Archive for June 29, 2012

Family Café (part 1):

You are probably asking what Family Café is. No, it’s not a restaurant but an amazing annual conference.

The Family Cafe Annual Conference began with a simple idea. Why not bring together individuals with disabilities and their families with state agencies, non-profit organizations and other service providers.  This was done so families could network with each other, learn what services are available to them, and find out the best way to go about accessing those services. The conference provides a unique environment where families could connect with peers, commercial service providers, and public entities. The Family Cafe has always believed that well-informed people make the best possible decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Our Annual Conference provides the opportunity to put that principle into action.

That initial vision has spawned the largest state-wide conference of its kind in the nation. The 14th Annual Family Cafe Conference, which occurred this past June, hosted more than 7,800 people, and included 160 educational sessions.

On June 14 my dad, nephew and I headed down to Orlando the day before the conference started. We checked in and waited in our hotel room until we could go set up my booth. We went downstairs and met my great friends Heather and Michelle.  We all walked down to the exhibit hall to set up my booth and my friend’s booth.

After we set up our booth we got together in the lobby and waited for my friends to get ready for dinner. My friend Jennifer, Heather and Michelle came to dinner with us at Don Pablo’s. We all had a great dinner with great conversation.


We went back to hotel and decided to hang out by the pool. I put on my swimsuit and went down to the pool to swim. We decided to head to bed since it was getting late.

Friday arose and it was time to register and go down to the exhibit hall to run my booth. I set out my new book I wrote called, “The Squeaky Wheelchair” and put out all my literature for my motivational speaking tour and contact info. The day went along as I met a lot of people and sold and autographed about ten books.

I was getting tired so all my friends decided we wanted to get together again and go to dinner. We went to dinner and again had a great night of friends and conversation. Again it was time for bed since we had to get up early for presenting and running my booth.

Stay tuned for more of this great conference story/adventure.

Squeak, I think I need some WD 40.


Sarasota schools again try to fire teacher O’Neill

Some teachers can abuse children with disabilities with no consequences.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida – More than three years after they first tried to fire teacher Diana O’Neill, Sarasota school district leaders may again be frustrated in their latest attempt to dismiss the embattled teacher who was disciplined for abusing profoundly disabled students.

The latest attempt comes after the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed a state panel’s decision to suspend O’Neill’s teaching certificate for two months. Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White mailed O’Neill a termination letter on June 20 stating she will ask the School Board to fire her at its July 24 meeting.

But O’Neill could thwart that move, at least temporarily, by requesting yet another administrative hearing or protesting the decision through the district’s grievance process, a move that would keep her in her $77,000 a year job possibly for several more months.

Read full story.



Previous 10 special needs of special needs parents

Great blog from a mom raising a child with a disability.  Check out her blog on

“As a mother to two little girls who have Down syndrome, I need parents of typically developing kids to know something.

I have needs.”

Read more.


Parents Sue Fort Bend Special Ed Teacher Accused of Abuse

Two Fort Bend County families are suing their children’s former special education teacher months after allegations surfaced that she put a child with autism in a filing cabinet, ripped another’s hair out of her head and behaved erratically in the classroom.

Julie Gosch, 47, who had taught at Juan Seguin Elementary since 2003, resigned this year. Two teacher’s aides who worked with her sent emails to the school administrators, alleging neglect and inappropriate and abusive behavior.

Attorneys for the families provided the Chronicle with what they said were the emails, which claimed Gosch called her students “retarded,” saying “you guys are losers” and taught the aides to “accidentally” hit the children.

After aides came forward in January, the Fort Bend Independent School District and its police department investigated the allegations. Officials said Gosch’s last day of work was Jan. 27, the day the aides came forward with the written statements.

Fort Bend ISD officials said the teacher has not been the subject of any previous allegations of abuse.

Read more.

Friendships You Will See

I have not had it easy in life because of my disability. Finding friends, getting a girlfriend, etc have all been difficult.

