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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

I Am Thankful...


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Originally Posted November 18, 2015
I have been asked by Autism Speaks to post about what I am thankful for. Really that is a quite easy question to answer.

I am thankful for the networks that I developed in each stage of my life to help me achieved the successes. They range from being fully educated to having a thriving career as an Artist. With their help and believe in me, I have been able to show the world that people with disabilities can do anything that we want to.

I can still call the producers of King Gimp and tell them I am a bit stuck with something and we will figure it out. I can email my professor at Towson University for advice, or to get help on my latest projects.

Then you have the people as Smoot, Brianna, and countless others who support me during the studio madness. Most viewers look at my artwork and see what I created, but not the assistants who help in the studio. Sure they help with mixing paints, prepping the canvas, but also snacks and hydrations. Then there are the days that the magic is not happening, so we go do something ridiculous to recharge the creative batteries.

Although I will keep reaching for my next stage of life, there will always be a team of ninjas supporting me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Funding and Grant Ideas "UROs! (Unidentified Resource Opportunities)"


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May 11,
The Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports is proud to launch our Full Inclusion Fund today! The Full Inclusion Fund offers microgrants to people with disabilities who are either self-directing their services or working towards self-directing their services. We are offering microgrants to disabled people for up to $500 each to help them with expenses related to self-direction.

Nov. 20,
Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council and Maryland Works partner for the Fourth Round of TIP Grants.
The Council, in partnership with Maryland Works, funded seven service providers licensed by the Developmental Disabilities Administration to obtain customized technical assistance to improve services so more people with developmental disabilities are supported to obtain and keep the meaningful work they want in their communities, and to have meaningful days when not working.
The seven service providers that received funding are: Chesapeake Center, Chesterwye Center, CHI Center, Harford Center, St. Peter’s Adult Learning Center, Scott Key Center, and Star Community.
A total of 40 service providers have received technical assistance throughout the four rounds of Transforming and Improving Practices (TIP) grants.
To learn more about the Council’s current initiatives, please click here.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Disability and Visual Culture


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My name is Dan Keplinger. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I have been painting since I was 16 years of age. Many years ago (2000), I was the subject of an Academy Award winning film entitled King Gimp filmed by William A. Whiteford and Susan Hannah Hadary, and was written by me was made about my life. It showed my struggles, especially my desire to become an artist. I feel that my life with a disability and my mainstream education as an artist has allowed me to explore the disability visual culture from both vantage points, those of an insider and outsider.

I had my first gallery show at the Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York City in 2000. I have had two additional solo exhibitions since then at the same gallery. (Figure 1.) This portrait was done during my Senior year of high school, when I was experiencing a lot of turmoil, like most other teenagers. My first solo show consisted of mostly self-portraits, but they were done in away that was not expected from a person with a disability. They were dark and thought provoking; the viewer could see that I tapped into raw emotions.

When installing this show, Phyllis took into account that I was in a wheelchair and that this fact would attract other wheelchair users to her gallery. So the paintings were hung at eye level for people in wheel chairs, rather than the usual 60 inch midline. Many people with disabilities came to see the exhibition.

A few years into my art career, I began to have problems with my feet that kept me from working on my art for weeks at a time. Since I produce my art kneeling on the floor, my podiatrist said a permanent solution would be foot surgery. I put it off until 2004 for fear that it would change, or end how I produce my work. However, this fear has led me to new imagery. I started to re-invent my visual vocabulary. For example, I began to morph my foot into the front wheel of my chair. My current work is comprised of both painting and printmaking and in these concurrent bodies of work I explore this new foot/chair iconography (Figure 2.). Also the idea of the places I cannot physically get to, would they be better places or not?

Also, during this time I had to switch to a new doctor who did not know anything about me, or my success. She suggested that I try drug therapy to help control my movement. I refused to take the medicine because it would not only have changed who I am but my artwork as well. I am happy with who I am and what I am able to accomplish. My ability, the way the world perceives me, and the unique way in which I produce my work are an integral part of my artistic identity and vocabulary.

