8 Most Powerful TED Talks on Disability

Have you ever watched a TED Talk?

Since its creation in 1984, TED (which stands for “technology, entertainment, and design”) has grown from a yearly event to a viral video phenomenon. Featuring presentations from some of the brightest minds in science, philosophy, entertainment, business, philanthropy, and religion, the nonprofit organization has amassed a worldwide community of followers. Delving into a wide range of topics, these presentations (referred to as “TED Talks”) offer intellectuals a platform on which to discuss what they’re truly passionate about.

When it comes to the topic of disabilities, there are plenty of TED Talks that will amaze, challenge, encourage, and inspire you. You won’t want to miss these 8 most powerful TED Talks on disability:

  1. Sue Austin: “Deep Sea Diving… in a Wheelchair” Although many felt otherwise, Sue Austin felt a sense of freedom when she first got her power chair. In this TED Talk, Sue describes her adventures in deep-sea wheelchair diving and how it’s changed her view of the world.

  2. Aimee Mullins: “The Opportunity of Adversity” Para-Olympic athlete Aimee Mullins discusses what she found out about herself after she looked up the word “disability” for the first time. Aimee goes on to explain how she uses her disability as a strong motivation in life.

  3. Keith Nolan: “Deaf in the Military” Always wanting to join the United States military, Keith Nolan was had one disadvantage – he is deaf, which is an automatic disqualification. Check out his amazing story about his battle to fight for our country.

  4. Stella Young: “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much” Blunt in her delivery, Stella Young has a message to spread to those who view the disabled as “inspirational.” Fighting to be treated equally, Stella describes how her upbringing and lifestyle were just as normal as everyone else’s.

  5. Maysoon Zayid: “I got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One” As an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist, and advocate for the disabled, Maysoon Zayid hilariously describes her upbringing and how her palsy is “just one” of her many problems.

  6. Rosie King: “How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself” “All in all, I wouldn’t trade my autism and my imagination for the world,” Rosie King says during this TED Talk. Rosie describes how her autism allows her to see the world differently and how she hopes for a more tolerant world for those with disabilities.

  7. Caroline Casey: “Looking Past Limits” Carolina Casey, who has ocular albinism that affects her vision, describes her journey in founding her nonprofit, Kanchi, which brings disability awareness to those in the workplace.

  8. Janine Shepherd: “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person” A cross-country skier, Janine Shepherd was struck by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares her amazing story of recovery and how you are more than just your body.

Did any of these TED Talks inspire you? Did some of them challenge the way you think about disability? Let us know by leaving a comment below!