What is a Disability Advocate?

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Image caption: Young women in India holding up signs that say “I’m here because I value diversity and inclusion in disability,” “I am here because I believe in active living for a person with disability,” “I am here because I stand for disability rights,” “Say no to electric shocks,” and a few others.

Stranger: What do you do?
Me: I’m a disability advocate.
Stranger: *Blank stare* Oh. *changes subject*

If I had a dollar for every time I had this or similar–“Is that like teaching special needs kids or something?”–interactions with someone, I certainly would have less student loan debt! Seriously, though, people tend to become very uncomfortable when I mention this passion and career of mine. The discomfort is partly due to society’s fear and of and misconceptions about disability. It is also due to a lack of understanding about what a disability advocate actually is. If you told someone you were an astrophysicist, for example, they may not know the particulars of your job, but they have at least heard of it. As best I can, I want to clarify what a disability advocate is and does. Continue reading What is a Disability Advocate?