Friday, December 7, 2007

Taking a break


As previously mentioned, I haven't been having the best of weeks. Therefore, I have decided to take a break until after the Christmas season is over. This will give me time to look back and reflect on the past year and how far I have come. It will also provide me with an opportunity to examine the purpose for this blog and where I see it ending up in the future. Please pray for me during this time as I am also encountering some personal struggles of my own.



Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Encouragement: Facing the Giants


Obviously this week hasn't been a good one for me. This has shown by my inability to write on this blog on a daily basis. I'm sorry. It's just seems like living on my own is causing more trouble than good. Despite a great weekend with my family, something still seems to get my spirits down. I don't know, I guess I just have my days.

In a effort to lift my spirits, I watched one of my favorite movies today (Saturday). It was called Facing the Giants. This story centers around a Christian football team and coach who is down on their luck. In order to inspire a new found commitment in their faith as well as their game, the coach writes a team mission statement. In summary,, their main goal was to glorify God on and off the field. In the end, this new philosophy changes everything from the team's many victories to the many personal struggles of the main characters. It is a wonderful movie. I would really recommend it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Personal Assistant struggle


So I know I'm running a little behind on my posts this week. It's hard to believe that it's been almost 4 weeks since I've moved out on my own. For as much as living on my own was a dream , I never imagined it being so difficult. I mean, I have dealt with personal assistants before. How hard can it be??

My answer: A lot different than you would expect.

If you have been with me long enough, you may remember me writing about my personal assistance experiences in college You can always go back and take a look if you're interested. Anyway, those experiences provided a spring board for where I am today. Even with my background, nothing could have prepared me for this experience living on my own.. I will try to examine some of these lessons briefly and explain their impact on my daily life.

1. The economic aspect- Being disabled, I have two options on how I can receive my personal care. One is through a personal care agency, the other depends on the person to hire and fire their own assistants. Both offer the same service, now only difference is the money. You see, hiring personal assistants on your own only allows you to pay the person minimum wage. That is, family independent agency only gives you a certain amount of money and you have to pay them directly. The pay is based on a personal evaluation of your needs. However, if you go through a agency, the wage is a little higher. Not only that, but agencies usually provide background checks for the people they send over. In my case, I am very lucky because I get to determine what they will do for me and whether I end up hiring them.

2. Watching out for the "motherly instinct" in personal assistants- This doesn't happen very often, but it's something to watch out for. Sometimes personal assistants see the disabled community as someone who can't think for themselves or simply think they know better!! This can be a very sticky situation. While it may be true that they are doing what they think is best for you, you have to remind them that you are an adult and their employer.

3. Independence versus dependence- Even though living on your own seems like it would bring a lot more independence, that is not all true. It depends on your disability and how much help you need on a daily basis

Friday, November 30, 2007

You learn something new every day...


So I'm running a little behind today. The truth is, I really have nothing new to say. That is, until I remembered I taped something yesterday that may be helpful for readers. Today's topic is.. disability awareness and celebrity influence. This can be a very powerful tool to bridging the gap of understanding between the disabled and nondisabled community

You see, I recently discovered former American Idol finalist Elliott Yamin has been coping with type 1 diabetes all of his life. This amazing young singer went on to become a top selling artist, his recent album is in the top 3 of the Billboard . He had to overcome many difficulties in his personal life, including his parents' divorce. All of this made him feel isolated and alone at times. As a result, Elliot dropped out of school at the beginning of the ninth grade. After having a total of 40 jobs, his boss noticed his singing singing talent and encouraged him to go for his dreams. The rest is history. Elliott is now part of an organization named Inspired by Diabetes which raises awareness of the disease.

You can find more information about the organization at their website:


Citation for TV Program: "Montel Williams" , Fox channel 2 Detroit, at 12:00 p.m.. , November 29, 2007.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Encouragement: Yet Another Example


So earlier this week, I discussed the importance of accepting oneself in terms of one's differences and/or disability. Recently, I found that goes perfectly with this concept. This article illustrates how one child sees a million possibilities in his future and accomplishes every one of them with the help of his parents.

To see where he is now and for the entire article, go to:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Understanding oneself

Thanksgiving is over. I had a wonderful, but busy weekend with my family. The first part of the weekend was spent out of town with relatives. We are helping my Aunt Ginny get ready to put her house on the market. It's been a very long process. I had no idea it would take this long. Anyway, we arrived home on Saturday safe and sound- tired as dogs. Tim and Carrie came to visit and spend the rest of the weekend with us. It was a nice time to get together, but I am glad to be home.

Looking back, I have grown a lot over the years. But today, I realized there is still a lot I have to learn about myself. To make a long story short, what I am talking about is acceptance, both from self and other people around you. This is an essential part of building confidence and independence in oneself. Sometimes, friends and family can do things to instill this confidence within you, other times, you have to do it yourself.

Parent to a disabled child, Dan Habib knows exactly what I am talking about. After learning his son had cerebral palsy, his life began to fill with uncertainty. While spending time with Samuel in the hospital, one doctor suggested that he create a video, documenting the daily struggles of a family with a disabled child.

The end result is inspiring and eye-opening. You can read the following article for more information.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Encouragement: Be Thankful


So I had planned on doing something completely different for today when it dawned on me that today was the day before Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, I had been thinking and arranging the days off for my personal assistants; but I hadn't really had time to sit down (no pun intended ) and think about it. Things have been pretty hectic around my apartment- days full of organizing and reorganizing, trying to remember EXACTLY where I put everything in my very own place.

There have been a lot of firsts for me- both good and not so good. Here are just a few of them.
  1. My very own Christmas tree. My mom bought me a pre-lit one with colored lights . All we had to do was set it up.
  2. My first heat and electric bill. Luckily, it wasn't that much because I moved in halfway through the month
  3. My first maintenance. They have to get me a new dishwasher because ours doesn't work. We learned that surely after moving in.

Things with my roommate are working out pretty well. She spends most weekends with me, until she can move in permanently in December. This will hopefully be on the 12th, since her semester ends at that point.. one thing I will say, things are definitely easier and more fun when she is around.

Anyway, enough about me. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?


PS. There is not going to be a post on Friday because I am going to be spending time with family

Monday, November 19, 2007

New view/thoughts about the move

Hello everyone,

So I finally did it. I'm officially moved into my new apartment. It's starting to look a little like home the longer, I stay here. There is still a lot to be figured out such as finding more personal assistants to fill my extra time slots, keeping with the budget etc. Anyway, I thought I would share some of the process with you.

I am going through a lot of changes right now. Both physically and emotionally. I thought it was bad before, boy was I wrong! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm finally moved out on my own. It gives me a sense of self I have never experienced. Now that I'm on my own, I feel a lot of pressure on myself to make this work. To prove to myself and others I can actually do what I set out to do. But now that it's happening, self-doubt is creeping in. I guess that's a part of life. It's kind of ironic because earlier this week I had found a blog post on the exact subject. I added it to the inspirational stories link.

Anyway, I guess I need to remember it's not really in my hands.


Friday, November 9, 2007

A rare disease


So this will be my last post for a while, considering I will be moving into my apartment on Saturday. But you guys know all of that. That's why I announced Debbie questions week. I am expecting a lot of you to participate. Please don't disappoint me. Chuckle. I am just kidding; no pressure. I can't seem to reiterate the main point of this blog enough. It's for you-the readers.

On to today's post..

In the recent months, I have covered a variety disabilities and disability topics. But up into recently, I realize I had forgotten one. Why? The answer is quite simple really. The disease is not often mentioned because it's quite rare and there is no known cure for it. What disease am I referring to? It's called Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia . According to Wikipedia, this is a extremely rare genetic disorder, which causes calcium deposits to build up the skull; this dis figures the facial structure and decreases a person's life expectancy. The plight of this disease became known through a popular movie in 1985 called The Mask. It depicts some of the real-life struggles encountered by 16-year-old Rocky Dennis, who lost his life because of the disease
Again, thanks to my TiVo, I was able to record the movie and play it back to write down the interesting facts I learned.
Here are just some of what I learned. Keep in mind, the movie is old, so some of the facts are not up to date. But I figured this would be a good place to start if you are looking for some research.
1. At that time, this disease occurred in only one out of 22 million births.
2. It is caused by two recessive genes
3. It can happen to just about anyone

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Encouragment: Announcing Debbie questions week


It's hard to believe, but in less than three days I will be moved into my own place. I know I keep reiterating that simple fact, I guess I am still trying to convince myself it's not a dream. I have come a long way over the years. Been through a lot the past few years. I didn't think I would ever end up here-about to embark on this new journey.

