Friday, July 31, 2015

Have an adventurous weekend

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it's the last day of July? What are you doing this weekend? I'm looking forward to tackling some of my Summer Projects. I hope you enjoyed our celebration of the Americans With Disabilities Act this week -- be sure to catch up on any posts you may have missed. I've got a couple more posts planned for next week, including my own thoughts, and I can't wait to share! In the meantime, have a great weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

There might be a habitable planet!

I love the #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter on Twitter!

How adorable is this Scandinavian kids room?

DIY fruit slice umbrellas.

Frustrated? This might help.

10 things you shouldn't put on your blog.

How-To: Email someone you've never met.

What happened when a professor forced students to take notes with pen and paper.

The Goldilocks Theory of Marriage.

Some great picks on this Ultimate Mad Men Playlist.

Awww, this 4-year-old leukemia patient 'married' her favorite nurse.

Fun Read: "What I learned from working at Teen Beat for a year."

In love with these state necklaces!

How cool are these chess sets?

Fun Fact: Christina Applegate turned down Legally Blonde.

CEOs who prove liberal arts degrees aren't worthless (via Swiss-miss),

OMG, it's a s'mores custard cake!!

How kindness became our forbidden pleasure.

Check out these Disney princes imagined in real life. Prince Eric, be still my heart!!

...and just for fun, which Disney prince is your true love?

And as always, feel free to connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube! See you there!

[Photo via bippity boppity boo]

Americans With Disabilities Act: "10 Things I Wish People Knew About Disabilities"

From Australia... to the United Kingdom! San Francisco resident Anna Scanlon is currently pursuing a PhD in history from the University of Leicester in England, where she's also a writer and author. She chronicles her journey on her blog Anna in Wonderland and you can get to know her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube too! Today, she shares a few things she wished people knew about disabilities...
I can’t speak for everyone who has a disability. There are so many disabilities and each person that has one is a unique and complex individual, with their own thoughts and opinions. So with this, I can only speak about myself and my experiences; however, I will be speaking in generalities as this list encompasses things many disabled people and I have discussed.

For those of you who don’t know me, I blog over at Anna in Wonderland. If you peruse my blog for a few moments (unless you’ve happened on a post about health), I probably look like a perfectly healthy woman. However, that is not the case. Since I was 20-years-old, I have had a disease called Lupus SLE. Although it is very complicated and each case is different, I sum it up by saying that it means my body mistakes its own healthy tissue for invader or “sick” cells and attacks it. This results in mind-numbing fatigue, arthritis, generalized pain and feeling like I have the flu a good several times a month. Thus far, my Lupus has not been life-threatening, but as you can imagine, it can be fatal as the body may begin to mistake a vital organ for an invader.

With that in mind, here are 10 things that I wish people knew about disabilities...

1. Not all disabilities are visible: Just because you can’t see outwardly what is wrong with someone, don’t assume that they’re faking it for a parking pass or to cut the line at Disneyland. Of course, some people play the system, but in my experience, that is very rare. But because not all disabilities are visible, it doesn’t mean you should open your mouth and question someone if you think they are scamming the system. My mom, who had polio as a child and cannot walk long distances due to a deformity in her legs (which can’t be seen when she’s wearing long pants), was once questioned by some random man in a Target parking lot for using her handicap sticker. The bottom line: It isn’t your business and you aren’t the handicap sticker/line at Disneyland police.

2. You can ask questions: This means you take an interest in us and want to know more about the difficulties we face. Lupus isn’t a bad word and you can mention it to me and you can ask me anything. Most people with disabilities feel similarly. It is better to ask than assume.

3. We aren’t looking for sympathy: If we’re sick, you can wish us well or say that you’re sorry, but we don’t need you pointing out all of the things in life we’ve missed or are missing out on. We’re already aware of that, and we don’t need someone to point it out, even in concern.

4. Don’t treat us differently: If someone is in a wheelchair, using crutches or a mobility device, it doesn’t mean they also have an intellectual disability. And if someone is intellectually disabled, they just want to be talked to like everyone else and not talked down to. We’re all people here -- and we’re all on this planet rotating through space together!

5. We aren’t summed up by our disease or disability: That is just one aspect of our lives, although it may play a very big part. Everyone with a disability is a complex human, just like those who are not disabled. Unless were at a conference for a disability or positioning ourselves as speakers for a certain disability, we want to talk about other things we are interested in most of the time.

6. We aren’t an inspiration: It’s fine to feel inspired by our stories or grateful for your own life and abilities, but we don’t exist to “teach you a lesson” or to “inspire you to keep going.” We’re people in our own right and have struggles and breakdowns coping with our disability that are less than inspiring!

7. Don’t tell us how young we are: We know most young people don’t go in and out of the hospital or use wheelchairs or canes. We know most young people don’t have arthritis or general pain. We know most young people don’t face the same challenges we do. We don’t need to be reminded of this as it can sometimes make things even harder.

8. We have good and bad days, just like everyone else: Many people with disabilities struggle with accepting their disability, especially if it happened later in life. This can cause a lot of internal turmoil and goes with the idea that we aren’t an inspiration. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean we don’t have very challenging days when we just want to give up.

9. Don’t tell us everything happens for a reason: Well, maybe this one is a bit more personal for me as some people may be okay with it. However, I really don’t like being told that having Lupus was part of some grand plan to teach me something or that God has picked his strongest soldiers to fight the hardest battles. Personally, I think sometimes stuff like this comes down to genes and bad luck.

10. Having a disability isn’t our fault: While this may seem like a no-brainer, there has been a recent trend within the last few years that purports certain eating habits result in all kinds of illnesses and disabilities and simply “correcting” them will make you better. This is ridiculous and somewhat insulting to our intelligence. Of course, a healthy balanced diet is key for anyone, but that doesn’t mean cutting out a food group is going to suddenly cure an incurable disease or make someone’s autism go away. Most of us are well aware of the most current research surrounding our particular conditions and would likely already be aware if there was something that could help or cure the disease.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Americans With Disabilities Act: A Parent's Perspective

I've always said that behind every person with a disability is a parent or caretaker -- someone who fights for them, advocates for them and cheers them on when the going gets tough. That's why, when we talk about living with a disability, we can't leave out our parents, who are a huge piece of the puzzle. I asked my mom to write a few words about her experiences over the years, especially since the ADA was passed when I was only eight-years-old. And, well, write she did...
I got really side-tracked when I looked up the Americans With Disability Act on Google just now. I guess I never really realized the broad, sweeping changes this act brought to life for people with disabilities. I only realized the implications for our little family and didn’t ever bother to investigate it any further than it applied to me. I say "shame on me" for that!

However, after thinking about it for a minute, I realized that the reason I was so narrow-minded about this is that having a handicapped child, prior to the ADA, was one scary proposition. When Melissa was born, we had no idea what was in store for us, or for her, and we most certainly didn’t realize that there would be so many obstacles out there, both for her and for us as a family as she grew up. Obstacles that were personal, social, educational, medical and occupational were areas that we never realized would present such hurdles. All we knew on August 4, 1981 was that the most precious little red-headed girl had come into our lives and we were going to do right by her no matter what happened!

When it was time for preschool, I wanted to enroll Melissa into Northern Illinois University's child care, since Brian and I were both affiliated with the university. There was a lot of discussion prior to Melissa starting school there. I had to go with her, at first, as her assistant because at the time, she was the first child with special needs to attend. Nowadays that would never happen, Melissa would have been assigned an assistant right away.

