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MIT — Leveraged Freedom Chair

Out of a small seminar at the Massachusetts Institute of flobal (MIT), a team of inventors created a product that’s gone global. Natasha “Tish” Scolnik, entrepreneur and graduate of the Cambridge, MA-based college, remembers the mechanical engineering course taught by Professor Amos Winter from about five years ago: it centered around wheelchair design. At the end of the term, ...
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FREEJ — Grandmothers Rule

Dubai based animator Mohammed Saeed Harib created the most successful animated TV series in the history of the Middle East. He recently spoke with ABILITY’s Chet Cooper about his nonstop work pace, the charity he started with his sister and working on the hit show.   Chet Cooper: Can you give me some background on FREEJ, your characters and ...
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EMPOWER — Global Inclusion

The Department of State (DOS) in Washington, DC, recently invited ABILITY Magazine for a visit. There we witnessed strides toward inclusion of people with disabilities and the impact the United States is having around the world. We were hosted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), which is best known for promoting understanding through such programs as ...
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China — A Coach with Passion

Run!” A shot rang out and a group of kids wearing competition jerseys darted towards the finish line. Suddenly a kid stopped in the middle of the track, the coach shouted from outside of the field, “Don’t stop! Faster!” The runner replied that he wanted to wait for his competition. What Yu Cai Zhang just witnessed happened in the ...
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Governor Markell — Blueprint to Employment

On the eve of his recent national summit to help America build a more inclusive workforce, Delaware Governor Jack Markell spoke with ABILITY’s Chet Cooper and Marge Plasmier about his driving passion to bring more Americans with disabilities into the labor force and boost their career outcomes. Marge Plasmier: What you’re doing is very important. Governor Jack Markell: Thank ...
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Q&A with a PA

Recently and coincidentally, after a fire alarm went off in his office building, I was finally able to steal Physician’s Assistant (PA) Paul Barlow away from his busy schedule for a few moments for this candid interview. Mr. Barlow is part of the highly-skilled professional team that oversees my multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. He also speaks at MS patient ...
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Beyond Silence—Deafness in India

As she listened to the president’s welcome address at San Francisco State University (SFSU) a few years back, graduate student Vidyut Latay noticed something that she’d never seen before, back home in India: a sign language interpreter. Standing next to the president, the person helped carry the administrator’s message to those audience members who could not hear it. It ...
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Eva Feldman, MD, PHD — ALS and Stem Cell Therapy

Eva Feldman, MD and PhD, works closely with her research team to seek cures for some of the world’s most devastating diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetic neuropathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease. The latter causes progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and respiratory difficulties. As a neurology professor at the University of Michigan (U of ...
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Pet Power

From the day I came home from the hospital as a newborn in 1956, my family’s had pets. Back then it was a gold German Shepherd named Kim. In my first two years, she was as much a part of our household as my parents or two older brothers. Though Kim was technically not my sister, she was my ...
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Die Laughing

Recently I found out that I’m dying. The news really dampened my day. My doctor says that everyday I’m alive, I get closer to death; he predicts I may not make it past 90. Wow, dying. Now it’s all I can think about. Fortunately my spirits are high. As God is my witness, I’m gonna beat this thing. Death ...
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Kickin’ up Dirt

When I first started as a professional motocross racer about five years ago, women used to have to park outside the racing area. Later, when they started to include us in the sport, we were able to move in and park where the men parked. Initially, women didn’t get any TV coverage, but then highlights of our events were ...
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Trying to Make it Work

Dear ABILITY readers, Now into the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s important that we take stock of the progress we’ve made in fulfilling its promise. While we’ve come a long way in our efforts to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream society, we’ve yet to make adequate progress in the employment arena. In the ...
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DRLC — The Blame Game in Gun Control

Mass shootings in America have become commonplace. Between January 2011 and December 2012, 145 people were killed with assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines. Many of the perpetrators have been linked to mental health conditions, leading to proposed legislation on both gun control and mental illness. The FBI defines a mass shooting as four or more victims killed. ...
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Morgan’s Wonderland — An Accessible Fun-der-land

While splashing in a hotel pool in 2006, Gordon Hartman’s daughter, Morgan, approached some children. Unable to speak, she tapped a ball at them eager to play, but they backed away cautiously. The moment both saddened Hartman and made him determined to find a place where people like Morgan, who have cognitive or physical disabilities, can revel to their ...
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QJMC — Team Quincy Jones Spreading Music’s Roots

I grew up in New Orleans where the music and culture are so rich that they become part of your DNA. I tried to learn the guitar when I was about 12 or 13, but had a really tough time. Instead, I learned to express the emotions within the music as a tap dancer and ballerina for many, many ...
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Accountability — Employing People with Disabilities

It is commonly accepted wisdom that ‘what gets measured gets done.’ Establishing metrics and holding managers accountable for hiring practices, particularly in relation to affirmative action and diversity goals, is also an effective way to promote demographic change within your organization’s workforce. This is especially true when considering disability as one of the diversity characteristics. With the anticipated final ...
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Sharjah’s — Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi

At the recent assistive technology conference in San Diego, ABILITY’s Chet Cooper and Lia Limón Martirosyan caught up with Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi and Amal Al-Khamis. They’d flown in from Sharjah, one of the seven United Arab Emirates (UAE). Chet Cooper: Does Sheikha mean “princess” Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi: In Saudi Arabia, which is a ...
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China — Wang Kun Overcoming Obstacles for Art

Wang Kun is a renowned oil painter born in western China’s Jilin province in 1970, he contracted polio at a young age resulting in mobilty issues due to weakness in his legs. In recent years, his work has been exhibited internationally and he’s won numerous awards. For the artist, time is like a paint brush and life itself places ...
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Seizure Dog — She Nose When

Most dogs bark, but Rosie, a melt-yourheart, dark-eyed Basenji, does something different: she yodels. Not for food or to alert her master of potential intruders, but to call attention to a burgeoning medical emergency. Rosie knows a unique trick: She knows how to sense an imminent seizure in her owner, Charlie, a former firefighter/paramedic. “It could be a change ...
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Derek Paravicini — He’s Got the Keys to the World

Over recent months, ABILITY Magazine has examined different facets of autism and the arts. That exploration continues via world-class pianist Derek Paravicini who has autism and is also blind. He recently traveled to the United States with his sister Libbet and his teacher Adam Ockelford, PhD, a professor of music at the University of Roehampton in London. While visiting ...