By Mary Bennett

Disability Pride Month takes place each July to recognize the lived experiences of people with disabilities and provide greater insight into the importance of disability inclusion. People with disabilities represent a wide range of generations, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds who all deserve to participate equally in society.

The Summit Center is celebrating Disability Pride Month by emphasizing that, as allies, we can have a profound impact on inclusion and visibility. Here are a few ways you can show your support.

Have conversations about disability. Talk openly about disability, without being fearful of appearing insensitive. Open discussion helps dispel misconceptions and normalize differences.

Realize people with disabilities are not homogenous. All individuals, regardless of ability, have unique life goals and dreams and varied support needs. Let go of pre-conceived notions about an individual’s capabilities or experiences.

Avoid uninvited medical advice. Unsolicited recommendations on the latest medical treatments or remedies are generally unwanted and emotionally draining. Trust that someone is educated on their condition and knows what’s most effective for their personal situation.

Recognize ableism. Disabled people face significant obstacles in dealing with accessibility, ignorance, and a complex health care system. People with invisible disabilities, like autism and depression, often have the additional challenge of proving or defending their condition. Learn about the pervasiveness of ableism (social prejudice against people with physical or mental disabilities).

The Summit Center supports children and adults with developmental disabilities through education, community integration, and behavioral health programs. Join us in normalizing disability and honoring individuality. Learn more at or call 716-629-3400.

Mary Bennett, M.S. is the superintendent of Summit Academy, a special education school for students with autism and other developmental disabilities.