December Reading List

Monthly Reading List – December Reading List

What’s your December Reading List? Here’s ours.

Every first week of the month, Disabled Spectator publishes a reading list of our favorite disability and accessibility related articles. We look for insightful, interesting, controversial, heartbreaking, well-written, or enjoyable articles that provoke thought, conversation, and emotion. This post looks at articles we read in December. Accordingly, here is our December Reading List.

A Traveler’s Top Tips for Hitting the Road when Living with Limited Mobility, by Karen Trachtenberg, HER

Karen Trachtenberg talks to Jeanne Allen about traveling with a disability. Jeanne has had multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 30 years. She has always been passionate about traveling and she doesn’t let MS hinder that. Jeanne tells Karen about the questions to ask, equipment to bring, and the assumptions (or lack of them) to make. Jeanne also provides sage advice on how to mentally prepare. This is a helpful article for those with disabilities.


After spending hours scouring the web and making countless phone calls for anything I could find about traveling with a wheelchair, I realized I was compiling valuable information that could help others.

According to Jeanne, many people mistakenly believe there are things they’ll never be able to do, but she says there is no way to know until you investigate and try.

Even with limited mobility, it is possible to get out and have fun, visit new places and have great adventures.


The Americans with Disabilities Act is under attack, by Jessie Lorenz, San Francisco Examiner

Jessie Lorenz, executive director of the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, discusses HR 620 – a bill that would weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). HR 620 removes an incentive for voluntary ADA compliance by businesses. While some businesses do go out of their way to become more accessible, many do not. This bill affects the accessibility of restaurants, shops, and hotels for example to people with disabilities.


Thanks to the ADA, businesses have received a whole new customer base due to an entire population literally being able to get in the door to spend their money.

Disability rights activist Dara Baldwin also reminds us: “It is a privilege to own a business in this country not a right; and with that privilege comes a lot of responsibility. Businesses learn how to pay their taxes, follow human resources laws and to be in compliance with all civil and human rights, including the ADA.

Accessibility changes over time, in both physical and digital spaces, have slowly, but surely, allowed people with disabilities to work with businesses to increase the public good. And, though this isn’t simply about widening a door — though, in some real way, it is — if Americans allow HR 620 to move forward, we are saying to people with disabilities: Go back home. Get out of society. You don’t belong here.


Every Designer Should See The Smithsonian’s Illuminating Exhibit On Accessibility, by Anne Quito, Quartzy

Anne Quito writes about Access+Accessibility, an exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The exhibition showcases accessibility and access of equipment, vehicles, and tools. Essentially items that aid accessible. The catch is that they are designed to be functional and look fashionable or trendy – something that has not always been the case. It’s an interesting read and it’s exciting to see accessibility trending in the world of design.


Access+Ability, a new illuminating exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum showcases more than 70 inventions that collectively recast the dour picture of aging and disability.

McCarty, who leads the curatorial department at Cooper Hewitt, says the product showcase is part of the museum’s grand ambition to erect a model institution for accessible design.

Access+Ability offers a capsule catalogue of audiences, materials, and issues that are often overlooked in design cycles, and could add nuance to the designers’ imagination in this area. For the general audience, Access+Ability offers hopeful evidence that good design has the power to alter our fragile destiny.


Designing for Access, by Allison Arieff, The New York Times – The Opinion Section

Allison Arieff also writes about Access+Accessibility, the exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Allison delves into a little more detail by looking at specific items on display, like for hearing aids for example. Again, this is an interesting read about a positive trend in the design world.


But “Access+Ability,” an exhibition opening Friday at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in Manhattan, fills one with real optimism: It highlights the beneficial ways design and technology are transforming the lives of people with different physical, cognitive and sensory abilities.

There’s another major shift in approach in “Access+Ability”: In earlier generations, hiding disability was always a high priority. Today, there’s a lot more emphasis on fashion, glamour, choice.

It’s so encouraging that more people are interested in pursuing this area of design. The big discussion should be how to get more manufacturers, developers and companies to hire them to do it. It’s time for the market to catch up to the need.


For Students With Disabilities, Quality of Education Can Depend On ZIP Code, by Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post

Rebecca Klein shows the education quality disparity for students with disabilities in the United States based on geographical location. Rebecca talks to and follows families who have had to move to different states, just to ensure their child with disabilities received the education they deserve.  She also talks to families who can’t afford to move and now face uphill battles to get their children a good education. Education quality disparity has been an issue in this country for too long.4


Just a few decades ago, students with disabilities faced high rates of institutionalization and were rarely included in typical classroom settings. In 1975, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act ― originally called the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act ― enshrined into law these students’ right to an appropriate public education.

Sometimes teachers lack the best training for dealing with a student’s specific disability. Other times, administrators have low expectations for what these students can achieve.

“People keep saying education shouldn’t depend on your ZIP code. It’s thrown around a lot in terms of kids in poverty, but it’s also true for kids with disabilities. It shouldn’t depend on your ZIP code,” she said.


Thanks for reading our December Reading List. Keep an eye out for our list next month. You can read last month’s reading list here.

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