The 20 most viewed TED talks on Disability.


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The remainder of the page is kept for archive use.

I’m a big fan of TED, and find their talks useful, inspiring, and motivational.  There are well over 1500 TED talks on a range of  topics, but I was mildly surprised to find that when you search for ‘disability’ and related words, there are only 67 talks that include any of the keywords. Given the nature of TED, I was surprised it was so low. Worryingly it turns out even worse that that.

TED’s website  doesn’t make searching videos that easy, it’s  pretty difficult to get the site to sort the search results by comments, or views, or event date. So I wrote a small bit of code to sort the list by most viewed, and I thought I’d share it with you guys.

The original set of 67 talks is here. Unfortunately it contains a lot of talks that mention disability only in passing, or in the sense of “disabling the security”. So I ended up removing quite a few (I removed Dave Eggers with a heavy heart – I liked his so much that I went to visit the project in San Francisco). The interface between disability and mental illness caused me a couple of problems, and I ended up removing a couple of (inspirational nonetheless) videos that were solely about depression (the list is already  dominated by mental illness, which is interesting in its own right). I had to remove at least 10 from the top 20, which implies that there are far fewer than 67 in total. More to the point, looking at them as a group… it starts to look like TED has the same representation problem as Hollywood…

Rank Title Views
1 Roberto D’Angelo + Francesca Fedeli: In our baby’s illness, a life lesson 12376562
2 Alice Dreger: Is anatomy destiny? 3215144
3 Nancy Etcoff: Happiness and its surprises 3215102
4 Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake 2380491
5 Ami Klin: A new way to diagnose autism 2076402
6 Thomas Insel: Toward a new understanding of mental illness 2076402
7 Vikram Patel:Mental health for all by involving all 2076402
8 Tod Machover + Dan Ellsey: Inventing instruments that unlock new music 1556689
9 Aimee Mullins: My 12 pairs of legs 1556665
10 Maysoon Zayid:I got 99 problems… palsy is just one 1399186
11 Giles Duley: when a reporter becomes the story 1290503
12 Amos Winter:The cheap all-terrain wheelchair (I love this one) 1281422
13 Todd Kuiken: A prosthetic arm that ‘feels’ 1281422
14 Aimee Mullins: Changing my legs – and my mindset 1281418
15 Keith Nolan: Deaf in the military 1145642
16 Derek Paravicini and Adam Ockelford: In the key of genius 1033385
17 Georgette Mulheir: The tragedy of orphanages 790988
18 Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share 790981
19 Stephen Hawking: Questioning the universe 698455
20 Krista Tippett: Rennecting with compassion 688336

5 thoughts on “The 20 most viewed TED talks on Disability.

  1. I love that Amy Mullins spoken word presentation and Krista Tippett interviews, in general. There’s a Krista Tippett presentation that’s a must-hear – actually two: In the Days when pots and pans could talk; and there’s one with Matthew Sanford and accessible yoga.

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