My work is deeply personal. Everything I create is an attempt to convey my experience to the viewer. I want the viewer to understand my physical as well as psychological experience in the world. I might paint a wheelchair climbing a set of stairs in an attempt to reveal some of the physical barriers I encounter in everyday life. In other words, I incorporate the image of a chair, which I anthropomorphize by giving it hands and feet. This image is meant to impart some of the psychological aspects of my life. Most people upon first seeing me do not see me as an individual but rather see only my chair. Although my work is about my own experience, I feel that it deals with the challenges in life, which can be experienced by anyone, regardless of his or her physical or psychological realities.

In the painting Who’s Town 2006 (figure3.), I become the architect of my own town, to make it more conforming to my needs. Everyone always talks about taking control of their lives, they should be disabled for a week. Then they would really get since of lack of control.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Symbols, Symbols Every Where Symbols


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The other week my friend asked me to help her think of some emojis kids could design during class. Really it is ironic that we are going back to communicating as they did in the caveman days. I also thought about this blog I wrote a few years ago.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Symbols, Symbols Every Where Symbols
The other day I was thinking how I always said I was born at the wrong time, because my life keeps getting a bit easier as the technology improves. Maybe the field of Speech Pathology was ahead of the rest of society. When I first started to use a communication board, they were hand drawn symbols with words on it, so other people knew what the symbol meant. As my vocabulary grew, they would just add another symbol to the board.

I find it interesting that most of the same communication symbols are in use today even thou that devices have become digital. This takes the fun away from watching your speech therapist messing around with the contact paper and getting the bubbles out of it. Do not forget the fading from repeated used or rearranging when adding new symbols. Out of the blue I came up with this phrase to add on my board, “You rabbit you”. Nobody could figure out where it came from, but a few years later, Mrs. Peterson found it. She did not say where she found it, maybe it came from Bugs Bunny.
The reason why I had these thoughts, it is that symbols have become mainstream vocabulary. All of our social sites are just known as symbols, or on any electric device a symbol opens an application. Talk about different worlds colliding!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Interesting Disability Articles


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Dec. 6,
My Husband Wasn’t My Savior. I Am.
When my husband decided he no longer wanted a wife with a disability, I was thrown into a struggle to rebuild my life.
No matter what this is always in the back of the mind, although your both say the disability is at the bottom on the list of problems.

Sept. 19
As a disabled woman, my abortion wasn’t questioned—but my pregnancy was

Sept. 19
We Need to Re-Evaluate Treatment of Cerebral Palsy in Adults
I used to not sleep well, but that changed 15 years ago when I met Dena. One would think it would be opposite worrying about hitting her in our sleep, it has been the reverse. As I get older, I am the sorest after a night of sleep, maybe from being in the same position for so long. I don’t like to take medicine since most of I time it does not do much. I do not wake up ready to conquer the world, but from my movement, being sore, or needing to go to the bathroom!

AUG. 2,
Mindset Matters: Thoughts On Disability As An Inspired Instrument For Leadership


Friday, June 28, 2019

2020 Presidential Election


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Feb, 3,
Disability Advocates Push to Make the Iowa Caucuses More Accessible
People with disabilities have garnered significantly more attention this cycle than in previous years. Nearly all of the top Democratic presidential candidates have released specific plans addressing disability issues and moderators asked a question on the topic at the December debate.

Jan, 27,
OPINION: U.S. presidential candidates are finally taking disability rights in education seriously
"Regardless of how one feels about Buttigieg, the renewed focus on disability rights during the 2020 U.S. presidential election is already making them a mainstream issue. Inclusionists, like myself, hope that conversation around Buttigieg’s education policy will sway other candidates to detail how to engage with families of nearly 7 million children receiving special-education services in the United States. Special education was never supposed to be a place but rather a service." -Tim Villegas

Jan, 20,
Buttigieg’s Plan for Parents With Disabilities Is a Blueprint for Other 2020 Candidates

Jan, 16,
Some With Disabilities Don’t See Themselves in Amy Klobuchar’s Disability Plan

Jan, 14,
Which 2020 Democratic Candidates Are Taking Disability Rights Seriously?

