Beyond Disabilities Week

Leah Serao disability curriculum and resources college awareness


Beyond Disabilities week started as a grass roots effort to start discussion about disabilities on a college campus. At the time, I was a senior who wanted to engage the Gordon community with the topic because of my experience within the education field.


The purpose of “Beyond Disabilities” week was to cultivate an elevated discussion about disabilities, confront preconceptions and negative assumptions, and attempt to make our shared environment more hospitable to individuals with disabilities.


The goal was to transform attitudes through education, interactions, and conversations. With support from the administration, Gordon College  hosted “Beyond Disabilities,” a week for students and interested members of the community to explore the topic of disabilities between February 17–21, 2014.

How it developed:

With the help of other students and professors, Beyond Disabilities week grew from an idea to an actuality. The college hosted close to 20 events that ranged from movie showings, to lectures, to panel discussions, and interviews that engaged the community to think about disabilities from many viewpoints. After a year of planning and meeting with over 100 people, Gordon College was very excited to bring multiple speakers to campus and to host Temple Grandin as the keynote.

Now that the actual week is over, I want to continue the conversation by sharing parts of the week with a wider audience from around the world. This blog (according to Google statistics/clustrmaps) has been read by people in over 161 countries. I hope this week inspires other young people, professors, teachers, and community members to bring this discussion to their own community.

Continue the Conversation:

As mentioned in my opening speech, disabilities is something that affects us all. Whether you are an individual who identifies as having a disability or one who believes their identify is found elsewhere, this week is for you.

This electronic documentation, which I name “The diAbility Experience” (yes–the s is removed on purpose) allows people to follow the discussions that took place in Wenham, Massachusetts. Some portions of the week are not included in this series, but the videos, pictures, and lectures that are listed can be used as a starting ground to further discussion and ideas. If you do use material from this site, I kindly ask that you email me at to allow my team to document the locations discussions are bring held.

Please enjoy and if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments—please feel free to comment or email.

With respect,


**To access events, please click on the “Beyond Disabilities” page found on the top of this site.

One thought on “Beyond Disabilities Week

  1. Hello. I am an 8th grader in California. I am 13 years old and I am legally blind. My eye condition is retinal dystrophy. Thank you for writing this article. As a person with a disability, I found this article very supported. I know that people with disabilities face many challenges but, what has kept me going is my optimism. I beileve that anything in life is possible whether you have a disability or not. I was able to overcome many challenges in my life. Right now, as a blind person I have a 4.0 and am one of the top students in the school. Thank you for this very experational article. If you have any questions please contact me at or
    Thank you.

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