January 29, 2003
By Allan Appel
You and I are going to have a talk. Perhaps many talks.
And these conversations will center on disabilities. Not necessarily the clinical aspects, but rather everything else related to disabilities.
Sometimes we'll focus on disability rights. Or, as I like to put it, civil rights for the disabled. Issues can range from employment discrimination to handicapped parking. From voting issues to access to a neighborhood restaurant.
We'll take some of the mystery out of gift-giving to a handicapped person, including some of the latest assistive devices and technology.
We'll also highlight some major issues being tackled by the courts and regulatory agencies.
Educational opportunities and other programs in our colleges, schools and faith-based organizations will be reviewed, in addition to some of the latest medical developments.
At least those of the breakthrough variety.
We'll also check out travel resources for the handicapped, as well as career and work-at-home opportunities.
And I will draw from my own experiences when writing personal essays.
My own disability is caused by multiple sclerosis. MS is a condition that has necessitated my dealing with life in a different way. It has become just another of life's challenges.
My wheelchair has afforded me the freedom to roam, with some exceptions, anywhere and everywhere. And you can be sure we will hone in on those exceptions.
One thing about me: I do not hesitate to discuss MS in general and my own situation in particular. I also welcome your feedback, whether it is by e-mail or snail-mail. I will read all of them; I'll answer most of them, and maybe even print a few of them. We are all one big network. A huge resource, whether it is for information or to dispel archaic notions about disabilities or the disabled.
The U.S. Census revealed that 54 million of us are classified as disabled. Some are visible in wheelchairs and some are invisible with heart conditions or blood disorders or food allergies.
Many more are either caregivers or medical professionals or legal representatives for the disabled.
Or maybe we simply have a disabled family member or friend. In other words, most of us have had our lives touched in some way by a disabled person.
This column will dive head-first into every aspect of the disability community - legal, medical, social, educational and technological.
Most of all, they will be our personal conversations.
Allan Appel writes a biweekly column about disabilities. He can be reached
at Allan Appel, c/o The Jupiter Courier, 800 W. Indiantown Rd., Jupiter,
© 2002 - The E.W. Scripps Co.