In a world where to be able-bodied is to be accepted as a member of the social majority, positive disability representation can be hard to come by. Often used in the context of humour, pity, innocence or inspiration, disability becomes a repetitive stereotype as the media miss opportunities for inclusion and normalisation.
Since its conception in early 2005, YouTube has been pushing the limits of conventional media and handing the proverbial microphone to grassroots creators around the globe. What was once a humble sharing platform for home videos and movie trailers has now given way to a world-stage for passionate people to document their experience of life.
YouTube is also a space for activism, education, and social connection. Entire micro-communities can, and often do, blossom in the comments section of a video, and viewers often credit content creators for making them feel less alone in their experiences.
I am an intrepid adventurer who has osteogenesis imperfecta - which means that my bones are brittle and break easily, and often for no clear reason. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disease that affects how my body produces collagen, the protein that helps to strengthen bones. Because of this, I use a wheelchair to help me get around.
Stories and books are a vital part of childhood development and learning. Reading can help children of all abilities to learn about feelings, communication, and the world in which they live. The characters of a favourite book can often feel like old friends you have known for a lifetime, especially if you can relate to their situation or experiences.
Books are beloved for their near magical ability to entrance readers and draw us into their vivid worlds. They are an exhilarating method of escapism, causing us to think, feel, and love alongside our favorite characters. Readers often discover stories and characters who resonate with their own lives and are able to draw strength and courage from their plights.