Bradford & Bryan Manning
Bradford and Bryan founded Two Blind Brothers, philanthropic clothing line that gives all its profits to pre-clinical research for eye disease. During their childhood, the brothers were diagnosed with a condition that causes blindness over time. They have decided to actively contribute to ground-breaking research into such diseases by founding their clothing line based on soft, tactile fabrics. Today Two Blind Brothers is a thriving and innovative company.
How do you read between the lines?
Bradford and Bryan use their iPhones to read menus.
They take a picture of the menu and enlarge the text
to read more comfortably.
Caiti is a program manager in the telecommunications industry and the creator of 'ampuTeez', a clothing line for people of all abilities. Caiti was born with a rare condition, and her lower left leg had to be amputated at an early age. Afraid of rejection, she began hiding her disability. After many years she decided to embrace her difference and started her clothing line to raise awareness about life as an amputee.
How can you stay grounded?
Caiti’s hack for wearing sandals without a backstrap on her prosthetic leg is to use velcro. She attaches velcro to the bottom of her foot and the sole of her sandals.
Christina is a digital marketer and inclusive designer. Eight years ago she lost the ability to use her hands and arms due to motor neuron disease. Since then she has found innovative ways to live a busy and independent New York life. Working with Open Style Lab at Parsons, she has helped to invent a range of technology-enabled garments for people of all abilities
When night becomes daywear?
Christina uses an IKEA bed to get dressed. With the help of the bedpost, and strings attached to her garments, she can slip her clothes on and off.
Erin is a circus artist and coach. In 2014 she lost her lower legs, but did not give up on her passion as an acrobat. Her acrobatic feats include aerial silks and trapeze, wheelchair acrobatics, and aerial wheelchair. She coaches at her fully accessible circus school for people of all abilities, and works with a range of choreographers to create compelling performances that focus on the aesthetics of adaptability.
Life, well done?
With the help of her partner, Erin made a pair of metal rods that she can attach to the end of her legs and use them as skewers to toast marshmallows on, freeing up her hands for other tasks!
Filip is an athlete, husband, and father of two boys. He had a kitesurfing accident in 2011 and broke nearly every bone in his left leg. After five years of unsuccessful medical interventions he decided to have his leg amputated. Since then he learned how to walk again and found ways to get back into sports. Last year he competed at the Adaptive Snowboarding World Cup.
How do you stop the ground beneath your feet?
Filip’s children would often knock over his very expensive prosthetic leg when it was by his bed at night. To stop it from falling, he crafted a wooden stand for it that matches his bed.
Garrison is a motivational speaker, model, athlete, and disability-rights advocate. Thirteen years ago a gunshot left him paralyzed from the waist down. He had to refuse football scholarships and went on to study finance. In 2017 he founded 'TheGarrisonReddProject', an organization that aims to empower people with disabilities by offering free resources and consultancy services.
How can you escalate your commute?
Garrison has a special technique for getting around the subway in his wheelchair. Since he cannot rely on elevators in most stations, he has taught himself how to use the escalator by balancing his wheelchair.
John is legally blind and makes his living as a visual artist. His works have been sold in over twenty different countries, and he’s received three Presidential Service awards for the art workshops he teaches. He’s painted portraits of skateboarder Tony Hawk and blues legend Pops Carter. He’s given talks about his art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and there has even been a documentary made about him.
How do you navigate through color?
John uses textures in paints to navigate his way around the colors when he is creating a piece of art. By using different bases to create different colors, he can tell just from the touch of the paint which color he is using. He can then use each texture as a way to find his way around the canvas and create the beautiful pieces that he does.
Kieran is a writer. She is also a wife and mother of two. At an early age Kieran was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy that affected her entire body and later Fibromyalgia She uses a scooter style wheelchair named 'Beast' to navigate outside the house and walks with and without adaptive tech indoors. The writer and has developed several hacks to balance working with running the household and taking care of her children.
