Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who experienced a life-threatening stroke before the 2022 midterm elections, became emotional on Thursday while discussing the challenges people with disabilities face.
The senator demonstrated transcription software at the meeting while the Senate Special Committee on Aging was holding an open hearing.
“Because I live in a political environment, I was ridiculed and made fun of,” Fetterman said, becoming emotional as he spoke to the witnesses who testified at the hearing.
The Senate hearing focused on ensuring that government technology is accessible to older citizens, veterans, and those with disabilities. A number of disabled people and disability advocates testified as witnesses.
The stroke left Fetterman with an auditory processing disorder. Auditory processing disorder (APD) is described as a specific deficit in the processing of auditory information along the central auditory nervous system, encompassing bottom-up and top-down neural connections.
According to the American Academy of Audiology, symptoms of APD include trouble hearing speech in noisy environments, difficulty paying attention, problems locating the sound of a particular sound, and asking for information to be repeated.
For many disabled people, accommodations are not unfair or significant advantages. Accommodations allow disabled people to work, live, and participate in community activities. We can accomplish so much if we are given the support we need.
Bamiou, Doris-Eva, F. E. Musiek, and L. M. Luxon. “Aetiology and clinical presentations of auditory processing disorders—a review.” Archives of disease in childhood 85.5 (2001): 361-365.
Moore, David R., et al. “Nature of auditory processing disorder in children.” Pediatrics 126.2 (2010): e382-e390. APA
Suter, Tara. “Fetterman Chokes up during Hearing on Disability Access.” The Hill, The Hill, 21 Sept. 2023, thehill.com/homenews/senate/4216664-fetterman-chokes-up-during-hearing-on-disability-access/.