Outside of Me
People’s perceptions of my limitations lead them to have strong attitudes and opinions about me and my career. Their attitude is that people with disabilities can’t do things because of their perceived limitations. I remember one of my first jobs after school was at the Student Disabilities office at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). My job was with the student disabilities office was to report when I saw something wrong on campus and I needed to make sure that people, who could do something about it, did something. The campus planner heard from me a lot: ‘by the way there is a huge crack in the sidewalk that someone on crutches will get stuck in’. By the time graduation was going on, the same individual was in charge of graduation and he said, ‘I’m so excited that you’re graduating because you’re driving me nuts’. That right there started my advocacy. I would see someone struggle and I would want to help them. At the same time you see some students who take advantage, and there is not many of them, but take advantage of their disability, yeah you owe me this because XYZ, entitlement is a very very horrible word but there are people with disabilities that feel that they are entitled to receive and I have never been raised that way.