Articles, Newsletters, Podcasts, and Video
Take a minute to scroll through your LinkedIn feed and you’ll find most experts agree: The job market is hot right now. But in today’s fast-paced working world, how does a disabled professional stand out amongst a crowd of less qualified, more able-bodied candidates?
Don’t stress! We rounded up five fashion tips to help you nail that interview and make the perfect first impression — namely, “Look! Look at me! My disability is sooooo palatable. Like, SO palatable. Don’t you want to hire me and check off that DEI box without having to, you know, actually do anything?”
1. Wear a dress, girl boss!
Sure, they know you’re disabled, but do they know you are also a lady? Blow their minds and befuddle their senses with the revelation that a girl can be disabled and hot. The straight man interviewing you won’t know whether he’s supposed to sexualize you or pity you — and you can sneak into the job while he’s busy figuring it out.
2. With accessories, less is more.
Remember what Coco Chanel said: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” So before you head out for that chat with the hiring manager, lose one of those mobility aids! Are they accessories? Of course not, but your future boss is going to act like they are, so you might as well get used to it now.
3. Bring a non-disabled friend who has learned to look at life with a new perspective after meeting you.
Nothing says “I am Daddy’s perfect inspiring little disabled worker” like a non-disabled friend who learned to be grateful about their own life from witnessing yours. Show them you already know how to be a convenient prop for the growth of others by being one, in real time, during the interview! And as an added bonus, you can use your friend as a reference to confirm that no, you won’t ask anyone to actually interrogate the way ableism permeates the company (because you’re disabled, but not Like That).
4. Cosplay as Paddington Bear.
If he can cost the British government millions in property damage and still be adored by the people, surely you can manage to get one (1) reasonable accommodation in the workplace without retaliation. It’s called manifesting, bestie!
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment with prints or a pop of color —
Wait, they hired that non-disabled friend you brought? When he doesn’t even work in this industry? Well, I guess just go home then.
The post 5 Job Interview Looks that Say, ‘Tokenize Me, Daddy!’ appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more
“I sure could do with some water,” a parched Ann Benson casually said as she finished her hour-long presentation to the team.
“I can get you a bottle from the lunchroom!” said an overly eager colleague already rising from her seat. “I was just going to grab some lunch. I can get your favorite branded water — it’s on me!” offered another enthusiastic co-worker as he put on his running shoes, ready to sprint out the door in case Benson said yes. “You can have mine,” another teammate interjected, shoving her lipstick-stained glass in front of Benson’s face.
Benson, who has retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind, was dizzily swiveling from one person to another, trying to keep up with all the offers. “Thanks, I actually have my own,” she said, grabbing her non-lipstick-stained bottle of non-branded tap water from her bag.
Benson, who was newly hired at the firm, was amazed at just how quickly her colleagues jumped up to help her. Unbeknownst to her, they were vying for Employee of the Year and hoping to check off the box for going above and beyond to help a co-worker in need. Except Benson didn’t need help at all.
“The other new employees don’t get the royal treatment like I do,” she observed. “Does my white cane have a tiara or a ‘Help me’ sign?”
Just last week, Benson asked her cubie mate if she had a pen. Before she could say “Bic,” about 10 pens, ranging from a freebie promo ballpoint pen to a fancy Mont Blanc, instantly showed up on her desk for her choosing. And a few days ago, a scuffle broke out as Benson’s colleagues scrambled over each other to pick up a paper clip she had dropped only a second before.
“Geez, I’m disabled, not desperate and helpless!” thought Benson, tapping her cane to the restroom. She was suddenly accompanied by several colleagues appearing like a Whac-A-Mole game to make sure she didn’t pee in her pants. “I wish they’d skip the assumptions about my disability and just ask me if I need help — I don’t!”
As Benson passed by the Employee of the Year wall of fame, she realized why she was receiving all the unnecessary extra help. A devious smile spread across her face. She could use this to her advantage.
And just like a starting gun at a race, Benson, who was set on finding out who really wanted to be Employee of the Year, kicked off the competition. “Oooh, my neck and shoulders hurt. I could do with a really good massage,” she cried. “Damn, I’m craving a really good wagyu steak for lunch. Oh maaan, I need a babysitter this weekend. I also really hate doing laundry …”
The post Colleagues Competing for Employee of the Year Scramble to Help Perfectly Capable Disabled Woman appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more
According to one bitter grandmother, the real unsung heroes aren’t the mothers of disabled children — they are, in fact, the mothers of the mothers of those little disability kiddos.
Pamela Grandes, 67, says internet praise of “disability moms” has missed the mark entirely, and she feels that she herself is actually entitled to that praise.
