By Daniel J. Vance


Disabilities has now appeared in 30 newspapers nationwide and the list grows each week. Your hometown editor and publisher deserve a "thank you" for choosing to publish this column that seems to have struck a chord with people.

And now for our quarterly mailbag:

From Pablo, Mont., a reader of the Char-Koosta News says that he has been a quadriplegic since a wrestling accident five years ago. I appreciated his honest email. We will be covering disabling sports injuries in the months ahead and hope to interview several well-known sports professionals to discuss their injuries and lives.

Pegi Bevins, a Madrid (Iowa) Register News reader, writes: "I read that you have a daughter with a disability and thought you might be interested in my book, Friends, No Matter What, published by Perfection Learning Corp." She says her book encourages non-disabled children to accept children with disabilities. Books like hers certainly have their niche and help break down walls between children with disabilities and others. And books like it should be required reading in schools.

From Madison Lake, Minn., and The Lake Region Times: A reader says her elderly husband has Parkinson's disease, a disability, and that she is active in a local Parkinson's support group. "Joining a support group for your disability is important, mostly because you learn lots of new information and can compare and exchange information with others in the same boat," she writes. I agree wholeheartedly.

Last month while researching Alzheimer's disease, I learned that some clinicians now believe it and Parkinson's are actually two sides of the same disease. Alzheimers.org has a section that states: "Often it is not possible on either clinical or neuropathologic examination to make a clear diagnostic distinction between the two diseases. On a statistical basis, the numbers of individuals showing signs of both diseases is surprisingly high."

Finally, from Isanti, Minn., a reader of the Isanti County News says his 6-year-old daughter, like mine, was born with spina bifida. Most children with a disability are somewhat of an anomaly in their communities, due to the rarity of their condition. Often it's a joy to learn of others thanks for writing me. All of Minnesota, for example, has only about 50 children born with spina bifida annually.

If you have an idea for a column or would like to chat, you can reach me through www.danieljvance.com.

[Copyright 2002 by Daniel J. Vance.]