Being Realistic isn't Realistic: Collected Essays on Disability, Identity, Inclusion and Innovation

In this engaging, humorous and provocative collection of essays, Emma Van der Klift and Norman Kunc gently prod us to rethink many taken for granted and unquestioned assumptions about the nature of disability.

They begin with a challenge and an assertion; people have the right to be disabled and should be under no obligation to minimize or hide their disabilities. Disability, they contend, is not a tragic medical condition, but is an inherent part of the diversity of the human condition – an identity to be embraced with pride.

They go on to explore the sometimes overlooked complexities of inclusion – both at school and in the community. In one essay, they ask us to rethink the relationship between ability and opportunity and challenge the presumption that people need to acquire abilities before they are afforded the opportunity to participate in regular schools and the broader community. In another, they ask us to consider how we might ensure that friendship between non-disabled and disabled people doesn't become contaminated by benevolence, underestimation and paternalism.

Throughout this book, they playfully draw unexpected connections between disability, innovation and a number of seemingly unrelated topics - like belly dance, chess and magic.

View the Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter





  • Van der Klift & Kunc: Ability & Opportunity In The Rearview Mirror (2017)

  • Kunc: The Need To Belong: Rediscovering Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs (1992

  • Kunc: Integration: Being Realistic Isn't Realistic (1984)

    Updated versions of these articles are included in our book,
    Being Realistic isn't Realistic  





  • Kunc & Van der Klift: In Spite Of My Disability (1995)

  • Van der Klift: "We Don’t Know What We’re Handing You

    Updated versions of these articles are included in our book,
    Being Realistic isn't Realistic