Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two Special Lowe's Employees

Clay Luthy, an Air Force veteran with a disability, and his ten-year-old golden retriever service dog Charlotte were hired a few months ago by Lowe's in Abilene, Texas. This is an example of making an accommodation for a qualified employee. Luthy and Charlotte's story recently went viral after a shopper posted a photo of them on Facebook. Luthy, who has had several knee surgeries, is currently training a service dog named Lola to take Charlotte's place. For more details on this story, go to

A service dog

Friday, December 23, 2016

Adaptive Toy Project

Mary Lundy, a physical therapy professor at the University of North Florida, started the Adaptive Toy Project with an engineering professor a couple of years ago. Students in these two majors work together to convert toys into those with which children with disabilities can play; the toys are given to the children for free. There is a need for programs like this because adaptive toys are not widely available and are more expensive. The Adaptive Toy Project is funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. For more information, go to Happy Holidays!

Image result for adaptive toy 
A boy playing with an adaptive toy

Monday, December 19, 2016

We Carry Kevan: A Travel Story

I just rode 1,200 miles with my parents in a minivan from Palm Bay, Florida, to Buffalo, New York. A 30-year-old man named Kevan Chandler, who has spinal muscular atrophy (refer to my recent Getty Owl Foundation post for more information) and normally uses a power wheelchair, has traveled far thanks to his friends, who carried him on a specially designed backpack. This past summer, Kevan and a group of his friends went from Atlanta, Georgia, to France, England, and Ireland. Their goal is to make it possible for other wheelchair users to travel with a similar backpack or other apparatus. While establishing We Carry Kevan as a nonprofit, Kevan is writing a book and producing a film about his experiences to be released in the spring of 2017. To read more about Kevan's adventures, go to

Kevan Chandler

Monday, December 12, 2016

Johnny "Joey" Jones

Johnny "Joey" Jones is a retired staff sergeant of the Marine Corps originally from Dalton, Georgia. He lost his legs after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010. Jones was in recovery for two years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he started a peer visit program. He was then selected for a year-long fellowship on Capitol Hill with the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs; he also earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University. As an advocate, Jones has appeared on several news programs and has spoken about veterans' issues to many organizations. The spokesperson and chief operating officer of the Boot Campaign and the Pushups for Charity campaign, Jones is about to launch his official website and his weekly podcast Blown Away and is currently writing his memoir. To learn more about Jones, go to

Johnny "Joey" Jones

Monday, December 5, 2016

Getty Owl Foundation

Founded five years ago, Getty Owl Foundation serves children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disorder that causes severe, progressive muscle weakness. SMA, the #1 genetic killer of young children, has been classified into five types depending on severity. Most children with this disorder don't live past age two. The winnings of a contestant on a recent episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? were donated to Getty Owl Foundation. For more information about the foundation, go to

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Brevard Achievement Center

I met the marketing and development director of Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) at a community event at the Melbourne Square Mall in October. Based in Rockledge with offices in Melbourne and Titusville, BAC has been helping people with disabilities gain job skills and obtain employment since 1968. This is made possible with support from several community partners. BAC is one example of a disability organization to which you can donate on this Giving Tuesday (and any other day). To find out how you can give, go to This organization was mentioned in a recent Florida Today article about employment transition programs written by BAC's president and CEO Amar Patel (

Friday, November 25, 2016

Toy Drives for Children with Disabilities

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it's time to think about the December holiday season. The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) is holding its inaugural virtual 5K to raise money for the purchase of adapted toys for children with disabilities. Adapted toys are more expensive and aren't included often in holiday toy drives. FAAST is asking participants for a $25 donation. At least 30 children with special needs will be served by this fundraiser. To make a donation, go to

Located at 1591 W. Eau Gallie Blvd. in Melbourne, the Azan Shrine Center will hold its annual Poker Toy Run on Saturday, November 26, with breakfast beginning at 9:00 A.M and registration an hour later. Attendees are asked to bring unwrapped toy donations or $10. Participants will receive their first poker card at the start of the run and then collect four more cards at different locations, ending at the Azan Shrine Center. People with the best poker hands will be given prizes. The Azan Shrine Center specializes in helping children with orthopedic issues, burns, and spinal cord injuries. The donations from the toy run will be split between their children's hospital in Tampa and other children in need at Christmas. For more details, go to

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Deaf Poets Society

The Deaf Poets Society is a new online literary journal that contains poetry, prose, book reviews, interviews, and art/photography by people with disabilities. This gives writers and artists with handicaps an opportunity to showcase their talent. Payment for accepted submissions varies depending on the amount of donations received. The journal plans to publish an issue every other month with the next issue being published on December 1. To learn more about The Deaf Poets Society and read its two issues, go to

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Virtual Career Fair for People with Disabilities

Celebrating 20 years of disability employment solutions, Bender Consulting Services, Inc. (in partnership with careereco) is hosting a virtual career fair for job seekers with disabilities on Tuesday, November 15. This event is open to American college students and alumni of various majors. Virtual career fair attendees, who must create a free careereco account before the event, will have the opportunity to interact with participating employers in chat rooms throughout the day. To create your careereco account and see which employers are hiring before November 15, go to; the website is sponsored by TwentyEighty (a business training company) and First Commonwealth Bank. Good luck!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Final Thoughts on Election Day

Whether or not they voted during the primary election in August, Americans with disabilities have an opportunity on Tuesday, November 8, to choose the president for the next four years. Since the United States is a democracy, it's up to us, the people (with and without disabilities), to decide who our next leader will be. This is also the time for voters to select candidates for other positions and to accept or reject proposed amendments. To read an article about issues that voters with disabilities need to consider, go to Hopefully, the outcome of the election will be beneficial for the disability community and the nation as a whole.

