NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association today announced the appointment of Gary Karp, a wheelchair user and well known disability author, speaker, and teacher, to its board of directors.
Karp, 61, has devoted the last twenty years of his professional life to optimizing the potential and independence of people with disabilities. In 2007, Karp was inducted into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame as a disability educator.
"We are honored to have Gary Karp choose to serve our organization as he has been a role model for many with spinal cord injuries," said James Weisman, United Spinal's president and CEO.
For 11 years, Karp was sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to educate people about how people faced with traumatic change such as SCI/D cope, adapt, and reach for a new vision of their lives.
During that period he has taken his message of "Modern Disability" to more than 70 universities and 25 rehab centers helping thousands of future professionals, those with recent injuries, and family members, while also honing his own understanding of disability.
Karp has also focused on employment and disability, working with corporate and government clients, among them Microsoft, Genentech, the FDIC, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"I've always tried to tell my story in a way that gets across the universal lessons of disability, that human beings are adaptable by our nature, and everybody wants to find their way to be okay with themselves and what's possible," said Karp.
"It can't be about people with disabilities needing to be rare, remarkable individuals to succeed and thrive. It is really a matter of everybody getting the proper support and resources. I believe everybody has the potential, if they choose to pursue it," he added.
Karp was paralyzed at T12 in a fall from a tree in 1973 at the age of eighteen. He earned degrees in architecture from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan and subsequently pursued a career in graphic design.
Karp lives in Phoenix, AZ and while he continues to support those involved in recent adaptation to disability, his work also focuses on the workplace, helping employers gain a clear picture of the considerable capabilities of the emerging population of people with disabilities.
His books, Life on Wheels, From There to Here, and Disability & Art of Kissing, are available online and remain popular years after publication. At the root of much of Karp's work is his gift for telling stories and his understanding of their power and potential to change the way others think about disability.
His most recent accomplishment is the production of a computer-based workplace awareness course, www.RealPeopleRealPotential.com.
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
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SOURCE United Spinal Association