Oh, the places you can go

What I love most about my job is the travel.  The blind guy gets around. (We're talking a lot.) And wherever he goes, I go.

Sadly, Ed thinks that people are excited because he’s shown up.

WRONG! I'm the rock star on this team.

For example, we visited Mills Park Middle School recently. Ed talked with a group of 6th- and 8th-graders who have disabilities. (October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month).  Most of the kids have disabilities that are not so obvious. Did you know there are more than 13,000 kids on the autism spectrum and more than 69,000 kids with learning disabilities in North Carolina public schools?

Ed got really excited because so many of the kids were into math and science. When he gets excited, he starts talking really fast. His hands fly around. He starts pumping his right leg up and down like a jackhammer. It’s really funny.

So, anyway … Ed said, “Blah blah blah … study hard … blah blah blah”.

Then he said, “Blah blah blah … get good grades … blah blah blah”.

And, then he said, “Blah blah blah … go to college … blah blah blah”.

But the kids were checking me out the whole time.

During Q&A, who got all the questions? Yours truly.

During the photo op, who did all the kids want to stand beside? You guessed it.

Ed and I are on a mission. We want to help all kids with disabilities achieve their full potential—both in the classroom and in the 21st century knowledge economy.  Ed is living proof that you can convert a disability from a liability into an asset. How? Well, the answer to that question clearly cannot fit in a blog post. Maybe Ed will write a book one day.

Until then, I have some advice for those kids at Mills Park and all kids out there with disabilities.

Find something positive that you love to do and do it. Discover ways to learn as much as possible about your interests. Read books. Watch videos. Travel places—whether you go five miles or five hundred miles—to experience more. Seek friends who love the same thing and talk with them. Immerse yourself in the excitement of learning something awesome.

Learning is a skill. Once you’ve mastered that skill, you can apply it to other topics. Learning how to learn becomes fun when you’re exploring something you love.

Like Ed says… Study hard. Get good grades. Go to college. Achieve your full potential.

tags: community, national disability employment awareness month


  1. Faye Merrideth Faye Merrideth
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    What a fun read, Alison!

  2. Kenneth Robinson
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Every child should be taught, "How do you know you can't do it , unless you try?"

  3. Mike Niver
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    It was nice meeting Willie this afternoon while on a hayride, up the side of a mountain, to look for an appropriate Christmas tree for the upcoming Christmas Season. Willie was every bit the gentleman he appears to be. I'm sure Ed feels lucky to have Willie and vice versa. Even though we were never properly introduced, we did have a few minutes to chat while riding up the mountain. Hope both of you, and your families, have a wonderful holiday season.

  4. Sue Kocher
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Way to get the kids engaged, Willie! Great work, Ed. 🙂

  5. Cindy H.
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Great job Willie (and Ed too). I love what you wrote, Kenneth Robinson. That's what I tell my children, and myself, all the time.

  6. Jennifer Cowley
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    YEAH for Ed and Willie! Out there making waves!

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