(in a relatively large nutshell)
Yes, Virginia, there is a Disability Culture. It has been around and evolving for a very long time. There is history and contribution, There are poets, painters and musicians, actors, artisans and leaders, dancers, speakers and politicians, business owners and storytellers, parents and siblings, inventors, teachers, scientists and explorers. Yes, even presidents.
The world owes a debt of gratitude to its Disability Culture. Without it, most likely, we would not have many of the products from which we benefit: the telephone, the phonograph, automatic doors…The list is endless.
The Nth Degree is about turning light bulbs on. We are about helping folks to recognize that there is no such thing as “Us and Them”, just one big “Us”. We’re about increasing awareness and understanding; as much about the celebration of our individuality and our differences, as the search for common ground: the search for shared truths, interests, histories, goals, fears.
This catalog is about focusing on a bigger picture, about believing in one’s self and cause. What can we bring to the table of our community? What is our story and how can its telling enlighten that community?
Finally, The Nth Degree is about feeding our sense of humor: that vital and most intimate connection with the child within. Laughter is the elixir of life and the universal language. Shared, it levels walls; opens minds, assuages fear. Being able to laugh at ourselves, our professions, our fears, our culture with its “norms” and expectations, is like taking the kid to work with you. Well, maybe not that…but it is like having an invisible button running directly to a brain pump that puts negative karma on the now o’clock train out of Dodge. For more on our philosophy (and for a cool message from a dog) give “A Dog’s Contribution” a read.
We want The Nth Degree web site and catalog to be a place where people can come to find information, understanding and solidarity and to share talents, skills and stories. We have lots of “Awarewear” and “Awareware”: shirts and stuff for and from Disability Culture, the Inclusion and Independent Living Movements, and for the “Human Connection” we all share. The Nth Degree is very big on networking and collaboration. As we grow, should you have something to contribute: a shirt idea, for example, or a product to sell: poetry, art, or a conference to promote…let us give you a forum. As Ram Dass reminds us: “We’re all just walking each other home.”
Aside from being a dad, husband, friend, chair-user, artist, writer, graphic designer, humorist, Brown’s fan and a million other things, Dan Wilkins, is an outspoken advocate, story teller and visionary for people living with disabilities and the culture to which they belong. Since 1989, he has been sharing stories and ideas in workshops, breakouts, keynotes, chautauquas and roundtables, formal and informal, for students from pre-school (tough crowd) to doctorate, parents, professionals in business, human service and allied health, educators and administrators, and folks with disabilities on a broad range of topics from disability and diversity awareness, advocacy and self-advocacy, to the importance of humor, inclusion, community and seeing through bigger eyes.
Dan currently sits on several boards and advisory committees including being Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Ability Center, a Center for Independent Living serving northwest Ohio and the Greater Toledo area.
He also operates The Nth Degree, a progressive, forward-thinking graphic design company geared toward issues related to the independent living movement, inclusion, diversity, and disability rights movements.
DAN’S C. V.
Daniel D. Wilkins
21325 Bradner Road,
Luckey, OH 43443
1-419-837-5982 or 1-800-241-8468
Married to Beth; Parent of Taylor John (born Dec. 3, ’98) and daughter, Elizabeth, living with her husband, Adam, and three children, Cody, Autumn and Lauren outside Chattanooga,Tennessee.
President and Owner of The Nth Degree, a very progressive nationwide Graphic Design/Silk Screen/Professional Speaking Company specializing in Products, Designs and Stories for the Interdependent Living, Inclusion, Diversity and Disability Rights Movement. Dan’s creative work and professional speaking has been done with hospitals, Independent Living Centers (ILC’s), nursing homes, private allied health professional organizations, Rehabilitation Centers, Schools and more.
When it comes to issues pertaining to persons living with disabilities and their individual needs, he will not sacrifice either quality or advocacy.
Dan is co-founder and past president of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, a support group dedicated to prevention and awareness, advocacy, and peer counseling for 22 counties in northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan.
He is a founding member of The American-Lithuanian Disability and Rehabilitation Exchange Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving life for persons with disabilities in Lithuania.
He has a B.A. Degree in Psychology from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio, and has spoken nationally in over thirty states and internationally in Canada, Lithuania and Iceland, on topics including Self-Advocacy, Empowerment, Inclusive Thinking, Coping with Disability through Humor and Focusing on the Human Connection.
Dan currently sits on several Boards, including Schools are For Everyone Collaborative in Ohio, The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and the Board of Directors for Preferred Properties, Inc., a non-profit accessible housing consortium for persons with mental and physical disabilities in the Toledo, Ohio area.
References for Speaking available upon request.
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:
Born in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1957, Dan grew up with his parents, two younger sisters and younger brother in southern Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. Graduating from Northwood High School in Northwood, Ohio in 1975 and unable to afford college, Dan spent a few years in the US Air Force. In 1980, he was injured in an automobile accident, spent nine months at the University of Michigan Hospital, then settled down in Ohio. In 1983, he returned to college, receiving his BA in Psychology from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio in 1988. He worked for three years at The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. He left there in 1990 to start his own company, The Nth Degree. He met his wife, Beth, an OTR/L, at a conference in Chicago in 1992. They were married in April of 1996. They, and The Nth Degree, live in a hundred year old farmhouse in Luckey, Ohio. Both are strong advocates for persons with disabilities. So’s the new kid, Taylor.
A Photo, by the one and only Junebug Clark
(This is a 150 dpi jpg. Please let us know if you need a different format)