Saturday, 23 April 2011

An American story

A huge success

Nearly three years ago, Conductive World reported on one of the many remarkable individuals who emerge out of disability – and particularly out of Conductive Education.

This concerned the then 28-year-old Rafal Strzalkowski who had grown up in Poland with cerebral palsy. As a boy he attended the Pető Institute in Budapest for four years, till the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1990. He was then around ten years old.

Then…? A summary does not do his his story justice. Read my source at the time to see where he was by then, in Gainsville, Florida, advocating for Conductive Educatrion, studying law, and fighting the US immigration authorities to be allowed to remain in the United States.

Since then Rafel, now Ralph, has from time to time kept me in touch with his continuing story. This week he writes to tell me of being sworn is in as a Florida Attorney at Law–

As my ceremony was little last minute there was no media coverage, but on April 19th I took my Oath of Attorney in front of Florida Circuit Judge for the 8th Judicial Circuit of Florida, David E. Glant.
The Oath allows me to practice in Florida. UF Law school Chair of Admission from both the year I was rejected because of the LSAT debacle and later accepted was in attendance. Originally in doubt whether I'm fit for law school she's now a great supporter. Also in the picture, James Klausner, friend and boss, director of the Jordan Klausner Foundation Foundation that I volunteered at and served as Associate Director in hopes to bring some attention to their Conductive Education Academy.
We are also hoping to create a legal assistance program and workshop for people with disabilities. It is a big program in America to get people to understand that American with Disabilities Act is law like any other. Just few days ago I threatened to sue the City of Gainesville - they were training their drivers not to assist the wheelchair users the way the law requires. Their initial response was to say be adamant about it and say that that's their policy and even misinform me that the law doesn't mandate it. They were very apologetic about it later when I announced I'm an attorney but how many people don't even know they have rights or even that they should talk to somebody after being shut down? It feels to me ADA is viewed as some form of lesser law that is there, but really isn't. Our big challenge- structuring the program in some way to have somebody pay for it, sponsor it.
The Foundation is also setting up a free Conductive Education Camp this Summer for kids:
Exceptional Opportunity for Volunteers!

See pictures, and follow his story further:

The earlier posting on Rafel

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