What would a person profoundly affected by multiple disabilities including autism have to say if he could talk? How would he describe the details of his life? What would he say are his guiding principles in life? What would he say he has learned throughout his life? What advice would he have to offer?
A Quality Life offers a peek into what one man, Cory, may have to say. It is a collection of stories about family, living with disability, and connecting with community. It includes stories written by Cory’s Aunt Chris, as well as stories written from Cory’s perspective as imagined by his Aunt Chris.
Join Aunt Chris in this celebration of Cory’s life.
"...I read your book...I was warmed and inspired. One of the highlights of my life has been knowing, and knowing of, families like yours...I salute and honor Cory, his mother, you and all the other fine individuals who made his integrated life so much better than the one he would have experienced if he had been segregated. Thank you for sharing this important and insightful story."
— Lou Brown, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, co-founder of TASH
"The Pottery Gang" by Cory Seiler as told by his Aunt Chris
My experience with clay began in my high school years. My mom had worked long and hard to get me into my regular neighborhood school and one of the results of that was I was able to take art classes with "regular" high school students--kids without disabilities. (You see in reality we are all pretty "regular" whether or not we are disabled; and we are all pretty "special" whether or not we are disabled--but that's another story.) One of the things I worked with in art was pottery. I even got to be a part of the school's art exhibit at the local mall. We had some very good artists in my school.
Christine Seiler began working with children with disabilities as a high school volunteer at the University of Minnesota’s summer program for learners with autism. Still in her teens, she became “Aunt Chris” to Cory, who is profoundly affected by multiple disabilities including autism. As doors opened in her college days, she became interested in working with senior high students with emotional/behavioral issues. She worked as a teacher with them for a number of years before leaving the security of her home and job, venturing out to see what the universe had in store for her next.
Because of her role as Cory’s aunt, she always maintained an interest in parent and family advocacy. In completing her doctoral studies in special education at the University of South Florida, her dissertation gave voice to parents of children with developmental disabilities and how they made meaning of their role as advocates.
Christi ne has come to recognize that the children with disabilities that she has known in her life have been her spiritual teachers. All she needed to do was be open to what they had to teach.
Christi ne, who now lives in North Carolina, continues to believe that there is a lot of power in personal stories. She continues to encourage people to tell their stories in ways that empower both themselves and others.