The 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast: Discussing Difference

Looking Back on a Busy Summer and Looking Forward to Fall!

Summer has gone by so quickly, and I wanted to share some of the events I’ve participated in and the opportunities I’ve had in the past few months.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I attended the Global Pathfinders Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia on May 20-24. The Global Pathfinders Summit celebrated the 400th anniversary of democracy in Virginia and brought together 150 delegates from 50 different countries. During the summit, I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe. We talked about democracy and global issues, such as corruption, politics, and policies. Then, we participated in service projects and developed a framework for future democracy based on our conversations. When talking about our cultures, I was surprised that other young people face very similar problems that young people in America encounter. I took away from this event the importance of looking at issues globally. If we worked together globally, we could begin to tackle issues that affect us all.

PHOTO: Matthew, outside,In a blue colored shirt, In a photo with five new friends that he met at the Global Pathfinder Summit In Charlottesville Virginia early in the summer.

PHOTO: Matthew, outside,In a blue colored shirt, In a photo with five new friends that he met at the Global Pathfinder Summit In Charlottesville Virginia early in the summer.



PHOTO: Matthew, in his wheelchair, in a black shirt and cap with khaki shorts holding a falcon with a smile on his face. This took place at The No Barriers Summit.

PHOTO: Matthew, in his wheelchair, in a black shirt and cap with khaki shorts holding a falcon with a smile on his face. This took place at The No Barriers Summit.

On June 13-16, I attended my fifth No Barriers Summit in Lake Tahoe. No Barriers hosts these summits yearly to provide people with disabilities the chance to participate in some great activities. This year, I participated in an improv course and falconry. I also did a boxing course with my brother, which was great. As always, I had a great time at this year’s summit!



On August 8, I was the keynote speaker at the first Mass Care Symposium hosted by the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia. At this event, I spoke to 200 people about the importance of making emergency preparedness plans inclusive for people with disabilities and for the elderly population. I talked about why people with disabilities should be involved in the planning process and in practice scenarios when it comes to emergency preparedness, and also discussed what items shelters can include to make people with disabilities feel more comfortable.


PHOTO: Matthew on stage, in a blue shirt, in his wheelchair. He front of an audience listening to his keynote. A TV to the right of him reads Disaster Dialog. There is also a picture of a fire on the screen. This keynote took place as part of The Virginia Mass Care Symposium.

PHOTO: Matthew on stage, in a blue shirt, in his wheelchair. He front of an audience listening to his keynote. A TV to the right of him reads Disaster Dialog. There is also a picture of a fire on the screen. This keynote took place as part of The Virginia Mass Care Symposium.

Throughout the summer, I’ve also submitted several presentations to several organizations for different events. I submitted a presentation to Virginia’s state-wide Emergency Preparedness Conference. I also submitted two proposals focusing on making workplaces more inclusive and disability-aware for a conference in Canada.

I’m looking forward to speaking on a diversity panel for a conference hosted by Visit Richmond on September 26. The conference is focused on diversity in travel and the media, and we’ll be talking to travel writers, journalists, and other people in the tourism industry. We’ll also have someone from the African American community and someone from the LGBT community to talk on the panel, and we’ll discuss the ways travel can be made more inclusive and enjoyable to our communities.

Even though it’s not lobbying season right now, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into lobbying during the off-season. I’ve continued my lobbying work for the Virginia Association of People Supporting Employment First (VA APSE) this summer and have met with 10 legislators about the upcoming legislative agenda. I’ll also meet with a few more legislators in the coming weeks.

Earlier this summer, I served as an expert witness in court. I drafted a report about a case in Michigan that involved a person with a disability. This was a my first time as an expert witness and it was a really cool learning experience that had me thinking about disability from a different perspective. It’s definitely I’d like to do more of if I have the opportunity!

As you may have noticed, we’ve made some changes to our website recently! We’re going to continue to make updates to the website, so keep an eye out for new content coming soon!

There will be new podcast episodes coming out soon, and I’m looking forward to everyone hearing the newest episodes! Bob and I have interviewed some really great guests on the podcast recently and we’ve had some really great conversations. We know you’re going to love hearing what our guests had to say!

Coming your way is an exciting project that I’m working on with 6 Wheels Consulting volunteers Emily Deaton and Carolanne Monteleone: an eBook! Details on the eBook will be in future social media posts and blog posts!

I have some really great projects that I’m currently working on, and I’m excited to share them with you soon! As always, thanks for reading and make sure to follow 6 Wheels Consulting on our social media platforms to keep up with the latest news!

PHOTO: Matthew, in his wheelchair in a black shirt black hat and khaki shorts smiling. Standing next to him is his brother, Jason. He is smiling in a blue shirt and khaki pants They are having their picture taken in front of a blue backdrop that reads No Barriers.

PHOTO: Matthew, in his wheelchair in a black shirt black hat and khaki shorts smiling. Standing next to him is his brother, Jason. He is smiling in a blue shirt and khaki pants They are having their picture taken in front of a blue backdrop that reads No Barriers.

Upcoming Events, Conferences, and More!

