Tim Jin graduated from Cal State Long Beach in speech communication. Tim was born with Cerebral Palsy. Been an active member on several advisory boards, such as IHSS, USC UCED, Self-Determination Program Local Advisory Committee for RCOC, TASK, Disability Voices United, and California Communications Access Foundation. Tim has been using an AAC device ever since he was in elementary school.
Hi, my name is Tim and I am from Orange County and have cerebral palsy. I first noticed that I was disabled when I went outside and played with my brothers and their friends. For example, I always played with my brothers, but when we played outside with the neighborhood kids, I started noticing most of the adults started looking at me more so than their children. Getting teased and being bullied by other kids was easy for me to deal because I quickly learned how to fight back, but being not invited to a classmate’s birthday party, and being told that I should go home by an adult, while my brothers are playing with their kids, has always impacted my life. In some ways, I’ve learned that discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes. At a very young age, I traveled a lot with my family. My parents always had a running checklist going before we traveled. For example, making sure there was an accessible bathroom and so on. Even now, when I travel with my friends, we always check the restroom situation.
When people think about ADA, the very first thing that they think are curb cuts in sidewalks, but there are more to it. Just because someone is not diagnosed with a disability., it doesn’t mean that they don’t use the services either. For example, I know regular people that turn on subtitles when they are watching TV, they don’t have hard of hearing, but they agree that they get more contact when they are reading and listening at the same time. This will not happen if there was no ADA. Communication is very important to me. Since I have to use an augmentative and alternative communication device, I’ve always prioritized technology communication together in my daily routine. I’ve seen access to be much better as I’ve gotten older, such as when I’m at an airport and need to use a TTY machine to make a phone call. I can always find one that is easily accessible. There is more awareness for being nonverbal now. As the population gets more used to the disabled community, people are more aware of that there are other forms of communication, such as ASL, AAC, and so on.
One of the main barriers that I always see is economic inequality between people with disability and able bodied. Our society tends to assume that if you are disabled, you are invalid in the workforce. This is not true. There are many people with disabilities that are highly educated and more than willing to earn a fair wage of living. Also, our government dings people who are getting SSI or other types of services. For example, I’ve worked for an educational publisher for 16 years and due to the pandemic, I needed to take a leave of absence for however long. Because of my disability I can only work part time. I also get SSDI based on my work credits that I accumulated over the years. When I was working, I needed to make sure to not to exceed too much or else I would lose my benefits. There should be a baseline living wage from the government under the ADA act so that people with disabilities are encouraged to work, and more importantly, employers are willing to hire more from our community.
In partnership with Diana Pastora Carson, M.Ed.
Author: Beyond Awareness: Bringing Disability into Diversity Work in K-12 Schools & Communities, and children’s book Ed Roberts: Champion of Disability Rights, ADA 30th Anniversary Edition https://www.dianapastoracarson.com/store
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