Virtual Community Dinner and Game Night

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When: November 14th at 6:30pm EST.

Where: Zoom, a free online platform similar to Skype. Link to join will be provided to you via Twitter/Facebook message or email.

RSVP: On Facebook or Tweet us. You can also email us.

Accessibility: Live captions via CART are available. If you cannot or do not want to use voice chat, you can use the message section to type. You also don’t have to be on camera. Please contact us with any questions!

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#DisabilitySocial Twitter Chat

Our upcoming Twitter chat aims to help fight isolation.

On November 7th at 6:30pm EST, Easterseals Thrive is hosting a Twitter chat on the power of online communities, and how these virtual interactions help fight isolation – especially during the holiday season.

Participating is easy. Make sure you are following us at @ability2thrive on Twitter, and visit our profile page at the specified date and time.

Continue reading “#DisabilitySocial Twitter Chat”

Able: A Series on Amazon Prime

On Amazon streaming services, I discovered Able: A Series. Co-hosted by Kallen Blair and Alie B. Gorrie, Able interviews disabled people in the entertainment industry and focuses on individual experiences in blossoming careers and stories about dealing with ableism along the way.

A Pakistani woman in a green dress sits and is interviewed by two white women in black and grey dresses
An interview with Maysoon Zayid.

There are currently 8 short episodes featuring interviews with:

  • Evan Ruggiero
  • Maysoon Zayid
  • John McGinty
  • Ann Talman
  • Ben Dworkin
  • Christine Bruno
  • Danny Woodburn
  • Ali Stroker

Have you watched Able: A Series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, as well as who you’d like to see on the show!

3 Halloween Reads Featuring Disability

Easterseals Thrive’s top three picks of spooky books featuring disability.

October is the best month for getting cozy with a cup of tea, a blanket, and a spooky book. It’s also the start of the Disability Readathon, a month-long event focused on reading texts by and about disabled people.

Take a look at some of our recommended Halloween reads below, and leave the name of your favorite scary book in the comments!

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

From Anna, one of the co-hosts of the Disability Readathon: “One of our main characters, Olive, is bisexual and deaf and wears a hearing aid. I am about 100 pages into this story, and it’s about a town where, after a party, objects randomly start going missing, and a mysterious spellbook may hold the answer to why.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

This book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. In this story, the Belle figure, now named Harper, has Cerebral Palsy. She’s pulled from a modern-day Washington, DC into a fantastical land with a brooding beast.

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

This recommendation is for all the graphic novel fans. Monstress follows a teen girl who is an amputee and lives with trauma from a war. She also has a symbiotic relationship with, well, a monster. The art reminds me of the ’20s, and is considered steampunk.

Read This Next: Broken Places and Outer Spaces by Nnedi Okorafor

Broken Places and Outer Spaces cover - blue with yellow accents.

I only learned a few weeks ago that Nnedi Okorafor is disabled. A few years ago, I read her book Who Fears Death and thought it was captivating; I added Akata Witch and Binti to my to-be-read shelf immediately. Okorafor is a leading sci-fi writer, but Broken Places & Outer Spaces takes a more personal look at her experience with scoliosis, paralysis, and racism.

Broken Places is a quick read (the audio book is under two hours), and it shows how creativity comes through in the midst of change, disability, and hardships. She also shows how other disabled and otherwise marginalized artists use these identities to fuel and produce their work.

This is available on Amazon, Scribd, and anywhere else you can find books!

Sensory Overload: How to Survive Convention Season

Anna shares how to deal with sensory overload at your favorite conventions.

There’s a convention for every nerd – whether you’re into anime, board games, LARPs, or Star Trek. But for many disabled people, these cons can be overwhelming or inaccessible. In this video, Anna shares their tips on how to survive convention season as an autistic person and as someone with anxiety. Check out her video below, and let us know in the comments some tips of your own!

Normalizing Disability: An Interview with Ali Stroker in New Mobility

The online publication for active wheelchair users, New Mobility, interviewed Broadway actor Ali Stroker. Ali won a Tony Award this year, proudly claiming her win was for disabled people in her acceptance speech. She is the first wheelchair user to receive a Tony.

In the interview, she touched on the importance of seeing yourself reflected in media, stating:

“For so long our culture and our society has been telling us there is something wrong with a person with a disability. So it’s great to be able to normalize it and show that people with disabilities can reach this level.”

Check out the rest of this fantastic interview by clicking on the link below!

Portrayal of Mental Illness in Overwatch’s New Hero, Sigma

Overwatch, the hugely popular online video game, is no stranger to controversy in how it portrays its playable characters, also known as heroes. Blizzard, the company who makes and updates Overwatch, has included queer characters and disabled characters in its lore, but fails to bring their stories into the game itself. This led some players to question whether Blizzard is actually interested in inclusion or if they are looking to score points without putting the work in.

Then comes Sigma, the latest hero. He is portrayed as mentally ill due to experiments that “split” his mind. Included in his kit are sprays (basically in-game stickers) that show his medical charts, as well as a skin called “Asylum” that includes the stereotypical restraints of Hollywood-portrayed institutions. It seems Blizzard is bringing out-of-game lore into the game in big ways.

What do you think about this representation? Let us know in the comments, and take a look at some of the links down below for more discussion on the topic. I’ve also included Sigma’s origin story from the official Overwatch YouTube channel.

KOTAKU: Sigma’s New ‘Asylum’ Skin

TAKE THIS: On Sigma

10 Books to Read in August from the Washington Post

Cover of The Pretty One. Keah is a black woman wearing a gray sweater. She is smiling and has glasses on.

As if my TBR (to-be-read) list wasn’t long enough, the Washington Post shared their list of 10 books we should read in August. One of their recommendations is The Pretty One by Keah Brown. Keah has Cerebral Palsy, and shares part of her life and thoughts in this book. It’s definitely on the top of my pile!

Read This Next: A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

I’m starting a new series here on the blog – “Read This Next,” which offers book and reading recommendations that relate somehow to disability. If you have a recommendation for this space, comment with your suggestion and we will definitely check it out!

A Time to Dance cover. A young woman in a green and red dress kneels on the ground.

Our first rec is A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. This novel is written in verse and follows Veda’s journey through acceptance and strength after losing her leg after a car accident. Veda is a dancer in India who must learn to find a new but equal way to express herself through the medium.

While Venkatraman is not disabled herself, she did extensive research with disabled individuals to give her writing an authentic feel. I found myself connecting to Veda’s experiences so much that I knew the author consulted with others and listened to their suggestions. I also appreciated how, through the narrative, Venkatraman shows the power of seeing others like yourself achieving goals – this novel is the perfect example of why representation is important.

You can learn more about the book on the GoodReads page. Let us know in the comments whether you’ve read this, or if you’ve added it to your reading list!

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