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Apostrophe Magazine Cancels “Can’t”

By: Jim Tracy, Editor of Apostrophe Magazine

Can’t and shouldn’t. Too often those words turn into “could have” and “should have” — regrets about lost opportunities. Apostrophe magazine helps turn “can’t” and “shouldn’t” into “can” and “should.”

The name comes from a song by the late rocker Frank Zappa about a man talking to his dog. We all can relate to that, but in Zappa’s song, the dog talks back.

“You can’t say that!” the man tells the dog in disbelief. “I do it all the time,” the dog replies. He talks, he says, even with all the apostrophes thrown his way: can’t, won’t, don’t and shouldn’t.

People with disabilities face the same apostrophes. Too often they’re told what they can’t do. Apostrophe magazine emphasizes what they can do. Every issue features stories about people living productive lives and achieving success at home, at work and at play.

Lissie Clark, a 34-year old businesswoman from Great Falls, Mont., is a good example. Lissie has overcome fetal alcohol syndrome and other obstacles to start a successful business. Today, she operates Lissie’s Luv Yums, baking and selling all-natural dog biscuits to customers across the United States. At the same time, Lissie uses her business to educate people about the dangers of alcohol consumption when you’re pregnant.

Apostrophe also gives readers practical information they can use every day. A staple of the magazine are how-to features. In past issues we’ve explained, using words, graphics and photos, how to make a hearty clam chowder, how to paint a room and clean up afterward, how to plant a vegetable garden, how to build a birdhouse, how to shop wisely for groceries, how to file a tax return, and how (and where) to vote.

In “It’s the Law,” Disability Rights lawyers have written about guardianship, end of life issues and the Olmstead Decision. We tell our readers about websites worth visiting and books worth reading. A recent issue included a review of The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law and the companion workbook.

Every issue includes a column by a writer from People First. Contributors have explained to Apostrophe readers the marriage penalty, self-advocacy and the campaign to end the use of the “R” word. The Winter 2012 issue introduces “Jigsaw,” a cartoon strip created by Tess Langston, a young woman with autism.

Like The Arc, Apostrophe believes in promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community as long as they live. We share The Arc’s core values of people first, equity, community, self-determination and diversity.

We believe the power of the pen (and the camera) can help make that philosophy a reality. Our stories and photos show people achieving independence, contributing to their communities and enjoying life. We emphasize human dignity and take pains to use people first language.

A subscription to Apostrophe (4 issues for $19.99) will help us deliver our most important message: “Forget Can’t and Don’t — We Can and Do.”

NOTE: The Arc has established a relationship with Apostrophe Magazine to bring you a valuable new resource and a refreshing perspective on what a publication for people with disabilities can be. You’ll find guest columns from The Arc in the pages of Apostrophe and on their blog in the coming months and below is a guest post from the editor of the magazine.