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Hello everyone, my name is Catarina! I am from Porto, Portugal. I am a Nutritionist and a Disability Advocate. I have been a person with a motor disability since 2016.

Today I want to talk with you about what I consider to be the elephant in the room: D I S A B I L I T Y. Every day, at my work with companies, schools, universities, promoters, and stakeholders I realize that the theme "disability" is the elephant in the room in this ableist society where we live.

Disability is in the room, on the table, but the vast majority of us don't want to connect with this subject, because we are afraid, because we don't have information, or because it seems distant to us.

Part of my work, and the message that I want to give to you, should be a simple one, but I notice that the ableist stigmas, stereotypes, and biases don't allow us to understand it easily.

Disability is part of human diversity, it is a characteristic and doesn't define all of me, but defines a part of me- and is part of me and that is perfectly ok! Although society tends to see disability as a bad thing, it is not. Disability itself does not limit us: ableism, physical barriers, and organizational barriers are the real limits.

Because of ableism, society understands my existence through the lens of pity or super inspiration. People see me as inferior, not valid, and extremely dependent BECAUSE of my disability and not because of the barriers that I face WITH my disability.

I don't live DESPITE my disability, I live WITH my disability.

We are human. With specific, and not special, needs. Accessibility and equity are human rights!

And although we are not elephants, I challenge you to "speak" with the elephant in the room... but don't forget our motto: nothing about us, without us!