Dan Habib on parenting – and advocating

On Capitol Close Up on WKXL, former Concord Congressman Paul Hodes interviewed Dan Habib, the creator of award-successful documentary movies on disabilities that have been nominated for a number of Emmy awards, translated into 17 languages, and used around the world to aid disability rights. Dan’s son Samuel has a significant incapacity and lives in a wheelchair. So what has it been like parenting a child with a incapacity in Concord? 

“Concord has truly done a definitely awesome job with inclusion,” Habib says. “But you generally have to thrust in advance there’s generally much more get the job done to do.”


(Observe: Habib was formerly the photo editor for the Keep track of and his son Samuel has also been a Observe intern.)


Paul Hodes: What at first led you to the Watch and to living in Concord? 

Dan Habib: The Keep track of was one particular of the destinations I dropped off my portfolio in the summer season of ‘87. They called back again and said we will need someone to start out work quickly.  It was a week before the most important.  It was wild. Just one of my to start with assignments was Al Haig. He came out of an elevator somewhere in Manchester, and I snapped a picture of him. He explained, “if you get one particular more image, I’ll punch you in the nose.” So I just variety of shrugged and then he started off laughing and explained “take as quite a few as you want.” It turned out to be a blast.

PH: Your son Samuel life with you. Samuel has a critical disability. What has it been like increasing him in Concord?

DH: For my to start with 35 yrs, I failed to have a whole lot of make contact with with disability. I did not seriously comprehend the remarkable ableism of our society, how a great deal stigma there is against people today with disabilities.  You just have to uncover a way to adapt. You never have a choice.

The most significant point to us is that Samuel feels like he belongs: in our loved ones, in our local community of Harmony, in our community below on Roger Avenue, and most absolutely in his neighborhood neighborhood university. 

Luckily we dwell in close proximity to Beaver Meadow University, one particular of only a handful of elementary educational institutions that was physically available to a wheelchair person at the time. Possessing Sam totally bundled in college was the crucial factor.  He could have good friends, discover the regular schooling curriculum, function towards a diploma. As he acquired older, we started off looking at the potential for relationships, the probable for perform, the probable for higher instruction.

PH: Have you been ready to uncover guidance in this article in conditions of organizations, political institutions, and other institutions in the community?

DH: Harmony has essentially finished a actually awesome career with inclusion.  The faculty was completely ready to contain him in the frequent classroom with his friends, which was excellent. But you usually have to push, and there is a lot extra that can be carried out domestically but also nationally.  I was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Committee for Men and women with Intellectual Disabilities and there are great chances at the federal amount to boost lives.

Regionally, Samuel has performed his individual testifying ahead of the Metropolis Council.  He feels pretty passionately about accessibility in the neighborhood and is pissed off that the bleachers at Memorial Subject are actually improperly designed for wheelchairs. He also served on the setting up committee for downtown Harmony and the entire renovation of downtown Harmony. 

PH: Samuel fulfilled Joe Biden on the campaign trail?

DH: Yeah, Samuel achieved him and questioned “how will you assist an inclusive instruction?” What I liked is that Joe genuinely focused his interest a hundred % on Samuel. But he also did something that was a tiny bit out of line – he started off stroking Samuel’s confront. And Sam was a 20-yr-old guy.  We did a limited two-minute movie of it and it sort of went viral and the incapacity local community blew up in excess of it.  But it became a teaching moment and a progress minute for Joe Biden – and the country – about incapacity etiquette.

PH: You and Samuel are now performing on a film collectively? 

DH: We’re performing a documentary in which we exhibit his transition to adulthood whilst he reaches out to extraordinary people in the country who also experienced disability about their transition to adulthood. He’s finished nine interviews with extraordinary people. 

PH: Are you mostly focusing on filmmaking now?

DH: At the very least half of my operate is not filmmaking. I do a lot of academic work and outreach.  That can take a ton of scheduling and a good deal of fundraising. The New Hampshire Charitable Basis Endowment for Overall health has supported my operate, and that aids a whole lot.

PH: What does the long run keep in store for your relatives here in Harmony? 

DH: We have hoped that Sam may perhaps be capable to stay wholly aside from us in his personal residence or apartment, perhaps in downtown Concord. Considering that his overall health needs a good deal of support, with assist from the funding that will come by way of Grownup Providers in New Hampshire, we have been equipped to establish up a crew. For now, we’ve built an addition onto our garage listed here in Harmony, so he is received his personal unbiased place. General, my largest hope is that Sam continues to be wholesome and content. And his largest target appropriate now is to come across a girlfriend. So I am rooting for that.

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