There’s no denying how TikTok is taking over the world. Its short, engaging videos are fast changing the way we consume content. Above all, TikTok is helping everyday users change the way they see the world through funny, relatable and educational content.
The platform gives us a more intimate, personal look into other people’s lives, including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Today, we want to highlight PWDs who making waves on the platform and teaching the world about their disabilities.
She is 25 year old with spinal muscular atrophy type 2. She creates content about PWDs surrouding topics like dating, sex, and ableism, oaccasionally debunking misconceptions about her disability. Her advocacy on the platform has also secured her modelling gigs.
A 34 year old content creator who got into an accident at the age of 9. The accident caused a brachial plexus injury that left her with the use of only one hand. 20 years later, she was diagnosed with PTSD. She uses her platform to discuss her disability. She is also the founder of Diversability, a company on a mission to “rebrand disability through community”.
A 21 year old university graduate who rarely spoke about her severe stutter with friends or family. But during the pandemic, she got bored and decided to post a 42 second video about her disability. She uses her platform to answer questions people have about her disability.
Team USA’s Paralympian and TikTok content creator. Anastasia grew up playing soccer but started losing her sight at the age of 11 due to Stargardt’s disease. She uses her platform to share with her followers a glimpse of her life as a blind athlete, as well as snippets of her guide dog, Radar. She also educates people on how Paralympic swimming works, how modern day technology makes tasks more accessible and societal stigmas that still persist today.
Amplifying your voice through TikTok
TikTok makes it easier for the everyday person to share their life stories with the world. Especially since its content is short and easy to create via the app. This makes it the ideal platform for PWDs to share more about their lives. On top of that, PWDs can also use the platform to:
- Raise awareness on everyday struggles or highlight access issues that they face. This can help people outside of the community understand them better and help create solutions.
- Educate others on their disabilities, the misconceptions or even the stigmas that they face.
- Build a digital community where they can find support and information.
- Reveal how rich, colourful and fun their lives can be.
Using social media for good
Social media offers people a variety of ways to empower themselves, start difficult conversations and even share never before seen perspectives. TikTok is just one of the many social media sites PWDs can use to share their life experiences and build or join a community. The best way to find your community is to try out the different sites and see which works for you!
Currie E. (2022) How A Community Of TikTokers Is Debunking Disability, One Viral Video At A Time [Accessed: 15 November 2022] Available at: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/a40541814/disability-tiktok-creators/
Greer W. (2021) Blind Paralympic swimmer Anastasia Pagonis uses TikTok to educate, destigmatize disability [Accessed: 16 November 2022] Available at: https://onherturf.nbcsports.com/2021/08/19/blind-paralympic-swimmer-anastasia-pagonis-uses-tiktok-to-educate-destigmatize-disability/
Guardian Sport (2021) Anastasia Pagonis cheers USA – and her 2m TikTok followers – with Paralympic gold [Accessed: 16 November 2022] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/aug/26/anastasia-pagonis-paralympics-swimming-gold-medal-world-record-tiktok
Lucy E (2022) How TikTok is helping give the young disabled community freedom to share their voice [Accessed: 16 November 2022] Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-tiktok-helping-give-young-27482949