Disabled Lives Matter
S1-Ep26_Francine_Falk-Allen

S1-Ep26_Francine_Falk-Allen

August 26, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 26
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Francine Falk-Allen

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everybody and i'm norma Stanley co host of disabled lives matter and our co host nadine vogel.

NORMA STANLEY: can't be here today, but I am going to be interviewing miss Francine folk Alan Allen who is an author and she has written a few books she's also a disability activist and.

NORMA STANLEY: advocate and has written a few books and I will be talking about those on the show today at three years old, she was.

NORMA STANLEY: You know contacted a polio, and the temporary lost the ability to stand and walk she's gonna share a little bit about the challenges, she shared or has experienced.

NORMA STANLEY: growing up with someone who, you know as someone who had polio and disability and actually you know overcame some of those challenges.

NORMA STANLEY: And I had a couple questions I wanted to ask you some examples in Francine and welcome to disabled lives matter which is basically more than just the show more than just a podcast we are working on it becoming a movement.

NORMA STANLEY: So. tell us a little bit about your story.

Francine Falk-Allen: Thank you, thank you norma um well I had polio, when I was three in Los Angeles, and I was hospitalized for six months at three years old, which kind of put an end to my toddler phase of life.

Francine Falk-Allen: And they told my parents, I would never walk again but.

Francine Falk-Allen: Some of the physical therapist felt that I had the potential to learn to walk so they did get me up on little crutches which I used for about three years and and wore braces and the whole thing and.

Francine Falk-Allen: Finally, was able to let go of those for a number of years and then, of course, when I got into my 20s I found that having a short.

Francine Falk-Allen: Mostly paralyzed leg was difficult, and I mean it had always been but I realized that it would be helpful to use a cane, so I started using a cane.

Francine Falk-Allen: And now that i'm in my 70s, I frequently use lofstrand crutches arm cuff crutches if I have to walk any distance so it's been a.

Francine Falk-Allen: You know, a journey of adapting and I think that that's that's true for for anyone who has a disability and also their family members it's it's a process of adapting over time.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely, and I can imagine as a child growing up that must have been challenged, because today we have so many instances where children with disabilities are you know bullied I was wondering if that is something that you dealt with you know, growing up.

Francine Falk-Allen: Oh yes.

Francine Falk-Allen: Yes, I was.

Francine Falk-Allen: I had there was a there was a boy in kindergarten who used to hold me up against the wall, with his big fat stomach and it was very frightening.

Francine Falk-Allen: And if there wasn't a teacher nearby he knew that he had a lot of power over me and he started calling me hop along Cassidy.

Francine Falk-Allen: That was the cowboy in the 50s that was on TV because I limped so badly and then the other kids started calling me hop along Cassidy.

Francine Falk-Allen: And they used to grab my things and run away with them, because they knew it couldn't run after them and but not everyone was like that it was there were a few kids that were mean that way and.

Francine Falk-Allen: There was the same boy actually hit me in the in the solar plexus and knocked the wind out of me at one point and.

Francine Falk-Allen: And the principal was called in on that one and he was punished because there was still corporal punishment in those days, and he never bothered me again but yeah there were incidences like that quite a bit yeah.

NORMA STANLEY: wow so How did the challenges, you had growing up like what are the things you shared in one of your books is.

NORMA STANLEY: you had some issues with driving but you were able to drive, you said you just came back with you that was that was fascinating.

NORMA STANLEY: because you know of your leg, you had a special way of driving.

Francine Falk-Allen: Yes, um I couldn't use my right leg to drive because I don't have any ankle motion and I tried using my right leg and was quite dangerous, because I was pushing from the hip I didn't really have that much control over the accelerator, so I learned to drive with my left foot.

Francine Falk-Allen: which meant that I had to.

Francine Falk-Allen: Sit kind of sideways and I would use my left foot for both the accelerator, and the brake and then, when I was in my early 40s and it's amazing to me that it took this long to get to this.

Francine Falk-Allen: But I was driving a lot, because my boyfriend who became my fiance and I eventually married him lived to 60 miles away, and it was really hard on my back at that point.

Francine Falk-Allen: So I learned that you could get a left foot accelerator, and I had one installed in my car at the time, and I have one in my current car car and oh jeez it made such a difference.

Francine Falk-Allen: It allowed me to drive without pain So yes.

NORMA STANLEY: that's interesting because I truly didn't know there was left foot accelerators so that's definitely is news, to me, I mean it makes sense because other people who have had these kind of challenges need those types of things so that's good to know.

NORMA STANLEY: um, so tell us about your book I love the title i'm no spring chicken.

NORMA STANLEY: Stories and advice from a wild handicapper in who is aging in the disabilities and again.

Francine Falk-Allen: Stars and advice from a wild handicapper on aging and disability.

Francine Falk-Allen: yeah so I felt that I had a lot to share with regard to adapting to aging.

Francine Falk-Allen: And aging with the disability so most people as they age end up having some kind of physical challenge, whether it's.

Francine Falk-Allen: You know very sore hip or bad back or needs that need replacing or whatever, and also things like.

Francine Falk-Allen: Becoming overweight that often is part of it, especially if you have difficulty walking so I felt like I had a lot of suggestions about ways to deal with it and also.

Francine Falk-Allen: Also ways for family members to adapt to the changes in people's bodies, because there is a lot of women taking care of their parents now.

Francine Falk-Allen: it's it's it's not it's very challenging to be raising kids and taking care of your parents as well.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely, and as I am the primary caregiver my adult daughter, who has intellectual and physical disabilities, and so you know, as I age and i'm in my early 60s that also is.

NORMA STANLEY: especially challenging, so I would love to hear what you share in your book about a whole thing about aging the some of the things that you care about in your book specifically that you could share with us.

Francine Falk-Allen: Oh gosh let's see um well, one of the things that I share, which is kind of amusing is that when people are in a wheelchair it's it's condescending to pat them on the head.

Francine Falk-Allen: And it's it's kind of natural for people to be affectionate in that way with someone that they care for but it's like it's like treating someone like a puppy so that's.

Francine Falk-Allen: that's The kind of thing that.

Francine Falk-Allen: I suggest that you don't do that my sister was in a wheelchair when she was much older and.

Francine Falk-Allen: Her husband used to pat on the head and she just hated it and i've had that happen to i've had it happen in airports, when I needed to use a wheelchair so that's something that is a very simple thing but.

Francine Falk-Allen: Another thing is to sit down at people's eye level, because if you can't stand at parties or other gatherings and have.

Francine Falk-Allen: Direct eye contact with people it's really great if they sit down next to you or if you can find a stool at a party, so that you sit up at the same height, you know that sort of thing and.

Francine Falk-Allen: I mean those are just simple physical things, but I also suggest that.

Francine Falk-Allen: For instance, it's it's really kind it brings people down to say gosh I don't know how you deal with this, I just I would feel terrible if this had happened to me.

Francine Falk-Allen: I'm mean that is not encouraging it's more encouraging to say.

Francine Falk-Allen: You know how are you doing, and you can ask people How did this happen to you, it must have been hard you want to tell me about it, because a lot of times it's it's really helpful for a person to have an opportunity to explain what happened and you deal with it.

NORMA STANLEY: You know just basic disability etiquette which a lot of people don't have.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah they haven't been exposed or been around.

NORMA STANLEY: The Community or an individual with a disability, you don't know what to do and don't know what to say, and many people are afraid they are going to say and do the wrong thing and sometimes they do.

NORMA STANLEY: I was in a store, I think I was in Virginia attending a friend a family members home coming service and I went to the store with my daughter who's in a wheelchair user and the person who is the cashier said Oh, what happened to your daughter um let's not sure what's wrong with your daughter.

Francine Falk-Allen: Oh

NORMA STANLEY: There is nothing wrong with her at all, she was born with cerebral palsy and as a result, she cannot walk but you know she could do a lot of things she cannot walk and she cannot talk, but that was part of her birth process and to she's a very happy child.

NORMA STANLEY: a young woman rather because my daughter is no longer child, but I called her a child because she's my child.

Francine Falk-Allen: yeah right.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah you do have to you have to educate people on what they do and say that makes the person who.

NORMA STANLEY: Is i'm disabled feel comfortable and and not be afraid to talk, but you don't want to invade their personal space either you know, by patting somebody on the head you don't know almost like you know, being an African American and somebody white comes up, and you know touches the braids.

NORMA STANLEY: You know if you don't do things like that. You know.

NORMA STANLEY: So it's a learning process and it's and you have to be willing to learn.

NORMA STANLEY: And you have to be willing to be open to learning new things about this Community, and this population and that's part of what we tried to do here on the disabled lives matter podcast.

NORMA STANLEY: Is share information that can you know again that people know how vital and how vocal this Community really is, and really you know they're not putting up with a lot of nonsense that we probably took a lot of back in the day.

Francine Falk-Allen: Yes, yes i'm while you're speaking I thought of a couple of other things that have happened to me i've had especially doctors, but also friends.

Francine Falk-Allen: refer to my polio leg is my bad leg.

Francine Falk-Allen: To call it that, too, when I was younger my bad leg and I realized that it's not you know it's worked really hard to accommodate me and try to keep up and it's a really good leg, so I call it my weaker leg.

Francine Falk-Allen: And it's much more accurate and uh oh i'm sorry it slipped my mind I had another thought that maybe it'll come up later sorry.

NORMA STANLEY: Well that's Okay, so you know is your book kind of humorous the title sounds like it would be a little bit funny you know no spring chicken I guess i'm aging too so it's.

NORMA STANLEY: I find the title kind of funny but you know, the point is that you have to look at our lives with a little bit of humor.

NORMA STANLEY: You know to be able to get through some of the challenges that we deal with on a daily basis that's just me, it should be, I mean.

NORMA STANLEY: Every day, is not a day of you know gloom and doom there's some amazing moments that take place in our lives as people with disabilities invisible or visible.

NORMA STANLEY: And, not to say i'm a caregiver, and so there are days, where you know with yeah I sit and cry sometimes, but there are days when I am as happy as a you know a clam because.

NORMA STANLEY: she's been a blessing to me and i've learned so much about the population and the Community and and have found that it is something that I can help through my journalism background.

NORMA STANLEY: make a difference, by just sharing stories like yours so um tell us about a little bit about your book and we felt compelled to write it.

Francine Falk-Allen: I I had I had written my first book about my my experience of polio growing up as a handicapped child and Oh, I want to say that I do use the word handicap.

Francine Falk-Allen: Somewhat briefly.

Francine Falk-Allen: I did not understand until maybe three or four years ago that the disabled Community preferred person with a disability, and I understand that and I respect it, but I have always felt like.

Francine Falk-Allen: handicap was not a bad term and that it it describes someone who needs a little bit of assistance and is able, but needs some assistance so i'm you know I use that term but.

Francine Falk-Allen: I had written my book about my my experience of being a disabled child in and and, eventually, of course, the disabled woman and the challenges that I face in and not a poster child and.

Francine Falk-Allen: I did have a lot of things that I wanted to say which my editor felt were more like self help, so I saved some material and then I magnified it and I especially talked a lot about disability travel in no spring chicken.

NORMA STANLEY:  Great.

Francine Falk-Allen: Becuase I think a lot of people tend to think that you can't travel anymore, once you have a disability, you just have to adapt and there, there you have to do more, planning more advanced planning, make sure that.

Francine Falk-Allen: The place that you're going to stay has an elevator not so great to stay in bed and breakfast because they almost always have stairs unless they have a downstairs bedroom and the things like that and and planning to get a wheelchair at the airport, if you need one and.

Francine Falk-Allen: Adapting to have there's another section about adapting to assistive devices, a lot of times older people don't want to start using assistive devices like canes crutches walkers and wheelchairs and they can.

Francine Falk-Allen: scooters especially they can really assist you to have a better life, so I talked about that you know don't want to use them too soon, because you do want to keep.

Francine Falk-Allen: Exercising the muscles and using them to stand up, but when it gets to the point where you're staying home all the time it's time to look at how you could use some devices in order to get out into the world, even if it's just going to the park.

Francine Falk-Allen: Because it isn't healthy to stay home all the time.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely, and I take a quick break and and for commercials, but I do want to come back and talk a little bit more about the travel aspect because accessibility is important, and some of these.

