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This week, I searched high and low through the World Wide Web to find you inspiring and interesting things for your viewing pleasure.

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DisAbility and Social Networking

1. Alexis Wineman, 18, is heading off to Las Vegas in January in order to compete for the Miss America crown. Wineman, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 11, had previously won the Miss Montana crown in June, which made her the first person with autism  to claim the award. Wineman has experience with being in the front of a crowd: she was team captain of her cheerleading squad and appeared  in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Kimberly Butterworth, her mother, and Alexis have taken to driving around the state of Montana in order to present her platform, “Normal is Just a Dryer Setting, Living with Autism” at schools, hospitals and more. If she wins the Miss America crown, then she would be the first person with Autism to capture the crown but also, the hearts of millions. Found on the Disability Scoops page.

2. Mark Pollock has become the proud new official owner of robotic legs. The legs, which work by typing a command into them and by also sensing when you put weight on said legs, bring new hope to Pollock. In the summer of 2010, Pollock became paralyzed from the waist down after a fall. Before that, however, he was hailed as the first blind person to make the South Pole trail by foot. After experiencing depression, Pollock used the spirits of others’ to lift him up and to encourage him to just keep trying. Found on BBC News.

3. A movie named The Sessions has been earning some note-worthy buzz in the past couple of months. The Sessions, which tells the story of a man with an iron lung who conspires to lose his virginity, stars John Hawkes and Helen Hunt as the man with a disability and his sex therapist, respectfully. Although Hawkes is not actually disabled, many are praising his acting as a man with a disability. Hawkes had expressed fear over his playing of a person with a disability, but has since come to appreciate and enjoy his role in the movie.  The director of The Sessions, Ben Lewin, who had polio. Lewin had originally planned to use an actor with a disability, but after not being able to find the right one, decided that Hawkes was the best candidate for the job. You can find out where to purchase tickets, watch the official trailer and more on The Sessions’ official website.  This movie looks too good to pass up! Found on The Inquisitor.

4. Eric Dompierre became a national celebrity when he challenged the Michigan High School Athletic Association after he was disqualified from playing football his senior year of high school because he was 19 years old. Happily, the Association waived the rule for him, to allow him to play with his team one final time. Now, his story could earn him $25,000 and a trip to New York City. Sport Illustrated annual “Underdogs” contest has Dompierre leading the pack of 10 finalists. Readers choose the winner so make sure to vote by November 15th! Found on Disability Scoops page.