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Day of Local Fundraisers

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 5) is a busy day for fundraisers for people with disabilities. The Families Exploring Down Syndrome (FEDS) of Brevard will hold its 14th annual Buddy Walk. At the walk will be fun activities for children and exhibitors who provide services to individuals with Down syndrome. There is a registration fee of $25, which gives each participant a T-shirt and access to the activities. Beginning at 10:00 A.M. with check-in at 8:00 A.M., the walk will take place at Riverfront Park at 401 Riveredge Blvd. in Cocoa. For more information, go to

Later in the day, the Brevard Association for the Advancement of the Blind will have its sixth annual Sprint for Sight 5K run/walk. There will be medals for the first three people in each age group along with Tech Race shirts, food, prizes, and live music by Outtasight. This event begins at 4:00 P.M. at Gleason Park at 1233 Yacht Club Blvd. in Indian Harbour Beach. For more information, go to

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Gleason: A Film about a Former NFL Player with ALS

Gleason is a documentary about the former professional football player Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at age 34 in 2011. A few months later, his wife Michel gave birth to their son Rivers. Gleason is known as the New Orleans Saints defensive back who blocked a punt during the first 2006 home game since Hurricane Katrina; the Saints ended up winning that game on the way to a successful season. The documentary shows the progression of ALS in Gleason, who was told upon diagnosis he would live two to five more years, so he has attempted to live life to the fullest. Premiering on July 29, 2016, Gleason is now available on DVD. For more information, go to

Steve Gleason

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My New Amplified Telephone

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the Space Coast Center for Independent Living (SCCIL) in Rockledge to get a volume control telephone. After an intake interview, I had the opportunity to try out four phones with different features. I chose the cordless amplified Clarity Professional telephone with Caller ID (pictured below), which enables its user to turn up the volume higher than regular phones. The red parts of the phone light up when it rings. The Clarity Professional phone is one of several phones provided for free by Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI); however, if its user moves out of Florida or no longer needs the phone, it must be returned. John Barone, the telecommunications specialist who showed me how the phone works, recently received the Getting Results Award from Channel 6 for his 18 years of volunteering for the SCCIL ( To find out how you can get a phone from FTRI, go to

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Accountant: A Movie Character with Autism

The main character in the recently released movie The Accountant ( starring Ben Affleck has autism. Gifted in math, Affleck's character Christian Wolff works for criminal organizations and kills people with military-style firearms. To learn more about autism, Affleck and director Gavin O'Connor met with students at Exceptional Minds (, a non-profit vocational center for young adults on the autism spectrum in Sherman Oaks, California. Laurie Stephens, director of clinical services for Education Spectrum (, an autism therapeutic center in Altadena, California, served as a liaison on The Accountant. Critics of the movie are concerned viewers will think there is a link between autism and violence. Go to for a review of The Accountant.

Ben Affleck in The Accountant

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to Communicate with People with Disabilities

With October being National Disability Awareness Month, this is a good time to describe how to communicate with people with disabilities. As listed on, the following are the Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities:
  1. Speak directly rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
  2. Offer to shake hands when introduced. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb can usually shake hands and offering the left hand is an acceptable greeting.
  3. Always identify yourself and others who may be with you when meeting someone with a visual disability. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking. When dining with a friend who has a visual disability, ask if you can describe what is on his or her plate.
  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.
  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people with disabilities by their first names only when extending that same familiarity to all others. Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
  6. Do not lean against or hang on someone’s wheelchair. Bear in mind that people with disabilities treat their chairs as extensions of their bodies. And so do people with guide dogs and help dogs. Never distract a work animal from their job without the owner’s permission.
  7. Listen attentively when talking with people who have difficulty speaking and wait for them to finish. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod of the head. Never pretend to understand; instead repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.
  8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.
  9. Tap a person who has a hearing disability on the shoulder or wave your hand to get his or her attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips. If so, try to face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. If a person is wearing a hearing aid, don’t assume that they have the ability to discriminate your speaking voice. Never shout to a person. Just speak in a normal tone of voice.
  10. Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as “See you later” or “Did you hear about this?” that seems to relate to a person’s disability.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Nelly Jacobs: Riding Off Into the Sunset

Since the age of nine, Nelly Jacobs of the Netherlands has had a passion for horses; at one point, she was an award-winning rider and show jumper. Now 87 years old, Jacobs was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease over 30 years ago. The Hidden Desires Project made it possible for her to ride a horse again. After seeing a horse up close and feeding it, Jacobs was lifted from her wheelchair and placed on a bed on top of two horses moving side-by-side inside a custom-built apparatus. The look of joy on her face was priceless. For more details on this story, go to

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Baby's First Wheelchair

Evelyn "Eva" Moore, a one-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was diagnosed at four months old with a spinal tumor that caused paralysis below her arms. After eight rounds of chemotherapy, Moore was soon in remission, but she couldn't crawl or walk. So, within two days, her father built a small wheelchair with a cutting board, castor wheels, and a Bumbo chair, all for just $100. Now, Moore can keep up with other toddlers. For more details on this story (and a few cute photos), go to

Evelyn Moore
(Image obtained from

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It Takes a "Village"

Known for its casinos and other entertainment venues, Las Vegas is also the home of Opportunity Village, a non-profit that improves the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in southern Nevada. Opportunity Village, which serves more than 3,000 people annually, offers vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts, and social recreation. Founded in 1954, the organization operates three employment training center campuses, a thrift store, and a vehicle donation program. Opportunity Village also hosts popular events such as the annual Magical Forest and the Las Vegas Great Santa Run. For more information about this organization, go to

Monday, September 26, 2016

Regions Bank's "See the Good"

Regions Bank maintains a website called See the Good, which contains uplifting articles. One of the articles is about Regions Bank employee Sil Gleim from Franklin, Tennessee, who befriended a man with special needs named Allen Jordan, who goes to her church. Gleim learned Jordan attends BrightStone, a non-profit organization that provides work and social support services to adults with disabilities. After going on a tour of BrightStone, Gleim began raising money for the non-profit by participating in an annual fish fry dinner at her church and a bowling fundraiser known as Bowlability. For more details on this story (and to read other articles), go to

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Review of "Speechless"

The brand new ABC sitcom Speechless is the show wheelchair users and their families have been waiting for! In Wednesday's premiere, the DiMeo family adjusts to living in the worst neighborhood of Newport Beach, California. Played by Minnie Driver, Maya gets carried away with making sure her son J.J. (played by Micah Fowler, who has cerebral palsy) has a positive experience at his new high school. Maya's husband Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) tries to be the voice of reason while their other son Ray (Mason Cook) and daughter Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) feel overshadowed by J.J. While there were a couple of unrealistic and surprising situations in the first episode, Speechless excellently portrays the life of a person with a physical disability and his or her loved ones while keeping the interest of non-disabled viewers through humor. Therefore, this show deserves a thumbs-up. It is the hope of this blogger that Speechless will stay on the air for years to come. If you missed the premiere of Speechless (or want to see it again), you can watch it at

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Speechless": A TV Show That Features Disability

Starring Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, The Riches), Speechless is a new sitcom about a family in which the oldest son (played by Micah Fowler) has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair and a speech communication device. Fowler has a less severe form of cerebral palsy in real life. It is exciting to see a TV series feature a character with a disability. Speechless premieres at 8:30 P.M. Wednesday on ABC. To read a review of the show, go to

Image obtained from

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Terra Jole: First Little Person on "Dancing with the Stars"

Reality star Terra Jole is the first little person to compete on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, the 23rd season of which premiered Monday night. Jole, who's four feet and two inches tall, stars on Lifetime's Little Women: LA and Terra's Little Family. She's also the executive producer of spinoffs Little Women: ATL and Little Women: NY, has appeared in a few other TV shows as well as movies, and recently released a musical album. Jole is married with two children; she gave birth to her youngest child last month. To learn more about Jole, go to

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering 9/11 Victims with Disabilities

Today is the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people died that day; some of them had a disability, and help didn't arrive quickly enough for them. On this day, we should also keep in mind the numerous survivors who have a disability as a result of the attacks. To read a blog post about 9/11 victims with disabilities and the importance of evacuation chairs during emergencies, go to

Friday, September 9, 2016

Death Sentence Overturned Due to Intellectual Disability

Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court overturned 4-2 Freddie Lee Hall's death sentence due to a low IQ. Hall (whose IQ scores ranged from 52 to 80 over almost 40 years) was sentenced to death for killing a pregnant woman in 1978. In Florida, an inmate is considered to have an intellectual disability if his or her IQ is no higher than 70. Abused severely by his mother as a child with 16 siblings, Hall, now 71, will remain in prison for the rest of his life. For more details on this story, go to

Image obtained from

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016 Paralympics: An Opportunity for Athletes with Disabilities

The 2016 Olympics ended a couple of weeks ago. Now, it's almost time for the 2016 Paralympics, a series of 23 sporting events in which athletes with disabilities from 176 countries compete. The Paralympics will take place September 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the same location as the latest Olympics. Archery, table tennis, and wheelchair basketball are a few of the sports that will be played. BMW designed a lightweight, fast wheelchair for the U.S. Paralympics cycling road team, which will hopefully help them win medals. For more information about the Paralympics, go to

Medals engraved with the Paralympics logo
(Image obtained from

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chiari Malformation Awareness Month

September is Chiari Malformation Awareness Month. Chiari malformation is a condition in which the cerebellum (the bottom part of the brain) is pushed down onto the top of the spine. There are three types of Chiari malformation, and they have different symptoms, the most common of which is severe headaches. Complications include hydrocephalus, spina bifida, syringomyelia, and tethered cord syndrome. Treatment isn't needed for some cases of Chiari malformation while surgery is necessary for others. For more information, go to

Image obtained from

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Zika Virus in Florida

Spread by mosquitoes, the Zika virus began appearing in Florida earlier this summer. Pregnant women especially need to be careful because the virus can cause severe birth defects of the brain such as microcephaly, which causes a baby's head to be smaller than normal. Babies with Zika might also have eye defects, hearing problems, and impaired growth as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease of the nervous system. People who come in contact with mosquitoes should spray insect repellent on themselves. For more information about the Zika virus, go to

A mosquito

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Should Law Enforcement Approach Deaf People?

A week ago, a North Carolina state trooper fatally shot a deaf and speech-impaired man named Daniel Harris. The trooper tried to pull Harris over for speeding, but Harris drove seven miles to his home before stopping. He was shot shortly after he got out of his car. Harris's brother Sam, who said his brother was afraid of cops, is wondering whether his brother's disabilities led to a misunderstanding. Money is being raised through for Harris's memorial and cremation. Any remaining money will be used to establish a foundation that educates law enforcement on how to confront deaf people. For more details on this story, go to

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dorian Willes: Keeping His Eyes on the Prize

I mentioned bobsled/skeleton racer Dorian Willes in my August 8 post about the 9th Annual Youth Summit, but his latest accomplishments merit a post about him alone (not to mention the fact today is his birthday). To give you a little background, part of Willes's right leg was amputated after being shot 21 times by police in Boise, Idaho, in 2008. He was in a coma for months before he went to jail on drug and malicious injury to property charges. Fortunately, Willes decided to take a different direction in life.

Fast forward to August 2016: A week ago, Willes (also a motivational speaker) was featured as #4 on ESPN's SportsCenter Top Ten with Stan & Neil. Over the weekend, he won first place in three events at the WABDL Great Northern Bench Press & Deadlift Championships in Olympia, Washington. Willes' goal is to compete in the skeleton event at the 2018 Winter Paralympics. For more information and updates, go to Happy Birthday, Dorian Willes, and I hope you'll have a great year!

