Classes for All

paper-mill-playhouse

Dear Friends,

I’d like to bring to your attention an article written by two dear friends that I know. Ms. Leslie Fanelli and Mr. Sean Dineen. They bring to the community of Millburn, New Jersey, the enriching, inspiring, applauded program, “Theatre for Everyone” class at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Photo by Leslie Fanelli

All my best,
Karen

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Keynote Public Speaking Engagement

Karen Lynn is pleased to announce:

Her Public Speaking Eengagement for United Cerebral Palsy and People First

Date: Saturday May 16, 2015

Time: 1:00 p.m.

Location: San Diego Marriott Mission Valley 8757 Rio San Diego Drive, San Diego, CA., 92108-1620

For more information: please call Laura Krebs, Program Coordinator

Email Address: info@ucpsd.org

Phone: 858.278.5420 x 132

Making an Investment

In our society, every group has figured out the accommodations they need to thrive and to become healthy, productive men and women. But picture this… What if the accommodation is a more flexible attitude? It’s very easy to make a door accessible for a person in a wheelchair. It is far more difficult to accept that person as an employee or as a romantic partner.

One can find success stories in Audacity Magazine or New Mobility Magazine. Yet, people with cerebral palsy remain invisible unless they appeal to public sympathy. What has happened to all the children of the past who were disabled but not severely enough to elicit that public sympathy? Where did they go? They grew up, but society’s image of them didn’t. Where were the strong political alliances that were supposed to help them? Where were the efforts to integrate?

How many attempts to sustain a job, a marriage, or a future have been forgotten? How many of us have been institutionalized, or put into the modern replacement — stuck in front of the TV. Nowhere have the leaders who claimed to be for us. #madeaninvestment.

The productive abilities of the CP Community are unmatched. We have fallen far, far, far, behind.

 

Today I stretch out my arm to help us all get back up.

Impressing Others

Picture yourself with a severe disability–unable to talk, walk, feed or bath yourself–yet all of your daily needs are taken care of. Now, picture yourself with a lesser impairment due to #CerebralPalsy. You can walk, talk, and care for yourself. You have the ability to use two of your limbs, but you have a learning disability. Now, there are many conflicting claims to truth–you are caught in the middle. You have to navigate and earn the right to live on your own terms, and with your own personal sense of social justice. Where is the building of strong alliances? Where is the working together to integrate within the CP community?

The first disability is easily understood. The second is more subtle, but no less real. We try and try, but we get nowhere fast–no matter how much effort we put forth.

The organized helping is designed only to meet the needs of the most open and obvious disability. It is not designed to help those with disabilities who have their own dreams. They are looked down upon. It is a one-size-fits-all approach. The round peg will be forced into the square hole at all cost.

People who are disabled but also possess decision-making power are left to fend for themselves. The system is designed for the comfort of those who administer it. The trouble is too many experts see themselves as superiors rather than partners with those they help. This system does not work for anyone with any level of disability.

 

Daily, no matter where I am emotionally, physically, or mentally I put myself in the shoes of my sister’s and brother’s with a disability only to give of myself and understand them completely.

A Relationship

What have you wanted but not received from your teachers, your counselors, your therapists, your aids and from others you’ve worked with for years? What is vital to your growth and development as a person with cerebral palsy?

I want to connect with other people. I want them to understand me. I want them to understand that even though I am trapped in this body of mine, I still can act and be productive.

I want people without disabilities to affirm my worth and my desires. I don’t want rationalizations. I want to connect–to connect on a real honest-to-goodness level, in an arrangement to execute my desires, and needs.

Today I connect with others.  I build strong unconditional relationships’.  I am understood and I understand others.

 

 

Finding My Light

Having cerebral palsy, do you ask yourself many “Why me?” questions?

Do you wear an invisible sign advertising your disability, or do you steer a natural course? If apparent discrimination strikes, is it easy for you to have bias thoughts based only on suspicions? Is it easy to accuse others or even to blame yourself and your disability?

Given this, how then do we find our light? How do we move away from stereotypical attitudes? We each must ask, what is our real standard, the standard we want to reach?

