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Disability Services

TED Talks that can change the way you think about disability.

The talks listed below represent a range of experiences, disabilities, messages and styles.  These talks are only a small sample of what is available.  Listening to the experiences of the experts, people who live with disabilities, is time well spent.  Enjoy!

My 12 Pair of Legs by Aimee Mullins (9:58)

“… from an identity standpoint, what does it mean to have a disability? I mean, people -- Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do. Nobody calls her disabled.”  Aimee Mullins

Embrace the shake by Phil Hansen (10:01)

“Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and, collectively, transform our world.”  Phil Hansen

Depression, the secret we share by Andrew Solomon (29:21)

"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work....  I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I'd have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross." Andrew Solomon

My stroke of insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (18:19)

Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one.  This is the most viewed TED talk on disability-for good reason.


The world needs all kinds of minds by Temple Grandin (19:40)

"Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley." Temple Grandin

A tale of mental illness -- from the inside by Elyn Saks (14:52)

"As a young woman, I was in a psychiatric hospital on three different occasions for lengthy periods. My doctors diagnosed me with chronic schizophrenia..., I was expected to live in a board and care, and work at menial jobs. ... Instead, I'm a chaired Professor of Law, Psychology and Psychiatry at the USC Gould School of Law, I have many close friends and I have a beloved husband, Will..."  Elyn Saks

The cheap all-terrain wheelchair by Amos Winter (11:11)

"There's 40 million people who need a wheelchair but don't have one, and the majority of these people live in rural areas, where the only connections to community, to employment, to education, are by traveling long distances on rough terrain often under their own power. And the devices usually available to these people are not made for that context, break down quickly, and are hard to repair." Amos WInter

Looking past limits Caroline Casey (15:30)

"...every single one of us -- woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever -- everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible. We all have to be included. And stop with the labels, the limiting. Losing of labels, because we are not jam jars. We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people." Caroline Casey

How technology allowed me to read by Ron McCallum (15:44)

"There are 37 million totally blind people on our planet, but those of us who've shared in the technological changes mainly come from North America, Europe, Japan and other developed parts of the world. Computers have changed the lives of us all in this room and around the world, but I think they've changed the lives of we blind people more than any other group." Rob McCallum

Deaf in the Military by Cadet Keith Nolan (18:41)

Keith Nolan doesn't believe his deafness should be a barrier to serving his country — and is making the case for increasing the role of citizens with disabilities in the military. 

I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much by Stella Young (9:16) 

"I am not here to inspire you. I am here to tell you that we have been lied to about disability. Yeah, we've been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing, capital B, capital T. It's a bad thing, and to live with a disability makes you exceptional. It's not a bad thing, and it doesn't make you exceptional." Stella Young

I got 99 problems... palsy is just one by Maysoon Zayid (14:13)

"If there was an Oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal. I'm Palestinian, Muslim, I'm female, I'm disabled, and I live in New Jersey." Maysoon Zayid


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