Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First, They Came For Disabled People


For the past two weekends I had the privilege to see Orange County Community College's production of "The Diary of Anne Frank". My sister played Margot Frank (and did a great job btw) so I saw the show four times. Watching the story of the Frank family, the van Pel family, and Mr. Pfeffer reminded me of several things. The first being NEVER ever hate someone because of who they are and what they cannot control. The show also reminded me to always be thankful for what you have, while Anne Frank was frustrated with the conditions in the annex, she knew it was paradise compared to the concentration camps.

Seeing the show made me so grateful to be living in the time that I do in the place that I do. If I was alive in Europe during the Holocaust and did not escape, my death would have been a near certainty. Along with the fact that I am Jewish, I'm also disabled. The Nazis targeted the disabled community first. Over 250,000 disabled individuals perished in the holocaust. People with genetic abnormalities were also sterilized, so if I wasn't killed I would have been sterilized at the very least. It's absolutely revolting to think that people would have wanted me dead for being a disabled Jew.

 I am thankful that times have changed for the most part we must remember that it is never okay to harm someone because they are different, regardless of the scale of the harm. So to the people who think I'm going to hell because I'm a Jew, to the people who teased me because I'm a cripple, it is that kind of behavior that allowed the Holocaust to happen. We cannot allow a tragedy like that again, never again.

For more information on the disabled victims of the Holocaust, go HERE.

Crippie's Tippie- Do not hate, as Anne Frank said "all people are truly good at heart".

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pelswick Eggert: Best Cripple EVER


I was reminiscing about childhood cartoons a few days ago and I remembered my ALL TIME favorite cartoon ever, "Pelswick". "Pelswick" was a show on Nickelodeon created by John Callahan centering around a boy named Pelswick Eggert. Pelswick was a smart mouthed boy with a P.C single father, insane grandmother, and a fairy god-father. Pelswick was also a paraplegic or as he called it "permanently seated". I absolutely adored the show while it was running 10 years ago and I still love it now. Why? Because the show centered around a boy who's disability was secondary to the rest of his personality and story. He stood up to bullies (normally I don't like TV shows where the characters are wise-asses, but I make an exception here). The show dealt with political correctness and how to treat disabled people. The best part, it was a children's cartoon. It taught kids that children with disabilities are normal, that you don't have to act weird around the cripple (and they actually said the word "cripple" in the show YAY CENSORSHIP). The entire series of Pelswick can be obtained on amazon.com.

Crippie's Tippie- Expose children early on to various differences, they will be more accepting overall.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You're Not Alone


One question that I get asked every so often is "Do you feel alone?". When I was younger (around 10) the answer was "OH MY GOD YES". I was actually rather upset then, I thought I was the only person in New York to have what I have *sob*. Then a miraculous thing happened, the series of tubes that is "TEH INTERWEBZ" came into existence. The internet is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things to come along for the disabled community (I'll elaborate on this in a future post). Thanks to the internet, support groups became sooooooooooooooooo much easier to find and join. So I became in contact with serval people who had what I have. Suddenly I wasn't alone! We started having yearly parties at my house with about 20 to 50 people with my disorder there. It was awesome. I now know hundreds of people with my disability. Some of them are half-way around that world (CRIPPIE SHOUT OUT, Hi Norwegians! I can see that some of you have been looking at this blog!). Some of them are literally 15 minutes away (apparently I was very mis-informed about thinking I was the only person in NY with MHE). I talk to them on facebook, I see them every once in awhile. We help one another out and we are always there for each other.
So to answer the question, no, I don't feel alone. There are people all over the world that know what I am going through and I know what they are going through. I am not alone. Not of my fellow crippies are alone.

Crippie's Tippie- If you are a newly diagnosed crippie, support groups are a great place to find... well... support. They're great places in general for resources and advice for your specific disability, cause let's face it, no one knows about it more than the people who have it.

