Category Archives: Disabilitiies

Welcome to the Disability Equality in Education September newsletter

DEE newsletter

“In this newsletter (click on the graphic to download the newsletter)  you will find lots of resources to engage students in a conversation on disability. The information and resources are created  and vetted by disabled people to ensure that the conversation you start in your classroom has the voice of disabled people.

“This unique project asks educators to include disability as you do race, sex and gender in your curriculum. Disabled people and their achievements, issues and history are invisible, yet we make up almost 20 percent of the population.

“We want to educators with you to create more resources to help you to bring disability into the regular classrooms so that the generation you are teaching are free of the prejudice, stereotypes and ignorance that we as disabled people experience every day of our lives.”

Visit the Disability Equality in Education Website:

“‘A powerful shift’: Disability advocacy, once an afterthought in presidential races, gains new traction” – STATNews

disability advocacyA woman votes at a polling site in Queens, N.Y., during the New York Democratic presidential primary election in June. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES”

by Juliet Isselbacher

For decades, the disability advocacy community has fought for a permanent — and prominent — place in the mainstream political discussion. The 2020 presidential race has seen a sea change.

“Advocates gained new traction during the campaign, pushing the full slate of Democratic candidates to discuss and define their stances on disability policies like never before. Amid social media pressure from activists, former Vice President Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, put out a full disability platform in May. Advocates say the platform — while not as comprehensive as they had hoped — marks a moment of significant progress after years of disability policy being treated as a political afterthought.

“’To watch the shift from us having to beg candidates — like literally beg candidates — to include the word “disability” as they rattled off diversity categories to [them] coming to us to say, “I want to engage with your folks” … [this] was such a powerful shift,’ said Rebecca Cokley, founder and director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, a progressive policy think tank.”

Read this article at STATNews its entirety, click here.

“Overlooked No More: Roland Johnson, Who Fought to Shut Down Institutions for the Disabled” – The New York Times

He survived 13 years of neglect and abuse, including sexual assault, at the notorious Pennhurst State School and Hospital outside Philadelphia before emerging as a champion for the disabled.”

roland johnson trailblazer

Credit … via the Johnson family”

by Glenn Rifkin

“In 1958, when Roland Johnson was 12, his parents sent him to the Pennhurst State School and Hospital outside Philadelphia. There he would spend 13 tormented years living through the nightmare of institutionalization that was commonplace in mid-20th-century America.

“Terrified and confused, Roland, who had an intellectual disability, quickly discovered the inhumane realities of Pennhurst, including neglect, beatings and sexual assault. And as a Black child, he encountered the toxic racism roiling life both outside and within the institution’s walls.

“’After that long ride up there, it was just horrible,’ Johnson wrote of his arrival at Pennhurst in a posthumously published autobiography, ‘Lost in a Desert World’ (2002, with Karl Williams). He described himself as having been ‘lost and lonely,’ as if ‘in a desert world.'”

Click here to read this article at The New York Times in its entirety.

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This latest installment is part of a series exploring how the Americans With Disabilities Act has shaped modern life for disabled people. Share your stories or email us at


2020 Community Alliance Summit will be virtual this year | dates and more information to come

community alliance summit

On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act | “Disability Pride: The High Expectations of a New Generation” – The New York Times


Credit … National Museum of American History”

“Millions of young people grew up knowing the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act as a birthright. They now demand its guarantees — and even more.”

by Joseph Shapiro

“To get to her job as the communications director of a legal office in Philadelphia, Imani Barbarin gets in her car — when the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t require working from home — and drives to a train station 20 minutes away.

“There’s a station closer to her house, just a two-minute drive. But Ms. Barbarin, who has cerebral palsy, walks with crutches; the nearby station doesn’t have an elevator, and the steep steps are too hard to climb.

“Ms. Barbarin was born four months before the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act became law in July 1990. She belongs to the A.D.A. generation — at least 20 million people with disabilities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — that grew up knowing the transformative civil rights law as a birthright. They expect the law to guarantee, not just promise, that they will get access to transportation, jobs, schools and other public places and to the same opportunities as anyone else.”

Keep reading this New York Times article, click here.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990.

disability stories

Click on the graphic or here to read more about the ADA anniversary and first person sories.

“When will the Americans with Disabilities Act evolve to the digital age?” – Accessibility in Pittsburgh

First-person essay by Catherine Getchell

ADA digital“Catherine Getchell and her guide dog in her backyard in Squirrel Hill. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)”

I was 9 years old when the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] was passed in July 1990. It did not have an immediate impact on my life because, as a totally blind child, I already had access to a ‘free and appropriate’ public K-12 education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was passed before the ADA, in 1973. But in 1998 when I went away to college, I counted on the ADA to allow me access to accommodations like exams in Braille and permission to have my brand-new guide dog come to class with me.

“Because of the ADA, and probably a whole lot of luck, I have never had difficulty getting or keeping a job. But one barrier that a future amendment to the ADA could address is accessibility to the digital world.

“Employers are increasingly aware of their obligations related to the ADA and, slowly but surely, the benefits of employing people with disabilities.

“We tend to be loyal, hardworking employees who perform at least as well as our peers. And in 99% of cases, if we need any accommodations at work at all, they are minimal and low cost. Agencies such as the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, where I worked for 12 wonderful years, can help employers cover the cost of accommodations and provide technical assistance to help an employee with a disability be successful on the job.”

Read this first person article in its entirety, click here.


“Faces of the law: The Americans with Disabilities Act read by those it protects” – ADA Pittsburgh.

by Jennifer Szweda Jordan

crosswalk“Crosswalks in the middle of long streets aren’t always accessible to people in wheelchairs. This man sits at the edge of a Pittsburgh sidewalk on Sixth Avenue between Wood and Smithfield streets. The ADA promotes independent movement, but it has not been fully achieved. (Photo by Alex Collinger)”

Equality. Independence. Self-sufficiency.

“These are key goals for people covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA affirmed that this is what our country should aim to achieve for people who are blind, deaf, unable to speak, using wheelchairs, living with autism, bipolar disorder or myriad other disabilities.

“Then-President George H. W. Bush, with bipartisan support in the Congress, signed this act and affirmed the civil rights of people with disabilities.”

Click here to continue reading this article.

WEBINAR: The Joy of Animals

Mark this date and time on your calendar: Wednesday, July 22, 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Join Link partners, Karen Greth, Meagan Good and Chris Hainley as they introduce you to special animal friends of theirs during this Webinar presentation.

Our special presenters (human and animal) will be sharing ideas and examples of the ways animals help fight social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and other emotional and out-of-normal feelings. COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have changed everything except the joy that animals bring to people.

joy of animals draft

Human Presenters:

  • Karen Greth, K-PETS – Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
  • Meagan Good, Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy 
  • Chris Hainley, Fairy Tail Acres, the Rescue. 

Each of the presenters will introduce Webinar participants to their animal presenters.


You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 22, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: The Joy of Animals!

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Disability Pride Virtual PA – be there, June 27 through July 26

disability pride


disability pride conversation 2

FREE screening: “Opening Doors to College”: Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability.

opening doors

Opening Doors to College” is a 36-minute documentary by filmmaker Dan Habib which shows the educational, social and self-determination strategies of inclusive higher education at Millersville and Temple Universities. Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.

Watch the trailer here.

Watch this film for FREE on June 19 at noon. Register here:

Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.