It’s been an exciting year for 6 Wheels Consulting so far, and there’s a lot more still to come!

Recently, I had the opportunity to join Gayton Elementary School in their Gators Choose to Include Campaign. This campaign is all about sharing the importance of inclusion and celebrating differences. I was able to kick off the campaign by talking to 500 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade about my experiences. The students were incredibly engaged and excited, and I was delighted to be a part of Gayton’s Gators Choose to Include Campaign.

PHOTO: Matthew Speaking to Gayton Elementary school students at the Gators Choose to Include Campaign kickoff event.

PHOTO: Matthew Speaking to Gayton Elementary school students at the Gators Choose to Include Campaign kickoff event.



I returned to George Washington University to speak with students who are studying to be physical therapists and occupational therapists. These students learn so much in their time at school and learning how to interact with future patients is an important part of their studies. Sharing my experiences with them and talking about how important self-determination can be to patients is a great way to add another dimension to their education.


PHOTO: Matthew speaking to OT and PT Students at George Washington University about the importance of developing self-determination within their patients.

PHOTO: Matthew speaking to OT and PT Students at George Washington University about the importance of developing self-determination within their patients.

I have several events that are also coming up soon. On May 7-10, I’ll be attending the 2019 Family Voices Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The organization focuses on the importance of families in children’s healthcare, and I’ll be representing Kids As Self Advocates (KASA) at the conference. A youth panel at the conference will allow everyone to hear about issues that affect young people with disabilities.

PHOTO : Logo for the Global Pathfinder Summit.

PHOTO : Logo for the Global Pathfinder Summit.

May 20-24, I’ll be participating in The Global Pathfinders Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia. This great event will bring together people around the world and will focus on leadership and networking. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and learning from some great leaders.



A few days later on May 30, I’ll be in Vermont to be a keynote speaker for a Youth Advocacy Council. This group consists of young adults who want to hone their leadership skills and connect with other people with and without disabilities. This empowering event will focus on the importance of positivity and enjoying being present in daily life.

From June 13-16, I’ll be attending the No Barriers Summit once again, which is being held in Lake Tahoe. There, I’ll get the chance to connect with and speak in front of others. I’ll also be participating in some great activities, including improv and falconry.

At the beginning of August, I’ll be a keynote speaker at Gayton Baptist Church where I’ll talk about emergency preparedness. I’ll be focusing on the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities when preparing to react to different types of emergencies.

PHOTO: 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast logo.

PHOTO: 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast logo.

Finally, I’ve recently recorded several new episodes for the 6 Wheels Consulting Disability Podcast. In upcoming episodes, you’ll hear interviews with Evelyn Clark, who talks about the process of becoming disabled, Ashton Fallen, who shares her experiences parenting a child with a disability, and Emily Deaton and Carolanne Monteleone, who talk about the intersection of chronic illness and disability. In the works is also an episode with lawyer Helen Hardiman from Hardiman Law where we’ll talk about fair housing, disability and more. Make sure to tune in to catch all these great episodes!


As always, thanks for your support! Please continue to stay connected to our social media pages for updates. I’m so excited for everything I have coming up and can’t wait to see what else spring and summer has in store.

Highlighting 6 Wheels Consulting’s 2018 Successes in the First Half of the Year

2018 has been a great year for 6 Wheels Consulting. With everything that has happened lately, I thought it’d be a good idea to highlight some of the most important and exciting work 6 Wheels Consulting has done so far.

 

At the beginning of the year, I was lucky enough to see the release of a book that my mom and I took part in writing. Infinite Inspirations: Creative and Daring Responses to Life’s Challenges shares stories from different people who have faced challenges in their lives with courage and positivity. If you’re looking for great stories from real people, you should definitely consider picking up the book.

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover

 

Since launching the 6 Wheels Disability Podcast in June, over 507 people have downloaded the podcast! Bob Nolley and I have had a great time recording each episode and we look forward to continuing the pod. We often take questions from listeners, so make sure to connect with 6 Wheels on social media for the chance to hear your questions answered on the podcast!

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast. Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background. The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.jpg

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast. Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background. The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.jpg



 

6 Wheels Consulting has also recently launched our Certification Program. This program focuses on making locations fully inclusive, not just ADA compliant, for people with disabilities. If you know someone who is interested in having their business 6 Wheels Certified or you want to learn more, please contact me.

PHOTO: 6 Wheels Consulting, LLC Logo


Looking forward, 6 Wheels is also looking for volunteers who are interested in making the world more inclusive for people with disabilities. Whether you have a love for marketing or a knack for gaining followers on social media, we would love to have your help! Again, please contact me with any questions or if you’re interested.

 

Finally, 6 Wheels Consulting is going to start a mailing list to keep in touch with our audience. If you would be interested in joining our mailing list to receive updates on everything 6 Wheels, send me a message with your email address.

 

Thank you for your support. 6 Wheels Consulting is making a difference every day, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring.

A Busy June

This past month, I’ve had a lot of exciting opportunities to travel, work with others, and I’ve also launched several projects in June.