Have you had that same situation? You are probably asking why you can’t find friends and the like. Well, let me tell you that part of your problem is sitting on your behind a doing nothing. “You won’t get anything if you do nothing!”

You read above that I have trouble finding friends, a girlfriend, etc. Let me tell you a story that happened in my life the other day. I was sitting around at my house, playing on Facebook and feeling bored than ever. I had no one around and no transportation. I decided to post something on Facebook, “Good afternoon friends. Anyone want to hang out tonight, maybe eat at Mojos grill, go bowling, play pool, etc?”

I received no response so I thought I would message some people on Facebook, I send my friend Karen, who I met at Ocala Business Leaders and other events, if she wanted to hang out and do something. She asked if I had ideas; so I suggest dinner and maybe a movie, bowling or something. We decided to go to a dinner and a movie.

She came and picked me up, we went to Applebee’s and then after Applebee’s we went to the movies to see Snow White and the Huntsman. We loved the movie and decided we were going to make a night of it so we went to Mochi’s.

The night ended as she dropped me off, what a great night with a great friend! The moral of the story is, that you have to take chances, posting on Facebook, sending a message, calling someone, etc, because you never know when you might meet a new friend or even have a current friend respond and want to do something. You may one day meet a boyfriend or girlfriend, get out there, take chances and don’t let a few no’s bring you down and stop you.

Let’s enjoy life because we are all human beings and we were put on earth not just to sit on our butts.

Squeak those wheels because it will happen!

Cooking on Wheels

What do you have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and how do you make it?

I know there are so many people with disabilities that wonder how they are going to cook and even if they are able to cook. Here is my story; how Chef Moon makes his delicious dishes.

I cook the same is anyone else, with just a few modifications so I don’t hurt myself. One dish that’s easy to make but hard at the same time is spaghetti. The way I make spaghetti is by doing everything on the stove. This allows me from having to transfer the pot of hot water to the sink and possibly spilling and burning myself.

I start by filling the pot up in the sink and carefully transferring over my lap to the stove. As the water boils, I get out all the utensils I need,  including strainer, big mixing bowl and something to stir the spaghetti.

I then break the spaghetti into the boiling pot of water and stirring until done.

Next I take and put the strainer in the mixing bowl and take the boiling pot of water with spaghetti and poor into strainer.  Then with the strainer with spaghetti I it put into serving bowl.

I do all this cooking without hurting or burning myself.

I make lasagna, meatloaf, and other great dishes all by myself. There are ways people with disabilities can do to cook without having help and using the microwave all the time.

Try cooking something at first with someone’s help, then move into cooking on your own.

We got this my friends, squeak, squeak.

Ahh! Vacation in a Wheelchair

May 20, 2012 was upon us and I was packed and ready; ready to go on vacation to Orlando at Grand Beach Resort.

I got my suitcase and music bag ready and sat it by the door. I put on my wheelchair legs, which I rarely use.  I was so pumped up for a week of relaxation and fun. The door goes knock, knock and I open it, there was my nephew. He came with my mom to help put my wheelchair in the car, we all get to a point that the wheelchair becomes too heavy to lift. Have you had that situation where you are limited in places you can go because there is no one to put your wheelchair in their car? I bet you have but remember there still are ways, like riding the bus.  If you have a support coach to help or you can make new friends who can and are willing to lift your wheelchair, etc. It can be done!

We continued on the interstate to our destination. We arrived and out came my brother in law to help unpack the car and lift my wheelchair out. We headed up the elevator to our room where I got to unpack my clothes on my bed. Now I was ready for the week of fun and relaxation.

The week consisted of swimming,  relaxing by the pool, hanging out in room watching TV, going out to  eat a few times and wheeling around by the lake. This was great and I did it all even with a disability. Again, I had help lifting the wheelchair in and out of the car.

I was just another human being on vacation. You can do things too, live on your own, go on vacation, go to movies, go out to eat, attend events, and so much more!

Get off that butt and start doing because sitting and complaining will get you nowhere!

Squeak, squeak here we come.