Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

A Twitterer…er…rer…you get the idea…we can get into following

Check out this awesome story we found on Gizmodo.


Tony Niclinkson a massive stroke in 2005 that left him completely unable to move or speak. Check Tony out on the handle @TonyNicklinson. Using special software that follows the movement of his eyes on a keyboard and using blinks allows Tony to convert each selection into text and speech.

Despite this development, Tony’s story is pretty bleak. Living with a condition known as “Locked-in syndrome,” Tony is currently petitioning the High Court in the U.K. to let him end his life lawfully. Maybe having this kind of access to the world through this new software will change Tony’s mind.

Here’s a video of Tony’s story:

Paralyzed Man Is the First Person To Tweet With His Eyes

Jeff Owen Hanson: Investing Painter

By 14 years old this young man not only defied the odds against an optic tumor he named “Clod Cloddhopper”, he also owned multiple money making stocks and through his art and entrepreneurship had raised and donated $15,000 for multiple charities. To date, Jeff has donated over $200,000 to charity and continues to lead the way in disability advocacy with the sale of his brilliant abstract paintings.

Jeffrey Owen Hanson story.

For more on Jeff, to view his gallery, or to find out how you can contribute to his cause, visit

Jaguars Center Changed a Little Boy’s Life

Yahoo! Sports published a heart warming story about 6-year old Luke Akerstrom and his life changing friendship with Jaguars Center Brad Meester. You can read that article here.

Luke suffered a 35 minute seizure brought on by a rare form of encephalitis that unexpectedly struck him las New Year’s Eve and left him unable to walk. After extensive treatment and physical therapy, Luke took his first five steps last weekend, right into the arms of his friend, Brad Meester.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Skateboarding for Autism

Lyra Stephens

Lyra Stephens' 5-year-old son, Sewell, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. Ph. Stacy Thacker, Gannett; image courtesy USAToday.

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, skateboarding is often viewed as an extreme sport of choice or a public nuissance. But in this article by USAToday, one roller derby mom is helping her young son with autism by supporting an organization that brings the sport of skateboarding to children whose disability most often restricts them from playing sports at all.

Most people understand the limitations placed on an individual with a physical disability to participate in sports. In fact, we are pretty used to the exhaltation that individuals with disabilities recieve when they are able to overcome their disability to become athletes. However, most people don’t think about how a disability such as autism can prevent a child from playing even the most unruly of neighborhood street sports with local kids. The thought eludes them and many can’t understand why, if there’s not a physical limitation, can’t a child with autism join in. But among other things, autism is a social disorder, making grasping the social dynamics of team sports difficult at best and impossible for most. Yet, co-founderof A.Skate and mom of a child with autism Crys Worley, has found that skateboarding is one sport that children with autism can excel at. The solitary nature of skateboarding provides the perfect physical outlet for children with autism and doesn’t force the child to combat awkward social dynamics.

The A.Skate program travels throughout the U.S. holding clinics for children with autism at no cost to the families, and even gives grants to children with autism for skateboarding gear. The organization also promotes awareness and educates families about the skateboard industry.

The article interviews roller derby mom Lyra Stephens, of Montgomery, Ala., who talks about her son’s autism and the challenges they faced. Currently Stephens is helping to support the A.Skate Foundation organization by organizing a benefit scrimmage that will bring three other derby teams from the region to Montgomery to help the cause.

You can read this and more here.

Battle of the Build: OCC vs PJD in the Cadillac Build-off to Cure Duchennes


OCC and PJD face-off in the Cadillac Build-Off. PJD's Cadillac inspired bike (left) and OCC's (left) were commissioned by Cadillac for a charity auction. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Cure Duchennes. Duchennes is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy. Image via Motor Ride.

Fans of the hit Discovery Network show American Chopper are familiar with the father/son dynamic that is heated enough to start World War III.

But in the show’s most recent episode, the two put their battle of the bikes to good use, each working with Cadillac to build two bikes to be auctioned off to raise money and awareness for the cure for Duchennes.

You can see a clip of that episode here.

Duchennes is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy. It is the more fatal of the forms of muscular dystrophy.

The two bikes, one from Orange County Chopper, or the Paul Sr.’s bike shop, and one from Paul Jr. Designs, the son’s shop, were designed utilizing elements, hardware, and even cadillac owned paints, to build a bike that represented the heart, image, and style of Cadillac. The two bikes are currently in an auction bidding war, the proceeds of which will be donated to Cure Duchennes. Paul Jr.’s bike is currently in the lead.

See this auction and more on Discovery Channel’s official website.

Closeup pictures and spec information on the two bikes can be found in this articel written by Motor Ride.

Your ADHD: Own It

Your ADHD Own It Guide

Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine, and American Deficit Disorder Association have teamed together to raise awareness for ADD and ADHD in their new campaign Your ADHD: Own It.

Visit to take the Adult ADHD Screening Test

ADHD Screening Test And while you’re there, sign up for a copy of Your ADHD Action Guide. The guide is FREE and sull of helpful tips, tools, and ADHD resources.

The leaders of CHADD and ADDA released the following joint statement: “There is a common perception among many young adults and adults that you can outgrow the ADHD you were diagnosed with as a child or adolescent. However, it is important for them to understand that this is not always the case and that the disorder can continue into adulthood.

ORACLE meets yet another obstacle, DC comics

Oracle from DC comics

Oracle; image via

Comic book mania found an explosive resurgence as Hollywood caught the fever to turn some of America’s most beloved comic book heroes and heroines into moving pictures. From Tim Burton’s Punch! Boom! Pow! Batman reminiscent of the 1960’s Adam West Batman, to the return of Batman’s dark comic book beginings with Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” new generations are being introduced to the comic book icons who have lived decades worth of lives and tackled issues ranging from sociopathy to schizophrenia to acceptance of homosexuality to the integration of persons’ with disabilities into the world of heroedom.

So for those who know all about the world of Batman strictly through the movies, you’ll remember meeting Batgirl, played by Alicia Silverstone, in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin.” What you may not know about Batgirl that comic book followers know is that Batgirl Barbara Gordon becomes Oracle in 1989 after the Joker shoots Barbara in the spine in her civilian identity, librarian daughter of Commissioner James Gordon, leaving her a paraplegic in Alan Moores graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.

As the Oracle, Barbara Gordon has become and icon of strength, determination, perserverance, and intelligence.


Oracle; image via

But at the beginning of the month DC Comics announced that its new release of Batgirl #1, written by Gail Simone, Oracle will rise again as Batgirl…as in Oracle will be a new walking, leaping, jumping, flying over tall buildings, Un-paralyzed Barbara Gordon. Yep. good ole Babs will no longer be the paralyzed superhero iconically reknowned.

Oracle fan Jill Pantozzi passionately wrote about her feelings on this matter in post over at NEWSarama. What’s more, she has taken an active role in advocating against the Oracle-turns- Batgirl-once-again event by introducing fans to Elena Barbarich’s, a.k.a. Yamino, Oracle Draw-a-thon. Yamino is inviting all artists to illustrate Barbara “Babs” Gordon in her chair. Yamino writes on her Tumblr, “I think we should do a big Oracle Draw-a-thon, to support visibility for disabled characters in mainstream comics, and comics in general. Heck, it doesn’t have to be just visual art. How about an Oracle Create-a-Thon? Whatever it is you do, fanart, fanfic, music, sculpture, cakes…. let’s do it!”

Information on where you can submit your own fan-art for the draw-a-thon can be found here. The official Oracle Create-a-Thon Tumblr has been made.

Laugh Your ASL Off!

Laugh Your ASL Off

Laugh Your ASL Off! Comedy Knight- UCF Deaf Awareness Week 2011

This week the University of Central Florida is presenting UCF Deaf Awareness Week 2011, and its chock full of great events!

Tuesday, March 22nd:
Deafness and ASL at UCF: Open Forum
starts at 7pm, CL1 318, Free for all

Wednesday, March 23rd:
ASL Club/NSSHLA Tabling
outside of the Student Union: we have a booth to hand out flyers and promote the club

Thursday, March 24th:
Silent Lunch at the Student Union by Burger King at 12

Silent Movie Knight, at 7pm in MAP 359, Free for all
“Children of a Lesser God”

Friday, March 25th:
Silent Dinner
at Applebee’s on University Blvd at 7pm

And the kicker for the week’s events will be Laugh Your ASL Off! comedy night featuring Keith Wann and Windell “Wink” Smith Jr. The show will be conducted in American Sign Language and a voice interpreter will be provided.

Visit their Facebook page.

The week’s events are being hosted by the Campus Activities Board and ASL Knights at UCF.

For more information on ASL Knights, UCF’s official ASL club, visit their official website at

Media dis&dat

We portal

Image via Google search.

There is so much happening in the world of disability that its impossible to keep up with it all. But that’s why we love portals! And Media dis&dat has proven to be a great database of news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues.

As is the purpose of a portal, the stories appear on the blog in one nice compilation, but the articles continue to be the property of the original author/publication/web site, which can be found via the link at the beginning of each post.

Visit Media dis&dat at

VSA Playwright Discovery Program Call for Scripts

While our own college students are unfortunately too old to participate in this, its still just too great a program not to write about. And who knows, you may just be the inspiration for some young middle- or high-schooler to write about.

The VSA Playwright Discovery Program invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them and examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of playwriting. The young playwrights may write from their own experience or about an experience in the life of another person or fictional character. The script can be a comedy, drama, or even a musical — creativity is encouraged! Young playwrights with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a script, and entries may be the work of an individual student or may be a collaboration by a group or class of students.

The winning play will be professionally produced or staged at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The winning playwright receives $2,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to view his/her work on stage.

All submissions must be received by April 15, 2011, for consideration.

Visit, or simply click here.

Download the official rules and regulations as well as the official application on the VSA website.

The VSA also has an innovative and FREE Resource Guide for Teachers to help guide teachers and students through the playwright process (also available on the VSA website).