Nov. 19,
Julián Castro Is the Latest Democratic Candidate to Release a Disability Plan

Oct. 8,
Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues
Washington, D.C. – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas are proud to announce Elected for Inclusion, our national nonpartisan Presidential forum on disability issues. The forum will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas in advance of Super Tuesday and the November 2020 elections.
Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate.

Sept. 24
How do we achieve 100% participation by Maryland voters? EZ-Vote! Here’s how it works:
I have notice that Facebook has been doing a voter registration campaign, they should also list alternative ways to register since note everyone can go to their post offices and other places. In the United States alone, 48.9 million people have at least one form of disability. From physical impairments to mental ones, these challenges pose limitations on their lives and the world’s accessibility. I found a map of votes by PWDs, really shocking that the voting percentage is so low since so many of our lives are effected by every decision made in D.C.

July 25,
How Accessible and Inclusive Are the Presidential Candidates’ Campaigns?

July 25,
Beto O’Rourke Campaigns with Disability In Mind

July 23,
Joe Biden Runs for President to Bring a Democracy That Serves Everyone, Including People with Disabilities

June 28,
Not one 2020 candidate has a website that is accessible to the blind

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Winner of an OSCAR® for short documentary, King Gimp

Winner of an OSCAR® for short documentary

Winner of an OSCAR® for short documentary, King Gimp, directed and produced by Susan Hannah Hadary and William A. Whiteford, follows the life of Dan Keplinger from age 13 until his graduation from college. This award winning film documents his journey entering the mainstream as well as his birth as an artist. Challenging society to disregard his cerebral palsy, he’s greeted with a standing ovation as he accepts his diploma. 
In 2000, King Gimp won the prestigous Oscar Award® for best short documentary from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. At the Oscar Awards event, Dan Keplinger was so excited he lept from his wheelchair. “Most people thought I was having a seizure, but I was only jumping for joy,” Dan later explained to reporters.
King Gimp has been broadcast on HBO and has received many high profile awards and recognitions including a Peabody Award, National EMMY Nomination and The New York Festivals Media Disability Awareness Award.

Screen the movie King Gimp and participate in an interactive question and answer ceremony about the movie, Dan’s personal life, and Dan’s career as a successful fine artist. Contact Dan now, for more information and prices!!!
--Adopting To 2020--

Friday, June 21, 2019


Since I have not received any proposals for the question of the week, here is something I have been thinking about. The logo that you have seeing popping up is really the tattoo my brother Paul designed and gave me. Now, Paul was an artist by heart, he kept most of his work private. I think it had too much meaning for other people to understand. Also Paul was his own worse critic for example if he see a tat he did, he would say you should come back and let me fix it. Would he be piss that I have made his creation into a shield for the human spirit?

Maybe it is my way of keeping his gift a live, my brother passed away in February from a decease nobody can remember, or pronounce. Paul wanted to give me this tattoo as soon as we got back from the Oscar. It might have been his way of saying you fuck’n did it!

I kept putting it off, because we all knew some laws would need to be fudge to get the job. Let me tell you, those laws did not get fudged enough, because my CP, gimp ass still moved.  I guest Paul is ok with my use of the tattoo, because so far I have had no visits or stuff flying in the air at me.

Written: 6/13/14

Thursday, May 30, 2019

F Keeping calm, Just Carry On


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Information Information Information

For a few years I have felt as if the Disability Movement has been slipping back words, especially when the moment King Trump took office. In fact, as soon as he took office, the White House Disability site went down, and it is still down to this day. Please check for yourself at, if he does not acknowledge our struggle for our basic human rights than why should I respect him as the P********? The next two acts against the Disability Movement were trying to cut Medicaid and making the ADA so weak that it is useless. Let us take the ADA, there is no government agency to enforce it. It is up to the everyday person to file a complaint, wait until a court date, and prove the case. Then we do not really know if the problem will ever get “fix.” The ADA was not signed into law to punish people, but to create a universal design to make our communities accessible for all.

