Advocacy is tedious, patient and lonely

But every once in a while you win: Ten tips to success

Freelance writer/editor

Instant gratification is a trait not often found in the souls of the good people who advocate for making the lives of people with disabilities better.

Fellow advocates, you know who you are.

All have embraced the hare-and-tortoise pace of change early in their disability civil-rights’ careers. And know that steady wins the race.

Advocacy is behind-the-scenes, unheralded, long-hours work that generally doesn’t get you on the evening news. It’s early morning trips to the state capitol or cramped flights to D.C. to meet with congressional leaders whose only goal is to get a picture with a person in a wheelchair. Continue reading

‘Squeaky Wheel’ column makes its national debut

Together, grassroots disability advocates can make a difference

Freelance writer/editor

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. — Grease is the word.

But don’t mistake this for a 1978 ode to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as two 1950s high-school lovers, the highest-grossing musical to date in the United States.

This recurring column — the “Squeaky Wheel” — is dedicated to the free flow of information affecting the global disability community in our ongoing push for change — the “grease” to lubricate the gears of society to level the playing field and remove the physical and attitudinal barriers standing in our way.

For as we all know, it is the “Squeaky Wheel” — — that gets the grease. Case in point: Continue reading

Sexy NBC cop drama on wheels makes debut

But will this fall’s ‘Ironside’ survive cripple stereotype?

Freelance writer/editor

He  rolls up to the couch. A dead man is lying with a knife in his chest.  A swarm of crime scene investigators turns up no clues to the man’s death.

But from his vantage point, Robert Ironside, a New York City TV detective paralyzed on duty by an assailant’s bullet, instinctively hones in on the instrument of death — a silver handgun.

“How the hell did you see that?” his partner asks. “I’ve got a different view of the world from down here, ” Ironside responds in dead-pan fashion. Continue reading

People with disabilities ‘Roll on Capitol Hill’

ON A ROLL | One opinion

Special to

Prairie Village man urges Kansas, Missouri lawmakers to speak out

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the skies at 22,000 feet, I’m drawn to big-picture thoughts of mortality, chance, consequence, accessibility, humanity — and whether the airlines will re-route my lost luggage and Super Shuttle will pay us for the 4-hour and 45-minute delay.

Already, it as been a long, strange trip. And  it’s only Day 1. The irony of inaccessible wheelchair access smacks us in the head.

As you read, scores of people with disabilities from across the national are gathering for the United Spinal Association’s “Roll On Capitol Hill,” an annual, all-out lobby effort to push an agenda of inclusion, freedom and independence. Continue reading

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