Edward Verne Roberts (January 23, 1939 – March 14, 1995)
was an American activist. He was the first student with severe disabilities to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He was a pioneering leader of the disability rights movement.
Roberts contracted polio at the age of fourteen in 1953, two years before the Salk vaccine ended the epidemic. He spent eighteen months in hospitals, and returned home paralyzed from the neck down except for two fingers on one hand and several toes. He slept in an iron lung at night and often rested there during the day. When out of the lung he survived by "frog breathing," a technique for swallowing air using facial and neck muscles.
He attended school by telephone hook-up until his mother Zona insisted that he go to school once a week for a few hours. At school he faced his deep fear of being stared at and transformed his sense of personal identity. He gave up thinking of himself as a "helpless cripple," and decided to think of himself as a "star." He credited his mother with teaching him by example how to fight for what he needed.