Most people think Medicaid just pays for medical issues and PCA so PWDs can live safe and independent lives, but did you also know Medicaid also helps pay for program in special education? These all are basic human rights for everyone, that is why we get so passionate and will do anything for our voices to be heard. I am not really the type to go protest in a crowd, although when I have it feels good and always lose my voice. The thing I do question about protest, is my voice really being heard because that has been my arch nemesis throughout my life. So, I would rather use my art to raise awareness of the fight we face daily. Just as when I go speak even if I can change the mind of one person out of hundreds, I achieved my goal. It can be one squeaky wheel that can bring an assembly line to a halt.
YouTube --more-- Contact

How has texting help the disabled?

How has texting help the disabled?

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I would have been perfect for this commercial

People looked at me like I was insane for getting a cell phone. Of course I cannot really use it for the phone, but is great for texting. It open a new way of communication for me. New  more businesses are making texting more of an option then calling, or even emailing. I am still confounded when place that are working to help People With Disabilities have the only option of calling. How does that let me be independent, or a self advocate if I communicate with them? Has it done the same for others with disabilities?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Some Stories From My Past (originally posted: Thursday, January 1, 2009)


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What A Crock

My name is Dan Keplinger, I am disabled by C.P. I ride around in a power wheelchair and speak through an interpreter or by writing. I graduated last May from Towson University with my major in Mass Communication and minor in Art. I am getting ready to start grad school at University of Baltimore this spring. I am telling you this because I am often assumed to be retarded because I can’t speak. I guess I should wear a T-shirt saying University graduate.

I want to share with you two events of the past months which me wonder...Am I in the mainstream of life? Will I ever be accepted or recognized as a contributing member of society?

In September, I was coming up York Rd from office of services for students with disabilities at Towson University. I was by the library when this lady comes across York and starts running up behind me. She said do you believe in the lord? I kept going, because most of time religious fanatics and other borderline crazies get the hint, but not this lady. She kept following me. She says in the name of the lord I command you to stop. This is when I knew to speed up as she was catching up with me. I decided to cross the street with a car coming thinking this might stop her, but it did not. I started up the alley across from the courthouse towards my apartment. By this time she was putting the bible on my head and hitting me with it and speaking in tongues. I got pissed now so I turned around and started going off but she put the bible in my face. We were close to my place but I pulled into the auto repair place, this is when she kept saying I had Satan in me. The guys in the shop had to call the cops. She still followed me home, and the policeman had to get her away from my building.

I was more shocked about it then scared, as I was sitting in the auto shop smirking. It was kind of a pulp fiction situation. Now that I think about it this could have been really dangerous. That was the reason I did not stop to confront her, if she was crazy enough to risk getting hit by a car as she chased me, who knew what she was willing to do. She might have even had a weapon or be thinking of purifying my evil spirits with a blood-letting ceremony.

Yesterday was the court date with the bible freak, what a bullshit job. Basically, she got off and made me look like I did not know what happened. She showed up all fake like, all cleaned and dressed up with her churches Pasteur. First the judge would not hear the case, because she did not have a lawyer and I don’t think he really want to take my statement that I typed. The judge asked the police officer to come and testify. He was fantastic he told the story they way it was. She still didn’t have a lawyer. She admitted to everything. I had given my written statement to the judge and the prosecutor. But they did not read it aloud.

Then the judge said she did not cause a scene. Even though the cop said people gathered when she prayed on hand and knees on the sidewalk. The judge said more people should do it. He also used a lame ass excuse that because I ca not speak she had no way of knowing that I had wanted her to stop. I guess he had already forgotten the testimony of the police officer made only minutes before. It gets better, the judge, lady and the Prosecutor had a conversation about my perception of the event. The whole time they did not asked me one question and Susan was with me. I wanted to say do you understand the term fuck off so bad. The more I think about it the more pissed off I get, because they were questioning if I was retarded or was if I did not exist in that courtroom.

