UK Disability History Month

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Celebrate the 12th UK Disability History Month

Disability, Health and Wellbeing

16th November – 16th December 2022


Across all three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, data published in Updated estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths by disability status in May 2022 showed that there was an elevated risk of death for disabled people that was significantly higher than for non-disabled people. The statistician’s comment on the analysis of mortality data suggests that ‘it is down to a range of disadvantages experienced by disabled people’. 

These disadvantages are also evident in the latest UK disability statistics: Prevalence and life experiences (July 2022) which show a range of inequalities between disabled and non-disabled people in terms of education, employment, housing, well-being and experiences of crime.

It is with these statistics in mind that UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) organisers seek to raise awareness of the history of attitudes towards disabled people that have lead to these inequalities in life experience.

As far back as Aristotle, there was the belief that some people are incapable of successful practical reasoning and therefore are ‘marked out for subjection’ and in relation to disabled people, this thinking persisted until the advent of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 which required member states to ‘promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity’.  In the UK, the protections required by the Convention have been enshrined in legislation through the Equalities Act 2010.

Understanding the history of society’s attitudes to disability enables us to recognise how the medical model of disability causes us to locate the issue within the individual and leads to the marginalisation that causes inequalities.    If we are to address inequalities, it is imperative that we look to the social model of understanding disability where we are encouraged to see disability as being created by the barriers in society.  Typically, these barriers will be unaccommodating environments, negative attitudes to disability and organisational structures which exclude the individual.

UK Disability History Month will begin on Wednesday 16th November 2022.  If you are interested in promoting awareness of the issues in your setting, please contact to access resources to support you to promote the themes and/or register your interest for the online launch event on 17th November 2022.


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Lee Boyce 

Principal Adviser for Education and Inclusion 

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