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.
What happens if a doctor refuses to treat you? That happened to a friend, a wheelchair user with osteogenesis imperfecta (or brittle bone disease). My friend, like others with OI, has had countless bone fractures. Recently, she broke her arm as she was reaching for a pencil while working with a group of young students […]
Wow, am I sitting up high now! So high in fact, I can see over almost all the other vehicles on the road. What a feeling of power behind the wheel! It’s also one of the benefits of ditching my much smaller and lower Honda Civic for a newly equipped and very accessible van. I’ve […]
What’s your preference: Do you want to be described as disabled? Handicapped? Wheelchair user? PWD? Crip? You’d probably like to avoid all labels, but in our stereotype-obsessed culture, that’s impossible. Still, Juliet Martinez , Arizona’s Ms. Wheelchair America 2014, is challenging her state to stop using terms she believes limit the perception of what people […]
Rugged Alaska can be an unforgettable journey for wheelers — with smart planning.
When I was raising my family, I couldn’t find children’s books that addressed the issue of disability in smart, eye-opening ways. There were books on just about every other subject a child could be interested in, but none I felt would open the door for a conversation about disability in language that kids understand and […]
I hardly ever mention what I’m about to disclose out of fear people will laugh at me. Looking back on my life, I have a hard time believing I did it. But the truth is, I once was a cheerleader. That’s right, a wheelchair cheerleader during my college years at the University of Illinois — […]
Good news for Broadway lovers: some theaters are going to be more accessible. The feds have brokered an agreement with the powerful Nederlander Organization to improve access at nine of its Broadway theaters after finding numerous ADA violations. It took years of negotiation, but the company has agreed to add wheelchair seating locations; provide more […]
Media don’t consider the Paralympics a serious sporting event, so coverage is limited unless we speak up and demand more TV reports and sports articles.
As I write this, the winds are blowing fiercely and the snow is piling up like icy sand dunes — just another winter’s day in the frigid northeastern U.S. Winter always seems like the longest season of the year but in 2014, it appears as if this extreme weather will never end. Since I work […]
When my family was growing up a decade or so ago, American Girl dolls were big. The girls loved reading the books that told the story of a doll that represented a specific historical era. Mostly, though, they lusted after all the very expensive clothing, accessories and furniture displayed in the slick catalog. One year, […]