Ableism 101



Empowering People for Inclusive Communities (EPIC) prepares young people with disabilities to be actively engaged community leaders through education, leadership development, and community service.

EPIC’s unique trainings provide individuals with and without disabilities the opportunity to explore topics such as disabilities, ableism, and inclusion. Their inclusive team of trainers is composed of youth and adults who offer training to schools, nonprofits, youth groups, and community programs throughout New England and beyond.

This workshop invites BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth and young adults to learn the foundations of disability justice, and guides participants through topics of ableism, building more inclusive programs and communities, and teaching self-advocacy.

To learn more about EPIC:

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a greater understanding of ableism
  • Learn how to address institutional ableism and build inclusion within youth-serving organizations and communities at large

Ableism 101

Questions for Reflection

  • What is ableism? What is ableist language?
  • How often do you unintentionally use ableist language?
  • In what ways can we benefit from combating ableism and celebrating the diversity of ability in our work and in our lives?
  • What can we do to make our services and service environments more accessible for and inclusive of youth with disabilities?
  • Have you ever witnessed or experienced ableism in your life or work?
  • How do you believe the pandemic has shifted understanding of accessibility and alternative methods of engagement in this work? (think remote support, technology, etc.)
  • How do racism, classism, gender-based and other forms of oppression influence ableism?


Universal design is the process of creating products that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics.

To learn more:

Congratulations! You have received funding and space for your own Youth Peer Support drop-in center! In addition to many intersectional identities and experiences represented in the community you will serve, youth and young adults with disabilities are likely to seek out the support you offer.

While you’re in the process of designing your space and programming, it is important to reflect on how you can ensure to make your efforts as accessible and inclusive as you can to ALL youth you aim to serve.

Reflect on the following questions as you envision your YPS program*:

  • What are some physical elements you can build into/outside of your space to ensure accessibility for youth with disabilities?
  • What are some accessibility aids that you can implement to make your marketing materials more welcoming for youth with disabilities?
  • In what other ways can you enhance accessibility to your space and services? (Think hiring, language, culture, policy, etc.)

*For ideas and inspiration:

Additional Resources






Keep the discussion going on the Youth MOVE forums! You can share your thoughts about this topic or others below. Share your voice!