When Melissa began elementary school, there was no accessible way for her to get into the building. The ramp still stands that was built just for her; we were lucky to have that done, as that was a couple years before the ADA went into effect! Every year was scary for us in worrying that Melissa wouldn’t be assigned an assistant and would be taken out of the classroom. With the ADA and the "least restrictive environment" mandate becoming the norm in education, she was lucky to always have someone able to help her by her side and it didn’t have to be me! I mean, c'mon, no preteen or teenager wants their mom going to school with them!
In high school, we could easily see the effects of this act. When the elevator was broken, Melissa’s whole class was moved downstairs so Melissa wouldn’t miss anything. Buses had to be handicapped accessible, even for just going on a field trip. A ramp was put in for her when she sang on the stage in choir and when she graduated.

In college, Melissa got by really well, as by then, things were becoming second nature regarding disability awareness at state schools. When Brian would go to help her use the bathroom at lunchtime, a special unisex bathroom was put in (of course, years later, Melissa told me that she could have gone to the bathroom by herself, but she and Brian liked the lunchtime check-in!). The university got her the special desks she needed and made sure she could get to her classes. She had the accessible bus and the services of the Center for Accessibility Resources too.

But, even though things went relatively well for us, it was still a scary time and not a day went by that I didn’t worry that life would be so hard for Melissa. I guess that was a lot of wasted time worrying on my part! There have been many times when we weren’t sure what to do, how to get something we needed or how to get somewhere we needed to go, but we always managed to figure it out or find someone who could help us figure it out. So, the moral of the story, I guess, is that we all have challenges in life and still have a duty to ourselves and others to live the best life possible.

So today, no matter your challenge, tackle something difficult and see what happens. It’s truly empowering! I am so proud of Melissa and her can-do-it attitude, and I thank all of you for reading her blog so faithfully! And, thank you, Melissa, for letting me do this guest post! :)

Americans With Disabilities Act: "Giving Myself the Label of ‘Disabled’ Has Been Very Empowering"

Although we've been celebrating the Americans With Disabilities Act this week and the strides made by the disability community, I was curious to find out how things were shaping up around the world. I was lucky enough to chat with two incredible women who shared what life is like for them. First up: Meet Carly Findlay. As an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist living in Melbourne, Australia, she challenges people’s thinking about what it’s like to have a visibly different appearance. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Here, she shares what she's learned...
Labels. They’re a blessing and a curse to live with. Fat. Thin. Beautiful. Ugly. Smart. Stupid. Rich. Poor. Athletic. Lazy. Normal. Different. Disabled. Able-bodied.

Labels are temporary but can result in our identities and esteem being damaged. We can peel off the labels others stick on us. Or we can embrace them, letting them become part of our identity.

I was never labeled as having a disability or chronic illness by anyone other than myself. I was called lots of other names relating to my appearance, but never anything relating to disability.

Disability seemed so much more than a rare severe skin condition called Ichthyosis. I don’t have an intellectual impairment and my mobility isn’t affected unless I am very sore. And I don’t take enough tablets to have a chronic illness. I went through life thinking that my condition wasn’t bad for me because I coped with it daily. It was only my skin, right? That’s just a visual impairment, right? Wrong. My parents, nurses and doctors knew how severe it was, and told me that if a skin infection reached my blood stream, it could be fatal.

It wasn’t until my mid-'20s that I identified with having a disability and a chronic illness. I thought ‘disability’ and ‘chronic illness’ had really negative connotations -- and why wouldn’t I when society makes ableist slurs, employment of people with disabilities is low and physical and attitudinal barriers are rife? I also never saw many positive, ordinary stories of disability in the media; disability is often portrayed as tragedy or heroic and nothing in between. There is a limited view of disability that’s portrayed in the media, both limited conditions and limited expectations. And I thought that I had to be assessed by a doctor or the government to give me a label in addition to my skin condition. A label of disability or chronic illness? I didn’t realise how positive it could be to embrace these labels.

