January Reading List

Monthly Reading List – January Reading List

What’s your January 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 January. Accordingly, here is our January Reading List.

Women With Disabilities Face High Barriers To Entrepreneurship. How To Change That, by Samantha Harrington, Forbes

This Forbes article looks at Dr. Katherine Caldwell’s education program for entrepreneurs with disabilities. The program is based out of The University of Illinois – Chicago. The program focuses on creating and promoting accessible opportunities and disability representation, support business growth, and build hope for the future. One of the main things the program has discovered is that women with disabilities, especially women of color, face the biggest barriers to entrepreneurship. By focusing on those four steps, the program hopes to change that.


Caldwell also notes that most of the entrepreneurs she works with are women of color. Women and minorities with disabilities face extra challenges.

Like in any demographic group, there’s plenty of desire to build businesses in the disability community. Perhaps, it’s even stronger, Caldwell said, because traditional employment opportunities for people with disabilities are often less than ideal.

In fact, she argues many companies are exploiting workers with disabilities through sheltered employment because it’s a way for companies to employ people who they can pay significantly less than minimum wage.

How Disabled People Care for Each Other When Doctors Can’t, by David M. Perry, Pacific Standard

David M. Perry writes about Jennifer Brea’s documentary Unrest – a film about how community provides support where the medical industry can’t. Brea’s documentary begins with her struggles with understanding her illness – chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS/ME. Her doctors struggle with it, as well, and blame it on stress, trauma, dehydration, and more. Without answers, Brea doesn’t know where to turn. That’s where community comes in, though, as she connects with people like her from all around the world thanks to social media. The documentary also addresses gender stereotypes, much of which are to blame for her doctors’ diagnoses. This article and documentary is an opportunity to look through a lens of the disability community that intimate, honest, and supportive.


As Brea found out more about her illness, she discovered that it fell into a long history of “women’s diseases” that, at best, doctors considered psychosomatic hypochondriac hysteria. At worst, women with conditions like CFS/ME have been institutionalized, a practice that extended throughout the 20th century and continues even today.

As a result of these technologies and networks, people who might have been socially isolated in previous eras can now connect with one another, build community, organize global protests, and even direct Oscar-nominated documentaries

When it comes to disability, we face two contradictory forces. Structural ableism teaches us to devalue ourselves when we deviate from norms. Disability culture, in contrast, opens up new ways to find meaning in an unexpectedly altered life.

In My Chronic Illness, I Found a Deeper Meaning, by Elliot Kukla , The New York Times – The Opinion Section

Elliot Kukla discusses his experience with chronic illness. The title is self explanatory, but the article goes deeper than that. Elliot initially looks at the journey towards finding out what exactly his chronic illness is from a medical point of view. He then goes deeper to look at what it means for him personally – what it means for his identity. Although, he initially struggles with his chronic illness, Elliot starts to accept what is. He become receptive to care and help. Eventually, he accepts that his experience is part of what it means to be human.


I went from doctor to doctor looking for answers, but overnight I had gone from being a trusted rabbi and chaplain (who works with seriously ill and dying people on hospital medical teams) to a “hysterical” chronically ill person.

Like most of us, I had been raised to see illness as something temporary: a stopover on the way to recovery or to death, not a place to live. But weeks, months and then years passed, and I did not get better.

We are born needing care and die needing care, and I am no exception. At brief moments in the middle of life, we hold the illusion of independence, but we are always driving on roads we did not build, eating foods we did not pick or raise. Allowing the illusion of my own independence to drop away unmasked a fundamental truth of being human.

Cubs sued over renovations that limited Wrigley Field’s wheelchair accessibility, by Mark Townsend, Yahoo Sports!

The Chicago Cubs are being sued for a lack of wheelchair accessibility. Recent renovations to Wrigley Field eliminated what used to be an accessible seating area and moved them to obstructed views. The lawsuit was brought forward by David F. Cerda who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. The lawsuit states that the renovations violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. It calls for the Cubs to alter the seating in left and right field, as well as the lower box seats to include accessible seating.


A Chicago Cubs fan is suing the team in federal court over Wrigley Field renovations that eliminated sections of wheelchair-accessible seating completely and saw others moved to an area with an obstructed view.

“It was a willful decision they made for more profit —they make more money out of an area with a bar,” Cerda concluded.

According to CBS Chicago, the lawsuit pushes for the Cubs to reconfigure the seating area in right and left field to include accessibility for wheelchairs, and to make wheelchair seating available in the lower box seats that “is equal or better than previous seating that was available.”

To diversify hiring, let employees with intellectual disabilities demonstrate their skills, by Elina Tonkova, Generocity

This article looks at two organizations in Pennsylvania, Neurodiversity in the Workplace and Woods Services, who are working to increase the employment rate of people with intellectual disabilities. According to a 2016 study, only 38 percent of people with disabilities in Pennsylvania are employed. Both organizations aim to match skills with opportunities in hopes if increase the employment rate of people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.


“If we can help change the culture of the company to be more inclusive, individuals with ASD can easily be integrated as loyal and happy employees,” Riddle said.

Employers have the ability to make a big impact through modifications to their hiring practices — and some are — but consumers should also remember their own purchasing power and call for products of a diverse workforce.

“As large corporations increasingly embrace diversity in their workforces as mutually beneficial, they give their voice to this movement,” Carnevale said. “Then, smaller, local businesses will take notice, too.”

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

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Josh Appel
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