Brief portraits of disabled individuals living independently. They discuss their everyday lives and the mistaken assumptions that able-bodied people make about how they live.

00:00Copy video clip URL Opening credits and title. 

00:19Copy video clip URL Mary Lou: Mary Lou, a post-polio quadriplegic, uses a wheelchair to pass through the hallways of her workplace. She describes how her impairments have affected her everyday life, both in terms of logistical difficulties and the lack of respect and acknowledgement from people unaccustomed to interacting with people in wheelchairs. Mary Lou is seen at work. 

04:19Copy video clip URL Mary Lou leaves work and drives home, reflecting on the similarity of her life to that of an able-bodied person. “The real criteria for whether I am really a three-dimensionally successful person – a so-called ‘adjusted’ person, a so-called ‘happy’ person – has nothing to do with how well I function in my work setting, or how well I’m dealing with my basic needs, because, for me, all of that stuff has been going on for years and I’ve been doing all these things. There are other facets of my life in which I’m dealing with all the same problems as an able-bodied person.”

06:10Copy video clip URL Michael: In his home, Michael, a thin man with a bushy mustache wearing a shirt with the phrase “Help! I’m trapped inside” repeated in a pattern, says ‘hi’ to the camera. His speech and movement is uneven.  He types out a message on a keyboard with a small electronic monitor: “I’m 38 years old and I have cerebral palsy. Because I have a problem with my speech I live in a world of isolation. People never seem to wait til I punch out my thoughts. As a kid I let my mother do the talking for me. Now that I’m on my own, I have to fend for myself.” A narrator explains that Michael Williams is a journalist and author who has been writing since he was ten years old. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in psychology. 

10:54Copy video clip URL Peter and Jean: Jean and Peter and their son walk along a pier to fish. Peter uses a wheelchair and is pushed by Jean. The two of them discuss the mistaken assumptions that others make about Peter and about their relationship. “I don’t consider myself a disabled person. I’m a person with physical limitations but I’m a lot of other things also. A photographer, a winemaker, a lover, a friend, a father…. I identify very strongly with the disabled community but I refuse the role of a disabled person.”

14:45Copy video clip URL End credits



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