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.

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 […]

Laughter Yoga for a Healthier You

Laughter Yoga for a Healthier You

Countless times I’ve been urged to take an adaptive yoga class to reduce stress and, hopefully, be healthier. But meditation and yoga poses never interested me until I heard about Laughter Yoga at the recent Abilities Expo at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center. Laughter Yoga, really? Beth Bongar, who calls herself the Laughing […]

On 'The Good Wife,' Disabled Actors Play the 'Bad Guys'

On ‘The Good Wife,’ Disabled Actors Play the ‘Bad Guys’

Imagine my surprise the other night when watching the latest episode of “The Good Wife” and seeing two bona fide actors with disabilities playing two characters with disabilities. The bigger surprise was that neither character was inspirational nor sad and pathetic. They were just plain bad guys! Michael J. Fox has a recurring role on […]

My Love/Hate Relationship With Hotels

My Love/Hate Relationship With Hotels

I love hotels. I hate hotels. Know the feeling? While adventure travel is big business these days, for wheelers “adventure” often implies something different: access problems. What’s most frustrating about hotels is how inconsistent they are. Case in point: over the winter I took a break from the cold and snow and headed to the […]

At Work, Are You Just One of the Workers — or 'Special'?

At Work, Are You Just One of the Workers — or ‘Special’?

For most of us, work is the key to independence and self-worth. Our jobs get us out of bed every day allowing us to share our skills and talents. From 9 to 5, we’d like to believe we’re just one of many workers getting paid to be productive. Or, are we fooling ourselves? The syndicated […]

Can a Doctor Refuse Treatment?

Can a Doctor Refuse Treatment?

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 […]

Behind the Wheel of a New Van

Behind the Wheel of a New Van

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 […]

Fight Against Use of Disabled, Handicapped Terms

Fight Against Use of Disabled, Handicapped Terms

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 […]

Cruising Alaska in a Wheelchair

Cruising Alaska in a Wheelchair

Rugged Alaska can be an unforgettable journey for wheelers — with smart planning.

Books About Disability for Children

Books About Disability for Children

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 […]