I know, I know. What does all this have to do with my disability blog. In all honesty, it really doesn't have anything to do with it. Looking back at this blog, I've come to realize I haven't given you much personal information, regarding my disability etc.. That is partly why I'm announcing next week to be Debbie questions week. This is the time where my readers can feel free to e-mail me specific questions regarding my life, disability, and coping mechanisms that I sometimes use just to get through a difficult day. Whatever it is, I will try to answer each question as openly and honestly as possible. Please make sure all the questions are reasonable. (You know what I mean)

I am doing this for two reasons. First and most obvious, so that my readers can get to know me of a bit better. But also so I can get to know my readers better, giving me more insight into what they need and expect from my blog. Not to mention, there is the added bonus of not having to write for a week. This will be especially helpful since I'm not quite sure when I will have my Internet hooked up in my apartment. A lot of things are still up in the air yet. Seriously, though, I do love writing for this blog; however, I'm not sure how much more writing I can do on my own without a little participation from you. So please participate.

I still have one more post on my sleeve, so don't start writing just yet. But I do look forward to getting to know you through your e-mails and questions during next week

Best regards,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Forest fires in California


I'm sure you all heard about the recent forest fires in California. They've really caused a lot of difficulty for the families in the area. Many of them will probably end up having to rebuild their homes and and lives as well as create new memories. Why am I saying all this? Partially because I am running out of new topics for my blog seeing that I will no longer have the extra cable channels at my fingertips in order to give me new ideas after next week. But mostly because I think this story can give people hope no matter what you are going through.

You see, a local news man's family actually lives in California and survived to tell about it. All this last week, his sister has been reporting by phone, giving people an up close and personal look at the devastation. Janet Cane and her family were evacuated from their homes when wind no Valley swept the fires up to 2 miles from their home. In the end, 750,000 Californians were evacuated and 2000 homes were destroyed. Among all of that destruction, six homes in their community were spared including their own. But not everyone was so lucky.



Citation for TV Program: "Life after The Fire" News segment Bill Spencer reporting, ABC channel 7 WXYZ Detroit, News at 11 pm, November 5, 2007.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Encouragement: Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder


So I'm running a little behind on my blog. Not too bad, considering that I've been working for three weeks now. Things are going well. It's hard to believe, but in less than a week I will be moved into my very own apartment. Boy, time passes so quickly. Of course, that will mean some changes on my part. No more extra expenses and less time for myself. Therefore, I will be asking my readers to keep an eye out for disability issues or articles that might be of interest to others. Please keep me in mind and let me know if you come across something. That's my request for the day. I am always available by e-mail.

Anyway, onto today's post. A friend actually e-mailed me this article and I found it quite interesting. It basically asked the question, "What makes someone beautiful?" The answer is quite surprising. But you can read that for yourself.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Alternative treatment for autism

Hello everyone,

I know Wednesdays are usually labeled "encouragement" days, but today I decided to switch things up a little. Just yesterday, I watched an interesting segment on Nightline involving dealing with autism and alternative treatments. What was the treatment suggested this time? Taking your child surfing.

That's right, you heard me correctly. Taking your child surfing

Currently, the statistics in the US for autism is rising at a alarming rate. So much so that the American Journal Of Pediatrics is urging parents to screen their child twice for autism. Once at 18 months and then again at 24 months. Typical symptoms for the onset of the disease are your child not smiling, a child that has trouble keeping eye contact with someone or lack of speech.

Where exactly does surfing come into play in all of this? Well.. The program is called Surfer's Healing.The theory being that the ocean waves have a calming effect on austitic children. Program founder Isaiah Paskowitz, knows this firsthand. He experienced this with his child at a early age. As a result, he and his autistic son now have a hobby they can participate in together.

"There's some kind of magic that happens out there," he said

It isn't always about the surfing though. It's about the lessons they learn through surfing- this simple fact that they can do anything they put their mind too. This weekend activity also provides an avenue for parents to get together and discuss his the trials and tribulations of having a autistic child

For more information, you can visit the website at:


Citation for TV Program: "Nightline" News segment, . ABC channel 7 WXYZ Detroit, News at 11: 30 pm, October 29, 2007


Monday, October 29, 2007


Hello everyone,

Thank goodness it's the weekend. It's been a very busy week with everything going on in my life. I barely have any time for myself anymore; it's a definite change from before. I'm still adjusting to everything myself. I guess that's a part of being an adult. Not a fun part. But an important part in itself, knowing that you have people counting on you every day to do your very best work. It's a big responsibility, but I know I'm up to the challenge. Anyway, since free time is difficult to find any more, I thought I would get a early start on next week. (Speaking of difficult, I am finding myself at a loss for topics. So if anyone has any ideas for me, please give me a holler. After all, this blog is for you, not only me.. I think I have tried to reiterate this point to my readers several times)

On to today's post..

Let me begin with the question.

What makes us different? I mean, really. I'm not talking about disabilities now. I'm speaking more in a broad sense. By that I mean, what makes one person unique, separate from another person? Is it our eye color, hair color and personality that makes sense unique or do our is differences go deeper than that? If you are anything like me, you probably believe that someone made you the way you are for a reason. Now, stay with me here. I'm not using this blog to preach my beliefs, by any means because honestly a relationship with Jesus is not something someone should take lightly. It is a personal matter. Anyway, where was I going with this? The point is, as I was thinking about the differences in people, a specific verse came to mind. It is:Psalms 139. I won't go through the whole thing, but here's what it says in part.

Psalms 139, verse 1-5 says:

"For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. "

Later on in the passage, David continues with his thoughts regarding being uniquely created. He continues in verses 13 through 15 saying:

" For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. "

My point in saying all this.. well. It's quite simple really. Everyone is different and we are made differently for a reason. There are no mistakes in the way we were made and it's about time we start appreciating our differences for what they are. Gifts.

Okay, so this idea differences as gifts wasn't all my usual way of thinking. But a recent who documentary on HBO family got me wondering. The show highlighted children with a variety of differences (I'm not limiting myself to disability, but also unique talents that are not often seen).

As one child puts it, "Everyone is special in their own kind of way,"

Henry Anderson is just another example. Unlike most boys, he is interested in ballet and dance. He has been dancing for seven years, since he was four years old.

10-year-old Patrick is another example of how differences don't have to overwhelm your life. Although Patrick is blind, he goes to a regular school and likes to be seen as a regular kid. Having to read using braille may seem a hassle to most kids. But he chooses to see the many good sides to his disability.

"Since I use my fingers, I can read in the dark without my parents noticing," he said

Eight-year-old Erin often gets asked why she is the way she is. Being little, this is often a difficult question to answer. Her reply:

"That's just the way I was made ."

When asked about how to cope with one's differences, one child simply replied: "Don't let them (other people) get you down, just stand tall."

-- --

Citation for TV Program: "Happy to Nappy and other stories of me", HBO Family channel 309 at 6:55 p.m., October 14, 2007. (Original air date: February 24, 2004 )

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another post on Autism.


It's been a long and busy week. I'm still getting adjusted to having a new job and there's still a lot to be done before I move out in November. But that's just a part of life, I guess. I'm kind of grateful that I have a lot to do. It makes me feel useful and doesn't give me time to feel "sorry" or have pity on myself. I tend to do that sometimes now that a majority of my friends are gone. But I shouldn't. After all, I have a lot of good going on in my life right now. A new apartment, a new job. What more could a independent woman ask for?

I don't know.

Anyway, on to today's post.

Since I have been talking about perseverance and patience in my life, I thought I would highlight others with the same prospective. (Okay, part of my decision to write about this was because the movie happened to be on, but still..) Some of you may know what movie I'm talking about. It's called Miracle Run. Based on the true story of the Morgan family, the movie chronicles the daily struggle of a mother trying to do right with her children despite the devastating diagnosis of autism. For those of you that are unfamiliar, autism is a brain disorder that affects social interaction and communication skills. In some cases, this diagnosis leads to the institutionalization of people. Unwilling to accept this, Corrrine Morgan made it her mission to get her twin sons the best education possible. At a early age, she began to research her children's rights to a normal education with such adaptations as a IEP etc.

As the boys grew, they began to see themselves as separate and unique individuals becoming involved in a variety of activities . Philip has continued to pursue his interest in music, while Steven enjoys running. At the end of the film, it updates the audience saying that they are both hoping to get full scholarships to college. Their mother, Corrine, is happily married and the founder of "Miracle Run", a organization that hopes to find a cure for the disorder as well as just being there to help people deal and live with their diagnosis

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Encouragement: Proof That People can get Through Just About Anything

Hey everyone,

Another day, another post. Contrary to my previous post, things ended up working for me and the apartment. It's mine for eight months at least. That is, if everything works out like it should. I plan on moving in by the middle of November. So I'm excited. My own place, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. Anyway, I'm sure I will have more about my apartment as I undergo the transition. Not much is going to change though, considering my place is only about 10 minutes away from my parent's house.

