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Rebekah  Taussig

Rebekah Taussig

Disability Advocate & Educator

Biography

Rebekah Taussig will challenge everything you think you know about disability as she invites us into her experience of living in a body that looks and moves differently than most. “What would it mean for disabled folks if society saw us as acceptable, equal, valuable parts of the whole?” she writes in her memoir, Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body (HarperOne). Read More >

Taussig, who has been paralyzed since the age of three, is a mom, wife, author, disability advocate and educator with a Ph.D in creative nonfiction and disability studies. She is a passionate teacher with a range of experience, from freshmen in high school to upper-level college classes covering subjects from English literature, composition and creative writing to disability studies.

She is also one hell of a fighter on a mission to show that disabled people have incredible value; as she argues, a more inclusive world is a sturdier, kinder, more imaginative world for all of us.

A storyteller at heart with a great sense of humor, Taussig invites us to think bigger and more critically about who has a seat at the table and the barriers that bar others from inclusion. She’s held talks and workshops at the University of Michigan, Davidson College and Yale University on disability representation, identity and community, and her writing appears in publications from TIME to Design*Sponge. She’s been a guest on a myriad of podcasts and also runs the Instagram platform @sitting_pretty, where she crafts “mini-memoirs” for her more than 50,000 followers to contribute nuance to the collective narratives being told about disability in our culture. Taussig is the recipient of the Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Literary Nonfiction for Sitting Pretty. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDx: The Complications of Kindness

On Disability and Body Neutrality | Feisworld

On the Americans with Disabilities Act

Art Works Podcast | National Endowment for the Arts

Speech Topics

Rethinking What Accessibility & Inclusion Look Like

Accessibility and inclusion for disabled people is so much more than just plastering a ramp on the backside of a building. In this keynote address, Rebekah Taussig gives an intimate glimpse into her experiences navigating the world as a disabled woman and invites us to look critically at the structures on which our communities are built. Who was this setup made for? Who is still waiting to be included? And what can we change to provide more access for more people? Taussig provides a new lens to look through, where access and inclusion is an ongoing conversation — something to revisit and rethink collaboratively.

Why Accessibility Is Important to All of Us

Accessibility is so often framed as a side conversation for disabled people, when it's a fundamental human conversation that benefits everyone. Rebekah Taussig brings her experience as an educator and disability advocate, as well as a lifetime of navigating an inaccessible world, to the conversation. She shares why accessibility and inclusion are important to all of us, reframing the conversation from “special needs” to “human needs.” This is a truly groundbreaking talk with moving and entertaining stories that will motivate anyone — disabled or non-disabled — to rethink how they show up for their communities.

Leadership: There is Nothing Artificial About AI — Access & Inclusion

If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is that the old model of unbending and unaccommodating leadership is in desperate need of an overhaul. It has compelled managers and executives to become more flexible, take a deeper look at who they hire and promote, and to change the conversation about access and inclusion in the workplace. In this talk, Rebekah Taussig makes the case — through research and her own journey — why access and inclusion are so critical for success in today’s business world. Disabled folks are not just a group of people who need help. A lifetime navigating a world that wasn’t built with you in mind can reap unique resilience, creativity and innovation. And right now, this demographic has a wealth of untapped talent to offer. It’s time to rethink leadership and who we’re hiring onto our teams.

Healthcare: Transforming the Patient Experience

Paralyzed after childhood cancer, Rebekah Taussig has spent most of her life interacting with physicians and healthcare systems. She’s felt the impact of being seen as a medical object to study, and she also knows through her bones what a difference it makes to be treated as a whole person. Relying on a rich history of personal stories and research on the patient experience, Taussig makes a compelling case for patient-centered care.