to bifurcate people into these categories. It’s problematic because we’re so much more complicated as human beings.

HPP 308 | Ableism
There’s a lack of understanding of how varied impairments can be and how variable different disabilities are. We tend to bifurcate people into these categories. It’s problematic because we’re so much more complicated as human beings.


There’s an element of social rejection here and shame that starts to come into play. I wonder what the risk is for the person with a disability where this becomes so prevalent in society that they start to embody the macro and microaggressions that they are subjected to daily. I wonder what that does to their psyche and sense of self.

Internalizing that ableism, if you will. You said something that I wanted to follow up on. It depends on what you attribute these reactions to. If you are a person who’s grown up with a disability and you’re used to people staring perhaps, this becomes part of your everyday experience. You may have a different perspective on it than someone who’s newly disabled. Most disabled people are new to disability at some point. A disability is acquired primarily. It happens more to occur on an acquisitional basis than on a congenital basis. You have to get used to being treated as a stranger or having your identity mistaken, which is discombobulating.

You mentioned social rejection. The idea of social rejection when I was growing up, we heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Yet, there is some fascinating neuropsychological research that shows that the same parts of the brain, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, light up in the face of social rejection when we experience ostracism or rejection by our peers.

It’s also when we’re being othered.

Yet when we’re connected to peers, the perception of pain can decrease. There’s a real lesson in connecting with other people within your communities, including the disability community. There’s so much wisdom and creativity to be gleaned by those who can share disabled ways of being, provide that social support and mitigate perceptions of pain through those stimulating social connections and how we’re wired up.

There's a real lesson in connecting with other people within your communities, including the disability community. There's so much wisdom and creativity to be gleaned by those who can share disabled ways of being. Click To Tweet

That whole part talks to our community here. We understand language can impact one’s feelings and perception of pain. You took it to a whole other deeper level and societal level, which is important. We’re aware of the psychobiology behind things but you’re bringing in the sociology piece, which in some way, we’re talking about a social justice movement, which a lot of this should be wrapped up in.

We should be aware of this social justice movement and how it helps and serves people with disabilities and people who are subjected to ableist views and behaviors daily. The idea of the lived experience is something that we talk about here. We were talking about that a little bit more in the last couple of episodes. Is there a little bit of arrogance almost with the idea, “If I talk to and do enough research, I can understand what someone’s lived experience is of being disabled?”

It may not even be based on arrogance. It’s based on a need to understand the unfamiliar. We’re curious human beings. As social creatures, we’re curious. We want to know, “What is that like? That device looks interesting. Is it as hard to propel as it looks? Can it be exhilarating? What’s it like to experience these different forms of low vision? Can I vicariously experience that by blindfolding myself?”

You’ve probably heard of a lot of these simulation exercises, which, unfortunately, are still quite prevalent because they’re engaging and interactive. Yet when you evaluate them, they have some unintended consequences that may lead to the arrogance you’re describing. People do say afterward, “I get it, now that I’ve had the opportunity to roll around in a wheelchair for a day and I don’t usually use this piece of equipment.” That is especially when it’s framed as, “This is what the disability experience is like for wheelchair users. This is what it’s like to be deaf.”

Put some headphones and ear-canceling devices on your ears. People walk away and think, “I get it. That is scary and creepy. I don’t like it.” In a sense, it makes salient perhaps what people are trying to avoid, to begin with, which is this notion, “This could happen to me. I’m simulating what it might be like for someone else.”

Instead of cultivating empathy for their welfare and their needs and recognizing that perhaps the vast majority of issues and concerns that disabled people confront are environmentally produced, related to inaccessible buildings and policies that fail to hire people or require them to get divorced so that they can keep their Medicaid, what people see is the person. They assume that surely, it’s your body, brain or whatever you think is going on that is sustaining your pain or impairment. That is problematic.

We’ve done our best to contribute to that literature. I did a study called Crip for a Day: The Unintended Consequences of Simulating Disability. I share that with organizations and in particular, with higher ed groups that still want to use simulations to train their future medical students. I was at a place where it was for psychiatric students that are going to deal with folks with mental health conditions. They are still doing simulations for auditory hallucinations that people can supposedly get this experience with the goal of better understanding or maybe being more empathetic toward patients.

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Crip for a Day: The Unintended Negative Consequences of Disability Simulations

It does instill a sense of fear and a sense of becoming more vulnerable to oneself. When you ask people after they simulate any number of impairments, whether sensory, physical or psychiatric, people are less likely to want to work toward accessing solutions. That was surprising to us. If we’re trying to improve attitudes, bring people closer together and turn people into allies for the disability community, this is not the way to go.

That’s interesting that they almost become more aversive too.

They’re more avoidant and negative.

It almost backfires in some way.

It’s complicated. Sometimes, these simulations, depending on how they’re framed, can help architects figure out, “Where should we put the mirror in the ladies’ room? Should it be tilted so that short people can see themselves? Where’s the sink relative to the door?” Yet they’re not saying, “This is what physical disability is like for wheelchair users.” They’re saying, “This is what it’s like to use this piece of equipment.”