On to today's post, a post of encouragement. As I have gotten back into the habit of writing for this blog, I find it easier to highlight the good in the world rather than the bad things that can (and sometimes do) happen. That being said, here's a story that proves people can get through just about anything. This remarkable story of faith and heroism was first featured on last Sunday's episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The family chosen for the episode: the Brown's. In short, this family of four overcame the impossible when their house catches on fire. With everyone inside the house, Fred, the oldest son rushes to ensure everyone's safety. Unfortunately, Gloria, his mother is stuck inside and ends up sustaining severe burns on her chest before he is able to rescue her. Luckily, they all make it out alive.

Left with virtually nothing, the family is forced to start over in a rental house just a block and a half from where he used to live. Their old house is in shambles. Despite all the hardships they have faced, the family still takes time out to came back to their community.

"That's what it's all about. It's not about us that much; it's about the other person. It's about giving from your heart.." said Gloria

Ty Pennington, the team leader of the project summed the rebuilding of the house as a endng to their very long journey.

"I think this week for us is about knowing you're doing something for someone who's lost everything, but never really given up hope. Life is a path and these guys have had way too many obstacles thrown in their way. We have to rebuild from scratch.."

During the show, the family was able to go on vacation and visit some of the "Dancing with The Stars" cast. As they watched their old home get demolished on video, Gloria was glad for the fresh start.

"I saw that they rocked that house. I said, thank God it's over. All of the bad memories are gone."

-- -- --


Citation for TV Program: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" , . ABC channel 7 WXYZ Detroit, at 8 pm, October 14, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease)


Okay, so this week has been a busy one for me. Not only because of my new job, but because of the changes taking place in my life. On Wednesday, I decided to take some time and look at apartments. I was able to find one but, as always, there are complications. Hopefully they will clear themselves up. So I can figure out what I want for a change.

Anyway, I digress.

Today, I have chosen to highlight the subject of ALS in my blog. ALS is more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. Why have I chosen to highlight this disease right now? The answer is quite simple really. This last week, thanks to TiVo, I was able to watch a program called "Jenifer". This documentary style program chronicled the life of the Jenifer as well as the Estess' sisters on their journey to find a cure for ALS. For those who don't know, ALS is a disease which destroys the neurons that carry messages from the brain to the muscles. Unfortunately, this disease is generally fatal within two to five years; it has no known cure or treatment.

Faced with the debilitating diagnosis, she refuse to give up as she dealt with the reality of her own death. Like always, their sisters depended on each other for support. They began to research other forms of alternative medicine, such as stem cell research etc. To find out more information about the Project, go to

Friday, October 19, 2007

Relationships, I guess I will continue the series


So I just happened to be searching for new topics that I could use for the blog when I came across this article. Recently, I've gotten in the habit of looking for topics on the Internet and then saving them to my e-mail for future reference. I do the same thing for TV programs related to disability issues as well. Anyway, I figured since I explored the difficulties of being single as well as disabled in the United States. I would take this a step farther and explore the impact that friendships have on disabilities. As I believe I have stated many times before, I don't know where I would be without the friendships I've made in my life. Specifically, the ones I made in college. They not only help me in function independently without the assistance of my parents, but allowed me to florish as an individual.

Anyway, enough about me.

Looking back at the article, I find myself having a hard time trying to condense it. So I have decided to let the readers read it for themselves. All I can say is that it's a powerful story of a friendship. It really shows you the importance of looking beyond differences(both physical and religious). I encourage you to read it.

-- -- -- -- --

Furlong, Roxanne "Friendships That Endure ", October 2007 15 October 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Encouragement: The Life of a Disabled Young Woman

Hello Everyone,

Another early installment on my blog. I hope everybody had a nice weekend with their families. Mine was okay, simply just not long enough. Dad left on business early on Sunday; not giving us enough family time at I would like. I start work tomorrow. I'm excited.

Anyway, onto today's post..

As I set out to write this, I'm not really sure how I should approach the topic. But the simple fact is many people struggle with this on a daily basis and I want them to know they are not alone. So I guess you're wondering what the topic is. The topic is, being single and disabled in the United States. Now, I'm risking things a little by telling you I myself am single. But I feel that it is necessary to tell you, to assure you that you are not alone.

As a single woman who is disabled, I want what everyone wants. A person who loves me and accepts me for who I am. Sure, we may encounter different obstacles than most, but we love each other and are able to look past the obvious differences. I will love and respect the tasks that my husband will do for me because I realize the sacrifices he's made for me.

I just have to trust and believe in God's timing.

Other people may not have the same perspective that I do. But the key thing to keep in mind is that they never give up hope. Take for example a recent article in New doing what one Mobility Magazine. Amber Ramsden is another 27-year-old who admits she is a "chronic " dater. After being disabled in some kind of accident (it wasn't specified in article), Amber went through the typical feelings of the disabled community. She began to wonder if she would ever be capable of having normal relationships. It was as if her identity as a woman had been taken from her since the accident.

After attending a camp for people with disabilities, Amber realized that was the wrong way to think. Meeting a young man named Eric opened her eyes to the real meaning of being an individual. He gave more than just a fake tattoo, he also gave her her first kiss. It was then that she realized she liked the idea of long-term relationships. She felt that was the only way she could have someone support her.

After a number of brief relationships, she now realizes many of the mistakes she made. First, Amber understands the importance of knowing who you are before you enter a relationship.

Part two of this post deals with the waiting process. Now this can sometimes be the most difficult part of a struggle. After all, we are surrounded by a world that does often tells us we have to be a success. But what defines success? Usually, it's a good job, a family of your own, etc. it doesn't help matters when good men seem like they're all taken and all of your friends seem to be getting married before you.

So how do you respond?

The truth is, I really don't know. But here is one perspective

-- -- -- -- --


Ramsden, Amber.. "Single In the City: In the Game ", October 2007. 17 October 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another show highlights disability issues

Hello all,

I thought I would get a early start on next week's blog posts. As I have stated before, I recently got a job that may delay me from posting at a regular basis. I'm going to try to keep things up for my regular readers. I don't make any promises though. I am going to try to make as many hours as I can since my dream is to move out some time soon. That's going to take a lot of money and a lot of work. But it's a goal worth working for. In fact, I have a meeting with a apartment complex to look at one apartment this week. So, we will see how everything turns out.

Anyway, onto today's post..

During the last few posts, I've noticed a pattern amerging. That pattern being, "Understanding Disabilities." Now, this may simply be because there are no noteworthy topics of disability related interest in the news lately; but I believe otherwise. As a disabled person, I find myself encountering daily obstacles that attempt to undermine my worth as a person and well a productive citizen of the United States of America. Many of these obstacles stems from the the misunderstandings of the disabled community. In an effort to clear up such misunderstandings, people like myself and other disabled citizens are helping to provide a more accurate portrayal by pointing out serotypes and correcting them.

Take for example the recent play "The Jellybean Conspiracy."

The play has three parts, each focusing on a different aspect of disability. The first and most compelling would be comparing a disability to a jellybean. That is, everyone is born differently. One person may be of a different color (i.e. race, ethnicity) or built of a different body type (tall, skinny etc.), but everyone is good. The second half of the play focuses on a family's reaction to a potential disability. This half was adapted from a award winning play by Linda Daugherty. In the original, the story is about a young sister dealing with the realities of having a sibling with autism.

A number of disabled participants were involved in the performance.

-- -- -- --


Diepenbrock, George.. "Show highlights disability issues" (Lansing's Journal & World News) 27 September 2007. 15 October 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

A rare occurrence.. Still


Let me begin this post by saying this is going to be a rare occurrence on my blog. I know what you are saying to yourself, "But there is nothing different about this post." But that's not entirely correct. Thanks to, I am able to write entries early and date them accordingly. That being said, this entry may look like it was done on Friday when in reality it's being done today-Wednesday, October 10, 2007. (Okay, so I am rambling. But I thought that would be of interest to you .) Anyway, another reason this is going to be a rare occurrence is because I have decided that for this post I am going to let another person do the "talking" for a change.

Let me explain.

Many of you have heard me talk about Joni Erickson Tada in my previous posts. For those new to my blog, a brief review. Joni Erickson Tada is a inspiring women who decided to turn a tragic diving accident, which left her a quadriplegic, into a blessing from God. She is now in charge of her own ministry and uses her story to motivate others to use their tragedies for good.

Today I was looking through my e-mail and I found that she has a new TV program coming out. Unfortunately, I am not able to receive the channel because it is part of the new DirecTV package. But I thought I would pass on the information for those of you who are looking for a encouraging word and are lucky enough to receive the channel on their cable networks.

Enclosed is a small article taken from the Joni and friends online magazine. I hope they don't mind me using it. But I think her words describe the show best.