I with Dorian Willes

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Americans with Disabilities, Unite (to Vote)!

The primary election on August 30 is quickly approaching, and the November presidential election will be here before we know it. Some people with disabilities may think their votes don't really make a difference, but they do! According to a recent USA Today article (, there are more eligible voters with disabilities (35.4 million) than African-American voters (28.7 million) and Latino voters (29.5 million).

So, people with handicaps can have a significant impact on elections and therefore should vote. Take the time to do research on the candidates and decide which ones you think should be elected. If it's too much trouble for you to go to the polls, you can sign up for an absentee ballot that is sent to your home. Now, go exercise your right to vote!

Image courtesy of

Monday, August 15, 2016

Olympics Went Swimmingly for Cody Miller

Last Saturday night, U.S. swimmer Cody Miller received a gold medal for his part in the men's 4 x 100m medley relay final at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also won bronze in the men's 100m breaststroke final on August 7. These accomplishments are very impressive because Miller has pectus excavatum, a condition in which the breastbone is sunken into the chest. Depending on its severity, this can affect the functioning of the heart and lungs, making exercise difficult. Miller hasn't allowed pectus excavatum to be a disability for him. For more information about the deformity, go to

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Gandee Brothers' Final Walk

Hunter Gandee, 16, carried his brother Braden (who has cerebral palsy) on his back almost 111 miles over a five-day period ending on April 25 of this year. Braden, who turned ten years old six days ago, walked the last half-mile to the Michigan Capitol with the use of a walker. Hunter said this walk was intended to encourage others to embrace anyone with a disability, not just cerebral palsy. The Gandee brothers walked 40 miles in 2014 and 57 miles in 2015. They don't plan on doing this long a walk again because Braden is getting bigger and Hunter is getting ready for college. For updates on the Gandees, go to

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Braden and Hunter Gandee
(image courtesy of

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Recap of the 9th Annual Youth Summit

The 9th Annual Youth Summit (a free conference for people with disabilities age 15-30 sponsored by the Florida Youth Council) was held from last Friday afternoon to Saturday night at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Orlando. The summit kicked off with a speech from Dorian Willes, a bobsled/skeleton racer whose right leg was partially amputated. Friday night ended with a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in keeping with the summit's Star Wars theme.

After a speech about self-advocacy by James Williams (an author with autism) on Saturday, the summit attendees were treated to a delicious buffet lunch. In the afternoon, there were three rounds of breakout sessions on topics such as positive thinking, social interaction skills, and Vocational Rehabilitation. The summit concluded with a dance party at which door prizes were given away.

The Annual Youth Summit encourages its attendees to be confident, productive adults with disabilities. Since I'm 30, this was my last summit, but I went away from it with happy memories. For more information about the Florida Youth Council and its Annual Youth Summit, go to

I at the Youth Summit

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Angel: Therapy Dog of Houston

We are well into the dog days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Today's blog post focuses on a therapy dog named Angel, a golden retriever from Houston, Texas. Born an only puppy in 2009, Angel (owned by Trish Herrera of the band Mydolls) has one eye and three legs. She spreads joy at two hospitals and two assisted care homes and is a member of Faithful Paws, an organization of human-pet teams that visit 120 facilities in the Houston area. To learn more about Angel, check out her blog at

A service dog

Monday, August 1, 2016


On July 26, the National Disability Institute (NDI) announced the start of DISABLE POVERTY, a grassroots campaign to raise awareness of the fact that 33% of Americans with disabilities live in poverty. The NDI's goals for the next ten years are to decrease the number of Americans with disabilities in poverty by 50% and to increase banking products and services among Americans with disabilities by 50%. The NDI is encouraging people to spread the word and to take action. For more information about DISABLE POVERTY, go to

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Speaking on ADA Day

After my previous speaking engagement (please see the post "Transition for Children with Disabilities" dated February 20 for more details), I was invited to be the closing keynote speaker at the Brevard Public Schools symposium. The symposium took place yesterday and today (the 26th anniversary of the ADA) at Viera High School. I shared my life story with an emphasis on my experience as a student with special needs (a positive one overall). I'm honored I had the opportunity to speak publicly about dealing with my disabilities on ADA Day of all days.

I speaking at the symposium

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wheelchairs 4 Kids

Located at 5820 S. Highway U.S. 1 in Rockledge, the Viera Elks recently received a $10,000 community involvement grant. Part of the grant is funding "Wheelchair 4 Kids Day Out," which will be held from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, July 31, at the Viera Elks Lodge. This event will feature a face painter, balloon animal artist, and picnic food. The rest of the grant money will go toward providing wheelchair upgrades and offsetting deductibles not covered by insurance. Next spring, the Viera Elks will make it possible for children who use wheelchairs to go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of the dolphin Winter. Additionally, the Florida Elks Mobile Therapy Services provides physical and occupational therapy to children with wheelchairs at home free of charge. For more information about Wheelchair 4 Kids, go to

Image result for wheelchair

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Being ABLE to Save

ABLE United was one of several vendors at the Family Cafe last month. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows people with disabilities to have tax-free savings accounts without stopping them from receiving government benefits. ABLE United helps people open these savings accounts, which are to be used for qualified disability expenses. The ABLE Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014. For more information, go to

Image result for savings account

Monday, July 18, 2016

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

Beginning July 1, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) began providing services to people with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. Also known as 22q13 Deletion Syndrome, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome is a genetic condition that results in varying degrees of intellectual disability, delayed or absent speech, symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, low muscle tone, motor delays, and epilepsy. The Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation International Family Conference will be held at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando July 20-23. For more information, go to

Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Museum of DisABILITY History

