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"During my senior year, my social worker and my mother got together and kicked me in the ass. They told me that if I didn't get out of the house now, I would never get out; and so I went to school for the first time. I had taught myself glossopharyngeal breathing (frog breathing), where you swallow air into your lungs, so I had been spending time out of the iron lung before. But I was scared to go out and be seen by people.

"I remember that day very clearly. I arrived during lunch time. My brother lowered me out of the back of the station wagon, and it was like a tennis match – everyone turned to look at me. I looked at someone, right in the eyes, and they turned and looked away.

That was when I realized that maybe it wasn't my problem; maybe it was their problem. I checked myself out, and I realized two things. First, their looking at me didn't hurt, physically; and secondly I realized, hey, this is kind of like being a star – and I've been a star ever since.

"It was the end of my senior year when they told me that I couldn't graduate, because I hadn't taken physical education and driver training. My mother was so pissed off. 'He can sit on my lap and I'll hold the damned wheel for heaven's sake!' she told them.

The Vice Principal came over to my house and told me, 'Now Eddie, you wouldn't want a cheap diploma now, would you?' We kicked him out of our house. My mother took it to the school board. This was my first real fight, and she was the one who showed me the ropes. We told the board, and they thought it was absurd. The board then disregarded the missing requirements and told the principal to give me my diploma.

Ed Roberts and hos brother