Samantha Bruno

Document Type


Publication Date



Drawing from first-hand experiences as a special education teacher's aide, I have witnessed students’ struggle, but I have also seen them be exceptional. Stories about disabilities and by people with disabilities continue to be hard to find. To understand the lived perspectives of people with various disabilities, I conducted a literature review of interviews and profiles featuring people with disabilities talking about their experiences and strengths in their own words. This research project aims to answer the question, “How can lived experience narratives better showcase individuals' diverse abilities and strengths.” This project focuses on individuals with autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, and hearing loss. This literature review found that individuals with these disorders were able to accomplish many things, such as creating strong community ties, earning a college degree, running a marathon, and having strong artistic abilities. I conducted this research to shift the narrative from “suffering” with a disability to “living” with a disability. This research argues that we need more accessible stories showcasing the diverse lived experiences of people living with disabilities. Especially for teachers, other authority figures, and the general public, there is a need to be educated and trained to listen to these people and share their stories to promote understanding of those who are different from ourselves.

Faculty Mentor

Megan Palmer, M.A.

Academic Discipline

College of Health & Wellness



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