Honoring Great Leadership

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Mount Rushmore honors presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

We, at Advancing Opportunities, would like to take the time to reflect on the deeds of George Washington and other great presidential leaders.

Leadership takes many forms. Most important, it starts with a vision of what should be and can be. In other words, leadership involves advocacy, standing up for what is right and what will benefit people, especially those who need a voice or assistance expressing it. Fundamental to leadership, what presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln possessed, is a vision, a compass to guide them – and the people they represent – to righteousness.

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Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending January 20, 2017

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.

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Though the sun is setting on this old caboose, with bright colors this wonderful artifact bears witness to the technology of an earlier age. It’s owner, Southern Railroad Company of New Jersey still provides local service from Winslow Junction (Gloucester County), where this car was spotted. 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 has immediate openings for part-time Direct Support Professionals in residential care programs throughout New Jersey.

dv1954021Candidates 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.

  • Job fair: Wednesday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Elizabeth YWCA, 1131 E Jersey St, Elizabeth, NJ 07201

If this location or time is not convenient, please visit: http://advopps.org/directcare_openings

 

 

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

This article explains why employers in NJ should consider hiring workers with disabilities.

 

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):

Here are six tips to help your child with Asperger’s syndrome with social skills.

We thought some parents might be interested in the adaptive and sensory-friendly jeans this small business creates.

Worried about your child’s stimming? Here’s what you can do.

 

Special education & medical news:

The meaning and importance of executive function are well described in this blog piece.

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Advocating for your child with ADHD or other learning disabilities at school.

 

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

The Special Olympics has a program, The Unified States of America, to promote inclusion among abilities and ethnicities.

 

 

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

Reliable self-driving cars are critical to the independence and overall well-being to people with disabilities, according to a new Ruderman Family Foundation white paper.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

Here’s a nice article about why Speechless is the antidote to inspiration porn.

Autism is big. But I am bigger.

Opinion piece: Disability is fundamentally a human concern, transcending politics.

 

Animals and animal therapy:

Therapy dogs and other pets help people manage their schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

 

Here’s a Handy Resource from the Boggs Center

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The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, part of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has published a valuable resource for families of a child or other relative with a disability has published a helpful reference, Providing Respite: Supporting People and Families across the Lifespan, available as a fee PDF download. One of the co-sponsors of the booklet, the Family Resource Network, which includes Caregivers of New Jersey, a Service Coordinator.  As a leader in providing a wide range of services for people with disabilities in the state, Advancing Opportunities is ready to assist!

 

International Day of Persons with Disabilities & “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want

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Although most awareness months and days are on a national scale, this December will feature a global undertaking to raise awareness and promote advocacy.  December 3 is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  This is an effort to “promote action and raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.”  Observed since 1992, this day focuses on a different theme around the world each year.  For 2016, the theme is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.”

The objective of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to raise awareness of all types of disabilities and dispel archaic ideas and stereotypes and stigma, as these are often “the greatest barrier to their full and equal participation in society and development on an equal basis with others.”  Moreover, over the course of our lives, most of us will become disabled to some degree.

Nearly 1 in 7 people worldwide live with a disability.  Of great concern are the barriers they face, which prevent them from being fully included in important parts of daily life, in such areas as transportation, employment, and education.  In addition, many people with disabilities are not fully able to participate politically, a key to maintaining active citizenship in a democracy and being self-advocates for needed changes.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities recognizes not only physical disabilities, but also mental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.  Already a vulnerable group, these people, often face discrimination in employment and other areas of daily living or, at the very least, confront considerable hurdles to accomplishing these tasks effectively.

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Addressing Inclusion

Last year, the theme was “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of All Disabilities.”  As a result, the UN earlier this year adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to provide a greater degree of inclusion for all people with disabilities.  The UN efforts address the current status of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international treaty comprising eight principles:

  • Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women;
  • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

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And, did you know:

Giving Thanks, DisABLED Style

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Things, er, people to be thankful for.  After all, in the disability community, it is really the people in our lives who make all the difference.

