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Kids’ Resources on Disability Awareness and Acceptance

Kids’ Resources on Disability Awareness and Acceptance

Published: Jul. 12, 2022Updated: Jan. 17, 2024

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Looking for resources to explore with your kid and spark a discussion about disability acceptance and advocacy? Our research team, and Undivided parent Michelle M. and other parents in our community, have gathered some great resources to help our kiddos along their self-empowerment journeys. Be sure to also check out part I of this series, which provides books, TED Talks, and online resources for adults. And check out the children’s version of Judy’s book, Being Heumann, which was released in February 2021!

(Consider purchasing books from these booksellers if you’d like to support businesses owned by people with disabilities!)


Books About Disability Advocacy

Helping our children understand that they are not alone and connecting them with a community of people like them can lead to self-empowerment, advocacy, activism, and pride. In our Live Chat, disability activist Judy Heumann emphasized just how important this connection and empowerment is. We can start by introducing our kids to celebrities and historical figures who share their disability: read and watch videos about them and discuss what made or makes them successful. We can look for disability support programs such as youth leadership groups, clubs, adaptive sports programs, or other students who can act as guides. We can actively involve our children in decisions: kids with disabilities need choice and autonomy in their daily lives, and learning to assert themselves in a variety of settings — from the local park to IEP meetings — can promote a strong sense of advocacy.

  • Rolling Warrior by Judy Heumann

    This is "the incredible, sometimes awkward, true story of a rebel girl on wheels who helped spark a revolution" — the teen/young reader edition of her memoir, Being Heumann.

  • Fighting for Yes! by Maryann Cocca-Leffler & Vivien Mildenberger, with an afterword by Judy Heumann.

    This picture book for kids is a biography celebrating the life and work of Judy Heumann, highlighting one of her landmark achievements, the 504 Sit-in in 1977.

  • Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor

    This beautiful picture book for kids by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is about helping children embrace and be proud of their uniqueness. The book features characters with a variety of disabilities. Ages 4–8

  • Coaster by Dr. Paula Kluth

    Written by an expert on disability and inclusion, this is the story of an animal shelter dog who uses a wheelchair. People are impressed by the cool tricks he can do with his wheels, but he is never adopted. One day, a child arrives who adopts him not for his ability to do tricks but for who he is. This book is a great discussion starter about disability and the idea that accolades mean nothing without acceptance. You can also watch a video of Paula reading her book, which won a Parent’s Choice Award. Ages 3–8

  • The Little Book of Little Activists by Penguin Young Readers

    This collection of inspirational quotes and photographs teaches kids the power of advocacy and their First Amendment rights. Topics including diversity, equality, and feminism are discussed in a manner appropriate for children. Ages 5–9

  • If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi by Barbara Esham

    Part of a series of books called Everyday Geniuses that discusses issues of disabilities in terms of strengths and weaknesses that a child can understand, this particular book addresses dyslexia and helps kids feel good about their differences. Other books in the series address ADHD, multiple intelligences, dysgraphia, and other learning differences. Ages 4–8

Check out our recommendation for Parent Resources on Disability Awareness and Acceptance.

Other resources for book recommendations

Children's TV Show Characters with Disabilities

Representation is so important. While it’s estimated that 27% of adults live with a disability, people with disabilities make up only 3.1% of broadcast scripted primetime television characters. Clearly, we have a long way to go. In the meantime, here are some videos and television shows for kids that are broadening perspectives and opening doors for new dialogue.

  • Sesame Street, PBS/HBO

    Elmo’s friend Julia has autism and is an important new addition to the show. Julia helps kids understand that verbal communication can be challenging for kids with autism, and that everyone communicates differently. The show has also highlighted stimming and how to respect the boundaries of someone who prefers minimal physical touch. Ages 3+

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, Netflix

    This classic animated show has just been released on Netflix and is making a strong cultural resurgence. One of its main characters, Toph, is a 13-year-old girl who is blind. She is considered one of the most powerful characters in the series. Ages 8+

  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, PBS

    One of Daniel Tiger’s newest friends is Chrissie, who uses crutches and braces to help her walk. Chrissie learns how to overcome her shyness to make new friends, appreciating their similarities and differences. Ages 3+

  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Netflix

    The character of Entrapta was confirmed by the show’s creator to have autism and is written and drawn by an artist on the spectrum. Ages 8+

  • Loop, Disney+

    Pixar’s award-winning short, "Loop," explores the inner world of Renee, a non-speaking teenage girl with autism (voiced by a young woman with autism). It looks at how we communicate and connect through sensory perception. It confronts everything from ableism to the need for human connection.

TED Talks for Kids




Books About Disability Advocacy

Other resources for book recommendations

Children's TV Show Characters with Disabilities

TED Talks for Kids

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