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I had the honor of meeting Michael at a Foundation Fighting Blindness event. Michael inspired me immediately with his friendliness, wit, great story telling and positivity. I was struck with Michael's deeply inquisitive nature and desire to understand who I was from the moment we met. Michael has a passion for living with great purpose and in also encouraging others to do the same. His ability to reach every person in a room with his words is incredible and I know that not a single person leaves unaffected. I am so grateful to have had the privilege of meeting and continuing to learn more about my dear friend.

Jen Kim

Attendee at Fighting Blindness Event

It has been my pleasure to know Michael Kalberer for the past three years. Michael is an intelligent and articulate 37 year old social worker who brings a distinctive perspective to the challenges individuals with disabilities face, its impact on families, and the positive and negative responses of society. My colleague not only holds a Masters of Social Work degree, but has achieved this professional level while having cereal palsy and retinitis pigmentosa. Thus, Michael not only brings thoughtful and academic competence to his discussion on disabilities, but a unique authenticity rarely encountered in speakers in this field. He has been helpful to me in expanding my knowledge and sensitivity in my role as an advocate and care-giver.

Joseph P. Dutkowsky, MD

I thought you did an amazing job during your presentation yesterday for our class. I really appreciated you coming in and sharing your story with us. It was so inspiring to see the passion with which you live your life and how, despite your disability, motivated you are to continue having such a positive life and influence on the world. Michael is a very articulate speaker, and I am grateful that I was in attendance for his lecture because it gave me a whole new perspective on the life of an individual with a disability. Michael's presentation would be excellent for any classroom, and I would highly recommend him to any teacher or administrator! Thank you once again for coming to speak to our class, and I will certainly be in touch with you so that I can book you to speak to my own class when I am a certified teacher!

Michael Durso

I had the pleasure of watching your presentation in my class yesterday. I came to class after having, what I thought was, a rough day. I was really thinking about dropping out of Grad School because of my anxieties and how stressful it has been. My dream is to become a high school English/ Special Ed teacher and I will have my masters this coming May. It all seems so great but I've been truly searching for happiness in life lately, something that seems very hard to find. You had mentioned God in your presentation, and not to get all religious either, but I truly believe that you were there on that day for a reason. You are a true inspiration. I'm sure you get that a lot, but you really have put life in perspective for me, in just that one hour of seeing you. I'm not one to raise my hand on a daily in classes, in fact I'm very shy at times, but I felt the need to email you to thank you. Thank you for being the type of person you are. You are a rare breed. Life is extremely rough as you had said and lately I am finding it hard to find the greatness in all that life has to offer. You have showed me that there is amazing people out there. Humble people, just like you. Someone who doesn't complain about circumstances, like I have been guilty of doing lately. You have such a great heart and I am extremely grateful to have met you. Keep being the guy that you are.


Adelphi Student

Michael is a dedicated worker and a passionate speaker. He gave a great presentation at our Chapter Speaker Series about his work on disability-related issues and his participation in the Long Island VisionWalk. He presents a unique ability to engage all audiences and give his presentation in a timely and entertaining fashion. Without being able to physically see a clock, Michael effectively utilizes his allotted time almost to the second. He is gifted in that he was able to alter his presentation topics on the fly according to the audience and objective of the audience he represents. His enthusiasm for supporting others shines through in his work and presentations. I strongly recommend Michael to anyone looking for an engaging, entertaining and informative speaker.

Katie Van Benschoten

Foundation Fighting Blindness, Events Director

I have known Mike Kalberer for over a couple of years now and when it comes to public speaking, tutoring etc. there is no one that can keep an audience more captivated than Mr. Kalberer. Through his person centered techniques or his witty humor, Mike has been able to ease an audience into his presentations; by making them feel comfortable and keeping them focused on the matter at hand. Additionally, Mike is an invaluable asset not only to me but to many students he has had the pleasure of tutoring. The effort and time that Mike allots to his students allows them to fully understand and grasp any concept Mike is trying to teach. I highly recommend Mr. Kalberer because he is not just your ordinary public speaker and/or tutor but someone who is willing to take the time to make sure his audiences are both captivated with the topic at hand and fully understand the meaning of his message.


Hofstra Student/Colleague

I have worked with and seen Michael Kalberer speak on many occasions.  He is articulate and passionate about the subjects he is addressing. He has the ability to put his audience at ease with a soft soothing tone and easy going manner which makes the presentations fun and informative.  One of the best things about him is that if you have a question about something he did not get to in the presentation he will take the time after to discuss what ever question you may have. I for one would recommend him to speak on behalf of any school, organization or cause.

