Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending September 23, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

 

Please stop by our website, http://advopps.org/, and find out all we have to offer.  In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

fosterfields-work-horse

This sturdy equine exemplifies the term “work horse.” His is seen here, however, during a moment of respite at Fosterfields Historic Farm, Morristown, NJ, where he lives and works.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

Advancing Opportunities, Inc., is actively recruiting Residential Support Specialists.  You must be 21, with non-provisional driver license and a high school diploma or the equivalent. Multiple shifts are available, including overnights.

Interested?  Please join us at our open house, Wednesday, September 28:

Monmouth County Library
Easter Branch
10101 Route 35
Shrewsbury, NJ 07702
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please bring a driver’s license, Social Security card, resume, and a list of references. You can download and complete an application.

 

 

Special education (including college for students with disability):

“Am I Cheating?” Why I Felt Ashamed to Use Dyslexia Accommodations

“Why I am Celebrating Getting the Word ‘Dyslexia’ into My Daughter’s IEP”

 

 

Civil Rights

Parents and nonprofit organizations step in to ensure playgrounds are fully accessible.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, made a public effort to include people with disabilities.  Carol Glaser, of the National Institute on Disability, praised the development, as did Dr. Catherine Kudlick, of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, an important academic advocacy organization.  We covered this news in a previous post on Celebrating Individual Abilities.

 

 

Assistive technology:

Donna suffered traumatic brain injury in an accident. With assistive technology, she can now do what she needs to raise her three children.

 

 

Positive, noteworthy news:

A little super-hero receives an assistive technology bionic arm from one of his super-heroes.

 

 

People with a disability in the community (disability rights and acceptance):  

These interviews, while describing their highly noteworthy accomplishments, depict the extraordinary challenges people with dyslexia face, highlighting the importance of quality services and advocacy.

Speechless, the new TV comedy show with a character and actor with cerebral palsy, shows disability at the center of family life.  Article in The Atlantic.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

What is “public disability” and what is its social history?
Also noteworthy is a conference and workshop on history, memory, disability rights, and inclusion, to be held Saturday, November 19, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at Rutgers University, Camden.

An authority on Aspergers, on the spectrum herself, offers her insights on how the obsessions and compulsions (OCD) in people with autism affects the way they relate to the social media.

Video: A Harvard Graduate on Why It’s Hard to Say “I Have Dyslexia” – Battling the stigma of dyslexia, a hidden disability.

 

 

Medical news – research:

A study and survey reveals that some 60 percent of children with ADHD have the condition into adulthood.

 

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

The life and work of a legally blind furniture maker are profiled in this interview.

The U.S. Department of Labor has earmarked more than $24 million to assist with employment for people with disabilities.

A New Disability Advocate: The Ford Foundation

dude-with-ipad

Mature aged man with a disability operating touchscreen computer

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation makes a public effort to include people with disabilities.  He explained his organization’s initiative on the foundation’s blog in an open letter, titled Ignorance Is the Enemy: On the Power of Our Privelege and the Privilege of Our Power.   He cited the efforts of James Baldwin in the 1960s and 1970s and the Black Lives Matter movement of today as important forces in “confronting power, privilege, and ignorance.”  By privilege, Mr. Walker speaks of unearned advantages or preferential treatment one group holds over another.  And ignorance, he says, is such a ferocious enemy because of its conspiratorial silence.  As an African American gay man, Mr. Walker pledged his organization would focus on combating inequality.  At that time, leading disability advocates took Mr. Walker to task for overlooking a major constituency:  people with disabilities.  In this open letter, he acknowledges his error of omission with candor and has pledged to rectify it.  In his powerful and honest letter, he cites specific instances in which people of disabilities have faced all kinds of discrimination; in this context, he pledges to move “from ignorance to enlightenment.”

Carol Glazer, of the National Institute on Disability, was one of the first disability advocates to speak out in praise of Mr. Walker, in her blog post, “Ford Foundation’s Remarkable Mea Culpa Will Provide Greater Opportunities for People with Disabilities.”  The piece was published by Huffpost Business Mr. Walker, she says, has shown a profound leadership that should guide other philanthropic organizations.

Dr. Catherine Kudlick, of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, an important academic advocacy organization, acknowledged this important development but added that while it is an important start, more needs to be done.   She has three suggestions, which we quote:

  • Know that the best way to help people with disabilities is to find ways for disabled people to help you.  That means, says Dr. Kudlick, embracing the philosophy of “Nothing about us without us!”
  • Ask what it means to cure disability.   While alleviating physical or emotional suffering is important, says Dr. Kudlick, all too often the talk of a cure entails – even unintentionally – denying the disability rather than changing people’s attitudes.  Moreover, she says, it does not have to be an either/or.
  • Learn our history.  Doing so offers critical insight into important issues, such as discrimination.

Having said that, Dr. Kudlick is very pleased and optimistic about this development.  As an advocacy organization, so is the Advancing Opportunities team.

 

 

 

Social Media and Autism/Aspergers

An authority on Aspergers, on the spectrum herself, offers her insights on how the obsessions and compulsions (OCD) in people with autism affects the way they relate to the social media.

