A Brief History of Stephen Hawking

On March 14th, 2018, we lost one of the greatest scientific minds of all time with the passing of Stephen Hawking. We’d like to take a moment to reflect back on the life of this amazing man and his remarkable impact on, not just the world of science, but on the community of persons with disabilities and special needs everywhere.

There are many articles that have recently been published that rightly focus on his scientific contributions and you should most certainly give them a read, but as an organization that primarily serves people with disabilities, we would like to take a different approach. We’d like to focus on how his contributions served to undermine stereotypes and other preconceptions are often attributed to people with disabilities and special needs.

Stephen HawkingAt the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare, early-onset, slow-progressing form of motor neuron disease more commonly known as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Overtime, Hawking’s physical ability level deteriorated and began to use a wheelchair for movement. He then lost the ability to speak and found himself using an electronic communication device which produced his now iconic digital voice.

Stephen Hawking became the one of primary examples people point to when reaffirming the old-adage “you should never judge a book by its cover.” People were flabbergasted, seeing someone with such a visually obvious, profound level of disability also wielding one of the most formidable intellects on the planet (and perhaps beyond). This is as a result of the low expectations people hold for individuals who have a visible disability. Stephen Hawking helped break that preconception and showed us all that no-matter how an individual may look, sound, or access the world around them, they should never be underestimated.

Supported Genius

As intelligent and fiercely independent as Dr. Hawking was, the realities of his physical deterioration necessitated assistance to execute daily living activities. He also experienced medical difficulties which affected his health and wellbeing, requiring him to receive round-the-clock care from hired nurses. Without this support, the mysteries of the universe would have been the least of Hawking’s concerns. In the later years of his life, Hawking became a fierce advocate for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which he lauded declaring, “I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

Had Hawking not been able to continue his work, who knows how long scientists would have had to toil to unlock the secrets of quantum physics, about which he wrote extensive, ground-breaking novels and scientific papers. Instead, with the support of his family, his caregivers, and the NHS, he was able to become a world-renowned scientist, best-selling author, and role-model to people both with and without disabilities. This underlines the importance of keeping our own Medicaid funding robust so that service organizations (like Easterseals) can continue to provide the essential supports they deliver daily.

A Lasting Legacy

Stephen Hawking Zero Gravity
Stephen Hawking experiencing Zero Gravity

Stephen Hawking never sought to change the way the public views people with disabilities, yet he had an undeniable impact on public perception of this global community. His primary contribution will be in the field of cosmology as one of the greatest scientists to study the stars. Still, to ignore his disability would be a grave error when considering the full range of his influence.

Not every person with a disability will go on to accomplish what Hawking had (nor anyone without a disability), but that’s not the point. The point is that everyone deserves a chance to pave their own way and make their own mark. This is why we need to dedicate ourselves removing barriers and supporting people with disabilities and special needs as they pursue their goals.

Thank you, Dr. Hawking – you will be missed and always remembered.

 

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7 thoughts on “A Brief History of Stephen Hawking”

  1. i was diagnosed 2011. i was diagnosed with the bulbar form of ALS and was given one year to live. My symptoms progressed quickly. Soon i was having difficulty breathing, swallowing and even walking short distances. With the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using diet, herbs, which i feel has made the most difference. The ALS natural formula immensely helped my condition, it reversed my ALS. my slurred speech. And then the inability to eat without getting choked, breathing, and coughing. gradually disappeared. Visit NATURAL HERBAL GARDENS via their official web-site www. naturalherbalgardens. com. I’m now playing golf again. and i turned 69 today. i am glad to get my life back DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!

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    • I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease following a neurological examination and other series of tests, my symptoms first appeared in February 2014 tremors in both limbs, rigid muscles, impaired posture.. all medications prescribed were not working and I sadly took off from my job, being a single Dad with two kids it was almost a hopeless situation. In September 2016, I read about Dr of multivitamincare. org in a health forum, this herbal center has successful Parkinson’s disease herbal treatment and treatment for another list of terminal diseases, i contacted the herbal center via their email and purchased the Parkinson’s disease herbal remedy. I received the Parkinson’s disease herbal remedy via courier and immediately commenced usage. I used the remedy for about 13 weeks, and all my symptoms including tremors gradually disappeared till I almost forgot I had the disease, I have started working again, thanks to www. multivitamincare .org Parkinson’s disease is not a death sentence, don’t die believing there is no cure, its a final breakthrough for all living with Parkinson’s disease.

