The State of Washington recognizes the importance of educating youth about disability history through its enactment of a state law establishing October as Disability History Awareness Month. This Act requires each public school to conduct or promote educational activities that provide instruction, awareness, and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. By educating youth, we can ameliorate negative stereotypes and perceptions that can easily lead to exclusion, bullying, low self-esteem, and discrimination. Perceptions of disability should include concepts of dignity, liberty, autonomy, and strength instead of fear, pity, weakness, and paternalism or maternalism.

Additional resources for teaching about disability pride can be found here:

Portrait of the Whole Person Curriculum

Portrait of the Whole Person is a curriculum for elementary school students designed to teach students how disability rights fit into the broader civil rights movement, to perceive disability as a reflection of societal views of differences, and to treat people with disabilities with respect and dignity. It contains four distinct lesson plans comprised of three in-class instruction lesson plans and one lesson plan governing the research and writing of a biographical sketch and creation of a portrait of a notable person with a disability. It is also complete with a graphic organizer, rubrics, a power point, and a list of references students can use for research.

Portrait of the Whole Person is free of charge. Our one request is that if you implement it in your classroom, please email with your name and email so we can send you a survey to gather feedback regarding the curriculum. In addition, please email with any further questions.

Portrait of the Whole Person: Curriculum Overview
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Lesson 1: Let’s Talk About Disability
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Lesson 2: What is Disability?
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Lesson 3: The Disability Civil Rights Movement
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Lesson 4: Researching and Writing the Biographical Sketch and Creating the Portrait
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Rubric 1: Review of the Biographical Sketch
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Rubric 2: Student’s Increased Knowledge
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Rubric 3: Creation of the Portrait
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Download PPT

Graphic Organizer
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List of references – coming soon

Survey – coming soon


This course website contains copyrighted materials. Those materials may include text, images, graphics, audio and video clips, and other content (collectively, the “Content”).  In some cases, the copyright is owned by third parties, and Disability Rights Washington is making the third‐party Content available to you by permission or under the fair use doctrine.

The Content is made available only for your personal, noncommercial educational and scholarly use. You may not use the Content for any other purpose, or distribute or make the Content available to others, unless you obtain any required permission from the copyright holder. Some Content may be provided via streaming or other means that restrict copying; you may not circumvent those restrictions. You may not alter or remove any copyright or other proprietary notices included in the Content.

The following federal funding partners shared in the cost of producing the Portrait of the Whole Person Curriculum publications: the Administration for Community Living ACL (Award #1701WAPADD); the Department of Health and Human Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services SAMHSA (Award #3X98SM005397-17S1); and the Rehabilitation Services Administration RSA (Award #H240A170048). These contents are the sole responsibility of Disability Rights Washington and do not necessarily represent the official views of ACL, SAMHSA or RSA.

This information is current as of: November 2016

This information is a service of Disability Rights Washington (DRW). It provides general information as a public service only, and is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney. You do not have an attorney-client relationship with DRW.  If you would like more information about this topic or would like to receive this information in an alternative format call DRW at (800) 562-2702, or email

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DRW cannot guarantee that any individual or organization included in this material will represent or assist you. DRW also cannot guarantee the quality of this individual’s or organization’s representation.

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Disability Rights Washington
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