NORMA STANLEY: Some of the hotels have gotten better in terms of you know cruise lines and things that are still some needs, I think that that needs to be addressed and i'd like to be able to talk to you a little bit about that.

NORMA STANLEY: Because that's something that I typically like to travel with my daughter, who is a wheelchair user, so we are going to take a quick break and come back to disabled lives matter and speaking with Francine Falk Allen.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

[COMMERCIAL]
Hi, I'm here to talk to you about springboards. 2021, 7th annual disability connect forum, save the date. It's happening Tuesday, September 14 via live stream, you know, we tag the phrase, quote unquote, We Are Better Together. Why? Because together we can achieve change, especially since this forum focuses on the intersectionality persons with disabilities. The lgbtqa+ community and Veterans, the major issues impacting these constituents and more So join us for the conversation again, the 2021 disability connect Forum livestream, Tuesday, September 14th, to learn more. Purchase a ticket and register visit w-w-w consult springboard.com. Front slash 2021 - disability - connect Front / hashtag. Welcome. Can't wait to see you there.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

 

NORMA STANLEY: And we're back speaking with miss Francine Falk Allen and i'm normally Stanley and our co host nadine vogel couldn't make it today, but we are having a wonderful conversation.

NORMA STANLEY: About Francine's work as an author and as an advocate for the disability community and she was just talking a little bit about our.

NORMA STANLEY: A travel at people with disabilities and traveling and I would that's something that's near and dear to my heart.

NORMA STANLEY: I love to travel and I love to take my daughter, who is a wheelchair user with me and I know i'm one time we took cruise and we're getting off at the Bahamas and.

NORMA STANLEY: The way they had to get off of that ramp was kind of scary because I mean you know it has some one in the front and back and i'm walking backwards on a this really high thing.

NORMA STANLEY: And I said Oh, my goodness that was that was a little scary and then other times when they could not let her get on to we were going to an island, and the water was very choppy and.

NORMA STANLEY: They basically said I don't think it's a good idea for her to come off, and I said that's okay you don't have to tell me twice that's Okay, it looks like to me I'll just stay on the boat on the ship but there's so much when we travel like I was just in Las Vegas in May, and they were just opening up and I had my daughter with me and.

NORMA STANLEY: I love to walk and i'm always pushing Sierra in her chair and there was, you know that I don't know if you've been to Las Vegas.

NORMA STANLEY: You get to a certain point where you have to take you know either an elevator the steps, or you know.

NORMA STANLEY: elevator or the steps or an escalator.

NORMA STANLEY: but the elevator wasn't working to get to the other side.

Francine Falk-Allen:  Oh.
NORMA STANLEY: So i'm had to turn around and go the other way and I was kind of disappointed, because you know something I won't see on the other side and there was no way to get up there, or over there and I said I thought you guys.

NORMA STANLEY: were supposed to be open.

NORMA STANLEY: You know how to do not have the elevated open there's a lot of seniors.

NORMA STANLEY: that travel to Las Vegas.

Francine Falk-Allen: Yes.

NORMA STANLEY: in wheelchairs and and scooters and anything else and  you know and i'm sure they're headed to the same situation.

NORMA STANLEY: And so those kind of things cities, need to be paying attention to the accessibility in every way, shape or form and not enough people paying attention, I think, to the needs of people with disabilities who, like to travel and not just travel, but.

NORMA STANLEY: You know in grocery stores and things like that there's so many issues and there is so much I could talk about but go ahead.

NORMA STANLEY: share what your perspective is on that.

Francine Falk-Allen: I, I find that the most important thing to do when you're planning a trip, if you have a disability is to call ahead and find out what's going on.

Francine Falk-Allen: Because one of the biggest questions for me is is there an elevator and.

Francine Falk-Allen: You know if we're going to be upstairs and I also have usually call several times and make sure that I get a room that's not too far down the hall, because I can walk.

Francine Falk-Allen: But I can't walk long distances very easily, I have to use my crutches so if if we're somewhere near the elevator then i'm able to go down to a lobby if that's where the breakfast is and I don't necessarily have to take my scooter.

Francine Falk-Allen: But yes, I mean uh it's unrealistic to plan a trip to a place where there are lots of hills, for instance, especially if someone's going to be pushing wheelchair but.

Francine Falk-Allen: Even as a person who uses crutches i'm certainly not going to go to positano Italy or to Portugal, where there are tons and tons of stairs.

Francine Falk-Allen: And that's just an unrealistic thing, but there are cities like Las Vegas is pretty flat so that tends to be a good place if you have a scooter or you know some way to get from one place to another, but I think that.

Francine Falk-Allen: Knowing the terrain, of the place that you're going to go is is really a big deal I have questions that I always ask you know, one of one of them is is there an elevator I also.

Francine Falk-Allen: Usually will always try to make sure that there is a restaurant on site or right next door, so that I don't have to go three blocks to get breakfast because, for some people, that would be a nice walk, but for me it's a problem.

Francine Falk-Allen: So you have to find out about those things, and I find that cities tend to be an easy place to go, because you can get.

Francine Falk-Allen: An uber or lyft or a taxi to get from one place to another fairly easily it's not so easy getting on and off buses, but that also.

Francine Falk-Allen: begs the question of how much money you have so it's better to take fewer trips save up some money and take fewer trips that you're prepared for financially then to take a lot of.

Francine Falk-Allen: A lot of TRIPS where you have not been accommodated where you know you have to end up walking too far and that sort of thing.

NORMA STANLEY: And that's one of the things I really want to go to Italy.

NORMA STANLEY: And I wouldn't want to take my daughter, I want to go, you know, and those are such the Old Cities and they can't accommodate her wheelchair, you know a lot of those places have a lot of these every narrow streets and.

NORMA STANLEY: cobblestone streets and lot of steps to see things, and so I had to do some research before I take a trip the trip but i'm sure there's some ways to do it, we can do, I just haven't had a chance to do the research that is definitely in the plans are.

Francine Falk-Allen: A lot of European cities, although they have cobblestones they do have sidewalks that are pretty smooth and I think that that evolved, because women wear high heels and.

Francine Falk-Allen: those cobblestones are hard to walk on with high heels although in a lot of places you go you see that they're wearing thicker heels, and you know, like anyway, you know thick soled shoes rather.

Francine Falk-Allen: than spike heels, and that sort of thing but um, but I think also it's helpful to have a scooter or a power chair, because.

NORMA STANLEY: A lot of times they can go.

Francine Falk-Allen: Over something bumpier than then it a hand push wheelchair, so that all those things to consider you can often rent a scooter at some of these places, if the person is able to use one.

NORMA STANLEY: That's a child where my daughter is.

NORMA STANLEY: not intellectually capable of doing those things.

Francine Falk-Allen: yes I understand.

NORMA STANLEY: So that's my challenge, but you know we're going to work around that i'm going to Italy. But tell us.

NORMA STANLEY: A little bit about you know.

NORMA STANLEY: Through this process for the child to and adult and dealing with going through now I mean just as you as an advocate and as just one somebody wants to share information.

NORMA STANLEY: Are you comfortable with the changes that are being made because of accessibility in terms of the ADA and in terms of things that you've seen in the course of your your life as a person who grew up with a disability and and would you like to see change that has not happened yet.

Francine Falk-Allen: I really appreciate the Ada.

Francine Falk-Allen: And it has been great to have ramps, even though i'm not in a wheelchair now I use the scooter and I often use those ramps but even as a person who needed to use a cane or crutches.

Francine Falk-Allen: ramps were really great because stairs have always been difficult for me with one leg that's pretty much paralyzed it's difficult to climb stairs.

Francine Falk-Allen: I used to be able to do the more easily now they're you know really more challenging even a high curve is challenging for me, so I really appreciate the ramps the thing I don't appreciate is the little bumps on the ramps, because I.

Francine Falk-Allen: trip over them and and most people who have disabilities are actually not in wheelchairs and so they are a trip hazard and I feel like that wasn't thought out very well one thing's thing that we've been addressing i'm on the.

Francine Falk-Allen: Accessibility Community for the city of San Raphael actually i'm an alternate member, but I always go to the meetings and we've been talking about how contractors tend to think of some is good more is better.

Francine Falk-Allen: So it's great that the bumps keep wheelchairs from going out into the street, especially if you're a blind person in a wheelchair.

Francine Falk-Allen: But um contractors often put them over huge expanses of driveway when they aren't necessary in the aren't required, but they think well i'll just do the whole thing, because then.

Francine Falk-Allen: i'll be sure and cover it and I don't know for sure what all the requirements are so i'll just put in more than what it calls for so we've been.

Francine Falk-Allen: Looking at a program to educate contractors another thing that we noticed is that when when they put a disability restroom in to.

Francine Falk-Allen: A facility a building or whatever, a lot of times they put the coat hanger up too high to reach it when you're in a wheelchair so that was another thing that we felt that they needed to be educated about that it's crazy to have.

Francine Falk-Allen: A wheelchair wheelchair accessible stall, and then the person can't reach the place to put their coat or their purse or whatever.

NORMA STANLEY: And they also be to when they do at the airports need to put an in restrooms if at all possible, which I don't know but definitely at the airports places where you know, those of us who have children who may not be baby.

NORMA STANLEY: children with disabilities, so that we don't have to put them on the floor and change them.

Francine Falk-Allen: Oh yes.

NORMA STANLEY: That's a situation that people tend not to think about you have to change this child, not a baby in your arms if she's a child or he's a child they need to be changed.

NORMA STANLEY:  because they can't use the restroom by themselves.

Francine Falk-Allen: Yes.

NORMA STANLEY: and you have to put them on the floor.

Francine Falk-Allen: yeah oh that's terrible.

NORMA STANLEY: that's, what are the things that we face that people tend not to talk about but it's a situation.

Francine Falk-Allen: Sure

NORMA STANLEY: And so, I have some colleagues who are advocating for some changes at the airports, and you know these restroom airports, you know i'm assuming at airports, but hopefully we can see restrooms in a lot of places, but these airports, because when you get off a plane generally, you have to go.

Francine Falk-Allen: Actually, and i've seen changing tables inside a large disability stall from time to time but it's rare and I didn't actually realize that that was a problem that's something I wouldn't have thought of either.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah yeah so I mean what would you like to share with our listening audience about your book about the things that you have coming up just to know and how people can reach you if they have any information and any questions about learning more, about you and the work that you do.

Francine Falk-Allen: Well um I do have a section in the book that lists ten, ten tips for leading a healthy life and they're really obvious things like don't smoke cigarettes and eat a healthy diet and get a little exercise if you can be sure to.

Francine Falk-Allen: keep a social network and relax there are a lot of things like that, but it's all in one place that's the thing I like about it it's all in one place and it's just reminders and.

Francine Falk-Allen: Another thing that I talked about in the book is that it's really important to ask people what they need and.

Francine Falk-Allen: offer if you can, if you have time to offer your assistance to people that need help in your life but it's also important to keep your own life in balance and not over commit yourself, you know.

NORMA STANLEY:  Absolutely.

Francine Falk-Allen: Particularly aging parents that's mostly moms because women tend to live longer, they need to know when you're coming and.

Francine Falk-Allen: it's good to have like a calendar on the wall, or something so that they know you're going to be there, Wednesday night at 630.

Francine Falk-Allen: And they don't have to worry about it because they're not necessarily going to remember, if you say well i'm coming back in a couple of days, you know that sort of thing.

Francine Falk-Allen: And it's really important to ask what the person needs, I know that that occasionally when i've been trying to get through a door with my crutches and my computer case i've had someone say you should have asked for help.

Francine Falk-Allen: And that's that's really not helpful if you just want to open the door and say here i'll get this for you, then it doesn't blame the person.

Francine Falk-Allen: We have to ask for help a lot, so we tend to save up our asks for things that we really need a lot because it's hard to keep asking and asking and asking so offering help is is really helpful but but.

Francine Falk-Allen: You know, not to the point where you detriment, you know the point of detriment, for your own life, you have to take care of yourself too.

NORMA STANLEY: I absolutely agree and as a mother of an adult daughter, like you say, we don't like asking we just do you have to do.

