‘War and Disability’ exhibit sheds light on effect military has on people with disabilities

“War and Disability,” an exhibit by the CSD that displays five informational banners, details the contribution of people with disabilities in the military, as well as how the United States government has handled the care of people who develop disabilities in combat. (Natalia Pylypyszyn/The Daily Campus)

“War and Disability,” an exhibit by the CSD that displays five informational banners, details the contribution of people with disabilities in the military, as well as how the United States government has handled the care of people who develop disabilities in combat. (Natalia Pylypyszyn/The Daily Campus)

“War and Disability,” an exhibit that displays five informational banners, details the contribution of people with disabilities in the military, as well as how the United States government has handled the care of people who develop disabilities in combat. Each banner examines a different topic, ranging from mental disabilities to how the media portrays disability in war. The exhibit is on display from Nov. 6 to Nov. 10 and is brought to UConn by the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD).

The banners are displayed outside the CSD office, located on the second floor of the Wilbur Cross building. Each banner has a different label describing its subject. “Service to Country” discusses the efforts of people with disabilities to support war efforts since the late 1800s. “After Action Activities” details the history of legislation passed to support disabled veterans. “Maiming and Mending” discusses advancements in medical care for people with disabilities in the military. “The Fog of War” details the improvements in understanding mental disabilities developed during combat. “Theater of Operations” explains the reintegration of disabled veterans into society after returning home from war, as well as how media portrayal and pop culture can influence opinions on this.

Each banner includes informational text detailing the timeline and history of its topic, as well as images, documents, pictures and logos to help bring the text to life. The display is both informational and interesting to look at.

The banners include many interesting pieces of information regarding the history of disabilities in the military. For example, in World War II over 670,000 men were rejected for service due to mental deficiency. Legislation for vocational training and rehabilitation for veterans with permanent disabilities began with the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. In 1980, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was recognized as a diagnosis by the APA.

This exhibit has been provided by the Museum of disABILITY History in Buffalo, New York. The museum has several traveling exhibits as well as several permanent exhibits on display. It was founded by People. Inc, which exists to provide people with disabilities support to participate and succeed in society. Last month, the museum provided UConn with the exhibit “In the Game: disABILITY & Sports.”

“War and Disability” is one of several exhibits displayed by the CSD to raise awareness in relation to how disabilities can affect different aspects of life. For anyone who is able-bodied, it can be easy to be unaware of the struggles others may face. Access to proper benefits and healthcare is something that can be easily taken for granted, but people with disabilities have had a long history of working to get the proper recognition and inclusion they deserve. People with disabilities have had to fight for participation in the military as well as for healthcare and legislation to be passed on their behalf, and this exhibit recognizes the progress that has been made.

The exhibit is open for anyone to view from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of the CSD from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20.


Melissa Scrivani is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.