Sunday, August 15, 1999

Readers get their turn to be heard

        Here are some comments on a variety of topics sent by readers.

        A WHILE AGO, (March 21) you wrote an article about different women who had a disability and were also famous. Would you write an article about men, too, who have or had a disability and became famous? This would be a great help in teaching the Everybody Counts program to our elementary school children.

        You're a true hero in my book! - — Debbie Kleemeier, Cincinnati

        For a quick fix, consider the following:

        • Louis Braille, blind Frenchman who invented Braille.

        • Ludwig van Beethoven, German master of music, who was deaf when some of his greatest works were composed.

        • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U.S. president (1933-45), who was paralyzed from polio.

        • Chris Burke, star of the 1980s series Life Goes On, born with Down syndrome.

        I READ YOUR ARTICLE about Rear Window Captioning and DVS Theatrical systems (May 23) and found it very interesting. I am president of the Hearing Impaired Persons of Port Charlotte, Fla., (Deaf Service Center) and also editor for its newsletter.

        I experienced Rear Window captioning at Disney World's Epcot last October. I am deaf and was standing in line with two of my hearing friends to view a cute movie about how babies are made. The attendant saw us signing and introduced me to the Rear Window captioning. I was fascinated with the system and wish it was available in theaters everywhere! - — Velma Wright, Port Charlotte, Fla.


        ALTHOUGH I GENERALLY AGREE with much of what you write, I must say thatthis column (July 18) is also “one more tiny step” toward government-mandated thought and speech, the very concept behind the language of Newspeak in George Orwell's 1984.

        Reflect correct attitudes? Whose idea of correct are we using? Why should one person or group define what is correct? For example, I con tinue to use Black instead of African-American, and until I am legally referred to as Dutch-American, I will continue to do so. We are all Americans, and any other label is separatist. I refuse to have the federal government dictate my thoughts and speech, and whereas I may be open to certain ideas, my mind closes when these dictates begin. - — Doug Rebertus, Rockbridge, Ohio

        THANK YOU FOR YOUR excellent article (Aug. 3) on TOP Soccer. I had no idea programs of this nature existed and was happy to read about the work that is being done.

        I wonder how the U.S. Youth Soccer Association got so smart and so compassionate to set up this kind of a program. Maybe other sports organizations could learn from them. - — Dr. Michael Lichstein, Clifton

        WOW! WHAT A THRILL for all our relatives online in Pennsylvania to see our Katie Bowersox (Aug. 3) in the Cincinnati Enquirer! Thanks for writing a great article and thanks to your newspaper for being up to date in communications so we can enjoy the story, too. - — Linda Smith, Spring Grove, Pa.

        Cincinnati writer Deborah Kendrick is a nationally recognized advocate for people with disabilities. Write her at Cincinnati Enquirer, Tempo, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. E-mail: