From Where I Sit (NH UCEDD/LEND)

April 5, 2016

The IOD is excited to announce the launch of our new Tumblr - From Where I Sit. This new blog will provide a first-person voice on various disability-related topics that is informed by current IOD work, but not bound by it. Kathy Bates, who has long been a presence at the IOD, will be authoring the posts. To introduce From Where I Sit and Kathy a little more, here is her first post.

Hi, I'm Kathy...

Welcome to my first blog ever. I must admit the whole idea of writing a blog is humorous and just a little bit scary. Let's just say I am not very computer savvy. Oh well, I guess I'll learn as I go. However, I am very good at talking and more than slightly opinionated. Especially when it comes to issues that people with disabilities have to deal with on a daily basis. Some of my favorite topics are language and labels, human potential, employment, advocacy, Direct Workforce issues, rights and responsibilities, and full participation. It's important to talk about these issues and share our opinions, because disability is the largest minority that anyone can join at any time. Disability issues can impact anyone.

I don't think anyone's life is easy. My definition of a good life is a life that is full of rich experiences, healthy relationships, and lots of choices. Using this definition, my life is pretty great most of the time. My family is big, a little intense, a lot of fun, and very supportive. I live in my own home, in a great neighborhood. I have a raised bed garden and I love to grow lots of vegetables, which I share with my neighbors. We look out for each other. This is really helpful when I do stupid things like lock myself out or get my wheelchair tangled up in a hose. My neighbors are always more than willing to help.

I am a facilitator and member of the Self-Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT).  I also work on the Disability and Public Health Project here at the IOD (UNH Institute on Disability).  In fact, I have several jobs I really love. Employment is one of those issues that is really important to me because it takes money to participate in the community, go out to the movies or dinner with a friend. Money simply gives us more choices. It's important that people who experience disabilities are seen as contributing members of society. Everyone needs a valued role. I don't really think anyone with a disability wants to be seen as a burden.  Understand though, that I couldn't do any of my work without the support of several dedicated personal care attendants. Without these women I would not be able to get ready for my day and get to and from work. I really feel that hiring staff and managing my own personal care program is the most difficult part of having a disability. This is a very complicated issue that we will be able to discuss in future blogs.

It's no secret that it's not always easy to navigate in a world where discrimination and prejudice are still very much alive and well.  One in five U.S. residents has a disability therefore, disability issues are community issues. That makes me Joan Q. Public aka Kathy Bates. The more we have open & honest dialogue about these issues the more aware everyone will become. My goal is for us to use this blog as a space to have this dialogue. So I hope you'll join in, comment, and share.

You can follow along with the blog at

The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.