The Disabled List

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We are the Original Life Hackers.

Our passion and drive, and most importantly, our creativity, have been known to change the world. And the world is beginning to see us. But nobody knows how to reach us. Or talk to us. Or be with us.

We acknowledge that collaborating with us requires bravery and communication, but you will be on the front lines of innovation with us.

We’re here to show you the power of the exception.

The Disabled List features creative disabled people who are available to collaborate on projects, ideas and products. If you are interested in speaking with anyone on The Disabled List or if you would like to be featured, please reach out. To get to know members of The Disabled List, follow on Twitter and Instagram

We can’t wait to hack life with you.

Jerron Herman

Jerron Herman Dl

Describe your headshot. Jerron faces camera head on wearing a grey shirt and a full beard, his brows slightly furrow

What is your craft? I’m a storyteller and I straddle between dance and theater, but in very different ways. In dance, I am a performer, front facing and onstage; as a writer, I am more a facilitator, happy to construct narratives I do not have to play myself. Eventually these two will coalesce, for now I’m glad for their silos.

What are you working on? I’m a principal dancer with Heidi Latsky Dance and we are continually creating a public art installation called ON DISPLAY, a commentary on the body as spectacle featuring 15-35 diverse performers as sculptures in a garden that has different iterations for different populations/environments. For example, we do ON DISPLAY GLOBAL every year in honor of Intl Day of Persons with Disabilities at the UN & NYU; 25 cities joined us last year by replicating ON DISPLAY in their community.

I just wrote a play, 2 Bodies, for the inaugural The Apothetae/Lark Play Development Lab Playwriting fellowship and am working on getting a reading of it. The play largely takes place in a rock-climbing gym and exclusively features 3 disabled characters.

What’s your favorite life hack? I pre-button or pre-roll sleeves on my right side prior to putting the shirt on

What is disability? Disability is a state and for those who remain in it longest or never new otherwise, it is an atmosphere. Disability is a call to adapt, not specifically to the world’s design, but through one’s own entrance. It spurs the creative mind to create hacks, edits, translations, but it is also a hum: internal knowing of one’s body – constant pain, erratic spasm, or the ecstatic feeling of relief/release.

Is there a question you wish I would have asked? If so, please ask and answer. Boxers or briefs? That’s inappropriate. Briefs, though. 

You can find Jerron on Instagram, Heidi Latsky Dance and this Great Big Story.

Emily Ladau

Emily Ladau Dl

Describe your headshot. A white woman with curly brown hair in a ponytail and glasses is sitting in a power wheelchair that is partially visible. Her head is slightly tilted, she is smiling, and her hands are resting in her lap. She is wearing a maroon sweater with light gray polka dots and dark gray pants.

What is your craft? I am a writer, speaker, communications consultant, and disability rights activist. I am passionate about harnessing the powers of communication and social media as tools for people of all abilities to become informed and engaged about disability and social justice issues.

What are you working on? I write and speak regularly about a range of disability-focused topics, and work both with non-profits and a federal contracting firm. I serve as the Editor in Chief of the blog for Rooted in Rights, an initiative that centers and amplifies the perspectives of disabled people through authentic storytelling.

What’s your favorite life hack? I like to use what’s around me to make my environment work for me. My favorite example, borrowed from my mom, who has the same disability as me, is to use a pair of kitchen tongs to reach things that are too high up or that I’ve dropped. I often travel with tongs, which make for an interesting addition to my suitcase.

What is disability? Disability is a state of being. It is a culture, a community, an identity. It is also far too often misunderstood as a source of shame, a negative aspect of existence.

You can follow Emily on Facebook, TwitterInstagram

Andraéa LaVant

Andraea Lavant Dl

Describe your headshot: An African-American woman’s head is slightly tilted to the left (her signature pose). Her deep brown and caramel-colored highlighted hair curls are swept to the left. She is wearing modest eyeshadow and burnt orange lipstick. Her shirt is a seafoam green/blue sheath, and her beaded necklace includes bold colors such as yellow, teal, and hot pink.

