Trending at Kessler Foundation


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Maddi Niebanck: The Fully Recovered Mindset

December 30, 2020

By Mallory Houston, Research Assistant, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

On May 30, 2017, just one week after graduating from Georgetown University, Maddi Niebanck was scheduled for surgery to remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the right occipital lobe of her brain. While undergoing pre-operative procedures, she developed a blood clot in her brain that burst, leading to a massive stroke. Maddi spent 15 days in ICU at New York Presbyterian before transferring to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ.  Upon admission, she was unable to walk or use her left arm. By the time she was discharged, she had

Female model with a prosthetic arm

Shaholly Ayers, Model With a Disability Talks About Her Experience in the Fashion Industry

December 15, 2020


By Nicky Miller

In this episode of Kessler Foundation's podcast, model Shaholly Ayers shares insight about her experience in the fashion industry. Ayers, has been featured in Nordstrom, the Today Show, BBC News, Glamour, and People Magazine. Listen-in as she discusses disability and inclusion in the fashion industry.


Listen to the podcast, view the transcript and download this episode and others for free on Apple Podcasts

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Falling through the Cracks: Implications of AI on Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

December 15, 2020

Guest speakers are Betsy Beaumon, CEO of Benetech 
and Jonathan Kaufman, President of J. Kaufman Consulting. 


In this Kessler Foundation podcast, learn how employers use artificial intelligence (AI) in the employment process for streamlining resume screening, interviewing candidates, and onboarding new hires. Increasingly, this machine learning process is reshaping the world of work. It is important for disability professionals working in job search, placement, and support to understand how disability is defined and understood in the context of AI, and the perils of bias in these systems.

Listen to the podcast, view the 

AmazonSmile 2020

Love to Shop and Give Back?

December 7, 2020

Skip the lines and give back when you shop online with AmazonSmile this holiday season! With every eligible purchase you make, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the sales to Kessler Foundation. Score deals on gifts for everyone on your list while changing lives for people with disabilities—a win-win!

All you need to do is:

Visit Log in or sign up When prompted to choose a charitable organization, search "Kessler Foundation" Shop for what you need and champion rehabilitation research and employment for people with disabilities

Remember to log in from 

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‘A Little Something Extra’ with Big Benefits for Young Adults with Disabilities

December 7, 2020

By Carolann Murphy

Families with children with disabilities often face challenges while planning for the future. Many times the family’s ultimate goal is to help their child gain maximal independence and optimal quality of life. Some families choose the pathway to entrepreneurship, opting to start a business centered on their child’s skills and interests. The impact of these enterprises can extend beyond the family and the individual with disabilities, reaching local communities and beyond. One example of a successful family enterprise is ‘A Little Something Extra’ in rural Dawson, Alabama.

Founded by the Norwood family, ‘A Little Something Extra’ is an ice cream truck that has become a familiar sight at local events. The truck is staffed by CEO

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Fast Takes - Research that Changes Lives

November 23, 2020

Kessler Foundation researchers are working tirelessly to conduct rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord.

In the "Fast Takes - Research that Changes Lives" podcast series, scientists from different Centers at Kessler Foundation will discuss their latest research that help change the lives of people with disabilities. 

Listen to the podcast series below, click on each podcast to view the transcripts on our SoundCloud channel and download this episode and others for free on Apple Podcasts

Giving Tuesday - Tyler

Make a Gift. Be a Champion.

November 20, 2020

Join the movement—and double your impact!

On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Kessler Foundation will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving and making an impact. Please join us. Your support matters now, more than ever—and will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your impact.

Together we can change the lives of people with disabilities. With your support, we can conduct groundbreaking rehabilitation and disability employment research and fund innovative initiatives to provide access to job opportunities and promote inclusion in the workplace.

