Born without a right hand and forearm, Natalia Partyka won the Paralympic championship in 2004. Paola Fantato has been a wheelchair user since the age of eight, yet she was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics in 1996. Silver-medal-winner Terence Parkin has been deaf since birth, but that didn’t stop him from winning medals in swimming competitions. There are many athletes with disabilities who inspire us with their competitive spirit. Whether it’s winning races, grappling on the wrestling mat, or riding the ocean waves, athletes with disabilities stand as the epitome of strength and success.
In 2008, I achieved my greatest athletic goal. I became a Paralympian. Shortly after I joined Team USA, I like most elite athletes, attended a media training session. I nervously sat in a beige hotel conference room, staring at the abstractly-designed carpet beneath my feet. 20 Paralympians surrounded me, representing almost every Paralympic sport. Gold medalists, world-record holders, the poster-children of the Games – we breathed the same air. Suddenly, the leader of the session walked in and began to speak.
This month we celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) 25th anniversary! The ADA was created in 1990 to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as people without disabilities. This includes the opportunity to live a healthy life!
To help frame the contents of this blog posting, I am using quotes from Ed Roberts. If you don’t know who Ed is, you really should. Stop reading this blog and Google him. He is regarded highly alongside other civil rights leaders for all he had done for people with disabilities.
“You have to watch this video.”
I heard that half a dozen times this week, and I said it half a dozen other times to other people. I posted it on my social media sites. It made me want to buy shoes. It made me want to buy Nike shoes … forever.
Attention deficiency can become a barrier for many things to many people. Children diagnosed with Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity disorder may have a hard time concentrating in class, have a hard time sitting still during dinner, or may lack consistency. Adults with ADHD may struggle with organization at work or home. ADHD is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Besides proper medication, practicing Yoga can be another support to help ease the mind and relax the body.
In this month of July in which we celebrate the 25th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there have been many small events that are instrumental in reflecting the benefits of ADA. One of those events was the Academy Award nominated documentary film called “Murderball.” It was on July 8, 2005 that it was released nation-wide to mainstream audiences. The impact of this documentary is still being felt today.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects millions of individuals every year. If not properly treated, it can even be life threatening to the individual and those around them. June was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder month. While congress and other VA programs have made great strides in bringing national attention to those with PTSD, there are a number of things that you can do to increase its awareness.
I originally wrote about my friend Stella in an article called “Active and Healthy Aging: Keys to Living Well”, see Active and Healthy Aging: Keys to Living Well.
On March 25, 2015, my life irrevocably changed. Stella, my 92-year-old, friend died. I received the news by phone from her daughter and all I remember hearing was “She’s gone.” Four days prior to that, Stella was going about her usual routines – going to the library, going to the grocery store, completing typical tasks.