I would like to know why I did not get my day in court like any other person? Did the judge assume I was deaf or retarded? Did the judge not listen to the testimony of the police officer that clearly stated that I was repeatedly trying to get away from this woman. Did the judge not hear the police officer say that many times he told the woman to stop and she would not or that she even followed me home. Was the judge this woman's lawyer? Or did he just like women who apologized - earlier in the morning he had made a joke about a female lawyer who apologized, wondering why his wife could not learn from her. Apology and prayer seemed to be the way to this judge's heart. It seems he would have us all praying on our knees on sidewalks at busy intersections in downtown Towson. What would justice have been? Perhaps not jail, but definitely community service working with people who have physical disabilities. A little education certainly would not hurt and may even enlighten religious fanatics who roam the streets with bibles trying to exorcise demons from people in wheelchairs. And to the judge, I say ... Individuals with disabilities have rights, just the way your son and daughter do. The police officer definitely knew I was in distress and communicated this repeatedly to the woman while she was involved in her bizarre religious ceremony for which I was the very unwilling victim. Although I survived, the event was a definite step backwards for the disabled when judges allow them to become the subjects of prolonged harassment, no matter what the religious label. We are entitled to justice and I think this judge owes many others and me an apology.

Posted January 1999

Hell Flight

Like I said, I took my first flight by myself in the summer of 1997. I live in Baltimore and my
best friend lives in Nantucket, I planed to leave on Wednesday and return on Sunday. By the way there are no direct flights from Baltimore to Nantucket, so I had to change planes in Newark. My mom takes me to BWI for a 3:00 flight to Newark, first the flight was delayed because of mechanical problems. then it was delayed because of the weather, the flight finally took off around 6:00. I was not able to take that flight, because my connected flight was schedule to leave Newark 7:00.

On Sunday I left Nantucket about 8:00a.m. and did not get into Baltimore about 11:00 that night. I was stuck in Newark for about ten hours, I had no way to call somebody to let them know what was happening. During the time in Newark they put on and off about 4 planes thinking this was the one that would go. After a while they let me sit behide the ticket desk. I got out my board and started to spell words as a way to communicate with them. It was hot that day and they wanted to drink a lot. I did not what to do this, because I did not know how long it would be before I could relieve myself.

When I finally got to BWI, my mom was waiting with a big sports cup and a bag of burgers. Thinking would dieing of thirst and hunger. She was amaze when I told her, the people in Newark took care of me. The scheduling might suck, but they always see that I am treated well.

Posted 5/30/07

Testing Acupuncture

Last night I went for my first acupuncture treatment, I did not get stick yet. My friend Jody is almost finished his Master's in acupuncture and offered me to be his last paitents as a student. The first appointment was more of an interview and evaluation session. He ask everything from how I ate and how it comes out, to how I sleep and if I keep company during that time. The next thing Jody was to poked around my body at different points. Then he did a test to see how balance my body is, or something like that. For this Jody used a instance stick to see how close it could get to each finger and toe before it was painful. Jody decided the first thing we will try to work on through the treatments, is my sleeping patterns. I just do not sleep good, infact I hate sleep maybe it is from my C.P.

Posted 11/18/99

I went for my second treatment of acupuncture and this time jody broke out the needles. He is working my back for now, this first time was see to witch point work and witch did not. These test needle also pulled out the "porstion", around the test needle got read I do not really know what this means. The needles did not go in too far, in fact they kept falling out. During the insertion of the needles I felt some more then other. In addition while they were in the feel of have them in me come in waves. During the treatment felt very relax and still, I almost fell to sleep. I think I sat there a hour with the needles in me, Jody said I would be so tired after the treatment. I did not think I was tier than usual, but I did notice that my move was decreased for the rest of the night.

