Our Bimonthly Collection of the Most Notable and Our Favorite Disability Articles – Ending October 15, 2017

FDR's presidential aircraft, fitted out with a custom elevator, represents the idea of accessiblity now exemplified by National Disabilities Employment Month NDEAM.

Even among former presidential aircraft, this machine is special. Named Sacred Cow, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the airplane modified with a special elevator to lift the president in his wheelchair up into the cabin. It’s an ingenious example of accessibility, one to bear in mind during the National Month of Disability Employment.

 

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 bimonthly 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 of the Fortnight

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 an open house:

Thursday, October 19, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Family Resource Network, 322 US Hwy. 46 W., Ste. 290, Parsippany, NJ 07054

 

 

Advancing Opportunities News

Advancing Opportunities is pleased to announce the opening of the Jackson group home and the opportunity to serve more people with disabilities in New Jersey and advance their independence.

 

 

Disability in the News (Mostly in New Jersey, the Population We Serve)

With nowhere else to go, increasing numbers of autistic children, teens, and young adults end up staying in hospitals. This story has appeared in several newspapers.

 

On Friday, October 6, New Jersey Gov. Christie mandated twice-yearly group home checks after the death of a resident.

 

 

Special Education

Video games… helping (not hindering) children with ADHD? Here is a very notable exception.

 

 

Assistive Technology

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which we profiled earlier, earns NDIS approval.

 

Virtual-reality apps help people with anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional and mental health conditions overcome their fear and ill feelings.

 

 

Advocacy and Self-advocacy

A young woman has created a pageant to help girls with disabilities shine.

 

 

College for Students with a Disability

The Autistic Self Advcoacy Network announces 2018 scholarships for students with autism.

 

 

Disability Rights, Accessibility
Opinion: “Protecting the rights of people with disabilities is not optional.”

 

Article from the New York Times: For the Disabled, New York’s Sidewalks Are an Obstacle Course

 

Assistive technology and accessibility: Google sets out to commit its resources and the people who contribute data to mapping the accessibility of public areas.

 

 

Employment for People with Disabilities

Haben Girma, a deaf-blind attorney and advocate for people with disabilities often “drive innovation.”

 

 

Informative, Positive, Noteworthy (or All Three!)

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has updated its informative guide on living with paralysis.

 

When his flight was delayed, a passenger with autism had a panic attack. Fortunately, a kind stranger was able to offer him the comfort and understanding he sought and desperately needed.

 

 

The Arts and People with Disabilities

An exhibition about blindness engages all the senses.

 

 

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

“We need to have more honest conversations about dating and disability. Here’s my truth.

 

 

Disability Awareness and Appreciation
A high-quality British news outlet, The Guardian, reaches out, offering a hands-on means of fostering autism awareness and appreciation in a virtual-reality production, “The Party: A Virtual Experience of Autism.”

 

If you missed the recent POV broadcast of Swim Team, there’s still very good news! This highly acclaimed documentary about autistic New Jersey teens who find excellence in competitive swimming is available on the PBS website, for free.

 

“Autism in Reel Life”: Exploring the progress in portraying autistic people on television and the challenges remaining.

 

 

Medical News—Research

Anxiety can assume unusual forms in people with autism—turning uncertainty, or even a striped couch, into a constant worry. New tools may help identify these hidden fears.

 

 

Beauty, Glamour, and Fashion: the Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Award-winning stars call on this fashion designer with Down syndrome.

 

A unique nonprofit organization incubated in a famous school is dedicated to developing clothing for people of all abilities.

 

“Defying the odds,” an autistic teen in Ghana becomes a celebrated model.

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Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles – For the two Week Ending August 11, 2017

Old Lambertville Station

Neither this rail station nor the Delaware & Raritan Canal it replaced are in use as transportation hubs any more. However, the old Lambertville (Hunterdon County, New Jersey) rail station has found a new lease on life as a restaurant. Even the old cars and caboose serve the dining guests.

 

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 Residential Support Leader to deliver health services to provide on-site direct behavioral health care services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a residential setting in northern New Jersey.

Advancing Opportunities provides supports to individuals with disabilities and their families so they can live fully in the community. Our team includes a diverse collection of men and women committed to treating the people and families we serve with dignity and respect and providing the highest quality services and supports.

Employees of the agency enjoy paid training and an excellent array of benefits, including health care and dental benefits for all eligible full-time staff and a 401(k) retirement plan for all eligible employees.

 

 

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

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities announces changes to contribution in residential care settings, effective August 2017.

 

New Jersey is one of the first states to win federal approval of its latest accountability and monitoring plans.

