Posts by Alex Stoffel

Friendship leads to a new definition of fashion and beauty

Friday, September 26, 2014Fashion is getting a new definition of the word “beauty.” A woman with four amputated limbs has now graced the runway of the New York Fashion Week, modeling the designs of Carrie Hammer. At age 28, Karen Crespo contracted a

(Video) Demi Lovato advocates for mental health reform

Tuesday, September 16, 2014Demi Lovato has had many ups and downs in recent years but has remained triumphant in bringing awareness to issues of mental health. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the singer has admitted to her rough times, using alcohol and

(Video) Celebrating fifteen years of Olmstead

Monday, September 15, 2014It has been 15 years since the monumental Olmstead decision by the Supreme Court, which found that individuals with disabilities have a right to receive services outside of institutions, and to be fully integrated into their communities. The finding was

Words That Hurt: “Blind”

Thursday, September 11, 2014Think about the lyrics to one of your favorite songs. Maybe it’s a love ballad, or a power jam that gets you through a work week. Do those lyrics ever reference a disability? For example, the 18th century and widely

Words That Hurt: “You’re so pretty for being in a wheelchair”

Monday, September 8, 2014A phrase that I have heard time and time again is, “You’re so pretty for being in a wheelchair.” This is said in different forms and sentences but the surprised tone is always the same, as if a person with a disability should not be attractive. I’ve had friends in wheelchairs get the same “compliments.” And, true, the speakers all intend for their comment to be a compliment. However, it sends a different signal. It signals something beyond the individual and suggests a larger problem: People in wheelchairs, or with disabilities, should not be good looking.

Words that hurt: Person v. object

Thursday, August 21, 2014The other day I was rolling in my wheelchair to work and passed by a summer camp group of kids running along the sidewalk. The camp counselor, a young woman in her 20s, frantically rushed behind them. As they passed

Words that hurt: “Lame”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014According to Merriam-Webster, “lame” is an adjective that means “having an injured leg or foot that makes walking difficult or painful; not strong, good, or effective; not smart or impressive.” Originally the word lame was used to describe people with

Words that hurt: “Crazy”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014Many of us have heard or possibly said, “That’s crazy!” or referred to something as “crazy.” Maybe we have even described a person as “crazy” but when saying that word, do we know the history of oppression that it carries?

People-first language becoming more common in rehabilitation communities

Wednesday, July 30, 2014The use of people-first language is spreading to the rehabilitation community. People struggling with addiction have been finding the same feeling of marginalization as people with disabilities in regards to language. People-first language refers to structuring phrases in a way…

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