NORMA STANLEY: And you know, hopefully somebody will offer, but we don't sit there and wait, I was like we do we have to do and just keep it moving, but so How can people reach you and get more information about your books and products and things like that they can maybe go.

Francine Falk-Allen: Well there's two places to reach me one is at my website, which is Francine Falk dash Allen dot com and that's F-r-a-n-c-i-n-e.

Francine Falk-Allen: F-a-l-k dash A-l-l-e-n dot com and the other is on Facebook Francine Falk Allen author i'm there I'm in both places.

NORMA STANLEY: awesome awesome well Thank you so much we're at the end of the show, and I thank you so much for being a part of disabled lives matter today and you know, on behalf of nadine vogel my co host.

NORMA STANLEY: You know, she would have loved to have met you i'm sorry she's not she said she couldn't be here, but thank you for being a part of our show today and we look forward to having you back.

Francine Falk-Allen: Thank you norma it's been really fun talking to you it's great to meet you.

NORMA STANLEY: You too, you too, but we're talking again soon.

Francine Falk-Allen: Okay.

NORMA STANLEY: Have a blessed day.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or listening device.

 

S1-Ep25_Gary_Norman

S1-Ep25_Gary_Norman

August 19, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 25
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Gary Norman

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Hello everyone, this is nadine vogel your co host of the podcast disabled lives matter I joined by my fabulous co host norma stanley.

NORMA STANLEY: Greetings everybody, how you doing.

Nadine Vogel: Good so norma This is just going to be another interview to show why disabled lives matter and it is about a movement, not just a podcast.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely awesome movement.

Nadine Vogel: yeah so today we're really excited we are joined by Gary Norman who's an attorney he is someone with a disability and I just you know I just found his journey.

Nadine Vogel: and his experience is really, really interesting and really illustrates why we say disabled lives matters so welcome welcome welcome Mr Norman.

Gary Norman: Thank you so much, this is my pleasure to be with you, I hope, certainly my life has mattered I think it's important.

Gary Norman: In the history of men and women that we make an impact before we leave this great plane and, hopefully, some of my journey will show that i've done that, and hopefully maybe share some wisdom too.

Nadine Vogel: Well, that would be great so Gary tell us about your personal journey with disability let's start there.

Gary Norman: So it has been a long one i'm a person who was visually impaired and now I will place myself in the blindness camp, I have a rare genetic eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa.

Gary Norman: Sometimes it impacts people much older in life, but, for me, for better or for worse, I was diagnosed with rp when I was 10 years old.
-

Gary Norman: In a similar fashion, my brother was diagnosed because he's nine years older than me as he was a teenager at about 19 so i've lived with visual impairment blindness, for some time now.

Gary Norman: And all the things that are good and perhaps negative about that journey.

Gary Norman: And then certainly More specifically, I started off for losing my night vision and about the fifth grade I lost my peripheral vision and about the seventh grade.

Gary Norman: And then I would say that I kind of pretend pretend that I could see print, but I really lost my ability to read standard print about the ninth grade and so everything in between it's been quite an adventure.

Nadine Vogel: Well, it sounds like it um and you know why it's it's amazing to me how individuals like yourself with disabilities.

Nadine Vogel: You know, can take such a positive and proactive view on life and business and yet others who don't have disabilities don't get it right, they just don't understand it, for some reason.

Nadine Vogel: My understanding is that you also have credentials in journalism and publishing.

Gary Norman: yeah no yeah for sure we're we're trying to be diverse in our career path, I think.

Gary Norman: Some people disagree with me some people I think perhaps say that as a disabled professional you need to specialize and I think that's a legitimate point of view, but from my own personal point of view.

Gary Norman: I really think it's important, at least in my sense of the great history of lawyers that we kind of have a lot of diversity and a lot of.

Gary Norman: irons in the fire so journalism is one thing that i've really been kind of working on lately, I have a column in our legal newspaper in Maryland and then i'm also a newly minted.

Gary Norman: feature contributing author at government loop, which is kind of a online leadership platform for young leaders and public service.

Nadine Vogel: that's great, and I think my understanding is that with your column in the Maryland daily record you focus on policy and how to influence policy as a lawyer, with a guide dog Is that correct.

Gary Norman: That is correct, so I think this journey with guide dogs, which has been since 2001 when I first obtained my first dog Langer.

Gary Norman: has been this really rich one that's not only taught me a lot, but I think gives me a lot to share with the public.

Gary Norman: So both my my formal writing or more legalistic writing even in kind of a newspaper context.

Gary Norman: or even my new kind of like leadership writing with government loop really focuses on this idea of my journey with a disability, as a dog handler and I think that's just so more unique than using a cane.

Gary Norman: In some ways and depending on the context really either talking about public policy us with the maryland daily record and and how i'm influencing that, as a lawyer, with a disability.

Gary Norman: Or the context of government loop trying to share sort of my wisdom as an employee or leader, with a disability, and what that means, to have an active or meaningful career in spite of perhaps barriers or accommodations issues.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no absolutely and and I also understand that you're the first Chair with a guide dog at the board of Commissioners So could you tell us a little bit about that experience.

Gary Norman: Sure, so that's been a rich, perhaps even complicated one but it's been one that i've been honored to hold.

Gary Norman: I was appointed under two different governors as a person who promotes nonpartisan service.

Gary Norman: I was first appointed by governor o'malley in Maryland and then more recently reappointed by governor hogan to a new year six year term retroactive to 2017.

Gary Norman: And then, and our board under the statute, we have a specifically designated chair and then as a custom we've created a vice chair, so I served as an associate Commissioner from about 2005 or six until about.

Gary Norman: 2016 and then I was Vice chair from 2016 to 18 and then the board elected me in 2018.

Gary Norman: And since we've really been trying to rebuild the board under my chair in partnership with my really talented Commissioners.

Gary Norman: It will be a limited term I I know there's something about making ourselves obsolete, but I do so, happily, because I believe there's an importance in the change of power.

Gary Norman: And my term will end because of that this December, basically, and then in terms of the disability piece of that I think it's been this.

Gary Norman: This balance between sharing my experience and even trying to educate our staff about disability, because I think frankly they've never seen a chair, with a guide dog.

Gary Norman: In recent history but also really being a fair arbiter and servant of all the people have of just a whole range of different kinds of issues that we cover and try to protect against in terms of antidiscrimination so everything from L-G-B-T-Q, plus too.

Gary Norman: Basic kind of like what we call commercial discrimination or sort of like issues around contractors and then really trying to be a visible chair, with a guide dog, which of course means very interesting.

Gary Norman: benefits and challenges of navigating spaces or meeting with people or just them, and having a reaction to me as a blind person and.

Gary Norman: For for it stress or its workload it's been really an honor and a good learning leadership experience for me.

Nadine Vogel: Well, you know it's interesting norma didn't you have like a dog like show up at your House, one day, I think I remember this recently.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah

Nadine Vogel: with Sierra.

Nadine Vogel: was just loving life.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah we have a doberman pinscher puppy to follow me home, one day, a couple weeks ago and i'm hoping we can train her to be a therapy companion.

NORMA STANLEY: But the canine PhD didn't think it would be a good fit so i'm not gonna be able to keep her unfortunately and I i'm kind of sad about this and sierra's gonna be sad about that, it's a beautiful dog.

Nadine Vogel: Any dogs dogs are amazing right.

NORMA STANLEY: oh yeah.

Nadine Vogel: My.daughter my oldest daughter has a service dog for her disabilities, and you know, one of the things i'd love to ask you about.

Gary Norman: Yeah sure

Nadine Vogel: You know, we talk about how we work with our service dogs or guide dogs, but I feel like the dogs have impact on us beyond just what they do right beyond just the tools of daily living that they help with I would love to hear your perspective on that.

Gary Norman: Maybe not everybody thinks this way, but I think the outside world is sentient active world and dogs as part of that are included so.

Gary Norman: While each of my dogs are certainly had the guide dog role, which is.

Gary Norman: One that we can talk about they've been so much more to me each dog has been a chapter of my life and they've influenced each chapter of my life.

Gary Norman: in ways that are beyond just helping to get from here to there so.

Gary Norman: Personally professionally emotionally spiritually and everything that i've learned as i've grown has been because of my partnership with each of these dogs, not only on a.

Gary Norman: level of again getting me from here to an escalator but in terms of.

Gary Norman: learning how to, I think, to be a better human, to be a better leader and also to be perhaps hopefully a better person connected with the outside world and.

Gary Norman: I hope that maybe in these kind of inclusion revolutions we're living through, maybe we're starting to realize that.

Gary Norman: Much more of us are starting to realize that truth that that these dogs these these sentient beings really have such an impactful role on us as humans and.

Gary Norman: Therefore, perhaps, while maybe i'm not necessarily promoting veganism which was certainly something I worked on with the animal law section, but maybe we could all just have a better sensitivity to our outside world and our animal friends 

Nadine Vogel: yeah. Absolutely, and I, and I believe you've had you on your third guide dog where you had Mr langer Mr Pilot and currently Mr Bowie.

Gary Norman: Oh that's right yeah langer worked 2001 to 2010 many service animal handlers may not be able to keep their dogs in retirement, but i've been very blessed to keep each one in retirement.

Gary Norman: So as soon as I retired langer I went to school for pilot and California and unfortunately pilot didn't have as long of a career as langer he worked from 2010 to 2017 and unfortunately brother pilot went to the celestial lodge of he fought cancer and soon as he retired.

Gary Norman: We lost him in 2019.

Gary Norman: And then i've been working Bowie since December 2017 i'm at a new school new york's in the New York City area.

NORMA STANLEY: Whats the average time to have a dog, I mean what is the average time to have one. You've had your dogs for quite a long time what's the average amount of time that it tend to be able to stay with. the human.

Gary Norman: um.

Gary Norman: yeah sure so in terms of a guide dog, we like to shoot for seven eight or nine years nine years, perhaps, is a long kind of timeframe.

Gary Norman: With langer he was solid at he was one of my best guidedog workers, of the three he was solid for eight and then I push them a little bit for the ninth because I was in post Grad school and then.

Gary Norman: Pilot just developed unfortunately some anxiety issues and then he started with the cancer problems, so that really did shortness career a little bit.

Nadine Vogel: So how difficult, is it if it's difficult, you know transitioning you develop these amazing you know relationships with these dogs right dependencies many ways on each other and then you have to transition what's the impact of that.

Gary Norman: is really is so profound.

Gary Norman: I thought perhaps it would be easier over time and I think if you talk with different guide dog handlers each transition is unique and.

Gary Norman: Each transition is exciting and happy and really outstanding and yet each transition is often very emotionally taxing.

Gary Norman: and difficult because you're saying goodbye to a partner you've worked with so many different years and that very unique tight relationship.

Gary Norman: So it is a challenging transition it's a difficult one emotionally physically and even physically, I would say, because each dog guides a little different they each.

Gary Norman: kind of have the textbook skills, but how you work with them and how you communicate with them really in my experience varies across dogs what my langer needed.

Gary Norman: was different or would be different than what pilot needed and that has also been true with Bowie.

Gary Norman: What motivated pilot or got him to focus is different than how I work with Boeing now and and in learning that I think that's a huge lesson and leadership and in life in terms of dealing with other people .

Nadine Vogel: right right.  And I mean look it's no different than the rest of us right, we all have our own personalities.

Nadine Vogel: You know.

Nadine Vogel: We could have 10 law school graduates, you know they go to the same law school and practice, the same kind of law, but they practice differently.

Gary Norman: I think that's absolutely right.

Nadine Vogel: Though I I see it as that.

Nadine Vogel: So you know i'm just i'm curious and maybe we should you know take go to commercial break in a minute and come back, but one of the things that really like to talk about.

Nadine Vogel: And norma are you and I have had many conversations about this, but it's it's you know, disability, as it relates to this crazy pandemic we've all been going through a covid.

Nadine Vogel: And some of its unique issues, perhaps i'll say for individuals with disabilities.

Nadine Vogel: I suspect that you have some really great information on that and perspective, I know that you've worked a long time on health related disabilities.

Nadine Vogel: Disparities excuse me for people with disabilities and I think that i'd love to hear more about pre covid what your perspective was on that.

