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Volume 46 | Issue 5 | June 2004

People & Places

photo: Glen McIntyre and friend Boylan (dog)

With a little help from his friend Boylan, Glenn McIntyre had an inspirational message for Dryden employees.
NASA Photo /Tom Tschida

Attitude can enable the disabled

By Beth Hagenauer
Dryden Public Affairs

  "If there's something important in your life that you want to do, find some way to do it," is the mantra of paraplegic Glenn McIntyre.

McIntyre was riding a motorcycle in 1985 on Pacific Coast Highway when he was involved in a collision, breaking his back in 17 places and leaving the lower half of his body paralyzed. At the time, he was a police officer, married, buying a new home, in top physical condition and 23 years old.

McIntyre visited Dryden April 29 to speak about disabilities during the Center's Computer/Electronic Accommodation Program (CAP) and Disability Awareness briefings.

"It's not that people with disabilities can't do things; they just do them differently," McIntyre told his Dryden audience, noting that most people are not born with disabilities. McIntyre said approximately 58 million people in the U.S. are disabled, or about one in every five people. Eighty-five percent of those became disabled as a result of some type of accident.

Qualified individuals should be hired when basic requirements like education and training are met and if functions essential to the job can be performed with or without accommodations, he said. Accommodations include Braille computer terminals or voice output software for the blind. That is where CAP helps agencies like NASA.

The federal CAP was established in 1990 to provide accommodations for disabled government employees. Through the program, assistance technology is made available to NASA and other federal agency employees free of charge. Dryden's disability briefings were held to educate personnel on how to obtain these services and equipment.

Lynda Sampson, NASA's disability program manager, said one percent of the NASA workforce was severely disabled. With the help of the CAP, NASA is able to add more disabled employees to its payroll, according to Brittany Matthews, the Department of Defense's CAP Federal Partnership Coordinator.

McIntyre summed up the recovery from his injuries, a process that allowed him to return to the police force and become a motivational speaker, saying that "the best thing about attitude - (is that) it's your choice. You have 100 percent control over attitude. You tell yourself what you believe."

Employees may contact Dryden Disability Program Manager Jo Ann Larson at ext. 2472. Additional information about the CAP is available online at: