Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles – For the Week Ending July 21, 2017

Land of Make Believe Silo

This silo has found a new purpose at The Land of Make-Believe, Hope, NJ. This park is a popular summer destination in Warren County, northwestern New Jersey.

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, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, 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.

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

Come to our next open house, this Wednesday!

A growing social service agency, we have openings for full- and part-time Direct Support Professionals in residential care programs all around the state. Candidates will be providing excellent direct care to men and women with disabilities in residential support programs in group homes.

We will be holding the following open house on Wednesday, July 26, from 10 to 3: Wed., July 26: Family Resource Network, 322 US Hwy. 46 W., Ste. 290, Parsippany, NJ If you are unable to make any of these events, please submit your résumé to: hr@advopps.org.

 

 

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

A superhero with Down syndrome stars in a new comic by a New Jersey professor.

 

 

For parents of a Child with a Disability (Parenting)

The Asbury Park Press lists 20 places for autism-friendly family entertainment.

 

 

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!)

A blogger with Asperger’s talks about her marriage to a neurotypical man for 25 years.

 

 

The Arts and People with Disabilities

An art studio in Washington, DC, provides an outlet for adults with developmental disabilities to express themselves though art.

 

A summer arts camp helps children, teens, and young adults with autism hone social skills.

 

 

People with a Disability in the Community (Disability Rights and Acceptance; Inclusion)

What’s beyond Paper Mill Playhouse’s Theater for Everyone initiative, for which the acclaimed theater was recently awarded a $40,000 grant.

 

A cheerleading team comprising members with special needs breaks boundaries—and wins

 

 

Disability Awareness and Appreciation

Many women are unaware they’re autistic.

 

Enter “neurodiversity,” an umbrella under which autism, Tourette’s, and mental illnesses…

Ablenet’s New Blue2 Bluetooth Switch Offers Access to Many Apps and Programs

Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth Switch

The Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth switch offers easy wireless access to iOS, IOX, Windows, and Android apps and programs.

The Blue2 offers either single- or dual-switch access to Apple devices running iOS 7, as well as the company’s desktop or laptop computers running OS X Mavericks. Blue2 also provides access to apps and programs running on the Windows and Android operating systems. Connection to one’s favorite device via Bluetooth is easy and quick to set up.

Find out about the Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth switch. It’s this week’s #AssistiveTechTuesday feature, described on our website blog. Not sure if you want to make the investment? New Jersey residents can try it out free at our Technology Lending Center!

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles – For the Week Ending July 14, 2017

View of Washington's Crossing toward New Jersey

The bridge in the foreground follows the path George Washington too as he crossed the Delaware River, on his way to the Battle of Trenton. New Jersey is to the left of this view from Bowman’s Tower in Pennsylvania.

 

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, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, 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.

 

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 a part-time Registered Nurse, licensed in New Jersey, to deliver health services to clients who are experiencing mental and physical conditions associated with mental illness and developmental disabilities in northern New Jersey. Interested candidates should forward résumé and salary requirements to: hr@advopps.org, or fax them to 609-882-4022.

 

 

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

Here is a list of the seven best school districts in New Jersey for students with autism.

 

Governor Christie signed an executive order to transfer key mental health services of the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health. Several state legislators say they need time to evaluate this move and how it will affect New Jersey residents with an intellectual disability.

 

 

For parents of a Child with a Disability (Parenting)

Perspective: Lessons from my son with autism, as he nears the end of high school

 

ZOOM Magazine for parents of children with autism: The latest issue is out! Another helpful free publication is Autism File.

 

“What Are the Signs My Teen Might Be Misusing ADHD Medications?”

 

 

Special Education

NPR this week featured a study: Holding Kids Back a Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back

 

Opinion: Why model autism programs are rare in public schools: The United States is failing most of its half million school-age children with autism by not giving them a good education.

 

 

Informative, Positive, Noteworthy (or all three!)

“The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD”

 

Naoki Higashida, the author of the acclaimed of The Reason I Jump, has written a new memoir, Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8. As with the earlier book, Higashida (who has severe autism and is unable to express himself conventionally in words) wrote this one with the help of assisstive technology, in the form of an electronic transcriber.

 

 

People with a Disability in the Community (Disability Rights and Acceptance; Inclusion)

Federal officials find fewer states meeting special-education obligations.

 

Doctors with disabilities offer important insights and perspectives.

 

“A Wish for Authentic Disability Representation on Television to Continue, along with a look back in time.

 

 

Disability Awareness and Appreciation

A beautiful piece in the New York Times: The Importance of Finding a Community Family—Especially when both mother and daughter have Ehlers syndrome.

