About Emily

Emily’s story, how to connect to Emily, and the official short and long bios.

I was born with Larsen syndrome, a genetic physical disability. I first ventured into disability advocacy at age 10 when I appeared on Sesame Street. Yes, for real!

I’m a native of Long Island, New York, where I graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013. In 2017, I was named one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni and I now have the honor of serving on Adelphi’s Board of Trustees. In 2018, I was selected for the American Association of People With Disabilities’ Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award.

I provide communications and social media strategy consulting as well as editorial services for multiple disability-related organizations and initiatives. I’m also the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens. And, I co-host The Accessible Stall Podcast with one of my best friends, Kyle Khachadurian.

My first book, Demystifying Disability, published by Ten Speed Press, is due out fall 2021. I’m proud to be represented by Laura Lee Mattingly at Present Perfect Literary.

Words I Wheel By is my little space to share my passion for disability rights and social justice. All of my activism is driven by my belief that it is by sharing our stories and making the disability experience accessible to the world that we will reach a world that is accessible to the disability community.

Emily sitting in a power wheelchair, holding a hand painted sign that reads "Honk if you believe that disability rights are human rights."

Want to get connected? Contact me via email, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

Wondering where else I write? Check out my published work.

Looking for an event speaker? See where I’ve presented.

Order your copy of Demystifying Disability:

Short Bio (153 words)

Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. She serves as the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and her first book, Demystifying Disability, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in September 2021. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is a focus on and harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.

Full Bio (269 words)

Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant. She is the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Emily’s career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. A native of Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013 and now serves on their Board of Trustees. In 2017, she was named as one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. 

Emily is the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens. She also provides communications and social media strategy consulting as well as editorial services for multiple disability-related organizations and initiatives. And, she co-hosts “The Accessible Stall Podcast,” a show that dives into disability issues.

Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and she has served as a source for outlets including PBS NewsHour, NPR, Vox, and Washington Post. She has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.

Find Emily Across the Interwebs

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The Accessible Stall Podcast

The Accessible Stall is a disability podcast hosted by Kyle Khachadurian and Emily Ladau that keeps it real about issues within the disability community.

Check out the Accessible Stall Podcast