20-Question Quiz to Determine Your Disability Literacy


With October officially recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month in the U.S., we thought it would be fun to give folks a chance to rate their own awareness. Jot down your answers and then proceed to the next page to total your score. And no need to ask for accommodations for extra time because you can take as long you need and as many times as you want!

Part I: Feelings

  1. Which of the following do you find most inspiring?

a) a boy with learning disabilities scoring a touchdown in football, after two rival teams decide together they will allow this to happen

b) a woman rising from her wheelchair to take a few steps across a stage

c) learning that over 100 people with disabilities occupied a government building to demand their civil rights and ultimately got what they wanted

d) none of the above

  1. When I hear someone being corrected for not using person-first language (i.e., "a person with autism," "a person with a mobility impairment," "a person who is blind," I:first person language cartoon. A person asks

a) nod in agreement, knowing that person-first language is a sign that somebody gets it about disability

b) blush for the person being reprimanded, wonder how many other ways I'm blowing it, then resolve that it's better to keep quiet rather than try, only to get it wrong

c) think, "wow, this is complicated! I wonder if in a future world when disability is less stigmatized, we'll have come up with better terms?"

d) it's important to minimize the disability because it's nothing to be proud of

  1. When I see a story about a service animal in the media, I:

a) put it on Facebook and forward it unread to people I know who might be having a bad dayA cluster of four service dogs sit in front of an empty wheelchair.

b) read to determine if there's something in the story that I don't expect, then add my own comments

c) wonder how blind people clean up their dog's poop

d) dream of turning it into a script for tv

  1. I believe the recipient of the compliment, "I never think of you as disabled," should be:

a) flattered

b) grateful

c)  curious what such a statement reveals about how the flatterer does think about disability

d)  sharing the compliment with the media

  1. I believe finding a cure for disability is:

a) a sign of just how far science and medicine have come

b) a worthy use of resources, even though the goal seems hard to reach

c) an impossible pursuit because it assumes that everyone agrees on what it means to cure a disability

d) right around the corner

Part II: History and Culture

  1. When I read that there's a campaign to put Helen Keller on a U.S. bill, I think:

a) Teacher would be happy but Helen might be turning in her grave Helen Keller's face imposed over a $20 bill

b) at last, a feel-good no-brainer for Congress!

c) it would be cool to have such an inspiring blind/deaf woman on American money!

d) who was Helen Keller again?

  1. When I learned that disabled people protested against telethons, I thought:

a) why were they so ungrateful toward those only trying to help?

b) good for them - everyone should have joined in or at least have been more aware of how demeaning this was for people with disabilities!

c) why are disabled people always so angry?

d) all of the above

  1. I believe the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was mostly:

a) the result of disabled people's grassroots activism and careful coalition buildingUniversal signs for access, wheelchair rider, interpreting, cc, and others

b) a politically-correct government trying to do the right thing

c) a boon for greedy, unscrupulous lawyers

d) none of the above

  1. Watching the Academy Awards, I think:

a) why do so many nondisabled actors get Oscars for playing disabled people while there are still hardly any disabled actors featured in mainstream movies?

b) it's great that Hollywood finally gets it about disability by including disabled characters more often

c) I completely understand why the Oscar ceremony attendees in 1996 gave Christopher Reeve a long, standing ovation in this clip?

d) none of the above

Part III: Bodies and Minds

  1. By engaging in simulation exercises such as being led around blind-folded or traveling in a wheelchair for an hour I would:

a) learn about having a disability first-hand, thereby expanding my sense of compassion and empathy for those less fortunate than me

b) be secretly grateful that I don't have a disability

c) gloss over bigger problems that disabled people face such as prejudice, limited resources, and Kafkaesque bureaucracies

d) be fully prepared to face disability if something terrible happened to me

  1. When I meet someone I don't know in a wheelchair, I:

a) try to break the ice by casually asking what happened

b) talk to whoever is standing near them so as not to make them uncomfortable by looking down or staring at their wheelchair

c) try to find somewhere to sit nearby so we can chat

d) pat their head and ask if they'll take me for a ride

  1. When I'm conversing with a Deaf person through an interpreter, I:

a) look at the interpreter because it's rude to ignore someone who is talking to me

b) look at the Deaf person while the interpreter is talking

c) share that I still remember how to sign "I love you!" from elementary school

d) all of the above

  1. When I think of mental disabilities such as being bipolar or depressed, I:

a) realize it's important, but since I don't know anyone personally, it's an abstract problem that I only know about from tragedies on the news

b) hope they put in more rigorous background checks to make sure none of these people carry guns

c) wish our society was more open about these issues and dedicated more time, more resources, more frank conversations to them

d) none of the above

  1. Most blind people:

a) live in total darkness, having been born that way

b) are complicated just like everybody else.

c) have been completely shut out from mainstream technology

d) are great masseurs because of their heightened sense of touch

15.  Autistic people:

a) contribute to human neurodiversity, an emerging concept that requires more nuanced public conversations.

b) are primarily white men and boys who display an interest in mathematics, computers, and science.

c) are the victims of a rogue vaccine

d) realistically should live in institutions

  1. Invisible disabilities are:

a) not real disabilities because they don't provoke the same overt prejudice as visible ones

b) define a segment of people with disabilities that need to be more fully integrated into disability communities

c) a phase that most people eventually pass through and go on to lead healthy, productive lives

d) invented by fakers who can afford to pay for a disability diagnosis to get extra time on exams in college classes

Part IV: Misconceptions

  1. The best advice for learning about living with a particular disability can be found:

a) on websites that come up at the top of search results when typing in the name of the condition

b) through self-advocacy groups and organizations run by people who have lived with the disability

c) from a medical doctor

d) Wikipedia

  1. Which is more likely to accompany disability?

a) poverty

b) an unemployment rate more than double that of nondisabled people

c) low expectations

d) all of the above

  1. The best non-disabled ally for disability rights, is someone who:

a) quickly sizes up situations to anticipate what the disabled might need without having to ask any questions

b) knows they must talk loudly and slowly to be understood

c) reflects on the privileges they hold while joining in the struggle, all while taking the lead from people with disabilities.

d) dives in and feels good - there's so much work to be done that the desperate disability rights movement will welcome them and the important strengths they bring

  1. Each year when I learn about Disability Awareness Days/Weeks/Months I think:

a) I wish they had better food at the events

b) they tell me all I need to know about people with disabilities

c) great start, but what about the rest of the year?

d) an online training course with the chance of winning a free tablet computer would probably be just as effective

You did it! Now click here for the answers so you can find out how you did...