My daughter let her friends use her wheelchair in the context of rolling down a hill. They had a positive experience but it was under the framing of, “This is what it’s like to play wheelchair basketball or use this piece of equipment.” There are programs still that are trying to help people going into physical therapy and occupational therapy learn how to feed other folks who may need assistance with feeding.

I know of an organization that has their volunteers or their future occupational therapists receiving food via a spoon to see what that pacing is like. No one is saying, “This is what it’s like to experience a disability of this nature.” They’re framing it in a more complex way. I do think people have been calling for the desistance of these disability simulations for some time.

There are lots of different alternatives, like communicating with people who have these experiences. It could be going around with them on a given day and seeing the kinds of treatment that they receive, whether it’s infantilizing folks by talking to them in baby talk or communicating with a partner because one assumes that the person with a disability is not cogent enough to communicate with. You begin to get a better sense of what life might be like without having to appropriate someone’s identity.

HPP 308 | Ableism
When you ask people after they simulate any number of impairments, whether sensory, physical or psychiatric, people are less likely to want to work toward access solutions.


This is a big topic. It’s becoming more of a topic in the world of chronic pain research. We love to measure things in the chronic pain space. We measure psychometrics and physical impairments. I do not believe that we put enough emphasis on qualitative research that gives you more rich data about what someone’s lived experience is. The more prominent journalists don’t publish mixed methods or qualitative research where the voice, opinion and perspective of the person with a disability or the person with chronic pain informs us, the practitioners and the researchers, about what their lived experience is like.

That’s especially true in medical journals. That was one of our goals in writing this book. I had several students with disabilities who contributed. I want to mention that each chapter is full of interviews, short quotes and anecdotes from people within these experiences because this is what it’s about. It’s highlighting what people go through and how we can then map that experience onto what the science says. The social science and disability studies are doing a better job of capturing some of those narrative accounts but I hear what you’re saying. Medical journals are still catching up.

Social science and disability studies are doing a better job at capturing some of the narrative accounts of disability. But medical journals are still catching up. Click To Tweet

I want to bring some of the more positive and interesting aspects of this to light. In social media, I follow some of the disability justice movement handles. For example, there’s a pretty big handle on LGBT disability. They are people who identify as queer but also have a disability. Also, people of color who identify as people of color have a disability. It’s interesting to see how social media has given them a bigger voice and how they’re using that creatively to do things, like lobby congress, change bills or raise awareness in their workplace or the educational system. Do you have some examples of what you’ve seen happen in some of those spaces?

We have lists of hashtags that include things like #SpooniesUnite. I’m making that one up but there are lots of them that illustrate in poignant color or full terms how people with chronic health conditions and disabilities have coped and what works. There are spaces where people can see folks out in the community doing things like getting married, being partners, being professionals and having other parents.

We don’t often think of people with disabilities as parents or spaces for people with disabilities who are parents. This intersectionality piece is so important because one of my pet peeves has always been that when you see a group of people advocating for the civil rights or access of queer sexual minority groups, they often don’t include those with disabilities.

We’re seeing some change happen. Thanks to a lot of the work of the disability justice movement, which is all about going beyond rights and thinking about immigrants, people of color and people from all of these various statuses that as a block could wield some power in terms of what you’re suggesting, like legislative change.

In particular, it is for this interpersonal piece too where you can share through social media these various communities that can give you insights that weren’t available a few short years ago when people were perhaps newly disabled, newly dealing with some environmental sensitivity or whatever it might be and thought they were the only ones.

If there’s any area of research that I find most provocative and important, it is the predictive power of claiming an identity around your disability status. It seems ironic because it’s stigmatizing for many. They don’t request accommodations or out themselves, especially when newly disabled. Once you realize what can be gained by the community, not only can physical pain be mitigated but also opportunities to connect and get references in professional development.

We could find places online where people can have social gatherings virtually that celebrate people like Judy Heumann who passed away, the mother of the disability rights movement. We would have disability studies or dances through our organization, Society for Disability Studies. It’s not quite the same as meeting in person, which we all did more of before the pandemic.

I’m happy to send you some of the lists of hashtags that we’ve collected. At the end of each chapter of this book, Ableism, we also include what you do about it. You’ve read about contagion and fear. How can we bring awareness or help people who want to do better, be informed and be an ally? We give them ways of connecting through organizations, hashtags and other groups.

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Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice by Michelle R. Nario-Redmond

Please share those with us. I’ll use them because I’m active. Everyone can find me on Instagram. I’m most active there. I use those hashtags there for various things. Those hashtags, when you go in and look at them or when you take your book, map it to those hashtags and start to look at the posts that people are posting, they’re not saying, “I’m impaired. I need help with my impairment.” They’re saying, “I want to be a member of the community. I want community involvement.”