P.S. Happy Passover to my fellow Jews out there, Shalom!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Disability & College

Oh Hai

As promised I would continue the discussion on how being disabled effects school, particularly college. First off, I chose a smaller campus that was for the most part handicap accessible. That was my first priority on my school wish list. Unfortunately the size and layout of various colleges kept me from going there, regardless of whatever education and scholarships they offered me. Once I selected my school I was surprised by how easy it was to get accommodations. I needed a dorm on the first floor, done. If I needed a copy of the teacher's notes I got them. I really was shocked at how pleasant that whole experience was. Luckily my disability hasn't effected the educational portion of my college experience. I wish I could say the same for my social life. The medications I take don't mix with alcohol, so I can't play drinking games with my friends. I can barely walk, let alone dance, so going to dances isn't exactly "fun". I have chronic fatigue (I get very tired, very easily) so I can't stay out at all hours of the night and what energy I do have is spent on my school work.

Dealing with that can definitely be a challenge. I try to keep in mind that I am not here to get black out drunk every weekend. I am here to get an education so I won't wind up on disability when I get out of here. Able-bodied readers, I have a question for you. What is the fun of getting black out drunk and spending the weekend vomiting?

Crippie's Tippie- Learn to make ice-cream related beverages. When you can't drink alcohol with you friends, chances are they will drink milk shakes with you. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Disability & The School System


"What challenges does disability bring to the school situation?' That question pops up quite often. Having a disability can prove very challenging for many reasons. For the time being let's discuss K-12 because college is a whole different story.

Elementary School- Thankfully I wasn't terribly sick during elementary school, people didn't know I was disabled until 4th grade when I started getting worse. The main problem I had in elementary school was gym. I HATE GYM. Obviously, due to my crippledness I could barely do anything in gym. My family had to go to the school and ask the teacher to modify my gym activities. It was a small school so the teacher listened. The kid's usually pretty nice to me, except in gym. People used to laugh at me because I always was last. CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- This is the point where you start having to advocate for your needs. If you don't bring the issue to the school's mind they are not going to notice. Parents, at this point teachers might start thinking you are a crazy whining parent (sorry about that) but you are the one who knows your child best and you are right. Also if you child is visibly disabled, perhaps go talk to their classmates to help them understand why your kid is different. 

Middle School/ Junior High- I was very sick during middle school. Due to my disability I was home schooled for most of my middle school years. The school was bigger and thus it became harder for me to get aid. I had to have a 504 (official plan of care) and meetings with the heads of the school to make sure I got what aid I needed. The aid I needed was a tutor, modified schedule, no gym, extended test time, and an aid to get from class to class in a wheelchair. There were times when we had to put up a big fight in order to get what was needed. The kids in middle school were acted rather nasty towards me. They ignored me, teased me, and tried to trip me on occasion. CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- The bigger the school, the harder you have to fight. And again parents, at this point the people at the school will think you are insane and annoying. Too bad for the school. Again, you are right.

High School- I wasn't terribly sick during high school, but I still had my health issues. I had the 504 in order to get the modifications I needed and it almost always worked out rather well. I actually worked out my schedule so I could leave early. The kids weren't as stupid as they were in middle school, but there are always idiots that think it's okay to tease cripples (BTW, don't tease cripples, we have enough emotional baggage from being crippled). CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- This is the point where the cripple has to start speaking for themselves when possible. Partly because the school system probably hates your parents by now, and partly because your parents won't be there when college comes around.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Importance of Being Quirky

Oh hai,

I promised good news and good news I shall deliver. A few weeks ago Quirk Classics (they publish books like "Pride, Prejudice,  and Zombies") had a contest for artists to came up with their own book idea and cover. I came up with "The Importance of Being Earnest and a Pirate", and go figure... I'M A RUNNER UP! Check out all of the entries here! Congrats to the winner to the other runners up, Y'ALL ROCK! For good measure, here's my entry.

Now, why I am mentioning this? Apart from the fact that I am uber excited about it, humor has been a way for me to cope with my illness for a very long time. In other words, my disability helped me develop a sense of humor, my sense of humor helped me make a kick-ass entry, and thus my kick ass entry is picked as a runner up! While my crippled-ness causes many problems in my life, the perks make it sooooooooooo much more manageable.

Oh and BTW, if anyone has any legit questions to ask me about being a cripple, post a comment. Chances are I'll answer it.

Crippie's Tippie of the Day- If ya got it... flaunt it.
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