Best Friends Reunited

Hey guys! It’s Ebony and Ashley! Sorry it’s been awhile since we’ve written anything, but we’re back in action! This time talking about being reunited after 5 years.

In June we plan to meet up in North Carolina and go adaptive surfing. We also plan on doing a special needs pageant together which will benefits Autism Speaks We are are hoping to see the movie Me Before You. It’s about guy who gets into a tragic accident and meets a girl who helps him through his ordeal. We will let you guys know if we think life in a wheelchair portrayed  accurately. We will keep you updated as we plan on writing about our trip. Stay tuned!

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On The Right Track: Speechless 

So let me tell you how excited I am that ABC has picked up a new pilot One that puts a spot light on special needs. It’s a show called “Speechless” about a mom dealing with everyday life and taking care of  her son with needs. I am beyond ecstatic not only because this show was picked up, but because they cast an actor who actually lives with a disability.  Often times an able bodied actor is cast to play the role. This is a huge leap forward for the extertaunment industry. It’s nice to see that people with disabilities are finally getting recognition and a platform in this industry.

As an aspiring actress with Cerebral Palsy it gives me hope that I can make it in this industry. Often times I am conflicted if I should tell casting directors  that I have CP. I know I have the ability to act. I refuse  to let it stop me from living dreams. But now there is more demand for more actors/actresses like me. There is a market for diversity disabilities. It’s nice to see the industry it’s changing for the better. I recently booked a small role on show where I played someone with disability. it’s nice to be able to draw from my own experiences of living with Cerebral palsy.  Being able to draw from your own experience makes the acting to become more organic. I can’t wait to see the thingd ABC does with this show!  I hope they continue to push the envelope and continue creating more opportunists for actors/actresses with disabilities. Also I’m excited to make my onscreen debut!  This gives me so much hope!

-Ebony L. Washington

Follow me on Twitter @eb_washington

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Jump for the Moon

Every Monday, my mom takes my sister, Desiree, to jump and get a little exercise, so she can stay in shape for cheerleading, to this trampoline place in Birmingham, Alabama called, Airwalk. Airwalk has a homeschool day where homeschoolers get a discount. “Do you want to come bounce around with us?” my mom asked for the first time yesterday. “Sure.” I said. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t done something like this before. When my sister, Cheree, had her trampoline in the backyard, I would sometimes get on there and lie down while she bounced around on it, and when I was younger, and went to birthday parties, my  parents would stand me up and jump with me on moonwalks. (The sacrifices of great parents.) “Just DON’T do flips over me.” I told Desiree as we were leaving. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to handle bouncing for the whole time there, and my sister had a time limit, so when there was about 5 minutes left, my mom went up and asked a guy who worked there if I could bounce. He gave the okay, so I had a grand old time lying on the trampoline as my sister bounced my brains out. Some of the reasons Ebony and I have started this blog are to not only show people we are limitless, but to inspire and encourage ANYONE that they can do anything they dream of. Jump for the moon. I’m currently in the middle of reading a book by one of my favorite famous people, Zach Anner, who also has cerebral palsy. One of my favorite quotes from this book is: “What I’ve learned from taking a bird’s eye view of my life so far is that my good fortune has come from not only seizing my moments, but my mistakes.” For this girl, who is a perfectionist, this is a hard lesson to learn, but I want, and am trying my best to learn it.  With God’s help, I can. Life is more fun when you don’t take it so seriously. To those with special needs, you don’t have to let your disability or the world define you. Jump on that trampoline. Share your story. Help encourage others. Climb Mount Everest, for all I care. No matter who you are, you’re here to further God’s kingdom. I’m thinking of starting a day for those with special needs where we can all get a discount at Airwalk in Birmingham, so if any of my friends want to join me, or if you know of anyone, let me know. I’m trying to get some people to get it started.

 

Ashley N. Moulin

 

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Thank You Shriners

Hey! It’s Ashley and Ebony In our joint blog this week we want to put a spotlight on Shriners Children’s Hospitals. We have great deal gratitude for what they’ve done for us. If it wasn’t for Shriners we wouldn’t have even met and become the great that we are today!

When Ashley had her hip surgery they let her stay for six weeks until she got her cast off since she lived so far away from greenville, SC where Shriners is. The nurses and doctors were really nice. They become like family. They cheer us on and watch us accomplish new goals.They gave transportation to the hospital and back home. They also gave our families a  place to stay at the Ronald McDonald house while we were in the hospital. 

When Ebony came to Shriners she couldn’t even sit up on her own or roll over. Now she can use her walker and her mobility has improved immensely. Another great thing about Shriners is that no child’s family is ever turned away for inability to pay. Surgeries and treatments are provided free of charge. It is because of Shriners that we are able to do half of the things I can do today.  We are forever greatful to them for their incredible survices. We were sad to be discharged when we turned eighteen because Shriners Children’s Hospitals are the greatest hospitals in the world! Ok we’re a little biased lol

For more information or to donate visit http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org

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The Girl Who Can Do Anything

