This month, we caught up with our Disability Awareness Players. We asked them about accessibility in their communities, recent achievements and about their hobbies. Read on to learn more!
- How have public places, in general, more become accessible over the years?
- Brian: Over the years, public places have become more physically accessible, with more accessible parking spaces along with ramps and elevators as an option for people with disabilities to navigate.
- Claudia: I really don’t need public places to be that accessible for me. If stairs are going up or down, I just use a handrail and my cane. If there is no handrail, I just hold on to someone’s arm.
- Abby: I believe that a lot of businesses have opened the idea to become an accessible because they have employees who have disabilities working there.
- Sarah S.T.: I am a wheelchair user. They have more ramps, but when I was younger, they didn’t have ramps, and my parents would have to carry me and my wheelchair.
- Is there something you wish people in general, did differently in the way they approach you as a person with disabilities?
- Brian: I wish people would be more respectful of the fact that it takes time to process information while answering questions or engaging in conversations. I think shyness doesn’t take away that people with disabilities have many skills and abilities. Many people with disabilities take extra time to answer questions because we just want to answer to the best of our capability.
- Claudia: When someone approaches me, I just ask for help if I need it. When the person approaches me, and I ask them for help or the other way around, I show them how to guide me.
- John: I really appreciate it when people treat me like everyone else when they approach me.
- Sarah S.T.: I wish they would look straight at me and talk directly to me instead of talking to my companion.
- What do you wish the public as a whole knew about people with disabilities?
- Henry: They are sweet, kind, and helpful.
- Brian: I think one important thing for the community as a whole to know is that all disabilities are different, plus not every disability is visual. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, but weaknesses don’t define you as a person.
- Abby: I wish people can see us as equal not see us as worthless and don’t look at us differently.
- John: I want everyone to know that people with disabilities are just like everyone else People with Disabilities deserve the same respect.
- Sarah A.: People with disabilities are just like anyone else, with their own strengths and weakness. People are often scared to approach people with disabilities, but they don’t need to be.
- What are your proud achievements in your life?
- Henry: Getting a good job at Jewel for almost five years.
- Brian: I graduated from Valparaiso University with my degree in Geography. I am very proud that not only did I graduate with honors, but I also improved my social interaction skills through participating in clubs and the Geography honors society. I also completed my fellowship for Disability Lead (formerly ADA25 Advancing Leadership), which is very important to me because it allowed me to build networking skills and become a self-advocate for the resources people with disabilities need to be successful in life.
- Abby: I am proud that I overcame speech delayment.
- John: The proudest accomplishment in my life is that I am the longest and original Disability Awareness Player. I am also very fortunate to be able to live on my own.
- Sarah: Living in my own place with a roommate.
- Sarah A.: I graduated from Loras College with a Bachelor of Arts and a major in Sociology, and I live independently.
- What do you like to do in your spare time around the community?
- Henry: Working every day and watching all sports.
- Brian: In the summer, I participate in the Challengers baseball league for the Tinley Park District, which is a baseball program that allows for people with disabilities to participate in sports. I am proud that this program makes for athletics to be more enjoyable for people with disabilities.
- Claudia: In my spare time, if the weather is nice, I take walks with someone in the community and even socialize with other people.
- Abby: Do my nails and watch paranormal shows.
- John: I like to read and write. Going to movies is also very nice, as well as spending time with friends and family.
- Sarah S.T.: Go to concerts and write.
- Sarah A.: I like to read, watch movies and go out with friends and family.
- What are your hobbies?
- Henry: Powerlifting, basketball, and golf.
- Brian: I like to watch baseball on TV, watch the weather on TV, walk my dogs, draw, and travel with my family.
- Claudia: My hobbies are singing, reading, and listening to the radio.
- John: I like to read and write.
- Abby: I like to draw and I’m into anime.
- Sarah S.T.: Going to trivia.
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