Reflections on an Effort to Develop a Cross-Disability Consciousness Inclusive of People with Psychiatric Disabilities


  • Israel Sykes
  • Eyal Menashe
  • Elliot Lazerwitz
  • Ayala Vlodavsky
  • Limor Zaga-Shabbat



While cross-disability consciousness developed in the United States and England in the 1970's, a similar consciousness failed to emerge in Israel until the late 1990s. Furthermore, even in countries with a long history of cross-disability collaboration, there is a tendency for people with psychiatric disabilities to remain excluded from the ensuing disability community. The present article had its origins in the course "From Personal Coping to Social Responsibility: Leadership Training for Social Change for People with Disability," initiated and funded by the Disability Rights Commission in Israel, and developed and implemented by Shatil, the Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations. An explicit goal of the course was the development in Israel of a cross-disability consciousness inclusive of people with psychiatric disabilities. In the present article, three course graduates and the course facilitators reflect upon the insights that emerged from the cross-disability discourse generated among participants, during the course and in the course, of joint writing about the course. Special emphasis is given to the dynamics and effects of the inclusion of a large sub-group of people with psychiatric disabilities in the cross-disability group.






Special Topic: The State of Disability in Israel/Palestine