By Emily Bonnell
We were lucky enough to sit down for an interview with Erin Kay and Mollie Miller, the founders of Claiming Disability Incorporated. Both Mollie and Erin have Cerebral Palsy and use a walker and wheelchair in their daily life. The two explained that although they both have Cerebral Palsy, they experience disability in many different ways. This idea of every disability being distinctly unique is also something we at Ware•ologie focus on. Disabilities do not look one specific way, all disabilities look different and are experienced differently. Outside of Claiming Disability Inc., Erin and Mollie also write for The Mighty, a writing platform for people with disabilities to have their voices be heard. Claiming Disability Inc. was founded with a passion for disability, empowerment, and advocacy.
Claiming Disability Inc. is a platform that encourages its community to reclaim their disabilities, while also removing stigmas and providing power and strength. As Mollie Miller said, “There’s no reason to be ashamed of who you are.” This statement was a great embodiment of the positivity that their platform strives to generate for its visitors. Their website, Claimingdisabilityinc.com, has a space for community members to post their experiences and communicate as allies. Mollie and Erin talked about the value of diminishing the stigma that surrounds the topic of disabilities, and bringing the conversation full circle. This means that it is important to bring those who don’t experience physical disability in their daily lives into the conversation too, further diminishing the stigmas. The two also have a podcast, “You Belong Here” which can be found on seven differnt platforms through the Anchor App. Erin and Mollie also host “Crip Chat Club” on Zoom weekly to bring together voices of the disabled from around the world. Claiming Disability Inc. has also partnered with One Leg Up Productions to create a Youtube series of these conversations that can be viewed outside of the Zoom sessions.
Mollie and Erin talked to us about accessibility in everyday life. They explained that it is frequently hard to find clothes that fit properly or are fashionable, as well as functional, for someone with a physical disability. Mollie explained that the options for people with disabilities are relatively limited, and often clothing doesn’t fit well for those who are in a wheelchair. She also talked about how she usually has to choose function over fashion, and the options available feel more medical than fashionable. It was exciting when Mollie and Erin talked about the importance of Buttons 2 Button, a product created by Wareologie, that puts magnetic button adaptors on shirt buttons to improve independence and confidence for those who have problems with dexterity. Mollie had stated that with her dexterity issues she struggled with the buttons on shirts and jackets, and having the button adaptors were something that was definitely a need for many people who have similar limitations.
We asked Erin and Mollie what their most important tools for accessibility were. Mollie told us she can’t live without her dressing stick. The dressing stick is a wooden pole with a plastic hook at the end of it that helps her put on her pants. Another important tool for her is her grabber, which helps her grab things around her that are out of reach. The grabber also can assist her with getting dressed and also used to help her put on her shoes.
It was fantastic to talk with Mollie and Erin and hear about their backstory, advocacy, and inspiration for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. It was great to hear added support for the Buttons 2 Button product created by Wareologie, and get more first-hand testimonies to its importance. To learn more about Claiming Disability Inc., go to their website at Claimingdisabilityinc.com. Remember that everyone can be an ally or an advocate, and you don’t have to have a physical limitation to participate in the conversation.
Watch the Interview with Mollie and Erin HERE