“Finding the right people to be my aides is one of my biggest challenges in my life. There’s small stuff every day that I don’t even realize until I’m having a bad day.”
I am a 42 year-old disabilities consultant from Lower Salem, Ohio, who was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP), a neurological disorder that effects the control over my muscles. CP is a group of permanent movement disorders appearing in early childhood that include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is the most common motor disability in childhood. About one in 323 children has been identified with this disability.
Growing up, I had a very supportive family although I didn’t have much peer to peer interaction. I graduated from Fort Frye, Ohio, High School, received training in graphic design and website development, advanced web design, digital mastery with Photoshop, and attended Ohio University 2013-2014 in Specialized Studies. Most of my knowledge in technology was self-learned.
Living with CP or any disability has particular, often daunting, daily challenges. I have home health aides around the clock who assist me with all of my daily needs. My services are funded partly by the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Ohio Medicaid.
I’ve experienced all kinds of discrimination, from a server not giving me a menu at restaurant to people not wanting to rent me a house and everything between.
Next month, July 26, will be the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many more places have become accessible since the ADA came into law, yet there is much work to be done to educate the public on what it means to be differently abled. Personally, I have accomplished a great amount to influence change in Athens, besides serving on the Commission and other entities. I frequently work with City officials to make Athens more accessible and inclusive. In fact, I’m co-leading a huge project that Noah Trembly Enterprises is working on with the City of Athens to do a full accessibility audit of the entire city.
My advocacy has not only been local. I have been a presenter at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Chicago; the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (OSSHLA), Columbus; the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), Orlando; and the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), Toronto, among others. Some of the topics I’ve spoken on include Individuals Who Use AAC, Professional Respect, and Building a Strong Community Profile. I have formal knowledge of the ADA and I’m always continuing my knowledge of it.
As we observe the 30th ADA anniversary, I encourage you to watch Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality. It’s a spirited look at grassroots activism and a stirring introduction to the summer camp on the early 1970s that sparked the disability rights movement. Camp Jened was a place for teens with all kinds of disabilities to spend time together and to experience what it might be like to live in a world that was welcoming to them. And that was transformative. Watch free – 30 day trial. https://www.netflix.com/title/81001496
Noah is CEO of Noah Trembly Enterprises, serves as vice president of the Commission on Disabilities, and is a member of the Accessibility Committee and the Advocacy Committee. He is on the Athens Affordable Housing Commission, the Athens City/County Transportation Committee, the Athens County Coordinated Transportation Committee, the State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children (SAPEC), and the Ohio Network for Innovation.
The Commission provides a means for the concerns of people with disabilities to be heard, advocates for change, provides expertise, relates strengths and limitations, and helps improve quality of life ensuring opportunity and full participation for everyone.