"Joni and Friends TV Premiere!
Joni and Friends, a new television program hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, highlights a refreshingly honest approach to people’s toughest questions about the goodness of God in a world shattered by pain and suffering. Through dramatic and powerful glimpses into the lives of real people who have endured--or are still enduring--heart wrenching trials, Joni and her guests put scripture to the toughest of tests, showing why God is worth believing and how to trust Him in the toughest of times. In this unique program, we meet with exceptional people who inspire
Joni. Joni and Friends is a half-hour of riveting images, soulstirring stories, and proof-positive truths from the heart of God’s Word which will change your life.Joni and Friends premieres October 19 at 7:00 p.m. EST on DirecTV’s NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) network
(channel 378), so check your local listings! Each episode will also be available on DVD through (goeslive October 5th), in case you don’t have DirecTV."


PS. Another reason I did this early was so that I wouldn't forget. Chuckle.

See you next week

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Encouragement: The Journey to A Life of Gannet's Own


So not much is happening in my life right now. I am gearing up to start my new job this week,; although realistically, I still have a lot to do before I dive right into researching. Still, I'm getting excited. At least I will have something new to occupy my time, rather than always focusing on the entertainment frenzy. You probably know what I'm talking about-- reality and talk shows etc. Except for this blog, I can't help but feel I'm not doing much that is really productive lately. But then again, there's not much to do but wait. I don't like waiting though, considering all of my friends have had such an easy time a life of their own. I am ready to start my own ; plus I think it is just about time! Along with the job, I am also looking at some different housing opportunities. Although a lot of that depends on how the job goes and where I decide to permanently live in the near future, seeing as though my parents are thinking of moving back to Maryland sometime soon. So I really don't know.

Anyway, onto today's post.

Let me begin by posing a question.. a question quite appropriate considering the circumstances.. Chuckle

When is the appropriate time to move out and began a life of your own?

Gannet's mom is also trying to find the answers to those questions and more in the PBS documentary, "The Key of G."

This documentary chronicles the life of 22-year-old Gannet as he moves out on his own with the help of four personal assistants. This is all part of the state-funded project in a effort to keep disabled people from being institutionalized. People like Gannet. Born developmentally disabled, he is also partially blind. He is able to communicate using a communication book with a number of common phrases and words . Despite all this, Amy is determined to give her son the best normal life she can.

"I'm really looking forward to having a life of my own and I think Gannet is a ready to have a life of his own. He needs peers, he needs energy; he's got this great group of caregivers, you know, artist and musician, and it's kind of their influence that leads me to believe that it is time for him to move out," said Amy.

That type of friendship is hard to find for most people. However, the group sees Gannet as more than just a client, but a unique individual.

"One of the best parts of the job is watching people like start understanding that he is a person. A full person," said Donal.

Gannet spends the majority of his time playing the piano. He also enjoys playing with his toy cars as well as admiring real cars on the streets of San Francisco.

In the long run, what does everyone gain from this experience?

"Colten and I were talking about what a good house this is yesterday.. this strange state-funded little thing we have here.. we're all here because we care about him.".
-- -- --
Citation for TV Program: "The Key of G" PBS channel 6 WTVS Detroit, at 4: 30 am, October 09, 2007. (Original air date: January 12, 2005)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The latest on disabilities; wish lists and more. Brought to you by TiVo

Hello Everyone,

It occurred to me recently that many of you might be wondering where and how I stay on top of the disability issues. Part of it just comes naturally to me, I guess; knowing what and where to research for certain topics. On the other hand, I primarily have TiVo to thank for most of the topics I post on this site.

I know what you're thinking. "Wait a minute, I thought TiVo is a personal DVR (digital video recorder) which is primarily for taping your favorite shows and playing them back whenever you want to watch it."

It is, on the surface.

But for me, it serves a more practical purpose. It allows me to create a specific wish lists on certain criteria (i.e. disabilities,) and searches according through the television listings for shows based on that criteria. This is done automatically and is not limited to looking through the description given on a program. It also looks at programs in terms of their titles. However, TiVo does not have the capability to look for other forms of the word. Therefore, I have two disability wishlists. One focuses on searching for programs containing the word "disabled" and the other searches for programs that include the word "disability ".

Any questions? I know this is a short post but I thought my readers would be interested.

Another note: I am starting a new job as I said in some of my earlier posts, so I may not be as up to date as usual. But please stick around. I promise to not forget about you

Friday, October 5, 2007

If I only had a...


Here's a little trivia for you. Can you finish the subject line for me? No, it's not a trick question.

Most of you may recognize the line from any "Wizard of Oz" movie or Broadway Show. However, this show I am referring to is anything but typical. The cast consists primarily of people with disabilities.

Let me explain. I was watching television the other day and came upon an HBO Family special called "Yellow Brick Road". It details the four month journey of the ANCHOR program to produce their very own version of the Wizard of Oz. The ANCHOR program (which stands for Answering the Needs of Citizens With Handicaps Through Organized Recreation) is a Long Island-based program for anyone with special needs. It runs year-round, offering a variety of activities in which they can participate. Some of them include sports, several camps, dances, and yes, like I said, drama.

The drama program, which is directed by Sandy Braun, was conceived by the simple fact that many of the adults were very dramatic and "loved watching themselves on films and stuff like that." The plays are held at the Grand Avenue High School. The principal players are adults.and each bring something unique to the play. Take for example, Elizabeth O'Brien who plays the wicked witch of the West.

"Elizabeth [O'Brien] is truly her own person. She knows not just her part, but everybody's part and how it should be acted, how it should be said.. I find myself often saying to her, "Elizabeth, that's why they pay me the big bucks","

Another principle player is the David. Living independently in the group home facility, he is considered the perfect man for the role of the tin man.(That is, not because he has no heart. But the biggest of all. )

"Nothing gets this kid down. This is the kid that you would feel that life has given him a bum deal, but he really doesn't feel that way," said Braun.

Many outsiders may see this program as their typical after school activity, but the cast sees much more than that. For some, like Danny, who plays the scarecrow, acting means the world; on the Braun continues to say that the drama program feels like a family to some students.

"I think what drama gives him [David] is a total sense of family. A total sense of belonging," says Braun.

Although Braun considers the cast as "kids", she realizes the exact opposite.

"I kind of feel like a mom to them and I feel like they are my kids and that we have that,"


Citation for TV Program: "Yellow Brick Road" HBO Family channel 309 at 6:55 p.m., September 28, 2007. (Original air date: December 21, 2005 )

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Encouragement: Just Your Average Young Woman


Let me begin this post a little differently than most-with a game. I'm going to give you, my readers, three questions regarding a certain person and it's your job to figure out who I am talking about.

Question One Who has worked for UNICEF during the last couple of months as a representative of the United States?

Question Two: During that time, she served as a teacher, teaching lessons of tolerance and acceptance?

Question Three: Her students simply know her as "Jenna".

Give up yet?

The unlikely response is Jenna Bush.

Most people simply view her as the President's daughter; but upon deeper reflection, you would learn she is so much more. In her first individual interview in years, this mature young woman speaks out about her life (inside & outside the White House). Although, the primary goal of the interview was to shed light on the devastating impact of AIDS all around the world, her main message is, "Meeting all the kids I've worked with, I've became impassioned. I think a lot of times kids don't realize how they have the power to change the world, "

After nine months of traveling through Latin America and the Caribbean, it's obvious that Jenna has learned as well as grown a lot because of the journey. Jenna carries back to the States an empowering message of change. One that she hopes will open people's eyes to the adversities and struggles around the world. "My job for UNICEF was to document the lives of kids living in exclusion, which means, you know, in extreme poverty, living with HIV/AIDS, living in abusive households. Kids that don't have access to school or medical care," she said.

With many years of teaching students in the inner city, Jenna seems in her element here. She listens intently as students’ talk of the realities of living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. In fear of their lives on a daily basis, some of their faces could not be shown.

"Knowing that you’re infected, you know, would probably cause you to be hurt, maybe even killed," one child said. (Note: This part of the interview was taken on location in Jamaica while Jenna was teaching.)

This fact seems surprisingly ironic especially considering Jamaica is right "in America's backyard".

As well as teaching about tolerance, Jenna also talks about such controversial topics as protected sex and abstinence.

Despite these debilitating circumstances, some choose to see their life as "A Journey of Hope". It is this remarkable view that Jenna hopes to portray in her new book, Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope. The book follows the courageous life story of one girl living life with AIDS. For obvious reasons, the main person's name in the book have been changed. In the beginning while writing this book on location, Jenna viewed Ana's story as a life of sickness [this word was translated from the Spanish word], but Ana quickly corrected her.

In paraphrase, Ana said that her AIDS was not an illness; but rather a "situation of her life".

Citation for TV Program: "20/20" News segment, Diane Sawyer reporting. ABC channel 7 WXYZ Detroit, News at 10 pm, September 28, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

October is National Disability employment Awareness Month.