Nadine Vogel: And then during covid and post covid that if that if that makes sense, let's go to a short commercial break and when we come back let's attack that so I think there's a lot packed in there, so for our listeners stay tuned we will be right back with you.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

[COMMERCIAL]
Hi, I'm here to talk to you about springboards. 2021, 7th annual disability connect forum, save the date. It's happening Tuesday, September 14 via live stream, you know, we tag the phrase, quote unquote, We Are Better Together. Why? Because together we can achieve change, especially since this forum focuses on the intersectionality persons with disabilities. The lgbtqa+ community and Veterans, the major issues impacting these constituents and more So join us for the conversation again, the 2021 disability connect Forum livestream, Tuesday, September 14th, to learn more. Purchase a ticket and register visit w-w-w consult springboard.com. Front slash 2021 - disability - connect Front / hashtag. Welcome. Can't wait to see you there.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: Hello Hello everyone and welcome back to today's episode of disabled lives matter norma Stanley my co host and I are interviewing Gary Norman.

Nadine Vogel: And right before we went on commercial break we had asked Gary to start talking about the work that he has focused on for quite some time on health.

Nadine Vogel: related disparities relative to people with disabilities so Gary let's talk about that pre covid what the perspective in the practices and then we'll move into the covid ear.

Gary Norman: So I would say they're mixed in a way that pre covid or pre pandemic health disparities existed for people.

Gary Norman: with disabilities or by people with disabilities and.

Gary Norman: Whether it's because of covid or not, that continue to exist and covid only shed a spotlight on that that data and that issue.

Gary Norman: And maybe it come home to many people who are not perhaps have historically marginalized status so whether that's people of color people disabilities L-G-B-T-Q-plus individuals pre covid, however, specifically and, as now, I worked on health disparities in the.

Gary Norman: sense of being a manager.

Gary Norman: Can you think of federal attorney and healthcare and and also as a senior advisor to you.

Gary Norman: know at the Center on medicine.

Gary Norman: At the Center of medicine and law where I held.

Gary Norman: dialogues.

Gary Norman: and worked to try to bring attention to the issues, specifically.

Gary Norman: People disabilities.

Gary Norman: For a long time, perhaps in public health, there was a sense that disparity still exists, but often or sometimes people disabilities weren't included in that conversation.

Gary Norman: So I think as as we've grown and understanding about disparities, because because of covid we're finally starting to accept that A there are disparities, but people disabilities and B.

Gary Norman: Hopefully, as a society because of the inclusion revolution, we have to address healthcare disparities like we have to address every other umteenth issue that we're doing and grappling with.

Gary Norman: As a society, I think, in a positive way.

Gary Norman: Of course, there are always negatives to anything but largely.

Gary Norman: The inclusion revolution is really spotlighting that maybe we haven't always treated people of color well in our society, maybe we haven't always treating people with disabilities and.

Gary Norman: That that's not the I don't think we should blame anybody for that, but I think we.

Gary Norman: should say.

Gary Norman: This is our past.

Gary Norman: We need to accept our past.

Gary Norman: And we need to come together to address these issues, whether that's disparities in healthcare disparities and a good living for people or any other way that we can make ourselves really truly live our.

Gary Norman: American tenants.

Gary Norman: I have always fretted with being the civil rights chair I deal with what I feel is negative conversation, like the United States is bad.

Gary Norman: And what I say is that this country is incredibly.

Gary Norman: unique and wonderful, but as one of the greatest countries in human history we have even more responsibility to be the leader.

Gary Norman: And to address when we have failed, and we have failed in many ways as Americans in terms of disparities and inequities and now we have a chance that we have learned more that we can do better.

Gary Norman: And I think that's that's why it's been one form of honor to be a civil rights, Chairman and hopefully other God willing, more important more high level positions i'll have in the feature.

Nadine Vogel: So norma you and I have had conversations about these issues. Of implicit and explicit bias. 

Nadine Vogel: And you know it doesn't work, does it exist or not exist.

Nadine Vogel: And Gary you know my personal opinion is that you know, there is no such thing as unconscious bias right.

Gary Norman: You know it doesn't mean that people are.

Nadine Vogel: Trying to be mean it's just based on their experiences, but as it relates to health disparities, I do feel like bias kind of somehow feeds this I, what do you think.

Gary Norman: bias for sure or.

Gary Norman: Even bias in terms of people not not being open to educating themselves as they should be it's, not to say that if i'm a nurse right or i'm a nurse practitioner which.

Gary Norman: I have one right now, who, I think, is not as disabilities where's my former primary care Doc is not that they're bad people or even incompetent professionals but I.

Gary Norman: Think incompetent in the sense that.

Gary Norman: Any professional should first do no harm and they should also serve customers and the healthcare system to the best ability possible.

Gary Norman: If that means your patient is green blue or otherwise, then you should really meet that patient where they are unfortunately these disparities grow from the sense that every patient is the same and that's just not true.

Nadine Vogel: Right right and I, and I think that you know and again norma you and I have had these conversations that you know we talked about a equality it doesn't mean we should be treating everyone the same where we need to give everyone the same access.

Nadine Vogel: Right and and. that's what you're saying.

Gary Norman: I think so yeah and.

Gary Norman: I just think also that we really need to work with providers or.

Gary Norman: deliverers of healthcare and really nudge them on this issue because there's a lot of work to do in terms of making health care, accessible, inclusive and usable by people with disabilities and and not in some sort of charity model, but I would. Say for.

Gary Norman: Everybody we're customers doctor or our service delivery provider, where the customers, they need to do a better job of being good customer service oriented practitioners.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, and you know it's interesting I I just this week, I had a conversation with a major hospital, I talked to hospitals and med schools and teaching hospitals, all the time.

Nadine Vogel: About allowance from work to come in and train and do some training at the Med school level nursing schools, you know grand rounds anything, and you know it's always I always get met with Oh well, that's yeah that's interesting but.

Nadine Vogel: it's always the but but we don't time but we don't need it, but whatever and it's just very frustrating as as the parent of an adult with daughter with disabilities and norma the same for you, I know.

Nadine Vogel: This is something that's like nails on a chalkboard for us.

Gary Norman: I hear you work I think we're making progress, and I think the health care industry is making progress, but there's there's a lot of work to do, hence why put together a panel that's happening tomorrow on American healthcare lawyers on health care accessibility.

Nadine Vogel: Oh excellent excellent So how do you feel about technology right, it means that you know, especially with covid and everybody, you have these.

Nadine Vogel: You know virtual doctor's visits, all of these things So how do you feel the technology weaves into this do you think it's helpful, do you think it's hurtful relative to these disparities that we're talking about.

Gary Norman: I think technology provides incredible amounts of promise whether that's Tele health or the ability to me with you via zoom platform or any other kind of online platform, perhaps.

Gary Norman: Or whether that is perhaps even conducting mediation online I was just talking with the court system earlier this afternoon about making sure that future online ADR assess is successful, so that.

Gary Norman: Is short there's a lot of promise and a lot opportunity, maybe wasn't present 10 or 15 years ago, on the other hand, with technology or emerging technologies, we also have some.

Gary Norman: Some guardrails and we need to be aware of in terms of whether they were some disparities bias or discrimination so.

Gary Norman: I spoke earlier this year at the International Conference trying to provide the disability lawyer perspective about technology, I would say that i'm a tech optimist, but I also am.

Gary Norman: Someone who you know personally struggles with V-P-Ns every day, I know that technology could also worse in these conditions, so I think machine learning.

Gary Norman: Probably has already done a lot of good for people and could do good, but we need to make sure that we have fair algorithms that they don't worsen discrimination and one example I talked about is is sort of the article I hope to eventually get publishes.

Gary Norman: Working remotely as an attorney really has helped me lessen my stress is saved me a lot of money in terms of transportation costs with lift.

Gary Norman: On the other hand, we are aware that there are instances with employers, which employment by people disabilities never been great, but it can only perhaps worseen potentially because of Ai, we know that.

Gary Norman: There is like is zip recruiter type platforms that's just one that comes to mind where they're using different kinds of Ai technologies and.

Gary Norman: If we're not careful about how we make sure that we include people of color people disabilities as we set up those systems those systems will perhaps exclude more people than the help and I think that will be to the lessening of all of us.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no I agree completely.

Nadine Vogel: Though you know, sometimes on this show not too often, but sometimes we get a little controversial and I know I make Norma nervous.

Gary Norman: Like.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, where are we going where are we going on, but I believe that that Gary you have been a voice for death with dignity legislation in Maryland and and I know that that is an extremely personal and highly controversial topic on anything you could share with us about that.

Gary Norman: yeah, so I think that i've been a voice in that issue in Maryland even nationally now because.

Gary Norman: I see it as a libertarian at heart i'm a centerist libertarian, so I think as much as as I question it for myself.

Gary Norman: I want people have choice, I fear that, with some movements, like the disability rights movement there's kind of.

Gary Norman: You have to think this certain way to it sometimes, and I think that in my observations into general assembly in Maryland has been true of the disability rights community.

Gary Norman: And I also fear as much as is willing to say doctors need to do better, I don't think anybody is our enemy as a movement.

Gary Norman: I think that our powers and the power relationship and partnership, so a lot of the conversation on this issue, unfortunately, to my point of view, has been very negative like doctors are here to harm people with disabilities.

Gary Norman: I think we need more doctors with disabilities or nurses with disabilities, I think perhaps we need more training to the Community.

Gary Norman: Of those who are medical practitioners without disabilities but I don't think any of them mean harm or are our enemy.

Gary Norman: And so i've promoted the concept and testified in favor of legislation or Maryland because hey I just I think it's A personal choice.

Gary Norman: and B I think it has enough safeguards for the most part in the Statute, at least in Maryland to where it should be a choice for people it doesn't mean that.

Gary Norman: i'm i'm not one to force my beliefs on anyone, so I don't think necessarily that what's good for me is good for the two of you, but I definitely think if you to work with people with disabilities, I don't know for sure.

Gary Norman: You should have that choice and that's why I supported it and then, on a personal level, I don't know if this makes my feeling sound inappropriate or trite.

Gary Norman: But having put down two dogs now I don't see why we can be so compassionate and understanding of our animals, and when we can't be equally the same with our loved ones who are facing terminal illness.

Gary Norman: I just I came to came to the issue in that vein, as well as a dog handler who my two guide dog partners have been the best friends in my life and I wouldn't anything.

Gary Norman: For them, then I wouldn't want from my wife for for myself yeah.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no I I yeah I couldn't agree more.

Nadine Vogel: I couldn't agree more.

Nadine Vogel: it's so you know Gary i'm glad you mentioned your wife, I believe that you referred to your marriage as I think i've heard you say a mixed marriage makeup meaning one person is disabled, the other is not so i'd love for you to share a little bit about that if you if you don't mind.

Gary Norman: yeah i'm was incredibly blessed to meet my wife, with my first guide dog langer and then I kind of consider like the three of us got married together.

Gary Norman: Five years of langers career, he was my bachelor kind of dog and then next five years.

Gary Norman: Our partnership and then in four years of retirement, he was kind of our family dog that my wife him and I got married together and then each of my dogs had been close friends of my wife and just really like our kids in a way, and.

Gary Norman: So I am really blessed to be married and in the way up I think of it as sort of a mixed marriage, where I have a disability.

Gary Norman: And she doesn't I think that's positive and negative I think perhaps what I told some kids at college at a speech I gave a couple years ago you can't on we've the threads of your life so.

Gary Norman: What I like maybe not to have my disability, I think, I think, maybe some days, yes, on the other hand, what I'd be.

Gary Norman: As good of a dog handler or I hope a decent husband I don't know, maybe not.

Gary Norman: would life be as interesting or unique I don't know, maybe not.

Gary Norman: On the other hand, my wife has some incredible disability advocates and good human being.

Gary Norman: she's also had to encounter the same issue, as I have from negative attitudes to bias to people glancing at us in a restaurant or at a bistro because wow there's a guide dog and a blind person and how could this sighted person ever like live with a blind person kind of crap.

Gary Norman: out so it's positive and negative, but I think it's a really rich journey, and I hope my wife finds a way to kind of share her her point of view on kind of the the marriage, with a blind guy.