“My 39-year-old daughter Carly has a four-year-old kid with a disability, and she is constantly complaining about all the appointments, the kid crying, all the messes she has to clean up. Guess who’s the one who has to listen to all of that complaining?”
The grandmother stressed that, while she does empathize with her daughter’s struggles, they aren’t as much disability-mom struggles as they are just run-of-the-mill situations every parent deals with.
“Last week she said nobody understands how hard it is to feed a child with dietary restrictions. I had to remind her that for the first eight years of her life she wouldn’t eat anything that was sour, salty, too crunchy or ‘shaped funny.’”
She elaborated that, while motherhood itself is already a challenge, it isn’t all that fun to see your insufferable daughter complaining on Facebook every day either.
“Back in my day we were miserable mothers too, but we knew how to hide it! There’s a real pride in that, and I think this new generation of parents has lost it.”
Just when we were about to start showering Grandes with long-overdue love and a cute little trophy we bought, another voice chimed in. It was her own mother, Beatrice, 91, and she had some words to share …
The post The Real Superheroes: The Mothers of the Mothers of Disabled Children appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Entertainment conglomerate Hasbro announced plans to unveil a new toy designed to resonate specifically with disabled children. The “My First Insurance Denial” play set will give kids the opportunity to simulate the experience of receiving a denial for coverage of medical equipment and follow-up procedures from an insurance company.
“I’ve always loved role-playing games and wanted to create something similar here,” said Patrick Cooper, the toy’s developer. “My brother has cerebral palsy, and every time he asks his insurance company to cover a piece for his wheelchair or something else, he has to go through like five steps to get a denial. Then he starts the appeal process, and it’s a never-ending cycle. Thinking about this scenario as a game gave me an idea.”
The “My First Insurance Denial” set comes with five 3.75-inch action figures, scale models of buildings for each figure, and a built-in toy phone. Players start with a wheelchair user and their caregiver at home calling their insurance company. Once the insurance representative sends the first denial, the wheelchair user then calls their pharmacy provider for a referral. The pharmacy then calls the client’s primary doctor for a referral, which results in a back-and-forth exchange that can go on for days.
“What I really like about this set is that kids can play with it for hours and not get bored,” Cooper said. “There are so many moving parts to insurance denials. Plus, the kids have to really use their creative and imaginative skills to figure out a scenario in which the disabled character actually gets their request approved.”
In addition to the figures that come with the set, Cooper and his team are also developing additional characters to play into the narrative aspect of this toy, which consumers can buy separately. These include figures for an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a neurologist, and a wheelchair sales representative.
“We really think this could open doors for other disability-themed toys,” Cooper said. “I’ve already pitched the ‘Ouchie! The Incompetent Phlebotomist Draws Blood’ board game and the ‘Kidney Stone Blaster’ toy, both of which my brother said he liked.”more
Standing on the balls of her feet in front of her bedroom mirror, Tessa Newton, 25, who lives with mild cerebral palsy, spent several hours anxiously correcting her posture prior to her parents’ semi-annual visit.
“My mom always zeroes in on my spine,” said Newton, aware that she’ll probably slouch if she isn’t consciously holding herself straight every second. “I also feel them constantly judging my gait,” she added, practicing walking back and forth. She tried to follow her childhood podiatrist’s old instructions to put her weight on the outsides of her feet.
In order to prevent a stressful dinner of her parents eyeing her form, Newton retrieved a chair from the kitchen and put it in front of the mirror to check her sitting position.
“I tend to slump when I sit for a long time,” said Newton, wincing as she straightened her torso. “Then my dad tells me that’s why my back always hurts.”
When she received a text from her parents saying they would be there in twenty minutes, Newton decided she had done as much as she could and braced herself for the upcoming criticism. She was looking forward to the end of the visit, when she could allow her posture to deteriorate back to its normal state.
The post Disabled Woman Frantically Fixing Posture Before Parents’ Visit appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more
NEW YORK — Famed entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum has come under fire for systematically excluding able-bodied performers in his circus.
Critics have pointed out that Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, which features a wide array of animal acts, acrobatics, and abuse, has a disproportionate number of disabled performers.
Barnum insisted that he hires based entirely on merit, and that overrepresentation of disabled performers is a coincidence.
“I look for the people who can best fit the roles of freaks and human oddities,” said Barnum as he repaired the stitching on the Feejee Mermaid. “If an able-bodied person can do that, I hire them on the spot.”
An anonymous spectator exclaimed, “Oh come on with that excuse! It’s 1861 — get with the times!”
“Just because we don’t have easily-exploitable abnormalities doesn’t make us less capable,” said able-bodied Nancy Hallett, casually juggling five balls. “It’s not fair. We didn’t choose to be born this way.”
