Civil Rights Movement and Disability Rights – Paul Spooner

Paul Spooner speaking at a PCA rally

“July 26th is my 4th of July!”

As an early proponent of the Independent Living movement, Paul Spooner continues to be a strong voice, especially for Personal Care attendants.

Paul was born with a genetic muscular atrophy disability that wasn’t evident until he was school-aged. He was sent home to live with his grandparents where his diagnosis was unclear, and his school options were limited. His parents eventually returned from their overseas jobs, and he ended up at MA Hospital School for students with physical disabilities. Paul’s parents’ expectations remained high, and he was strongly encouraged to complete college. MA Rehabilitation Commission helped him obtain services so he finished college and went on to work at an Independent Living Center.

After watching the Civil Rights movement, Paul became very active in the Disability Movement, and was even invited to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the south lawn of the White House.