 

 

For parents of a Child with a Disability (Parenting)

Transition and change are hard for most children but even more so for those with ADHD. These children often face challenges with executive function, cognition for everyday coping and performing fundamental tasks. A psychologist offers parents handy tips.

 

Sometimes, parents of an autistic child could use a little assistance. A study highlights the positive effects of cognitive behavior therapy.

 

 

Special Education

An expert blogger has compiled 40 resources to help students with autism.

 

While it’s not a cure, music therapy can have benefits to children with autism.

 

The benefits of music and music therapy: “Music Is Good for the Soul, and Your Health” – article in Psychology Today

 

 

Assistive Technology

A New Jersey resident with traumatic brain injury performs daily tasks for her family with assistive technology.

 

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

 

Tobii eye-tracking AAC hardware: “a game changer.” We know: one of our consumers has used it with great success.

 

 A young woman reflects on how her power wheelchair was at first somewhat frightening but ended up giving her a high degree of independence. http://www.shonalouise.com/2017/08/my-relationship-with-my-powerchair.html

 

 

Advocacy and Self-Advocacy

Miss Teen USA’s powerful message about disability rights: Tolerance isn’t enough.

 

 

College for Students with a Disability

What one student learned from Brian M., a person we helped: Overcoming Dyslexia: Lessons Learned from an Ivy Leaguer

 

Through self-confidence and much hard work, a young woman with a disability is accepted to a fine university. These are sentiments shared at Advancing Opportunities, especially at our Student Success Center.

 

 

Employment for People with Disabilities

We love news stories about people with disabilities in the workplace.  A New Jersey company hiring people with autism gets a new home, thanks to a caring business community.

 

 

Informative, Positive, Noteworthy (or all three!)

This is a poignant and beautiful essay. It’s a testament to disability acceptance and, more important, self-acceptance.

 

 

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

We are always happy to read an article in which people with disabilities are included in interesting events most of us enjoy. With advances in braille, blind people can experience and awe in natural wonders such as the coming eclipse. A link to the original NASA report is included.

 

Many people with disabilities are being paid way below the minimum wage, and it’s perfectly legal http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/many-people-with-disabilities-are-being-paid-way-below-the-minimum-wage-and-its-perfectly-legal/

 

Learn how smart cities work for people with disabilities.

 

 

Disability Awareness and Appreciation

In this video, we get to know the “colorful mind” of Saffron, a nine-year-old autistic girl.

 

 

Medical News – Research

Here are some new thoughts on an old idea prompt a rethinking regression in autism.

 

 

Beauty, Glamour, and Fashion: The Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Cerebral palsy can’t stop this New Jersey girl from being confident and stylish. This fashion is about inclusion as much as feeling good about oneself.

 

SmartGlamour’s latest campaign stars only models with various disabilities.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles – Ending the Week of June 9, 2017

Allaire Wheelwright Shop (1835)

This building, the wheelwright shop (1835), is one of several at Allaire State Park, Wall Township, NJ. Innovation in New Jersey goes back to the state’s founding. Photo by Daniel L. Berek

 

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.

dv1954021

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

We’re hiring! Summer is almost here, and Advancing Opportunities is seeking Support Service Aides to assist teens and young adults with disabilities at summer camps in northern, central, and southern New Jersey.

  

JOB SUMMARY

The Support Service Aide is responsible for providing direct services to individuals with developmental disabilities in a camp setting. This may involve one or more of the following:

  • Engaging the individual in recreation activities
  • Assisting the individual with daily-living skills and personal care
  • Working on communication skills, or any other type of activity deemed appropriate for inclusion
  • Performing or any other type of activity deemed appropriate on the Individual Service Plan.
  • Completing the required weekly documentation of the services provided.

Please send your résumé to: hr@advopps.org

 

 

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

Support groups may play bigger role in mental health in New Jersey and elsewhere.

  

  
 

Special Education:

People with autism and learning disabilities excel in creative thinking, a study featured in the Guardian shows.

 

 

The Arts and People with Disabilities

Review: Reanimating an Autistic Artist with ‘Soot and Spit’ – “A play about a deaf and autistic artist who rejected language but found a voice”

 

Just in case you didn’t catch this amazing (deaf) singer on America’s Got Talent, here’s the New York Times review of the performance.

 

 

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

Better inclusion at work requires “human” intervention, despite technological advances.

 

 

Medical news – research:

Brain scans may forecast autism in high-risk infants.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending December 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.

cape-may-swans-ducks

The Cape May County Zoo is both a place to learn about all kinds of wonderful animals and a beautiful park to walk around.  Mallard ducks and a lone swan look on as the last of the leaves fall, heralding the coming of winter.

