Daniel Barnhart's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Grottoes, VA, but anywhere.

Daniel was born three months earlier than expected. He had a lack of oxygen going to his brain and experienced some bleeding which led to Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, which means that all of his limbs are affected. He weighed only 2 pounds and 4 ounces. With all the complications, he was in an incubator in the NICU for many months. Now in his 20s, he shares what it was like to grow up as someone with a disability, and how that has impacted him into his adult life in work, relationships, mental health, and connecting with others who have similar experiences to him.

Daniel enjoys writing poetry and going to movies with his friends. He is going through courses to become a pastor, and currently works in advocating for more inclusive wellness opportunities in his community. He’s constantly trying to become independent and shares ways homes, community places, and events in the community can be more welcoming.

Location: Grottoes, VA, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

One thing that really affects me in regard to leisure time is that I don’t get invited to anybody’s house. It’s always me and my family, because like the people’s houses like they have steps and they’re not wide enough [doors], and their house is not accommodating. And even if it is, people don’t know how to deal with me. So I very rarely go to people’s houses.

I love to write poetry. I’m really passionate about writing poetry. Free range expression.

I hope that people see a flawed man. Like with a lot of flaws, and a man that is just, you know, normal. I think at times people want to make me into a superhuman, but I’m not, you know. In disability circles we call it inspiration porn. Like around here we’re very big on inspiration porn, and like, I’m not about that, ‘cuz that’s not fair to me and that’s not fair to other people.