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DisAbility and Social Networking

This week, I walked 500 miles to find you interesting, inspiring and insightful stories for your viewing pleasure.

1.Sarah Herron is winning millions of hearts, including the one that belongs to Sean Lowe, who is also this season’s Bachelor. For his first one-on-one date, Lowe chose Herron, who happens to be an ad exec from Colorado who was born with only one full arm. Herron uses her disability to her advantage by saying that “‘it helped me stand out and catch his attention, and I’m grateful for that.’”

While Herron was never really concerned with what the public was going to say, the fact that women have been saying that she “inspired and motivated them” has made her realize the power that being confident, proud and unique could make. In the end she shared, “‘if I’m a role model for anybody, I’m honored that people perceive me like that.’” Found in the “Life” section on the USA Today homepage. Also found on the Disability Scoop homepage.

2.The Brentwood Unified School District has agreed to pay $950,000 to the Carlins whose 5-year-old special-needs son was hurled to the floor and kicked twice by his elementary-school teacher. The altercation occurred in May 2010 at Loma Vista Elementary School when Dina Holder, a special-needs teacher, pulled the student out of his chair, kicked him and then proceeded to yell at the boy while nearly a dozen other students watched. Holder pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor child abuse in 2011 and faces four years of probation. The district settled the lawsuit Friday, January 11th, 2013.

Although teachers and school administrators are required by law to forward any reports of abuse, that has not always happened. Holder has had a history with abusing students, whether it be physically or emotional. Investigators also found that Holder was not properly certified to teach children with autism, many of who were in her class. Found in the “News” section on the San Francisco Gate homepage. Also found on the Center for Leadership in Disability Facebook page.

3.Filmmaker Jason DaSilva is a New Yorker. While taking the subway or cab had never been a problem for DaSilva before, at the age of 25 (he is around 34 now), when he was told that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, suddenly, New York City no longer met his standards. Although he “grew up quickly, learning to plan daily activities with precise schedules and strategies for getting from one place to another,” sometimes the “greatest city in the world” created problems for him. DaSilva says it best: “It’s not M.S. that exhausts me, it’s the barriers that prevent me from conducting my daily activities.

To show just how challenging it is to navigate NYC’s public transportation system, DaSilva created “The Long Wait”, which shows how long it takes to get to Williamsburg, which is located in Brooklyn, to a coffee shop in Manhattan. At the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Jason DaSilva and his creative partner, Alice Cook, will be showing their feature documentary, “When I Walk”.  I have seen “The Long Wait” twice now, mainly because I find the subject matter to be interesting. You should view it too. Found in the New York Times “disability” archives.