Wednesday, September 28, 2016
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 http://www.opportunityvillage.org/.
Monday, September 26, 2016
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 https://www.seethegood.com/articles/stories/article/1/A-Caring-Community-Supports-Adults-with-Special-Needs.
Friday, September 23, 2016
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 http://abc.go.com/shows/speechless/episode-guide/season-01/1-series-premiere-p-i-pilot.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
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 http://www.sfchronicle.com/tv/article/Speechless-is-exceptional-and-funny-9232124.php?t=40b81b8800&cmpid=twitter-premium.
Image obtained from soundtrack.net
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
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 http://www.terrajole.com/.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
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 https://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/the-forgotten-victims-of-september-11-people-with-disabilities/.
Friday, September 9, 2016
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 http://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/intellectual-disability-spares-man-from-death-sentence.
Image obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
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 https://www.rio2016.com/en.
Medals engraved with the Paralympics logo
(Image obtained from pt.wikipedia.org)
Thursday, September 1, 2016
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 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chiari-malformation/basics/definition/CON-20031115.
Image obtained from medindia.net