Resources for Women with Physical Disabilities

Please note that the following resources are not affiliated with the University of Michigan. We are providing them for educational purposes only. Please speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.

We want to resources some are aware of that might be of interest for women with physical disabilities. Click on a category below to see a variety of links to thinks like blog posts, websites, videos and more. Feel free to submit a resource you have found helpful here or by clicking the button below. You can also email prowhd-research@umich.edu.

General Resources

Mobilewomen (Private Facebook group)

Description: "Our private Facebook group, mobileWOMEN, is a safe place for women with disabilities to gather, talk, share stories, support one another in business and life pursuits, and find answers to their questions about health, fashion, and other topics through our vetted resources."

Access for Disabled Women: Tell Your Doctor about Your Access Needs

Description: This 13 minute animated video explains how disabled women and their medical providers can improve their relationships with one another. It includes examples of problems and solutions. It also helps understand the stereotypes and misconceptions that lead to many of these problems.

Medical Advocacy Project: Reproductive Health Care for Women with Physical Disabilities (Website)

Description: The World Institute on Disability has developed a number of tip sheets for women with physical disabilities to use when receiving reproductive health care.

A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities (Website)

Description: The content can be viewed on the Health Wiki, downloadable PDFs, or in a printed book format. This book provides basic information to help women with disabilities stay healthy, and will also help those who assist women with disabilities to provide good care."

Cerebral Palsy Foundation: Women's Health Resources (Website)

Description: This is a great resource that contains tip sheets and videos on a variety of topics.

Take Charge!: A Reproductive Health Guide for Women with Physical Disabilities (PDF file)

CDC: The Right To Know Campaign Breast Cancer Screening (PDF file)

Description: Breast cancer is a major public health concern for all women, including women with disabilities. Women who have disabilities are just as likely as women without disabilities to have ever received a mammogram. However, they are significantly less likely to have been screened within the recommended guidelines. The public health community has used health communication messages and campaigns to increase breast cancer awareness and encourage women to take steps to help prevent breast cancer, yet few communication messages exist that target women with disabilities.

Boardmaker resources (Website)

Description: This website features downloadable resources for those use Boardmaker to communicate. There are specific icons related to puberty and sex ed, and unexpected touch or sexual assault.

Sex and Intimacy

Scarleteen: Disability (Website)

Description:&While the name is Scarleteen, there are LOTS of great articles for women with physical disabilities and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities. Topics discussed include talking with your partner about sex, consent, masturbation, sexual anatomy, periods/the menstrual cycle and more. Many of the articles also link to outside resources.

15 Accessible Sex Toys and Devices That Can Spice Up Your Sex Life (Website)

Description: An article from the website The Mighty describing a variety of accessible sex toys and devices.

Come As You Are: Learn About Sex and Disability (Website)

Description: This is a very general overview of adapting sex toys.

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Intimacy (Website)

Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (Amazon link)

Description: "First published in 1999, the groundbreaking Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. Eli Clare's revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation. With a poet's devotion to truth and an activist's demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare's exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone. With heart and hammer, Exile and Pride pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced."

PleasureABLE (PDF file)

Description: A PDF book published by Disabilities Health Research Network in 2009. It discusses a variety of different positioning techniques and devices for people with disabilities.

The Accessible Stall: Episode 3: Sex, Dating, Disability (Podcast)

Description: "Kyle and Emily get down and dirty about what dating and sex are like when you have a disability. How does dating differ when you’re disabled? And how do disabled people have sex anyway? Find out! Please note that this episode contains discussion of explicit subjects and might not be appropriate for all listeners. 

Disability and Sexuality (YouTube Video)

Description: All people are sexual beings, no matter what their bodies can or cannot do physically or what type of support they may need from time to time or all of the time. It’s important for young people living with disabilities or differently abled young people to learn about sexuality.

Sexuality and Disability: Forging Identity in a World that Leaves You Out (YouTube Video)

Sex, Love and Intimacy After Spinal Cord Injury (Website full of videos)

Description: This website contains a variety of videos related to sexuality and disability.

UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System: Sexuality and Sexual Function (Website)

Description: 11-part video series from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System.

