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Why Are Strangers Smiling at Us?

Why Are Strangers Smiling at Us?

I was out to brunch recently waiting with a crowd of other hungry customers for tables to open up. My friend and I, both wheelchair users, received the usual number of stares and glares when out in public, especially in pairs. But I also noticed people looking at us with strange, stiff smiles. Most were […]

Will Polio Return?

Will Polio Return?

So, American parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children because of a misinformed (in my opinion) fear that vaccines might harm their babies. Now, diseases that had been practically wiped out – measles and whooping cough – have returned in alarming numbers. Cases of mumps are also on the rise. What’s next, polio? All […]

Do We Need Day of Acceptance?

Do We Need Day of Acceptance?

I was a bit mystified recently when I bumped into the International Day of Acceptance, which this year was Jan. 20. I’d never heard of it before (it began in 2010), and wondered how one day could possibly do any good for a disability community that fights for acceptance on every level, from personal to […]

On "NCIS: New Orleans," Wheeler is for Real

On “NCIS: New Orleans,” Wheeler is for Real

Is he or isn’t he? Is the wheeler character named Patton Plame on “NCIS: New Orleans” disabled or just another Hollywood faker? These days I’m so cynical I assume any actor sitting in a wheelchair is a “pretender,” but in the case of Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, I was very wrong. Mitchell was a successful actor […]

Dems to Tammy Duckworth: No Accommodation

Dems to Tammy Duckworth: No Accommodation

Tammy Duckworth — congresswoman, double amputee, Iraq war veteran, mother-to-be — recently asked her Democratic boss in Congress to accommodate her. It seems that Duckworth’s doctor advised her not to travel during the last weeks of her high-risk pregnancy, and she wanted to cast her vote in the elections for House Democratic Caucus leadership and […]

When Discrimination Happens to You

When Discrimination Happens to You

We all know that discrimination exists in the real world, but when it happens to you, it’s like a hard slap in the face. Here’s what happened to me recently: For years I’ve had Botox bladder injections at my urologist’s office. It was easy, low-stress and cost-effective. But when I called the office a few […]

Sled Hockey Team Gets Ice Time

Sled Hockey Team Gets Ice Time

Sometimes good comes out of bad. Just ask the sled hockey team that plays at the Depew Ice Pavilion, located right outside Buffalo, N.Y. That rink recently was retrofitted to make it accessible for the disabled hockey athletes, but it’s where the money came from to pay for the accommodations that’s unusual. The former treasurer […]

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 […]