 

Depression is part of many learning disabilities and autism. One writer compiled a list of what she believes to be best 10 blogs on depression.

 

 

Medical News—Research

The social ties between autism and schizophrenia: the two conditions share a long history. Comparing the social features of the two conditions could lead to better treatments and a deeper understanding of each. Links to earlier related articles are included.

 

The New York Times featured an article on the challenges children with autism face in recognizing faces. Genetics often plays a part.

A Story of an Elephant with Big Ears… and a Big Heart

Some two and a half years ago, maybe longer, I was listening to Jonathan Schwartz’s radio show on NPR. After playing his customary songs from the American song book, Jonathan gave a rave review of a children’s book he just read. As a love of animals is something we both share, I had to read the book. I am glad I did.

Most of the people with autism and some with Down syndrome, likewise have an affinity to animals… and vice versa. This review is dedicated to them.

 

butterfly_lg“My, what big ears he has!” A little elephant was born in southern Africa. However, not long thereafter, the peace of that happy occasion was shattered by a sudden flash and a bang. Poachers claimed the little elephant’s mother.  A twelve-year-old boy named Thabo watched a rescue helicopter bring in a baby elephant to the wildlife refuge, where he lives. The veterinarian, Bitri, will try his best to save her. Thabo was there to comfort the baby elephant with big, spread-out ears he has decided to call Butterfly.

Four years later and half a world away, Emma was enjoying the splendors of her New York City courtyard garden, when a tall teenage boy approached her. Thabo introduced himself and explained that he was there with his father, who was giving a speech at the United Nations to urge world leaders to help his country’s endangered elephants. Emma was astonished; she didn’t realize that such big, strong animals needed protection. It was then that she learned about poachers killing elephants for their tusks for the illegal ivory trade. She removed the ivory butterfly necklace pendant she received for her 11th birthday. (The coincidences here will have some readers wondering if the ivory from her pendant came from Butterfly’s mother; at the very least, the metaphor is very strong.) She loved the picture of Butterfly Thabo showed her, which she thought of as she returned the pendant to its velvet box and hid it in a dark drawer. That night, Emma dreamed of a parade of animals.

Suddenly, Emma was aroused by a loud trumpeting sound.  Outside her window was Butterfly, looking for Thabo. Hearing the noise, Thabo rushed to her side. Butterfly spoke to both teens of her fear of Africa and was seeking a safe place. But what to do with an elephant in the city? After all, an adult elephant would need some 320 pounds of plant material and 30 gallons of water every day. The seemingly obvious first choice was the circus! All three were excited as they watched the pageantry, especially the regal elephants. After the show, Butterfly met up with the circus elephants. Butterfly and her human companions quickly learned—along with the reader%mdash;that many circus elephants are taken from the wild and poorly treated. Later that night, Emma learned that the keys of her baby grand piano were made from ivory. Emma was left wondering whether the Bach prelude she was playing would be able to “heal the aching heart of a baby elephant.”

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles – For the Week Ending July 7, 2017

Revolutionary War ferry boat George Washington Trenton New Jersey

This replica represents the type of ferry that plied the Delaware during the 18 century. George Washington used boats like this for his horses and artillery pieces to make his way toward the decisive Battle of Trenton.

 

 

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, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, 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.

 

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 has immediate openings for full-time Direct Support Professionals in residential care programs all around the state. We also have openings for part-time staff. Candidates will be providing direct care to men and women with disabilities in residential support programs and group home settings. This entails includes supervision and/or assistance with personal care, daily-living activities, recreational pursuits, transportation, medical appointments, or any other needs the individuals may have.

For the rest of June and the month of July, we are holding job fairs on the following days, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., as follows:

  • Wednesday, July 12. Advancing Opportunities Budd Lake office, 98 US Hwy. 46 W., Office 2, Budd Lake, NJ (Morris County)
  • Thursday, July 20. Shrewsbury Public Library, 1001 NJ Rte. 35, Shrewsbury, NJ (Monmouth County)
  • Wednesday, July 26. Family Resource Network, 322 U.S. Hwy. 46 W., Ste. 290, Parsippany, NJ (Morris County)

If you are unable to make any of these events, please submit your résumé to: hr@advopps.org or fax it to 609-882-4022.

 

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting):

Here is an online article with timely advice for parents to help their autistic children with social skills and their emotional health.

 

ZOOM Magazine for parents of children with autism: Latest issue, No. 12, is out. This magazine is “for and by the autism community.”

 

 

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology for the blind is a large part of what we do. Two articles featured this subject:
Assistive technology is creative! A blind artist teams up with engineering students to create a cane like no other.

 

Apps are linking visually impaired people to sighted volunteers, as assistive technology enters a new era of connectivity.

