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States are encouraged to have an external and internal focus on disability awareness, including disability etiquette. In developing awareness around disabilities, the focus should be cross-disability and include both visible and nonobvious disabilities. State outreach and education related to disability should take a two-pronged approach—public awareness and professional development. The two strategies to consider below cover both of these areas.

A States are encouraged to have an external and internal focus on disability awareness.

Disability can be confusing, especially for people who don’t have a personal connection to it. Disability inclusion efforts might include etiquette training that teaches how to respectfully interact with individuals with disabilities or awareness initiatives communicating that disability is a natural and normal part of the human experience that in no way diminishes a person’s right

EXAMPLES IN ACTION A number of states, including Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota and Wyoming, have enacted legislation to change statutory language related to outdated or insensitive terminology referring to people with disabilities. Some states, including Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi and Texas, have enacted legislation outlining a legislative intent for terminology use in bill language, with the legislation sometimes authorizing a state authority to update and conform existing statutes and regulations to the terminology guidance found in the bill.

to fully participate in all aspects of society. States can lead the way in promoting disability awareness both within their own state agencies as well as to the wider public. States should have an internal focus on disability awareness of all types of disabilities, including visible and non-obvious disabilities.

Suggested Strategies i State agencies should develop a disability awareness, etiquette and inclusion training and require all state employees to complete the training. ii Disability awareness should be embedded in all HR training and policy development efforts from the earliest design phases. iii States should leverage existing resources and networks to develop disability awareness, including working with their larger disability organizations on external communication and public awareness. iv States should require future legislation language to conform to terminology used in the ADA and subsequent federal policies.

Indiana Hosts Disability Awareness Month Every March since 1989, the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities has hosted a statewide disability awareness month. Each year’s theme is unique, the latest one being “Inclusion is within Everybody’s Ability.” The 2016 calendar of activities included choir concerts, school fundraisers and awareness programs, library events, supportive service events and more.

National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities

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Profile for The Council of State Governments

SEED Report  

As states strive to promote workforce inclusion, people with disabilities—including veterans with service connected disabilities—are a key p...

SEED Report  

As states strive to promote workforce inclusion, people with disabilities—including veterans with service connected disabilities—are a key p...