Disability and Sexuality (Website)

Description: This video on disability and sexuality states that people with disabilities have the same sexual and romantic feelings as anyone else, including a range of sexual orientations. It also reinforces the idea that people with disabilities want the same healthy relationships as anyone else, and they often have similar questions about relationships and their bodies. The video also goes over issues that people with disabilities are more likely to face, like overprotective parents, friends misunderstanding their disability, and trouble expressing feelings and consent verbally.

Sexuality and Disability (Website)

Description: This website "aims to provide women with disabilities and related constellations – partners, families, health workers, counsellors, organisations – a platform to explore this further."

Sexual Function for Women After Spinal Cord Injury (Website, also available in Spanish)

Description: This information was published by Craig Hospital.

The Handi Book of Love, Lust and Disability (Website where you can order the book)

Description: "The Handi Book of Love, Lust and Disability unearths new conversations on sex, relationships and disability. It's beautifully designed and full of raw, powerful and inspiring stories, poetry and artwork from 50 phenomenal contributors from the disabled community."

Sexuality and Disability (Amazon link)

Description: ”The first book to tackle this sensitive and important area in a realistic way * Will increase professional awareness and knowledge of the complex issues concerning sexuality and disablement * Provides practical advice and tips for professionals supporting and advising disabled people..."

Kissability: People with Disabilities Talk About Sex, Love, and Relationships (Amazon link)

Enabling Romance: A Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships for People with Disabilities (and the People who Care About Them) (Amazon link)

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness (Amazon link)

Description: "The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability is the first complete sex guide for people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions. Useful for absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, the book addresses a wide range of disabilities — from chronic fatigue, back pain, and asthma to spinal cord injury, hearing and visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, and more. Expertly written by a medical doctor, a sex educator, and a disability activist, The Ultimate Guide provides readers with encouragement, support, and all the information they need to create a sex life that works for them. The authors cover all aspects of sex and disability, including building a positive sexual self-image; positions to minimize stress and maximize pleasure; dealing with fatigue or pain during sex; finding partners and talking with partners about sex and disability; adapting sex toys; and more."

Women's Pleasure (Article) 

Description: This is a consumer article written in New Mobility magazine. 

Disability and relationships: a different way of looking at sex (Article)

Description: This an article from Disability Horizons. 

Sexuality & Sexual Functioning After SCI (Website, also available in Spanish)

Description: This website is managed by the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. There are a number of other fact sheets related to living with a SCI on there.

Sexuality & Sexual Function following SCI (YouTube link)

Description: A Consumer Education Video Lecture from University Of Alabama Led By Dr. Phil Klebine And Dr. Marcalee Alexander.

Sex and Paralysis Video Series (Website)

Parenting with a Disability

Know Your Rights: Parenting with a Disability

Description: Watch this webinar to learn about the problem and efforts to educate, advocate, and empower parents living with paralysis or other disabilities to know their rights and change discriminatory practices. Download their toolkit (PDF file).

Using Medicaid to Support Parents with Disabilities (Webinar recording)

Description: A webinar by the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities

ADA and Parenting Workshops

Description: "In 2020, Lurie Institute research associate Robyn Powell held four workshops about the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the rights of parents with disabilities. The workshops included an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its applicability to disabled parents; information about disability, family law, and child welfare; the rights of parents with disabilities when working with adoption or foster-care agencies; and the rights of people with disabilities receiving reproductive healthcare."

Raising Our Girls: Stories from Mothers with Disabilities and Daughters Who've Been There (Webinar recording)

Description: Parents and prospective parents with disabilities learned about considerations for pursuing motherhood, strategies used by mothers with physical disabilities to raise their children, the perspectives of adult children of mothers with disabilities and resources for parenting with a disability. Social Workers learned directly from parents with disabilities about their needs and experiences. This webinar was held by the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities. 

Research In Focus: Mothers with Physical Disabilities Share Strategies to Care for their Young Children(Website)

Description: Research In Focus is a publication of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), a library and information center focusing on disability and rehabilitation research, with a special focus on the research funded by NIDILRR. Researchers at the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities "examined data from interviews with 25 mothers with physical disabilities who participated in a study of the health needs and experiences before, during, and after pregnancy of women with physical disabilities. The participants had at least one child under the age of 10, and they reported having a physical disability that affected their ability to walk, their use of their hands or arms, or both. The participants were asked about their experiences when their children were infants and toddlers. They were asked about adaptations, modifications, or supports that they used to help them care for their young children."

