Quadriplegic Reaches Geographic North Pole: A Historic First

By contact@disabilitynation.net (Larry Wanger)

The North Pole has now been made wheelchair accessible. On April 11, 2009 a disabled parking sign was raised at the North Pole on the 100th anniversary of the first successful polar expedition. David Shannon became the first person in world history with quadriplegia and in a wheelchair to reach the Pole. He along with expedition co-leader and fellow Canadian, Chris Watkins, developed “Team Independence 09” to promote breaking barriers to accessibility and greater community inclusion.

David upon reaching the pole stated, “This sign represents all peoples who have faced challenges or adversity in their lives and have dreamed of overcoming them. If we as people, work together in our homes, our cities, our countries and in our global village, there is no dream that cannot be realized.”

Chris Watkins who himself was injured in 1988 stated, “David and our team represents the long-shot win of the underdog. But it shows that there is no dream too big to dream and no challenge to big to overcome. What David has left us with is a world of infinite horizons.”

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Source: •Disability Nation  

Commentary: How Old Is Too Old To Be A "Young Woman"?

By contact@disabilitynation.net (Larry Wanger)My attendant-services file says I’m a creative, highly intelligent young woman.
In addition to the embarrassments inherent in having an attendant file, I’m feeling relegated to life’s kids’ table by that remark, although I suppose it was nice for the last worker to write in it to leave things on a decent note.

And I’m not an old woman, for sure, but at 35 years in this body that wasn’t even supposed to leave the hospital, ain’t I a woman? Full stop?
I ache like a woman, I want things like a woman, I ‘ve got debt collectors mispronouncing my name like a woman.

Can we let “young lady,” take her seat on the graveside of my personal history along with channels ceasing programming at midnight,3 1/2 floppies, and my regrets about not winning all those slamming MTV “Let A Rockband Take Over Your House” contests from back when?(I suspect if I had won, it would have created a huge PR challenge, though. Everybody wanting to trade places with the crippled girl. OMG.)

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Source: •Disability Nation  

"Hands of My Father" Reaches Across Generations

By contact@disabilitynation.net (Larry Wanger)Myron Uhlberg’s memoir of growing up with deaf parents, Hands of My Father, has already attracted a lot of attention in the mainstream press for its depiction of how much responsibility young Myron assumed, acting as his father’s interpreter from about the age of six…he doesn’t mention doing this in quite the same way for his mother…maybe the neighbor women were more patient at accepting handwritten notes or maybe she was content to allow her husband to be the public face of her family in the world…it’s hard for a frustrated wannabe egomaniac like myself to believe there were ever women that domestically inclined, but that’s material for another book.
It is hard to believe that only within one person’s lifetime, there was no closed-captioning and no way for ordinary folks to get sign-language interpretation, even when their seizing second child needs a doctor.

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Source: •Disability Nation  

Cooperation Sings in "Autism: The Musical"

By contact@disabilitynation.net (Larry Wanger)I don’t know what I was expecting from a film called “Autism: The Musical.” It was just a title that attracted my attention, even as a dark-humored part of me wanted to suggest that it should be a rock opera to better accomodate all the head-banging. Yeah, yeah, I know. Elaine Hall founded the Miracle Project to use her theater-directing skills to enhance the journey that began when she found out her adopted son Neal was autistic. The miracle project is designed to help autistic kids express themselves through music, dance, and acting, which I started off being very skeptical of.

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Source: •Disability Nation