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Volunteer Manual











                                           In addition to this manual, I also developed a condensed version that had larger text, pictures and fewer words. This version is in "easy-to-read format" which can be more accessible to volunteers with intellectual disabilities, English Language Learners or others who would benefit from the information presented in a different way. Both versions are screen-reader accessible and available in large print. 

These manuals are thorough. The complete version is about 120 pages and the condensed version is 156 pages. While they are geared towards volunteers, I believes that all people benefit from learning and thinking about disability. They provide information that has been collected from many sources in a single, some-what-short, location. I believe that they could be used in many more contexts, including as a teacher's guide, information for people working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, and those interested in disability rights/culture. 

However, this manual is not meant to be an end-all or thorough guide to disability. I encourage you to explore other books or information on disability, which is all compiled here

Two volunteer manuals, with the text "thurston county inclusion volunteer manual 2021"

As part of my senior thesis and departmental honors project in Disability Studies, I (Natalie, TCI's Executive Director & Co-Founder) developed Thurston County Inclusion's Volunteer Manual. Within this manual, I included many things that you would expect to tell your volunteers: roles and responsibilities, expectations, etc. But I also included things that I learned in my four years as a Disability Studies Major, including topics such as the language around disability, disability around the world and the history around disability. 

Table of Contents

Here is what I included in the manuals. 

Part 1: Thurston County Inclusion Information

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: About Thurston County Inclusion



Chapter 3: Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities

Part 2: The Disability Experience

Chapter 4: What is Disability?

Chapter 5: Vocabulary

Intellectual Disability

Person First Language vs. Identity First Language

Visible vs. Invisible Disability


Intersectionality & Identity

Chapter 6: Neuroscience of Disability

Chapter 7: The History of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Chapter 8: Disability Around the World

Disabled Experience Around the World

Models of Disability Around the World

Language Relating to Disability

International Agreements on Disability

Access to Education

Chapter 9: Disability-Related Laws

Federal Laws

Washington State Laws

Chapter 10: Stereotypes of Disability in Popular Culture

Inspiration Porn

Disability on Television and Movies

Ransom Notes

Chapter 11: Allyship, Advocacy and Activism.. 87


Advocacy & Activism

Chapter 12: Major Intellectual Disability Related Organizations

The Arc of the United States

Think College

Special Olympics

Chapter 13: Resources to Dive in Further

Part 3: Scenarios

Reflection Activity


Condensed Versions

Here is a sample of the condensed version to give you an idea of what it looks like. 

Getting the Volunteer Manual

It is my hope that anyone can have access to the materials provided in the volunteer manuals. With that being said, these manuals are copyrighted and should not be reproduced or shared without credit given. The PDF of both versions are available for free (they are screen reader accessible). If you would like a physical copy, we charge a small fee to cover our printing and shipping costs. 

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