Tyler Schwab: the immobile fighter

Throughout his life, he’s been using a wheelchair to move around.

But Tyler Schwab has also always been strong. He had since been a part of a close-knit group of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Horizon Middle School.

Tyler was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was young. He has to be in a wheelchair to speak and do his coursework. The wheelchair has two buttons, which he can press using the side of his head. Connected to an iPad, these buttons could be programmed to be any key on the keyboard. Tyler can just navigate the programs through auditory scanning.

As of now, Tyler is studying journalism. And one of the issues he has taken on is about the disrespect to people with disabilities (PWDs). He started the “Spread the Word, End the Word,” a campaign that focuses on respect in dealing with PWDs, which eventually became an annual day—every first Wednesday of March—to increase awareness about the R-word*.

“I talked about the R-word being negative, disrespectful and hurtful. We should stop using the word altogether,” Tyler was reported saying during his presentation on the proper etiquette in writing and speaking about people with disabilities.

“I felt it was important for them to know how I feel about using the R-Word as well as how other people with disabilities feel about the use of the R-Word. “Journalism students should be aware that they should never use the R-Word in their writing or day-to-day life.”

“People with disabilities are people first, and their disability comes second.” ~Tyler Schwab

 *R-word refers to “retarded.”

Photo from the Bismarck Schools and is not for reuse. Please do not repost without expressed permission.


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