Gary Karp's Good Reading: Disability Awareness Information... and More.
February, 2009
In This Issue
The Problem wih Jerry
Latest Speaking Rave
Writing Tips
Volume Discounts
Life On Wheels
The A to Z Guide to Living Fully with Mobility Issues

Gary Coat Juggling

Get a great break on the $24.95 cover price for as few as ten copies of Life On Wheels!

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OK. Were you just being polite?

After almost two years of Good Reading issues, someone finally noticed that I misspelled "disability" in the banner graphic.

I misspelled "disability"!!!!

It's all those "i"s and "l"s. They kind of get lost together, don't they?

I revel in my imperfection. We're only human.

Happy February!

He Means Well, but...

Jerry Lewis and People with Disabilities

No question. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon raises millions of dollars that go to research and programs for kids with disabilities. This is a good thing.

But the disability community has serious issues with Jerry Lewis (who I adored as a kid). He just doesn't get people with disabilities, and he has not been gracious in response to their concerns.

Here's the problem: He knowingly uses pity to raise money.

The MDA Telethon exploits images of disability as only trauma and tragedy. Negative social beliefs get strengthened and limit the actual ability of people with disabilities to reach their real potential.

Which, I again remind you, is emerging like gangbusters.

The impression (the one I got until I learned better) is that Muscular Dystrophy is inevitably a killer of children.

Jerry LewisNot true. There are nine varieties of MD. Some are adult onset, and some do not shorten lifespan.

Jerry's Kids, as they themselves often testify, get dropped like a sack of old iPods when they turn 18, into a world that sees them as damaged - with no thanks to the social stereotypes reinforced by the telethon.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scieces is planning to give Mr. Lewis its Humanitarian Award Sunday night on the Oscars telecast.

The disability community protests.

Especially because of what Mr. Lewis has said on record about people with disabilities. For example:

"if you don't want to be pitied for being a cripple in a wheelchair, don't come out of the house."

I know. Hard to believe. It's for real. And not isolated.

You can learn more about this issue at
My New Client

introducing Abilicorp

I have begun working with an exciting startup company devoted to employment of people with disabilities.

Abilicorp focuses on employment for those with disabilities, and is modeled on a unique approach that combines:
  • A disability benefits program to help people protect and maintain their benefits during full-time employment.
  • Consultation and information on adaptive technologies tailored to individual needs.
  • Every one of Abilicorp's Associates (worker with a disability) is matched up with a Personal Advisor to mentor and encourage and help solve problems.
This is where I come in, working with Abilicorp on the development of the Personal Advisor network. We're exploring the roles of online trainings, webinars, and a broad support system to ensure the success of the Personal Advisor / Associate relationship.

Abilicorp LogoAbilicorp's CEO is the well-known and highly-respected Neil Jacobson. He's a longtime advocate, and has lived with a disability since birth. Neil believes that everyone with a disability has a right to realize their full potential in the workplace.

Abilicorp is seeking Associates and Personal Advisors, as well as employers with staffing needs.

Learn more at or call them directly at 888-766-6530.
Latest Rave

Speaking to Students this Week in L.A. Area

Gary with students at University of Indianapolis

This week I'm on the road under my sponsorship with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation speaking to students of Occupational and Physical Therapy.

Here is an eval comment from a student at California State Long Beach, where I spoke on Wednesday, February 18, that shows how gratifying this work is for me:

"Your talk renewed my desire to pursue a physical therapy career. I have been feeling doubt in my career path, but now I feel encouraged and motivated. Thank you!"

See some actual student eval forms.

Are you with a university or spinal cord rehab center, and would like to get on my Reeve-sponsored schedule? Let me know by email or at 415.491.4280. All costs and fees are covered under the program!

I still have openings for Chicago, S. California (again at the end of May), New York/New Jersey, and Atlanta. Other cities are yet to be set for next year.

Please remember me and let people know about my work as a keynote speaker, trainer, workshop leader, panel moderator, emcee, and disability consultant. I'm here to help you achieve the goals of your meeting or conference.
Writing Tips

Avoid Useless Words and Phrases

They just fall on the page so easily. Without realizing it, we add words into our writing that have nothing to do with what we're expressing.

They feel natural, but are really a waste.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Often, for instance, simple writing techniques can really help you express yourself in your writing so much better. It is important, I remember, to make each word count. Chances are people will be more engaged with your ideas and guidance, at least. First, imagine this scenario. At this point, you are writing a short essay that really has got to hit home in, maybe, a set number of words. But oh what a struggle, you find, to do this. Why?, you wonder. Because, you see, bunches and bunches of the words and phrases you used are actually just totally and completely useless.

102 words - and a bit exaggerated for effect!

Now the edit:

Simple writing techniques can help you write with more impact. Make each word count, and people will be more engaged. To write effectively with fewer words - especially when you have a set limit - avoid words and phrases that say very little. Some examples: "often," "really," "it is important," "first, imagine...," "at this point," "at least," "actually," "and so on."

And so on!

60 words. Easier to read? Make the point just as well, if not better?

Don't sweat allowing useless words and phrases in your first draft. Just cut them out when you edit.
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