Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15th Editition of Forward Forum

By: John Quinlan

Please join us this week on "Forward Forum" as we present a fascinating potpourri of interesting guests and topics, including some of our all-time favorite guests. We air Sunday evenings from 7-9 pm on WTDY, 1670 AM, and stream live and podcast at

Here's our show lineup for the June 15th edition of Forward Forum:
  • Author Jonathan Mooney (one of our all-time favorite guests) on his book, The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal.
  • Activist and Advocate Selwyn Swe on his furthering understandings about autism, and also, with an update on recent developments in Burma, the land of his birth
  • A Father's Day tribute to the men in our lives who epitomize the values of respect, compassion, and responsibility, as part of a special project by UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence, with local Latino community leaders Fernando Cano Ospina and David Durn
  • The Salvation Army's Ruth Ann Schoer on local relief efforts for people affected by this week's flooding
  • More highlights from last weekend's National Conference on Media Reform, and other developments in the news

At 7 pm we're joined by Jonathan Mooney who first appeared on our show last year. Jonathan's life story is fascinating and inspiring, and the lessons he's learned along the way hold great meaning. Armed with an irreverent wit and an inspiring message, Jonathan is now a nationally-known expert and much-sought-after speaker on issues of educational reform. Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, at the age of 13, Jonathan was still learning to read. Barely a decade later, at the age of 22, he had graduated from prestigious Brown University with honors in English Literature. How he describes his journey is even more fascinating, however. He's careful to explain that he did not overcome or move beyond the person who his teenage self--it was in rejecting the messages given to him by educators that he was somehow "less than" his peers, and instead learning to embrace and accept the young man that he was at the core, that placed him in a position to excel. Put another way--Jonathan says his problem was not so much "dyslexia," as it was "dysteachia." Jonathan is an advocate for the concept of "cognitive diversity," the acknowledgement that one-size-fits-all teaching methods serve no one well, and that we must learn to meet children on their own terms, rather than molding them into someone different than who they are.

His book "The Short Bus," alludes to the derogatory title that kids often apply to the bus that brings kids enrolled in special ed to school. His book describes another journey--one he took as a man in his late 20s--in which he traveled the country in a short bus, seeking out the stories of young people also striving to transcend the stigmas inherent to special ed, and to realize their full potential. It's an inspiring tale, one with lessons for all of us who find ourselves marching to the call of a different drummer. For more details, see .

Throughout our two hours, we'll also be joined by another one of our favorite guests, Selwyn Swe. In this context, Selwyn joins us in his role as a local advocate for children with autism, drawn out of his own experiences with his pre-teenage son. (See

Last fall, Selwyn also joined us for a show describing the resurgent democracy movement in Burma. In 1973, at the age of 2, Selwyn and his family escaped from the military regime by fleeing overland into Thailand--a journey chronicled in a best-selling novel by a family friend. A visit to Selwyn's website is divided into sections on Burma, autism, and special events for families celebrating cultural diversity--showcases this remarkable young man's overarching mission in life, which is to spread understandings and promote appreciation for difference. In addition to his participation in our conversation with Jonathan, Selwyn will return in our second hour with reports from Burma on the military regime's shameful response to the recent crisis triggered by a typhoon.

At 8 pm, in addition to Selwyn, we'll be visiting with Ruth Ann Schoer from the Salvation Army, learning how we can support that organization's relief efforts for people affected by this week's extraordianry floods. We also hope to revisit efforts by UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence to involve men and boys in their important work, by offering the chance to support this program in honor of the outstanding men in our lives--David Duran and Fernando Cano Ospina are our guests.

Lastly, time permitting, we'll be revisiting highlights from last weeks' Conference for Media Refom, and developments in the presidential campaign.

We hope you can tune in!

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