Past NCAPPS Webinars

Person-Centered Supports in Popular Culture

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The stories we tell ourselves in popular culture reflect and, in turn, shape the world in which we live.

Our shared stories influence our perceptions of everything, including the support systems used and sometimes created by people with disabilities. Popular culture narratives create a context for both the formal and informal support services and goods that many people learn to expect in their daily lives.

Pop-culture representations also influence our judgment of caregiving practices, decision-making procedures, types and levels of accommodations for people with disabilities, and indeed, the people who make up this population. As a result, the public is exposed to media representing only a very limited perspective on how people with disabilities actually navigate the world.

In this webinar, disabled activists will come together to discuss pop-culture depictions of accommodation and support for people with disabilities. What values have those popular narratives created, nurtured, or destroyed over time? Do more recent depictions reinforce or undermine those older narratives? How is person-centered support illustrated, and how do those illustrations affect our daily lives?

Meet the presenters

Andy Arias

Andy Arias is an actor, producer, and advocate. He has produced many films including The Unicorn Closet and the critically acclaimed Extra Special. He is currently producing the documentary Dani’s Twins. In his work, Andy strives to create true portrayals of people with intersecting marginalized identities. Andy also works as an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, where he highlights the crucial role of media and its ability to influence and shift perceptions.

Kathy Flaherty

Kathy Flaherty is the Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc, an agency that provides legal services to low-income individuals with mental health conditions on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights. Kathy combines her personal experience as a psychiatric and long COVID survivor and her legal background to speak to issues affecting people with disabilities. Kathy lives in Newington, CT with her husband, Jim Valentino, and their rescue cat Stella. Kathy is on Twitter @ConnConnection. Kathy has written op-eds on a variety of topics, including politics, law, mental health, adoptee rights, and soccer.

Finn Gardiner

Finn Gardiner is a disability rights advocate with interests in educational equity, intersectional justice, comparative policy, and inclusive technology. Finn holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. Finn is currently the Communications Specialist at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University.

Mary L. Radnofsky

Mary L. Radnofsky, Ph.D., is a former ghostwriter and college professor of Education and Human Development, French, Astronomy, and Qualitative Research; she also founded and ran the Socrates Institute, a non-profit educational organization for over twenty years. Dr. Radnofsky, who has had vascular angiopathy for over 15 years, is the first person with dementia to speak at the United Nations regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She has travelled globally with her medical alert dog, Benjy, to discuss the rights of people with dementia, conducting simulations for care partners to practice human rights-based communication techniques.


NCAPPS is an initiative from the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help States, Tribes, and Territories to implement person-centered practices. NCAPPS webinars are open to the public, and are geared toward human services administrators, providers, and people who use long-term services and supports. All NCAPPS webinars will be recorded and archived at