Mike Berkson is a founding member of HandicapThis!, an inspirational leader of the Keep On Keeping On Foundation, motivational speaker, aspiring film-maker, and an entrant novelist. He is also a movie connoisseur and has seen over 12,000 movies. Mike was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and his family was told “not to expect much.” Nonetheless at age three, not only was Mike talking up a storm, but he had a thirst for vocabulary. Mike virtually has no movement of his arms and legs, which limits his control and independence, but Mike’s unmatched wit, amazing stage presence, and good nature is limitless.
At age twelve, Mike met Tim Wambach. Tim was hired to be Mike’s one-on-one aide and help Mike with the tasks of daily living. Throughout the years Mike and Tim have formed an unmeasurable bond and have been through some of the most amazing adventures together.
Mike and Tim created the Keep On Keeping On Foundation to help those living with severe physical disabilities, like cerebral palsy. They have helped families pay for therapy, equipment, home modifications, and motorized wheelchairs, all in an effort to help both the child and the family. Mike and Tim’s motivational speaking success ultimately gave the pair the opportunity to spread their message of tolerance and inclusion through their live show called, Handicap This! Recently, Mike created, Making Minds Handicap Accessible: The Digital Classroom Experience, a digital classroom learning tool, which helps spread the message of the importance of social emotional learning and empathy.
Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Mike talks about his unique journey with cerebral palsy, his friend Tim, and his role in HandicapThis!, a two-man show. Mike also touches on mental health and the struggle of accepting one’s self when one has a difference. Throughout the interview, Mike discusses the importance of accessibility, inclusion, and tolerance. Mike’s advice is to, “Throw out the book about how to handle someone with special needs and look at the individual person, not just the disability.”
Portions of Mike’s biography were provided by: Our Team | Handicap This!