There are a lot of things you can take for granted as an able bodied person. For instance, there was this one time where my little sister, Desiree, wanted to go on this zipline at this place we were at. Of course, it wasn’t built for a person like myself, so there’s that moment where I’m like, “Dang it, CP.” Another example of this is when a person’s house has steps, or is hard to get into, and you get all this attention and embarrassing stares, people who want to help. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate considerate people, but sometimes, I just feel like an awkward, introverted young woman who can’t fit in with this world. I’m not complaining about my CP, or the way I am, I do my very best to live my life positively, and glorify God through my struggles. I can either sit here and feel sorry for myself, or I can use this voice and what I have to be an inspiration and role model to others. Honestly, though, there are times when I feel like I just need a place where I can get away from cerebral palsy and all that comes with it. A place where I can just get away from life in general. A place where people understand my life with a disability. A place where I’m not the awkward young woman who can’t fit in with the world. A place where able bodied people don’t see me for my disability.  I’m blessed more than words can describe to have found that place in a little camp in Alexander City,  Alabama called, Camp ASCCA. (Alabama’s Special Camp For Children and Adults.)  My first time at this sleep away camp was probably when I was around 8, but when I started getting really into it was between the ages of 16-17. During those awkward teenage years, I had only a few close friends, and I was very insecure about my CP. Like I’ve said in one of my other blogs, put cerebral palsy on top of being an introvert, and it can be hard to make friends. This world is not perfect. To this day, I’m always afraid of people taking one look at me and judging. “Look at that girl in the wheelchair, why would we want to get to know her?” Maybe these fears are stupid, but that’s just the way I’ve always felt. Anyways, the thing I liked about Camp ASCCA was how I finally felt accepted, and not as Ashley with cerebral palsy, but just as Ashley. A lot of complete strangers at the beginning of the week had already become friends by Friday, when I had to leave.  There were fights at breakfast, lunch, and dinner over who wanted to feed me. I felt it was so much easier to make friends at ASCCA in 1 week than I had in my entire lifetime. I finally got to do things at ASCCA, a lot of things which were harder for me in the real world: ziplining, tubing, waterslide,  splash pad, archery, and much more. My only proms that I went to were Camp ASCCA proms, and in 2008, my junior year of high school, I won Camp ASCCA prom queen. Of course, I was emotional, and everyone around me was cheering as I danced with the king. It was one of my greatest Camp ASCCA moments, though I have many. Last summer, I was really down because it seemed like once again, my Vocational Rehab counselor had gotten in the way of my dreams. For years, my cerebral palsy had gotten in the way of ever career path I wanted to take. This time, my VR counselor’s excuse for me not being able to do what my heart wanted more than anything, a career in Public Relations, was that I had a “speech impediment.” It had seemed as if my summer had gone down hill. I knew that I needed camp, my happy place. I was right. The start of that week, I had made a goal to go down the waterslide 9 times. I don’t remember if I reached that goal, but one of my most inspiring moments from that week was I got an award at lunch. Written on that award was, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” It’s a small thing, but to me, especially after what I had gone through, it meant the world. I’ve been told at ASCCA that people love what a shining light I bring, but the truth is, Camp ASCCA brings that light and love, that magic, even more to me. Thank you, ASCCA and my friends, for the unconditional love, the laughter, the inside jokes, the hope. As the goodnight song that we sing every night before bed says, “I wandered around brokenhearted, thinking life was an endless affair, ’til God gave me you, it was then that I knew He’d given me more than my share.” At Camp ASCCA, I’m not the girl with cerebral palsy, or the girl with the speech impediment. I’m just the girl. I feel free. The girl who can do anything. This is what I imagine Heaven to be like. For more information, or to donate, visit: http://campascca.org/

 

Ashley N. Moulin

 

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Speak Up

This past Friday I went back to my old high school to speak to children who also have special needs.  I talked to them about speak up for themselves and not letting anyone tell what they can and can not do. We have to speak up for ourselves no one else will. In the past having a disability was something that was taboo and society thought it was something to be ashamed of. In the past people we’re automatically sent away because their family couldn’t handle it. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Things are changing slowly, but surely. 

We don’t have to be ashamed of the way God made us. He made us this way for reason even we don’t understand why. One thing is clear we are changing the way society see’s different. Yes we may get the stares and the whispers, it’s because society doesn’t understand us. So we have to speak up and inform them about our disabilities so they can feel more comfortable, but they need to meet us half way ax well. They need to realize our potential we have to be great.  It’s about starting a dialogue to create change.

Ebony L. Washington

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How About A Desk Job

It’s Ebony and Ashley again! Today we’re gonna talk about how people underestimate us just because we have a physical disability. They automatically assume we can’t get the job done. Although we have the same qualifications as the other canidates going for the same position.

They push us  into jobs that we don’t want to go into. They suggest jobs that are best for the abilities they think we have, rather than looking at us for the gifts God gave us and our creativity.  We should not be confined to a desk job. We are worth more than that. Unfortunately, many of us are told a desk job is what’s  best. Many us have dreams that go beyond the desk. Some people don’t fight for what they deserve so we have to be the voice for the voiceless. Both of us have interest in Public relations. Ashley was told if she went in for a job in Public Relations 

 interview. Someone else with Cerebral Palsy would get the job because she has a speech impediment. Ebony went in for a job interview where she would be answering phones. A day later, they call her back and say “We’ve decided to go with someone else. You don’t have enough experience.” Translation “We don’t want to hire you because of your disability.” Seriously what experience do you need to answer a phone?

We are using this blog to raise awareness about the gift and abilities that we have. So the world doesn’t see our physical disability as a limitation. But as a strength and using us to gain different perspective and having an open mind.

What should we write about next comment below!

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