Michelle Miller Normal For Us: The Miller Twins Mariya Miller
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About the Film
Fritz and Cindy Miller
Old photo of twins as toddlers
Old photo of Fritz with twins
NORMAL FOR US: THE MILLER TWINS is a co-production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and Morgan Video Productions.

Developed and Directed by:
Eric Cain

Produced by:
Wendy & Lyle Morgan

Executive in Charge of Production:
John Lindsay

Executive Producer:
David Davis

Funded by:
Public Television Viewers and PBS
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It's a once in a lifetime scenario: only in Alaska, only the tenacious and resilient Miller family, only these unique, astonishing wheelchairs. The combination of place, spirit and machine is the stuff of what inspires us: To do something difficult and worthwhile. And to do it without any thought of sympathy or what the neighbors might say.
Cindy and Fritz Miller learned in 1989 that their infant twins, Mariya and Michelle, both had Type II Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This type of disability portends a lifetime of round-the-clock care and frequent sickness and, in most cases, profoundly limits one's ability to enjoy a "normal" lifestyle. Fritz and Cindy, however, are tough, ingenious people, fiercely devoted to their five children. So, in Fritz's words, he and his wife rose to the occasion.
The Millers rebuilt their home, literally from the ground up, to accommodate the twins' special needs. Their house is totally wheelchair accessible - a veritable funhouse with function - no limits -- with wide ramps and open spaces. The parents re-designed the family's routines to include the girls in every activity. And, since no commercial power wheelchairs offered the kind of mobility the Millers wanted for their kids, Fritz and Cindy Miller along with a family friend, Jim Van Sickle, built their own.
These chairs are extraordinary; both in their dramatic presence and in the level of accessibility they provide the girls. In fact, belying the chairs' homespun looks, they are two of the most advanced power wheelchairs ever made. Yet until this film, their renown has been confined to the small town of Soldotna, Alaska. The wheelchairs incorporate cutting edge technology and allow the girls to zip around like any average kid. They play basketball and train their horses…all in the wheelchairs.
The documentary poses the inevitable question: If quadriplegic girls in Soldotna can be so thoroughly-integrated into their community - if two kids who can move little more than their heads and hands have become typical, fun-loving teenagers, hiking, playing dodge-ball in the gym, hanging out at the mall - what are the possibilities for other disabled children?
NORMAL FOR US: THE MILLER TWINS recounts the unique achievements of the Miller family. And families everywhere, with or without disabilities, may glean some important lessons from this film. It is a story about limitless possibilities, the power of love, and a successful, normal American family.