I started mentoring at a hospital program for young people with chronic illnesses when I was 26. I wanted to provide guidance and support to them, based on my experiences. But they taught me so much more than I was prepared for. I learned about a wide range of chronic illnesses and I learned about myself. We had so much in common despite our different conditions. I realized that like them, I missed a lot of school (and work) to attend medical appointments and stay in the hospital. My condition also made it hard for me to make friends. I have more than three specialists. My condition has a really long, unpronounceable name. And it is more severe than a temporary illness like a cold or a stomach bug.
And then, a couple of years later, I immersed myself in the Melbourne disability community through writing and community TV. I saw that people with varying disabilities face the same sorts of questions, physical and attitudinal barriers and discrimination. My friends in wheelchairs receive similar, intrusive questions about their disabilities, just as I do.

Most recently, I discovered there is a vibrant and supportive community of people with facial differences.

Giving myself the labels of ‘disabled’ and ‘chronically ill’ has been very empowering. I feel great sense of belonging -- and that’s as big a relief as a diagnosis is. It’s given me pride. I am proud to belong to an amazing, talented, diverse, passionate community that’s committed to improving the lives of others. It’s also given me the courage to speak up and say I can’t do something because of my body’s limitations and call out discriminatory behavior. My knowledge of the social model of disability has grown, and I’ve embraced and practiced that. I’ve become aware of sensitivities around language, which has helped me communicate better. I’ve taken control of my own health, communicating my needs to doctors and educating them during appointments and through speaking at medical conferences. And I’ve met some wonderful people who are disabled and/or chronically ill, who are affected by my skin condition or who are allies of our community. My writing and speaking career has thrived.

Above all, I’ve learned that it is OK to identify with having a disability and chronic illness, because these labels are not negative. These labels are permanently fixed to my identity and I am proud and feel included. Embracing these labels helped me to love myself.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Americans With Disabilities Act: "Having a Disability Is the Ultimate Litmus Test"

I first met fellow writer Carly Okyle several years ago on Facebook. She interviewed me about life with a disability for her blog The D Card, which she started as part of a class assignment during graduate school. Now an editorial assistant for, she spends her days writing and exploring life in the Big Apple. Today, I got to turn the tables and ask her the questions. Her words, of course, were inspiring, honest and real...
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your disability?
I'm a journalist that lives in Manhattan. I'm a pescatarian, a sports fan and an avid reader who loves to make people laugh with a cheesy joke whenever possible. I also have mild cerebral palsy, which affects my balance. I walk with a limp and have some perceptual difficulties, but none of this hinders my love of traveling.

What's been the most challenging thing regarding your disability?
I was raised to believe that I could do anything I wanted to do. It has been challenging, at times, to recognize that this might not always be the case (my perception issues make driving difficult, and I can't balance on a bicycle or a horse, for example). Still, I'd rather try to do something and fail at it in spectacular fashion than assume that something wasn't a possibility before I even made an attempt. In that spirit, I'm still trying to convince a friend to take me ice skating during the winter. Nobody's caved in to my request yet, but I have a lifetime of winters left to make my case.

Most people don't think about the 'positive' side of a disability...are there any for you?
Having a disability is, in a way, the ultimate litmus test. It can bring out the best in people or the worst. You find out who you can count on and who genuinely loves you -- especially on the days when it can be hard to love yourself.

The ADA is all about breaking down barriers for the disability community. What do you see as the biggest barrier in society right now? How have you personally experienced this in your own life?
I think that the biggest struggle is people's attitudes and assumptions. In many ways, attitudes have improved (see the next question), but people still use the R word, still stare in public and still assume that people with disabilities can't run businesses or don't want to fall in love and have families.
In what ways do you think society's attitude toward the disability community has changed in recent years? Why do you think it's changed?
Historically, physically and mentally disabled people were forcibly sterilized and put away in institutions rather than interacting with the community at large. As a society, we've come a long way since then. Though I wasn't born at the time, I would guess that many of those practices were derived from fear of what people didn't understand. As we learn more about various disabilities and develop new therapy techniques and medicines, we understand more about how the brain and body work. Also, as more people with disabilities are portrayed in mainstream media as a part of society, we learn to see the person behind the diagnosis. Education and popular culture are making disabilities less unknowable, and therefore less frightening. Policies can now be formed based out of compassion and assistance instead of fright and panic.

