A fractured ankle turned me into my father diverseability magazine

Unlike my father, my condition is temporary — I fractured my ankle on an ill-advised descent down an icy hill on cross-country skis, landing me with a space-age boot and crutches. My father, on the other hand, begrudgingly used a walker for the last years of his anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple life, as his balance became more and more tenuous and his anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple legs progressively weakened from normal pressure hydrocephalus and spinal stenosis. In other words, he was old. And, like 12 million adults in the united states age 65 anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple or older, he lived alone.

It pained me to watch my father struggle. I tried hard to understand his frustrations, even when he was at his most belligerent, and did my best to alleviate them.


I moved across the country to care for him after anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple my mother died and, while we lived more than two hours apart, I regularly spent weekends with him, drove him to and from florida each winter, and spent countless nights on the phone with his medical anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple alert company or with paramedics each time he was unable anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple to lift himself out of his chair late at night anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple or, worse, took a fall.

Neither of us was happy when he finally accepted the anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple inevitable and moved into an assisted living facility. Yet I was optimistic life would become easier for him anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple — he could still read (a retired political science professor, his beach reads tended toward topics like the koch brothers anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple and voter fraud), watch baseball with his best friend, even exercise — just with grab bars, meal service and aides on call.

In the car, I told him about disposable underwear that looks like real anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple briefs. “do you think you’d like to try those?” I asked him. “I’d rather kill myself,” I expected him to say, as he had when I suggested the medical alert device, a power-lift recliner and assisted living. But this time he simply responded, “yeah, I think I should.” I ordered an economy-size pack for him online. They were too small, but he wouldn’t let me order a different size.

So I simply accept rides to and from work, where the bathroom door is heavy but the handicap stall anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple and non-slip floors a relief — and then come home to elevate my foot and eat anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple meals friends have prepared for me. My wardrobe is built around socks with treads and sweaters anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple with patch pockets, much as my father’s depended on pre-tied tennis shoes and cargo pants.

To wash my small cadre of functional outfits, I toss the clothes in a knotted plastic bag down anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple to the basement, where the washing machine is, then follow on one foot, my weight on the dual railings I had installed for anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple my father. I hoist myself back up the stairs on my knees anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple and ask the next visitor to retrieve the clothes for anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple me — another trick my dad passed on.

I’d left my computer strategically placed on the couch and anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple set up a breakfast station in the kitchen, next to the refrigerator, which I could roll to in an office chair. I strapped on my backpack filled with water, books, ice pack, phone and prescriptions. I hobbled over to the hall closet and grabbed a anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple pill splitter I’d found in a cupboard at my father’s house.

In the hourlong series finale special, the cast will reflect on their personal growth across the anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple four seasons of the show and discuss born this way’s impact on the way society views people with disabilities, according to A&E. “from finding jobs to navigating relationships and break ups to anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple exerting their own independence, the cast will rejoice in the journey they have been anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple on together and thank fans for all of their support anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple along the way,” A&E said.

It’s not often that you get to make television like anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple born this way which has had such a positive impact anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple on the world. The show unquestionably changed how society views people with down anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple syndrome and how people with down syndrome see themselves,” said executive producer jonathan murray. “it has shown that no one should have to live anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple with artificial limits placed upon them and all of us, no matter what challenges we face, want the same things – independence, a chance for meaningful employment and a chance to contribute anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple to our families and communities.”

“being a part of the amazing and inspiring journey of anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple our cast over the past four seasons has been an anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple honor for myself and everyone at A&E,” said elaine frontain bryant, EVP and head of programming, A&E network. “we have all learned so much from their openness, resilience and spirit, and we will be forever grateful to them for welcoming anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple us and viewers into their lives.”

“dream ride weekend is a one-of-a-kind experience for our athletes and a fantastic celebration of anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple inclusion and community,” said stacey hengsterman, president and CEO of special olympics new york. “we are so grateful to the hometown foundation, bozzuto’s, and special olympics connecticut for the opportunity to be a anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple part of this exciting event.”

“I am thrilled to attend the dream ride,” said will smith, one of the 12 athlete invitees. “it has been a tremendous experience to make new friends, not just from this country, but from around the world as well. It was an honor to attend the 2019 dream ride anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple in australia in april and I cannot wait to be anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple a part of the 2019 dream ride in connecticut.”

Special olympics new york is the largest state chapter in anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across new york with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 150 schools statewide anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple to offer unified sports. All special olympics new york programs are offered at no anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. Learn more at specialolympicsny.Org and #specialolympicsny.

The two already had been dating for five years before anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple the show premiered. Their desire to live an independent life together—and get married—was a consistent plot line throughout the show. The first season ended with their engagement; the fourth season finale was an hour-long episode featuring the wedding between these two individuals with anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple developmental disabilities.