One point of interest in Buffalo, New York, is the Museum of disABILITY History. Established in 1998, the museum contains exhibits with historical tidbits and artifacts from more than 100 years ago. Educational programs are open to the public periodically. The museum is hosting Mubu's Summer Costume Party for children from 10:00 A.M. to noon on Saturday, July 16; Mubu is the main character in a book series about self-confidence. I was impressed with the displays at the museum during my visit there in December 2014. If you're ever in Buffalo, I recommend going to the Museum of disABILITY History. For more information, go to

 I by the Invacar at the museum

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Traveling with a Disability

During the Fourth of July weekend, my parents and I drove 1,200 miles in our handicapped accessible minivan from central Florida to Buffalo, New York, where many of our relatives live. On the way, we stayed in a handicapped accessible room at two hotels. While making travel plans, you should do research on the accessibility of hotels at your destination. When booking a room, you should speak directly with a staff member at the hotel where you're staying rather than central reservations; this ensures the accommodations will meet your special needs. Make sure you're guaranteed an accessible room; if you just request one, it may not be available by the time you arrive at the hotel. For more travel tips, go to

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spina Bifida = "Split Spine"

Spina bifida is a condition in which a baby's spinal column didn't close completely (please refer to my April 29 post titled "Spotlight: Chris Douglas" to read about a sled hockey player with spina bifida). As the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States, spina bifida may cause impaired mobility, gastrointestinal issues, and other symptoms. The four-day Spina Bifida National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ended yesterday. For more information, go to

Image obtained from

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Stacey Kozel, a 41-year-old woman who is paralyzed from the chest down due to lupus, is attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail by herself. Thanks to computer-generated leg supports, Kozel of Medina, Ohio, has gone through almost half of the 2,190-mile trail from Maine to Georgia since March 24. She isn't letting her disability stop her from achieving her goal. For more details on this story, go to

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Finding Dory": An Exploration of Disability

Released in the United States last Friday, Finding Dory (the sequel to the 2003 Pixar film Finding Nemo) focuses on the Pacific regal blue tang fish Dory's journey to reunite with her parents. Dory has memory problems because of a developmental disability (a chronic condition due to mental or physical impairments); four of her friends (including Nemo) also have challenges. Displayed by its main character's positive attitude and persistence, Finding Dory has an uplifting message about disability. For more details on this story, go to

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rock the Silence

Based in Palm Bay, Rock the Silence is an interdenominational, nonprofit ministry in which its members sign while singing, so the deaf can also enjoy their performances. The next concert, the first of three patriotic ones, will take place at 2:30 P.M. on Wednesday, June 22, at Anchor Care in Palm Bay. Rock the Silence also holds a prayer meeting from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Franklin T. DeGroodt Memorial Library in Palm Bay. For more information about Rock the Silence, go to

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Easterseals in D.C.

On Flag Day, about 200 staff members, volunteers, and clients of Easterseals (formerly Easter Seals) were in Washington, D.C., to speak with senators and representatives about supporting people with special needs and their loved ones. People were encouraged to send letters and emails to members of Congress about funding federal programs that help individuals with disabilities with employment, early childhood, caregiver, and other issues. Advocacy is just one of the ways Easterseals serves others. For more information, go to

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Year Later

It's hard to believe it has been one year since I created UnabASHed by Disability: The Blog. Even though I'm familiar with disability, I have learned a lot from the research I've done for this blog. One of my fellow Space Coast Writers' Guild Board members and I will be giving a presentation on blogging at our next meeting on Saturday (go to for information on the Guild). It has been my pleasure to raise awareness and share information on disability issues with you, and I intend to continue doing so. Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Please stay tuned for future posts!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What Is Barth Syndrome?

Barth syndrome is a condition that results in weakness of muscles (especially the heart), neutropenia (a reduction in white blood cells that fight bacterial infections), and below average height and weight. The June 5 episode of Guy's Grocery Games on the Food Network showed Chef Justin Warner donating the money he won to Barth syndrome. The 8th International Barth Syndrome Scientific, Medical & Family Conference will be held July 18-23 in Clearwater. For more information about this condition, go to

Monday, June 6, 2016

Remembering the Strength Coach

Author and motivational speaker Greg Smith, passed away last Thursday night. Known as the Strength Coach, Greg lived for more than 50 years with muscular dystrophy. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a youth disability conference in Orlando about ten years ago. Greg generously gave everyone in the audience a free copy of his memoir On a Roll: Reflections from America's Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude, which eventually led to the publication of my own autobiography. To learn more about Greg Smith, a man who was truly "unabashed by disability," go to his website

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Preview of "Me Before You" (SPOILER ALERT)

The film Me Before You starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin is being released in the United States today. The movie is about a rich British man named Will who became paralyzed in a car accident years ago. A young woman named Lou becomes Will's caregiver with whom he falls in love. However, Will decides to end his life by assisted suicide and bequeath his fortune to Lou. Disability activists don't approve of the pessimistic view of disability in Me Before You. For more on the movie's controversial message, go to

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

McDonald's: Blind to Disability?

A blind man named Scott Magee from Metairie, Louisiana, recently filed a federal lawsuit against McDonald's for denying him service at the drive-thru window late one night last August. Magee believes the refusal of McDonald's to serve people without vehicles during late night hours discriminates against those unable to drive. McDonald's has to respond to the lawsuit by June 17. For more details on this story, go to

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

Last but not least, May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that results in lung infections and breathing difficulty over time. People with CF struggle with the buildup of mucus in their lungs, pancreas, and other organs. Symptoms include salty-tasting skin, regular coughing, and below average growth or weight gain. Treatment options are airway clearance, inhaled medicines, and pancreatic enzyme supplement capsules. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is raising awareness and doing research to find a cure. For more information, go to

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Handling Disability with Grace

Last Saturday, Team Grace, an organization that spreads awareness of children with disabilities, kicked off its 2,000-Mile Challenge in Rockledge. The team will ride bicycles through different parts of Florida over the next few months. To watch a video about Team Grace, go to

Monday, May 23, 2016

On Top of the World

Last Thursday, Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville, a Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in Iraq in 2011, became the first combat amputee to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Linville, who climbed with The Heroes Project during his third attempt, hopes his feat will show that veterans with disabilities are capable of more than other people think. For more details on this story, go to

Update: Five days after Linville, former Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes was the second combat amputee to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ALS Awareness

May is National ALS Awareness Month. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord deteriorate progressively. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014? That was a fundraiser for ALS, which makes it increasingly difficult for people to control their muscles and do activities of daily living. Individuals with this disease eventually pass away, but research is being done to find a cure. For more information, go to

As a side note, Neurotech Network is a non-profit organization that promotes neurotechnology for people with physical disabilities. Neurotechnology consists of devices such as deep brain stimulation and spine stimulators, which improve people's lives. Neurotech's founder Jennifer French, who became paralyzed after a snowboarding accident, benefited from an implanted neuroprosthetic system. The network's website,, contains valuable resources.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tourette Syndrome

Today is the first day of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month with the last day being June 15. Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which a person has motor and vocal tics. The person, who might also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, is unable to control the repetitive movements and vocalizations. Although they might find themselves in socially awkward situations, people with Tourette Syndrome can lead productive lives. For more information, go to

Friday, May 13, 2016

Beach Access for All

Inspired by a relative with a physical disability and a Facebook post, Trish Facciobene of Grant-Valkaria has been leading a campaign to have access mats installed at beaches in Brevard County. These mats allow people who use wheelchairs and walkers to get closer to the shore line. A beach-access mat purchased from Mobi-Mat will be installed at James H. Nance Park in Indialantic in October. For more information on this story, go to pages 4 and 14 at

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

May has been Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. One in five Americans has a mental health issue. Depending on its severity, mental illness can be disabling in that it affects a person's thinking and ability to function on a daily basis. Depression, a form of mental illness, can be a result of disability if one dwells on the negative aspects of it. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the United States' largest grassroots mental health organization. For more information, go to

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Tribute to My Mother

My mother Tracy (pictured with me below) is one of the main reasons I'm "unabashed by disability." She knew I was different before I was born, but she didn't let that daunt her. My mom retired from her secretary job so she could focus on taking care of me. She helped me get through surgeries, school, and numerous activities while celebrating my milestones and achievements. I can't thank my mom enough for everything she does for me on a daily basis. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Let the Games Begin!

The Invictus Games are a series of Paralympic-style events in which wounded or sick armed services personnel and veterans compete (please see the "Getting the Royal Treatment" post dated January 31 for my first reference to the Invictus Games). The inaugural Invictus Games were held in London in September 2014; this year's events take place May 8-12 in Orlando. The following is a list of the events: archery, Jaguar and Land Rover driving, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis. For more information about the Invictus Games, go to Go, USA!

Monday, May 2, 2016

National Mobility Awareness Month

May is National Mobility Awareness Month among other things. The purpose of this awareness period, which is in its fifth year, is to show how people with disabilities can lead active lives with handicapped accessible vehicles. There are over 18 million people with mobility impairments in the United States and Canada. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is sponsoring a giveaway of three wheelchair accessible vehicles in honor of National Mobility Awareness Month. For more information, go to

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spotlight: Chris Douglas

Having spina bifida doesn't stop Chris Douglas from being active. Douglas of St. Cloud, Florida, helped the U.S. sled hockey team win the Pan-Pacific championship in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month. He regularly surfs with a waveski in Cocoa Beach and skates at Space Coast IcePlex in Rockledge, home of the Hurricanes sled hockey team. For more information about Douglas, go to

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Helping Hands

Last Sunday, a regular customer at the Cinco de Mayo Mexican Grill in Douglasville, Georgia, witnessed a 22-year-old waiter named Alex Ruiz helping a customer without hands eat. Ruiz then took the customer's money to the cashier and brought back his change before waiting tables again. This is what I call service! For more details about this story and to see a video, go to

Monday, April 25, 2016

Better Crutches

Mobility Designed is a Kansas City, Missouri-based company that offers an improved version of crutches called the M+D Crutch. Users lean on these crutches with their forearms supported instead of their armpits. Max Younger, co-founder of Mobility Designed, created the M+D Crutch because his father (an above-the-knee amputee) has had to use crutches for years. For more information and to get on the waiting list, go to

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Also in April: Parkinson's Disease Awareness

We've been hearing a lot about autism this month, but April is also Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive brain disorder caused by a decrease in the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading a person to have less control over his or her movements, body, and emotions. Complications from PD is the 14th top cause of death in the United States, but people can live with it for years. For more information, go to

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax Breaks

The deadline for income tax returns is usually April 15, but this year, it is April 18. There are ways people with disabilities can save money on their taxes. First of all, they should be aware of how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other benefits are taxed. The tax credits for which some people are eligible are the earned income tax credit (EITC), credit for the disabled, and dependent care credit. They may also be entitled to an increased standard tax deduction, medical deductions, and the deduction of costs of seeking SSDI. For more information on these tax breaks, go to

Friday, April 8, 2016

People with Disabilities ADAPT

ADAPT is an organization of activists who peacefully advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. These advocates are in favor of the Disability Integration Act, which was introduced last December to ensure people with disabilities can live in the community instead of institutions. ADAPT's Fun Run fundraiser will take place in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. For more information, go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reflections on My 30th Birthday

