Adapting With Alex Garrett

Adapt With Alex!

Tag: adaptation

Adapting With Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

Two years ago today, the world grieved with France as the iconic spire of Notre Dame went up in flames . The meme above popped up in my Facebook memories!

It’s amazing this was posted a day and a year before the spire of Notre Dame burned. As kids, Notre Dame Cathedral was introduced as home of The Hunchback of Notre Dame…while the bells may be silent this truth rings true every day! Let’s smash stigmas like the Hunchback while remembering the grief of 2 yrs ago!

When I first posted the meme above in 2018, below is the message I wrote!

“Not all heroes where capes : they have power chairs and wheelchairs too; they have walkers or scooters ; they have a Dynavox to help their message get out into the world …it’s true Hunchback was a rarity in the Disney family as it wasn’t someone like Hercules or Tarzan or even John Smith but a Hunched back man. Disney turned what some viewed as a horror because the whole idea of a hunched back man trying to help is just sooo taboo into a glorious movie ! let’s stop normalizing Normal because that’s already been done. Let’s start smashing stigmas together , on and off the screen!”

Adapt For A Better Normal In 2021

I am not sure about you, but I am getting sick and tired of this talk of a ‘new normal.’ It’s never discussed in a positive , forward-looking way.

How can we be expected to adapt to ‘new’, when there is so much doom and gloom around that word.

Yes, forever being masked up anywhere we go is a gloomy thought ! Forever being told by leadership that we will never get back to the good ol’ days is depressing. The fact is we are being vaccinated one by one , in fact it’s over 4 million Americans that have had the vaccine.

Beyond the vaccine, personally speaking since I myself have been quarantined this week due to exposure to COVID (I am feeling fine !) , I believe people are so craving to see each other again , the interactions will be even better than before the pandemic. We might actually be talking to each other more than ever because that gift of socialization has been taken away from us . If we can adapt again once we hit post-pandemic to interacting with each other , I believe we will be beyond a new normal.

We will in fact be in a BETTER normal! So this next chance for interaction, let’s lift our heads out our own thought process or fears of not being responded to, and interact once again with the workd around us! A better normal is what I want to strive for, how about you?

Blindness As an Ultra-Ability on Adapting With Alex Garrett

On my recent podcast , Dr. Shirley Cheng , described becoming blind at age 17 and then proceeding to start her own ministry called ‘Ultra Ability’!

Take a listen to my latest podcast here !

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/43759058

Adapting Can Prevent Failure

Ever have a day (or multiple days) where you just shut down mentally?

For the first time in a long while, I personally shut down after an abysmal morning that I look to not repeat again. Making a mistake at 29 is not as easy to overcome as it is at 22. As you mature, you realize the consequences of a mistake and even the shame of even committing it. It was that feeling that knocked me out. I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed about mistakes, but life can be full of preventative measures that I guess humans fail to do. I was so nervous to even tell my folks what happened, but they gave me some sound advice which I look to utilize moving forward!

Personally, I am not good at introspective and that’s helped me coast, by not looking inside. Yet, to experience failure is worthwhile! Experiencing failure can you help you grow, if we just take time to understand the substance and the reasoning why failure happened in the first place! It’s just a matter of hitting back at the failure, as Rocky Balboa notes. Do you ever fail, and have an easy blinding to the failure, instead of fully evaluating it? It’s 2021, let’s evaluate the mistakes and learn from them!

I think I’m hyping myself up here to do this, but I find it’s a worthwhile blog to encourage the adapting to failure. Not to keep failing, of course. I learned today it’s OK to talk about our failure, because you can get the advice you need from the ones who love you. I am always active and out and about, yet today I couldn’t even get out of bed until noon. I was full of embarrassment and failure. I do believe being willing to talk will get you out of bed and back on your feet. Or in my case, back on my foot!

