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Why This Is Important

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Life Stories

Why This Is Important

There are many different ways to learn about the experiences, challenges and successes of people with disabilities and their families. One of the most powerful of these is through stories. Until recently finding books (especially stories) by or about people with disabilities in a general bookstore was nearly impossible. Today, there are several publishers that include at least some stories in their catalogs and some bookstores have sections where books can be found. Other media such as film and television have also increased their coverage of people with disabilities in recent years.

This department is not intended to catalog textbooks, research articles or other technical reports. Instead it is designed to share the life experiences of people with disabilities. The sharing of stories about what life was like on the inside of institutions such as Christmas in Purgatory were very important in getting the word out about the terrible injustices encountered by people in those places. Later, stories about people who successfully moved from institutions to community settings, such as Living in the Freedom World, were very important in helping individuals with disabilities and their family members to learn about the challenges but also the rewards that came as people moved to places they wanted to live, with people they choose. This department contains resources for anyone interested in the life stories of people with disabilities and their family members.

This department contains many different kinds of work including:

Documentaries such as Christmas in Purgatory
Autobiographies such as Nobody nowhere and A special kind of hero
Biographies such as the Broken Cord and Annie's Coming Out
Compilations of stories such as Remembering the soul of our work.
Fiction such as Skallegrig and Twink
Films such as Flowers for Algernon and Rain Man
Magazines that routinely include stories about people with disabilities such as Exceptional Parent and IMPACT.

This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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