I have spent a lot of time working with the disability community.
Most recently, I have been working with disabled people who have been victims of human trafficking (both sex trafficking and labor trafficking). Prior to that, one of my primary areas of community involvement was working with disabled victims of hate crimes.
Since the 1990s, a lot of my time and energy has been dedicated to people with brain injuries. I have received two awards from the Brain Injury Association of Ohio for these community activities. Basically, I often volunteer to give talks – in the community, in support groups, in rehab places, in hospitals, and in many other places – for individuals and their families as well as the professionals who work with them.
I have also been on the Board of the Epilepsy Center of Toledo, the Mayor’s Commission on Disability, and other disability organizations. I gave the keynote speech at the Lifelight Conference of Northwest Ohio – these are the first responders who arrive at accidents and fly people to hospitals – about ways to divert an agitated brain injured patient into a more compliant person who is willing to get medical treatment.
I have given talks to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Governor’s Council on Disability, the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Self Help for Hard of Hearing, Angels with Paws Autism Service Dogs Group, the Brain Injury Association of Ohio, and Assistance Dogs of America. I have also been involved with many disability organizations in Australia, including the Speaking Up For You (SUFY), Community Resource Unit (CRU), Queensland Parents of People with a Disability (QPPD), and the Brain Injury Action Group. I was also honored to be the international plenary speaker at the Disabled People’s Association of New Zealand in 1999.
I am happy to speak at any disability conferences throughout the world.
My writing often draws on my personal engagement with disabled people in the community. Here is an opinion piece I wrote for the Feminist Wire which demonstrates how my community work informs my writing.