By thinking of it I do believe you can adapt to the failure. One idea is to just write. Write out what the issue at hand was. Write out how you could have handled it much better, put the solutions IN NOW, to make failure a dead-end as much as possible. Note what worked from the last time and how you ‘adapted to failure’. Put your adaptations into practice and of course always tweak these lists as needed! Yes, adapt the adaptations already made!

Another way to adapt to failure, is to apologize PROFUSELY to those who have been affected. Not only do you come off fairly reputable still, you can put your own mind at ease. By admitting the mistake, apologizing for it, you can seriously move on to bigger and better days. Why put pride in front of the chance to adapt and prevent chaos the very next time?

Being human leads to human error. We can take that humanness, adapt to where you have flawed, and turn it into greatness!

Adapting To , Not Ridding, Disability

Below is a portion of a transcript from my January 15th podcast, ‘Adapting To, Not ‘Ridding’ Disabilities’.
(https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42959125)

Article referenced in the DurangoHeraldOpinion by Tara Kiene on 1/8/21

(https://durangoherald.com/articles/359852)

‘I want you to be introduced to a woman named Tara Kiene. She’s the president CEO of Community Connections and in the Durango Herald she writes this incredible piece about changing the perceptions of the disabled community.

I think that is always what we need to do. We need to continue to smash stigma, but listen to how she writes about it. This is so cool. She wrote a great story. And what I would like to highlight are a couple of points that she made. ‘By focusing on people and ridding them of their disabilities, we discount the capabilities they offer right there.’

I’ve often been encouraged to get a prosthetic like personally that has always been like someone saying, why don’t you do this? And I tried it and I wanted to try it on as an adult. But then I thought that wouldn’t be the real me, that rollerblading would stop if I had a prosthetic leg. And more importantly, it would not be me and who God made. So there’s a lot of reasons why I enjoy rollerblading around the city. I enjoy not having a prosthetic because I don’t believe in ridding anything I believe in overcoming it.

I believe in continuing to love it, roll with it and continue to roll on with it. Let me put it that way. The whole idea that we can reshape reframe abilities and disabilities is great to hear. I want to hear more of that. I want to hear you’re this and we’re going to make it so that you can do this. We’re going to love on you and you’re going to do it. That’s how luckily my family raised me. I feel, and that’s how my friends were raised in the disabled community.

She said many people with learning disabilities find that they have struggled with reading. And because of that, they developed extraordinary memories and that benefits them in their later careers. Also, can we stop hiring people just because it feels good. It’s a feel good story. Hire them because they deserve to be hired. Hire them, not just to talk about diversity, or to meet a quota, hire them because you see something in them that maybe someone, a business down the road doesn’t see in them or refuses to seeing them hire them. Because you know, they can do a good job. Not because it’s some nice community service award.

The disability community is more than inspirational. It’s more than a community service effort to get them included. We’re just here we are amongst you. And the moment we say, yeah, he’s being hired or she’s being hired because of what she can do. Not because she’s overcoming what she can’t do. We’ll be in a better spot. The more we say I’m hiring you because I want to, I know you can do something. I know you’re working on whatever you’re dealing with and I want to see that work in my company, not to get some newspaper article about how this company hired this person. I mean, it’s nice, but that’s not why we exist.

The community and the adapting exists because we choose to exist. We choose to adapt to whatever we got going on.

And I hope you realize that. I hope you feel it. I hope if you’re a business owner listening to this, that you feel even more inspired to bring on people differently, abled, disabled people, whatever you want to say. And not because you want to feel good about yourself because you know, they can do the job. You know, they are equal opportunity for a reason, not just because it says so on some plaque, but because you know that they can do it. And I’m glad there are programs to help people who get frustrated, who get down, who don’t know if they can do it. There are programs there to help. I love that, but you know what I love even more. The fact that companies can take a risk on someone, not the average, Joe, not your regular someone who’s been stigmatized.

