Posted: December 7, 2014
by Martha Clark
An attack on J.R. Harding his senior year in high school left him with injuries that caused him to be paralyzed from the chest down and wheel-chair bound.
This created many life-long challenges and forced him to make choices he would have never faced otherwise. Dr. Harding spoke to the faculty at Adult & Community Education recently during a professional development seminar.
Harding explained how the community can assist persons with disabilities with the challenges and choices they face. He shared from his own experiences earning three college degrees and learning to live independently many practical tips and examples of how teachers and fellow students, as well as the community at large, can assist disabled persons and help empower them to succeed.
Adult & Community Education, also known as ACE, is the largest provider of GED and ESOL classes in Leon County. Assistant Principal Katrina Bradwell said ACE teachers are sensitive to students with disabilities.
“We invited Dr. Harding to speak to our teachers to help them both recognize and be prepared to assist our students with disabilities in every way possible. We want to help students positively address the challenges and choices they face.”
Harding, who works for the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, is also a disabilities coach and has authored the book Now What? which describes his life after his attack in high school as well as a later car wreck that reinjured his spinal cord.
Harding’s book details the challenges and choices he faced as a result, as well as how the community around him in college, his family and the Americans with Disabilities Act helped him succeed.
Bradwell said, “Harding is both a motivational speaker and coach for teachers with practical advice on how to assist persons with disabilities. His successes also sensitize us to the specific needs of persons with disabilities and help us see a vision for what our students can accomplish given their challenges.”
More information on Harding can be found at his website: www.jrharding.com.
For more information on ACE, call 922-5343 or visit the school’s website at www.ACE-Leon.org.