Jeanne Marie


Having known Mike for over 15 years he continues to inspire and impress me. His passion and enthusiasm is just one of the many qualities that makes Mike a unique and truly amazing person. After seeing him speak I saw how he also  inspires those around him and leaves a lasting impression on each person he meets. 


Friend & Professional Peer

Your presentations are both informative and necessary. It is important for educators, doctors and people in general to know how to employ disability etiquette and talk to us first. What your doing is so necessary and your message is clearly thought out entertaining and extremely effective. I have implemented some of your advice while attending appointments at my healthcare professionals. You are a true friend and inspiration to all who meet you. Keep doing what your doing, the way you are doing it. Don’t change a thing. You help people enhance their quality of life on social and professional levels.


Confidant & Professional Peer

I have known Michael since his high school days during that time I have heard

him speak at assemblies as well as in private conversations. Michael has the

unique ability to hold the interest of his audience. He speaks in a clear voice

and gets his message across. Michael clearly knows how to communicate. 


Disability Rights Advocate & Assistive Technology Advocate

    The story of Michael is inspiring and heart-touching for me, especially the advice he spoke to all of the students with his point of view about how should a teacher help the students with special need. “Do not use IEP (Individualize Education Program) as the main way to your students. Use your senses to know them.” These words reminded me the role of a teacher to their students’ lives. When teachers meet a student who is special needed, they may want to try their best to help him enhance his ability, therefore they start to set up many goals and expect him to make improvements and achievements. However, the most important thing for the teacher is not about how many goals can a student accomplish in the end, but it is about how to know the strengths and weakness of the student and help her to build up confidence and skills by understanding her characteristic.
    Even though I do not have the experience as being a person with disability, by Michael’s sharing, I could put myself into his shoes to know the difficulties and challenges for people who has disability may encounter. In addition, I understand how important the role of a teacher is. Teacher is a career which would change a student’s life depending on how you treat your student. Michael shared about his own experience of meeting the best teacher and the worst teacher in his life. Both of the types influenced his school experience. One help him to be a part of a classroom and he felt respected by the teacher and classmates, the other one disappointed him because the teacher did not try to understand him and only looked at his limitations. Moreover, having a supportive family is also play an significant role in Michael’s life. The challenge of the people who have disability is beyond what I could imagine. But what I can do when I become a teacher, and is to treat each student equally, and observe my students with my heart and knowledge. 

Olivia Lin

Adelphi Student

I thought you did a phenomenal job as a guest speaker in our class last Wednesday. I have seen many speeches in a little over the 2 years I have been a graduate student at Adelphi. Your speech was without a doubt the most honest, genuine, motivating, and inspiring speech I have seen. Thank you for being so open and for being you. You truly are an inspiration and gave me a unique insight into working with children with disabilities. One of my favorite parts of your speech was the part about having some bad teachers. I had some bad teachers when I was in school as well, and I promised myself that I would never be like them. I know you could not see due to where I was sitting, but I gave you a standing ovation at the end. Thank you again for sharing your inspirational story with our class. 

Anthony Narduzzi

Adelphi Student

Your story was a very inspiring one and I admire your work ethic.  Despite anything negative some people may have spread toward you, you always worked harder to help yourself and achieve the things that you wanted.  As a future teacher, it was very nice to hear about your experiences in school.  I hope to be an inspiration to my students and get to build connections with all of them, just as your favorite teachers did for their students. 

Alyssa Striano

Adelphi Student

Last week, on May 8, 2018 Michael was a guest speaker in my Intro to Special Ed class. I was looking forward to being able to meet and hear Michael’s story, as I believe it is helpful, as a prospective educator, to learn from the students. Michael has a first hand perspective of the special education setting, and if there is anyone to learn from, it’s him. He, by far, is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met in my life. 

    Michael articulated his story with such ease and made our class feel comfortable participating throughout his presentation. He encouraged us to share any of our stories, questions, concerns, etc. Michael not only puts teaching into perspective, but he puts life into perspective. He focused a lot on the human connection and the relationships we make. He told us to “slow down,” not to take moments in life too seriously, and to enjoy the little things. He discussed the difference between some of the best teachers he had, and some of the worst. For me, it was great to hear because I believe you can learn from others’ mistakes and/or triumphs and take those into your future. 

