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Monday, August 15, 2011

Personal Introduction

Hi, my name is Dan Winchester. I have a wide variety of interests in many subjects and have some in-depth knowledge of some fields. I have a doctorate in developmental psychology from Ferauf Graduate School of Psychology within the Bronx campus of Albert Enstein College of Medicine, part of Yeshiva University In New York City. I was also born with a disability, cerebral palsy, a brain injury since birth which affects my coordination(can't use my hands so I'm using an iPad stylus held by my teeth to hit letters/numbers on keyboard and a mouthstick to use on a MacBook laptop), speech and hearing(use digital hearing aids in conjunction with lipreading skills to meet my interpersonal communication needs although I know only basic ASL or American Sign Language).

Living with these challenges in an ableist society for 58 years(look at least 15 years younger - don't ask me why) has made me acutely sensitive to the inequities experienced on a daily basis by those who are perceived by the mainstream of society to be qualitatively different from the "norm"(a statistical artifact with no basis in reality). There is a profound dissonance or disconnect between the political rhetoric that touts equality in every sphere of life for citizens with disabilities and the grim realities faced on a daily basis in which both overt and subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice prevail. Examples are legion and I will share some with you while examining its root causes. We are living in a pluralistic society in which everyone no matter his/her background or heritage, has the potential to contribute to the productivity and integrity of the country as a whole. The very existence of discriminatory practices belies this glowing picture of equality. In subsequent posts, I will highlight these cultural and social patterns of prejudice and demonstrate how they contribution to the tendency by authorities to devalue people with disabilities by eroding basic supportive services and degrading the quality of essential equipment such as wheelchairs, etc. that are crucial to enable people with disabilities, myself included, to lead vital independent lives.

See you next time!

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