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Episode 113: Stories of Parenting with a Disability

Wednesday – January 4, 2023


Kimberly Tissot
Kimberly Tissot President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Able SC
Jason Jones
Jason Jones. Disability/Advocate Specialist at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute
Dave Matheis
Dave Matheis
Kentucky Coalition for the Rights of Parents with Disabilities
Kara Ayers
Kara Ayers
Associate Director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities


The American social reformer and clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once said, “We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.” Families come in many forms and in the United States, nearly 10% of children live with a parent with a disability.

Join us for an engaging conversation on parenting with a disability and a new book on the topic, “A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities,” with our four guests:

  • Dave Matheis, Kentucky Coalition for the Rights of Parents with Disabilities
  • Jason Jones, Disability Specialist, Human Development Institute, University of Kentucky
  • Kimberly Tissot, President and Chief Executive Officer, ABLE-South Carolina
  • Kara Ayers, PhD. Associate Professor, Associate Director, University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCCEDD), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.



Audio: Soundcloud Episode 113: Stories of Parenting with a Disability




A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities contains the stories of thirty families. In every family, one or both parents have disabilities: physical, mental, sensory, and/or intellectual. The stories illustrate the infinite variety of the American family. It is that variety that gives the family both its strength and its beauty. Like individuals, no two families are the same. In the course of discussing their family experiences, the parents cover a number of topics. Most stories concern having children through birth, but there are also stories about fostering and adopting. Four stories concern single parenthood. Many parents talk about adaptations and accommodations they made to be effective parents, but even more talk about how wonderfully adaptive their children were to their disabilities. Many parents talk about individual discrimination and societal bias they have faced. A number of stories highlight the decision-making process to have children when the possibility exists of passing on an inheritable condition. Parents are included that had children before they acquired a disability and they relate how that acquired disability affected their family. Several stories discuss legal and policy issues around parenting with a disability. The stories contain humor, compassion, and gratitude. They are proof that one thing you can get any parent to talk about is their children. As one parent in the book puts it, “if you suck as a person, you are going to suck as a parent, whether you have a disability or not. If you are compassionate and caring and nurturing as a person, you will be like that as a parent, too.

About ADA Live!

The ADA Live! podcast and resources focus on the rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A new episode airs for 30-45 minutes on the first Wednesday of each month. ADA Live! is produced by the Southeast ADA Center, one of ten regional ADA Centers in the ADA National Network.

No registration is required. You can submit your questions to ADA Live!, explore resources and the ADA Live! schedule plus connect to archived episodes on or download podcasts from


Disability Rights Today

The podcast series, Disability Rights Today, is your source for in-depth discussion of the facts, issues and arguments of important court cases that shape the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and that may impact the legal rights and the lives of people with disabilities.  You will hear from the plaintiffs, attorneys, and subject matter experts involved in the highlighted case. The host for “Disability Rights Today” is Dr. Peter Blanck, an American academic, psychologist, and lawyer who holds the titles of University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. The podcast will appeal to disability rights advocates, attorneys, and others wanting to keep current on the latest legal developments involving the ADA. Tune-in at:

Let’s Get to Work: Reimagining Disability-Inclusive Employment Policy

The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, in collaboration with leading economic and social policy researchers at Rutgers and Harvard Universities, invite you to listen to the podcast series: Let’s Get to Work: Reimagining Disability-Inclusive Employment Policy.

Each episode features guests with unique knowledge and insights sharing their perspective on public policies that are moving the momentum forward and holding progress back. Guests from government and the business and disability communities share their perspectives on ways to translate the latest trends and thinking to advance workforce development and employment policy that produces sustainable economic opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Researchers from the three universities also share what they are learning about employment policies as part of the work of the NIDILRR grant-funded Center on Disability Inclusive Employment Policy. Tune-in at:

The ADA Live! and Disability Rights Today podcasts are a cross-collaboration with the NIDILRR-funded Southeast ADA Center (#90DPAD0005-01-00), the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) of Syracuse University, and the NIDILRR grant-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) –  Disability Inclusive Employment Practices (#90RTEM0006-01-00).


About the Southeast ADA Center

The Southeast ADA Center is a leader in providing information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and disability access tailored to the needs of business, government, and individuals at local, state, and regional levels. It also conducts research to reduce and eliminate barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency and to increase the civic and social participation of Americans with disabilities. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, we are a project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) of Syracuse University and one of 10 regional ADA centers in the ADA National Network, funded since 1991 by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Web:

About BBI

The Burton Blatt Institute (“BBI”) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. Through program development, research, and public policy guidance, BBI advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar. BBI has offices in Syracuse, NY; Washington, DC; New York City, NY; and Lexington, KY. Web:

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this post were developed by the Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and the ADA National Network, under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant #90DPAD0005-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this podcast and email do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.