Journalist with special needs fights stereotypes

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MONTPELIER, Vt. Lawrence Seiler has been producing 'Abled and On Air' for six years.

The show focuses on the abilities of people with special needs. Guests discuss important issues for their community like getting jobs and transportation.

"I wanted to do stories about us, people with challenges," Seiler said.

He's had challenges himself. As Seiler describes it, he deals with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination. He doesn't suffer from it.

"I just roll with it, and we keep going," Seiler said.

He said people have doubted his capabilities, only seeing the Cerebral Palsy.

"Disability. Dis- means not, ability, when you put that together means you can't do anything. People with special needs can do lots of things,"
Seiler said.

Stigma has not stopped Seiler or his wife, Arline. She works to overcome her own challenges, having a learning disability and being a survivor of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Seiler said disability goes out the window when they're on set.

"It's like our own Rocky story, you know the whole thing with him running up the steps," Seiler said.

His ambition doesn't stop with one show. He's recently started a spin-off, Abled to Cook, allowing people with disabilities to show off their cooking skills.

Executive Director Rob Chapman said Seiler works hard, and Orca Media is glad to help.

"It's part of our mission. You know, it's public access, so anybody in our community who wants to produce a show can obviously come here. And we'll help them, train them, and get them distributed on the channels," Chapman said.

For other people with special needs, Seiler has some advice. He said people should challenge themselves and never give up.