Are there any misconceptions that still get under your skin?
People generally portray people with disabilities as either angry and bitter or as a shining beacon of inspiration and saintliness. I've found that people with disabilities are just that -- people. Some are angry people, some are inspiring people (people can also be both of those things at once on any given day) and most are people who are just living their lives -- enjoying ice cream, laughing with friends, stressed about work, procrastinating the errands they don't want to run in favor of just one more episode on Netflix. Just let people be people rather than archetypes.

If you could tell the world one thing in honor of the ADA's 25th birthday, what would it be?
It sounds naive, but really...treat people as you would want to be treated. Pre-schoolers understand that concept, so I'm not exactly sure when that idea gets lost, but if I could offer any advice, I guess that'd be it.

Americans With Disabilities Act: Disability Visibility Project

I was immediately inspired when I discovered the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps aimed at collecting and preserving the stories of people with disabilities. Founder Alice Wong, Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF, began the project in July 2014. Here, she talks about the project's lasting impact and what she sees as the biggest barrier in society right now with regard to the disability community...
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how the DVP came about?
I live and work in San Francisco as a researcher at the Community Living Policy Center and I'm an active member of the SF Bay Area disability community. I've always enjoyed listening to StoryCorps stories every Friday on NPR's Morning Edition. I attended a live event at StoryCorps in San Francisco about two years ago and I learned about their community partnerships with various organizations and that sparked the idea of one that's specifically aimed at people with disabilities.

Why is this project so important, not just for the disability community, but for society as a whole?
There aren't enough stories and history about people with disabilities in their own words and on their own terms. With the legacy of institutionalization and rampant discrimination, people with disabilities have been integrated into American society for less than 50 years if you think about it. Also, media and news about people with disabilities is usually through the non-disabled person's perspective and that can create stereotypes and cliches about what life is really like. We're not angels and inspirations nor are we monsters and parasites.

What can the able-bodied community learn and take away from the stories shared in the DVP?
We are the largest minority in the United States; there are approximately 57 million of us and we're everywhere! Not everyone has a visible disability, but we are present in almost every aspect of community life.

The ADA is all about breaking down barriers for the disability community. What do you see as the biggest barrier in society right now? How have you personally experienced this in your own life?
One barrier that's really tough to combat is having low expectations. I experienced this first-hand as a kid with a disability. Kids know when adults look down on them and they can feel it when you don't think they're capable or as valuable as other kids. This barrier can't be solved with a law, but in the way we think about disability, that it's about doing things differently rather than being 'less than.'

In what ways do you think society's attitude toward the disability community has changed in recent years? Why do you think it's changed?
I'd like to think that people are less surprised or shocked when the see a person with a disability out in public or in a position of power or prestige. There should be diverse views on who we are -- we can be talented, jerks, millionaires, or slackers -- just like everyone else. This culture change takes time and it happens as more people with disabilities are visible in their communities (and I don't mean literally visible, I mean as an identity). Being 'out' and open about being a person with a disability is the start to greater acceptance and understanding by non-disabled people.

If you could tell the world one thing in honor of the ADA's 25th birthday, what would it be?
Easy! Use the new StoryCorps app and record a story for the Disability Visibility Project or go in person to a StoryCorps booth! Our project will end December 2015 and there is still time to be part of our archive. Anyone with a disability is encouraged to record a conversation alone or with a friend and there are no guidelines on what to talk about as long as it's about the lived experience of disability.

--Alice recently wrote about the importance of storytelling. You can also follow the Disability Visibility Project on Facebook and Twitter! Thanks so much, Alice!!

