An Inside Scoop

Shannon Hines introduces a brand new series on acceptance and advocacy


Rebekah Taussig, author of a new memoir in essays, “Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body,” and her experience growing up in Kansas after being paralyzed at the age of three from cancer treatments is a true inspiration to Hines. (Photo courtesy of Rebekah Taussig)

My name is Shannon Hines. I am a devoted person who loves to share positivity with any audience who is willing to listen. My positivity all comes from personal experiences of being a person with a disability.

For myself, having a disability does not define who I am or keep me from living life like any ordinary person. On the contrary, I live a full life with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology, a wonderful job, a supporting family and learning about journalism while attending Mt. SAC as an English major. My goal is to write an autobiography to inspire others who may also have a disability. No disability should define how a person lives their life or who they are. Instead, it can help you learn how to overcome different challenges. Those challenges can become inspiration to others by demonstrating how to turn challenges into success.

For instance, Rebekah Taussig is a true inspiration that has turned her disability into an opportunity to lead a successful life without limitations. Taussig is an author who continues to share her accomplishments to aspire to an inclusive world of disabilities.
I am also a self-advocate by educating others to interact with people with disabilities without judgment and embrace them as an inclusive part of society.

I will be writing this series on disabilities in the hopes that people in special populations will be accepted amongst all communities.

There are times when people in these communities are questioned on whether they can live a successful life. The ultimate answer is yes. People with disabilities can. They can go to school, get a job, pay bills, be self-advocates, have friendships and romantic relationships, live on their own or with family just like anybody else.

Although it might take longer to achieve in some circumstances, everyone is capable of a normal life. My goal is to advocate for special populations by covering accessibility, relationships, education, work, self-advocacy, support and more.

The first topic I will be addressing is being Accepted and Not Questioned. Being accepted in any society is important regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, etc. The question is, should members of the special population be a part of this category? While the initial answer is “yes, why not?” Unfortunately, that is not always the case. I want to address this as an eye-opening experience for readers to find a new perspective on how these individuals are still normal people who just need some extra support in some areas. Everyone needs some extra support in difficult situations.

My hope is that my audience will be accepting of the education put forth with my personal experience and beyond. People with disabilities deserve a place to be themselves where they can share their voices with the world through education, while being open to receiving new information. Being a storyteller can change the world one step at a time.

If you would like to suggest any topics not listed above, you can email me at [email protected]. Thank you very much for your interest in my story and for being open to my words of wisdom.