Nadine Vogel: well. you know.

Nadine Vogel: This interview has been so interesting you know, a couple of times you've referred to the state of the state, if you will, as you know, the inclusion, the revolution.

Nadine Vogel: Right yeah and I love that, and you know we're just about out of time, but before we end I would love for you to share with us and our listeners why you refer to it as a revolution.

Gary Norman: So i've heard that term I was fortunate to travel as a foreign policy fellow that's not the exact title but that's a shorter version but.

Gary Norman: The Marshall Fund in 2008 my first guide dog and i've remained active, both in dialogue policy work, even through a mini grants my.

Gary Norman: Partner Boston and I got for a year from them and then, more recently, at a tech inclusion some in December 2020 and I wish I could say I coined that term, but that would be dishonest.

Gary Norman: I was co moderating the workshop on inclusion, to make sure that disability was discussed in many ways, and we had this really unique former fellow like myself, but from New York say we're living in the inclusion revolution.

Gary Norman: And that just resonated with me and it, it still has because I think we've all lived, not only during negative stuff like covid and all these unfortunate people have died because of it, but we've also lived through this revolutionary revolutionary discussion where.

Gary Norman: I think probably my colleagues at the lichen Commission think there's a lot more work to do, but I feel like maybe people of color starting to be recognized in the way that as white Americans we've never really heard them.

Gary Norman: And so I think it's a revolution in that sense.

Gary Norman: More people are feeling like they have a voice and you know for a country that's based on the world to be free that's that's incredibly not only living with our tenants but that's freeing for our fellow citizens.

Nadine Vogel: Right. wow.

NORMA STANLEY: that's it I think it's part of the revolution is that I think people are realizing the actual power and actually tried to use it and, like you said, the greater Community actually hearing what we've been trying to say for so many years, and so that's the blessing and i'm hoping that it.

NORMA STANLEY: And the people disabilities others who have been overlooked and untapped and neglected, this is our time to make some things happen.

Gary Norman: And what's great about this country is that we have a trajectory or more freedoms, but sometimes we don't tap people we haven't always stopped people of color we haven't always tap people with disabilities and.

Gary Norman: Hopefully these kind of movements are teaching us that there are so many more threads to the fabric that that make this rich whole and, ultimately, like benefit economically and emotionally and spiritually and that will only make us a much better country in the end.

Nadine Vogel: At the end of the day, you know, none of us, or just one thing it's about that intersectionality.

Gary Norman: And I think that.

Nadine Vogel: that's what it's about so Gary we are oh my gosh we are so out of time, I feel like we could have talked for at least another half hour, but I want to thank you so much for joining the show and just illustrating once again that disabled lives matter, so thank you for joining us.

Gary Norman: Thank you for having me on the show.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely. so norma another great show thank.You. For being my amazing co host.

NORMA STANLEY: Thank you for allowing me to do that.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, and to our listeners We look forward to seeing you on another episode of disabled lives matter. bye everybody.

Gary Norman: bye bye.

NORMA STANLEY: bye nice to see. you.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or listening device.

 

S1-Ep24_Leslie_Lipson

S1-Ep24_Leslie_Lipson

August 16, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 23
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Leslie Lipson

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Well Hello everyone, this is nadine vogel your co host of disabled lives matter, this is a podcast but, along with my co host Norma Stanley Hello norma.

NORMA STANLEY: hey. everybody how are you doing today.

Nadine Vogel: Good. This is more than a podcast right norma this is.

Nadine Vogel: it's a movement 

NORMA STANLEY: World changing.

Nadine Vogel:  right and today, this movement is going to grow even more, because we are joined by Leslie lipson and Leslie gosh you are an advocate from an educational standpoint legal strategy about legal and education so i'm just telling us a little bit about yourself.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Sure, and thank you so much norma and nadine for having me today so um I am an attorney and i've been practicing in the field of disability civil rights for around 20 years.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And i've done lots of different kinds of work but i'm always just continually attracted to working on behalf of kids especially kids whose.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Whose behavior other people find challenging it's probably my favorite kinda kind of group that really I feel really fierce about that and.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And about two and a half years ago, so for about 17 years I was with the Georgia advocacy office, which is a statewide nonprofit doing work.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): on behalf of people with disabilities who experienced abuse and neglect and about two and half years ago I went on my own, and I have my own consulting firm and I do work for businesses and nonprofits and mostly about the kids.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): i'm a parent, I have two kids. in Canada.

Nadine Vogel: so i'm curious what got you interested in disability rights, specifically and then even more so for children.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Well, I think, like most people in this work, I have a personal genesis story I don't think you can really get away from that, but I have hidden disabilities myself and.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): had some pieces as a kid that were really then occasionally as an adult that had been really challenging and I think I thought that disabled people were something different, and somewhere in college and I was a disability student services and I realized that.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): That was me to.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Re all have different.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Different parts of our identity for, and then I decided, I wanted to go to law school and I always wanted to do this, I actually interned in law school in this work and my second year law school and so.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): This is just always been my passion.

Nadine Vogel: got it well you know for norma and me we're both special needs moms and so obviously our passion as well i'm i'm curious, I know, one of the things you were involved in was safe schools initiative could you tell us a little bit about what that is.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Yes, absolutely so in Georgia, up until I guess about.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): me, maybe 25th no 2012

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You could restrain and seclude meaning, you could tie up lock up put in a box put it, a cardboard box plywood box i've seen all these you can use ripcords or handcuffs or anything you want to restrain and seclude any kid at anytime for any reason, and not tell their parents.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And that was that is still the law of the land.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): federally and many states have no legal protections for students experiencing these what we call restraint and seclusion in public schools.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And I was the leader but along with lots of other people, I mean it was a big effort to outlaw the use of seclusion in Georgia and we greatly limited the use of restraint and the research is very clear and it makes sense if someone tried to take you and lock you up in a box.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You fight them really hard on the way the best way to reduce the use of restraint.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): is to reduce the use of seclusion is to outlaw the use of seclution, but I would really like to see restraint, also outlawed, and so I worked on that for years.

Nadine Vogel: And we are.

Nadine Vogel: On protections well i'm curious because i'm actually appauld.

Nadine Vogel: Generally, this is, this is still Okay, so what is happening on a federal level if anything to outlaw this.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So there currently is and there has been for several years, a federal.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): package of legislation that I think it's called I have to Google, right now, but I think it's called it starts with the K Okay, I just want to find the acronym but it's to.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): To do the same ideas to outlaw the use of restraint and seclusion across the nation, the idea being if you live one mile to the East, a one mile to the West you shouldn't have the experience of restraint and seclusion and generally if you can't do this in you know.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): that some of these actions are considered by the United Nations to be you know illegal.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Okay, for some reason.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): against kids with disabilities it's okay.

NORMA STANLEY: definitely needs to change.

NORMA STANLEY: i'm sure.

NORMA STANLEY: i'm sure the parents who encounter situations like that are not too happy.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): No, no, I think we have to remember the real victims are kids.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Were teaching kids you know it's really amazing that we talked about what do we talk about with kids with disabilities, we say what are what our kids are supposed to keep your hands to your.

Nadine Vogel: self.  Right.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): If you're angry what should you use.

Nadine Vogel: Your words.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Right.

Nadine Vogel: And we went to school, we remember.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): I know i'm enjoying y'all y'all are good y'all are good.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You can do the presentation.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So we you know we learned a lot from that.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): kids are learning. A lot.

Nadine Vogel: i'm shocked to tell you the truth, and I would think this is especially difficult for those students that are on the autism spectrum where behavioral issues, probably come out more.

Nadine Vogel: than most.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): yeah and I think a lot of it is super predictable the kids who are sensory defensive you'll see written in people's IEP when this kids upset do not.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Because it's very predictable that the kids going to be defensive and it's going to feel like that's a threat.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): then you see people you know who are not looking at that, and then we see school initiate juvenile court charges on kids for behavior That is exactly predictable written verbatim in IEP don't do this.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Nadine Vogel: right, so if it's in the IEP, this makes this even worse because everybody's supposed to be following the IEP the individualized education plan.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But if you have you know, unfortunately, in America kids with disabilities, especially kids psychiatric disabilities kids with autism.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Especially black youth black boys.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Even kids who are gender diverse or who are LGBTQ on that entire beautiful rainbow.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): kids are perceived to be even more of a threat to go these multiple identities that make.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Not only are they experiencing really harsh discipline practices um they're expensive experiencing those practices more often and and it's more of them.

Nadine Vogel: RIght.  Oh, my gosh well.

NORMA STANLEY: On.

NORMA STANLEY: This has been something that's been going on in you know, in the in the black Community for a long time the whole special education perspective.

NORMA STANLEY: You know when they put the kids in detention or in special programs when they seem to be acting up quote unquote and generally it's because of.

NORMA STANLEY: You know, a special need, if they're on autism spectrum and all these things may not have been diagnosed and they get put into that pipeline of detention and going to jail, of things they don't even realize that they've done and things like that can.

NORMA STANLEY: happen and before you know it lives are ruined and because it's either been undiagnosed or people just don't care and not paying attention to the way they need to be paying attention.

Nadine Vogel: yeah absolutely. well leslie i've heard you said something or you intended to say saying something about you know why is special education.

Nadine Vogel: Not special your education, and you know when I when I first heard that I kind of laughed a little bit, but but it's it's serious, so I wonder if you could explain that a little bit.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So I don't remember where I read it, and I cannot take credit for it.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But the special education is often neither special nor education.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And so, even though the propaganda around special education is it's highly individualized for each kid to get what they need in a therapeutic way you know we know all of this language around it right.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Well, we know that many things are one size fits none programs that they call it the autism classroom but that doesn't necessarily mean it fits kids needs with autism, one of the problems in America, the way we've structured our education is we've structured it around eligibility.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And not around services so let's take a service for fun let's take like note taking let's think about all the different.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): types of students that might need note taking right, you might have had a traumatic brain injury or learning disability.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You might have auditory processing disorder, you might have broken your arm, although you probably wouldn't be eligible for IDA but you get my point, you may have limited mobility they're all of these different areas right that might need a note taker.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But we make that classification based upon usually eligibility or behavioral support you may have you know kids with OCD coming back after this covid 19 disruption contamination OCD i'm feeling for them.

Nadine Vogel: yeah.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): I really want to.

Nadine Vogel: Talk about that, after as well.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Right, and so you have like you have like pockets of services like maybe a small groups classroom integrated or.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Reduced modified homework for kids that have less endurance for homework and that may be kids who have chemo right now, or maybe kids who are just run out after what is necessary at school, but instead we've created these.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Eligibility and placement our locations totally based upon.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Disability labels which really isn't smart fiscally isn't smart for human rights perspective isn't smart for our Community definitely isn't a smart smart for our families.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Your parents kids have disabilities you got your kids in different schools have different schedules and different places, siblings are such a protection for kids okay.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): I have a lot to say about it.

Nadine Vogel: We have to read to go to commercial break, but as soon as we come back norma I think we should really start talking about you know covid and everybody go back to school and what that's gonna look like relative to these topics so listeners don't go anywhere we'll be back in just a minute.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

[COMMERCIAL]
Hi, I'm here to talk to you about springboards. 2021, 7th annual disability connect forum, save the date. It's happening Tuesday, September 14 via live stream, you know, we tag the phrase, quote unquote, We Are Better Together. Why? Because together we can achieve change, especially since this forum focuses on the intersectionality persons with disabilities. The lgbtqa+ community and Veterans, the major issues impacting these constituents and more So join us for the conversation again, the 2021 disability connect Forum livestream, Tuesday, September 14th, to learn more. Purchase a ticket and register visit w-w-w consult springboard.com. Front slash 2021 - disability - connect Front / hashtag. Welcome. Can't wait to see you there.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: Hello Hello everyone and welcome back to today's episode of disabled lives matter I am joined by my fabulous co host norma Stanley norma.

NORMA STANLEY: How you guys doing.

Nadine Vogel: Good and we in Norma I are just so excited to be speaking with leslie lipson today we're talking about.

Nadine Vogel: The state of the state, relative to children with disabilities in the school system and some of the horrific horrific practices that are still going on.