Those who see the stigmatizedfor more than just what’s on the cover. It takes a community effort, but there’s also no doubt that community embraces not memorializes it or highlights it as some great community service. It should be accepted that people with disabilities can do something amazing. It shouldn’t be some shock to people. It shouldn’t be like that meme that says it takes one disabled person to screw in the light bulb, and five others who are inspired by it. It shouldn’t be that way.

Let’s stop as a society assuming disabled people can’t adapt. Can’t learn. Can’t relearn. Can’t restudy. Can’t get themselves back on track, but let’s hire because we know they can do great things and not just for a photo op, but for the betterment of a company. Kudos to Tara Kiene for this article. I definitely want to bring her on and see what we can do and see how we can cover neurodiversity. We’re adapting, we’re re-framing. And we are living. Come with us as we live together in these crazy, crazy times.’

How Adapting With Alex Began: Part 1

Over the years , many have paved a path in my life for me to follow along right up to this blog post. That is where the backstory of ‘Adapting With Alex ‘ starts. Because of all the kindness, love and opportunities from all around, I can say God has me here writing you tonight and looking to pay it forward through this network!

That kindness, love and opportunity for life was firstly created by my mom and dad and entire family! They believed in that NICU fight that we would get through it, 77 days later we did and we DO nearly 30 years after the inaugural January release from the NICU.

My family wasn’t alone in that belief, the NICU unit and the amazing Doctors and nurses at then- St. Luke’s Roosevelt cared and made sure round the clock care was there for those in the NICU. We as a family are very blessed to have that connection, which we maintain ever year by visiting the remaining nurses on 10/20, my birthday.

Physical adaptations were provided over the years from the encouragement to walk to a walker to the uniqueness of the rollerblade. In between those years and beyond, our family has been provided numerous crutches thanks to WalkEasy each year. WalkEasy has even helped us when the crutches would break down due to active use! We were provided multiple tries at a prosthetic leg by Charlie our orthotics maker through the Henry Viscardi School. Eneslow has helped us with adaptive shoe insoles over the years as well.

The brainpower of my father, the approval and support of mom and my stepdad Vic as well as my family paved the way to rollerblade, that to me is the most natural adaptation ever made starting at the age of eight. Not only has it saved my foot YEARS, it’s also brought me to different experiences which I’m sure our tiny cluster never thought imaginable.

The social adaptations were made available to us through the love and care of so many and ramped up soon after the wheels took off in 1999. Adaptive sports has been my true love! I want to thank my dad for installing running into my life at the age of 2.5 at NYRR Pee Wee Races. The New York Road Runners also helped us and many in other groups like Achilles make running adaptable!

I want to thank the Henry Viscardi School for giving us all a chance to be adapting in baseball, football, hockey and wheelchair basketball! Our gym coach, Mike Sweeney is awesome and wheelchair basketball lead Joe Slaninka as well as Joy Krebs have inspired us to stay adaptive and active for all these years!! Anthony Fitzgerald, HVS associate, runs adaptive football at Eisenhower Park, for those interested!

I want to thank the likes of Susan Maxwell, Nassau CountyGames for the Physically Challenged founder the last 30+ years at Eisenhower Park and Mitchel Field. Volunteer Dominic introduced my dad and I to the competition at the age of 4 and 5. The Games family has grown, and I highly recommend you check us out if you have friends or family that might find it time to get out there, compete and enjoy a late May, early June competitive weekend! (https://nassaucountypcgames.com/#:~:text=With%20the%20safety%20of%20our,join%20us%20again%20in%202021.)

The thanking doesn’t stop there, but I’ll make this a series because I want to hone in on the adaptive sports for now. Having been born with just the one leg, seeing amputees overcome having an ENTIRE limb removed and kick ass in life, is what has inspired me to start ‘Adapting With Alex’. I’m ready to pay the adaptation opportunities forward to those who are still unsure how to adapt, or afraid to!

It takes a network, and I’d LOVE you to join this journey whether you are a company that helps people adapt and want to share your story OR have a story of your own of adapting, I’m all ears !

So let’s ADAPT TOGETHER!