Listen to the best TED talks on disability, by the disabled.

If you want to learn something and also be inspired, WATCH TED TALKS!

For instance, issues concerning disabilities, challenges, and social barriers have been discussed by many participants of TED. Here, you will find five powerful speeches of the main representatives of the disabled community from TED talks. It is why these talks are about strength, how people can overcome hardships, and the fact that those who are underestimated can do so much. 

TRRAIN, being a compassionate and impactful NGO for persons with disabilities, is happy to bring to you these TED Talks that are sure to inspire you.

Let’s dive in!

  1. “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much” by Stella Young

Stella Young is an Australian comedian, journalist, and passionate disability activist who questions this perception of able-bodied people towards people with disabilities. However, in her outstanding TED Talk, she opposed the general perception of disability in today’s society where people with disability are embraced merely as inspirational because they are alive.

Key points

  • Disability and inspiration: Speaking of the representation of disabled people in films, Stella pointed out that the existing films reduce disabled people to mere inspiring objects for non-disabled people.
  • Living an ordinary life: She emphasizes that people with disabilities are just like anyone else, living ordinary lives. It may sound odd, but she insists that they should not be seen as someone inspiring just because they exist!

Find this amazing TED talk on disability on YouTube.


  1. “I Got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One” by Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid is a comedian, actress, and writer who has cerebral palsy. In her TED Talk, she shares her experiences with humour and honesty, challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about people with disabilities. The fun element in her talks is just unmatchable.

Key points

  • Breaking stereotypes: Maysoon uses humour to address and break down the stereotypes associated with disabilities, which is not only interesting to listen to but also very impactful.
  • Living life fully: She demonstrates that people with disabilities can lead rich, fulfilling lives and achieve their goals – happiness and success are not limited by one’s physical abilities.

To listen to this funny yet impactful, and in fact one of the best TED talks on disability, you can visit YouTube. 


  1. “Why We Need Universal Design” by Elise Roy

Elise Roy, a deaf human rights advocate and design thinker, speaks on the topic of universal design – which means designing products and environments that are suitable for all individuals, irrespective of their abilities.

Key Points

  • Universal design: Elise explains how universal design can be beneficial for everyone in the society, not just those with physical disabilities.
  • Innovation through disability: She further states that designing for disability makes the world better for everyone because it necessitates the creation of solutions that are universal.

In this TED talk, disability inclusion in the universal scenario is what the speaker has insisted on. Don’t miss it!

  1. “How My Son’s Short Life Made a Lasting Difference” by Sarah Gray

In the following video, Sarah Gray tells the emotional tale of her son Thomas who was born with anencephaly and passed away only six days after his birth. In the end, Sarah decided to donate his organs for scientific advancement, which had excellent positive impacts on science.

Key Points

  • Organ donation: There is a way to still be alive after death, which is by organ donation. In this TED Talk on disability, Sarah highlights the importance and influence of organ donation, even from those with disabilities.
  • Finding purpose: Sarah’s TED talk clearly demonstrates how the length of the class doesn’t matter, what matters is how impactful the life is. 

When we listen to these kinds of TED talks, disability changes its definition, and people’s perception as well.

  1. “I Am Not Defined By My Disability” by Sparsh Shah

Sparsh Shah is a young talented singing sensation, lyricist, motivational speaker, and composer who happens to be a victim of Osteogenesis Imperfecta making his bones extremely fragile. During his communication with the TED audience, he tells the story of rising from adversities and striving for dreams, thus encouraging others to consider the possibility beyond disabilities.

Key points

  • Defying limitations: Sparsh speaks about the need to live for something and do what one loves, no matter the disability one has.
  • Inspiration and resilience: This is the story of the man who demonstrated that when you set your mind and work hard, you can overcome all odds.

More power to this young man, who, with his TED talk about disability, is creating waves of motivation and power.

These were some of the best TED talks on disability, by some of the very influential differently-abled individuals. These inspiring talks provide valuable insights into the challenges they face and still make incredible contributions. They encourage us to rethink our perceptions of disability and to recognize the strength and potential in everyone.


And the best part? 

All these best TED talks on disability are available on major social media platforms such as YouTube.


Changing perceptions with TED talk about disability

By listening to the above TED Talks on disability, we can take away the following thoughts –

  • Inspiration redefined: Understand that differently-abled people do not need to be viewed as inspirational simply for living their lives.
  • Impactful stories: Learn how short lives and personal challenges can lead to significant scientific and societal advancements.
  • Universal design: Recognize the importance of designing products and spaces that are accessible to all.
  • Breaking stereotypes: See how humour and personal stories can challenge and break down stereotypes – one doesn’t have to be serious to be impactful!
  • Diverse advocacy: Appreciate the need for diverse voices in disability advocacy to create a more inclusive society.

By watching these TED Talks, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the experiences and contributions of differently abled individuals and be inspired to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable world. 

If you are also one of those who wish to create a better place for people with disabilities, help TRRAIN through sustainable livelihood donations



    Founded in 2011 by B.S. Nagesh, Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) is a 12A, 80G, public charitable trust that aims to catalyse a change in the retail industry by empowering people through retail and allied sectors in creating sustainable livelihoods for Persons with Disabilities and Young Women from marginalised backgrounds.

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