On this day 30 years ago, I was born with a rare genetic disorder. I wasn't expected to live beyond my first birthday. Despite my disabilities, I'm very grateful to still be alive. I'd like to thank my parents, extended family, friends, doctors, teachers, and God for helping me get to this point in my life. Also, thank you, readers, for your support. I look forward to what this coming year will bring!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Making Squid Lips Accessible

The riverfront deck at Squid Lips in Cocoa Beach was closed last Wednesday because the deck exits were not handicapped accessible. The restaurant's owner is in the process of having renovations made to the deck. For more details on this story, go to

Friday, April 1, 2016

Autism Awareness in April

April is Autism Awareness Month, and tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a group of brain development disorders; symptoms, which appear at age two, include impaired social interaction and repetitive behaviors. Approximately 1 in 68 American children has autism, which can be treated with behavioral therapy and medication. For more information, go to

Update: Temple Grandin, a renowned animal science professor and consultant with autism, was the guest speaker at the Brevard Zoo's Safari Under the Stars fundraiser. The proceeds will go toward building a venue where children with autism and other special needs can explore and connect with nature. Grandin is an example of an inspirational individual who leads a productive life despite having autism.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Battling Bipolar Disorder

Today is World Bipolar Day. Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a psychological condition in which mood, energy, and activity levels change dramatically, making it difficult for people to live their day-to-day lives. If left untreated, it can be disabling. As an individual with this disorder, I know the value of treatment in the form of medications and counseling. For more information about bipolar disorder, go to

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cerebral Palsy Awareness

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder in which movement and muscle coordination are affected. March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month with March 25 being National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. (Please go to my "Oh, Baby!" post dated January 16, 2016, for an article about a couple with cerebral palsy who had a baby.) In February, the Chicago White Sox hired the first Major League Baseball announcer with CP. For more information about CP, go to

Friday, March 25, 2016

Writing About Disability

Pentimento is a literary journal that contains poems, short stories, and essays as well as artwork about disability. This is an excellent opportunity for people with special needs, their relatives/caregivers, and people who work with them to express themselves in writing. Submissions for the journal's summer issue, the theme of which is "Leaving Home," are due on March 31. For submission guidelines and other information, go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Special Easter Egg Hunt

An egg hunt is a fun Easter tradition for kids. However, this activity can be challenging for children with special needs, so some modifications may need to be made. To learn about inclusive Easter egg hunts, go to Happy Easter, everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Helping Kids Grow

In Florida since 2012, Help Me Grow is a program in which developmental and/or behavioral issues are detected in children up to age eight. The children are then referred to service providers that meet their needs. Early intervention can make a huge difference in healthy development for all children. Young children with special needs in Brevard County can go to the Space Coast Early Intervention Center ( For more information about Help Me Grow Florida, go to

Friday, March 18, 2016

Meeting Debbie Macomber

My St. Patrick's Day was memorable: I met the #1 New York Times bestselling romance author Debbie Macomber at her book signing in Vero Beach. She signed my copy of her latest novel A Girl's Guide to Moving On, and I gave her a copy of my autobiography. Despite having dyslexia (please refer to my "The Disability of Dyslexia" post dated September 8, 2015, for a description), Macomber has written dozens of books. She is an excellent example of a successful person despite having a disability.

Monday, March 14, 2016

UCF Update

My alma mater UCF continues to do wonderful things for people with disabilities. First of all, the Doctor of  Physical Therapy Program has held two workshops based on GoBabyGo, a program in which motorized toy cars are retrofitted with items such as PVC pipes for $250 to $300. This allows children up to age 3 with mobility impairments to explore their surroundings. For more information and to watch a brief video, go to

Additionally, Limbitless Solutions, the UCF team that creates bionic arms for children, recently invented a 3-D printed device that helps people with spinal-cord injuries move their wheelchairs. With a production cost of $300 to $500, the device consists of a small box attached to the wheelchair's joystick, which picks up signals from sensors near a person's forehead. For more information, go to

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Form of Therapy for Special Needs

People with and without special needs can ride horses at Walk on Water Equine Assisted Therapy in Merritt Island. Equine assisted therapy has several physical benefits and can give riders a sense of accomplishment. Riding hours are 4:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. on Saturdays or by appointment. For pricing and other information about this non-profit organization, go to

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tip a Cop

Tip a Cop is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida where law enforcement officers volunteer as restaurant servers. The tips they receive will go to Special Olympics Florida. This event will take place at Duffy's Sports Bar & Grill in Melbourne from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 10. This will also happen at Jersey Mike's Subs Hibiscus in Melbourne from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on April 7. For more information about Tip a Cop (which is associated with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics) and other events, go to

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walking for MS

The Mid-Florida chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is hosting a walkathon at the Church at Viera on Saturday, March 12. Registration opens at 8:00 A.M. with the walk starting at 9:00 A.M. The proceeds will go toward research for multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the movement of information between the brain and the rest of the body. This is an excellent time for the walk, for March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. For more details about this event and information about MS, go to

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A New Icon for Disability

The Accessible Icon Project has been promoting an updated version of the international symbol of accessibility seen in handicapped parking spaces and on doors. The new sign shows a person with a disability pushing himself or herself in a wheelchair, making the person look more active. This symbol has made appearances in Orlando and New York, and a bill proposing its implementation is going through Connecticut's House of Representatives. To see the new symbol of accessibility, go to

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fashion for Kids with Disabilities

Today, Tommy Hilfiger is releasing a line of clothes that were modified for children with disabilities. Mindy Scheier, the founder of the nonprofit organization Runway of Dreams and mother of a boy with muscular dystrophy, made three modifications to Tommy Hilfiger's collection. For more details and to see photos, go to

Monday, February 29, 2016

One (Hopefully) Giant Leap for Rare Diseases

February 29 (February 28 in non-leap years) is Rare Disease Day, the purpose of which is to raise awareness of uncommon medical conditions in an effort to encourage more research. Rare Disease Day was observed for the first time in Canada and many European countries eight years ago; the United States joined the observance in 2009. Campomelic syndrome, the genetic disorder with which I was born, is considered rare. To find out more about Rare Disease Day, go to