Life is not difficult when circumstances are going our way, when good things are plentiful and when worrying challenges are few. We can build bridges, laugh and smile with little thought. But when life becomes oppressive, demanding careful attention–when that time comes, what are we going to do? We are not immune from trouble! We are not marked for special protection.

It’s up to each of us—with or without challenges—to find that inner light to guide us, to find that something within that gives us strength to carry on. It’s that something that makes us feel safe. It may be a thought or phrase or even a sign that gives us the courage to do the right thing.

We can do our best to maneuver on our journey in the fog of life. We can muddle through, wearing our negative feelings on our sleeves. Or we can resolve them with peace and fortitude within our hearts.

It’s all up to each of us. I ask myself time and again, how do I get closer to the light of all lights?

Today, I reach for the light in every way. I accept my day’s journey with thanksgiving and gratitude knowing that my light of goodness shines before me. I practice looking at only the good things while crossing the bridges of adversity as they come.

 

 

I’ve Done All I Can

Day in and day out I ask myself as a person with cerebral palsy if “I’ve done all I can!”

I ask myself if I’ve given it my all. I ask myself if I’ve fought the good fight!

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, … “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Have I done all I can to believe in my future dreams?

Today I endeavor to radiate who I am. I share my belief and dreams with all whom I come in contact. I transpire and transmit this positive energy with all my being.

 

Am I Everything

Every day we wake up. We wash our faces, take a shower or bath and brush our teeth. But, for some of us with cerebral palsy, life is not totally about us. It’s about the people surrounding us. How they take care of us and see our abilities.

Everything we do, every choice we make impacts how they will look at us and deal with us. Some of us will go further in life than others. But why should this be? We have to spend endless energy just trying to exist. That is why it is vitally important that we have our freedom, including the freedom to learn from our mistakes.

Have I done all I can to prove this so?

Every day I do something to prove who I am. I walk the walk, and talk the talk. I believe in myself and my future. I teach others by my actions and deeds.

Our Destination

Where are you bound? What is your plan? Where are you headed?

People with cerebral palsy have dreams to fulfill, too. Have you put one on your list of goals to achieve today, or on your bucket list to check off? And have you ever asked yourself, “How am I ever going to make this possible?” Winston Churchill once said, “Never, Never, Never Quit!”

Do you have a parent, therapist, counselor or team member in place that will help you and work with you to make your life dreams possible?

We have to find a way!

Somehow, we have to discern this for ourselves, and for only ourselves! Then, and only then, will we find our way. We will find peace of mind, and joy to sustain us. Only then, will we find our meaning and purpose in life.

We can’t stop reaching–no matter how long it takes, no matter how high the hurdle, no matter how deep the water. We will take matters into our own hands and dare the undertaking.

We will find a way! We will climb the mountain, ceasing not until we touch the top!

If you want it bad enough you will keep reaching. You will keep your eye on your dream–you will keep visualizing–you will keep believing in yourself. Your thoughts and determination will get you there! You will never give in to temptation–nor will you give up in any way.

Success doesn’t come from stepping on other people’s toes, or by from taking NO for an answer.

It comes from being positive. It comes from going the extra mile. And it comes from all the things that you say and do.

So I tell myself, “I can reach my destination. I am safe. I can do this with ease. I can accomplish this. I see it in my horizon. It’s getting closer and closer. Everything I desire is waiting for me with open arms.

 

 

Overcoming the Illusions of Choice

How many times have you heard, “You can’t complete your education because it’s an insult to other physically disabled people!”

“You can’t teach dance because you have cerebral palsy!”

“You have scattered thoughts, so why are you going to college! You know you’ll never succeed!”

In all these scenarios someone else always has the upper hand. But our lives are at stake. The experts always say we have a choice, but do we? Often the choice is between two options that we didn’t have a say-so in selecting. The experts have framed the discussion to limit our options. This is a trap to keep us right where we’re at! They try to take every ounce of our goodness and dignity away from us by belittling us and by causing us to doubt ourselves. It seems like all we do is struggle, bargain, plead, and negotiate for the simple right to live like other human beings. Why should it be like that? When are we humans ever going to learn to treat people humanely?

I have every right to live my life as I see fit. I have choices waiting for me as people acknowledge my gifts and talents. My gifts and talents are my uniqueness. They are my light, which I choose to shine down upon this earth.