Blogs and sites about disability

• Abled
• AbledBody (where can-do is done different) This consumer website (with guest bloggers) covers disability news and assistive and emerging technologies for people with disabilities. Suzanne Robitaille, founder of AbleBody, also writes a column for the Huffington Post.
• ADA National Network (Americans with Disabilities Act)
• Aging and Disability Networks (Administration for Community Living)
• Can-Do-Ability
• The DD News Blog . News, information, and commentary for families and friends of people with developmental disabilities.
• DeafRead (best of deaf blogs and vlogs). Includes A deaf mom shares her world
• Disability & Media Matters (Shawn Burns writes about how people with disability are represented in the Australian news media and how they feel about that.
• Disability.Blog, the official blog of Disability.gov, features weekly posts by experts on topics important to people with disabilities, their families, and others.
• Disability issues--information for journalists (The Center for an Accessible Society)
• Disability Rights Section, U.S. Dept. of Justice
• Disability Scoop. A premier source for disability news, with daily coverage of developmental disability news, including intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome).
• Disability Studies (Temple U)
• E-bility (an online resource for people with disability)
• Fred's Head (a blindness blog, rich in resources)
• Girl in a Party Hat (Raising Sophie). Amy Silverman blogs about her daughter Sophie, who has Down syndrome
• Have wheelchair will travel (Richie, 17 and in a wheelchair, travels around the world with his family.)
• Jan's Group Home Support (resources, ideas, and support for caregivers)
• kathiecomments Retired clinical psychologist Katherine Schneider writes about aging, disability and assisted services, including service dogs.
• Martyn Sibley
• McGuire on Media. Tim McGuire blogs about news media and journalism education and occasionally writes about disability from a personal perspective.
• Media dis&dat . News and information about people with disabilities and disability issues.
• Melissa's Solid Ground (for children and adults who have parents with disabilities to share their experiences and just talk to each other in a secure and safe environment)
• Melissa's Dad Reflecting on a 22 year journey as the father of a daughter with special needs.
• Meyrick Jones Racing (The diary of an endurance sports enthusiast with big dreams to represent Canada at the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver.)
• Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Dept. of Labor
• Ouch blog (Brothers, sisters, and disability) (BBC's monthly dose of disability radio -- exploring the disability world in blog posts and a monthly internet radio talk show)
• Rolling Rains Report (precipitating dialogue on travel, disability, and universal design)
• Serving People with Disabilities in the Most Integrated Setting: Community Living and Olmstead (Health & Human Services)
• Sense and Disability (Chelsey Blair's blog on being a young adult with a disability)
• Service Dogs
• Shaping Our Lives. A national UK network of service users and people with disability.
• Still Outdoors Adventure is still possible!
• 100 Best Blogs for Disabled People and Carers (Stairlifts Reviews). Annotated so you can find the ones that suit your situation. Geared to UK. Includes blogs about traveling with a disability.
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"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." ~E. B. White

Blogs and websites about traveling with disability

• Abiitytrip (accessible, fun travel for all)
• Barrier Free Travels (Candy Harrington's blog with travel info for slow walkers and wheelchair users)
• BootsnAll (one-stop indie travel guide, recommended by World on Wheels)
• Chris Eliot, travel ombudsman
• DisabledTravelers.com
• Emerging Horizons (travel info wheelchair users and slow walkers)
• Flying with Disability
• Global Access News (Disabled Travel Network). See its disability links
• Limitless Travel (UK a company that specializes in accessible holidays and tours)
• 92 and Still Driving? Seniors At The Wheel (Debbie Brodsky).
• Rolling Rains Report (precipitating dialogue on travel, disability, and universal design)
• Simply Emma (UK), Scottish blogger who loves to travel writes about doing so in a wheelchair)
• Tourism Is for Everybody (a UK firm that works with businesses and policymakers to promote accessible tourism in the UK)
• Travels with Pain (helping travelers with hidden disabilities explore the world)
• The World on Wheels (a blog). Tim, disabled from birth, travels with a wheelchair; Darryl, his father and caregiver, travels with him.
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Changing attitudes about disability

