We learn from him by his projects.
Simon Stevens is an independent disability issues consultant, trainer, and activist. I met him when he started his 3D Web club, Wheelies, in Second Life. In Simon’s words, “Wheelies is my virtual disability themed nightclub on Llamdos Island. As the world’s first such nightclub, since it opened in September 2006, it has supported 10,000s of disabled and non-disabled people across the world by providing a safe, friendly and supportive environment that is not formally focused on disability issues or peer support as its main focus.”
Simon is a smart, savvy human being who has cerebral palsy. It affects his body movement and speech. It does not affect his brain and spirit, nor his mission.
I see Simon as a life consultant because of his focus on all people having fully self-expressed lives. We learn from him by his projects. Wheelies exemplifies Simon’s approach to disability. He’s not interested in guests feeling sorry for, or patronizing, the disabled – he’s interested in people hanging out, having fun, working hard, and being full participants and contributors to society, regardless of their circumstances. He’s interested in a place where people in wheelchairs, to pick one example, can hang out comfortably with people standing. Simon, for one, always logs in to Second Life in his wheelchair. His one concession to taking advantage of virtual reality is evolving his wheelchair from the normal, electric motor powered, variety to a modern, cyber-powered, streamlined, glowing hover chair with jet controls.
Simon’s newest projects include an interactive website featuring his brands and activities. Simon is not a disabled life consultant, he is a life consultant who is differently-abled. The distinction matters to all of us because we are all differently-abled.