That's My IL

What does “That’s My IL” mean? It means something different to each person who comes through our doors. IL philosophy values dignity, resourcefulness, and freedom of choice for all people with disabilities. The way someone overcomes barriers to living independently is a core part of what “That’s My IL” stands for. It is the personal journey that leads someone to becoming more independent, examples include: learning how to use the public transit system, advocating for personal needs, requesting an accommodation at work, or getting an accessible apartment. That’s My IL stories are here to celebrate the strength of ingenuity that lives in the disability world.

Do you have a story to share? Call Independence, Inc., at 701-839-4724.

Billy Altom


Ban the Small Stall
 
When the ADA was signed in 1990, I was 5 years into my disability and just starting college. I had grown up in a very rural part of Arkansas and was unfamiliar with most disability legislation. I was aware of the Rehab Act after receiving the opportunity to attend college via Vocational Rehabilitation, but other than that, I knew very little about disability rights or history.
My first thought after receiving my spinal cord injury (other than I really screwed up this time) was how do I get back to being a musician. I had been playing drums my whole life; first in a family gospel band and then playing the clubs. How was I going to make this happen?  As it turns out, playing the drums was the easy part. Getting on stage as a wheelchair user—not so easy.
There were always plenty of folks willing to lift you up and down off the stage. The hard part was finding the ones who were not inebriated. But the real challenge was getting into the restrooms (in some places this is still a challenge). It was at this time that I began to advocate to “Ban the Small Stall”.
Over the years, it has been my experience that people really like the accessibility features of the ADA.  They park in the accessible spots, take the accessible ramp to the accessible door and then sit themselves in the accessible stall.  People like big stalls!
By being a part of my community and traveling this great country, I have spent a good portion of my life demonstrating the need for accessibility features. I never miss an opportunity to remind folks that access is not an “us versus them” scenario. We all will experience some degree of disability in our lifetime, whether it is ourselves, a friend, or a family member. So why not join me in my campaign, “Ban the Small Stall?” 

 
billy altom.jpg 
 
Billy Altom is the Executive Director of APRIL, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living in Little Rock, Arkansas. APRIL is a national grass roots, consumer-controlled, nonprofit membership organization consisting of Centers for Independent Living, their satellites and branch offices, Statewide Independent Living Councils, and other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America.
 


Billy Altom

Ban the Small Stall
 
When the ADA was signed in 1990, I was 5 years into my disability and just starting college. I had grown up in a very rural part of Arkansas and was unfamiliar with most disability legislation. I was aware of the Rehab Act after receiving the opportunity to attend college via Vocational Rehabilitation, but other than that, I knew very little about disability rights or history.
My first thought after receiving my spinal cord injury (other than I really screwed up this time) was how do I get back to being a musician. I had been playing drums my whole life; first in a family gospel band and then playing the clubs. How was I going to make this happen?  As it turns out, playing the drums was the easy part. Getting on stage as a wheelchair user—not so easy.
There were always plenty of folks willing to lift you up and down off the stage. The hard part was finding the ones who were not inebriated. But the real challenge was getting into the restrooms (in some places this is still a challenge). It was at this time that I began to advocate to “Ban the Small Stall”.
Over the years, it has been my experience that people really like the accessibility features of the ADA.  They park in the accessible spots, take the accessible ramp to the accessible door and then sit themselves in the accessible stall.  People like big stalls!
By being a part of my community and traveling this great country, I have spent a good portion of my life demonstrating the need for accessibility features. I never miss an opportunity to remind folks that access is not an “us versus them” scenario. We all will experience some degree of disability in our lifetime, whether it is ourselves, a friend, or a family member. So why not join me in my campaign, “Ban the Small Stall?” 

 
billy altom.jpg 
 
Billy Altom is the Executive Director of APRIL, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living in Little Rock, Arkansas. APRIL is a national grass roots, consumer-controlled, nonprofit membership organization consisting of Centers for Independent Living, their satellites and branch offices, Statewide Independent Living Councils, and other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America.
 




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