Welcome back everyone.

I hope everybody enjoyed their weekend as much as I did. I'm still taking it slow recovering from my surgery. It wasn't as bad as I suspected it would be. I just can't wait for the day when I say I actually worked a nine hour day. That's right everyone. I finally have a job.. All that's left to do is sign the paperwork and report to work. Well, not really report to work. The truth is, I will be working as a consultant and doing research for a company.

Which brings me to today's topic of employment.

Did you know that October is National Employment Awareness Month?

Don't feel bad, I didn't know either until reading about it in a article.

I have decided to include the article link here, as I am still recovering from surgery and I find it hard to condense a small article such as this one. (Okay, so I am taking the easy way out this time) I Found it quite interesting myself.

Anyway, here it is:

Friday, September 28, 2007

What Are You Staring at?: Small Voices For a New Generation

Hello everyone,

A lot of people talk about the technological advances being made in an effort to help people live more independently as a productive citizens of the USA. Some simply view these advances as just another useful tool helping them to get through another difficult day with a disability; whereas, others view this technology as in "opening to a whole new world". Either way, people view technology, I think we are missing out on a fundamental truth.

What is that truth?

Change begins from within..

To put it more simply, change begins with me. Or anyone that is, wanting to make a difference in this world. I may have written about this topic once or twice before, but I think it's worthwhile mentioning again. (Note: Although from now on, I think I am going to start using the labels to make sure I don't end up repeating myself over and over again! LOL..) Anyway, this point was reiterated to me again through a unique Nick News Special called What Are You Staring at? The show featured a panel of outspoken people (both young and old) living with the a variety of disabilities. In this 30 minute panel discussion, the group attempts to answer some difficult questions. Some of the questions centered around the age-old dilemma To Help or not to Help: when does the line stop? as well as when exactly is the appropriate time for questions. The panel is also joined by well-known disability advocates John Hockenberry and Christopher Reeve (1952-2004). Although this program is over five years ago, I think there are many important lessons that still can be heard through the voices of these wise young children.

In order to save time, I will attempt to consolidate the most poignant answers to all these issues. The first being, is it appropriate to stare at someone because they are different.
The obvious answer is no. But here's why.. Christopher Reeve put it best when he said, " No matter what kind of condition you're in, we're all part of a big family and we only become strangers when we look away." He continues, "There is no reason for us to be strangers."

The debate over whether to help someone with a disability has also brought controversy. In my case, I can often understand why. Usually disabled people want to have the opportunity to try to accomplish things on their own before finally asking for help. However, it is not impolite to ask if they need your assistance in any way. Danielle who has CP and is also blind explains, "if I am struggling and if the door is really heavy, mainly out of common courtesy, most people open the door."

Why is the response so little?

Hockenberry says it is most often fear that holds people back. He says people are often afraid they will be judged by their offer to help "as if if they say or do the wrong thing, I'm going to whip some 911 and get the disability police to come." He goes on to explain that a person's experiences and personality should be the first thing that people see when looking at someone with a disability.

Christopher Reeve adds that people should not shy away from possible awkward experiences just because someone is disabled. Take for example the simple act of shaking hands. "I'm not offended by that at all because it's just a habit that they want to greet me. Anything that comes from a legitimate motivation to make contact is great," Reeve said.

Where does this fear come from? It can come from a variety of sources.. Sometimes even family members. "I think a lot of the time, parents, adults don't know, so they keep their children from learning.. because they don't know and they 're scared," said Danielle

To ask is always a better thing to do.

Let's take a look back at the history of disabled people as well as efforts to ensure the rights of the disabled, shall we?

Originally, the disabled population was considered second rate in the United States. In fact, before 1975, there were no laws protecting the rights and freedoms of the disabled. The truth is, ensuring our rights is still sometimes difficult. In 1975, Congress passed the individuals with Disabilities Act. This law guarantees that all children, no matter what their physical or mental limitations have access to a free and public education. This includes any special equipment needed to encourage the learning process. But what about when you become an adult and start looking for a job? This is where the American With Disabilities come into play. This law ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights as someone else. Building accessibility is just one of the major issues discussed in this law.

In general, the theme of the show was patience and persistence during any difficult time. Here are just some of my favorite quotes from some wise youngsters.

Daneille: "We can do anything that anyone else can do. We just do it differently."

Jon: "What I've got is what I've got and I think it's much more interesting for me to make the most out of what I have been to think about something that may be possible sometime in the far future."

Danielle: "You look at what you can do. You don't dwell on what you can't do."

Christopher Reeve: "Whatever happens, you gotta press forward and not just say oh well this is the end. It's never the end, you've gotta move forward,"

I think it is about time as the host said, to focus more on what we can do and what we can't.


Citation for TV Program: "What Are You Staring at? , Nickelodeon channel 59 Detroit, at 6 a.m. , September 26, 2007. (Original air date: September 6, 2001)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Surgery or not?

Welcome back everyone,

Okay, so I know it's been a few days since I last posted. But this time I have a very good and reasonable excuse. (Chuckle). I have been recovering from surgery. If you are disabled, you most likely know the routine. Doctors come to you with a possible treatment or surgery in a effort to make you more independent or the least bit manageable. In my case, I've been lucky to have positive responses to many of those surgeries. Having cerebral palsy or any kind of chronic pain, you may already be familiar with the medicine baclofen. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant, which blocks the messages and makes relaxing easier. Taking this idea a step further, patients can opt for the baclofen pump. Although more intense, patients usually find the pump to have more of a impact. There are several steps patients may go through before finally deciding to install the baclofen pump.

First and most importantly is the baclofen trial. During the trial, patients endure a spinal tap. This allows doctors as well patients to see a greater impact when the drug is introduced directly into the spinal fluid. Measurements are taken in terms of how flexible or relaxed they are, in order to determine whether this would be a affective course of treatment. It is important to note that the oral doses of the drug are not always as effective as the intrathecal kind. That is because more of the drug can be blocked in order to protect the brain; whereas, less can be blocked when introduced through the spinal fluid. Individual results can vary, but after that, a decision is often made.

There are several other factors to keep in mind while determining whether the baclofen pump is for you. I will briefly go through some of them, but like I said, my blog is not the see all and end all of your resources. Do your own research.. You know your own body better than anyone.

Things to keep in mind..

1. There are side effects to every drug.

2. There are two different available pump sizes. In most cases, doctors prefer to use the larger size. This just means less time in Dr.'s offices. It is a plus for anyone.

3. This is a lifetime commitment. Although the positives outweigh the negatives in most cases, patients must realize what they are getting into. The pump has to be replaced at some point or another. In my case, it's every 10 years.

That's all for now. I would encourage you to do more research on the pump is this post has peaked your interest. Here are some places to start:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Note to All My Readers; plus my view on resilience

Hello everyone,

Okay, so I realize it's been FOREVER since I’ve posted on this blog. Let's just say I have been using the time for self-evaluation and improvement. God knows, I have only begun on this journey and continue to seek personal as well as emotional growth. I have a long way to go, but I'm getting there. In truth, there is only one thing that kept me from writing in this blog.. That one thing being fear. As I have tried to explain many times in past posts, the goal of this blog is to provide positive feedback and advice to those dealing what a disability. This not only includes people that live with disabilities themselves. But just about anyone, including the family members or friends of a disabled person. That being said, I felt it was my responsibility to uphold this positive spirit; Which up until recently, I didn't know whether I could do that.

To be honest, I'm not really sure if I should be writing this at all. But I figure that the best way to conquer my fear is to work through it. After all, nobody is perfect. Even though, I may be having difficulties in my personal life doesn't mean I can't take some of the advice I think important I've learned from other people and pass it on. That being said, I may stay away from the topics of a personal nature for a while. I ask just one thing of my readers during this time. Be patient with me as you have been. This transition from college life to the "real world" has been a very difficult one. More difficult than I ever imagined. Still, this summer I was blessed with many once in a lifetime opportunities, such as going on a cruise and going to Hawaii. Don't worry, the cruise and Hawaii may end up being topics for later posts.

Anyway, the topic for today's post is resiliency. This topic, or a version of it, has been on my mind for a while now. For obvious reasons. How do people cope with adversity? How does this adversity change people? For the better or for worse.. In a effort to answer the question, I will attempt to discuss the many different aspects of adversity. Take for example the motivational speech made by Amy Roloff to Central Michigan University on TLC's Little People, Big World. In it, Amy makes several good points.

They are:

  • · Leaving the comfort of home to go to college. How was everyone going to act towards her having a disability? · What were they going to think about her being a little person?

  • Her Initial reaction was different than Amy expected. It didn't matter.

  • Amy said, "I perhaps made more of an issue [of my difference] than others really did."

  • The thing about a difference is that you think you are the only person going through it. Sure, you can think as a limitation, but Amy suggests that you embrace the difference.

  • Look at the positives.

  • Learn to move on after disappointments

  • · The Main Point: "yes, I'm different. But we're all different. Once we move past that, we have a lot more similarities than we do differences."
    · As humans, we focus too much on the appearance of people rather than the inside, the soul and heart of person. It's more important that we get to know people from the inside out first.

  • "God doesn't make mistakes. I believe we are all here for a purpose and it's up to us to determine what that purpose is."-Amy

  • Seems like I am not the only one wondering how to deal with the trials and tribulations of life. The topic of the most recent disability blog Carnival: Resiliency. I spent most of the day reading the posts and found it very informative as well as inspirational. For that reason, I have included the link here:


      Citation for TV Program: "Amy's College Homecoming "TLC channel 70 at 11 am, 9/3/2007

      Monday, June 25, 2007

      On the job: what does that mean for people with disabilities

      Hello everyone,

      Okay, so I realize it's been a while since I've updated this blog with the latest disability news. Looking at my previous posts, it's been over three months since I posted regularly. Wow, that's a long time. I am just now starting to catch up on things in my life. A lot has changed for me during this time. As my regular readers have learned, I have been actively seeking a job for a while now. Thanks to my dad and his contacts at the local university, I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting a job. By that I mean I actually have an interview! A real interview… it is set for July 13, soon after my family and I return from our usual Fourth of July vacation in Washington, DC. I am scheduled to meet with someone who deals with their hiring of general staff. There are no exact details on a position, but dad has given her a list of my abilities so she can have a chance to determine exactly where I may fit in at the University. Personally, my dad and I are both hoping that the position involves utilizing my skills as both a writer and researcher in order to help their professors. I have always had an interest in advocating for people with disabilities, so anything in the paralegal field would be great.

      At this point, anything would be appreciated. I just need to get some experience under my belt of being out there in the real world. I still have a lot to learn; I look forward to experiencing both the joys and trials of having a job because I realize that it's just another part of life. In this respect, I realize I am not alone in my struggle to find a job. There are many people with different disabilities who are in a similar position. Take for example this October 2006 editorial by Ann Bauer entitled, "Willing, Able -- and Unemployable". In it, she tells this story of her 18-year-old autistic son struggling to find the perfect job. Despite his sensitive spirit and being "eerily responsible", his interview attempts remained unsuccessful. He encountered many barriers in the process of getting a job, such as a psychological test, which eliminates "people on the edge of the bell curve" at Target. She goes on to say that over the next decade 4 million people will be diagnosed with autism.

      What does this mean for us as a society? Bauer answers this question by exploring the many options to her. She could sue, but for what? Bauer says , " Legal action wouldn't get Andrew, now nearly 19, working. What it would do is force him to defend himself and his abilities in court -- this young man who's still reluctant to speak at school." Wow, that gives people a lot to think about. In my opinion, the foundation of the issue still remains the same. Acceptance and understanding of a disability is vital to eliminating stereotype and bridging the gap between people. That being said, I would like to highlight some important steps public relations have taken as part of this process. For example, there is the Autism Speaks campaign. Check out the amazing "Autism Every Day" ads. They can be accessed at:

      For additional information on Autism , feel free to visit Autism Society of America at



      Bauer , Ann. "Willing, Able-- and Unemployable ." Washington 30 October 1998 . 28 June 2007

      Monday, June 18, 2007

      Fun at the Park

      Hello everyone,

      Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Mine was certainly on the unique side, considering I actually got to spend some one-on-one time with my father. For those of you familiar with our family or have gotten to know me and my family through the reading of these blogs, time is precious around here. Actually, it should be that way for everyone.. But still. So, dad and I headed out for a fun filled day at Cedar Point. The amusement park is conveniently located just about four hours from our house in Sandusky, Ohio. In general, Cedar Point is best known for its roller coasters and thrill rides. But being a disabled person such as I, it is obviously hard for some people to participate in those types of activities. That being said, I intend to highlight some of the disability-friendly tips as well as entertainment alternatives for fellow guests who are wheelchair-bound and unable to ride the rides.

      First-time guests may want to visit the customer service office located in the Town Hall building. As well as fielding obvious questions about the park's rides, this office is also responsible for assessing each disabled person's ability to ride certain roller coasters based on their strengths and weaknesses. These lists are then compared to the ride's rules and regulations, coming up with your own list based on a person's personal needs; it also allows for special access for a personal assistant or guest to help you if need be. One of the most accessible rides is Paddle Boat ride. It takes guests on a river ride which towards the park; during the ride, they will enjoy interesting facts about Cedar Point and its history as well as the occasional corny joke.

      Tired of their rides and roller coasters? Cedar Point has a variety of shows to satisfy guests of all ages. The most recent show, "Dazzle: Beyond Divine" incorporates both singing and dancing to create a fabulous act. Several songs included in the act are: "Dream Girls" from the popular motion picture, "It's Raining Men", "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend "and so much more.

      Another thing I noticed since the last time I visited Cedar point was increased accessibility to most outside stands. By that I mean there is a tray to the height of a regular guest on which a consumer can finish the transaction with the employee on duty; however, there is also one for wheelchairs.

      For more information regarding accessibility issues or just general questions, please visit

      Wednesday, June 13, 2007

      Another reality check


      So I know it's been a while. Sure, I updated to let you guys know that I was still alive and kicking. But in retrospect, those posts did not help you if you came here looking for advice and support. For that, I am-well-I can't really explain it. All I can say is that it's been a long five months since I graduated. I have changed a lot. Those changes have not always been the best changes in the world. But well, we do not always control what happens to us. We can only control how we react and allow those changes to impact us influencing the choices we make on a daily basis! I am still trying to get a handle on that myself. I'm not doing very well at that either.

      I'm not sure where to begin explaining myself. I guess it all begins with one word. Transition. According to, transition can be defined as a "movement, passage or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc.". Transitions have always been difficult for me. I'm one of those people who doesn't react kindly to change. Looking at my disability, you probably can understand why. I mean look at all it takes for me to live on a daily basis. I depend on people to get me up in the morning, feed me. The list goes on and on.

      So, besides the obvious reasons. What makes this transition so different from all the others? Well, I have been trying to figure that out myself. I don't know how many of you are in this same situation or a similar one.. If you've been with me long enough, you've read about my experiences out in the real world, experiencing life in its purest form. Going to college and living on my home. In retrospect, it was just something I dreamed about. Something I hoped for. I mean, I knew it was possible. I had the brains and the intellect. I had proved that by graduating from a community college with a associate degree. Even graduating from high school.

      But was it actually possible for me to experience the reality of going away to college and becoming an independent person, outside of being the daughter I knew I was as well as a person with a disability?

      Yes, it was possible. They experiences I encountered as well as the people opened up a new world to me. They not only became part of my family, but showed me I can not only trust them. But I could trust myself. I was, in fact, able to make decisions as an adult. I was able to do things with my friends, without my parents always having to be there to assist me.

      That being said, being back home is difficult for me now. Why? Because I've seen what is possible. I'm someone who can no longer be put in a box of limitations that society sometimes puts on me. It also makes things difficult when I look at that amazing progress many of my friends have made since graduating. For example, some of them have moved to St. Louis.

      And yet, sometimes I feel like I'm in that box again.My job status is still nonexistent, which is probably a good thing for right now. Considering everything I'm going through. My independence has sort of gone down a bit, considering all I do is sit in front of my computer and talk to friends near and far. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my time off, but after awhile you start wondering whether you will ever get out there and do some good for anyone. But I do have my moments. It's just really shocking how the time off can change things for the good or the worst. Since my independence has gone down, my spasticity has gone up a ton. I am left speechless and frustrated

      This just goes with the territory of having a disability, I guess. Another part of having cerebral palsy is the need for surgeries. My dorm mates know that I take medicine in a special way to decrease my spasticity. Well, I recently found out that I have to have surgery to continue with this disability maintenance. This surgery has not been scheduled yet,

      Why am I saying this. I don't know, but I guess what I want people to take from this is the power of transition. You will get where you need to be in time. The hard part of life is waiting

      Saturday, May 19, 2007

      Upcoming road trip

      Hello everyone,
      Yes, I know it's been a long time-over a month since I last posted on here. Like everyone else, I was left speechless by the recent events that occurred at Virginia Tech. It's events like these that make you question everything you think, say or do on a daily basis. That's part of the reason why it has taken me so long to post. Birthdays have a tendency to do that as well and since I just had one it's caused me to reflect back on my life.

