As the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act approaches, Pittsburgh city government is poised to make the city more disability-friendly

Photo of Alisa Grishman
Asked how she would rate Pittsburgh as a disability-friendly city, Alisa Grishman said, “I’d give the city six out of 10, pretty good but not perfect.” Grishman is founder of Access Mob Pittsburgh, an accessibility advocacy group, and a member of Mayor Bill Peduto’s advisory group for Complete Streets. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Recently, I wrote an article for Public Source about local disability rights activists’ decades-long advocacy for solutions to the Pittsburgh’s “one-step” problem — that is, the single step that prevents wheelchair users from entering many businesses in city neighborhoods.

The city, likewise, has looked for ways to encourage businesses, as public entities, to remove entry barriers and meet their responsibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a federal civil right law, the city cannot enforce the ADA or force businesses to create accessible entries. The ADA is a complaint-driven law. Citizens file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice. Continue reading “As the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act approaches, Pittsburgh city government is poised to make the city more disability-friendly”

“Inclusive Higher Ed” programs opening doors to young adults with intellectual and developmental disability

Colton acceptance letter
Colton Vazquez with his acceptance letter from Slippery Rock University.

Recently, I wrote an article about “inclusive higher ed” programs for Public Source, a digital publication that covers the Pittsburgh region. The focus of the article is Colton Vazquez, a senior at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, who has decided to attend the “Rock Life” program at Slippery Rock University.

I first heard about Colton’s college aspirations last year when his mother, Candy Vazquez, posted on Facebook about their visits to Slippery Rock, Millersville and E. Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania, as well as Western Carolina and the University of Central Florida. Having taken my son, Mark, to see  Millersville’s inclusive program last year as well, I was curious about Colton’s journey.

The number of inclusive higher ed programs is growing in Pennsylvania. There are now ten (see complete list in article). A decade ago, there were two. Each program is a little different from the others. Most are defined as non-degree programs for students with intellectual or developmental disability. The Think College website is the national resource for these programs. In Pennsylvania, the Dream Partnership and PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium are the go-to’s for info.

Continue reading ““Inclusive Higher Ed” programs opening doors to young adults with intellectual and developmental disability”

Carving out time to listen our son’s vision for his life

We spend hours together every day and, yet, how much do we know about how our 22-year-old son thinks about his life and what he wants for his future?

After more than two decades of parenting, have the lines blurred between what we want for our son and what he wants for himself? Are we ready to wholeheartedly support his vision?

These are the questions I have been asking myself — and the reason I asked the PA Family Network to offer a local workshop on LifeCourse tools.
Continue reading “Carving out time to listen our son’s vision for his life”