Paraquad | St. Louis Public Radio


Chris Worth works on a commisioned portrait of a couple who are active in the local disability rights community.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

All artists use their unique abilities and experiences in their work. Chris Worth is no different.

But Worth’s art is informed by a more complicated set of realities than most. Born in Connecticut along with a twin brother, Worth was diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy. When he was 1, his mother had a stroke.

At first, a family friend cared for him. After that, he bounced through several foster families and an educational system that put him on a path toward unskilled labor. At 11, he was adopted by a West Virginia couple who saw his potential as a student and artist.

But even in a stable home, he was confused by his attractions toward women and men, an orientation for which he now uses the word “queer.” "Disabled" is the one-word description he prefers in talking about his cerebral palsy. They're part of a long list of identities folded his art.

Emma Minx, Logan Chiropractic Paraquad Clinic senior intern, turns on the power plate exercise machine for Paraquad participant Leon Zickrick. The machine vibrates to help break up joint adhesion in his shoulder. (July 25, 2014_
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Nonprofit organizations that serve seniors and people with disabilities say their clients would be harmed by Gov. Eric Greitens' proposed cuts to assistance programs.

Voting stations at a polling place.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis area residents head to the polls Tuesday, some have potential obstacles to overcome — aside from long lines.

For people experiencing homelessness, it can be difficult to register to vote. And according to disability advocacy group Paraquad, accessibility continues to be a problem at some polling places in the region.

A co-worker calls Matt Brock's service dog, Lynn, out from under Matt's desk at his Paraquad cubicle.
FIle Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Update June 9 with signature: Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation on Thursday that could expand Medicaid eligibility for Missourians who are elderly or living with a disability.

For decades, Missourians who were elderly, blind or disabled could only have $1,000 or less in savings. The bill Nixon signed would gradually raise that asset limit to $5,000 for an unmarried person and $10,000 for a married couple.

David B. Gray obituary
Provided by Washington University

David Gray, a scientist who relentlessly championed the right of people with disabilities to live independent, satisfying lives, has died.

Mr. Gray, a professor of neurology and occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, wanted much more for others than had been available to him after he fell and broke his neck during the summer of 1976. It left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down.

Emma Minx, Logan Chiropractic Paraquad Clinic senior intern, turns on the power plate exercise machine for Paraquad participant Leon Zickrick. The machine vibrates to help break up joint adhesion in his shoulder. (July 25, 2014_
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Saturday is the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires public accommodations be made for people with disabilities and prohibits employment discrimination.

St. Louis has been on the forefront of disability advocacy since the 1970s, led by Paraquad founders Max and Colleen Starkloff. Through the efforts of Paraquad and the Starkloffs, St. Louis became the first city in the country to have lift-equipped buses. Members of Paraquad also traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the passage of the ADA.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Silvia Ursu didn’t know too much about St. Louis before coming here about two weeks ago. 

Now that she’s here, Ursu says she’s found a great city that’s taken the steps to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2012 - June is turning out to be a bittersweet month for some disabled Missourians. The good news is that more of them will be allowed to remain in their homes rather than move into nursing homes, thanks to $100.9 million made available under the Affordable Care Act if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 25, 2012 - Although Missouri won’t have a voter photo-ID proposal on the November ballot, the broader issue of voter access – the efforts of some to impose more restrictions – continues to be a concern for groups that aid the disabled.

That’s why officials with Paraquad, the local nonprofit organization that assists people with disabilities, are among the allied groups concerned about actions here and elsewhere that they perceive as making it more difficult for the disabled and the disadvantaged to vote.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 15, 2012 - Had Shandie Reed of Joplin been alone in her house last May 22, it’s unlikely she'd be alive today.

But Reed’s father was there to go outside and see why the sirens were sounding. When he spotted the tornado in the distance, he ran inside and ushered his daughter, wife and two young nieces into the basement.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A package of bills that Gov. Jay Nixon says is about "dignity and practicality" for the 100,000 Missouri individuals with a developmental or intellectual disability is now law.

Gov. Nixon signed the legislation today at Paraquad, one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to helping disabled individuals live independently. Its founder, Max Starkloff, died Dec. 27.

Morning headlines: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jul 12, 2011
(via Flickr/GIANTsqurl)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Mo. Gov. Nixon to sign legislation related to disability issues

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is preparing to sign legislation addressing several physical and mental disability issues. The governor has scheduled a signing ceremony for this morning at Paraquad Independent Living Center in St. Louis.

Max Starkloff with his daughter, Emily
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Funeral services for disability rights pioneer Max Starkloff have been set.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 28, 2010 - Max Starkloff's world changed forever on the night of Aug. 9, 1959, when his late-model Austin Healy Sprite convertible spun out of control and flipped on a two-lane road in rural Missouri. The accident left him a quadriplegic but not a victim.

Over the course of the next 50 years, Mr. Starkloff would emerge as a relentless, uncompromising force on behalf of disabled people. His advocacy earned him international acclaim. But many say it was his personal example that may have meant even more. Mr. Starkloff spent 12 years in a nursing facility before he was able to forge the independent life that he worked passionately to provide to so many others.

  • Funeral arrangements are pending for Max Starkloff, a longtime advocate for the disabled in the St. Louis area. Friends told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he had recently developed the flu. Starkloff was a quadriplegic since age 21, when he was injured in an automobile accident. He founded Paraquad Inc. and led crusades that convinced St. Louis to install wheelchair temps on sidewalks and lifts on buses.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 13, 2010 - They prepare the meals, do the bathing and the shopping for about 12,000 poor and disabled Missourians. Many people probably don't give much thought to the services provided by these home-care workers -- until some of them stage a protest over wages or vote to form a union.