Yes, there are things when we think about assistive technology, for example.  There are custom-designed wheelchairs, handy smartphone apps, braille keyboards, communication devices…. However, it is the people behind these wonderful products who matter most – the people who design and build them, the assistive technology specialists who work with people of all disabilities to find the right device and counsel how to use it.

So, yes, it’s mostly about people.  And, on Thanksgiving, most of us spend time with family.  So, that is where we will start.  In most cases, it is family members who are the primary caregivers.  Caring for a son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister, or grandparent with a disability is a round-the-clock responsibility family members undertake with the strongest sense of love.  We, at Advancing Opportunities, give thanks to all our wonderful families.

Families, however, occasionally need a well-deserved break.  Many are thankful for family support services personnel – respite workers and the like.  In, addition, the individuals themselves receive the gift of socializing with their peers, often in community settings.

And there are individuals with all disabilities in community residential homes.  The residential support professionals provide care with uncompromising dedication round the clock.  Some are working right now, as you are reading this.

There are so many other people who make life better for individuals with disabilities. Teachers and other educational professionals and assistants, for example.  Many people work behind the scenes, performing managerial and clerical work to make it all happen.  Let us not forget the generosity of the many benefactors, individual and corporate, who make it all happen.

For all these people – you – we are thankful!

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending November 11, 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.

 

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This church, in Monmouth County, NJ, was built in 1751; it played an important role in the Battle of Monmouth in 1788, during the Revolutionary War. Photo: Daniel L. Berek

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

Advancing Opportunities has immediate openings for part-time Direct Support Professionals in residential care programs throughout the state.

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.

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.

 

Advancing Opportunities news:

Students with a disability can attend college!   College readiness and career skills are important factors for young adults with disabilities, which is the idea of the Student Success Center, an important initiative planned for 2017. Linda Soltes, Executive Assistant, will present a webinar on the forthcoming program on Tuesday, November 29, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The webinar is being hosted by the Arc of New Jersey Family Institute.  The presentation will feature information on the supports available through the Student Success Center for navigating the postsecondary education.

 

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

A research study in New Jersey investigates the accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities.

A New Jersey swimming team of teens with autism goes for the gold.  This story originally appeared in the New York Times in 2015.

Three New Jersey State Assembly members co-sponsored a bill to ensure that all teachers in New Jersey are familiar with the needs of students with autism.  The legislation was advanced by an Assembly panel.

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):

Because autism can be hard on parents, too, here’s an article with links to multiple categories of resources.

A mom discovers the better self of her daughter with autism… and herself.

 

Civil rights and accessibility:

How do you teach people it should be hard to make life inaccessible?

Here’s a story that could have a happy ending, not just for this girl and her faithful companion, but for people with disabilities across the US.

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Disability advocates and families work with pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey toward the goal of developing treatments for rare diseases.

New voices in medical advocacy are often the patients.

 

Assistive technology:

Soon, with a device like this, blind readers will be able to access full-page text and tactile graphics.

A group of university students created charming, personal robots to help children with various disabilities in a variety of ways.

Could a smartphone app that tracks eye movements be used to detect autism early on?

 

Medical news – research:

A new set of guidelines aims to help clinicians recognize and treat gender dysphoria in adolescents with autism, and vice versa.

“Speech difficulties can be a warning sign, but it is only when a child also has weak language skills that they are likely to lead to significant reading problems, especially if there is a family history of dyslexia.”

A study using mouse models reveals promising new directions for the diagnosis and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Research scientists have identified a gene mutation in some people with autism that hinders synaptic connections and slows the activity in the brain.  This discovery could lead to new medications to treat the biologic causes of autism.

A Heartfelt Thank You to All Who Have Served

All of us at Advancing Opportunities express our deep gratitude to all the men and women, past and present, who have fought for our country and the values that we, and people everywhere, hold so dear. Thank you!

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Welcome home!  This banner is one of the many artifacts at the small but poignant Millville Army Air Museum, Millville, NJ.  

This photo is one of the many displays at the small but poignant Millville Army Air Museum, located at the old airport in the small New Jersey town of that name.  Though the museum started as a memorial to the pilots of P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft who trained and died there during World War II, it honors all veterans, including those who continue to volunteer there and always have a fascinating story (or two) to tell.