Disability Heritage Project

KYEA brings disability history, pride, and awareness directly to your school, business, or group!

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*Click above to view our Disability Heritage Project flyers. See note below.


In October 2005, when KYEA opened, it was evident that there was a need for disability history and culture to be taught in school classrooms. The Disability Heritage Project began as a grant from the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK). It is now sustained through other funding sources, as well as a fee that is sometimes charged based on distance of travel. At the most, we do ask for mileage reimbursement. KYEA created these interactive, informative presentations to fill a need based on the following facts:

  • Most youth with disabilities do not have the transfer of disability history, culture, and pride through their family systems. Disability is generally not inherited and most young people with disabilities are the only members of their family with a disability.
  • Youth with disabilities are not frequently taught of the struggle that brought about access to public transportation and the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They oftentimes do not know what it means to have a sense of pride in being part of an accomplished community.
  • Young people with disabilities are not frequently learning about their history in school. The disability rights movement is rarely mentioned in the history books, even though it is an important part of the civil rights movement.

Because of these conclusions, KYEA felt that the Disability Heritage Project was a much needed program that was essential for the development of youth with disabilities. This project has been going strong for the past four years. While our target audience in the beginning was on students with disabilities, we have since discovered that this information needs to shared with ALL people. We now present to groups of all ages, as well as people with AND without disabilities.


What is the Disability Heritage Project?

The Disability Heritage Project brings disability history, pride, and awareness to schools, businesses, and community groups! Leaders in our young adult community present on various topics surrounding disability heritage, culture, awareness, and the struggles and triumphs that mark our history. Audiences learn what leaders, laws, and movements paved the road to the freedom of our future. They also learn about the concept of disability pride. Through these presentations, groups gain a deeper understanding of how awareness can break down barriers in communities across our state.

The Disability Heritage presentations usually last for about an hour and a half. They can be varied according to individual requests from different groups. Each presentation is adapted to the individual audience as our trainers speak to all groups of people (see Audiences below). No matter who the audience is, they are sure to enjoy a full workshop of disability history and awareness coming alive through games, discussion, sharing of basic knowledge, and other types of interactive learning.


A presentation for every audience!

This presentation is interactive, informative, and can benefit ALL people! Each presentation is adjusted to fit the specific audience. Based on the audience, our speakers will cover a combination of disability history and awareness topics. The Disability Heritage Project can be beneficial for people with AND without disabilities. See below for a description of the presentation for each specific audience:

Elementary School

Our elementary presentations focus on a variety of awareness topics, with a bit of history thrown in the mix. We create an open, positive atmosphere where students feel comfortable expressing their curiousity and asking questions. Elementary presentations can last from a half hour to an hour based on teacher preference. At the elementary level, students are more impacted by basic awareness; therefore, we cover the following topics:

  • Interaction with your peers who are different from you
  • Famous people with disabilities
  • Types of disabilities
  • Bad words vs. Good words
  • Perception of what each person has the ability to do
  • Impact of teasing, bullying, etc.
  • Open question time... students can ask us anything!
Middle School / High School

Our middle school and high school presentations cover a combination of disability history and awareness. Students learn about the history of the disability community and then are able to test their knowledge during an interactive game. They then are able to explore their perceptions of people with disabilities, learn about proper terminology, hear about the concept of disability pride, and gain a personal connection with the speakers by hearing their stories. Topics covered during these presentations include:

  • Important leaders in the disability rights movement
  • Treatment of people with disabilities through the years
  • Groups, laws, and milestones that created change
  • Perception of people with disabilities and their abilities
  • Proper terminology
  • Placement of labels and the impact of embracing labels
  • Personal stories from the speakers

Our college presentations focus much on the history of the disability rights movement, as well as some discussion around disability awareness. Students get an in depth look at the history of the disability community and then are able to test their knowledge during an interactive game. They also learn about proper and accepted terminology for today. The students also hear personal stories from our speakers focused on lessons learned from having a disability. A variety of topics are covered, including:

