One of the few women with disabilities to compete in the Miss America pageant said the conversation about people like her is changing in the United States.
Nicole Kelly was born with just one hand and said the internet has allowed geographically separated communities of people with disabilities to be created. But, the former Miss Iowa said that alone is not adequate.
"That connection is only highlighting the rights for which we still fight and the places we have to go. Statistically people with disabilities have about a 70 percent unemployment rate, and that's a really large percentage," said Kelly.
Kelly said the focus is turning to how to get people active and companies not only ADA compliant but ADA friendly.
The host of the YouTube show Loud and Proud said progress is being made.
The focus is kind of turning in how to get people active and how to get companies not only compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but getting them to think outside the box and value the diversity people with disabilities bring," said Kelly.
She urged people to use person-first language, referring to people with a disability, instead of someone who is disabled.
Kelly speaks on ISU's campus Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.
Kelly said she's always happy to speak at places like Illinois State University because colleges are usually the first completely accessible place students with disabilities have ever encountered.
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