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"This is my fight song...Take back my life song...Prove I'm alright song...My power's turned on..." --Rachel Platten

[Photos via That Kind of Woman]

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Americans With Disabilities Act: "People With Disabilities Can Be Independent If They're Willing to Work for It"

I'm so happy to welcome Meghan as our first interview for Americans With Disabilities Act Week. Meghan is in her early twenties and blogs about lifestyle and music on her blog Got Meghan. I'll just let her amazing words do the talking. Take it away, Meghan! xoxo
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your disability?
I am in my early twenties. I'm a lifestyle and music blogger. I have a condition called Arthrogryposis, I was born with it. It was a joint disease that basically makes my arms and legs smaller and almost unusable. I can bend my knees a little but not as much as I'd like. I can't walk on my feet because I have a club foot and rocker bottom. I've tried using walkers in the past but nothing has ever worked for me. So I've always had to use wheelchairs. I got my first electric wheelchair at the age of four. I can't use my fingers, so I use my feet for everything. I've learned how to write, draw and text over the years. I also have scoliosis, which is another thing I got at birth! In 2002, I had three surgeries to fix my spine. I had the spinal fusion surgery; I have titanium rods and pins placed into my back and hips.

What's been the most challenging thing regarding your disability?
The most challenging thing about my disabilities is that when I want to do something, I have to ask somebody to help me do it. When I do things like grab things off the floor while I am sitting in anything, I have people all around who want to lend a hand. I see their good intentions, but I'm a very independent person and what nobody seems to understand is that it hurts to ask for somebody to put you in your wheelchair or take you out somewhere. I'm very grateful for the ones that help me do these things, but I always tend to feel like a burden to my family and friends.

Most people don't think about the 'positive' side of a disability...are there any for you?
I think if you are able to find ways to do things for yourself without having to rely on others, that can be one of the biggest positives a person with a disability can have! Thinking about the positives with having a disability can be a little tricky when you're constantly seeing the negative popping up. I have to remind myself probably once a day that my body may feel older than it should, but I can still scoot on the floor, I can still grab and lift things. I'm not confided to my bed like some are, so I should look at that as a positive because that could've been my life instead!

The ADA is all about breaking down barriers for the disability community. What do you see as the biggest barrier in society right now? How have you personally experienced this in your own life?
A lot of people I've seen have been more concerned about having people with disabilities on TV, movies and modelling in magazines but I see things differently. I see problems still in my hometown and around the whole country, really. I live on a block that doesn't have any sidewalks; the one that's over by a house nearby has been broken up by the ground. It's not straight and has grasses growing over it in parts. I love going on walks, but this basically makes it impossible to go "walking" and I have to trust the cars coming and going on the roads and hope they haven't had any alcohol in their systems that afternoon and won't run me off the road and injure/kill the both of us! I hardly see completed blocks of houses with sidewalks. I know there are other places like this -- every block should have wide, finished sidewalks for everybody to walk on.

As far as the second question, I have had personal experiences with barriers. When I was in high school, during my Junior year, I was involved with National Honor Society and we had our meetings in the mornings before school started. We had these giant doors that blocked some of the rooms to get into these classrooms, I always had to bring my sister along with me to open these doors for me. There were two of us in wheelchairs that went to these meetings, so both of us had to endure the struggles of wondering if the doors would be open for us or not because sometimes they would be! Our aides couldn't be with us because it happened before school was in session. Speaking of our aides, since there were four of us, we would have to wait for them to open the doors or have another student to do it for us during our breaks. So after a while I started having these dreams about fixing the problem. I actually talked it over with my principal by myself during my study hall once. I suggested about having buttons and door openers on these doors. She said she would look in it. I never heard anything back from her about it and whenever I saw her I asked about it. After a while, my dad took over and managed to get a meeting with the superintendent and the rest of the school board members. I went with him that night. Plans were set and I felt so much happiness that night. At the end of it all, construction of fixing the doors in both middle and high schools started in January of 2009. We got our buttons to place on our wheelchairs in March and I used mine a lot between those last two years of high school.
In what ways do you think society's attitude toward the disability community has changed in recent years? Why do you think it's changed?
If you look back at certain time periods, people with disabilities belonged in institutions and were there for maybe all their lives or half their life. Families were too embarrassed to have their children seen out in public. They looked to us as a curse instead of a blessing. Now, even though, there are a lot of people in this world that are still giving their disabled children up to adoption agencies and hospitals, society isn't as scared of us as they once did! Some understand that we are still human beings, we want to travel the world and shop at the same stores as everybody else. The only difference is in our physical and/or mental disabilities.

