Gary Karp's Good Reading: Disability Awareness Information... and More.
December 16, 2009
In This Issue
The Curb Cut Effect
Goodbye Randy Snow
iPhone Jones
Obama Watch
The White House Disabilities Page

Of all presidential candidates, Barack Obama made the most comprehensive statements and had the clearest perspective on disability issues.

And now, for the first time ever, there is a disability policy advisor in the White House with direct access to the President: Kareem Dale.

Stay tuned to Good Reading for updates as I'm able on how President Obama is faring with the disability agenda.

Start with a vist to The White House Disabilities Issues Page.
My Music
From The Heart

An Album of
Original Instrumental
Guitar Music

Gary Coat Juggling

Sample Tracks Now Available at

CD logo

14 Tracks
Recorded in 1990

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Here's to joy and light and family and major overeating.



p.s. Please be sure to note the digital release of my guitar album, From The Heart. Scroll down on the left!
Disability & Society

The Curb Cut Effect

Something pretty amazing happened once we started taking disability into account in design...

Closed Captioned TV in BankThe benefits spilled over beyond people with disabilities!

Start by cutting the curbs, so wheelchair users like me can get on with real living, free of artificial obstacles.

And sure enough, parents with strollers, bicyclists, delivery people, and kids with those weird shoes with the little wheels in the back love them, too!

Other examples abound:
  • Step-free entries to homes makes moving a lot easier, with far less risk of tripping and joining the ranks of disability. This is good news for insurance companies, too.
  • Wider doors with easier spring tension are, well, easier to open. Think "Home from holiday shopping with armloads of gifts and groceries."
  • Kitchen tools and pens, for example, are ergonomically designed for easier grip and less strain to use. The original impetus was for people with limited grip.
  • AAPD LogoClosed Captioning for television is all over the place now. Bars, airports, rental car offices, and my local bank (shown at right).
  • And don't you just love those bigger bathrooms?
This called for a name change. The early terms were "Barrier-Free Design" or "Handicapped-Accessible Design," Bbut since it's really just "Good Design," the term that has taken hold is...

Universal Design. Take disability into account, and you'll have a better solution overall.

We can thank Ron Mace, an architect with post-polio for coining this term in the 90s. Ron has left us, but he left behind a vibrant set of colleagues at the
Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University
, a great place to learn more about the topic.
In Memory

Randy Snow, Paralympian, Friend
On November 19 the disability and world athletic communities lost a very dear leader and friend in Randy Snow.

Randy was a Paralympian medallist in wheelchair tennis, basketball, and racing. He is the only Paralympic athlete to have won medals in three different events. He is the ONLY Paralympic athlete to date to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Randy Snow

While in El Salvador conducting wheelchair tennis clinics, Randy died of a heart attack in his hotel room while getting ready to go out for the night.

Randy was a fellow traveler of mine in many ways (except for the world-class athlete part!). He was an active motivational speaker and trainer, we were both honored with induction into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame (Randy in the maiden group), and the story of his injury at the age of 16 is detailed in From There To Here: Stories of Adjustment to Spinal Cord Injury which I edited with Stanley Klein.

I first met Randy in Sydney, Australia where we were both working as journalists. Of anyone I met, he was the most immediately open and friendly, approaching me to say hi, making no big deal about who he was.

He was equally gracious about being prompted to a very deep level of personal revelation for his essay in From There To Here.

A son of Dallas and a blast to be with, we've lost a really special one in Randy Snow. Another one of those people whose impact on the world is beyond measure.

Here's what the Dallas Morning News had to say.

...and the International Tennis Federation.
My iPhone Jones

A Writer's Curse: Shake & Spell

Remember "Boggle," the word game where you shake up a set of 16 dice with letters them and then have three minutes to generate as many words as you can?

Shake & Spell Sample ScreenI'm hooked on the iPhone app Shake & Spell from SocialDeck.

It's amazing how many words I know now with no idea at all what they mean! But I know they score points!!

What is especially cool is that it's an online game, so I get to play against people all over the world. I've even made a friend or two, of sorts.

The typical match is a set of three, three-minute games, entering words of three or more letters. The ultimate rush is getting a seven letter word and scoring eleven points. Doesn't happen that often, I can tell ya.

Care to give me a go? Let's get connected and feed each others' game addictions! ;-)
 Studio photos copyright,