‘This pandemic has completely stripped away my freedom as a deaf person’

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This feature is part of the ADA 30th Anniversary series, which marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, civil rights legislation which prohibits discrimination based on disability, provides accommodations for employees with disabilities, and requires public spaces to be accessible.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted lives around the globe. But for people with disabilities, making adjustments like wearing a face mask, avoiding public transportation or ride-sharing apps, pivoting to teleconferencing and isolating at home aren’t mere inconveniences; they’re huge obstacles.

Stacey Valle, a deaf social education coordinator and Deafinitely Wanderlust travel writer based in Los Angeles, tells Yahoo Life that she struggles to communicate with people wearing masks.

“And of course, I want them to and they have to,” the 30-year-old clarifies — but adds that, unless a mask is clear, it makes lip-reading impossible and obscures many of the facial expressions she relies on during

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