What I take home from it is that people want better healthcare that’s affordable and things like that but they’re having a conversation that’s above it. For some people, the disability is never going to go away. They’re saying, “My disability is not going to go away. This is who I am. This is how I identify. I can still be part of the community and the conversation. I can still be productive in some way, whatever that way may be, as a member of society.” It’s a different conversation.

Some people do focus on the more creative. The disability arts and culture community comes together and generates alternative ways of dancing and being in the world and celebrates the beauty associated with aesthetics. They’re like, “Here are our historical matriarchs or patriarchs.” They call them Crip Ancestors. There is a place in these communities for people that it’s not so much that they need medical advice or advice about ameliorating their particular impairments. It’s also what you have found useful in employment settings in terms of when to disclose, request more flexible schedules or even give oneself a break. What does self-care look like when you think you’re the only person?

Corporations are increasingly, especially those with budgets to address diversity, equity, access and inclusion, thinking about ways to draw from their employee base to inform one another about disability culture and films that might be useful to discuss over lunch or how they’re not alone in maybe needing more time. It might be another format for responding in a meeting of a bunch of people when you need more time to process information or you would rather send your comment through a chat box or something.

Frankly, the pandemic and the use of Zoom have helped with some of that “normalizing.” There are many ways to get information auditorially, kinesthetically and visually. There are many ways of responding and participating. We are trying very much to incorporate some of those ways in the classroom because we’re seeing that participation post-pandemic amongst students that have been isolated in their homes or who are dealing with lung COVID, which many describe as the next big disabling event.

Thirty percent of people I read somewhere may end up with lung COVID and may need to work part-time, escape the workforce altogether or do more volunteer-related contributions because they can’t compete at that traditional level. The more we know that there are other ways of contributing, which many disabled people have been touting for years, the better we will normalize these alternative formats and how to ask for them to the extent that maybe not just disabled people will qualify.

In the past, you’ve had to have a diagnosis and documentation to qualify for certain accommodations at work or in school but there are other ways of thinking about inclusivity including universally-designed approaches that recognize human variation is much broader than we originally considered. Maybe to retain students in higher education or my employment setting, we need to expand upon the ways in which we allow people to express and voice their concerns.

HPP 308 | Ableism
There are other ways of thinking about inclusivity including universally-designed approaches that recognize human variation is much broader than we originally considered.


Those with insider knowledge of what it’s like to live with chronic pain or any number of disabling conditions can inform one another in powerful ways. I don’t know about you but in the past, when students with disabilities would request accommodations in elementary school, it was almost like they didn’t want the parents talking to one another. They didn’t want everyone else to know, “This is what my kid gets.”

I don’t know if it was the sense that they thought it was going to be more costly to provision access but this is the power to be able to know that it’s possible to request captioning, which is more universally available, a note taker, a book on tape through Bookshare, which is free for those with disabilities or a schedule that allows one who can’t predict when the pain is coming or the headache or the migraine. How do you negotiate that with an employer when you can’t say, “At 5:00 PM, I’m going to need to take some time off?”

You have something in place that lets people know, “This has worked for people like me. I’ve communicated with others in my community. Here’s how I’d like to set up a schedule that when I’m at home and I can create these reports or contribute to meetings that are on the West Coast at a different time zone, this is going to increase our efficiency as an organization.” People can get that from the community.

It’s been great speaking with you about Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice. I want to make sure we mention again your book. Everyone can find it online at You can go online and find it on any online book retailer such as Amazon and all the others that are out there. Michelle, how can people learn more about you and stay abreast of the work that you’re leading?

The website has my contact information but I’ll also share with you the email. When you work at a university, it’s nice because you can access all of the cool articles, whether folks are interested in the Crip for a Day: The Unintended Consequences of Simulating Disability article. We have one related to hostile and benevolent forms of ableism. We have a work on people with disabilities and chronic health conditions with increasing rates of depression and anxiety during COVID that is published. I’m happy to share that with people if they email me. I’ll be sure that you have access to my email address too.

I want to thank Michelle again for talking to us about ableism. Make sure to share this episode with your friends and family on social media. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s where I play the most. Please do share this with those interested in disability justice topics on any of the social media handles where you’re working. I’ll see you soon. Take care.


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About Michelle Nario-Redmond

HPP 308 | AbleismMichelle Nario-Redmond is a Professor of Psychology and Biomedical Humanities specializing in stereotyping, prejudice, and disability studies. As a Ford Fellow, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a Ph.D. in social psychology. Her research focuses on group identification, wellness, political advocacy, and social change. In 2019, she published: Ableism: The Causes and Consequences of Disability Prejudice for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and is the 2021 recipient of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. She is passionate reducing disparities in health, increasing access and universally-designed solutions for organizations.



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Effective Date: May, 2018

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The following Privacy Policy governs the online information collection practices of Joe Tatta, LLC d/b/a and ( collectively the “Sites”). Specifically, it outlines the types of information that we gather about you while you are using theSites, and the ways in which we use this information. This Privacy Policy, including our children’s privacy statement, does not apply to any information you may provide to us or that we may collect offline and/or through other means (for example, at a live event, via telephone, or through the mail).

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