The participants at “Lifestyles for the Disabled” do not exactly seem like naturals as radio personalities.
There is Anthony Cossentino, 29, a huge “Jeopardy” fan who for years has been arriving at Lifestyles, a daytime occupational program on Staten Island for developmentally delayed adults in their 20s and 30s, every morning with a self-written question of the day, to pose to anyone who will listen,reports the New York Times.
“Or take Michael Halbreich, 32, who has an uncanny ability to remember the birthday of anyone he meets, and to instantly name the day of the week that any date in history fell on.
“He has yet to get one wrong,” said Burak Uzun, a staff supervisor who runs the media program at Lifestyles, which offers vocational, social, recreational and educational services geared toward independent living.And then there’s Anthony DiFato, 22, who is well known at Lifestyles for his obsession with mystery novels, films and television shows. He is known as the Mystery Man because he is never without a whodunit book.
“Ever since I was a kid, I was always into mysteries,” Mr. DiFato said at Lifestyles one recent weekday while holding a paperback copy of a book in the Mrs. Jeffries mystery series by Emily Brightwell. But these quirky skills and interests can make for good radio. Just over two years ago, Mr. Uzun, along with another staff member, Joel Richardson, began recruiting participants at Lifestyles with varying degrees of autism to record brief talk show segments on a laptop. The segments were posted online as podcasts, mostly for friends and relatives of participants and staff members to listen to.