Your support will improve mobility and cognition for people with disabilities caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injury, and chronic neurological and

Image with written text and ReelAbilities Logo

2020 ReelAbilities Film Festival

November 17, 2020

Last week Elaine Katz, visited Montclair State University for a recording with Joey Travolta, to discuss his upcoming movie and much more. The interview was prerecorded and will air December 1-3, check the ReelAbilities website for updates. Travolta's movie "Carol of The Bells" expands opportunities in filmmaking for people with disabilities, and will debut at this year's ReelAbilities Film Festival New Jersey. Kessler Foundation is a proud sponsor of the event. ReelAbilities is part of the largest film festival dedicated to

A man standing at a podium and speaking into a microphone

Cognitive Rehabilitation and Neuroimaging - Examining the Evidence from Brain to Behavior

November 10, 2020

“Cognitive Rehabilitation and Neuroimaging: Examining the Evidence from Brain to Behavior” – a new text by Kessler Foundation’s experts

Cognitive deficits are a major challenge to individuals, their caregivers, and their health care providers. A new text focuses on the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation across a variety of neurological conditions, with specific emphasis on treatment-related changes in the brain detectable via neuroimaging.”

In this episode of Kessler Foundation’s Fast Take podcast series, lead author John DeLuca, PhD, Senior Vice President of Research and Training, highlights the

Justin Frisbie

Support, Heal, Inspire Our Heroes

November 6, 2020

On Veterans Day, we are proud to share how your support of Kessler Foundation helps people with disabilities—both visible and invisible—including wounded warriors like Justin Frisbie, realize their dreams of career fulfillment, continued service to others, and independence.

Your generosity helps veterans—and others with disabilities in need now—thrive in the workplace, and live with pride, honor, and dignity.

Justin is a veteran with disabilities who longs to serve others, but he didn’t always know that.

After graduating from high school, Justin didn’t know the direction he wanted to take with his life, so he pursued adventure and experience by joining the Navy. Military structure helped him, but

Three men smiling and standing next to a white board with text

Expert Outlook: Returning to Work After a Brain Injury

October 26, 2020

By Thomas Shea, PsyD, Vocational Counselor, Opportunity Project

Returning to work after a brain injury is an important part of the rehabilitation process. For some, obtaining paid employment is an important milestone in recovery and an affirmation of hard work.

During the past 26 years, Opportunity Project, an internationally recognized Clubhouse model program, has helped over 600 people who have experienced a brain injury. As a vocational counselor at Opportunity Project for the past five years, I have assisted more than 30 people with brain injury return to paid employment.

Those who survive a brain injury may face lifelong physical, cognitive, social, and/or emotional challenges. Most experience mental fatigue. For this reason, we counsel our members to build

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Bryce Stanley Rises to Success, Despite Educational Barriers and Discrimination Against His Disability

October 12, 2020

By Nicky Miller 

In this episode of Kessler Foundation's podcast, Nicky Miller spoke with Bryce Staley, a PhD candidate in economics at the University of New Hampshire, where he studies mental health policy and labor markets. They talked about his sleeping disorder and his experience at high school and college. Stanley, reflected on his experiences with skeptical high school teachers doubting he had a disability, and moving forward in his career, earning a BSBA degree from Bryant University, and an MA degree in Economics from the University of New Hampshire, before studying for his PhD. 



Listen to the podcast, view the

Dirk Hohenkirk

Dirk Wakes Up to Life and Helps Others Wake Up Too

October 8, 2020

As we continue to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we share a story to demonstrate the impact of your support on the lives of people with disabilities like Dirk Hohenkirk. Because of donors like you, Dirk lives a fuller, more engaged life by getting the help he needs to find meaningful employment.

Dirk Hohenkirk was 18 years old when he was shot and paralyzed from the neck down. In his hospital bed, unable to move, Dirk initially resisted a therapist’s attempts to discuss how he might move forward with his life. “But she never gave up,” remembers Dirk. “She asked if I was going to just sleep my life away. She encouraged me to wake up to life—to use my mind, go back to school, and find a job.”

Dirk followed every word of his

Jeff McMullen

Jeff Returns to the Job He Loves and a Life More Fulfilled

October 7, 2020

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In celebration, we share a story to demonstrate how your support helps people with spinal cord injury, like Jeff McMullen, live fuller, more engaged lives through employment.

“What are your goals?” asked Jeff McMullen’s physical therapists. Jeff had no idea what his goals were or what he could hope to accomplish after a spinal cord injury left him unable to stand or walk. Before his injury, Jeff enjoyed working with visually impaired individuals and training Seeing Eye® dogs, but the job was physical. “My work required many hours of standing, walking, and practicing street traffic scenarios,” says Jeff. “I never imagined I’d be able to return.”

In time,