Posted 11/26/99

Third week of treatment, boy this one was pain. Jody did a few things at the same time plus he used bigger need, so this week the pain was consent and not waves of stings like last week. Because of the pain I was not as relax during or after the session. Although it still slowed down my movement after wards. Last week I did have a few nights of better sleep. I found out that the needles were falling out because of my movement, this week they were falling out like crazy. I was so lucky, last night when went to change close, I found a needle in my undies. Can you imagine how ugly that could have been? Did you know that acupuncturist do not always leave the needles. If they want decrease the energy to that point, the needle stays in. When the energy needs to increase at the point, they only stick the point with the needle.

Posted 12/1/99

Bar Fight

My friend Jody and I went to New York for a few days to hang out last week while I had some art on exhibit at the U.N. with eMotion Pictures: An Exhibition of Orthopedics in Art.

One night Jody and I got kicked out of a place in n.y. We went to this place for dinner and had 3 beers each. Then we moved to the bar for a few more and the bar tender said he had to cut me off, because he could not understand me. After we had another drink at the bar. That would make 4 drinks all together for me. The guy said he would still serve Jody, but not me and I had 6 drinks. So he decides to cuts me since I can not order for myself.

Jody tries to talk to him and it got heated. when the manager came, he offered to move us to another bar witch were down stairs. I said no and that is Discrimination so we walked out. This was after the fucks got 100 bucks for dinner. Jody did clear off our place at the bar before we went.

Posted 1/25/02

I'm like piss at the world. A few weeks ago, I was on my to the print studio and this dumb bitch on her cell phone at a red light ran into me. She was trying to make a left turn. She pushed me a few inches she hit my leg but I didn't feel it at the time, I got a good bruise from it. She asked if I wanted her to anyone. I said no, thinking it would be more trouble than it was worth. Then she took off fast, she knew she screwed up. That night mom had the police come talk to me; he said I should always call the police. Why, so I could have another judge say I was playing tag with a car!!!!

The following week it almost happen again, but worst. I was going to ship stuff to phyllis. I see this fuck speeding down the hill, the light was red. Good thing I slowed down, because he was half way over the cross walk before he could stop.

The woman was in her 30s and the man was in his 40s. So you cannot say it is just the younger generation that does not care about the world around them.

Society, let the nukes loose.

Posted 8/5/02

Self-Imposed Exile

When I was a SR. in high school DORS got me a laptop to double as a communicator and mounted onto my chair. I really hate using communicators, they always break down, and when they are on my chair I feel trapped. Plus I can't use them without my head stick, so either I have to get the person to put my head stick on to talk with them, or ride around with the head stick on. The computer survived my last year of high school, but not freshman year of college. In fact I went through three computers that year. They kept falling off my chair, while I fought with DORS to get it fix I had no way to do my work this sucked so hard. This is what I got from being a good gimp and trying to conform to society.

So how the hell do I communicate with society as a whole, l do not!!! When people are around my enough they get used to the way I talk. My friends and family end up being interpreters a lot of times. Even they have trouble understanding me sometimes, when this happen I just spell out the word of think of another way to say it.

What happen in school? The people that dealt with on a regular bases also got used to the way I spoke. I always tried to get the some note takers, because they would also act as my interpreter. In the worse case, when I new we had to talk in class and no one was used to me, so I did used my computer, but it sat on a safe desk.

What about every day task like banking, shopping. You should know I do not expect everyone to take the time to understand me. When I do my banking I type out what I want and take that paper with me. If I am shopping for a certain item, I type that out to show to the people that works that store. If I am really getting no ware with talking, I do carry around a sheet of paper with some phrase, numbers and the alphabet on it. I use a straw in my month to point, or to spell out the words. I also use communicating by talk as a way to feel people out. Over the years found if people are really interested in getting to know me, they pick up my speech quick. The people that are not cool will not get to understand me.

Posted 7/24/07