Disability Thinking

The purpose of Disability Thinking is to explore disability culture, language, reading, writing, politics, policy, and activism.

Disability Thinking is a personal blog. I don’t take outside submissions. I won’t post promotions for specific people, organizations, or products unless I choose to do so on my own. I have occasionally posted collaborations between myself and other writers, but those are going to be rare. General feedback is always welcomed through comments, social media, or privately by email.

If you want to share your writing, you can add any of your disability-related writing to the monthly Disability Blogger Linkup. They are open for posting from 11 AM Friday to Midnight Sunday, the second weekend of each month. If you are working towards being paid for freelance writing, I suggest you set up a free profile at the Disabled Writers website.

You can contact me about freelance writing opportunities at: apulrang@icloud.com


Andrew D. Pulrang

Portrait photo of Andrew pulrang, a white man with short brown hair, glasses, wearing red shirt

I was born in 1967, in Plattsburgh, New York, a small city in Northeastern New York, on Lake Champlain, and an hour’s drive south of Montreal, Quebec. I lived in Plattsburgh until 1980, when my parents moved us to Tumwater, Washington. I graduated from Tumwater High School in 1985.

Later that summer I had a health crisis, which led to my starting to use a ventilator to breathe at night, which I have done ever since. A few days after having a tracheostomy tube installed so I could use the ventilator, I started Freshman Year classes at Dartmouth College. I graduated in 1989 with a major in History. Literally not knowing what to do next, I enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Rhetoric and Communication Studies at the University of Virginia. After always avoiding involvement in disability issues, I ended up doing my Master’s Thesis comparing depictions of disability in television and movies.

During the summer between my two years at UVA, I did an internship at the North Country Center for Independence, a Center for Independent Living in Plattsburgh, which had started about a year before. Finding a disability organization that wasn’t begging for medical research funds with sad pictures of disabled kids was a revelation to me. I stuck with the Center, and the Center eventually stuck with me, as I became the Executive Director in 1998. I continued in that position until I stepped down in 2012. I still do some work with the good people at the North Country Center for Independence, including grant-writing and social media management. But, I needed a real rest, and I also wanted to explore disability issues in a different way. Disability Thinking is the result.

In early 2016, I teamed up with two other disability activists, Alice Wong and Gregg Beratan, to start and coordinate a Twitter hashtag, #CripTheVote, focused on discussing the participation and leadership of disabled people in voting, politics, and disability policy.

I am also a part-time English tutor at Clinton Community College.


Disability

I have Arthrogryposis. This condition can have different causes and an assortment of affects. For me, Arthrogryposis manifests itself in:

  • Muscle weakness and stiff, less flexible joints.

  • Short stature. I am 4’1” tall.

  • Significant spine curvatures, both front to back and side to side.

  • Reduced lung capacity caused by the spine curvatures.

  • My type of Arthrogryposis is genetic, which is one of the rarer kinds.

You can read more details about my disability here: My Disabilities.