Are there any misconceptions that still get under your skin?
Being an inspiration. It's not something that I wanted to go after when I was born -- nobody does! I don't use my feet to get attention; I use to as a kid! Now I don't and it's held me back from a lot of things because I've felt ashamed from learning how to do anything new with my toes! I did NOT learn to do anything to impress anybody; I am just showing other people/kids with disabilities that they can be independent if they're willing to work for it.

Another misconception is that people think it's less rude to stare, point, whisper to one another than just come up to me and asking questions about my disability. I don't mind the questions at all. I love it when little kids come up to me and say "Why are your hands like that?" or "How come you are in a wheelchair?" They are so curious and want to learn. I feel like I have to answer quick before their parent(s) hear and pull them away. It shouldn't be that way! That child was being more respectful than the person who hushed them.

If you could tell the world one thing in honor of the ADA's 25th birthday, what would it be?
The only words that I can say is "thank you" because without this act, I don't think America would want to be dealing with this battle right now!

[Bottom photo via We Heart It]

I Have This Thing With Floors

I Have This Thing With Floors is an addictive Instagram started last year by Pien van Wijmen, Josha Jansen and Edith Beurskens. The collection, comprised of aerial shots of floor and shoes, proclaims, "When feet meet nice floors. Make a selfeet..."

How awesome are these photos? The designs and patterns of the floors alone are mesmerizing. I'm hooked! xoxo

Monday, July 27, 2015

Talking Honestly About Disabilities

When I started So About What I Said nearly seven years, I had no idea where I'd be today. But I knew one thing: I wanted the blog to be a place where I could talk openly and honestly about disabilities.

Being a voice. That's what was most important to me back then. And it still is.

That's why I'm SO excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act this week! The landmark legislation, signed into law on July 26th, 1990, aimed to remove barriers and combat discrimination against people with disabilities.

"The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services." --Introduction to the ADA

To celebrate the milestone, I've asked some of my blogging friends in the disability community to share their words, thoughts and experiences. The first interview will be posted tomorrow, but I thought it would be helpful to a round-up -- a Best-Of, if you will -- get the ball rolling. Here's a look back at some of my favorite disability posts...

Disabilities In The Media...
*Glee-ful joy.
*Disabilities in advertising.
*The amazing Push Girls.
*An Open Letter To Ali Stroker.
*Superhero window washers.
*Setting records on Mt. Everest.
*Great strides in the fashion world.
*Toys for kids with disabilities.

Love and Disabilities...
*Would guys really date a woman with a physical disability?
*Disabilities aren't dealbreakers.
*Dating Disclaimers.
*Disability myths.
*"Did I ever let my disability define me?"
*Three questions I'm scared to ask.
*Five questions to NEVER ask a woman with a disability.

Real Life with a Disability...
*Living independently.
*Top Ten.
*My life in list form.
*Terrifying medical moments.
*Offensive language.
*Hospital tour photos.
*Good reminder.
*My disability Q & A.
*International Persons With Disabilities Day.
*The importance of changing perceptions and classroom inclusion.

Enjoy the reading, friends, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for more disability talk! xoxo
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