Emily Ladau

Position: Author, Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally
Board of Directors

Portrait of Emily Ladau
Portrait of Emily Ladau

A Conversation with Emily Ladau

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. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013 and had the honor of serving on their Board of Trustees from 2020-2024. 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. In 2022, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism honored her with their Disability Advocate of the Year Award, the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities honored her with the Frieda Zames Advocacy Award, and The Viscardi Center honored her with the prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, which recognizes international leaders with disabilities. And in 2023, she was selected to receive the Progressive Women’s Voices IMPACT Award from the Women’s Media Center.

Emily is the Editor of Able News at The Viscardi Center, a monthly print and digital publication amplifying the perspectives of New York’s diverse, vibrant disability community and serving as a resource throughout the state. She is also the Digital Content Manager for the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, an organization committed to expanding philanthropic commitment to disability inclusion. Previously, she served as the Editor of The Century Foundation’s Voices of Disability Economic Justice project, a commentary series that shines a light on the economic disparities that disabled people experience. Prior to that, she served as the founding Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, a platform dedicated to amplifying authentic narratives on the disability experience through an intersectional lens.

Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Vice, and HuffPost and she has served as a source for outlets including MSNBC, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and The Washington Post. She has spoken before numerous audiences about disability, from Microsoft to Comcast/NBCUniversal, and from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. And, she co-hosts The Accessible Stall Podcast, a show that dives into disability issues. Central to all of Emily’s work is harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool to engage people in learning about disability.

Follow Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. More about her work can be found on her website, EmilyLadau.com.

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