RSSAuthor Archive for Sue LoTempio

Since it's difficult to trust mainstream media to accurately tell the story of living with a disability in America, SpokeSpeak will go behind the headlines and add context, commentary and snarky viewpoints on the day's news and other happenings. Susan LoTempio, a long-time newspaper writer and editor, has published articles on the disability experience in New Mobility, the New York Times and other national newspapers and magazines. Her biggest joys come from her family and friends; her biggest frustrations come from trying to explain to doctors under the age of 50 what polio is and why they should care about it.

October's Focus: Jobs and Disability

October’s Focus: Jobs and Disability

It’s truly sad that only during the month of October, aka National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is attention officially paid to the critical issue of jobs and the disability community. The problem is, after all, huge: The U.S. Department of Labor reports that about eight in 10 working-age Americans with disabilities don’t hold a job, […]

Meet the Amazing Amy Van Dyken-Rouen

Meet the Amazing Amy Van Dyken-Rouen

Have you heard about Amy Van Dyken-Rouen? I just found out what an amazing athlete she is: six Gold medals in Olympic swimming competitions, four at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and two at the Sydney Games in 2000. In 1996, she was the most successful athlete of those Olympics winning the most medals of […]

Kayne West vs. His Disabled Fans

Kayne West vs. His Disabled Fans

I normally don’t pay an ounce of attention to Kayne West and his vapid wife, but when the news broke over the weekend about his bullish behavior at the concert in Sydney, Australia, there was no ignoring him. For those who missed it, here’s a recap: West ordered everyone in the audience to stand up […]

Stop Sending Disabled Kids to "Special Land"

Stop Sending Disabled Kids to “Special Land”

Kids head back to school this week bursting with stories about their summer fun — swimming, hiking, biking, roasting marshmallows around the fire, telling ghost stories during camping trips. You have to wonder, though — do disabled kids have as many stories to tell or did they spend most of their summer indoors, in front […]

Where are the disabled in TV ads?

Where are the disabled in TV ads?

A friend tells me I go out of my way to make things harder for myself, so when I recently needed a new washing machine, I purchased a front-loader. Believe me, it makes doing laundry almost bearable. So, if it works for me, wouldn’t many others benefit — disabled and non-disabled alike (i.e., short and […]

Trouble on the Streets of New York City

Trouble on the Streets of New York City

Last time I visited New York City, I was frustratingly reminded how tough the place is for wheelers. Besides the millions of walking people packing streets and crosswalks, Manhattan’s curb cuts are either nonexistent or in terrible shape. (If you’re lucky, there’s one useable curb cut at a major intersection.) Sidewalks are ragged and bumpy, […]

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready for a Disaster?

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready for a Disaster?

Do you know what you’d do if your life was threatened by a disaster? Though the headlines rarely report it, too many people with disabilities died during the blockbuster storms Katrina, Sandy and Irene. We may never know how many died, were injured or left homeless by the tornadoes that recently ripped through the middle […]

Say 'Sesame' and Steps Disappear!

Say ‘Sesame’ and Steps Disappear!

Imagine pushing up to a building where you’re face to face with a flight of concrete steps at the front door and no accessible entrance in sight. Then, with a push of a button, a section of the staircase slides back and is replaced by a wheelchair lift. Once you get to the top, you […]

Bette Midler and Laughing at Disability

Bette Midler and Laughing at Disability

I grew when there was no ADA, no social media, and no role models for young, female wheelchair users. Then in the late ’60s, along came Bette Midler, whose music I’d first discovered on the radio. I immediately bought some of her albums (vinyl records then), but it wasn’t until I saw her in concert […]

Good News, Bad News About Travel

Good News, Bad News About Travel

There’s good news and bad news this summer if you’re planning to travel. First the good news: On the East Coast, the Jersey Shore is more accessible: Hundreds of business owners whose buildings were demolished during Hurricane Sandy’s vicious attack are finding out that it’s good business to make their establishments accessible as they rebuild. […]