Our goal is to empower people with physical, learning, speech, emotional and medical differences.


Many people with differences have full and satisfying lives.  Others, however, feel isolated, restricted and thwarted in their attempts to achieve their life's goals, often because they have little support. They may not know where to find resources, what their options are, or how to access role models.


The purpose of “Different and Able” is to provide resources, support and possible role models.  We advocate for a more inclusive world with bridges of access and full participation for all people. We do this through sharing stories of others’ experiences, providing information about available resources and fostering feelings of connection to help empower everyone to reach their fullest potential. We know that one of the keys to achievement is to find out how to get to the goal.

What D&A Offers

Stories and resources added bimonthly that focus on two or three types of differences: physical/cognitive and behavioral/psychological differences. Stories are articles written by those with differences, describing their assets and difficulties as well as their successes and failures.  We encourage the authors to describe the environmental, social, personal or legal resources they tapped into to move ahead.  Resources are articles and books written by those with the differences as well as by prominent professionals.   Resources also cover information on federal and state legislation as well as agencies that are available to help circumvent obstacles to success.


Alexandra Nicklas
President & Founder
Sylvia Hemingway
Vice President & Secretary
Brent Nicklas
Board Member
Rose Lynn Sherr, Ph.D.
Board Member
Valentine Reed-Johnson, RN
Board Member
Uri Schneider MA, CCC-SLP
Advisory Board Member
Erin Spampinato
Content Editor

Founder's Story

Alexandra was born and raised in New York City. Growing up, she had to overcome some of her own differences. As a child, Alexandra had difficulty with fine and gross motor skills, her speech was delayed and she had learning difficulties. To overcome her physical weaknesses, Alexandra participated in occupational and physical therapy. To accelerate her speech and language skills, Alexandra worked with a speech therapist. Finally, when school became hard to keep up with on her own, she worked with a neuropsychologist, focusing on skills to succeed in the classroom.  Alexandra persevered with the help of her parents and support team. She was fortunate to learn how to compensate for and overcome her differences.  Now, as a happy and successful adult, she couldn’t be more grateful for all she has learned along the way. Alexandra has learned about her differences and about her abilities.  She has learned how valuable support is and that no challenge is insurmountable with the right support.

Path to D&A

Alexandra first pursued psychology at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Then, her focus shifted to Speech-Language Pathology, so Alexandra transferred to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. After Alexandra graduated with her B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology, she pursued graduate studies in the field at CUNY Lehman College. During Alexandra's journey, she made friends and met numerous people living with their own differences. As a result of their collective experiences, she developed a keen interest in the medical health field and in being an “enabler" of the successes of others. She is invested in supporting others as they pursue their dreams.

philanthropic endeavors

Alexandra has been a beneficiary, leader, mentor, writer and volunteer for organizations and programs dedicated to advocacy for people with health conditions. These organizations include: Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES), the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA). She has been a volunteer at the NYU Rusk Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Center, as well as the Reach Out and Read program at Bellevue Hospital. Alexandra also regularly attends events which raise money for awareness and advocacy, as well as for cutting-edge medical interventions in the field of disease and disability.