unpacking disability with Meriah Nichols: image of a collage of images: top left, woman's eye, then image of a wheelchair parking sign with the shadow of a person in a wheelchair, pink hearing aids, a man holding his head, many hands outstretched over the image of a heart, and a small girl with down syndrome smiling. Text reads over white brushstrokes, "Unpacking Disability with Meriah Nichols"

This site is now called “Unpacking Disability” – because from the time I first started this blog (in 2007), understanding disability- as in disability identity, disability culture, myself with disabilities, my kids with disabilities, the world as it relates to disability – has been at the heart of it.

“Disability” is a big word. The point of this blog is to get to understand it better.

What Can You Expect at Unpacking Disability?

You can expect opinion pieces, interviews, resources. You can expect uncomfortable conversations, comfortable reviews. You can expect this to be a safe and caring space. I might mess up in how I dig deep or in how I deliver, but I am sincere and I try. I appreciate grace, and try to give it as well.

There are some personal pieces as well, for those of you who have been hanging out with me for years.

About Me

meriah nicholsI’m Meriah, mom of 3. One of my kids has Down syndrome, another is on the Autism spectrum. I myself am deaf, have C-PTSD, TBI and apparently I fit on the Autism spectrum as well.

I’m a counselor by trade, career and mental health. I specialize in working along the disability spectrum, both in wellness and disability and in disability/employment. I am a plant nerd, traveler and cat lover. I adore my dog, Rocco too.

PR/Advertising/Sponsorship Stuff:

I love doing sponsored pieces for brands and programs that I believe in. I also love connecting us in the disability community with resources.

Please email me for my kit: meriah@meriahnichols.com


  1. Pingback: Site (& Life) Changes - Meriah (Nichols) Hudson
  2. Don’t bash Costco hearing aids my husband has had several kinds and Costco is the best he has severe hearing loss

    1. Please re-read the post if you think I’m bashing them. I use them too, and I have severe as well.

  3. Just found your blog and looking forwarding to reading more. I’m a guy with Spina Bifida, but for about 20+ years of my life, I lived as though I didn’t have it. I had a rough childhood, then things evened out for a number of years, before mobility and other issues came up. During that time, I didn’t have much to do with the disabled community. But, as my circumstances started to change, I have re-engaged and am learning so much. For me, as a young man, I wanted so desperately to be like everyone else, that I distanced myself from anyone in the disabled community that appeared “worse” than I did.

    Anyway – Older and wiser now, I suppose. 🙂

    1. thanks for wandering over – I’m looking forward to getting to know you, too!

  4. Hello
    I am a creative job coach for a special needs adult that makes all kinds of things she’s trying to sell on Etsy and not having much luck. I googled and came across your site and thought maybe this would be a good place for her or you could guide us.

  5. I’m interested in your writings about the ‘hierarchy’ within the broad disability space. What all have you written because I thoroughly respected your POV on the one I read recently? Do you know where I can find more resources on this topic, please?

    1. thanks for that compliment. I don’t actually know of anything else that has been written on it. I highly recommend Andrew Pulrang’s writing though – he writes on Forbes now, and he covers most everything in his excellent essays.

      1. Yes, I am aware of Andrew’s great writing in Forbes, thx. I’ve asked several social science researchers with disability specialties if they know of any research done in this area, and they do not. What started me looking was hearing Al Roker’s wife, (Deborah (first name?) Roberts addressing on Good Morning America last week the ‘hierarchy’ that exists within the Black community, i.e., the darker a Black person’s skin color is, the greater the employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination that occurs against them. I feel we put physically disabled persons at/near the top of a hierarchy, and people with I/DD near the bottom. but, I’m looking for research to prove or disprove this hypothesis. Your article was the closest I’ve found to support my belief, and I wish it didn’t exist. Thank you, John

        1. WOW. I had no idea that there is so little research done on this. I’ll ask on Facebook to see if any scholars know

    2. Katharine Hayward says:

      @John, I did my doctoral research on this topic over a decade ago now. I think my dissertation is available somewhere and I can look that up. I did this research because I hypothesized that people within the disability community were prone to the same biases as those without disabilities in terms of a hierarchy of a disability, particularly if they did not have very few connections within the disability community. I myself have a disability and did not know many others with disabilities until much later in my adulthood. I attempted to have my research published but it was deemed too controversial, and I could not get it accepted at the time. I would be happy to share the abstract if anyone is interested.

  6. Neil Seymour says:

    I’m disabled and cannot get out, I have to rely on people who are passing by to pick things up for me. I hate it asking for help from anyone that includes my only daughter after losing both my sons. She lives in a different town from me

  7. Donna Wexler says:

    You have inspired me. I am the parent of a 45 y o young man w severe disabilities. He has been my greatest teacher and has taught me patience, resilience, and cause for using my creativity. I am an SLP and, because of my life as his parent, I have been able
    to share my heart and lessons w many children and their parents. I support you in your venture!

    1. haja khan says:

      AOA will you help disable people financially support in any country??because boy is disable and so much poor and also need treatment & food so its big reward if anyone help of disable person.

  8. I am a young adult with autism- 27 years old. I have been longing to find friends and other people on the spectrum. I currently work with voc rehab in minnesota. I was wondering what were your suggestions for finding yourself, getting organized, having hobbies, etc?
    I have tried reading and writing clubs in my state but am not having any luck. I also have tried doing day service programs and I am beginning to think no one in there likes me. I have looked at the autism society as well in minnesota for stuff to do but they dont have much.

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