The Roll on Capitol Hill: An Adventure of a Life Time

By Kara Aiello
Kara Aiello, Ready to Roll on Capitol Hill

What an amazing time I had with the Roll on Capitol Hill 2015 in Washington DC in early June. Coming to this event I had no idea what to expect and have not done advocacy work from a political stand point so this was an eye opening experience.  I remember the daunting feeling I had on day one when I sat with my fellow advocates going through the important topics of discussion that would be shared and advocated the following day on The Hill. Issues of Complex Rehab Technology and Equal Access to Transportation were the main hot spots of discussion along with not cutting Medicaid Funding to help keep people at home and not in nursing homes. As the day came to an end, I found myself overwhelmed with the load of information but determined to bring it to life the next day when meeting with my representatives. 

It was a fascinating experience going to the Capital. We saw many groups from dietitians advocating for better health and nutrition for the American public and family members from California advocating for affordable housing regarding adults with intellectual disabilities. And then there was us, the United Spinal Association from many corners of the U.S. life experiences and disabilities (and without as well) uniting in a common desire to have our voices heard, that we matter, and can impact our world for the better if given that important chance.   

Small Business Grant Available to mobileEntrepreneurs!

by Rich McIver

Did you know that half of all US private-sector workers and 70% of all new jobs are generated by small businesses? Yet despite our nation's collective concern about unemployment and the decline of the middle class, we as a nation have very few channels through which individuals can obtain funding for their business.  And those channels that do exist; banking, grants, angel funding and private equity communities, consistently underfund startups by individuals with disabilities.

To help address that disparity, Merchant Negotiators ( has created an annual Small Business Grant, which offers $2,500 to deserving entrepreneurs from underrepresented entrepreneurial communities, is particularly needed.

We are Fortunate

by Katie Rodriguez Banister
I hope you realize how lucky you are to be alive, here and now.  You should value every experience regardless of your situation. Everything is a learning opportunity; both perceived good and bad or light and dark.  My friend Blindcat, yes he is, and I wrote “Lucky Soul,” to help others appreciate the present because yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. 

Many of us fluctuate between depression and anxiety.  I was diagnosed with depression about a month and a half post injury.  I was often so sad I couldn’t sleep.  But with the help of my psycho-therapist and a medicine that allows me to sleep, the old Katie came back and I haven’t stopped since.  The past has no power over me.  Yes, I lament my losses from time to time but I can pull myself out of it much easier now.

Anxiety can be just as debilitating.  I know a young woman who has problems leaving her home and making new friends.  She’s often more paralyzed than I am.

I want you to be aware of the following. If you can read this it means you are alive and can breathe, that you have access to a computer or phone, you have experienced some form education, and if you’re like me you have survived an accident or health challenge that you continue to strive to overcome.

"Every Body: Glamour, Dateability, Sexuality & Disability"

By Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D.

Danielle Sheypuk at New York Fashion Week 2014

Hi mobileWOMEN! 
So pleased to be able to share my first TEDx talk with you all!  I crafted my talk with every person that I know with a disability, at the forefront of my mind.  My talk titled "Every Body: Glamour, Dateability, Sexuality & Disability," addresses a topic that desperately needs recognition and improvement. I wanted to speak to society as a whole that, if they integrate people with disabilities into the existing sexual and romantic culture, EVERYONE'S love life can improve!  
I explore a spectrum of issues, including social mores, ingrained stereotypes, and promotion of negative images of people with disabilities, which are inculcated and amplified by entertainment media and pop culture. In the talk, I develop my long-standing critique of the established fashion/beauty industries, and the mass media, who continue to exclude multi-billion dollar markets of people with disabilities. 
Danielle modeling for fashion designer, Carrie Hammer
This TEDx talk is a continuation of the moment when I was a runway model during New York Fashion Week in February 2014, on behalf of women living with disabilities.  I am honored to do this work for the benefit of, if not us, our next generation. 
Please preview the TEDx talk by clicking on the links below!

To preview the video on Thunderclap and support the talk via social media:

Or to go directly to YouTube:

Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D.
Wheelchair-dependent since childhood, psychologist Danielle Sheypuk once described her NYC dating and relationship experiences as “Sex and the City, disability style.”

After snagging the title “Ms. Wheelchair NY 2012,” Sheypuk found herself in demand from a variety of media focused on her particular area of expertise – the psychology of dating, relationships and sexuality among the disabled community.

Her "walk" down the runway as a model during the February 2014 New York Fashion Week has been termed by some as a "Rosa Parks moment" on behalf of women living with disabilities.

Danielle Sheypuk holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (2009).

Working When Disabled

By Allan Checkoway
Regrettably, Americans with disabilities are facing disproportionate higher rates of unemployment when compare to Americans without disabilities. Considering our modern day emphasis on nondiscrimination, equality and equal rights, anyone with a disability should have, to the maximum extent possible; the same opportunities as everyone else. Everyone should have the opportunity to live independently, participate in an active community life, and especially be able to engage in productive employment.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 20 percent of people with disabilities are employed or seeking employment compared to 69 percent of the population without disabilities. Of the disabled individual’s that are seeking employment, 15 percent have not been able to find work.

We don’t have the “luxury” of knowing exactly why anyone with a disability may not be employable. Yet, as a matter of fact, my personal experiences have proven to be the opposite. That is, in many situations, someone with a disability may well be a more desirable employee than someone who is not impaired in anyway.