    My goal as a future art educator is to make my students feel comfortable and happy, as well as inspired. Michael mentioned allowing your students to decide their own limitations. That really stuck with me.  We shouldn’t be the ones to decide their abilities; give your students a fair chance to attempt anything and everything. As long as they are safe, why not give them the same chances as the student without “special needs?” No matter who we are, we are all human. We all yearn for the same thing: human connection and love.  I will never forget Michael’s presentation and am so thankful to have met him. 

Malori Taft


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"I absolutely loved hearing Michael speak in our Psychology & Social Change class that took place earlier today. Michael raised awareness & squashed misconceptions of physical/mental disabilities. He offered new information to me that made understanding such conditions much easier. Hearing about his story was motivating, and very courageous. I would love to see him share his story with aspiring teachers at an education workshop, because he covered important topics such as IEPs. This is imperative to learn about when going into an educational field, and he would be offering realistic & genuine advice as opposed to learning about these topics from an article or textbook. I hope to see Michael again soon!"


Thank you so much!!!

Brooke White

Student of Pyschology of Change Class

I think what makes you a good speaker is that you speak clearly and you cover various important facts about your condition.I really appreciated that you gave us so much valuable information and for that I'm thankful to you. One particular thing that I really liked was that you talked about ableism which is something that I find is not often talked about when it should be.



"Paint a picture with your words" - Michael, presenting to my Introduction to Special Education Master's Course, recalls a memory of a very special elementary education teacher.  I walked into class stressed and heavy with obligation as finals week progressed and hearing Michael's words reminded me once again why I want to be a teacher.  He is an absolute inspiration.  He is funny, charismatic and highly intellectual.  He left us with a very important, powerful statement. "Work for what you want while being happy with what you have."  Thank you, Michael.

Rachel Murdukhayev


Michael's presentation to our education class was fantastic!  He used the perfect amount of colloquial language and scientific wordage to clearly convey to his audience what living with CP and a retinal degenerative disease is truly like.  I felt very comfortable throughout his presentation and his encouragement to ask questions allowed all of the future teachers to really touch upon how we can best serve the persons with disabilities population in our profession.  I would highly recommend Michael as a speaker to any group yearning to learn more about disabilities.  He was extremely fun, dynamic, light-heated, and easy to listen to.  Overall, a wonderful human being to get to know.

Alexandra Wurglics

Adelphi Student

This lecture was exactly what I needed. Your strength has inspired me at a time when I am struggling to go work as a teacher while also attending night classes. “Don’t take anything for granted” you said… I learned so much from listening to you talk, wether it was a formal speech or a funny side story. I’ve never thought to go straight to my students with IEP’s with my questions. You are truly someone all educators (and people in general) can learn from. Thank you!



Mike, you are a great speaker. People are going to learn a lot from hearing your story and experiences. You make people laugh and have a great sense of humor which relaxes the audience during sometimes sensitive discussions related to sensitive issues. I learn something new every time i hear you speak.


Co-Captian Annual Visionwalk

This session has been very informative and has helped me to understand how to work with children with special needs by being sensitive to their emotional needs and realize that i need to acknowledge them first rather than their caretaker.



I thought your tenacity and perseverance was very admirable. I will take your words with me when I enter the classroom and encounter a child with a disability.



I thought your presentation was excellent! I admire your willingness to advocate for yourself. I can really relate to that as I also have a condition and need to advocate for myself on a day to day basis. Your ideas for accommodating students were really helpful and there were several I have never heard before. It is people like your who are going to change the way we all view people with disabilities, inside and outside the classroom!



Thank you for spending your time with our class. You shed a great deal of light on cerebral palsy. Your stories of your education experiences will help mold me into being an effective educator and advocate for all my students.



I enjoyed the presentation very much. I found it interesting to hear about the disability from your point of view and not from someone who has just read about it. I find it is awesome that sports has played such an important role in your life just as it has mine and I hope someday I can have the opportunity to have my own adapted physical education class so that I can help out student the same way you were.



I've known Mike Kalberer virtually my entire life - we grew up together. That said, I came to know and appreciate him in a different capacity when we were asked, as undergrads, to take part in an Adelphi University panel concerning the topic of disability and intimacy (both sexual and emotional). He spoke from his experience and heart, and forthrightly answered questions about a topic that invites discomfort in even the best of situations. Mike's a talented public speaker who both entertains and educates his audiences; I would surely recommend him for a speaking engagement.


