Disability can be a difficult topic to explore, but documentaries about the subject are often powerful and thought-provoking. These films provide an intimate insight into the lives of those living with disabilities, as well as a greater understanding of how society views them. From inspiring stories to hard truths, these fifteen documentaries will open your eyes to what it means to live with disability today. So settle in and prepare for an emotional journey through some of the 15 best documentary films on disability around!
1. SHAMELESS: The ART of Disability (2006)
Embark on a journey with five individuals as they navigate through life, using their disabilities as a platform for art and activism. With a combination of wit and authenticity, this documentary captures their stories from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, showcasing their unique perspectives and creative expressionsWATCH IT ON PRIME VIDEO
2. Brad Williams Fun Size (2015)
Brad Williams is a comedic force to be reckoned with. With an undeniable charm and wit, he tackles topics that most would shy away from. His unique perspective as a dwarf gives his comedy a refreshing edge, making audiences laugh uncontrollably while also reflecting on their own beliefs and prejudices.WATCH IT ON PRIME VIDEO
3. Right Footed (2015)
In Right Footed, we witness the incredible journey of Jessica Cox, a woman who defied all odds and learned to fly an airplane using only her feet. Born without arms due to a birth defect, Jessica not only conquers the skies but also becomes a role model for children and a fierce advocate for disability rights both in the United States and abroad.WATCH IT ON PRIME VIDEO
4. Somebody to Love – Sex and Disability (2014)
Love, sex and disability are the focus of this captivating documentary, offering a peek into the intimate relationships of those with physical or intellectual disabilities. Despite being an essential aspect of life, sexuality is often overlooked and even restricted for individuals with disabilities due to societal norms and legal barriers.WATCH IT ON PRIME VIDEO
The Best Free Documentaries About Disabilities
1. ‘The Disability Paradox’
Exploring the topic of disability and how it can lead to unexpected opportunities, ‘The Disability Paradox’ is an inspiring new documentary presented and co-produced by Triplevision. Drawing on personal stories from those with disabilities, this BBC Network documentary dives deep into the complex landscape of modern life and reveals how it’s possible for people with disabilities to thrive in our society if given adequate support. Through interviews with experts and those living with disabilities, ‘The Disability Paradox’ takes a compassionate look at some of these important issues while simultaneously offering hope that change is possible. This must-see documentary will leave you inspired to make a difference!
2. CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION
Woodstock was a turning point for many, and this documentary takes us through the inspiring story of teenage campers who were inspired by it to join the fight for disability civil rights. The Obamas executive produce this spirited look at grassroots activism that is sure to motivate viewers everywhere. See how these teens took their dreams of equality and made them a reality!
3. The Quality of Life
Jill Kohfield has lived a life of independence and joy after 40 years of living in group homes. Her twin sister and mother, who she had not seen since her childhood, welcomed her back with open arms. Now an intellectually disabled woman, Jill is embarking on a new journey: living with family again! Follow this inspiring story as we document the challenges faced by Jill and her loved ones as they navigate their new lives together.
4. Sexuality and Disability
The documentary “THE LAST TABOO” takes a look into the lives of six people with disabilities and their able-bodied partner. It shares an intimate understanding of how these individuals navigate their sexuality while dealing with physical impairments. This gripping story reveals that sexual complexity is universal, no matter what challenges one faces in life. Come along as we explore this unique and inspiring journey!
5. Laughing in the Face of Disability
This documentary follows a disabled young man who is determined to thrive, despite the challenges he faces. It showcases how his family uses dark humor and resilience to support him on his journey. Join us as we explore and shine a light on this inspiring story of hope told by filmmaker Daniel Poler.
6. Living with learning disabilities
Are you looking for a unique perspective on teaching? This video explores how a German university is training people with mental disabilities or learning difficulties to become teachers. Learn about the program and what these individuals bring to their new profession after completing it! Discover how this innovative approach provides an inspiring outlook on teaching and learn why it’s helping those with special needs gain more independence.
7. A DISABILITY REVOLUTION
This inspiring documentary takes a look at the fight for disability civil rights, and how it was inspired by Woodstock. It follows the story of a group of teen campers who decide to join the movement and become grassroots activists. This empowering film is executive produced by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, so you know it’s going to be an incredible journey. Watch this documentary to gain insight into one of the most important civil rights battles in history!
8. Disability and Desire
Picture This is a new documentary that shines a light on Andrew Gurza’s inspiring journey of making sex and disability part of the public discourse. Through his story, we get an intimate look at how he has used his platform to create meaningful conversations and shift society’s perspective on these topics. Watch this documentary to learn more about his mission and be inspired by his courage!
9. Living with an extreme disability
Meet the Behrendt family, an inspiring example of true strength and courage. 13 years ago their son Jascha was in a bicycle accident that left him paralyzed and dependent on artificial respiration. Markus and Christine have since been dedicated to taking care of Jascha with unconditional love. Join us as we explore this remarkable story about a family’s journey through adversity.
10. A Broken System Is Failing Thousands of Americans With Disabilities
The U.S. has a crisis in care for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities, as hundreds of thousands are either getting no help or not the kind they need. VICE News investigates how limited funding and political will, combined with few options to meet the diverse needs of this vulnerable population, have created a dire situation. Learn more about what is being done to ensure that these individuals get the assistance they are legally entitled to receive.
11. The Difficulties of Finding
Four young disabled people come together to help each other with the support of unemployed peers. Josh and Francesca, two of the participants, form a strong bond despite their differences in humour. Join us on this journey as we follow four ambitious individuals striving for independence and success while facing physical and emotional obstacles along the way.
12. Disability & Chronic Illness
Becoming Incurable is a feature film that dives into the lives of three people who were diagnosed with chronic, incurable illnesses and how it changed them. Through their stories, we explore the journey they went through as they adapted to this new reality in their lives. We get an up-close look at how these individuals overcame adversity and found ways to live life to its fullest despite their diagnosis. It’s an inspiring story about finding strength in difficult times and never giving up hope.
13. The Ugly Face of Disability
Adam Pearson is on a mission to explore the dark side of disability hate crime. In this documentary, he exposes the attitudes that lead to this kind of discrimination and challenges viewers to question their own beliefs about people with disabilities or disfigurements. He also sheds light on why these crimes go unreported and unrecorded, making it even more difficult for victims to seek justice. Join Adam as he embarks on this eye-opening journey!
14. A Mother Learns to Accept Her Son’s Disability
Randi is a determined dancer who never gives up on her dreams, but when she unexpectedly discovers that her son has a rare genetic disorder, she finds herself struggling to connect with him. This inspiring story of parenting follows Randi as she learns to find creative ways to make lasting connections with her son and embarks on an empowering journey of self-discovery. Directed by Rivkah Beth Medow and Jen Rainin, this documentary shows the power of family love in overcoming any obstacle.
15. Documentary on Learning Disabilities
Are you or someone you know struggling with language, balance, and hyperactivity issues? This film offers a comprehensive look into the world of these symptoms. It dives deep to explore the causes and treatments available for those affected. Learn more about proper diagnosis and how to manage these conditions today!