• NDEAM 2015: My Disability is One Part of Who I Am (Jennifer Sheehy, U.S. Dept. of Labor blog, 10-5-15)
• Adaptive Action Sports, nonprofit organization cofounded by Amy Purdy, to help people with physical disabilities get involved in action sports, go snowboarding, skateboarding, etc. Purdy is co-author (with Michelle Burford) of On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life Growing up, Amy Purdy was an artist and board sport enthusiast. Her goal was to spend a few years traveling the world and snowboarding when suddenly, at the age of 19 her life changed forever. After a day of flu like symptoms Amy was rushed to the hospital in a state of septic shock and diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis, a deadly blood infection. Amy fought for her life for nearly 3 months, leaving the hospital a completely different person physically, mentally, and spiritually. Amy lost both of her legs below the knee, as well as all kidney function, but it didn't stop her from following her dreams. A world-class snowboarder and 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, she also danced on Dancing on the Stars.
• Disability Is Natural: Revolutionary Common Sense for Raising Successful Children with Disabilities by Kathie Snow. Check out her website for many other useful resources: Disability Is Natural.
• Renting with Disabilities (Tenant Resource Center for Housing Justice in Wisconsin). Search for similar sites in other states, but this may be helpful generally, too.
• ADA: Disabilities & Your Rights as an Employee (FindLaw)
• Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy, and Birth by Anne Finger (a frankly detailed story about home birth by a woman with postpolio problems that make giving birth "problematic" -- also opens one's eyes to the stereotypes people have toward disability and to the complexities of reproductive rights).
• Reflections from a Different Journey: What Adults with Disabilities Wish All Parents Knew , ed. Stanley D Klein and John D. Kemp (40 stories by successful adults who grew up with disabilities
• No Pity : People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement
• Why I Wrote the Americans with Disabilities Act ( Robert L. Burgdorf Jr., U.S. Dept. of Labor blog, 7-29-15) "The ADA was a response to an appalling problem: widespread, systemic, inhumane discrimination against people with disabilities. ...a good reminder of what our nation’s leaders can accomplish when they meet each other in a spirit of civility and compromise." An interesting article.
• National Veterans Wheelchair Games (Dr. Govloop)
Covering disability (for journalists and others)

• National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ)
• NCDJ Style Guide, how to use appropriate language--for example, when is it appropriate to use the terms "handicapped" or "disabled." General, physical disability, visually impaired, hearing impaired, mental and cognitive disability/​seizure disorders.
• Tip sheets for reporters (NCDJ)
• Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media by Beth A. Haller (see Haller's links to disability resources)
• Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
• Journalist's Toolbox (SPJ, resources on disability and accessibility)
• ADA.gov (information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - Chinese Proverb

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Traveling with limited mobility and other disabilities

• Access Anything: I Can Do That! - Adventuring with Disabilities by Andrea & Craig Kennedy
• Traveling With Disabilities (Kojo Nnandi show, 11-3-15). After a five-hour flight from San Francisco to D.C., D’Arcee Neal, who has cerebral palsy and could not use the airplane bathroom, simply couldn’t wait any longer and crawled off the plane when the airline failed to bring him the wheelchair made to fit the plane’s aisle. Although federal laws require equal accessibility to transportation for people with disabilities, his experience is not uncommon. Kojo talks with D’arcee and other disability rights activists about what happened to him and how similar events can be avoided in the future.
• Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Disabilities (ChampionTraveler) Includes guides for traveling on specific airlines.
• Do you need travel insurance? (Consumer Reports, July 2012) Maybe, if there are gaps in your auto, health, life, or homeowners policies. But buy wisely. "Instead of buying a policy through a travel agent or booking site, go to an online broker such as InsureMyTrip.com, which sells coverage from 21 carriers, including CSA Travel Protection, MedJet Assist, and Travelex." See reviews of travel insurance plans.
• The Essential Guide to Travelling with a Medical Condition (InsuranceWith) a pretty good guide to traveling with a medical problem or disabily, plus they sell travel insurance.
• Ultimate Travel Insurance & Disabilities Guide (Alicia Miley, Compare Travel Insurance) Quite a bit of practical advice here, including packing list.

