LEAD, which stands for Lived Experiences Around Disability, delivers innovative presentations about what it is like to live with a disability to students (K-12) in Victoria. This program is delivered by persons with disabilities who have spent a lengthy period of time navigating their daily lives within their abilities. These speakers work in partnership with students with disabilities at each school, giving the students an opportunity to anonymously (via the speaker) or personally share what they have experienced at the school in terms of social and environmental barriers.

Delivering LEAD to the community, particularly to youth, will help decrease misconceptions and stereotypes around persons with disabilities in the community. This has the potential to lead to a more inclusive environment, where persons with disabilities could become better recognized as fully integrated citizens.

More than 1 in 10 youth in Canada have one or more disabilities, and youth with disabilities are at a higher risk of not being in school or employed. Connected with this is the fact that there is a distinct lack of understanding and an abundance of misconceptions surrounding disabilities. Youth face systemic barriers and an increasingly uphill battle when it comes to how disabilities are viewed and understood by their peers. The response we offer to the challenges students with disabilities face is important and it starts with speaking to the students directly and presenting them with alternative ways of thinking about disability.