Nadine Vogel: So so Leslie let me ask you this, I mean so many kids have been out of at a physical school right, you know being homeschooled which we know is just a whole issue right there but.

Nadine Vogel: Some of the things that you're talking about you know how do we successfully reintegrate I guess i'll say children with disabilities back into in person learning and then you know let's talk about what that actually means relative to some of the issues that we've been talking about.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So it's going to be fascinating you know, seeing what happens because, like.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You know we're all three parents of kids with disabilities, like, if I had an eight year old kid with a developmental disability and we've all seen the covid health outcomes for.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): kids a developmental disabilities and eight year olds aren't you know vaccinations a personal decision, but there are no eight year olds that are vaccinated.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): They might not be going back in person. I think one thing is that we do still have I actually just looked I know this is a national Program.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But just looking quickly at my own state this morning 14.7% of kids 12 to 17 are vaccinated in Georgia.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So that's 14% of kids eligible for vaccination or and not disability specific right, and so, then we're thinking about kids under the age of 12 that aren't vaccinated at all, and we do know the Community spread is very small within public schools we've got very good data on that now.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But they're you know, in small pockets, so I think what's going to be interesting what we're seeing nationally, is that districts are.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): or States are having cyber schools like instead of like your school like your teacher doing distance learning they're these now kind of.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Individual schools, who are cyber who are virtual and then your local schools where you would go for face to face instruction.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So I think it'll be really interesting to see how schools choose to financially and programmatically continue providing some virtual learning opportunities, especially for kids who.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): I think it's pretty arguable, especially if they're immune compromised it's really not safe yet.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And then I think I may be so interesting nadine and norma to hear like what you did in August to get your now adults, but your kids ready to go back to school every September like what did y'all do.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

Norma.

NORMA STANLEY: It was a big deal, I mean I was getting on the school to school clothes and preparing for that whole thing I mean Sierra is just.

NORMA STANLEY: always have just getting her out of the house anyway, even the same thing getting back in the day program was the same thing, I mean you know she just started back this past week and um you know I want to make sure that everything would be the way it needs to be before I was telling her back and.

Nadine Vogel: and for so many kids you know, unless they're in you know you're around school.

Nadine Vogel: Right so so that now is the education stop for a couple of months, but so typically does therapies occupational physical.

Nadine Vogel: right all of the related services so yes kind of working your way back and getting the brain back functioning again.

Nadine Vogel: And and just you know the schedule right I think that's that adjustment is an adjustment for any child typical children when you add disability to that, depending on the nature and severity of the disability I think it's just another layer

NORMA STANLEY: a whole other layer I know .

NORMA STANLEY: Sierra was glad to see her her her colleagues in the day program she was happy to see them all.

NORMA STANLEY: On but again I was rushing back because I wasn't sure and until they made me sure that it was going to be safe for her she wasn't gonna go back so, but they did what they need to do, and everybody there has been excellent, it is all adults, though, so it's a different thing but.

NORMA STANLEY: You know how can I feel for the parents only because you know especially the younger children but it's a whole nother that's a lot of stress on these parents and.

NORMA STANLEY: those who also need to go back to work um it's a lot of stress and that doesn't help when the school system is doing those kinds of things that you're having to address and try to put a stop to in terms of the abuse.

Nadine Vogel: Right and, leslie, I mean correct me if i'm wrong, but I would think you know when kids, especially if you have developmental disabilities behavioral issues.

Nadine Vogel: You know if they're on a break, so to speak, and then you put them back into a more structured environment I would think some of the the behavioral issues kind of come out at least at the beginning.

Nadine Vogel: And i'm assuming that being away from physical space school for so long, this is only going to really pronounce this even more, I mean is that true.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): I mean we're worried to in the literature like where educational folks leadership is talking about what's going on, I think we're all there's a lot of worry about really increased.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Harsh discipline policies, I mean you could see like a kid who was in first grade and march of 2020 they're going back a third grader well the behavioral expectations for a first grader third grader they're pretty different.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Right these kids have really lost, you know we're very focused on academic loss which is kind of interesting because I think what we're really going to see, as people have really lost the context of the role of student.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): So, like packing a school lunch opening it up and eating it changing classes, bringing your books going to sleep on time writing the school bus I got all these pieces to being a student.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): That we really I would encourage parents and teachers for kids, especially with kids have disabilities but really with all kids to focus on the role of student before we're focused on this academic learning loss or missed services.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): As an adult like I kind of relate to it, you know when you first go to work for eight hours a day, I mean you are exhausted.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Right yeah most of us are starting back you know, they were not five days a week restart back three days a week in the office you know, and these kids in school it's going to be like, here we come in August or September and like here you go five days a week, full days I mean it's.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Nadine Vogel: they're not easing into it.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): No, but I think parents have suggestions for parents.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): would be definitely working back to that schedule try to get in pre planning get your kid to go visit the school meet their teachers, obviously it depends on your where you are.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Personally, as a family and where you are your State be comfortable with whatever the distancing or mask measures are some state mandated that some dates dates have not.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And I think, maybe doing some academic bridge work I think most of the things that we usually do to get our kids ready to go back in the fall would be similar.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): um and I think that the most interesting thing and the I think I think this is fascinating because you've done this for many years, is that, whereas normally the school holds all the information about the kid academically and socially.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Now the parents hold all the information.

Nadine Vogel: And that is interesting.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): isn't it.

Nadine Vogel: It is.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): doesn't love the performance, who really knows what's.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): going on with that kid.

Nadine Vogel: Well, and that's true it always I always said, the parent is.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): An A-D, but I think a lot of parents who kind of throwing their hands up and said.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): they're special they're educators and I didn't really know how to teach my kid but i've heard from parents who said they told me my kid could never do X, Y or Z.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And over and over the past 16 months, you know what I can do that they've done it interesting and then I think, on the other side, I think you know, there are a lot of, especially for psychiatric disabilities covid it has not been kind.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Right, a lot of kids and then we kids with acquire trauma drain this time.

Nadine Vogel: Oh yeah absolutely.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Post traumatic stress.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Now we have 600,000 people that died in America there's a lot of grief.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And then there's been a lot of financial repercussions for families and we've been through.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): You know incredible.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Time of.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Protests and attention on.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): on racial terror and injustice and all of these things our kids have experienced since they've been before they've been they haven't been students, so I think we have a we have a lot to come to right.

Nadine Vogel: Well, you know it's interesting because I think he said before I come back you said a child left a first grader now they're back a third grader and behavioral expectations, but I just went through my head was what about the child that left as an elementary school student.

Nadine Vogel: and is now in middle school or junior high school or the left to junior high another in high school.

Nadine Vogel: So a whole nother range of processes, maybe they never changed classes, you know we don't entry school, and now they have to do it so.

Nadine Vogel: I just you know made me think of all of these issues that you know, especially as parents, I always felt like the burden of proof of needed for a child, the burden of just about everything is often on the parent, and I think this is no different.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): you're not feeling like that that is let's not get i'm saying like let's let's honor the experience of what is educational advocacy in America.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): It is 100% people will image kids with disabilities as a burden, I would clearly argue it's not the kids have disabilities is the burden it's the system, yes, that puts all of the all of all of the the pulling all the levers pretty much is on parents.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Who already are parents, because of disabilities already in a country that's pretty hostile.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): To to family supports.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): yeah in general right so I think that's really true and I appreciate you saying it nadine because I just don't think I can't I read an article yesterday piss me off sorry that's.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): made me so mad that was on parent engagement.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Okay, like, I mean I was i'm all for parent engagement, but what i've seen in my career.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): is very powerful parents.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Who can't pull levers, they need to pull, for you know for 1000 reasons.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): That it's not about unfortunately one of the things that binds us together as parents, because of disabilities is it actually does not matter your race or your income listen, some of it helps a lot, but like people can't pull the levers, because the system is so unbalanced.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

NORMA STANLEY: Yes.

Leslie Lipson: What do you think.

Nadine Vogel: yeah I mean certainly the systemic inequalities, and I mean it exists, I always used to feel bad when we would go in and have our IEPs and I have like 20 people there, I had all my peeps you know one to match the school districts.

Nadine Vogel: And I always worried about you know the parents who couldn't attend the IEP because they couldn't get off from work now you have the financial ability to do that or or English is not their first language right, I mean it's.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Not their language at all.

Nadine Vogel: Right, I mean it's confusing enough for those of us who actually it is you know, and it was always very upsetting to me to see a child who I knew.

Nadine Vogel: Could you know needed just as much, if not more support, as my daughter yet couldn't access what they needed because of that that was really and I think the parents just felt.

Nadine Vogel: an even greater burden because of that, and something that they didn't have control of I mean norma if you had I don't you feel that way.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely, and you know because of lack of control, depending on i'm still finding out again about parents who.

NORMA STANLEY: are not getting some of the services they need and they've been here all these years, I mean there's one mother would just call me the help.

NORMA STANLEY: She had a 21 year old I mean you know he's just coming out of the system, but she has not had the help.

NORMA STANLEY: That supposed to be there, she lives in a place where he can't walk he's immobile in terms of physical challenges and another one level to the House to the next, just to put a bed and put him on it and slide him down.

NORMA STANLEY: Imagine, I mean this is a 68 year old woman.

NORMA STANLEY: You know i'm so she's going through all this and it's like i've got to find a way to get into some help so much is still being you know falling through the cracks when all these organizations out there is one of the things that really concerns me.

Nadine Vogel: is not unique just to.

Nadine Vogel: Georgia right.

NORMA STANLEY: I mean no.

Nadine Vogel: this is in all states, but just something I did want to ask relative to Georgia, specifically i've had many parents of kids with disabilities tell me that when it comes to special education or services in the state of Georgia, that it's Atlanta and it's every place else.

Nadine Vogel: That it's very unequal, if you will, even just within the state is that is that true.

NORMA VOGEL: Yes.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Interesting data on it, depending on what you're after so obviously as norma as nodding school funding is a huge difference and there's actually a lawsuit currently in Georgia is going on for quite some time around funding.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): equalization between rural and urban but that's for sure, an issue now it's interesting like what your goals are so a lot of rural places don't hide away or segregate to the same level of kids with disabilities, because that's pretty expensive.

Nadine Vogel:  Interesting.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): so from the fabric sense like who do we go to faith, who do we worship with.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And who and who do we hang out with on birthday parties and the weekends and who's in my class and who are family, friends you'll see, in a sense of the data says a higher level of social an academic integration.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): and rural America, because they just don't have what we call like a shadow system like separate church services.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): and separate transportation and separate have you know separate social things like they don't have the infrastructure to provide the shadow system that is this segregated world.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): um now for some people, they say, you know I really want all that this you know, bring this to my rural county um we think, as far as the lifetime, you know, having more friends and family and connections, because the unfortunate thing is we're not always going to be around at some point.

Nadine Vogel: right.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But yes it is Atlanta and outside of Atlanta, especially when you think about psychiatric services, I think there are two or three child psychiatry south of macon.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): A number of play that's mostly like I think one or two about Boston three or four in savannah I mean, so we definitely have and for medical services, you know people got to drive to Atlanta, all the time, you know.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Norma I feel like I should not be talking y'all should be.

NORMA STANLEY: Talking, no, no.

Nadine Vogel: Listen.

NORMA STANLEY: the whole dental situation.

NORMA STANLEY: I mean people come in Tennessee for to get dental care for their kids with disabilities, because a lot of dentists still don't get it, so this globalization that we all tend to go to and people.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): yeah.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah DVD foundation is where we go.

NORMA STANLEY: select yeah it's a real situation it's a real situation, I mean i'm coming from New York New York actually used to have a really big programs for people with disabilities, I didn't know that when I was living in New York or I would have stayed, but I love living in Atlanta.

NORMA STANLEY: You know until I got here that new york had to do some work too.

NORMA STANLEY: Still it's still.

Nadine Vogel: Live we had lived in Los Angeles, when my.

Nadine Vogel: Older one was was young, and we ended up in a charter school but yeah there were so many issues and we went after the schools, but we moved back east.

