What it means to live well with a disability
Scott LaMar | 08.23.13
Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, August 22, 2013:
There was a time when children born with disabilities were hidden or weren't spoken of, unless they were described as a personal or family tragedy. Even adults with disabilities were thought of as less of a person if they lived with a disability. President Franklin Roosevelt is an example of someone who concealed a disability because he didn't want to appear weak.
The world and thinking toward those living with a disability has changed a great deal. Today, the emphasis is not on what one can't do, but what they can do while living with a disability.
A first-of-its-kind conference is being held this weekend in Lancaster that will draw interest from across the country.
It's called Living Well with a Disability. According to the organizers, the idea behind the event is to "challenge people with disabilities to pursue dreams that previously might have seemed impossible."
Those who attend will be able to test new technology, hear from national celebrities with disabilities, can participate in adaptive sports, and even get tips on dating.
Thursday's Radio Smart Talk will feature two organizations that work with and support people living disabilities and who will describe what living well with a disability means.
The guests in this episode are Theo Braddy, the executive director of the Center for Independent Living of Central PA, Zainab Jama, the executive director of Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council. And Christine Ha, author and winner of “MasterChef” season 3.
Ha discusses her cooking journey as a chef who is blind. She says that creative writing and culinary arts have become her passions, as they are a form of self-expression and a way that she can connect with others. She was able to use her disadvantage to her advantage, as her loss of eyesight actually heightened other senses. Ha says, "I was more in tune with those senses after I lost my vision, so more of my brain honed into smell and taste, and improved my culinary skills."
When asked about her dreams for her life, she says:
"My dream is a universal dream that most people have: to be loved and accepted by others, and to give back and make the world a better place."
Ha is one of the guest speakers at the upcoming conference, and hopes to inspire people there with a message of hope: "Sometimes life is scary living with a disability, but don't live in fear. You can accomplish what you want and use my life as an example. We are all so much more capable than we think."
Theo Braddy, Zainab Jama, Christine Ha