Confronting our Disability Biases: Moving Beyond Low Expectations
Holding low expectations for people with disabilities is a form of prejudice that’s all too common. Even as informed, empowered advocates and allies, we can still fall into the trap of making assumptions about what we, or the people we love, teach, and/or support, are capable of doing. This can cause a cycle of self-doubt within people with disabilities, and lead to unintentional barriers. Together, we will explore the biases we have about disabilities, talk about how to move beyond them, and embrace the importance of having high expectations for all of us.
Emily Ladau (she/her)Disability Rights Activist, Writer, & Storyteller
Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant. She is the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Emily’s career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. A native of Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013 and now serves on their Board of Trustees. In 2017, she was named as one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Emily is the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens. She also provides communications and social media strategy consulting as well as editorial services for multiple disability-related organizations and initiatives. And, she co-hosts “The Accessible Stall Podcast,” a show that dives into disability issues.
Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and she has served as a source for outlets including PBS NewsHour, NPR, Vox, and Washington Post. She has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.
Follow Emily on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. More about her work can be found on her website, WordsIWheelBy.com.