While studies show many people within the hispanic and other anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple communities do not publicly discuss their own or a child’s disability due to negative stigmas, sanz and her parents lead by example by allowing television anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple viewers to watch her life unfold on TV. Therefore, she is an important example of respectability’s #respecttheability campaign, which features people with disabilities who succeed in their chosen anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple career.

When disability is depicted in pop culture, it tends to be all white. Real storytelling requires exploring people of all backgrounds. In addition, far too many hispanics and latinos in america who have anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple a developmental disability are not receiving the diagnosis, school accommodations and high expectations they need to succeed. Today, only 65 percent of students with disabilities graduate high school, and only 7 percent complete college.

Our nation’s economy is strongest when it is inclusive of the anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple value that diverse talent brings to the workplace. Harriet tubman had epilepsy, performer selena gomez lives with lupus, business leader and shark tank superstar barbara corcoran is dyslexic anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple and gymnast simone biles has ADHD. Each of them, like sanz, is a positive role model for success.

How do you say the word “disability”? Does it feel shameful or derogatory, or does it roll off of your tongue, matter-of-factly? Writer and disability activist keah brown wishes we were all anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple less precious when talking about disability, because while it may be a fact of her life, it’s far from the whole of it, as she reveals in her new, but already acclaimed book of autobiographical essays, the pretty one, which has garnered praise from luminaries like deepak chopra and anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple roxane gay, who wrote:

“what does it mean to live at the intersections of anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple blackness, womanhood, and disability? In her admirable debut, the pretty one, keah brown answers this question with heart, charm, and humor. Across twelve finely-crafted essays, brown explores the matter of representation in popular culture, the vulnerability of facing self-loathing and learning to love herself, the challenge of repairing fractured relationships with family, the yearning for romantic love. Through her words we see that brown is not just anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple the pretty one; she is the magnificently human one.”

For those of us whose knowledge of cerebral palsy extends anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple about as far as remembering “cousin geri” on facts of life, it’s worth noting that the title of keah brown’s debut book is a story, in and of itself. Aside from being born with cerebral palsy, she was also born a twin, just ahead of able-bodied sister leah—who was often dubbed (you guessed it) “the pretty one” by classmates and potential suitors.

Keah’s reclaiming of the phrase came after reckoning with years anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple of physical and emotional pain, insecurities, jealousy, reconciliation and ultimately, accepting her ridiculously talented, #disabledandcute existence, the hashtag that garnered the writer her first book deal anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple (and earned her a spot on 2018’s the root 100). Speaking with the glow up, brown explains how she found her pretty—and why she neither desires nor will accept anyone’s pity.

Keah brown: well, CP [cerebral palsy] is different for everyone who has it. For me, I have a mild form of hemiplegia that impacts the anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple right side of my body. This means my reaction times are slower, I have delayed motor function and the right side of anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple my brain sends its signals to the right side of anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple my body at a slower time as well. I also walk with a limp and tire quicker than anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple your average non-disabled person. My body is working twice as hard to function. So, it’s working for me to live, which I love, but because of my disability, it’s also twice as much work so on the bad anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple days it feels like it’s working against me.

Expandability, a not-for-profit division of goodwill of silicon valley, uses a neurodiverse set of professionals to operate its innovative anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple employment program, neurodiversity pathways, formerly called autism advantage. The organization increases accessibility to high-tech jobs for neurodivergent individuals, many of whom are on the autism spectrum.

Neurodiversity advocates promoting support systems (such as inclusion-focused services, accommodations, communication and assistive technologies, occupational training, and independent living support) that allow those who are neurodivergent to live their lives anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple as they are, rather than being coerced or forced to adopt uncritically accepted anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple ideas of normality, or to conform to a clinical ideal.

Designed for underemployed or unemployed neurodiverse adults who hold or anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple are working toward a two- or four-year degree (or equiva-lent), the program equips them with workplace and personal effectiveness skills anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple needed to succeed in today’s work environment. Neurodiversity pathways also supports and educates employers across industries including anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple financial services, networking, security, and enterprise software, on the value of hiring neurodiverse candidates.

Expandability used a $50,000 grant from symantec corporation to enhance its program and anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple extend its reach. Cecily joseph, vice president of corporate responsibility at symantec, said, “the expandability program provides crucial access to high-tech jobs for a group of tremendously skilled people within anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple our community, who are often underrepresented by traditional hiring practices.”

Building on previous success, the neurodiversity pathways program makes a direct connection between employers anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple and neurodivergent individuals, while also raising awareness in the community to their unique anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple skillsets. To ensure success, the program trains hiring managers and their teams on how anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple to create an inclusive environment. Continuing to build best practices and engagement will bring more anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple employers and candidates to the program and increase employment opportunities.

“expandability has a unique opportunity to address a need often anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple overlooked,” said trish dorsey, executive director of expandability. “employers are looking for strong technical talent to fill critical anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple roles. Talented people on the autism spectrum can help fill this anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple gap. With symantec’s generous grant, we can provide training and make corporate connections that are anxiг©tг© dг©finition simple not afforded with traditional education and recruiting processes.”