      For me, this blog has always served two purposes. Yes, it is a place where I can open up and share my thoughts and feelings with the world. But more importantly, it should be a place where both sides of life should be adequately portrayed. After all, that is what a writer strives to do on a daily basis-tell a balanced story, despite the thoughts and feelings on the subject. What ever the subject may be. For the last month, that's why I haven't written. Because I haven't been able to tell both sides of my story. In fact, sometimes I feel like I'm still not ready to share everything that's been going on lately while looking for a career. On the other hand, I didn't want to leave you hanging wondering whether I was going to continue this little project or not. The truth is, I'm not sure anymore. I just wanted to let everybody know I'm doing alright. Thanks for sticking with me on the journey.

      My family and I are headed on a little road trip, hopefully, this road trip will bring clarity and truth.

      See you when I get back.

      Friday, April 13, 2007

      Introduction to the television show, "Disabilities Today"; Other people like me


      Well, it's official.. it's been over three months since I first started writing in "A Life Without Limits: Rollin Into the Future." Honestly, it doesn't seem that long. But if you were to ask my dad, he would probably have a up-to-date word count on my blog.. That's what a proud father does I guess.

      As I've stated many times before, most of my new and updated information come from a variety of sources. I will admit some of the comments from my own experiences as a disabled person and the knowledge I've gained from getting a communications degree. But a majority comes from outside sources, such as television, radio and other media. That being said, I would like to point out two local shows that are very helpful for people with disabilities. The first is called "Disabilities Today"; it's a show on PBS geared toward people with disabilities. It's theme--a show on abilities. The show, which airs in syndication, is hosted by Roger McCarville on every Tuesday at 5: 30. I have the link to the website already posted, so feel free to take a look.

      Anyway, a few weeks back Roger interviewed another young man just trying to prove to the world that anything is possible if you believe in your dreams. As a young man, Brock had dreams of producing his own TV show. Nothing too big. But it turned out way bigger than he ever imagined. With the help of his brother, Brock started producing the show for a local TV station. Where did the idea come from? Brock credits God for their show and its inspiration. The point of the show being to inspire others to accomplish their dreams

      Or as Brock puts it in his own words..

      "I want to inspire people to do better and it doesn't matter if you have a disability. Do what you gotta do. Do what you gotta do ."

      This show is called "J Rocks" and it features a variety of subjects. These subjects can be anything from how to deal with a disability to listening to comments of support Brock has received from various real-life celebrities. Such celebrities include: Regis Philbin, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Carrie Fisher (from Star Wars)

      Unfortunately, because the interview was done on location, McCarville wasn't really clear about Brock's exact disability. He did state it several times, although it wasn't always clear because of the microphone feedback. Brock describes his disability as "basically I have to walk crooked my whole life and there's no cure for it." He is also impacted by the occasional shaking of his arms and legs.

      What's Brock think of his disability? He answers McCarville with yet another amazing statement.

      "But that doesn't stop me. Why should that stop me? No chance. I'm gonna keep going. I'm gonna just do what I do all the time because I know God is with me.."
      His show can be seen on select local channels in Michigan (Grand Rapids, Bloomfield,) and New York. Just to name a few

      Citation for TV Program: "Disabilities Today" Roger McCarville reporting, PBS channel 6 WTVS Detroit, at 5: 30 pm, March 20, 2007

      Thursday, April 12, 2007

      Extra, extra: Other Brooke Ellison resources


      Reading yesterday's post back, I realized I could have written a lot more on this subject of Brooke and her story. I have in fact written a personal review on the book three years ago.. I have decided to include it here. I hope you enjoy it. Although, I'm sure that everyone who reads her story carries something different from the experience.

      Here is the review:

      As promised, here are my thoughts about life after reading MIRACLES HAPPEN.. The numbers are are the pages on which the quotes can be found. I would highly recommend the book.

      It's been a long couple of days actually. After two days of nonstop reading, I finally finished Miracles Happen-The Brooke Ellison Story book. I didn't think I was going to,but I did. Once I got to the Brooke going to Harvard section, I couldn't put it down. Related to it a lot, I guess. I learned a lot from her book. She gave me a lot to think about when it comes to living life to the fullest.

      The description of Annenberg dining hall and the people at Harvard reminded me so much of my college For example, the dining area, which Brooke compared to a chapel because of its stained class windows reminded me of the chapel at college. Also, I am looking forward to talking in the lunch room with my friends. Especially about the food we are getting served. I am looking forward to beings reunited with people I feel so comfortable sharing my time with as well as my faith. People like Rev. Adler who make you feel comfortable where ever you are in your walk. Like Brooke said, "It was his eloquence. When he spoke, he made you feel as if everything was wonderful and beautiful and there was nothing in this world anyone needed to be concerned about.". I am sure my friends feel the same way.

      I also related to the conversation Jean had with Kysten about just not feeling like she measures I feel like that sometimes as well. Like I have to live up to be someone with great goals or ambitions or else what am I doing here. But at least I have my mind to indulge my creative side and share my knowledge and love with everyone around me. I sort of related to this quote," "After the loss of the use of her body, she had to develop for mind and she needed physical help that I could give her to do that."

      One reason it was easy to relate to Brooke and her story is her obvious love for writing. It shows in her eloquent choice of words. The way she describes things makes it possible for you to actually imagine what Harvard looks like in your head. I have been told I have that ability as well.

      During the remainder of the book, I was continually reminded about how blessed I am to be at the college I am at. I often tell people I feel like college is really where I began to find myself and "develop a life". It's because of the people I met there and the friends I made. I think this quote says it best from her book. "They [Brooke's friends] were so different but they became my friends; and that was the biggest reason why I knew Harvard was exactly where I was supposed to be!" So many times, I have been overwhelmed by how much had God has blessed me with my friends at college. Granted, many friends help me grow in different ways. But they each seem to come along at the right time and place. I think Jean said it best when she said "As had been the case so many times before, someone had come through her door at a time when she (Brooke) most needed it. Isn't it that way with all of us, people often walk into our lives at the right time, we just have to recognize it when it happens."(200).

      Another idea I found quite interesting is the idea of "shopping" for classes. This is Harvard's way of helping students choose what classes they would like to take. During that week, student can go into any class they choose for however long and decide if they want to take that class. Then they register. I can just see my college doing that. They might get irritated.

      I don't know how to start this next paragraph. I think it's important that people remember everyone suffers in life. This quote that really touched me was,""Do you?" I asked, "Everyone is suffering in one form or another. No one on this planet has a monopoly on pain. It's what we do that matters. If we all sat and focused on what we' didn't have, we'd all the miserable. I'm not minimizing what you're going through, but when you start thinking like this you need to redirect your thoughts to the good things in your life, and there are so many good things." (Jean, 200)

      As I was finishing the book today, I was listening to music as well on the Christian Contemporary station. I was struck by the similarities of a quote I was reading at the time and a song I was listening to. The quote was, "The journey has its own reward", the music I was listening to-Big Daddy Weave ' In Christ'. The lyrics that caught my interest were "I wait for my reward". To most people, they may seem like complete opposites, but it kind of makes sense to me because sometimes we are allowed special blessings on the way to our ultimate reward

      Finally, I would like to leave this Journal with a final thought that sums up everything, I have said up until now and in previous posts. "We are not random dots of dust floating aimlessly without any greater purpose; we are here for each other. Our purpose here is to be miracles for each other" (261)

      Another point of interest for my readers might be the Brooke Ellison blog, which she just recently created. Her blog can be found at the following website address :

      Wednesday, April 11, 2007

      Encouragement? I think. My reflections: Getting a Degree

      Hello everyone,

      I posed a question at the beginning of this entry because I'm not really sure how to classify my words for today. The last couple of days have been interesting; dad's out of town, leaving us to fend for ourselves. It's been quite chaotic, considering we are dealing with the remodeling of the kitchen while he is gone. Not to mention, the wisdom teeth extraction for my mom that turned a lot for difficult then we expected.

      As I had posted earlier, I was going to stay up and watch the Brooke Ellison story. I didn't make it, but luckily I had TiVo. Now I can watch it whenever I want from bed, without having the DVD remote. Anyway, I hope some of my readers actually got a chance to watch it. Or at least put it on their rental list the next time they decide to rent a movie. It really is a good one.. Here's someone who takes an difficult situation and turns it into something positive, using her experiences as a disabled person to change people's lives for the better. Recently, Brooke tried to run for the New York State Senate, I don't know how that turned out. It wasn't really clear on her website, but I definitely give her "props" either way. That took a lot of guts. Of course, she has always been a pioneer in her own right, right off the bat.

      Every time I watch the movie, I am struck by a new perspective. This is surprising because after all, the movie has the same outcome every time I watch it. In fact, I bet you I could recite all of the script if I had to.. especially my favorite lines. I would be interested to see if some of the dialogue was actually what Brooke said to her mother. Anyway, as I said before, I am amazed at the new perspective I gain while watching the movie. Watching Brooke graduate reminded me of my own. College was definitely a experience of both personal and emotional growth for me. The experience of living on my own taught me about the delicate balance of independence as well as dependence on others.

