Attitudes Are the Real Disability

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"Attitudes are the real disability” is a quote attributed to disability rights activist Henry Holden. The phrase addresses the social definition of disability: in short, that attitudes about disability and the structures in place created from negative/deficit based perceptions of disability is what creates disability, instead of physical or cognitive differences. Prejudices and implicit biases that abled people may hold can shape legislation and living conditions of disabled people. While progress has been made due to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, there are still barriers to equity and autonomy for people living with disabilities.


Albrecht, G. L. (2006). Attitudes. In Encyclopedia of Disability (Vol. 5, pp. 138-140). SAGE Publications, Inc.,

Smithsonian. (n.d.). button, Attitudes Are The Real Disability. National Museum of American History.…

Catalog ID CA0913