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  • Writer's pictureMichael Astor

Living The American Dream

Our surprisingly successful campaign to get my son Nick Astor into college at SUNY Purchase continues to generate discussion in Albany _ even if this video is from a few weeks back. This is gratifying and a little embarrassing. It's embarrassing because it really shouldn't be such a big deal for a kid with cerebral palsy to go college and live in the dorms and I feel bad for all the other people who wanted their kids to go to college and couldn't make it work. I know there are lots of kids in this situation because many of their parents reached out to me over the summer and since then.

That's why I started Ability Fierce to leverage Nick's visibility in the media to try to change the situation for everyone. In the video, Roger Bearden, the Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner for the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (quite a mouthful) says that Nick is living the American Dream. I just wish it wasn't so hard to achieve that and that the "dream" wasn't constantly threatened by cuts to programs like Consumer Directed Personal Assistance. The program is just one of many pieces we have put in place to support Nick but if the state ends it, the whole scheme falls apart like a bunch of Jenga logs. Even if the program survives we still have a lot of work and fighting to do just to maintain. It shouldn't be this way and that's why we need an abilities revolution.

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