Nadine Vogel: We were very specific about where we move, not just the state like we had moved to New Jersey, which county and what part of the county all because of the things you're talking about Leslie.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Burden that's such a burden, not your kid, but you have to that you have to structure the rest of your life around that and can I tell you about something I read recently that's been cracking me up.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): It said.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Only in America, do we insure our teeth and our eyes and then the rest of our body separately like who came up with that i've been laughing I mean it really is asinine.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Like who decided it was teeth eyes and the rest of your body like why isn't it like your left hand.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Your kidney and the rest of I mean it really is. Okay, sorry.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): you're you're in.

Nadine Vogel: Our society we treat physical health so different than mental health.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Well, that would be another now let's just be clear we're not insuring psychiatric health but that's.

Nadine Vogel: not really but, again, even the stigma in the schools and how the children are supported or not again, it is very different.

Nadine Vogel: And I find that going to go back to what you said earlier, the burden on the parents, I find that if the child has a behavioral related issue.

Nadine Vogel: Somehow it always ends up being more you know what is the parent not doing right or not doing right to cause that versus a child that has CP OK, we get it.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): Oh no they'll still go after your your your pre you're in utero sorry yeah they'll still go after you so yeah the joke, the joke and it's not funny but the conversation amongst strategy is this first they'll blame the child.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): And then they'll blame the parents yeah very rarely to hear people say what.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): In our instruction is faulty one in our assumptions is faulty what our methodology is faulty what the grouping of kids and the match of the teacher is is problematic.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): But those would be questions that would be running through because you know the faith obligation, the free and appropriate public education obligation does not exist between a parent and the child.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): right and it is not a child's obligation to behave well enough for the school to educate the kid right the faith obligation is between.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): A parent i'm sorry between a school and a student I just spent this morning working actually for Georgia, Casa, who i'm huge fan of and thank Thank God.

Leslie Lipson (she, her, hers): that the obligation is not supposedly legally other you know it is on depending on every single parent, because that would really, really further disadvantaged kids, but we also know it it's just a lot of untruth about it right.

Nadine Vogel: Right right absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely well oh my gosh I just I just saw we are out of time.

Nadine Vogel: This flew I I know there's so much more we can talk about but Leslie Thank you so much for joining us today, this is a topic that is so important in.

Nadine Vogel: it's kind of hidden nobody's really talking about it too much, and I know that the the information that you shared while coming from Georgia, I know is very real in most states, if not all states around the country in some way, shape or form, so thank you so much for joining us norma.

Nadine Vogel: Thank you for another great session and for our listeners, thank you for joining us on another episode of disabled lives matter norma take us away.

NORMA STANLEY: You guys it's been a wonderful show be blessed until next time.

Nadine Vogel: Okay bye everybody.

NORMA STANLEY:  bye bye.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the PodBean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or Listening Device.

 

S1-Ep23_Tawana_Williams

S1-Ep23_Tawana_Williams

August 12, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 23
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Tawana Williams

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Hello everybody, this is nadine vogel you are your co host of disabled lives matter, this is a podcast but actually it's more than a podcast it's a movement, and I am joined by norma stanley my amazing co host.

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everyone.

Nadine Vogel: hey normal this is going to be a really exciting episode and i'm like totally stoked abouth this.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely absolutely I mean this lady is amazing, and I am a big fan.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, so this amazing woman that we're kind of hinting about is to Tawana Williams.

Nadine Vogel: Tawana is known as the hope coach she's an award winning keynote motivational speaker a TV personality businesswoman humanitarian former talk show host.

Nadine Vogel: She's coming out with a movie I don't think anything is woman can't do on and, interestingly enough, Tawana was born without arms and parodies of her legs, which just makes her story that much more amazing so welcome Tawana.

tawana williams: Thank you, thank you ladies, how you doing.

Nadine Vogel: Good good better that we're on with you right now.

tawana williams: awesome awesome we're super excited about today, and you know, giving hope and letting people know that it's possible.

tawana williams: I i'm the hope coach tawana Williams your messenger of hope, help and inspiration.

tawana williams: And I was blessed to be born without arms and impaired use of my legs due to the drug the thalidomide that was given to my mother during pregnancy.

tawana williams: Then, my mother told me there was nothing that I could not do, and I believed her yes, I did, and I had a grandma Rogers that did not play with me and I was a little girl, I was four and a half years old.

tawana williams: One day she looked me in the eyes and she said T, you must not have needed arms because God didn't give them to you, she said nothing's missing if you don't have it.

tawana williams: Then you don't need it and those words continue to resonate throughout my soul, you know i've overcome some major adversities and challenges.

tawana williams: Throughout my life I was gang raped during a home invasion raped my my stepfather I was addicted to crack and cocaine for 10 long years.

tawana williams: i've experienced abortion motherhood a stroke and a mild heart attack, so I know that i'm here to give hope and to help you overcome whatever adversities and challenges, you may be facing in your life and that's why I am unarmed but dangerous and an eagle without wings. woo-hoo.

Nadine Vogel: i'm exhausted right.

Norma Stanley:  Wow.

Nadine Vogel: let's let's let's start with where you just ended right unarmed but dangerous, you have a book that you titled on unarmed but dangerous so talk to us a little bit about that.

tawana williams: yeah I title my book unarmed but dangerous the Tawana Williams story of relentless struggle and ultimate victory.

tawana williams: I titled it that way, because that's who I am you know the title is not about me not having arms it's about me using what I have you know it's not physical, this is a mental mindset that I have adopted.

tawana williams: long time ago that told me that I could do anything but fail I have that can do attitude, and you know that.

tawana williams: That self driven determination that's who I am and you know i'm so so when other people say I can't I let them know, let me show you how to figure it out.

tawana williams: You know I I've learned, you know that that.

tawana williams: That power, you know that power of being unarmed but dangerous because I realized that the title sounded like a weapon, but you know you don't need a weapon a gun.

tawana williams: Or you know your gun is your mind your skills your knowledge your abilities to soar like an eagle and so that's why I titled my book unarmed but dangerous because that's Who am I never stop.

Nadine Vogel: You know, norma, you and I talk all the time about mindset.

Nadine Vogel: Right, and you know and i'm so glad you said you did tawana, because you know all the time when we talk with people when they have physical disabilities, they say that but it's not physical it's about our mindset and knowing what we can do not, not even in spite it, but because of.

Nadine Vogel: Anything that's that's what you've done.

Nadine Vogel: experienced such adversity, more than any one person or a group of people.

Nadine Vogel: In a lifetime so talk to us a little bit about you know how you got from there to here right obviously there were times that were really difficult for you right and challenges so talk to us a little bit about that.

tawana williams: yeah you know it was hard challenges were hard for me, but that's my strength challenges came to make me strong I realized that over the years.

tawana williams: You know, every time I fell down I got up again and again and again, and you know growing up people would tell me you can't do this and you can't do that and not.

tawana williams: The next time they saw me I was doing what they said, I could not do because of the challenges, because of the mindset because of what my grandma Rogers.

tawana williams: told me and instilled in me as a child, you know my mom you know it was you know it was tough, especially as a child.

tawana williams: You know, I was picked on laughed at talked about mistreated ridiculed humiliated on a daily basis, sometimes until I realized that I had the power.

tawana williams: And the possession, you know what i'm saying, I had the power to win I had the power to soar, and so I just realized that i'm.

tawana williams: I could do this that I was fearfully and wonderfully made by God, just like everybody else, and so I just started moving on what I knew that I could actually do and it started working.

NORMA STANLEY: and

NORMA STANLEY: That is important when you realize your power, how did you turn that into your purpose, how did you go and make it something that other people could adopt and and learn how to fly themselves whatever challenges they were going through.

tawana williams: I made some significant changes into my life for my life, you know.

tawana williams: I started changing my mindset number one you know I started telling myself that I could do it, you know I had to give myself permission to get it done and I did it, you know with you know the possibilities of soaring.

tawana williams: I started talking to myself really and changing my thinking about who I was and what people said I was you know I had to change that thinking.

tawana williams: And then you know, the second change that I had to make was I had to change the company I kept because you know as a child as a teenager that's when.

tawana williams: It was tough for me peer pressure was hard for me, because I was a follower straight up I followed you say, I love you tawana.

tawana williams: I was a follower you know and so that's what how I got caught up in the drug addiction, you know I went to a party, I thought it was a.

tawana williams: dance party, it was a drug party and I didn't know it, it was a crack party and when I walk when I walked in my friend, put the crack pipe to my mouth and said pull on it Tawana and I did it and it.

tawana williams: consumed my life for 10 long years, and so what i'm really saying i'm change is what happened, for me, you know when I realized that I was bigger than crack that I was better than crack you know when my husband.

tawana williams: started praying for me and my grandma Roger started praying for me that's when change came into my life, and then the third significant change that I had to make was I had to change.

tawana williams: The way I saw myself because growing up everybody used to tell me oh you look funny or you're too short, you walk funny use it's weird not having arms yada yada yada and one day I was like.

tawana williams: Stop you know stop that mess, and so I started like I said I started realizing that I was fearfully and wonderfully made and created by God for good purpose, for you know for for the world, you know, and I realized.

tawana williams: That I could do anything but fail and then my husband told me years ago.

tawana williams: In 1996 as a matter of fact, because that's when I started speaking when my mindset really when things shifted in my life my husband toby and I had a conversation, he was like T.

tawana williams: You know, I was having a bad day that day I was having a pity party and he was like T, he said, wait a minute, he said, you weren't born this way for me.

tawana williams: me and our family, you were born this way to help other people, you know, because most people live defeated lives when they don't have to, and here you are without arms doing everything with your feet.

tawana williams: Changing lives getting hope showing people as possible, he said don't do it, and I did it I tried, what do you suggest it and it work so here, I am the hope coach giving hope this is our 26 year and i'm super excited about where I am in my wife.

Nadine Vogel: We know you I mean well, I was gonna say you know what you said was so important, we said so many.

Nadine Vogel: important things, you know that stood out for me about giving yourself permission yeah because we don't we don't do that you know.

Nadine Vogel: You really don't we never gives ourselves permission, whether it's to just take a break or do something for ourselves, whatever it is.

Nadine Vogel: And the other thing that I thought was really important was you know, change the company you keep because they say that you know we become the people we hang with.

Nadine Vogel: Right, so we, but you know, sometimes you get so deep into it it's hard to dig yourself out it's hard to see the end so so one of my questions is you know, have you had help along the way, who were your personal coaches your personal heroes that helped you dig your way out.

tawana williams: Absolutely i've got many of course my grandma Roger she passed away in 1999 however prior to her death, she was that foce that girl that.

tawana williams: Then that fierce woman in my ear That said, you can do it go do it, you know, and my husband toby who is by loudest cheerleader my biggest fan my pusher man, and you know and i'm a les brown platinum speaker so les brown he's one of my personal friends and mentors you know.

tawana williams: Dr Joe Dudley Dudley hair products i've got a list of people that are in my ear I have maximum people in my life that have more that do more.

tawana williams: That push me that you know that helped me along the way, and then we've got Dr creflo dollar and pastor Chad Beck and his beautiful wife we've got a lot of people in our lives that.

tawana williams: push us, and when I say us i'm talking about me and my husband toby because we're one but yeah I just do what I do.

tawana williams: Because I know that if i'm supposed to do this, and I have people in my life I surround myself with people who have more and do more, and they pushed me right into my greatness every time.

Nadine Vogel: So you know when we think about this.

Nadine Vogel: I can just imagine like my older daughter she's she's 30 she has disabilities, and you know she gets down on herself, for the way she looks and different things that she thinks she can't do, and so you know i'm just i'm actually i'm thinking of her as you're talking and you know i'm thinking.

Nadine Vogel: Especially when she was younger when she was about 12 she got into this, why me why was I born this way when I have these issues so if you were talking to your younger self right now.

