June 2020 Newsletter


Dear Friends, 

We are excited to share our June Newsletter with you. 

Since the launch of our new website and community, here at Different & Able, we have been growing in big ways. We have added features to our community including live Q&A’s, video interviews and soon to be webinars. 

So far, we have begun to have discussions on ADHD, Autism and dating as well as have interviews with individuals, including Tony Award Winning Actress, Ali Stroker. In June, we have a full schedule of more live Q&A’s and video interviews. Make sure to check out our calendar of events for June. 

This month, we are highlighting Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome. These two disorders are very prevalent and can cause an array of complications. There are many stories and resources to help those affected gain inspiration and shed light on a person’s quality of life with these disorders.


Upcoming Events

June 8th

Interview with Brittany Schiavone, from Brittany's Baskets of Hope, the organization that is dedicated to bringing information, support, guidance, and hope to families that have newly welcomed a baby with Down Syndrome into their lives. You can read her story here


June 21st @10:45AM EST

Live Q&A with Uri Schneider, MA, CCC-SLP of Schneider Speech, answering all speech and language related questions.


June 29th

Interview with Louisa Moats, Ed.D, Pioneer in the underpinnings of dyslexia. Your  questions for Louisa can be submitted until June 28.



June 30th @ 4PM

Live Q&A with Dustin, founder of Ability Tech, a company that manufactures adaptive technology for individuals with disabilities, custom made.


Our live Q&A's will be hosted on the community in the Live Q&A Group. Discussions will open 3 days in advance where we welcome you to post your questions in advance. 

We also welcome you to post your questions for our interviewees up until the day before the interview. Your questions can be posted here under the relevant discussion.

These new additions are helping to engage our community better and start fostering connections with one another. If you have not already done so, we urge you to join our community today!

We look forward to you joining us!

What are Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy?

Down syndrome and cerebral palsy are both congenital disorders. A congenital disorder simply means a medical condition present at birth.  

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal disorder in the United States. Approximately 1 in every 700 babies are born with it. [1] It is a genetic condition caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosomes are the building blocks of human beings; they make us look and behave the way we do. Human beings normally have 46 chromosomes, people who have Down syndrome have 47. Down syndrome causes children to experience delays in learning how to crawl, walk, and talk. Intellectual disability is common and ranges from mild to severe. There are many organizations that offer resources to help people with Down syndrome integrate into society. These organizations help people build social skills, gain employment, and help find housing. There are supportive living environments for those who find it hard to do everyday tasks. A growing number of people with Down syndrome are living alone, driving, and working. With a positive, supportive environment and structured educational programs, people with Down syndrome can access all of life.

Cerebral Palsy is a motor disorder that causes a person to have trouble moving their muscles. 1 in 323 children in North America has cerebral palsy, making it the most common motor disorder in America. [2] The word cerebral means having to do with the brain, and palsy means weakness. This means that the brain cannot send necessary messages to the rest of the body. This usually results in stiff muscles, though the effects of cerebral palsy vary from person to person. Some people may have trouble controlling a few movements or have poor coordination. Others may not walk and some people have a hard time eating. Physical therapy is a treatment which helps with movement, flexibility, and balance. Occupational therapy helps individuals with writing, using everyday objects, and tasks such as getting dressed. Multiple organizations exist that support and give resources to people with cerebral palsy and their families. These organizations help families learn about cerebral palsy so they understand it and can give their family member the support they need. Some organizations help with financial support, legal support, housing, transportation help and skill training.



[2] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/index.html

Image Description: Rania Abi Rafeh smiling for the camera.

Story of the Month

Disability Representation in Media: My Painful Awakening

I blinked at the television site feeling as though a wave of confusion had hit me. Dread washed over me, my head felt heavy. Why is having a physical disability a joke? Is this how people see a person with cerebral palsy? Was I a joke?

Read Rania's Story Here



Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide For Caregiving 

Brittany's Baskets of Hope is dedicated to bringing information, support, guidance, and hope to families that have newly welcomed a baby with Down syndrome into their lives. 

Gigi’s Playhouse has 49 locations that provides “Free, life-changing therapeutic, educational and career training programs for 30,000+ individuals of all ages” (Down syndrome)

Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network “The mission of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network is to connect, support, and provide accurate information for families with a Down syndrome diagnosis.

UCP Helps people with cerebral palsy get connected to various resources such as transportation, health care, and education.

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