The Vermont Connection


This article explores the nuances and pathways of disability identity development as well as what may constitute authentic disability identity in various theories and models. Authentic disability identity is influenced by how individuals interact with different power structures and systems and ultimately how they are related to normativity produced by ableism. Because each individual will have unique interactions with these systems, identity development and thus authenticity varies. Practitioners in higher education, with an understanding of how systems influence such nuanced identity, can create more open and flexible pathways to accommodations, improve outreach, and expand support outside of academic contexts.