“My Disability Road Map” is a Millersville University-supported film whose entire cast comprises people with disabilities. The short film version made its debut on May 17, as part of the New York Times Op-Docs series. The film also made its world festival premiere at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto in May. The feature-length film is coming to MU’s campus in the fall of 2023.
“My Disability Road Map” is a film that chronicles the struggles of Samuel Habib a 21-year-old community college student with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Habib wants to date, leave home and go to college. But he uses a 350-pound wheelchair, uses a communication device, and can have a seizure at any moment. Despite this, he is determined to find his path forward. He seeks out guidance from America’s most rebellious disability activists in hopes that they will empower him to launch the adult life that he craves.
“One of the themes that will come out of the film is that those things that young people experience in college and after college are similar, no matter what group that you’re in. There are universal themes in our lives,” says Dr. Thomas Neuville, professor and faculty administrator for Integrated Studies.
In the early 2000s, Neuville met Dan Habib, Samuel’s father, when he was working on a film called “Including Samuel.” It was then that they forged a friendship that would lead to Habib coming to MU in 2017 to do a film about inclusive post-secondary education. The film was shot on the Millersville University campus, and Neuville was an executive producer.
“The connection between Integrated Studies and how life is for people with disabilities, in general, speaks to what might happen when they graduate from college,” says Neuville.
According to Neuville, people with disabilities grow up with the dominant ideology in the able-bodied world, but they’re not really part of that. They live their lives in segregated settings. They attend self-contained classrooms in PK-12, and when they graduate, they work in segregated work sites and live in homes only with other people with disabilities. Kind of part of society, but not really. “My Disability Roadmap” aims to empower people with disabilities to follow in the path of people that have come before them to live the life of normalcy that they desire.
When Dan and Samuel come to Millersville in the fall of 2023 to premiere the feature-length version, they will also visit classrooms and student organizations like ADAPT.
“If you can go and meet mentors that have made a difference, it’s going to empower your life,” says Neuville.
To learn more about “My Disability Roadmap,” visit more info.