Barnum was quick to defend himself. “I hire a ton of able-bodied people. In fact, most of my peanut salesmen and dung scoopers are able-bodied. You might recognize …” he trailed off, focusing on straightening a poster of Tom Thumb.
Barnum then exclaimed, “Nobody would pay a dime to gawk at normal people!” and stormed away. He returned several seconds later to remind everyone that the show starts at 7.
The post P.T. Barnum Facing Accusations of Hiring Discrimination Against Able-bodied Applicants appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more
It seemed like it was too good to be true … because it was. The girl, 19, was eager to embark on an exciting Journey, a fantasy of limitless possibilities. However, her dreams were crushed upon realizing that the train platform wasn’t accessible by wheelchair, leaving her stranded there in the middle of the night.
“I assumed, since my town could afford a train that runs ANYWHERE at midnight, that they could afford an elevator or ramp and that the train station would be accessible, but I was wrong,” she said. To make matters worse, the lack of accessibility information available online meant she didn’t realize it was inaccessible until she had already been dropped off via her town’s accessible transit service.
“I was stuck at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, surrounded by a pile of broken wine bottles and something that smelled like bad perfume.”
She opened the accessible transit app to request a ride back home before remembering that all rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. She then tried to call an accessible Uber, but there were none within her radius.
With limited options, the girl resorted to taking the bus, but the nearest bus stop was roughly two miles away. She carefully drove her wheelchair past some sketchy strangers walking up and down a busy boulevard and finally made it to the bus stop beneath a couple dimmed street lights.
The first bus that came had a broken lift, and on the second bus the driver didn’t know how to operate the lift. The third bus driver just drove by her altogether.
“Then the fourth one came but there was already a wheelchair user in the only wheelchair space on the bus. The problems just kept going on and on and on and on.”
Fortunately she didn’t stop believing, and just as the sun began to rise, a fully functioning bus arrived that took her home.
While this multitude of problems may seem extreme, it is a reality that many disabled people face, and not only in small towns. In fact, sources are reporting that on the same night, the same thing happened to a boy who was born and raised in south Detroit.more
Long Island, N.Y. — This summer, a quick-thinking teen with cerebral palsy has found a creative way to channel his entrepreneurial spirit … and help other disabled youth along the way. During his two-week stay at Camp Happyheart for kids with physical disabilities, Tim Robins, 16, decided to cash in on a hallowed camp tradition: the camp bowel movement chart. The infamous document, found on the bathroom wall beside a terrifying poster of a tick bite, gets a checkmark from a counselor each time a camper takes a dump.
“The chart,” as it is colloquially known, displays a camper’s success — or lack thereof — for all to see. Those with bashful bowels face the looming threat of Colace, among other intestinal explosives, delivered by the camp’s squad of watchful nurses. Robins, an aspiring businessman, saw a lucrative opportunity in his friends’ epic struggle.
“For $10 each, I forge a counterfeit checkmark on the chart and sneak away before the counselors notice,” Robins said.
He added that, so far, his antics have fooled the nurses, who believe individually bagged grapes have kept everyone stunningly “regular” this year.
A satisfied customer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, applauded his bunkmate for fulfilling unmet needs.
“I mean, with all the grilled cheese and pizza camp serves, plus most of us being non-ambulatory, this initiative is essential,” said the teen. “As one of the only walking campers and one of very few with legible handwriting, Tim was basically born for this. I mean, Christ, he can hold the Sharpie, and his checkmarks look just like the ones our counselors draw!”
Another bunkmate, Chris Rodgers, gladly spent a school year’s worth of his allowance to avoid the dreaded Colace. A shuddering Rodgers remarked, “That stuff is like over-the-counter dynamite. After it detonates, you’ll be so much lighter you’ll float away like the house in the movie ‘Up.’”
Rodgers’ best friend, Peter Wright, who used hidden cash to buy an illicit checkmark, said popular constipation remedies like Smooth Move Tea are anything but smooth. Added Wright, “The person on the commercials is always jauntily kayaking in a flowy skirt after taking a dose. But when I drank that stuff in the summer of 2019, my life flashed before my eyes. I knew it was time to start bringing an advance directive, and some extra underwear, to camp.”
Robins, who adores the nurses, admits feeling slightly guilty about his shady dealings but ultimately sees a benefit for the camp’s bottom line. “I’m saving the camp hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on laxatives and enemas,” he boasted. “In this trainwreck economy, they should be grateful.”
However, he remains concerned that his scheme will be discovered. “It’s all fun and games till someone with multiple checkmarks on the chart needs to be disimpacted,” he mused. “Then, the jig is up.”
The post Disabled Teen Makes Small Fortune Forging BM Chart at Local Crip Camp appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.more