• Barrier-Free Travel:A Nuts And Bolts Guide For Wheelers And Slow Walkers by Candy B. Harrington (author of 101 Accessible Vacations: Vacation Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers and There Is Room at the Inn: Inns and B&Bs for Wheelers and Slow Walkers)
• Rick Steves' Easy Access Europe: A Guide for Travelers with Limited Mobility
• These Aren’t Tykes on Little Bikes: A Mature Market Adopts the Tricycle (Rachel Bachman, Wall Street Journal, 10-9-14). See also Adult tricycles (article by Emily Stokes, "The Third Way: Tricycles," in T, 11-11-14). And Adult tricycles (a Best Reviews guide).
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The legal. financial, and practical aspects of living with a disability

• Advance directives, living wills, Medicare, and other practical matters
• Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: Listing of Adult Impairments (Adult) (Social Security Administration)
• Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: Listing of Childhood Impairments (Social Security Administration)
• The Social Security Disability Claims Process (YouTube video)
• Long-Term Disability Insurance Gets Little Attention But Can Pay Off Big Time (Michelle Andrews, KHN, 10-10-17) As the annual benefits enrollment season gets underway at many companies, disability coverage may be one option worth your attention. Some employers may be asking you to pay a bigger share or even the full cost. That can have a hidden advantage later, if you use the policy. If you become disabled because of accident, injury or illness, long-term disability insurance typically pays 50 to 60 percent of your income, while you’re unable to work. The length of time the policy pays varies; some policies pay until you reach age 65.
• When Wait Times Become A Death Sentence: A Look Inside Backlog For Disability Benefits (Kaiser Health News). Links to the Washington Post's Disabled in America series:
---597 days. And still waiting. (Terrence McCoy, WashPost, 11-20-17) 10,000 people died in the past year while stuck in a backlog of judges’ disability cases. What will happen to Joe Stewart? A Wash Post series:
---Part 1: Disabled? Or just desperate Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up
---Part 2: Generations, disabled One family. Four generations of disability benefits. Will it continue? A family on the fringes prays for the "right diagnosis."
---Part 3: Disabled and disdained How disability benefits divided this rural community between those who work and those who don’t
---Part 4: 'I am a hard worker" Some say people on disability just need to get back to work. It’s not that easy. Lisa Daunhauer wanted to be one of the few to get off disability. But first she had to succeed at Walmart.
---Part 5: After the check is gone Her disability check was gone, and now the only option left was also one of the worst. The underground economy has long been a part of rural America, where some receiving disability benefits are forced to work to survive.
• Benefits.gov. The official benefits website of the U.S. government. Informs citizens of benefits they may be eligible for. Provides information on how to apply for assistance.
• The Complete Guide to Disability Claims, Insurance and Benefits (DisabilityDenials.com, associated with Marc Whitehead's disability benefits law firm). I tend not to list links associated with law firms, but this guide looks pretty useful). The firm also offers free ebooks (which I did not examine) about Disability Insurance Policies, The Social Security Disability Puzzle, and Veterans Disability Claims.
• Disability Planning (ElderLawAnswers)
• How to apply for SSI
• Japan’s elderly turn to life of crime to ease cost of living (Leo Lewis, CNBC, 3-26-16) Japan's shoplifting crime wave represents an attempt by those convicted to end up in prison — an institution that offers free food, accommodation and healthcare.
• Long term care insurance (links to articles and sites that answer your questions) Should you or should you not buy long-term care insurance? How much? Can you afford it? Where to learn about options. Do premiums or benefits affect your tax picture? Separating expenses and emotions.
• Nolo online law center (provides legal assistance in preparing documents for elder care)
• Social Security cash benefit programs for people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities
• Supplemental needs trusts and planning for disabled children (ElderLawAnswers)
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Organizations that help artists with disabilities

