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Admittedly, I’m kinda addicted to podcasts. For my ears, they’re kinda like flipping through a magazine. And, above all others, my favorite podcast is This American Life featured on NPR radio stations throughout the country.

This American Life believes in the power of stories to teach, to inspire, to share and to cause thought. While the episode I’m referring to is a few years old, I downloaded a re-broadcast of it and thought you may enjoy, too. Here’s why…

I’m a member of the Association for Higher Education and Disability, AHEAD. Many of my collegiate clients around the country are AHEAD members and I’m booked to do programs for college students on overcoming adversity, disability awareness and not allowing one’s disability to stand in the way of success. A common theme at most colleges and universities is that the majority of students with disabilities have learning disabilities. This could be everything from dyslexia all the way up to developmental/intellectual disabilities. Developmentally or intellectually disabled folks (back in the day this would have been referred to as mental retardation) are the segment of society with the label “special.” Frankly, I think this is a bit of a misnomer since everyone is special. But, I digress.

In This American Life episode #207 (check out www.ThisAmericanLife.org), the week’s theme was to highlight some of the narratives and accomplishments of this often overlooked segment of society.

In one of the segments of episode #207, two reporters with developmental/intellectual disabilities were shown doing “man on the street” interviews. They were road tripping cross country with a couple of counselors, gathering interviews and stories, on their way to California. One of the reporters, a guy, just made me smile so much. His enthusiasm for what he was doing just shown through so much. He’d simply walk up to, say, a truck driver and ask his name, as excited as a kid at a birthday party. His next question, instead of the typical B.S. questions like from most reporters, would be something like, “Have you ever met anyone famous?” or “What’s your favorite musical group?” Then, based on their answer for, say, the fav band/singer, the reporter would say, “Wanna sing with me?” Then, he’d break into one of the group’s big hits. Next thing ya know, the person being interviewed would feel the reporter’s enthusiasm and start singing along.

Now, if one of the talking heads from CNN or Fox News walked up to a person on the street and said, “Wanna sing some Jack Johnson songs?” what would the person’s reaction be? Sure, you may get a few people who might play along, those who don’t take themselves so seriously, but I’d have to imagine most folks would just get this bewildered look on their face.

To be able to bring out this lighthearted side of people IS something special. And, if you want a big smile like mine, definitely check out:

www.ThisAmericanLife.org and episode #207.

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