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The Wind Beneath Her Wheels

Lately everyone has been asking me the same questions over and over, so I thought I would bring them up in this column, in case ABILITY readers are wondering the same things. I keep getting asked about my bike set up, because I’m smaller than the average rider. People want to know how I communicate with my hearing mechanic. ...
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Ashley Fiolek — Befriends Noora, an Iranian Racer

Last year, my mom and I read a newspaper article about Noora Moghaddas, who had just won a championship race in Iran, and was asked what her dreams were. One of them, she said, was to come to America to meet me, and possibly to race with me. She had read about some of my accomplishments, along with my ...
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Ashley Fiolek — Teen MotoCrosser Zooms Ahead

    Because she’s deaf…she never heard people tell her it was impossible,” said Jim Fiolek as he stood alongside the motocross track in Lake Elsinore, CA, watching his daughter, Ashley, ride. And yet, something tells us that it wouldn’t have slowed her down even if she had heard. By the age of 17, Ashley had already won 13 ...
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Ashley’s Column — Spring in My Step

Spring is here, and even though my season has yet to start, I have been very busy! During this time of year, I am mostly dedicated to starting my new training sessions. But this year I’ve also been working on a Red Bull commercial that will debut in April. I can’t really say too much about it (it’s “top ...
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Ashley’s Column — International Language of Pizza

Hello everyone, I just wanted to introduce myself before I start on my first column for ABILITY Magazine. My name is Ashley Fiolek, I am 18 years old, I was born deaf and I live in St. Augustine, Florida. I am a women’s professional motocross racer, and I race the WMA (which is a series of races here in ...
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Joint Replacement — Hard as a Bone

Most people don’t have knee surgery until they reach middle age or beyond, but tennis great Billie Jean King is not most people. Slicing across world-class tennis courts year after year inflicted undue wear and tear on her joints, causing her to undergo the first of many knee surgeries in her early 20s when she was the reigning queen ...
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John Williams — He’s the Man

A featured Business Week columnist and publisher of Assistive Technology News, journalist John M. Williams assures me he’s always accurate in his reporting even though he may not be the quickest. Author John Williams has earned several awards for his achievements in delivering the news to the nation over the past 40 years. His expansive career has focused on ...
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Push Girls — Living Large

It’s happy hour in Los Angeles and cocktails are on the way as four glamorous women discuss sex, overcoming breakups and toasting life—all while being filmed for their own reality TV series called Push Girls. Sound familiar? Not exactly, for this is not a reality spin on Sex and the City, nor does it mimic the unseemly catfights of ...
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China — Exposing the World

While advocating awareness and policies for uncommon health conditions has always been of major global interest, the coverage for what the World Health Organization calls rare disease, or orphan disease, has only begun in recent years to receive the attention it deserves. In China, special medical services for these orphan diseases are still limited and often neglected. Because of ...
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ABILITY Award — Accenture and Prudential

For over twenty years, this publication has championed the emphasis of ability both inside and outside of the workplace. ABILITY Magazine Best Practices Award is designed to single out and celebrate those business practices that have a high level of commitment to inclusion and ingenuity, demonstrate positive results in their efforts, and possess the potential to inspire other organizations. ...
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Billie Jean King — Bouncing Back

From the mid-60s to the mid-70s, professional athlete Billie Jean King dominated women’s tennis. Over the course of a decades-long career, she won a combined 39 Grand Slam titles, including singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In 1973, she triumphed in a famous “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs, himself a former Wimbledon champ. But King, now 68, ...
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Humor — All in the Family

Every five years or so something happens in the family that brings all the relatives together. It’s usually a wedding, funeral or holiday meal. Recently, my cousin got married so that put everyone together for a weekend. Some of these folks I hadn’t seen in ages. I attended many of their weddings years ago and now some were with ...
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United Nations Accessiblity and Assistive Technology

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted in December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature in March 2007. There were 82 country signatories to the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the ...
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Golf Pro — One Arm, Limitless Possibilities

Golf has been a progressive experience for Matt Lees, just as it is for most people who play the game. There was no ah-ha moment for Lees when his scores dropped dramatically. But the patience he has shown—and consistent improvement—since he was 11 years old has him now playing at a professional level. This year, Lees spent spring and ...
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Joe Mantegna — When Life Flips the Script

Joe Mantegna isn’t so much a movie star as a character actor. Since his debut in the 1969 Broadway production of Hair, he’s diligently perfected his craft. Over the years, he’s added writer, producer and director to his credits, along with his roles as husband to wife, Arlene, and father of grown daughters, Mia and Gia. Mia, his oldest, ...
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Chinese Art — Raw Beauty of the Innocents

They are a group of artists with autism, and their art could almost be classified as art brut, a French term meaning “raw or rough art.” Art brut was a label coined by artist Jean Dubuffet in 1945 after visiting mental hospitals in Switzerland, where he was deeply moved by the patients’ paintings and sculptures. He considered their work, ...
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Road Trip — MS Changes a Biker’s Course

When the call rang into the bluetooth in Paul Pelland’s helmet, he was in the middle of the infamous 2003 Iron Butt Rally with some of the best endurance riders in the world. The rally spans the continental United States, and challenges the 100 chosen entrants to ride 11,000 miles in 11 days. The competition tests a rider’s capacity ...
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Charlie Kimball — Racing Against Diabetes

Security is tight and a veil of secrecy permeates throughout the caravans of massive, 18-wheelers at the Long Beach Grand Prix. What’s at stake is the protection of each team’s coveted racing technology, for one change in the engineering can alter the outcome of a race. But secrecy aside, on this particular day, members of Team Kimball, including the ...
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China — Puppeteer With a Purpose

Wn hour-and-a-half from downtown Beijing, is a residential building in the Tai-Hing district, Ming Li lives with his performance troupe, known as Ming Li’s Shadow Puppet Group. He stands about 4’7, and speaks with a soft voice. On this day, as he greets me, he is concerned about keeping his dream alive: he owes one of the performers more ...
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William H Macy — Enjoying This Stage of His Life

This winter, ABILITY’s Chet Cooper caught up with William H. Macy for the first time in a decade. The last time the two spoke was on the heels of the actor’s 2002 cable film Door to Door, in which he portrayed Bill Porter, a real-life salesman with cerebral palsy. That project earned Macy two Emmys-one for his performance, and ...