PHOTO: Matthew sitting in his wheelchair in a blue shirt and cap outside a store in Paris, France.  He is looking at a gray platform.

PHOTO: Matthew sitting in his wheelchair in a blue shirt and cap outside a store in Paris, France.  He is looking at a gray platform.

At the beginning of the month, I traveled to Europe and South Africa. It was amazing to explore the different countries. One thing that I was surprised by throughout the trip was the way these countries handled accessibility and inclusivity. There were always family restrooms and changing rooms available, even in historical buildings. Paris had ramps that were built into the stairways, so business owners could pull the ramp in and out as needed. In Amsterdam, one of the canal boats had a platform that easily raised up and lowered, making it easy for me to get into the boat with my wheelchair. It was clear that many places prioritized the inclusion of people with disabilities and it proves that it can be done in the United States.

PHOTO: Matthew still sitting in his wheelchair in a blue shirt and cap outside a store in Paris, France.  Now he is looking at a black ramp to help him get in the store.

PHOTO: Matthew still sitting in his wheelchair in a blue shirt and cap outside a store in Paris, France.  Now he is looking at a black ramp to help him get in the store.

PHOTO: Matthew in his chair, in a yellow shirt, using a lift to get into a canal boat in Amsterdam.

PHOTO: Matthew in his chair, in a yellow shirt, using a lift to get into a canal boat in Amsterdam.

PHOTO: Matthew, sitting behind a table, and his mom, Eve, presenting on the stage at the I'm Determined Parent Summit In Harrisonburg, Virginia at James Madison University.

PHOTO: Matthew, sitting behind a table, and his mom, Eve, presenting on the stage at the I'm Determined Parent Summit In Harrisonburg, Virginia at James Madison University.

After my trip, I headed to Harrisonburg, Virginia to give a talk with my mom at the I’m Determined Parents’ Summit. Our presentation focused on qualities of highly productive people; a few qualities we talked about included making time for yourself and focusing on the good things in life. It was great to talk with so many parents and listen to other people’s experiences.

I had a few days at home before heading off to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the National ADA Symposium. I’m working toward becoming an ADA Coordinator, so it was a perfect opportunity to take classes that move me closer to my goal. When I become certified as an ADA Coordinator, I plan to use my knowledge and experience to help different types of businesses by using my inclusion above compliance approach.

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast. Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background. The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast. Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background. The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.

A few days later, I went to Orlando, Florida and attended the National Association for People Supporting Employment First Conference. I listened to several interesting presentations and learned more on how to do lobbying work better.

            Finally, at the end of June, I launched the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast: Discussing Difference, Inclusion, and All Abilities in Today’s World with Bob Nolley. We had been talking about the idea of starting a podcast for a little while and getting to record the first episode was great. Make sure to let us know your thoughts on our first episode and what you’d like to hear! We appreciate your feedback!

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover.

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover.

If you haven’t already, also check out the book that I took part in writing, Infinite Inspirations: Creative and  Daring Responses to Life’s Challenges. Each chapter is written by a different author, and the book is filled with a lot of genuine stories.

It’s been a busy month, and it’s been great to see several programs that I’ve been working on come together. I’m excited to continue working on these projects and I look forward to seeing what comes next!  As always stay tuned in to the 6 Wheels Consulting, LLC social media pages and website for exciting updates on future activities and episodes of the podcast.  I am working very hard and I’m excited to share those experiences with you.

PHOTO: One last picture.  Here is Matthew In South Africa In his wheelchair feeding some elephants some lunch.

PHOTO: One last picture.  Here is Matthew In South Africa In his wheelchair feeding some elephants some lunch.

Major Announcement: Launching The 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast: Discussing Difference, Inclusion, and All Abilities in Today’s World

I have more EXCITING news to share!  I have launched a new podcast, called the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast: Discussing Difference, Inclusion, and All Abilities in Today’s World.  My cohost, Bob Nolley, and I recorded the introductory episode a few weeks back and it is now live on iTunes.  I look forward to working on more episodes soon.

Every 45-60-minute episode will focus on different issues people with disability face, and we aim to release a new episode around once a month and occasionally more frequently. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics, talking about everything from representation in the media to maintaining relationships. After our Introductory episode, we hope to feature guests in future episodes to talk about their personal experiences and their areas of expertise in the disability world.

Ultimately, the goal of the podcast is to get people thinking differently about disability. The more discussions we have with and about people with disabilities, the closer we are to a more inclusive world.

You can find the podcast and the inaugural episode on iTunes HERE.  Give it a listen and let us know what you think!  Make sure you like it and put it in your podcast library so you will be aware of future episodes. Also, follow the 6 Wheels social media pages to receive updates, or to provide us with future episode topic ideas or to let us know you would like to be a guest on a future episode!  We want to hear from you!

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast.  Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background.  The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.jpg

PHOTO: Here is the logo for the 6 Wheels Consulting Podcast.  Is a white version of the six wheels logo on an orange background.  The text reads 6 Wheels Podcast with Matthew Shapiro.jpg