ResilienceCon 2019 Invited Speaker
Disability Identity Development: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, What We Should Explore
Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt
This talk will provide an overview of disability identity development and what this means for scholars, practitioners and community members. In this talk, Dr. Forber-Pratt will highlight what we know about this topic from both research and lived experience, and what we should aspire to learn about disability identity. From a strengths-based perspective, a healthy intact identity is vital not only for one’s physical health, but also for one’s psychological health. In the context of disability, disability identity has the potential to contribute to a stronger sense of self and the ability to face ableism. Some of her qualitative work and subsequent development of a measure of disability identity development will also be presented. In today’s day and age when disability rights are being systematically rolled back, disability identity is also playing a critical role in policy conversations which will also be discussed.
Anjali Forber-Pratt, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human & Organizational Development with a secondary appointment in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She is also a member of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, which is one of the top research centers for disability related work in the country. She is a graduate from the University of Illinois in UrbanaChampaign with a Ph.D. in Human Resource Education. Her research agenda adopts a social-ecological framework and looks at issues surrounding identity, equity and empowerment for individuals who are different in some way, with a large focus on disability. Outside of the academy, Dr. Forber-Pratt was also a member of Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. As a Paralympic medalist in the sport of wheelchair racing, she has dedicated her life to helping others recognize their potential. Globally, she is involved with disability advocacy efforts related to access to employment, education and sport through public speaking and media appearances. She has been actively involved to help create inclusive sport opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Bermuda, India, Zambia and Ghana. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has also recognized her leadership abilities by awarding her the prestigious 2013 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award, given to emerging leaders within the national disability community. Dr. Forber-Pratt has appeared on several television programs and radio shows including: NPR; The Stream; and Sesame Street; and has been quoted in the national print press, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, and Runner’s World. She was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change in 2013 and had an opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with President Obama about disability policy issues.