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.

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. […]

NPR's Interview with Disabled Travel Expert

NPR’s Interview with Disabled Travel Expert

Carole Zoom has the perfect name for a person who loves to travel and write about it. She’s been all over the world — Spain, China, Argentina, Ireland,  Denmark — and has become an expert at traveling with a disability. In fact, she was featured in a segment on NPR recently, which opened thusly: “Planning […]

From the ER to the OR With Weeks in Between

From the ER to the OR With Weeks in Between

A few weeks ago I wrote about a friend with osteogenesis imperfecta — or brittle bone disease — who went to the ER after breaking her arm at work. She’s had hundreds of fractures over the years, and this latest was a bone that had been broken and repaired surgically several years ago. She knows […]

Discovering the San Juan Islands

Discovering the San Juan Islands

Beautiful, serene and unspoiled, Washington state’s San Juan Islands are easy to reach — and mostly wheelchair accessible.

Sex and the School Board Candidate

Sex and the School Board Candidate

Angela J. Bray campaigned for a seat on the Niagara Falls School Board in New York — but lost. I wouldn’t be surprised if the openness she displays about her sexuality as a disabled woman convinced voters to cast their ballots for someone else. Headlines in local newspapers certainly didn’t help: “Disabled Model, Sex Coach […]