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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