What is your craft? I can’t say I’ve mastered this, but my GOAL is to empower all people, specifically people with disabilities, to embrace EVERY aspect of who they are. This may mean advocating through written pieces and public speaking, sketching designs for future disability-focused products, or spending hours in my closet putting together outfits or makeup looks that make me feel great and motivate others to do the same!

What are you working on? I’m always creating and attempting to make my voice heard. In my day-to-day, I’m creating and implementing quality programs for youth of all abilities. I’m also currently trying to figure out the best way to get some of my disability-focused fashions designed with limited resources. Lack of access to appropriate knowledge, people, and funding can be barriers for people with disabilities moving forward with their ideas…but, in the meantime, I’m always continuing to create.

What’s your favorite life hack? Taking items meant for one purpose and giving them a disability/mobility-related purpose. For example, I was having issues increasing my water intake due to my inability to hold a water bottle on my “weak muscle days.” I recently started placing a hiker’s hydration backpack on the back of my wheelchair, and now I’m drinking more than two liters of water a day!

What is disability? DIVERSITY. There is no better definition of diversity than disability, as you will find no one person whose disability looks or feels EXACTLY like their neighbor’s. Thus, disability is an impetus for creativity and open-mindedness. It challenges our ways of thinking, and I LOVE THAT!

You can follow Andraéa on Twitter and Instagram.

KR Liu

Kr Liu Dl

Describe your headshot: A white woman with short blonde hair and dark brown eyes, facing slightly away from the camera, but looking directly into it. Wearing a black shirt, a necklace and two earrings in her left lobe. Photo was taken at The White House. 

What is your craft? I have a deep passion for helping others, combined with my work as a passionate advocate for hearing loss access, gender equality, and the LGBTQ community; it has given me the opportunity to push for inclusion for everyone. I lead talks at multiple events a year, having been invited to speak at the White House, the UN, and on Capitol Hill to push for a more accessible world for all. Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, I have made it my life’s work to be a strong advocate and voice championing the way we connect in the world over the last two decades.

What are you working on? Being a voice for disability inclusion and equality for the hard of hearing and LGBTQ community in the workplace.

What is disability? Disabled people are the creative thinkers and the ones who look at the world differently. Because of that, we are some of the best change-makers in the world.

You can follow KR Liu on Twitter.

Elise Roy

Elise Roy Dl

Describe your headshot: Elise smiling, in a dress shirt with short hair.

What is your craft? Inclusive design strategy. I help organizations identify gaps that exist in their services or product and design solutions around them. Often the result is not only a more inclusive service or product but also a better solution for everyone.  

What are you working on? Everything! Advising the first full accessible downtown in the U.S., advising companies on how to adapt products to be more inclusive, delivering workshops that teach Human-Centered Design from a disability perspective and using this to help organizations focus on how disabilities can be an asset in their problem solving processes.

What’s your favorite life hack? That’s tough. There are so many great hacks out there. One of my favorite’s is using a bike to purify water. Safe water is so important in the developing world - 3.75 million people die each year from water related diseases.      

What is disability? Disabled people experience the world in a different way and this allows us to see solutions that others would never recognize.

You can follow Elise on Twitter, and her website. Also, don’t miss her TED Talk

Alice Wong

Alice Wong Dl

Describe your headshot: An Asian American woman wearing a mask over her nose attached to tube connected to a BiPAP machine. She has medium-length black hair and wearing red lipstick. She’s wearing a black scarf and jacket and behind her is a wall with brightly colored street art.

What is your craft? Interviewing, storytelling, Tweeting, and podcasting.

What are you working on? Building an online archive of oral histories featuring disabled people as part of the Disability Visibility Project®. Creating online communities for the DVP and as a co-partner in #CripTheVote, an online movement encouraging the political participation of disabled people.

What’s your favorite life hack? Saying no to unreasonable demands of my time and labor.

What is disability? To paraphrase Neil Marcus, disability is an art.

You can follow Alice on her personal Twitter account, the Disability Visibility Project Twitter account, and the Disability Visibility Project website