Monday, October 14, 2013


Consider this. On Saturday morning an audience gathered in a lecture hall near Munich to hear me speak about my life with Cerebral Palsy, my take on what I benefited from years of rehabilitation and how I became independent. You'd think that after inviting me as a keynote speaker and days of presentations on disability inclusion and integration they would find a way to get me up on the stage. When you're up on the podium you lecture, you're the speaker. The attention is on you-Norman Perrin said- and it's hard not to agree with him. When you're sitting next to the stage, you're just a guy on the floor- speaking. I didn't really mind, but I think it's a bit ironic and serves as a bit of a commentary on the state of things. You invite a man in the wheelchair to speak, you have months to prepare and when he is there to deliver, you don't know what to do with him. At the last minute they bring a table. They want to give me a microphone to hold, but I prefer to not have things in my hand. They finally get me some kind of mic stand and I was able to present. And boy did I deliver. This may be the least modest thing I have written in months, but I think I did a got job. After watching people for few days doing nothing but hiding behind their  power point presentations and reading from them I wanted to do something different. And I guess what I was about to do would have been different either way. My talk was about my life. My parents and what they have sacrificed their health to help me improve. My drive to independence. How we insisted to have me attend a "normal" school in 1980's communist Poland. How Conductive Education gave me a better understanding of my body and balance and some 25 years later I still manage in places like unfamiliar airport bathroom in Frankfurt. What the Hungarian experience was like. How I felt being in the Peto Institute. The first night there. My first consultation before I was admitted. How loving and encouraging the Conductors were, some of the things I remember. I didn't write out or memorize a speech. My Trial Practice instructor, Carl Schwait, would have killed me had I done so. Never read when you present he would say. But learn to transition between your points with an ease. Learn to talk about it. Be familiar with your material. Of course there is a difference between presenting in court a delivering a lecture to a group of people and there is a difference between talking about a case and some deeply personal experiences. But I felt good doing it. And I was running out of time, but I could go on and on. Some people have asked me if they could see the written version of what I've done in there, but it doesn't exist. All I have is my conspectus.  And the whole thing was of course recorded. After the talk, a woman from a CE center in Chicago approached me to see if I'd be interested in perhaps doing a fundraiser event with them. And I have always said I'd always be willing to do things like that, just point me in the right  direction. I also need to thank Susie Mallet and Andrew Sutton for insisting I was included in this and making me a part of the world. But I want to do more and more- just keep coming up with ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Public apology: