Dr. Phil couldn’t be more wrong!
Well, well well, ABLEISM at its finest! I can’t imagine why Dr. Phil, who’s been on the air for years, doesn’t know better than to put out a completely ill informed, stereotypical, hurtful and just plain STUPID statement that “100 out of 100” marriages between a disabled person and a nondisabled person fail! Wow…just Wow. That’s quite a whopper!
I met Max Starkloff in 1973. He was living in a nursing home, and had been there for 10 years. He lived there because, at that time, finding personal assistance (someone to bathe, dress, cook, drive, etc) was not readily available to people with quadriplegia, like Max. I fell in love with him on the 2nd day that I was on the job! I came to the nursing home to take the position of Chief Physical Therapist. I didn’t care that people said, “Don’t get involved with your patients.” He wasn’t my patient. I looked in his eyes and was captivated by the smile on his face and that was it! This was a man of purpose, passion and commitment. It was all there…on his face. This was the man for me!
Our story is a love story. There is actually a book about it. It’s called Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights by Charles E. Claggett (Charlie Claggett). Through Max, I learned that disability is not all about finding a cure or helping someone move their muscles. There is way more to people with disabilities. We married in 1975 and worked for equality, full emancipation, and productive independence for all people with disabilities. We were part of the Independent Living Disability Rights Movement in the United States. We got involved with, and became friends with, disabled activists worldwide. There is more to our personal story, much more (read the book. You can buy it on Amazon!) Suffice it to say that Dr. Phil is wrong.
Max and I had a beautiful life together. We have 3 children: Meaghan Starkloff Breitenstein, Max Starkloff and Emily Johanne Carmela Starkloff. They married Mark Breitenstein and Krystalynn V. Starkloff. We have 8 beautiful grandchildren. We have a lovely home in St. Louis and a weekend home. We started two nonprofit organizations focused on equality, emancipation, empowerment and independence of all people with disabilities. Our work has focused on eliminating attitudes like Dr. Phil’s, that miss the fact the people with disabilities are people first. We were a team.
Disabled people have much to offer their communities, to employers and to our nation, and are engaged in doing so everyday.
There is also another book on this subject. It is called In Sickness and In Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand The Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance by Ben Mattlin. Dr. Phil, you might want to read these books and do a show on the positive aspects of living with someone with a disability.
I lost Max in 2010, after 37 beautiful years together. I loved him all those years and I love, and honor, him still. When people like Dr Phil spout off on subjects they know little about, they hurt millions of people.
Here’s a thought I’ll leave you with, Dr Phil. Everyone has a possibility of becoming disabled, the longer you live. So will your marriage fall apart if you become disabled? Hmmmm….if so, it wasn’t built on love!
Read the original article here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/colleen-starkloff-talks-disability/dr-phil-couldnt-be-more-wrong/558406108001978/