Or (resources described by the National Endowment for the Arts--check that link for more information about the organizations listed below)
• Access to the Arts (Louisville, KY)
• Accessible Arts (VSA, Kansas's state organization on arts and disabilities)
• Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts (formerly Non-Traditional Casting Project)
• American Federation of Musicians (provides grants to musicians with disabilities)
• Axis Dance Company (strives to integrate contemporary dance and disability culture)
• Coalition for Disabled Musicians, Inc.(CDM)
• Culture! Disability! Talent! (works to correct disability stereotypes by providing access and opportunities for performers and media-makers with disabilities)
• The Dancing Wheels Company & School (one of America's first integrated dance companies, comprising professional dancers with and without disabilities)
• DeafMedia
• Disability and the arts: the best of times, the worst of times (Jo Verrent, The Guardian, 3-23-15) Introducing a new series on disability arts, producer Jo Verrent looks at some of the key issues affecting disabled artists and organisations in the sector. See The Guardian's Culture Professionals Network.
• Infinity Dance Theater
• International Center on Deafness and the Arts
• , exploring the experience of disability through literature and the fine arts (United Disability Services)
National Arts & Disability Center (promotes the full inclusion of audiences and artists with disabilities into all facets of the arts)
• National Federation of the Blind (voice of the nation's blind)
• National Institute of Art and Disabilities
• New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). NYFA’s online searchable database provides listings of sponsors, art grants, and fellowship programs for the disability community. It also provides a hotline to help artists navigate NYFA’s programs and database (1.800.232.2789).
• SignStage (a division of the Community Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department, within the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center)
• Theater Breaking Through Barriers (advances the careers of artists with disabilities in New York City)
• VSA Arts, the International Organization on Arts & Disability (based at the Kennedy Center, formerly Very Special Arts, and before that the National Committee - Arts for the Handicapped)
• VSA Arts Registry.
Again, see fuller descriptions, addresses, and so on, on the NEA webpage, Organizations that Assist Artists with Disabilities
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Memoirs about living with a disability

• Adams, Rachel. Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery ""We learn from Adams what it means to have a son very different from most others in mind and body, whose future is uncertain, but whose life is infused with love and so worth living."—Jerome Groopman
• Bernstein,Jane. Loving Rachel (about life with a blind daughter)
• Bouton, Katherine. Shouting Won't Help: Why I--and 50 Million Other Americans--Can't Hear You (Bouton tells her story about adult onset of profound deafness, and profiles others with similar losses -- an opera singer, a pastry chef, a psychoanalyst, and, as Jerome Groopman writes, "offers a wealth of information and insight about a frustrating and isolating condition."
• Bragg, Bernard. Lessons in Laughter: The Autobiography of a Deaf Actor
• Brownsworth, Victoria A. and Susan Raffo, eds. Restricted Access: Lesbians on Disability . Contributors to this anthology write about the reality of being a "member of a doubly marginalized group in a phobic society," and often homophobic doctors--and write about a range of disabilities (including those from birth defects, AIDS, deafness, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental illness, cerebral palsy).
• Callahan, John. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot "Without self-pity or self-righteousness, this liberating book tells us how a quadriplegic with a healthy libido has sex, what it's like to live in the exitless maze of the welfare system, where a cartoonist finds his comedy, and how a man with no reason to believe in anything discovers his own brand of faith."
• Chorost, Michael Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human. Severely hearing-impaired since birth, Chorost abruptly went totally deaf in 2001. Fascinating account of the human side of cochlear implants.
• Crosby, Christina. A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain. "In her surgically incisive descriptions of how it feels to live in her ravaged body and to redefine herself within extreme new limits, Crosby resists both self-pity and the too-easy narrative of hardship overcome. Instead, she asks readers to recognize how messy, precarious, and queer, in every sense of the word, life in a body can be."~ Michael M. Weinstein, A Professor’s Memoir of Life Inside a Ravaged Body (New Yorker, 4-11-16)
• Dubus, Andre. Meditations from a Movable Chair and the earlier collection of essays Broken Vessels (both written after a 1986 highway accident left him largely confined to a wheelchair, and only some essays deal with his response to the accident and his view of life from a wheelchair)
• Finger, Anne. Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy, and Birth
• Galli, Richard. Rescuing Jeffrey (an account of the gut-wrenching decisions Jeffrey’s parents face in the ten days after an accident leaves him paralyzed from the neck down)
• Gordon, Mary. Circling My Mother (Gordon's memoir of her Irish Catholic mother, deformed by polio, eventually suffering dementia—and of their complex mother-daughter relationship)
• Hockenberry, John. Moving Violations: Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence
• Hull, John. Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness (from sight problems at 13, gradually becoming blind)
• Jezer, Marty. Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words. See Randy Holhut's obit for Jezer and Saying Goodbye to Marty Jezer (Joyce Marcel, Common Dreams)
• Kleege, Georgina. Sight Unseen (marginally sighted and legally blind at 11 from macular degeneration, Kleege explores the meaning and implications of blindness and sightedness, reminding us that only a fraction of blind people see nothing at all)
• Kuusisto, Stephen. Planet of the Blind (blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other, at his mother’s urging he feigns sightedness until coming to terms with his condition) and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening (in this sequel to Planet of the Blind, the author learns to live by ear)
• Lodge, David. Deaf Sentence: A Novel I include this serio-comic novel here because it is so good at conveying the way the world "sounds" to a deaf person, and because it is at least somewhat autobiographical. Read How hiding his deafness ruined novelist David Lodge's life (Moira Petty's story, MailOnline, 5-20-08, about how Lodge concealed his deafness). "On average, it takes a person suffering from sight problems up to three years to do something about it, while those experiencing deafness wait up to 15."
• Luczak, Raymond. Assembly Required: Notes From a Deaf Gay Life . A personal account of growing up a deaf, gay man, straddling the worlds of the hearing and deaf, coming out as gay after enrolling at Gallaudet University, a university for deaf people in Washington, DC--his worldview shaped by issues of identity, literacy, technology, and family.
• Mairs, Nancy. Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled (wheelchair-bound from advancing multiple sclerosis, she offers "a Baedeker for a country to which no one travels willingly"). Check out also Carnal Acts , and Remembering the Bone House
• Price, Reynolds. A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing (spine cancer makes him paraplegic, but liberates his imagination)
• Rousso, Harilyn. Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back "Rousso is an activist, artist, educator, social worker, psychotherapist, writer, painter and advocate who has worked in the disability rights field. The book follows her journey from 'passing' - pretending that she didn't have cerebral palsy - to embracing her disability. In the late '70s, she began exploring her disability identity, and she writes with honesty and power." --Jewish Woman, Winter 2012
• Shea, Gerald. Music Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life After scarlet fever at age six damaged his cochlea, leaving him partly but severely deaf (unable to decipher consonants and certain vowels). How he compensated and adapted is fascinating, and as one reviewer says, his story is both an inspiration and a cautionary tale.
• Shinn, Kelley. A Crippled Cassandra (Intima, Fall 2013). After barely surviving meningococcemia and sepsis at 16, her legs "slowly amputated just below the knees, [her] arms and thighs debrided and skin grafted, she defies doctors, gets pregnant, and has and raises two children. "I have travelled much of the globe, including war zones; I have been mountain climbing, kayaking, dancing, and I’ve breastfed an infant while operating a tractor. " Here, "Taking a Firm Hold on the Moment".
• Shreve, Susan Richards. Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven (an "indelible portrait of the psychic fallout of childhood illness").
• Sidransky, Ruth. In Silence: Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World
• Sienkiewicz-Mercer, Ruth and Steven B. Kaplan. I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. (Encephalitis at 5 weeks left Ruth, a healthy baby, paralyzed and unable to speak normally. Diagnosed an imbecile at 5 years, she was eventually institutionalized and severely mistreated at a school for the mentally and physically disabled until a staff turnover brought her help, including a method for communicating.)
• Spradley, Thomas S. and James P. Deaf Like Me (parents of a child born deaf as the result of an epidemic of German measles, waste years avoiding sign language before learning how to communicate with their child)
• Sutcliff, Rosemary. Blue Remembered Hills: A Recollection (the memoir of one of Britain’s best-loved historical novelists, crippled and badly disabled from the age of three by Still’s Disease, a form of juvenile arthritis)
• Wakefield, Darcy. I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted-and ALS (another moving memoir of living and dying with ALS--and about her "fast-forward" life, "in which she applies for disability, leaves her job, and plans her own funeral as well as meets and moves in with her true love, buys a house, and gives birth to her first child."
• Walker, Lou Ann. A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family (what it was like growing up hearing as the oldest child of deaf parents)
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"It goes without saying, that if it goes without saying, it's gone." --Marcia Orland

***FIVE WISHES. Put this Aging with Dignity document and task at the top of your to-do list. Expressing your Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:
* Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can't make them.
* The kind of medical treatment you want or don't want.
* How comfortable you want to be.
* How you want people to treat you.
* What you want your loved ones to know.

Kristie Miller's Letter of Intent

Let your family and friends know what you want done if you are ill, incapacitated, or facing the end of life. Kristie Miller did just that in the following selection, first published on December 5,2003, and reprinted here by permission.

"Do you have a letter of intent?" my doctor asked during my annual physical exam last spring, after posing her standard questions about using my seat belt and checking my smoke alarm batteries.