Photo:  Daniel L. Berek

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

It’s not too early to think about the summer!  Are you a college graduate looking for a rewarding summer working as an aide to a teen or young adult at a summer camp in South Jersey?  The Support Service Aide is responsible for providing direct services to individuals with developmental disabilities in a camp setting. This may involve one or more of the following: engaging the individual in recreation activities, assisting the individual with Daily Living Skills and personal care, working on communication skills, or any other type of activity deemed appropriate for inclusion, or any other type of activity deemed appropriate on the individual’s Service Plan.

For more information, please visit: http://advopps.org/support_service_aide

 

 

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

A New Jersey Santa Claus with autism creates a special holiday experience for children with autism.

The Lagana bill to include all disabled vets under the NJ Transit discount program heads to the governor’s desk.

 

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

For children with #autism, 8 tips to make the holidays easier.

 

Special Education:

Blurring the lines between educational technology and assistive technology

What’s different about the way visually impaired children learn? 

 

Assistive technology:

An entrepreneur is revolutionizing the market for powered wheelchairs.

A program made in 2007 as a free download has helped many people with disabilities.

A call to scientists to develop communication tools for people with autism

 

College for students with a disability:

A New York State college preparation program for students with autism shows promise and results.

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

Universities wise up to the needs of staff with disabilities.

 

Civil rights and accessibility:

Website Accessiblity – An Introduction to the Problem and Best Practices for Education Agencies and Schools

Many senior citizens and disabled veterans love golf.  An advocacy group explores educating course owners and the public on the importance of ensuring the accessibility of their courses.

 

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

A personal tragedy inspired this woman to start a successful company, AbleThrive

A company in Rochester, MN, makes artificial limbs as art!

 

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

Why not celebrate the diversity of disability?

“Holiday Cheer: Students Build Hi-Tech Toys for Disabled Kids” 

“Dating while disabled”:  taboo for many teen girls.

This Zumba instructor with Down syndrome shattered stereotypes to achieve her dream.

 

People with a disability in the arts:

A blogger looks back on 2016 regarding disability in the arts.

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

An autistic blogger discusses friends and friendship.

Here are seven reasons that sign language is awesome.

Ableism: a Dad’s perspective

 

 

Medical news – research:

A study shows that many toddlers with autism are indifferent to eye contact.

Neuroscientists at MIT and Boston University have discovered that a basic mechanism underlying sensory perception is deficient in individuals with dyslexia.

Overall, the number of premature births has increased for 2016.

For New Jersey, the rate of birth defects is 9.8 percent, earning the state a grade of C.

A CDC study examined the use of antidepressants and other medications during pregnancy.

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women, but women are more likely to experience bipolar II, and their symptoms may be different.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending September 30, 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.

Our consumers love painting pumpkins at our many social and recreational activities throughout New Jersey.

Halloween started at the end of September for our adult and child consumers, along with their families, at our annual Fall Frolic in the Park. Ever popular, Halloween-themed activities will continue throughout October in our Adults’ Night Out, Parents Night Out, and Weekend Recreation Programs throughout New Jersey.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

Advancing Opportunities, Inc., has immediate openings for Residential Support Leads in the northern New Jersey region. The Residential Support Leader will provide on-site direct behavioral health care services to people with developmental disabilities in a residential setting. This involves providing supervision and/or assistance with personal care, daily living activities, recreational pursuits, transportation, medical appointments, or any other needs the individuals served by the program require.

Candidates must possess a valid, non-provisional driver’s license; strong verbal and written communication skills; strong documentation skills; excellent judgment, problem solving, organizational, and time management skills; and the ability to work independently with minimal supervision. Candidates should also have excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with individuals with disabilities, families, co-workers, staff, supervisors, funding sources, and other social service agency personnel.

 

 

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

Thanks to the quick action of a boy with autism, the driver of a school bus that had caught fire was able to pull over, enabling the rest of the children to evacuate to safety.

 

 

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

After a boy with autism expresses his sadness of not having any friends, his dad pens an emotional letter.

 

 

Special education (including college for students with disability):

A special-education teacher invites her students with Down syndrome to play important parts in her wedding.

 

 

Civil rights

The U.S. Supreme Court plans to re-examine and re-evaluate the Free & Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) mandate.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Two sisters petitioned American Girl to create a doll with a disability. Their request was rejected. That won’t stop them from keeping to try.

 

 

Assistive technology:

Here’s a guide of the many assistive technology tools for students who struggle with writing (e.g., dysgraphia).

 

 

People with a disability in the arts:

An Irish gallery is providing everyone with equal access to the arts.

 

 

Beauty, fashion, glamour people with a disability:

Meet the Guatemalan designer with Down syndrome who is shattering stereotypes in the fashion world.   Her work has appeared in numerous fashion magazines.

