We would like to acknowledge the people who contributed directly or indirectly to this blog. There are many people, as our family’s history with the field is a long one. The list is already getting out of hand, so apologies to many who, for the moment, are not listed here. For more information on these historic figures, we’ve linked to their public information or works.
- Rosemary Kennedy. Obviously the Kennedy family made innumerable contributions to the field of developmental disabilities. In the theme of interdependent lives, we want to expressly note of the life and contributions of Rosemary Kennedy, who’s life influenced so many including ours.
- Tom Gilhool. When Tom worked at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), our family was involved with the PARC court cases. Tom became like a member of our family and we love him dearly. (Others working at PILCOP at that time included Frank Laski, Nancy Zollers, and Ed Titterton.)
- Lou Brown. Lou Brown and other “academics” started the special education field. They went around the country collecting research to answer the question on whether individuals with significant intellectual disabilities could be “educated” — did they deserve an education. Lou and others, with their professional testimonies, helped opened doors to the schools. We had the pleasure of welcoming Lou and others to our small row house in Philadelphia. Through them our parents “went to school” and became educated on the most progressive thoughts in the field.
- Miriam Golub. Miriam and our mother, Leona, worked for the Office of the Special Master — helping families with transitioning into the community as part of the Pennhurst disbursal. Miriam was more than a co-worker. A mom of a child, David, with developmental disabilities, Miriam and our mom Leona formed a close attachment and helped each other maintain hope in dark days and dark hours.
- Dee Coccia and Maureen Devaney. Mothers involved in the PARC court cases in Philadelphia, our mother helped mentor Dee and Maureen and Dee and Maureen in turn helped mentor Kate. Here’s to, also, Gina and Colleen who are life long friends of the family and especially David.
- Temple University Institute on Disabilities. Our thanks go to the Institute on Disabilities at Temple (and especially Celia Feinstein) for decades of work in the field of Disabilities. In particular for their living history preservation in Visionary Voices, the new archives in which the Fialkowski Papers reside, and the play which brings this history to life using a diverse cast for a diverse audience: A Fierce Kind of Love. We also want to thank the institute for their support of David and adaptive communications. Thanks also to Jim Lemanowicz, a neighborhood “boy” working at Temple these many years and Lisa Sonneborn who delightfully draws out the oral histories for Visionary Voices.
- Steve Eidleman. We met Steve in the 80’s when he was the Deputy Secretary at Pennsylvania DPW. Steve has been a tireless supporter of community living for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the decades. Most recently we had the good fortune to renew our acquaintance when Kate won the Kennedy Public Policy Fellowship. Steve generously helped direct us to the most relevant cases and history so that we could fill in academic gaps in our education. Sadly this includes the introduction to both Peter Singer and the Pillow Angel.
- Eva Feder Kittay. Eva is a philosopher who has published extensively on the ethics of care. Qualified to do so not just based on her terrific academic credentials but also from a first-person perspective — Eva has a daughter with profound developmental disabilities. (Much of Eva’s published works are available on her website, linked to her name above)
- Bill Oghe. Bill was a fierce self-advocate for People on the Go of Maryland since 1992. Kate had the distinct pleasure of working with Bill when she worked for The Arc Maryland. Bill was a mentor, he taught reality of how the formal and informal systems worked and he was the one who started shining a light on the idea of independent and interdependent simultaneously — Bill was an active member of his Church community where he beautifully articulated belonging and welcome.