Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ 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

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.

Aimee Mullins speaks on the art of disability

“Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do and nobody called her disabled.” ~Aimee Mullins

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American Idol Update: James Durbin

In case you haven’t been able to keep up with American Idol hopeful James Durbin, over the past few weeks you have missed him rock out Paul McCartney and Bon Jovi. Here are those performances:

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James Durbin has remained one of America’s Favorites, continuing on to this week’s competition.

Amputee Wrestler Tries to Ease His Rival’s Pain

The New York Times recently published a story that was just heartwarming and should another side of coping with becoming disabled that isn’t normally discussed with any great length in media.

Read the New York Times story, After Amputation, Wrestler Tries to Ease Rival’s Pain, by Dirk Johnson, here.

Heriberto Avila

Heriberto Avila getting a push to class Tuesday at Belvidere North High School. Photo by John Konstantaras/Chicago News Cooperative. Image via

High school wrestler Heriberto Avila lost his leg after opponent Sean McIntyre’s legal take-down broke Avila’s leg. The broken bone caused a reupture in a blood vessel that then led to the necessity to amputate Avila’s leg.

Avila woke up in a hospital bed with a shocking struggle to deal with the loss of his leg. It was Avila who reminded his family and his pastor that though he was struggling, he was not the only person who needed solace.

Avila, known as Eddie to family and friends, said, “We need to pray for Sean too, because he needs to have peace in his heart.” [Source]

How beautiful a sentiment. When anger and grief are the first emotions that most are quick to latch onto, creating a whirlwind force of lawyers and legal destruction in the wake of its winds, the Avila family, on the encouragement of Eddie, sought to comfort the young rival who also was dealing with the accident that changed both the young men’s lives.

The article is incredibly heartwarming. The courage and compassion that Avila, the son of Mexican immigrants, shows his once rival and now friend is something that we should all take away a piece of goodness from and spread into the world. He harbors no ill will or hard feelings for the situation or for the young man who many would be quick to simply lay blame on, wooden cross and all.

You can read the full story here.

Johnson, Dirk. “After Amputation, Wrestler Tries to Ease Rival’s Pain.” New York Times. Chicago News Cooperative, 5 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.

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).

American Idol Season 10 Update: Idol 12, +1

American Idol Season 10 LogoJust a quick update on American Idol. Last Thursday held the eliminations of the competing 24 contestants to what has become Idol’s Top 12 contestants.

In last weeks three-night competition performances, The first night held the performances of the 12 Boys contestants and the second night held the performances of the 12 Girls contestants. In Thursday’s eliminations, five Boys and five Girls were chosen as America’s favorites, and the judges reserved two wildcard slots, events of which saw a surprising third wildcard given.

Idol hopeful James Durbin, who we learned earlier on in the competition has Aspergers, a form of high functioning autism, and Tourette’s Syndrome, was chosen as one of America’s Favorites.

Idol hopeful, Robbie Rosen, however, was not chosen as an American Favorite. He was, though, chosen by the judges to sing for one of the wildcard slots. Competing against five other hopefuls, Rosen was not one of the chosen two, with a surprising third, contestant to win a wildcard slot.

Check your local listings for show times.

And as always, keep up with the DSS of GCCC blog for updates on our two American Idol hopefuls.

Aaron Fotheringham: World’s First Double Backflip on a Wheelchair

Please don’t try this at home, and if you do, please don’t tell anyone we told you too, but even we have to admit, it might be insanely crazy, but the feat is worthy of mention.

Below is a video of Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham landing the world’s first double backflip on a wheelchair, August 26, 2010.

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You may also recognize Aaron from the most recent Nike commercial that began airing in February. Here’s the video:

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Nike ThrowDown, posted with vodpod

See more of Aaron in action at

Chris Medina, “What are Words”

Even though he was cut in the final competition round for Boys Top 12, Chris Medina is far from that being the last we’ve heard of him.

Last week, Medina posted the premier video for his song “What are Words.” Here’s that video:

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Medina performed his song on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 25. The song was written specifically for Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins.