It has been seven years since Living Innovations’ DSP Ronnie Tomanio launched the radio show Don’t Dis’ My Ability, as a Community Connections project with an individual he was supporting at that time. That individual has since moved on, yet Ronnie – along with co-hosts Lee Harvey & Pamela Sollenberger – continues to host the show, two times per month on WSCA – Portsmouth NH Community Radio.
The theme of the show, and its tagline “It’s what you can do – not what you can’t do,” have never changed. The purpose is to shine the light on a subject that is rarely discussed in public: what it’s like to live with a disability. Over the years Ronnie has helped his guests to tell their stories about how a wide range of physical and intellectual challenges have affected their lives. In addition to people with disabilities, guests have included family members, caregivers, clinicians and policymakers.
A few months ago Shawn Henderson approached Ronnie and told him that he would be glad to begin videotaping Don’t Dis’ My Ability. In addition to being a talented videographer and WSCA volunteer, Shawn has been a fan of Ronnie’s show. Shawn is a virtual “one man band” video production team. He sets up as many as four cameras in the WSCA studio, moving between them as needed to get the right shot. When he has finished editing the footage, it is hard to believe that the result was created by a single individual.
The video version of Don’t Dis’ My Ability was originally picked up by Portsmouth Public Media TV, and since then it is also being aired on community television stations in Biddeford and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine as well as Concord NH. Each of these stations now broadcasts the show three times per week. A recent step that Ronnie is especially excited about is that the show is part of a project that will make it available to community television stations throughout the country. (Now he’s waiting for a call from HBO!)