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Patrick Hughes thought of himself as a “normal” undergraduate. He played rugby, joined a fraternity at the University of Kansas and, like most young adults, struggled to figure out his direction in life. Patrick became friends with Jay, a young man on campus, after striking up a conversation about music. The two went to fraternity events, study sessions and sports matches together. Because Jay had autism, Patrick’s other friends questioned their friendship and avoided interacting with Jay. Patrick began to reflect on why including Jay in his “regular life” was so challenging. He realized that people with disabilities experience devastating isolation because the world can be so unwelcoming. “Who is making it difficult for them to be included? Is it them? Or us?” he asks.

Although disability does not negate an individual’s desire to be accepted, it can change how society treats them. The following efforts recognize how damaging exclusion is to those with disabilities. Inclusion Solutions, Higher Ground and the Disability Foundation assist individuals of all abilities to reverse exclusion and accomplish both everyday and extraordinary goals.

After a local paper published a story about Jay and Patrick’s unlikely friendship, students came forward wanting to be matched with disabled people. This resulted in Hughes’ founding Natural Ties, a nonprofit which fostered such partnerships. After 12 years of trying to change perceptions one person at a time through Natural Ties, Hughes wanted to aid individuals with disabilities in a more practical way. In 2000, Hughes heard about Sandra, a woman with cerebral palsy living in Evanston, Illinois. She was unable to enter a restaurant she wished to visit, The Lucky Platter, because it was located in a building that had been designed without access for disabled patrons… Learn more about domain registration!

Confronting a debilitating injury after being in peak physical condition requires a delicate and thoughtful approach. Members of the armed services who have been wounded must reshape their physical and emotional lives to accommodate new challenges. As of June 24, 2008, 30,275 American soldiers have been wounded in Iraq alone, according to a report from the US Department of Defense…

After a skiing accident in 1979 left Sam Sullivan a quadriplegic, he made it his mission to help others with disabilities take control of their lives. After his accident, Sullivan was unable to feed or dress himself. “How could I go out and get a job if I can’t even dress myself?” Sullivan asked. He and other quadriplegics collaborated to find ways to overcome the physical and social barriers they faced…