Professor at Molloy College and Colleague

Michael J. Kalberer – intelligent, compassionate, conscientious, dedicated – these are only some of the character traits possessed by our nephew and Godson. Watching Michael grow throughout the years into a fine, trustworthy young man devoted to family, friends, and his profession has consistently proven that he brings a well-respected voice to many of the issues that will enlighten professionals in their respective fields on how to interact with people with disabilities. Michael’s enthusiasm and charisma as an educational speaker will be the force behind positive change for all people with whom he engages. It has and will continue to be an honor knowing Michael and to observe all of his future endeavors.

Mr. & Mrs. Steven Kalberer

Family Members

Michael came to give a presentation in our class of his life and the challenges he has faced. He was a great motivational speaker and it was so amazing to see his achievements and his success. I found it to the best presentation I’ve ever witnessed. He was very inspirational and delivered his story in a way that was serious and humorous at the same time. I found it extremely helpful that he related his own real life experiences to us as future educator and how we should look at different situations. He is so intelligent and truly is a gifted person. I loved hearing about his experiences and hearing him talk about how passionate he is about the many things and the people he cares about most. I also loved hearing about his accomplishments and feel that it is so important to see how he never gives up no matter what challenges he is faced with. His presentation was clear, organized, and inviting to his audience. I learned so much from this experience and he most definitely motivated me to enjoy life to the fullest.

Lindsay Hamburg

Adelphi Student

I enjoyed your presentation the most because you spoke from the heart from your experiences. It is very evident that you are passionate about what you do in terms of social work and spreading the message of your personal story. Not only did you tell us all about yourself, but also you specifically tailored your presentation towards our class and towards us as teachers. I am a permanent sub now, so it is very beneficial hearing about your educational experiences with both good and bad teachers. Every teacher has their own style and as I continue to develop my style I would like to take the good qualities of teachers you had and incorporate them into my pedagogy.  I also enjoyed hearing about your social life and what you do for fun. Your humor made the presentation enjoyable, but also reiterated that even with limitations you did not let yourself miss out on opportunities others your age were participating in.   Keep inspiring everyone around you!

Victoria Wink

Adelphi Student

Michael's presentation was not only informative, but inspiring. While being a graduate STEP student at Adelphi, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the work that surrounds my future career as a special education teacher. This presentation reminded me exactly why I chose this profession. Michael showed real emotion in his presentation which made it enjoyable and relatable for all. I believe that the way Michael speaks so highly of his family was the most influential part of the presentation. It is extremely clear that he is proud of all that he has accomplished, never feeling sorry for himself if things become difficult, only working harder to succeed. This has allowed me to see the importance of my career and to hopefully inspire my future students the way that Michael has inspired me.

Gabriella Calia

Adelphi Student

I was incredibly moved by your speech and amazed at how you continue to live life to the fullest.  Your speech made me realize how all people, no matter what their circumstances may be, deserve to have equal opportunities to succeed in life.  You also made me take a step back and reflect on my own teaching experience.  I was moved by your words in which you stated that you should never see a child for their disability and to embrace them for who they are as a person.  Additionally, I was also moved to become an educator based on all of the amazing experiences I had from teachers as a child, just as you. I want you to know that it is people like you who motivate me to continue my career in education.  You should be proud of all of your accomplishments and I know you will succeed in all your future endeavors.  You are an inspiration for everyone, with or without disabilities, to truly embrace every beautiful aspect of life.  Thank you for sharing your story with me.

Brittany Skrypek

Adelphi Student

Michael's presentation was outstanding. Michael spoke to my class at Adelphi and this was a great opportunity to get to know Michael as a person. This man is wise, passionate and dedicated to finding a way to succeed, no matter what. I enjoyed listening to and speaking with Michael. He shared the special qualities of his teachers that made them more effective in the classroom. I am studying to become a special education teacher and it was so beneficial to hear real honest feedback of what worked for him and what did not work for him in the classroom. 

Mark Spano

Adelphi Student

I had the pleasure of listening to Michael discuss his disabilities during my special education graduate class at Hofstra this past semester. I have known Michael a long time but never fully understood his disabilities and the daily struggles he encounters until his presentation. He is incredibly smart, funny and inspiring. His determination to succeed at everything makes me work harder. Everyone can benefit from hearing about Michael's life story. 

Peter Teesma

Hofstra Student

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