Was a letter of intent the same as a living will, I asked, referring to the directive that explains one's wishes for ceasing heroic measures in the case of a persistent vegetative state.

No. A letter of intent is not about ending life, but about what I would want out of life if a stroke or other disability reduced my mobility and perhaps even made it impossible for me to express my wishes.

A wonderful idea, this. At my time of life -- 59 next Tuesday -- I have a number of elderly friends and relations whose wishes I try to intuit, with who knows how much success.

A letter of intent, therefore, would seem to promise comfort not only to me, but also to my children or other caregivers.

Nevertheless, I've put it off. I've been busy, sure, but it's also the sort of thing it's hard to think about when one is, if not in the prime of life, at least in reasonably robust good health.

As my birthday looms, it seems like a good time to grapple with what I'd like in my decline.

So here goes:

"Dear Children,

"Here are some of the things that would make me happy.

"Sunshine, first of all. Park me in a sunny spot every morning, please. Maybe with a view of a bird feeder. If it's cloudy, try one of those lamps that are said to mimic the sun's stimulating effect.

"Next, massage therapy. Even now, I like to get body work on a regular basis. A good brisk professional massage does wonders for my back when it's stiff from hours at the computer keyboard. It also soothes my arthritic feet and hands. In general, it improves circulation, aids relaxation, and leaves me happy and mellow. Old folks whose partners have died are often starved for human touch. And even non-professionals can give a good back rub or a little foot massage.

"I'd like to have nearby a tape recorder (or whatever technology has replaced it by then). I may not be able to follow new material, but play me recordings of stories that I've known for years. W. Somerset Maugham's and O. Henry's short stories; P. G, Wodehouse and James Thurber for fun; and the novels of Jane Austen.

"Poetry, too -- John Donne, Stephen Crane, the sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and anything in the Mack, Dean and Frost anthology I had in a college class with the poet Daniel Hughes forty years ago. You will find it on my bookshelf, read to tatters. When you have time, your own dear voices reading those selections would give me great pleasure.

"And music! Robert Schumann's Piano concerto in A Minor, Mozart's Requiem, anything by Beethoven. And of course, rock and roll songs from the Fifties and Sixties!

"I've never been much of a gardener, but I think I'd like to have some plants nearby. I love lilacs, and narcissus, especially the ones planted in gravel that I could watch open day by day.

"Pets are good company. Perhaps an older dog from the pound, who would lie quietly with her head in my lap. A bird might be nice, too, like the parakeet we used to have, hand-raised so it was tame enough to land on my shoulder.

"I'm looking forward to being old enough it won't matter anymore what I eat! I'll want eggs every morning, and the dark meat of chicken, both of which I strictly ration now. I hope I can still enjoy fruits -- almost any kind, though I have a special fondness for stewed apricots or fresh raspberries.

"Thank you for looking after me. I hope it gives you one tenth of the pleasure it gave me to look after you when you were small."

There, I've done it. You do it, too, if not today, then at least on your next birthday.

Copyright News Tribune, La Salle IL. Reprinted by permission of Kristie Miller, author of Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman.
Kristie Miller's website

Fiction featuring characters with disabilities

• Crime Fiction Book List: Disabled Isn’t Unable
• Fictional characters with disabilities
• Books featuring characters with disabilities (Goodreads)
• 10 Captivating Books That Portray Disease and Disability Through Fiction (Rachel Kassenbrock, The Mighty)

• Wonder by R. J. Palacio (for kids). August Pullman is a 10-year-old boy who likes Star Wars and Xbox, ordinary except for his jarring facial anomalies.
• Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (for kids) Melody can't walk, talk, or do normal daily activities for herself, but she has a photographic memory and the camera is always running.
• The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (for teen and young adult readers) Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?
• It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (for mature teens). a poignant and sometimes humorous tale about navigating adolescence and depression
• El Deafo by Cece Bell (grades 2 to 6) Cece loses her hearing from spinal meningitis, and takes readers through the arduous journey of learning to lip read and decipher the noise of her hearing aid, with the goal of finding a true friend. "'It's an honest and rather sweet tale of a girl coming to terms with her disability, and as such the kind of story that will strike a chord with any child who has felt ostracised or different." ~The Busy Librarian
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