Disability. It’s been called the silent “D” in diversity, and after a year of talking about how important it is for institutions and businesses to focus on diversity, this month pushes us to highlight those who our society all too often leaves out.

July is Disability Pride Month, and it’s not only a time for the disabled community to celebrate who they are, but it’s also a time to better understand how you can become a better ally to our disabled community members.

Emily Ladau is an activist, public speaker and author. She was born with Larsen syndrome, a genetic physical disability, and since the age of 10 she has been a disability advocate.

Her new book Demystifying Disability: What to know, what to say and how to be an ally hits store shelves this fall and she says the goal was to create a friendly and approachable primer to disability. A few key points on what to do when interacting with a disabled person include, being your usual self and avoiding awkward jokes and staring.

“We can do our part as disabled people, especially during Disability Pride Month, to own our identity and share our stories,” said Ladau.

Ladau also co-hosts a podcast and runs a blog called Words I Wheel By. She says through her work, she is trying to reach anyone who needs to hear and learn what the disability experience is like.