Author: Emily Ladau

Why Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First

  I vividly remember the first time I learned about person-first language (PFL). I was listening to a professor of special education speak to a group of students on disability “etiquette.” He handed out a sheet with rules on how to address or refer to a person if they had a disability. While lecturing, the professor seemed keen on calling me out, making me feel like a token, and prompting me to agree that when it came to disability, it was PFL or bust. I went along with it, but something didn’t sit well with me. I was born...

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No Excuses for Lack of Reasonable Accommodations in Mainstream Schools

  By Emily Ladau Sending me to mainstream public school was never a question in my parents’ mind, even though I was born with a physical disability. I’m grateful to have grown up receiving a good education along with my non-disabled peers. But while my experiences were generally positive, there were times when my parents and I were made to feel that my disability was a burden to my school district, because my needs for reasonable accommodations were either avoided or outright rejected. Unfortunately, I’m hardly alone in this. Mainstream schools can all too often be quick to supply...

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Communication is the Key to Inclusive Field Trips

  On days when school field trips were announced, I’d come home bubbling with enthusiasm and waving my permission slip around until my mother signed it.  Unfortunately, the recent news story about Holdan Crawley, the young boy who was excluded from going on a school field trip with his able-bodied peers, sent me into a stream of flashbacks about how often my bubble of field trip excitement would pop. As the only physically disabled student in my mainstream public school’s graduating class, field trips rarely went off without a hitch for me. Everything from blatant oversights regarding accessibility to...

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Who Should Speak For The Disability Community?

  Who should speak for the disability community? Emily Ladau gives us some food for thought. On any given day, the feeds of my social media accounts are brimming with resources, stories, and motivation about disabled people: parenting tips, educational advice, how to work with someone who has a disability, etc. About us, but too often not including us. There are countless communities geared towards supporting parents, family members, and professionals, sharing words of encouragement on how to be the best advocates for the disability community. And while I understand such support networks are usually well intentioned, in many...

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