Everyday Aspie

According to the National Institute of Mental Health: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Most people who identify with being on the autism spectrum (Autism Spectrum Disorder/ASD) have challenges with OCD-like behaviors or have been diagnosed with OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can also be triggered through childhood or adult trauma. A double-whammy for many on the spectrum, who have undergone repeated trauma in their lifetime. Impulse control and intrusive thoughts are part of the OCD condition. For some, who are autistic/Aspergerian, the impulse to check the status of a particular event and/or object (cellular phone battery, petrol level in vehicle) and to evaluate statistics (weather patterns, stock market, email notifications) can become a daily preoccupation. Amongst other things, repeatedly checking things and compulsively counting…

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Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending September 16, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

railraod-bridge-tunnel-andover

This structure, one of several in Andover (Sussex County), NJ, looks like a tunnel but is actually a bridge. This huge earth work, along with the “tunnel,” was constructed in 1909 to provide a level foundation for railways transporting iron ore and other early industrial raw materials in northwestern New Jersey. Photo: Daniel L. Berek

Please stop by our website, http://advopps.org/, and find out all we have to offer.  In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

Advancing Opportunities is looking for family support specialists throughout the state to work with our adult and child consumers with all disabilities, for both direct hands-on direct support in the community and in-home respite care.

In addition, we are expanding in Bergen and Essex counties and are seeking caring individuals in those communities.  Bergen and Essex residents should contact Monique Calixte, Family Support Coordinator at our Little Falls office, at mjoseph@advopps.org

 

 

Civil Rights:

Inclusive education for students with disabilities is central to a quality education for all, according to a report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Here is a resource for information for people with disabilities to ensure they self-advocate via the right to vote.

 

 

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!):

This is very sad story, but one with a hopeful ending:  Parents donated their son’s brain for autism research, to help autistic other children and their parents.

An author with autism explains how cognitive processes can impede the fluidity in thinking critical to many daily tasks, especially those with multiple steps.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

The Council for Exceptional Children has compiled and assembled nine special-education advocacy briefs.

 

 

Assistive technology:

Obama’s chief scientist, DJ Patil, celebrates disabilities and design, following the “Creating a Vision: Art and Disability” exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art  and tells how the federal government uses big data for socially constructive purposes.

 

 

People with a disability in the arts:

New Jersey artists with disabilities display their artwork at a local library.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

The late comedian Stella Young coined the phrase “inspiration porn” to describe the act of calling people inspirational solely because of their disability.  The US Paralympic team, with 22 gold medals to its credit so far, is doing quite well without the disability labels.

 

 

Medical news – research:

John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye and other works, presents his research on the pivotal role George Frankl played in connecting the research of Hans Asperger with Leo Kanner.

Cells in the immune system of patients with multiple sclerosis behave differently from those of healthy individuals.

 

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

Self-employment for people on the autism spectrum

The US Paralympic Team Is Doing Very Well… Yes, Without the Disability Label

streetsceneThe late comedian Stella Young coined the phrase “inspiration porn” to describe the act of calling people inspirational solely because of their disability. The US Paralympic team, with 22 gold medals to its credit so far, is doing quite well without the disability label.

This fine piece by the Ruderman Family Foundation offers a good perspective.  And an earlier piece on Salon covered inspiration porn in sports.  Positive sports images of disabled athletes that do not focus on the subject’s disability “normalize” disability, as a form of inclusion.  Longtime disability advocate Andrew Pulrang had three criteria, among them focusing on the good deeds of able-bodied people rather than on the abilities of the disabled person.  Another way of determining whether an article or image is inspiration porn is whether its meaning would change if one left out the disability.

Inspiration porn disrespects full inclusion and everything we as an agency stand for.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending September 9, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Turtle Back Zoo is popular among our Weekend Recreation consumers.

Elsie the Cow is a larger-than-life sculpture beckoning patrons of the Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, to the interactive farm animals area. This zoo, ever popular with our Essex County patrons of Weekend Recreation, is unusual in that agricultural animals are an important part of the venue, in addition to the usual wild fauna.

Please stop by our website, http://advopps.org/, and find out all we have to offer.  In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

 

 

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve):

 Blind and visually-impaired patrons receive help using assistive technology in a New Jersey library.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

Advancing Opportunities is looking for dependable, caring recreational support staff to provide part-time direct support to children and/or adults with disabilities during recreational events and community outings, such as the zoo depicted in the illustration. Weekend and evening availability are a must. Experience preferred but not required. Paid training is provided.

 

 

Special education (including college for students with disability):

Here are three established assistive technology accommodations for students with dyslexia:

 

 

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!):

A single woman looking to foster a child ended up with six!

 

 

 Advocacy and self-advocacy:

A blind advocate champions braille menus in restaurants.

 

 

Assistive technology:

Assistive technology is becoming more and more accessible to the public.

Virtual reality assistive technology helps eight paralyzed men regain some control of limbs.

A competition encourages innovation to create more user-friendly assistive technology and mobility devices for people with physical disabilities.

 

 

People with a disability in the arts:

“Born this Way” gains recognition for people with Down syndrome.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

This is a very interesting blog piece not just on autism awareness but, more important, autism self-awarenessvery interesting blog piece not just on autism awareness but, more important, autism self-awareness.  Autism and Asperger’s are something some people are born with.  A formal diagnosis may be helpful, but not having a diagnosis does not mean that one is not on the autism spectrum.

 

 

Beauty, fashion, glamour people with a disability:

The first amputee model to walk the runway without prosthetic devices will do so at New York Fashion Week.

 

 

Medical news – research:

A new study shows significant improvement in critical components of reading, including decoding and vocabulary, among children treated with atomoxetine.

 

 

People with disabilities in the arts:

A young photographer uses his creative photography to document and cope with his depression.

 

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

One new report claims that employment for people with disabilities is seeing gains.  However,  US Department of Labor statistics show a slight decrease.

 

 

Animals and animal therapy:

Here’s a beautiful story of how a service dog changed the life of a boy with autism and helped his family.

Author Laura Numeroff will present on Facebook Live, providing the opportunity to learn about her book Raising a Hero, as well as Canine Companions for Independence.