Disabled Parenting Project (Website)

Assistive Technology for Parents with Disabilities: A Handbook for Parents, Families and Caregivers (PDF file)

Description: This booklet was published by the state of Idaho in 2003.

Motherhood with Technology Personal and Professional Perspectives on Using Technology to Support Parenting (Webinar recording)

A Webinar in Recognition of Mothers’ Day by the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities
Description: Parents & prospective parents learned about how technology can be used to support parenting with psychiatric and physical disabilities. The speakers shared their personal and professional experiences about the use of online apps and equipment that can be used “off the shelf” or which can be adapted to meet a family’s needs.  Social Workers learned directly from parents with disabilities about their needs and the technologies and equipment available to support their parenting.

AbleData: Adaptive Strollers for Parents Who Use Wheelchairs(PDF file)

Description: While the AbleData website has since been shut down, we have a PDF file containing information from them on the topic of adaptive strollers for parents who use wheelchairs.

AbleData: AT for Parenting with a Disability(PDF file)

Description: While the AbleData website has since been shut down, we have a PDF file containing information from them on the topic of assistive technology for parenting with a disability.

The Parenting Book for Persons with a Disability: From planning your family to raising adolescents (Book order form)

Description: This book was published by the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.

School Year Chronicles: A Personal Collection of Your Child’s School Year Memories, Including Tips and Resources for Parents With Disabilities (Website with ordering information)

Description: This is “an exciting and innovative way of capturing your child’s special childhood school moments and achievements; while providing tips for you, as parents with disabilities, on parenting issues including how to educate your child about your disability, how to breastfeed when you are a mother with a disability and facing postpartum blues." 

10 Amazing Products For Parents With Disabilities (Website)

Description: This is a blog post from 2014 written by Tiffiny Carlson, the SCI Life columnist for New Mobility magazine. The article lists several adaptive products for use and commercially available to disabled parents.

Tetra Society (Website)

Description: Tetra Society helps design and build assistive devices that are custom-made including parenting specific devices. This may include a wheelchair infant seat or a roll under crib.

Little People and Parenting (Webinar recording)

Description: This webinar was held by the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities

Pregnancy

The Disabled Woman's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth (Amazon link)

Description: "This comprehensive and useful guide is based on the experiences of ninety women with disabilities who chose to have children. In order to bring an intimate focus and understanding to the issues involved in being pregnant and disabled, author Judith Rodgers conducted in-depth interviews with women with 22 different types of disabilities and with a total of 143 pregnancies...."

The Disabled Mother's Guide To Pregnancy And Birth (Amazon link)

Description: "Being both a mother and a woman with a disability - for several years I have faced many challenges. I have dealt with the onset of two neurological conditions whilst being pregnant with my daughter, who is now nine years old. I then went on to have my youngest son (three years old) and recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl (4 months old.)..."

Mother-To-Be: A Guide to Pregnancy and Birth for Women With Disabilities (Amazon link)

Description: "Thorough, practical guide for disabled women on pregnancy and birth. First author is a disabled occupational therapist who has given birth. Includes the experiences and advice of 36 women with a variety of disabling conditions."

Pregnancy and Women with SCI (Website, also available in Spanish)

Description: This website is managed by the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. There are a number of other fact sheets related to living with a SCI on there.

Children's Books to Help Explain Disability

My Mommy Wears Wheels (Amazon Link)

Description: This book is geared towards kids ages 2-8. "This story is based on how transverse myelitis impacted the childhood of author Colette Lanzon and her mother Patricia Lanzon. This tale shows how Colette and her mother learn to navigate adventures following her mother contracting transverse myelitis. How will Colette and her mom learn how to have fun even though her mom now uses a wheelchair? Will they be able to cook together? Will they be able to travel far and wide? Woven into this inclusive story is the use of rhyming, reference to geographical regions, and the opportunity to count the number of hidden Gabby the Guinea Pigs. Through the beautiful illustrations and poignant tale of one little girl and her mother's life changes due to transverse myelitis, this story shows how being helpful, patient, and caring can be learned through disability."