Gary Karp's Good Reading: Disability Awareness Information... and More.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In This Issue
The Paradox of Disability Policy
More Free Webinars!
Quick Links
Books by Gary Karp
Life On Wheels
The A to Z Guide to Living Fully with Mobility Issues

Disability & the
Art of Kissing

Questions and Answers on the True Nature of Intimacy
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Hello. Thanks for opening this issue of Good Reading.

I know you get loads of stuff by email (getting kind of ridiculous, isn't it?).

So I appreciate all that much more that you consider mine worth a look. It's my commitment to do all I can to make it worth your time.

All my best,

Actors with Disabilities   
At Long Last - Accurate Portrayals by The Real Thing

We are at last seeing accurate renditions of characters with disabilities, acted by people with the actual disabilities, playing characters whose lives are not primarily defined by their disabilities. Hallelujah!!


Here are a few good examples:


RJ Mitte plays Walter White Jr. on AMC's Breaking Bad. 


RJ has a milder form of cerebral palsy in real life, but it's clear from his excellent portrayal that it allows him to authentically get inside the character. He plays the son of Walter White, who got into the meth lab world to earn security for his family after a diagnosis of lung cancer.


Sounds like a nasty premise, but it's really one of the most brilliant things I've seen on TV. 


Michael Patrick Thornton plays Dr. Gabriel Fife on ABC's Private Practice.


In 2003 Thornton experienced a spinal stroke. He lives with quadriplegia as a result. Those of us with an eye for such thing can judge from his fingers that he's the real deal. It's very difficult for an able-bodied actor to pull that off.


Thornton's character plays a bit into a stereotype that bothers me: the angry cripple. But he got to kiss the girl, so I guess it comes out in the balance! 


Robert David HallRobert David Hall has played Dr. Al Robbins, the guy who does the autopsies, on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS since 2000.  


In 1978, Hall was hit by an 18-wheeler in his car. Both of his legs required amputation, and he has burns over a significant part of his body. He is highly active in the promotion of opportunities for actors with disabilities, as well as being a devoted disability advocate in general.



Marlee MatlinMarlee Matlin's breakout role was in Children of a Lesser God in 1986 opposite William Hurt.


She has been deaf since the age of 18 months, and is the only deaf woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role. 


I especially appreciated her role on TV's West Wing as polling consultant Joey Lucas, where we got to see a very smart woman succeeding at a very high level, and adapting with a trusted and highly professional sign interpreter. 


Peter DinklagePeter Dinklage came to broader attention in the 2003 film The Station Agent, co-starring Patricia Clarkson. His film and TV career began in 1995 in the film, Living In Oblivion


Dinklage was born with a form of dwarfism called "achondroplasia."   

Now Dinklage plays the character of Tyrion Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones - for which he has won  an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor. 



Peter Falk
And let's not forget Peter Falk, who had a glass eye (as did Sammy Davis Jr., among others). For his character, Columbo, the lack of coordination between his two eyes added to the illusion that he wasn't too bright which, of course, was anything but the case.

Couldn't find any notable blind actors, though there are plenty of blind character roles. Anyone? 


Modern Disability Webinars
Great Content at Great Rates


I've got a growing menu of online offerings for you, starting with my two great sessions which give you a solid start on bringing an accurate, up-to-date perspective on disability into your workplace culture.  


New Paradigm of Modern Disability Logo A general overview, looking at who people with disabilities actually are, what has changed in their world and their lives, and what your workplace culture will look like when it embraces the new paradigm.  



Three Principles of Disability Etiquette logo A simple, clear approach that lets everyone relax and get the job done. What do you say? What do you do? The Three Principles lay out a core foundation where it all naturally follows without sweating it. 


My webinar menu also includes:

  • Sexuality & Disability
  • Manual Wheelchair Selection  
  • Adjustment to Paralysis

And the reviews have been raves:  


"Gary has an exceptional level of knowledge."

- Cal Jackson, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida   


"Gary provides a refreshingly simple presentation of the philosophies we must embrace."

- Keri Simmons, San Jose State University 


Special low rates for dedicated sessions
for the rest of 2011. 


 Call 415.491.4280 or email me at to discuss details.

 Latest Rave
 Success with This Year's Capital Pilgrimage!

U.S. EPA LogoTrue to annual tradition, I traveled to Washington D.C. to give talks for National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 


Me and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
With EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson just following my keynote last month in D.C.

I was especially honored that EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (who you might have seen recently on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO) asked that my talk be scheduled so she could attend. (She told me she'd have to leave early for a phone call with President Obama - but she stuck around until the end anyway. She blew off the  

President for me!)


She was apparently glad she did:


"As your inspiring keynote address reminded us, each of us can - and must - do more to embrace people with disabilities and to advance their professional success. Your personal story of achievment and unique perspective made our event particularly meaningful."


I have to confess to being especially proud of the little extra handwritten postscript:


Lisa Jackson Postscript   

Can I bring this message to your organization? Anyone else come to mind? Your referrals help me spread the wisdom further and make a real difference in people's lives. Send them to, call 415.491.4280, or follow me on Twitter at #garylkarp. 

 Studio photos copyright,