How can you manage your daily tasks?
Kieran’s hack to easier maneuverability is to keep all childcare equipment in one place. With the help of an IKEA trolley that includes a changing mat, a bouncy seat and a work-station, she has created her own 'Mission Control'.
Kristan is a professional counsellor, motivational speaker, and mother of five. She led a busy life as an athlete and counsellor, but after a serious illness her arms and one of her legs had to be amputated. Her sense of humor and wonderfully positive mindset helped her to carry on living an active and fulfilling life. She got involved in even more sports than before, and recently opened her private counselling practice, fulfilling a life-long dream.
How do you get a better grip on time?
Kristan had difficulties using her credit card at self-service gas stations. Her prosthetic hands could not remove the card quickly enough from the machine. Holding a clothes peg secured to her card gave her greater manoeuvrability when paying.
Maj DJ Skelton
DJ Skelton is a US Army Veteran and author of 'Our Hero Handbook', a comprehensive guide to assist wounded service members and their families. He lives with his wife and son in Monterey, CA. DJ was injured while serving in Iraq and as a result, he lost an eye. He has found the way that people stare at someone with a disfigurement difficult to deal with.
Is this my best look?
DJ has created a range of prosthetic eyes that REALLY give people something to look at! Skull and crossbones, cat’s eyes and even Sponge Bob have featured. He finds that by “owning” his new normal he engages in a positive way with people who would once have stared.
Margaret loves teaching, music, and languages. Due to her genetic hearing impairment, she almost gave up on these passions, but persisted through meditation, self-acceptance, and immense willpower. She learned how to lip read and started using assistive technology, reconnecting with music and a range of other creative outlets. She returned to playing the guitar, and regularly attends live concerts. Currently she works as a nurse.
How can you frame sound?
Margaret uses her hands to pick up the vibration of sounds. As she says, she is able to appreciate music and sounds at a tactile, “cellular level”.
Micah is a twenty-year-old actor known for his roles in 'Labor Day' (2013) and the ongoing television series 'Speechless'. Micah and his character in the sitcom have Cerebral Palsy. Noticing at an early age that very few films feature disabled characters, he is eager to raise awareness about CP, and for the past two years has acted as ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
In what way can you smooth out your travels?
Micah frequently flies between the east and west coasts, but he struggled to find protective cases for the electronic wheels of his wheelchair. Micah ’s mother came across cymbal cases that match the size of the wheels and are sturdy enough to protect them from damage.
Monique is a motivational speaker and co-founder of 'Made 2 Soar', an organization that motivates students, athletes, corporations, and faith-based groups to achieve their goals. Due to a genetic condition, Monique stands at two feet tall, and uses a motorized wheelchair for her daily activities. Her first book Soaring: '7 Lessons to Help You Soar into the Life You Were Meant to Live', was published last year.
How can you draw your exercise closer?
The lower drawers of Monique’s IKEA desk are useful exercise tools. She can easily pull out the drawers and use them as push up stands or hold onto them during a dance workout.
Quemuel is the first Policy Analyst for Accessibility and ADA Coordinator for the New York City Department of Transportation. He injured his spinal cord eight years ago in a mountain bike accident, and, as a wheelchair user, he is committed to demystifying disability within and outside DOT. In his free time, Quemuel is a keen rock climber and swimmer.
Where can you fit meaningful details?
Quemuel’s hack for keeping his essentials to hand when on the go is to use his multi-functional holder that carries his coffee, cellphone and other items.
Yusuf is an athlete and model. He lost his legs in a rail accident eight years ago. Quickly learning how to walk again, he got back into his training routine. He shares inspirational moments and motivational texts with his 38,000 followers on social media.
How can you cut through the daily noise?
Yusuf’s solution to overcoming difficulties is his
mindset. He consciously eliminates all negative,
frustrating thoughts by focusing on the positive
aspects of life.