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  2. With my amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the first thing that happened almost 2 years ago now, was speaking as if I were drunk. I wasn’t. I initially did improve speech (articulating clearly but slow) but now I can no longer speak in an acceptable way. Then, a year later eating became problematic, I was biting my tongue and lips, and chewing became weak and less controlled. Soon after that some fingers started to fail me and things would drop out of my hands. Somewhere at that time bulbar ALS was diagnosed. The Rilutek (riluzole) did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating.. We tried every shot available but nothing was working. There has been little if any progress in finding a reliable treatment, Our care provider introduced us to Kycuyu Health Clinic ALS/MND herbal treatment. The treatment is a miracle.i recovered significantly! Visit www. kycuyuhealthclinic. com

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  3. My mum was diagnosed with ALS 12 months ago and while it offered an explanation for her symptoms, we were devastated. She was always so strong and independent and it breaks my heart to see her suffer. We believe she may have had this disease for a few yrs already, but was never diagnose properly. Within the last 6-7 months she became much weaker and it was hard to understand her when she speaks. She was losing weight quickly and depends on a walker. I felt terrible and it is so hard to watch her deteriorate so fast. The riluzole did very little to help her. The medical team did even less. The psychological support from the medical centre was non-existent and if it were not for the sensitive care and attention of our primary physician she would have died. There has been little if any progress in finding a medical treatment. Acupuncture eased her anxiety a bit so my care provider Dr Miller introduced us to Health Herbs Clinic ALS herbal treatment. I wasn’t hopeful at first but glad to share she has recovered significantly within the last 3-4 months It has been a complete turnaround with her speech, she is even learning to walk again without a walker, the herbal treatment is a miracle. Visit www. healthherbsclinic. com we’re forever thankful to nature.

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  4. My mum was diagnosed with ALS 12 months ago and while it offered an explanation for her symptoms, we were devastated. She was always so strong and independent and it breaks my heart to see her suffer. We believe she may have had this disease for a few yrs already, but was never diagnose properly. Within the last 6-7 months she became much weaker and it was hard to understand her when she speaks. She was losing weight quickly and depends on a walker. I felt terrible and it is so hard to watch her deteriorate so fast. The riluzole did very little to help her. The medical team did even less. The psychological support from the medical centre was non-existent and if it were not for the sensitive care and attention of our primary physician she would have died. There has been little if any progress in finding a medical treatment. Acupuncture eased her anxiety a bit so my care provider Dr Miller introduced us to Health Herbs Clinic ALS herbal treatment. I wasn’t hopeful at first but glad to share she has recovered significantly within the last 3-4 months It has been a complete turnaround with her speech, she is even learning to walk again without a walker, the herbal treatment is a miracle. Visit http://www.healthherbsclinic.com we’re forever thankful to nature.

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  5. I started out taking only Azilect, then Mirapex,and then dopamine  for my Parkinson disease, as the disease progressed they didn’t help much. A year ago I started on PD TREATMENT PROTOCOL from Aknni Herbs Centre (www.aknniherbscentre.com). One month into the treatment, I made a significant recovery, my symptoms were gone including tremors . It’s been months since I completed the treatment, I am symptom free and I live a very productive life all thanks to Aknni herbs centre !!! 

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  6. My first ALS  symptom occurred in 2016, but was diagnosed in 2018. I had severe symptoms ranging from shortness of breath, balance problems, couldn’t walk without a walker or a power chair, i had difficulty swallowing and fatigue. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then I decided to try alternative measures and began on ALS Formula treatment from Aknni herbs centre, It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit ww w. aknniherbscentre.c om). I had improved walking balance, increased appetite, muscle strength, improved eyesight and others.

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