      Now that I've gotten a degree, I find myself at a loss though. I mean, I know everyone goes through times where they question, "Is this something I really want to do?". It's a normal part of the process. I also think college students feel kind of restricted once they have gotten a degree. They begin to think they can only specialize in the one particular area. For me, getting a degree means more than just gaining knowledge or receiving a piece of paper. After all, on every diploma says in some form or another: "This paper entitles you to all the rights and responsibilities associated with this degree."



      Wow, that's a lot to consider. Among the 62 definitions of rights on, the word can be defined as " a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive or moral ." In other words, the paper reiterates that you have in fact gone through and learned all you can on your area of expertise. It's up to you now to use it appropriately in the effort to better society..

      I'm still trying to get used to it myself

      -- -- --

      On a personal note, I decided to add colors to this entry because it is is supposed to be spring. Instead, it is snowing outside. Due to the professional nature of this website, the colors will only be an occasional occurrence. Hope you enjoyed it.

      Monday, April 9, 2007

      More about Autism: Inside Autism

      ( Note: there are two entries for today, so please read both. I think you will be very interested)

      Welcome back,

      Happy Easter.. I wonder what it says about me that I didn't really remember it was Easter until Saturday. It's been like that a lot lately with everything. I am beginning to wonder. My weekend went okay. Instead of going to visit relatives, my parents and I decided to spend a quiet Easter at home. I think that was a good idea considering the circumstances. For one, my dad finds himself out of town more and more. So our time is very precious. Second, my parents are knee-deep in a kitchen renovation project. We are getting new wood cabinets; as a result, my parents are tearing down what they can of the old cabinets to prepare for the change.. The kitchen is a sight to see

      Anyway, as a follow-up to Friday's post on autism, I thought this was interesting. As it turns out, for the past couple of weeks WDIV Detroit has been doing a focus on autism on Tuesday as well as the report I did earlier. Unfortunately for me, I did not realize this until just recently. For that, I apologize. I will have to watch the news more often. Where was I going with this? Oh, the news.. I know from personal experience how hard it is to cope with a physical disability. I can just imagine that physical as well as emotional barriers that people with autism have to overcome.

      Recently, a new program is being used to teach people with autism about the reality of real-life situations without the initial feelings of fear and apprehension . Dubbed the "Weinberg" village, this program is placed safely underground and serves as its own little town. The town offers typical services such as a bank, beauty salon, and drugstore. The purpose of the program is to allow people with autism to put into practice the lessons they have learned throughout their education. Currently, a lot of local businesses are getting involved in the program. Some of these businesses include: Henry Ford, Savon Drugs, Huntington Bank.

      "We say it's learning between the classroom and the real community because things are hard to practice out in the real community," says program director, Nancy Sinelli.


      Citation for TV Program: "Inside Autism " News segment Paula Tutman reporting, NBC channel 4 WDIV Detroit, News at 6 pm, March 3, 2007.

      A special treat for regular readers..


      You're not seeing double...

      I did decide to post twice today. Why, you may ask? Well, I have two topics that might be of interest to you. As many of you know, topics for this blog come from a variety of sources. These can include anything from inspirational stories in the media. For me, one of the most inspirational stories is that of Brooke Ellison. As a adolescent, she was hit by a car on her way home from school. After three days in a coma, she finally regained consciousness with her mentality (memories, thinking) intact. Despite being confined to a wheelchair and ventilator (as well as spending months in rehabilitation), she didn't let anything stop her from accomplishing her dream. Of simply returning back to school. That's the shortest summary of her story that I can give you. For further information, you can always go to the Brooke Ellison link that I already have a listed off to the right of this page.

      Brooke's story was also made into a book as well as a television special. The book was written by both Brooke and her mother; each providing alternate chapters. Many of you may have heard of the television special because it was the last thing that Christopher Reeve produced before he died.

      Anyway, my point..

      The television special is being re-aired on the Arts and Entertainment Channel as a two-part special on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Now, it airs early at 4 a.m. to be exact. So I don't know whether anyone would want to watch it. But still, I thought I would give you the option. Just in case you happen to be up at that hour. You could just simply buy it on DVD wherever DVDs are sold

      Here's another reminder. Don't forget to check out the season premiere of Little People , Big World tomorrow night at eight o'clock on TLC

      Friday, April 6, 2007



      If you've been with me and my blog long enough, I'm pretty sure you've sensed a pattern emerging in my writing. What is that pattern exactly? Well, I usually gravitate towards stories of physical disabilities as well is people with physical limitations. I intend to break myself that bad habit today. On the one hand, I believe it is important to understand your disabilities and the limitations it puts on your life. On the other hand, I believe it is essential to gain a basic, knowledgeable understanding of other disabilities in order to bridge the gap between past and future generations. This will lessen the possibility for "stereotypical" knowledge.

      That being said, I just happened to be watching a program and I got a preview of a news clip. This time, it featured some new research findings regarding autism. If you are unfamiliar with the term, autism is a disability which impacts the socialization and communication skills of young children. In the report, psychologists and researchers say there may be several new warning signs as to the onset of autism. One possible warning could being a child not answering to their name before age 1 could be diagnosed with autism. In a University of California study, researchers found that three out of four babies who did not answer to their name by looking towards the sound or some kind of movement were diagnosed with autism just a year later. According to another study done Vanderbilt University, the scores of children who had brothers or sisters with autism. There scores were slightly lower than most.

      Now, reports like these are not valid without more evidence and credibility to support its claims. So I suggest you consult a doctor or do more research on your own if you're concerned about your child having autism or just want to see whether more research has been done to see if there is in fact a correlation between these warning signs and the onset of autism.

      Citation for TV Program: "New Autism Findings" News segment Rhonda Walker reporting, NBC channel 4 WDIV Detroit, News at 11 pm, March 2 , 2007.

      Wednesday, April 4, 2007

      Encouragement: Little People, Big World Television Show

      It's not very often that we find positive role models on television. Especially when you consider most television programs portray people with disabilities using the typical stereotypes. Anyway, I am happy to report the show "Little People, Big World is premiering another season on TLC. For those unaware, this show follows the trials and tribulations of the Rolloff family. Despite being disabled, Matt and Amy struggle to provide the best for their children. You see, they are both dwarfs; but they don't let that stop them. As they themselves state in the beginning of every program, "We can pretty much do what everyone else does, but just in a different way. "

      The Rolloffs four children. Going against typical thought, three of them are average size with only one being little. Two of them are twins.

      From what I've seen, the Rolloff have a difficult year. However, they always manage to put a positive spin on things no matter what. I am very interested to see how they dealt with their situation after the "pumpkin throwing" incident from last season. Hopefully everything turned out all right.

      Check local listings for this season premiere of Little People, Big World on The Learning Channel, March 9@8 p.m. Eastern time. You can also check out their webpage on TLC; it is already posted on the side of my webpage

      Monday, April 2, 2007

      Dealing with a disability


      It's been a rough weekend, to say the least. As stated in my earlier posts, my niece and sister in law were here. As a result, that has kept the whole family busy. It's been nice though. I continue to be amazed at the strides that Elizabeth is making. She is beginning to talk more and more every time I see her. Boy, she is also a runner and very adventurous when it comes to getting into things. This includes everything from toys to anything you can think of. As a result, I haven't had much time to look at any current issues relating to disabilities. A while back I had begin to TiVo things regarding disability and anything having to do with people with disabilities. I'm thinking of posting more about TiVo later, so keep your eyes peeled.

      Anyway, one of these TiVoed programs had to do with a mother and her difficulty of accepting the public's view of her child and her disability. During this program, the mother voiced feelings of insecurity about how to deal with the stares and glances of other children as well as people in general. Berkeley was born with only one hand, because of amniotic band syndrome, which causes problems because of the amniotic fluid at birth. In the course of the program, Lisa gets advice from a group of mothers as well as a family therapist on how to cope with her disability.

      Lisa realizes that she has the same hopes and dreams for her daughter as most parents do. "My dreams from Berkeley is just what any other parent dreams would be for the children, to reach their goals and hers are just like anyone else's is. Right now, her milestone would be to ride a bike. "

      Some of the advice given to her was:
      • Approach situations with positive expectations
      • change your own perspective, don't view others reactions as the negative. But instead a positive. For example, "they are looking at my child because they are surprised at how happy and well-adjusted she is."
      • Join a support group. This way, parents can get other tips from people dealing with the same situations; this will allow her to feel more empowered when encountering difficult situations.

      Citation for TV program: "Dealing With a Disability : Lisa's story" TLC, (The Learning Channel), Channel 70, Surviving Motherhood at 3 p.m., March 26, 2007 (original air date: May 17, 2006)

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