Disability identity and allyship in rehabilitation psychology: Sit, stand, sign, and show up.

Purpose/Objective: The purpose of this conceptual paper was to put forth a call for rehabilitation practitioners to consider their role in developing disability identity in their clients, and to understand this action as a form of allyship toward the disability community. Method: This conceptual paper is organized to engage existing disability and disability-identity literature and its clinical implications. Practical tools and skills are offered for rehabilitation practitioners to develop disability identity and engage in disability allyship. Results: An overview of disability identity and its relationship to clinical practice is presented by way of a literature review. Conversation starters and two activities are presented for rehabilitation practitioners to develop and engage with clients about their disability identities. Descriptions of allyship actions for practitioners are presented. Discussion/Conclusion: In this conceptual paper, we framed disability in terms of both the medical and social models and argues that thinking about disability identity requires attention to the social model of disability. This attention is important, because it allows practitioners to think about themselves as allies to a particular community, rather than experts who must only “fix” clients’ disabilities to elicit positive identity development. This shift toward allyship requires attention, engagement, and openness to see clients simultaneously as individuals and as members of a powerful, diverse community with a unique identity experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)