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Training for Fitness

The Adaptive Training Foundation gives people with physical disabilities the opportunity to work out at a gym in Dallas, Texas. Retired NFL linebacker David Vobora founded and is the CEO of this organization. The foundation's gym services are free for the "adaptive athletes," so donations are appreciated. For more information about this organization, go to

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Transition for Children with Disabilities

This morning, I was the keynote speaker at the inaugural "Start with the End in Mind" Transition Planning Conference at Viera High School. Over 300 people attended this event, which was held for parents and teachers of children with disabilities. Several agencies that provide services to those with special needs were represented. Attendees had the option of attending two breakout sessions on various topics relevant to children with disabilities and their loved ones. I'm honored to have been a part of this conference, and I hope it will be an annual event because there is always a need for information.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Madeline Stuart: A Role "Model"

Madeline Stuart, a model with Down syndrome, recently made her second New York Fashion Week appearance at the FTL Moda show at Angel Orsensaz Foundation in Manhattan. Paving the way for other people with disabilities, Stuart became famous after her debut in New York last September. For pictures and more details about Stuart's latest modeling gig, go to

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day to All

The spirit of Valentine's Day was felt last Friday evening at Night to Shine, a prom for people with special needs sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Calvary Chapel Melbourne (CCM) was one of 50 churches all over the country to host this event. To see photos from CCM's Night to Shine, go to The joy on the prom attendees' faces is heartwarming.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rett Syndrome Stories

Caroline's Cart, a shopping cart with a larger seat for a special needs child, will become available for use at Target stores all over the country next month. The cart was created eight years ago by the mother of a girl with Rett syndrome, a nervous system disorder that results in disabilities. For more details on this story, go to

Rett syndrome is also featured in a recent article by Florida Today executive editor Bob Gabordi whose daughter has the disorder. You can read his story and view related videos at

Friday, February 5, 2016

UCF Helps People with Brain Injuries

Earlier this week, the University of Central Florida (UCF) opened the Knights on the Go Cafe. This cafe is different in that people with physical disabilities can work and move around with the aid of a special harness system. As a UCF alumna, I'm pleased to see my alma mater create opportunities for people with disabilities. For more information on this story, go to

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Zipping Along

Gatorland is about to launch the Gator Gauntlet, a zip line ride for people with physical disabilities. This zip line is 350 feet long and goes over a lake full of alligators. Free admission and rides will be given to veterans with physical impairments tomorrow, Florida Disabled Outdoors Association (FDOA) members on Friday, and middle and high school students with mobility challenges on Saturday. The Gator Gauntlet will be open to the public for $15 (plus the admission fee) starting on Sunday. I remember going to Gatorland when I was a kid, so I'm glad to see the park is including people with disabilities. For more information and to see a video of the Gator Gauntlet, go to

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting the Royal Treatment

Wounded veterans participated in the Invictus Games trials in Bath, England, last Friday. A gust of wind knocked over a woman in her racing wheelchair, and Prince Harry along with two other men came to her rescue. The Invictus Games are similar to the Paralympics and will take place May 8-12 in Orlando. For more details on this story, go to

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lego's Inclusion of Disability

At toy fairs in Nuremberg and London earlier this week, Lego displayed its City plastic construction toy set, which will be sold starting in June. This set includes a male mini-figure sitting in a wheelchair and a guide dog, which pleases disability advocates. It so happens today is International Lego Day. For more information, go to

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Remembering the Forgotten Holocaust Victims

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Thousands of people with disabilities along with millions of Jews were killed by Nazis in Germany between 1940 and 1945. For more information, go to

Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK's Contribution to Disability Rights

As a civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wasn't advocating for only African Americans. He was also speaking on behalf of people with disabilities. His efforts as well as those of disability advocates contributed to the ADA. For a summary of Dr. King's involvement in disability rights, go to

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Oh, Baby!

Earlier this week, an article was published about a couple with cerebral palsy who gave birth to a healthy baby girl last November. This shows the life possibilities people with disabilities have. For more details on this story, go to

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Exercises for People in Wheelchairs

A common New Year's resolution is to exercise more for weight loss or just for the sake of one's health. Exercising is difficult for wheelchair users due to physical limitations, but there are options for them. In many parts of the United States, there is a show on PBS called Sit and Be Fit, which demonstrates exercises that can be done while seated. For more information (including whether this program airs in your area), go to Chair Aerobics for Everyone is another example of an exercise program for those who can't stand. Let's keep moving!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Making the Best of Disability

There are examples of young people with disabilities who make the best of their situation. Last fall, Ali Stroker ( became the first person in a wheelchair to perform on Broadway. Spring Awakening, the play in which Stroker has a part, features deaf actors, so cast members use sign language during performances. Additionally, Jen Bricker (, the sister of Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu, is a successful acrobat and aerialist despite being born without legs. Bricker's autobiography Everything Is Possible will be released later this year.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Wheeling into Trouble

Earlier this week, Kelvin Dennison, a 23-year-old wheelchair user due to paralysis from a shooting when he was a teenager, pled guilty to robbing a second New York bank in less than a year. He will be sentenced on September 4. It's a shame Dennison dealt with his disability this way. For more on this story, go to

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Down Syndrome on TV

The new A&E documentary series Born This Way, which follows seven young adults with Down syndrome, has aired at 10:00 P.M. every Tuesday since December 8. The finale will take place on January 12. To catch up on previous episodes, go to

On a side note, after months of construction, the Space Coast Field of Dreams sports complex, which was mentioned in a post last November, will host its grand opening at 10:00 A.M. today. For more information, go to