View an interview with Norman Kunc about “The Right to be Disabled” (11:28)

The Right to be Disabled (11:28)
When Norman realized he had "the right to be disabled," his life changed. He recounts why this was a pivotal moment in his life and the unexpected insights that arose out of this new perspective.


A video rendition of Laura Hershey's poem, "You Get Proud by Practicing."

You Get Proud by Practicing - A Poem by Laura Hershey (7:20)
Laura Hershey, a well-known disability rights activist, wrote the poem "You Get Proud by Practicing," which has become a hallmark of the Disability Pride Movement.
Norman Kunc did animated video rendition of Laura's poem.


Music & Spoken Text version

People First version
(Spoken by the members of San Luis Obispo)

A Credo For Support (5:10)
This powerful 5 minute video set to music offers a series of unexpected suggestions for people who care about and support someone with a disability. It prompts viewers to question the common perceptions of disability, professionalism, and support. Designed for use in presentations, in service, staff training, and orientation programs, this video can be a provocative catalyst for a dialogue


View excerpt of this presentation (11:09)

Disability, Normalcy, and the Tyranny of Rehabilitation - Excerpts (11:09)
Norman Kunc contends that rehabilitation and remediation programs often tyrannize people with disabilities by attempting to eradicate their disability.  He suggests that we need to focus on  improving a person's "physical well-being"  rather than trying to "fix the client."


A video that explores the benefits and the common questions about inclusive education. Produced for integration Action for Inclusion in Education and the Community

Inclusive Education: From Political Correctness Towards Social Justice (25:15)
Norman Kunc hosts this compilation of conversations with a number of leading voices in the field of inclusive education. Together they explore the central tenets of inclusive education and respond to the most common objections that are raised against it.


View excerpts from this presentation

Fostering Ability through Opportunity - There is more to life than life-skills (14:52)
Norman Kunc challenges the presumption that people with disabilities need to improve their "ability" in order to have the "opportunity" to go into the community. He maintains that we have "got it backwards." The opportunity to be in the community is the best way to acquire and impove "ability."


View Presentation - (Part 1): 46:43

Presentation: Inclusive Education: Rediscovering Our Right to Belong"  - (Presentation given  at Harvard Graduate School of Education)

In a fast paced and challenging presentation, Norman Kunc maintains that inclusive education is not simply something we "do" to students with disabilities, but involves a school  making an intentional commitment to build and maintain a sense of belonging for all students and adults in the school.  He maintains that our current emphasis on achievement, tracking, and segregation leads most, if not all students to see their membership in school and their "sense of belonging" as something which must be earned. 

View Presentation - (Part 2): 46:27

A central tenet of inclusive education is that belonging is an inherent need of all people and must not be reserved solely for the "best of us."  Learning to value and work with a diversity of people is the first step in building an education system which fosters a sense of belonging among students and staff.  Inclusive education may prove to be a vital catalyst in this process. 




Part 1: 10:06

Part 2: (33:50)

Hell-Bent On Helping : Friendship, Benevolence, and the Politics of Help

Many of us have created friendship circles and buddy systems in an attempt to help students with disabilities feel more included in their neighbourhood schools. In spite of genuine efforts and admirable intent, these supports have often perpetuated traditional attitudes of charity and benevolence.

In this presentation,  Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift examine the issues of friendship, help, respect, and benevolence.  They suggest how teachers can support a student with a disability in their class without turning him/her into the "poster child" of the school. 

Part 3: (23:15)

 In Part 1, Emma talks about how "help" can contaminate relationships.

 In Part 2, Norm talks about "Attacks of Help," as well as the underlying dynamics of help.

 In Part 3, Emma talks about some of the essential components of authentic, respectful relation relationships.




Why Socrates would have been a Great Support Worker (2:51)
The philosopher, Socrates, is usually seen a person who knew a lot.  But Emma Van der Klift points out that it is precisely what Socrates didn't know that would have made him a great support worker.


Asking Powerful Questions (7:14)
Staying Curious is one of the most important aspect of providing respectful support.  Emma uses the metaphor of a russian doll in explaining how thoughtful questions can be a vehicle of liberation.


Three Dangerous Words (7:14)
When individuals act in ways that are defined as "behavior problems," they are often described as being "manipulative", "resistant", or "seeking attention". Emma maintains that these words are usually a description the support staff or teacher's frustration and are unfairly used to locate the problem solely in the person requiring support. 


When The Moon Come Up (6:57)

Norman Kunc was born with cerebral palsy,  Although the doctors recommended that he be institutionalized, Norman's parents ignored their advice and took him home.  Norman has received a Masters of Science in Family Therapy and become a well-known disability rights advocate, yet he has always been haunted by what his life might have been like had his parents followed the doctors' advice.  - In a collage of powerful images set to poignant music, Norman Kunc expresses the terror of almost having been incarcerated for life.

Putting up with The Jonses (4:11)
When the Celtic Rock band, Sprit of the West, was playing in Winnipeg, a friend gave the band a tour of the Manitoba Developmental Centre (an institution for people with intellectual disabilities ). The band members were so horrorfied at what they saw, they wrote the song, Putting up with The Joneses.

Norman combined video footage of 2 live performances of the song with images from the book, Christmas in Purgatory, to make this hard-hitting music video about institutionalization.


A Peronal Reflection on Legalized Euthanasia (2:42)
Norman Kunc discusses some of the  serious legitimate concerns that many disabled people have about legalized eauthanasia that are often overlooked by non-disabled people.


The Euthanasia Blues (7:24)
Norm and Emma wrote this song to put forth the disability rights perspective on legalized euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.
Sung & performed by Bob Nelson
Video by Norman Kunc


Euthanasia at the Water Cooler (8:17)
A conversation exploring the complexities of legalizing euthanasia


Life in a Wheelchair (2:33)
What life in a wheelchair is really like!