Interview with F. Darrell Mattingly, Jr., June 29, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History


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00:00:00 - Introduction / Work and disability activism

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Partial Transcript: Hello, my name is Mack Thompson, and today I am interviewing Darrell Mattingly--

Segment Synopsis: Darrell Mattingly introduces himself as a fifty year old man with cerebral palsy. He says that he has been living alone for the past twenty-two years. Mattingly says he is fine with people using whatever disability terminology makes them comfortable. He discusses his work as a web developer for the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. Mattingly also details his work with the Adaptive Martial Arts Association and Hart-Supported Living Program.

Keywords: Adaptive Martial Arts Association; CP; Cerebral Palsy; Disabled people; Funding; Hart-Supported Living Program; Human Development Institute; Independence; Independent living; Lexington (Ky.); People with disabilities; Terminology; University of Kentucky; Web developers; Web development; Disabilities

00:03:08 - Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic / Accessibility in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Thank you for sharing. Uh, so, have you been impacted by--

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly discusses the impact of COVID-19 on his daily life, saying he is at increased risk because of his disability. This, he says, has caused him to not go out much. Mattingly describes the accessibility of Lexington, saying it's quite good but there are still ways it can improve. He says accessibility in a city like Lexington is much better than ninety-five percent of the nation. Mattingly details some changes he would make, like improving public transportation.

Keywords: Accessibility; COVID-19 (disease); CP; Cerebral Palsy; Comorbidities; Disabled people; Lexington (Ky.); People with disabilities; Public transportation; Disabilities

00:05:56 - Accessibility in the workforce / Social and government resources

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, how has like, accessibility been in the workplace.

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly discusses his role at the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute, saying it has been a very accommodating position in terms of accessibility. He acknowledges most workplaces are not as friendly to disabled people. Mattingly says that there are many resources available to help, but the problem is most people don't know about them. He says he is aware of resources due to his line of work, but they need to be advertised more openly.

Keywords: Accessibility; Accommodations; Awareness; CP; Cerebral palsy; Disability needs; Disabled people; Government resources; HDI; Human Development Institute; Lexington (Ky.); People with disabilities; Social resources; Social services; University of Kentucky; Disabilities

00:08:29 - How to increase awareness of communal disability resources

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Partial Transcript: Just, like, having those conversations, like, how can could we, like, make them more available--

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly says the best way to spread awareness about resources for disabled people is simply talking about it with others. He emphasizes the importance of asking for resources to meet your needs, saying that you shouldn't take no for an answer. Mattingly says there's an abundance of people willing to help, but it must be a partnership between the community and resource providers. He says if providers don't know about a problem, they can't work to resolve it.

Keywords: Accessibility; Awareness; CP; Cerebral palsy; Community resources; Disability needs; Disabled people; Government resources; People with disabilities; Resource providers; Social resources; Disabilities

00:11:02 - Exercising personal choice in ability

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Partial Transcript: I was wondering if you could talk more about, um, navigating spheres outside of disability work--

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly emphasizes that if he wants to do something, he will figure out a way to do it. He says that it takes a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone. Mattingly reinforces the importance of not becoming complacent, saying one should always be ready for the next opportunity. He says that one doesn't truly fail until they've given up trying to become the person that they want to be.

Keywords: CP; Cerebral palsy; Comfort zone; Complacency; Disabled people; Failure; Opportunities; People with disabilities; Personal development; Personal growth; Success; Disabilities

00:13:00 - Misconceptions about Cerebral Palsy

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Partial Transcript: What do you wish that people knew more about--

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly says one misconception others have about cerebral palsy is that it is a disease. He says it's a birth defect which can happen to anyone, emphasizing that it's simply another attribute some happens to be born with. Mattingly says he's never offended if someone asks about his disability because its an opportunity to educate them and dispel assumptions. He details varying public reactions to his disability, saying that most want to be accepting. Mattingly emphasizes the importance of disabled people having a say in things.

Keywords: Agency; Assumptions; Attributes; Birth defects; CP; Cerebral palsy; Disabled people; Education; People with disabilities; Stereotypes; Disabilities

00:18:05 - Advice for those recently diagnosed with a disability

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Partial Transcript: So, do you--um, would you have any advice that you would like to share--

Segment Synopsis: Mattingly says he would tell someone recently diagnosed with a disability that it's not all or nothing, and that it's important to take it day by day and to build a supportive community around you. He says it takes time to do this, and it's important to not become discouraged. He discusses how one must always think about how they can improve as a person and that disability shouldn't be a taboo subject of discussion, people should talk about what they need to.

Keywords: CP; Cerebral palsy; Communities; Destigmatization; Diagnosis; Disabled people; Discussion; Encouragement; People with disabilities; Personal improvement; Stigma; Support networks; Taboo; Disabilities