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25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Classroom Toolkit

Curriculum Ideas/ Lesson Plans:

ADA 20th Anniversary Toolkit:

This website provides a background on the ADA legislation, its purpose and history. It also covers other legislation regarding rights for people with disabilities.

ADA Website:

This website discusses the social and political impact of ADA and the struggles it took to pass the legislation. It also covers the current struggles for people with disabilities that ADA was not able to cover, including current technology being accessible to all and employment.

ADL Curriculum Connections:

Provides lesson plans surrounding all aspects of people with disabilities and for all grade levels. This curriculum seeks to challenge the myths and stereotypes that surround people with disabilities.

Disability History: An Important Part of America’s Heritage

This reading, developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, gives background information on the Americans with Disabilities Act along with the events that led to the passing of that legislation. The reading also includes additional education resources, some of which are already listed within this toolkit, in order to give additional information on the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Disability and History:

This website focuses on people with disabilities throughout history and the historical impact on the American culture surround disability.

Disability History and Awareness: A Resource Guide for Missouri

Even though this resource guide was created specifically for Missouri following legislation making October Disability History and Awareness Month within Missouri, it includes lesson plan ideas and information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act that can be utilized in any state. It also gives ideas on how schools can take part in Disability History and Awareness Month, with sample resolutions for school boards and sample letters for parents in order to recognize the importance of the month and the importance of educating children about disabilities.

Museum of disABILITY History: Educational Resources

This site provides extensive lessons plans, with worksheets and readings, on the history of people with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The lesson plans based off of NY state curriculum are separated into three sections elementary, grades 4 – 8 and grades 9 – 12. The site includes supplemental information as well, including quizzes regarding the accessibility of the student’s school, a glossary, a myths and misconception quiz and many more materials.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History: The Disability Rights Movement

This site creates an online museum exhibit for the disability rights movement, with text to explain the various aspects of the movement and of the Americans with Disabilities Act along with pictures and video to accompany the text and show the historical significance.

Teaching Tolerance:

This website provides a comparison between the struggle for equality for people with disabilities and African Americans. It has three different types of lesson plans, one for elementary, middle and high school. The site puts an emphasis on the progress that still needs to be made, having students think critically about what can still be done.

The Disability Rights Movement:

This lesson plan provides discussion topics, journal questions and a reading to teach your class about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the role people with disabilities played in its implementation, success and progress. The reading also discusses disability by focusing on the ability of the individual and using people first language.

Understanding Disabilities and Current Trends in Best Practice:

This lesson plan provides a basis of the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the movement for independent living, while looking at the current trends for people with disabilities. It also has video and website links to follow up with the lesson plan.


IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – History & Summary

This video provides a simple overview of the history of IDEA which works in conjunction with the ADA. There is also a short quiz to go along with the video.

The Great Fight for Disability Rights:

A documentary and curriculum to follow along with the film that plays out the struggle and fight to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. Available for purchase.

Wisconsin Reflecting on 20th Anniversary of ADA:

Video that demonstrates the struggle of passing ADA, how far rights for people with disabilities have come but still how far there is to go not only in Wisconsin but nationwide.

Books/Novels about People with Disabilities:

Best Children’s Books on Disability:

Created through Amazon, this list, provides a an extensive list of  Using these books is a great way to teach young children about inclusion and that people with disabilities are capable and important.


This site is an accessible online library for individuals with print disabilities, with free memberships available for qualified students and schools. This can be a great resource in the classroom for students with print disabilities with over 200,000 titles on the site.

Books about Characters with Disabilities:

 A list of novels which include characters who are people with disabilities, mostly fictional.

Books Written by People with Disabilites:

This site lists books that are written and are about people with disabilities, most being true stories. They offer insight into the lives of people with disabilities and can be used in classroom discussions or book reports.

Children’s Books about People with Disabilities:

This site offers an extensive list of children’s books that include characters and themes about people with disabilities.

How Stories and Reading Can Help Teach Children About Disability:

Article about how stories can help both children with disabilities and without learn more about disabilities and understand them. The articles discusses a mother of a daughter with cerebral palsy who created a book to help explain to her daughter what her disability was since the mother could not find any books that explained cerebral palsy in a way a child could understand. The story is called Haylee’s Friends.

“Let’s Hear is for Almigal”: Children’s Book

The main character, Almigal, is the main character who was born with hearing loss in Wendy Kupfer’s, Mom’s Choice Gold Medal awarded book, “Let’s Hear it for Almigal.” Education, uplifting and enjoyable for children with and without hearing loss. The website also has an extensive list of resources surrounding children with hearing loss, located under the Resources tab.

People with Disabilities in Fiction:

This site gives a list of works of fiction displaying people with disabilities as main characters or protagonists. Reading these novels in class can help students to learn about disability or for students with disabilities to talk about their experience with classmates.

Popular People with Disabilities books:

This site lists popular novels in which the protagonist or other major characters is a person with a disability.

Recommended Books about the Disability Experience:

This list of books created through the University of Delaware give readers an insider view and perspective on disability and the experiences people with disabilities face each day.

Selected Juvenile Books on People with Disability:

This site provides a list of juvenile level books that include information and perspectives on people with disabilities.

30 Plus Books to Inspire African American Kids:

Less than 3% of children’s books feature African American characters and the same can be seen with children with disabilities, so these are children’s books which include African American characters.

Additional Resources:

Information on Inclusion:

Inclusion is important for both children with disabilities and without. For children without disabilities it allows them to see people as people and learn about diversity by actually experiencing it. The documentary, Including Samuel, provides groundwork for information on inclusive practices in schools, the long-term benefits of inclusion and how inclusion works. The documentary also tells the story about the progress that still needs to be made in the disability rights movement even 25 years after ADA. The documentary is available for purchase on the site and the site also offers additional resources on inclusion, including curriculum for educators.


This video gives useful tips on how to teach children about inclusion and understanding in terms of people with disabilities.

Disabling segregation: Dan Habib at TEDxAmoskeagMillyard  the disabilityights advocate explains his family’s fight to ensure an inclusive education.