In this chapter, Nadina LaSpina details a health emergency that sends her husband Danny to the hospital to undergo an emergency surgery. Throughout the selection, LaSpina and her husband confront issues of access and accessibility, such as the lack of accessible public transportation in New York City, and stereotypes about people with disabilities and their quality of life.
Nadina LaSpina is an activist in the disability rights movement. Her work has been featured in AbleNews and Ragged Edge, New Politics, And Then, and Bookwoman, and others. She is the author of Such a Pretty Girl.
1. This passage demonstrates LaSpina's fear that medical professionals might not understand her husband's wishes due to their own biases about disability and wellness. What are some ways we can engage our own biases to become more inclusive people, both as students and as future professionals?
2. LaSpina will be visit campus for the Common Reading Lecture on September, 9. Write a question you might want to ask her about her experiences, her activism, or her vision for a more adaptable world.
LaSpina's memoir demonstrates the failings of everyday accommodations and services and how people with disabilities are forced to adapt to live their lives. Research the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other legislation aimed at supporting the disabled community. How do these regulations make buildings, services, and healthcare more accessible and in what ways do they fail to do enough? Then, propose an amendment you think would better support disabled people.
Nadina LaSpina recounts the cutting and heartbreaking story of her husband’s trip to the emergency room and the constant fight that they, as disabled people, engage in to be accommodated, treated, and heard. It’s a story that rings painfully true for so many of us who engage in that same fight every day. In my seven and half years of being disabled, I’ve had multiple emergency room trips, dangerous medications, and scary health moments. But worse than that, I’ve had a lot of people look at me and express some variation of “you are not enough.” For disabled people, the fight to be seen as “worth it” in the eyes of others, and in our own eyes, is one of the hardest of all. This fight isn’t unique to people with disabilities. Many of us have had moments when the system or an individual has failed to believe that we were worth it. So I’ll challenge you to this: What limitations has the world put on you that you’ve had to adapt to? What struggles are others experiencing that might not be visible to you? How can we come together to build a world that accommodates everyone’s differences?
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
Read "I Promise We'll Have Fun" on the Disability Visibility Project
In this selection, LaSpina uses the phrases "crip family" to define her network of friends and "supercrip" to describe herself in her race to the hospital.
The word "crip" has a complicated history, and is typically considered a derogatory term for people with disabilities. Some communities, however, have begun to reclaim the word and to relate it to disability justice initiatives. LaSpina's use of the word here links her to disability justice communities. This term is not universally accepted by people with disabilities, however, and should not be used by people who do not belong to disability-related communities.
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