 

Like many children, nine-year-old Fernanda dreamed of owning a bike. However, her muscular dystrophy posed challenges. So engineering students from a community college designed and built a “chariot” for her. After a test drive, the young girl was the proud owner of her new pink assistive technology mobility device.

 

 A new app will serve as “Trip Advisor” for people with disabilities regarding accessibility.

 

 

Advocacy and Self-Advocacy

The film Breathe offers a look at the life of one of the U.K.’s first disability advocates, Robin Cavendish, who had polio.

 

 

Employment for People with Disabilities

Autism and the workplace: Adults with autism are the fastest-growing group among the neurodiverse workforces.

 

 

Informative, Positive, Noteworthy (or All Three!)

When this Australian girl with Down syndrome was born, doctors said she’d never speak. Now, she aspires to be an actress.

 

A love for music is a gift this blind and autistic teen wants to share with the world.

 

 

The Arts and People with Disabilities

After losing most of her sight more than a decade ago, an Ohio woman took up painting as an outlet. Through years of trial and error, she has devised unique methods that work best for her.

 

A painter with autism opens an exhibit. Unable to express himself verbally, he does so through his art.

 

When he was born, his doctors said he’d never walk. That did not stop him… from becoming the “Break Dance King of Zimbabwe.”

 

 

People with a Disability in the Community (Disability Rights and Acceptance; Inclusion)

Many children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities gained access to the magical world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. That trend continues, with a British publisher releasing an edition for dyslexic readers (children and adults).

 

 

Disability Awareness and Appreciation

What I wish I could tell my boss: “My autism is not a problem.” 

 

 

Medical News – Research:

An early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder may be possible, according to a recent study.

 

Researchers scour datasets (Big Data) for clues to autism: “needles in a genetic haystack of 20,000 people”

 

People with autism may be more rational than others in their economic choices.

Getting to Know the Miracle of Living with Deaf-Blindness

Helen Keller, deaf-blind graduate from college

Helen Keller is the most well-known deaf-blind person. With the advocacy of her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and her own determination, Helen proved one could undertake higher education and graduate.

 

 

We all know about Helen Keller, notably through the astonishing performance by Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker. Helen Keller is the most famous deaf-blind person; her name is a household word – and rightfully so. Yet, many people do not fully understand what it is to be deaf blind. With that, President Ronald Reagan in 1984 proclaimed the last week of June as Helen Keller Deaf Blind Awareness Week. To keep the awareness fresh, every year the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Adults Youths and Adults (HKNC), publicizes this important declaration with a national campaign. HKNC is part of the National Family Association for the Deaf-Blind (NFADB).

 

 

What Is Deaf-Blindness?

What is deaf-blindness? According to the NFADB, “The term ‘deaf-blind’ seems to indicate the sum of deafness + blindness. However, the combination of these two sensory losses is much more like deafness multiplied by blindness = Deaf-blindness.” The combined loss of both senses poses unique challenges, with independence, access to  information, interpersonal communication, and special navigation is indeed profound. However, contrary to what most people believe, deaf-blindness is not a total loss of seeing and hearing. This is rarely the case. The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) provides an excellent overview of the condition covering children, assessment in school, educational services, environment, communication, social-emotional concerns, and motor-movement issues.

 

Assistive technology in the form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices are an important pathway to accessibility to full inclusion in society and independent living. http://www.assistivetechnologycenter.org/at/augmentative-communication  For New Jersey residents, the Advancing Opportunities Assistive Technology Center can be an excellent resource, offering both one-on-one assistance and the chance to try out costly equipment before committing to a purchase.

 

 

A Famous Deaf-Blind Person (Aside from Helen Keller)

Haben Girma is an Eritrean-American woman who was the first deaf-blind person to graduate Harvard Law School. As an attorney, she has been an outspoken disability advocate for inclusion, accessibility, and Universal Design. Haben recently with current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, all of whom have praised her important work as a disability advocate and self-advocate.

 

 

Usher Syndrome

The most common form of deaf-blindness is a condition called Usher syndrome. Usher syndrome is characterized by hearing loss, combined with a loss of vision over time and deficiencies in balance, as the condition starts in the inner ear. There are three types of Usher syndrome, which are characterized by the severity of the symptoms. Usher syndrome is genetically inherited.

 

 

Did You Know?

  • Nearly 10,000 children and young adults are deaf-blind.
  • Some 2.4 million people in the U.S. have combined vision and hearing loss.

 

 

Further Resources

Project Sparkle Family’s Guide

Deaf-Blind Education

Eye on the Cure Blog 

Deaf-Blind International

National Coalition on Deaf-Blindness

European Deaf-Blind Network