  • Important leaders in the disability rights movement
  • Treatment of people with disabilities through the years
  • Groups, laws, and milestones that created change
  • Proper terminology
  • Discussion on the concept of disability pride and culture 
  • Personal stories from the speakers
Community Groups / Businesses / School Faculty

Disability history and awareness should be learned by all! Because of this, we also bring the Disability Heritage Project to adult groups as well. We speak to community groups, school faculty, businesses, councils, etc. These groups learn about the history of the disability community, as well as how understanding and education learned today can unite our communities for the future. Adult audiences learn about proper terminology and hear personal stories from our speakers. Topics covered include:

  • Important leaders in the disability rights movement
  • Treatment of people with disabilities through the years
  • Groups, laws, and milestones that created change
  • Proper terminology
  • The importance of teaching disability history and awareness to our youth 
  • Personal stories from the speakers

Our Previous Audiences

Kansas Youth Leadership Forum 2010
Manhattan High School
Arrowhead West
Center for Independent Living Southwest Kansas
Quinton Heights Elementary (Topeka)
Avondale East Elementary (Topeka)
Stout Elementary (Topeka)
Kansas Children’s Service League Staff
Wamego Disability Mentoring Day
Thorton Place
Pioneer Homes
East High School (Wichita)
North High School (Wichita)
West High School (Wichita)
Northwest High School (Wichita)
Southeast High School (Wichita)
South High School (Wichita)
Mental Health Consumer/Family/Community Group
YWCA Kid's Quest Summer Camp
Kansas Youth Leadership Forum 2009
Soaring to New Heights Faculty
Sunset Optimist Club
SRS Mental Health Council
RCIL Friends Group
Soaring to Success Curriculum Developers
YWCA School Day Out
Pittsburg Disability Mentoring Day
Garden City Disability Mentoring Day
Dodge City Disability Mentoring Day
KS Youth Leadership Forum 2008
Resource Center for Independent Living staff
Mosaic (Garden City)
Charles O. Stones Intermediate Center (Garden City)
Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center (Garden City)
Kansas School Nurse Conference
KS Youth Leadership Forum 2007
Guidance Center youth group (Leavenworth)
Youth Empowering Themselves (YET) Group
Olathe Schools
Project PRIDE
Lyons Elementary School and Middle School
Chisholm Life Skills Center (Wichita)
Hays High School
Seaman High School (Topeka)
Families Together Siblings Workshop
Salina Central High School
Salina South High School
Colby High School
Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center (Oakley and surrounding areas)
Dodge City High School
Broadmoor Center (Shawnee Mission School District)
Clay Center Middle School
Shawnee Heights High School (Topeka)
Cottonwood Elementary School (Salina)
Allen Elementary School (Wichita)


Praise for the Disability Heritage Project

"Thank you for telling my sociology class about the diability history, the disability movement, and the people who have disabilities. I have learned things about disabilities that I did not know like most of our Presidents had disabilities and a lot of famous people have disabilities."
- Elizabeth, Student in Topeka

"The presentation ran smoothly and we learned a lot. The terminology and history are going to be very useful for the students when encountering a person with a disability. It was also of great interest the legislation and legal challenges that still face people with disabilities. I think bringing that to these kids' attention was also very important. I will absolutely recommend the presentation to others here at SHHS and elsewhere. Thank you so much for coming. The kids really enjoyed it."
- Crystal Walker, High School Sociology teacher in Topeka


Bring the Disability Heritage Project to your school or group today!

Presentations are available for all audiences, during any month of the year, in any city in the state of Kansas. To schedule a presentation for your group, contact Carrie at 866.577.5932 (toll free), 785.215.6655 (local), or carrieg@kyea.org.


NOTE: The DHP flyers are in PDF format. You must have Adobe Acrobat to read PDF files. Download the free version by clicking on the logo below.

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