Nadine Vogel: You know, maybe that teenager who's going through so many issues, anyway, what would you say what actual tips, would you give them and say do these three things, but you know I think that's a big deal.

tawana williams: It is well, I think one of the first things that I always say is up to give yourself permission, of course, tell yourself, yes, tell yourself it's possible.

tawana williams: You know and that's what I had to do, personally, years ago, you know even before the speaking i'm a.

tawana williams: lifestyle that i'm in right now, you know I had to tell myself on a daily basis, and then I had to start focusing on the things that I could do the things that I, you know.

tawana williams: I couldn't focus on what I didn't have you know I had to focus on what I had.

tawana williams: And i'm you know my husband gives me great quotes and he gave me a quote about focus, he said, if you're not focusing on what you want.

tawana williams: Then what you don't want will automatically find you and I was like whoa you know that is powerful so focus is the key you got to focus on what you can do focus on what you.

tawana williams: are capable of doing because we're all capable of doing something greater than ourselves, and when I realized that you know what i'm doing, and all of the things that are.

tawana williams: Helping and helping people, it was bigger than me, you know when I realized that you know me being unarmed but dangerous me being an eagle without wings was so much bigger than Tawuana Williams, I said okay I got this you know so so focus is one of the major key keys.

tawana williams: In my life and in other people's lives, you know you gotta.

tawana williams: focus on it, you can either fall or or or focus, you know what i'm saying you got to really focus on what it is you want to do and move on that don't worry about the naysayers the doubters and the haters you have to get in and you know internally.

tawana williams: You know your daughter.

tawana williams: You know, for me, I had to get into myself, you know, looking at myself and saying tawanna you can do anything but fail and I believed that I could and every time I tried to do something that people told me I couldn't do, and once I did it, I was like oh my God. I am da bomb.

tawana williams: So.

Nadine Vogel: on that note, we need to go to a Short commercial.

Nadine Vogel: Commercial with she's the bomb I like.

tawana williams: The bomb.com

Nadine Vogel: So for our listeners stay tuned Norma I will be back with you amazing tawana Williams, in just a moment.

 

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

[COMMERCIAL]
Hi, I'm here to talk to you about springboards. 2021, 7th annual disability connect forum, save the date. It's happening Tuesday, September 14 via live stream, you know, we tag the phrase, quote unquote, We Are Better Together. Why? Because together we can achieve change, especially since this forum focuses on the intersectionality persons with disabilities. The lgbtqa+ community and Veterans, the major issues impacting these constituents and more So join us for the conversation again, the 2021 disability connect Forum livestream, Tuesday, September 14th, to learn more. Purchase a ticket and register visit w-w-w consult springboard.com. Front slash 2021 - disability - connect Front / hashtag. Welcome. Can't wait to see you there.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: So tawana you know before we went to commercial break what I was hearing a lot of was the self talk right and mantras you know so many so many people.

Nadine Vogel: You know, talk about where they want to go where they want to be what they want to do in life, but they don't really commit to it, the way you do in terms of that that mantra that self talk, can you talk about that a little bit.

Tawana Williams: yeah absolutely i'm totally totally committed to serving others and helping others that's what motivates me, you know.

Tawana Williams: Because I see so many people that are slack that are lazy that complain about everything, and so I realized a long time ago that it was possible for me and if it's possible for me, without arms.

Tawana Williams: it's possible for you, with everything that you have, and one thing I found out, you know is that excuses don't hide.

Tawana Williams: They just reveal.

Tawana Williams: Who you really are and so you know my motto is and always will be, is that excuses or results you can't have both I.

Tawana Williams: Created results throughout my life on every level of my life i'm totally committed i'm sold out 99 and a half won't do anymore, for me, so I just.

Tawana Williams: You know i'm just that girl that just says, you know what i'm gonna do it as I show up early and I stay late to every event, you know and and that's how I have.

Tawana Williams: soared like an eagle you know it doesn't matter what it looks like for me, you know I just make it happen, I make a difference, because I realized that I am the hope coach and people need to see an example of hope and that's who I am.

Nadine Vogel: Okay, so i'm hearing about all this amazing all these amazing things that you've been doing wanna and how you've overcome, but let me ask with all the challenges that you've had in your life is there one or two that just really stand out is the most challenging and, if so, why.

Tawana Williams: yeah i'm my most challenging moment was motherhood, you know, taking care of a baby.

Tawana Williams: You know I came in there, with no instructions nor direction that was my figure it out moment you know and then today my middle name is to figure it out i'm tawana figure it out, William.

Tawana Williams: i'm just saying you know mother, it was hard, it was it was a challenge for me, but I did it, you know, and I would love for you know your your listeners to.

Tawana Williams: check out my YouTube channel unarmed but dangerous so that you can see how I took care of my daughter, with my feet I I put.

Tawana Williams: Her on the floor on a blanket I took care of her I fed her I bathed her I braided her hair, I mean I am the bomb.com i'm just saying I make.

Tawana Williams: It happen, I made a difference in my own life and I did some things that really literally amazed myself.

Tawana Williams: You know, because there are some things that I thought that I could not do, but once I got in that that mode, you know of.

Tawana Williams: figuring it out yeah the sky was the limit, you know I just kept going and I kept doing it and so today i'm a shaker and a mover and.

Tawana Williams: In all areas of my life i'm super i'm super excited but yeah motherhood and taking care of my daughter was.

Tawana Williams: The most one of the most challenging moments in my life and now she's 35 years old, and she has three boys i've got three grandsons and i'm loving life and loving being a momma, so it is awesome whoo.

Nadine Vogel: whoo yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Norma, you and I have talked about you know the challenges stresses, and you know, being a mom to a daughter with disabilities but I gotta tell you after after hearing tawana i'm thinking we got an easy baby, no, no, you know no excuses just resolve and what did you say tawana, you can't have both.

Tawana Williams: that's right.

NORMA STANLEY: And I said I actually love the story in the reality of.

NORMA STANLEY: The love between you and your husband that started when you were children, can you tell us a little bit about how that came about to do, he was your protector when you were younger tell us a little bit about that and I just think it's beautiful thing.

Tawana Williams: yeah my husband toby and I, we met as children, I was six and he was 12 when we met and I went to grandma, Rogers House every summer, because she lived in North Carolina.

Tawana Williams: And I grew up in DC and my mom and me and my three sisters would always go to go, Mr Rogers house for the summer, but I met toby.

Tawana Williams: I was six and he was 12 and the only thing he asked was what happened to your arms I said I was born without 'em, he was like oh Okay, and we just clicked immediately.

Tawana Williams: And he was like my guardian angel over the summer, each year, each summer, he would walk me to the store he would carry me he would be me he was just like a guardian angel over the years, and you know.

Tawana Williams: we've been friends over 50 years now.

Tawana Williams: And we're super excited this year Christmas Christmas Day will be celebrating 30 years of marriage.

Nadine Vogel: They.

Tawana Williams: Were super excited about life and love and our foundation of love and how he protects me and how he takes care of my every need, and I take care of him too so it's just a blessing it's an awesome Union yeah.

Nadine Vogel: wow that is a beautiful story Norma, thank you for bringing that up that's ah does my heart good right.

Nadine Vogel: So, since tawana you know my gosh there's so many other questions, I want to ask you in unarmed but dangerous and in the book.

Nadine Vogel: Is if our listeners, you know are listening to you and hearing about this give them one or two top reasons why they need to go and get that book immediately.

Tawana Williams: so that they can learn some things that they have not learned i'm just saying, and then you know just to see how blessed they really are because you know the story is really not about.

Tawana Williams: me being born without arms it's my life story and, as a matter of fact, you know the book unarmed but dangerous is about to be.

Tawana Williams: turned into a movie my debut movie eagle without wings no excuses, everyone can fly, and so, but unarmed but dangerous is really about you, seeing who you are because I have.

Tawana Williams: Questions at the end of each chapter that will compel you to get out of your heart.

Tawana Williams: You know, out of your head rather and get into your heart and and figure out what it is you want to do and what you're supposed to be doing, because I realized that we all have something great.

Tawana Williams: You know, in our lives, we all have we were born for greatness, and so, if we can figure out what it is we're supposed to do, then Bam you know it'll be history for you, too, so unarmed but dangerous it's a powerful tool to bring.

Tawana Williams: balance into your life and i'm super excited about it.

Nadine Vogel: I like that Bam for the bomb.

Nadine Vogel: So so tell us a little bit what when is the movie coming out how we get to see that.

Tawana Williams: Well, we don't have a projection time as far as a date yet, however, my producers are saying late 2021 will start pre production so we're super.

Tawana Williams: excited and um yeah we're excited about it and they're talking to the likes of netflix right now so we'll see nothing's set in stone, right now, however, we're doing what we're supposed to do and it's a challenge because we're still in the middle of covid.

Tawana Williams: Right, you know so it's a challenge but guess what challenges come to make us strong and so i'm just super excited about where we're going and.

Tawana Williams: All of the things that we're doing and I have two young girls young ladies that are going to portray me in different areas of my life or different.

Tawana Williams: ages in my life, rather, and they were also born without arms and they're going to do their thing they're going to portray me as as young tawana in different.

Tawana Williams: areas and scenarios in the film so it's going to be powerful but um You can check it out at eagle without wings dotcom and you'll be able to see where we are and.

Tawana Williams: I would love for you guys to stay in the loop by texting seven two seven two seven to.

Tawana Williams: team eagle te am EA GL E no spaces again text seven two seven two seven to team eagle team eagle we're super excited and you can stay in the loop and you'll know where we are and where we're going and how things are.

Tawana Williams: Moving forward but we're super excited about eagle without wings the movie, which is based on my book unarmed but dangerous and yeah we're excited.

Nadine Vogel: Well i'm excited as well, so I you know i'm not even sure it's fair to ask this question because you have done and continue to do so much, but i'm going to ask it anyway.

Nadine Vogel: so norma I know you want to ask this as well what's next, what are we doing movies down and what comes through after that.

Tawana Williams: Well what's next i've got a lot of things going on in my life so i'm after the movie i'm going to create.

Tawana Williams: My talk show motivation for the soul.

Tawana Williams: And not only talk show reality show you know I want to be able to show people that what you see on TV that's not my reality my reality is not fighting fussing and in all that foolishness that's not me and so i'm just super excited about that.

Tawana Williams: chapter in my life motivation for the soul reality show and at some point i'm going to create a drug rehabilitation Center in my own community, because when I was a drug addict we had to travel.

Tawana Williams: 100 some miles to get help, and so it was tough, for me, and so I realized that that's another thing that i'm going to do i'm going to create a drug, we have.

Tawana Williams: A drug rehabilitation Center in my hometown which is Wilson North Carolina and i'm super excited about helping others spite their addictions and their challenges and i'm just super excited about you know where i'm going and what God is doing in my life yeah.

Nadine Vogel: I think that's amazing norma I don't know about you, I feel exhausted.

NORMA STANLEY: But again It just shows all that you can accomplish when you put your mind to it and and and give yourself permission to soar and that's what she's done and she's definitely you know excited me about my own potential like hey I haven't done anywhere near.

NORMA STANLEY: I have stuff that's gotta get done.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: Well, unfortunately, we are out of time for this episode, but Tawuana, this is not the last you're going to hear from us, we definitely need to keep talking.

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Nadine Vogel: Anything that norma and I can.

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Nadine Vogel: Do or this podcast for you to help you or our listeners, and what they could do to help you please let us know, because you are just the epitome of this show rate disabled lives matter.

Tawana Williams: wow.

Nadine Vogel: And what you are doing matters to a lot of people, and I am just grateful for you and everything that you've done so thank you for joining us today.

Tawana Williams: Thank you for allowing me to come and just you know I wanted to share also that you know i'm also an artist, I draw with my feet, you know i've got you go to Tawuana Williams dotcom that's t a w a, n a Williams dotcome you'll be able to see my artwork my.

Tawana Williams: other products, and you know see my books on on but dangerous they only everything is exclusively only at Tawaana Williams dotcom, so I am super excited about life, and thank you so much for having me and i'm grateful and humbled to serve Thank you.

Nadine Vogel: Well, thank you and don't forget the bomb.com Norma I going to be looking for.

That.

Tawana Williams: Better know you better know it.

Nadine Vogel: yeah.

Nadine Vogel: so norma another great episode yes.

NORMA STANLEY: Yes, absolutely she's awesome and so many awesome people coming i'm real excited about the next few weeks and all the ones we've done so far.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely so for norma and myself another episode of disabled lives matter, we look forward to speaking with you next week, on another great episode and remember it's not just a podcast it's a movement bye bye everybody.

NORMA STANLEY:  be blessed.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

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