Gary Karp


Gary Karp is an internationally recognized public speaker, corporate trainer, author, and editor.

Gary Karp

Gary Karp is a leading voice for the modern disability movement. Gary's work as an author, journalist, speaker, and advocate draws from his personal experience with spinal cord injury since 1973, when he was injured at the age of eighteen.

His books, "Life On Wheels: For the Active Wheelchair User" , "Choosing A Wheelchair: A Guide For Optimal Independence," and "Disability & the Art of Kissing" are widely reviewed as definitive guides for people with disabilities. He is the co-editor of a book of essays by people with spinal cord injuries titled "From There To Here: Stories of Adjustment to Spinal Cord Injury," a collection that focuses on the deep processes of how people actually adapt to traumatic change.

His feature articles have appeared regularly in New Mobility magazine and he is the former Executive Editor of S-C-I Life — the bi-monthly newspaper of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and his commentaries have been heard on KQED-FM, San Francisco's public radio station.

Speaking Topics:

Our True Limits: Going Beyond Imagined Boundaries

How do we know how far we can go in our lives, and how do we make important choices based on what we believe about our limits?

The experience — and the example — of people with disabilities demonstrates how deep our drive to live runs, and how the limits we imagine exist in our lives are often farther out than we imagine.

Disability: The Missing Piece in the Diversity Mosaic

People of color, women, and the GLBT community have made degrees of progress breaking through the social stereotypes that limit them, having started the process years ago.

People with disabilities are next in line, just beginning the process of breaking through to be seen for who they are — and what they offer.

Making the Business Case for Working with People with Disabilities

The very word "disability" implies NOT working. One goes off "on disability," and is "not-able."

But now people with disabilities are increasingly educated, mobile, and career-oriented. With unemployment extremely high among those wanting and able to work, they represent a huge, untapped resource.

Gary Karp's Life On Wheels

Since the age of 18, Gary Karp has lived a full and active Life On Wheels — the title of his first, definitive book on living with disability.

He weaves the story of his injury, rehabilitation, and "out there" life through the compelling picture of disability — which demonstrates how commonly everyday people thrive following traumatic change.


What people say:

"Such an unexpectedly fresh and current view of disability and its incredible transformations."
— Vanessa Williams, Lockheed Martin Space Systems

"People have been particularly warm in their praise about your contributions.”
— Dr. Alan Clarke, Director, Burwood Spinal Unit, New Zealand

"Your presentation was informative and entertaining and your message was on the mark to our audience."
— Eric Motel, Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA

"You were awesome! I hope you get to speak to as many people as possible!"
— Physical Therapy Student, Drexel University

"The students still talk about your presentation."
— Ann Hallum, San Francisco State School of Physical Therapy

Select client list

Acorda Therapeutics
Applied Materials
Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program
Disability Management Employers Coalition
FedSource, U.S. Department of Treasury
Hitachi Storage Technologies
Job Accommodation Network, U.S. Department of Labor
KQED San Francisco
Arizona Occupational Therapy Association
“Beyond Bugger,” Burwood Spinal Unit, Christchurch, New Zealand
California Association of Rehabilitation and Re-Employment Professionals (CARRP)
California Occupational Therapy Association
California Society of Radiologic Technologists (CSRT)
Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI)
Rehab Without Walls/Gentiva Home Healthcare
Baylor Rehabilitation Hospital, Dallas, TX
Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO
Daniel Freeman Hospital, Inglewood, CA
Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Plano, TX
Jackson Memorial Hospital Rehab, Miami, FL
Kessler Institute, Orange, NJ
Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, OR
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Mt. Sinai Rehab, New York, NY
Austin Community College, Physical Therapy Assistant Program, Austin, TX
Dominican College, Dept. of Occupational Therapy, San Rafael, CA
California State University., Dept. of Physical Therapy, Sacramento, CA
California State Univeristy, Dept. of Physical Therapy, Northridge, CA
Colorado State University, School of Physical Therapy, Denver, CO
Columbia University, School of Physical Therapy., New York, NY


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