Young adults with Down syndrome celebrate life with fashion modeling.

 

 

Medical news – research:

A new gene links autism with kidney problems.

 

 

Employment for people with disabilities:

Employers can do a great deal for people with disabilities.  And vice versa.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month – For the Good of Individuals, Society, and the Country

2015 NDEAM Poster English

Disability advocates and self-advocates do not allow disability to define who they are… or aren’t.  The same idea applies to employment.  In fact, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  For 2015, the theme is “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am.”  The idea goes back some 70 years, to October 1945, when President Harry S Truman declared the National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.  In recognizing people with all disabilities, the word “physically” was removed in 1962. Then, in 1988, Congress literally expanded the name to its current form.  Also noteworthy is the 1978 book by special-education teacher Marc Gold, Try Another Way, to teach adults with intellectual disabilities to perform complex tasks, becoming the basis of supported employment.

 Try Another Way by Marc Gold supported employment

This book, written by special-education teacher Marc Gold, would form the foundation of supported employment for people with disabilities.

One could also go back to the turn of the previous century and revisit the efforts of Elizabeth Farrell, who at the Henry Street School in New York City used manual work as one way to provide a meaningful experience for her students with severe special needs.

What’s Good
This year, 2015, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This landmark legislation has done much to help ensure that people with disabilities have access to meaningful work.  There has been a marked trend in the increase of employment agencies and business leadership groups, most notably the U.S. Business Leadership Network, which specialize in helping job seekers with a disability find a job and for companies to find these candidates.  An important step was in 1983, with the founding of the Job Accommodation Network, an initiative that offers guidance and information to work toward solutions to benefit both parties on issues of hiring and accommodation.

A notable government effort, the AbilityOne Program, established in 2006, helps people with severe disabilities by requiring the federal government to purchase specific products and services from companies that hire these individuals.

The What Can You Do? Campaign for disability employment is “a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace” by offering a wide variety of resources.  Even more recent is the February 2015 the White House publication Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining and Promoting People with Disabilities.

Some organizations have specific groups in mind.  For young adults, there is the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, to ensure that transition age youth are provided full access to high-quality services in integrated settings to gain education, employment, and access to independent living.

Noteworthy among regional efforts is the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, which launched a new public awareness campaign, Your Next Star, to alert employers to the benefits of having people with Down syndrome in the workplace.   Among the benefits of employing people with Down syndrome they cite the following:

  • With the right supports, they can perform just as well as their non-disabled peers.
  • Most employees with Down syndrome are more reliable and less likely to quit than their non-disabled peers.
  • Many households include someone with a disability; they are likely to want to support inclusive businesses.
  • Hiring people with a disability promotes good will and a positive public image.
  • With their positive outlook and sense of humor, people with Down syndrome often make the workplace a nice place to be a part of.

What’s Not So Good

If work is such an important part of citizenship and civic responsibility, then should not as many people as possible be working?   Moreover, having work confers individuals with status and a sense of meaning, as well as independence and dignity.  However, even with the considerable success of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), many people with disabilities remain unemployed or underemployed.  Recent U.S. Bureau of the Census statistics present a sobering picture:

  • $1,961: The average monthly earnings of people with any kind of disability.
  • $2,724: The average monthly earnings of people with no disability.
  • 28.6% of people 25 to 64 years old with a severe disability live in poverty.
  • 17.9%: The poverty rate for people with a non-severe disability.
  • 14.3%:  Poverty rate for people with no disability.

And we learn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the following:

  • 9.3%: Unemployment rate for people with disabilities
  • 5.3%: Unemployment rate for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted
  • 20.0%: The percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force
  • 69.1%:  Percentage of people with no disability in the labor force.

In a recent report, just as young adults with autism feel disconnected in school, one in three feel the same in the work place afterward.

Looking Ahead
While significant challenges exist, one thing we can learn from many people with disabilities is that with hard work, challenges can be overcome.

"Disabled Does Not Mean Unable" was a classic among U.S. Post Office philatelic offerings.  It was issued in recognition of the International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981

“Disabled Does Not Mean Unable” was a classic among U.S. Post Office philatelic offerings. It was issued in recognition of the International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981

Looking for a Rewarding Career in Social Services? Advancing Opportunities Is Hiring!

Advopps Blue Banner - Blue Only

Advancing Opportunities, a progressive and highly respected social service agency serving adults and children with all disabilities throughout New Jersey, is experiencing tremendous growth!  If you are seeking a highly rewarding career in social services, please attend one of our open houses to find out what we’re about!

Northern NJ (Morris County)
Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

322 Rte. 46, W., Ste. 2
Parsippany, NJ 07054

Central NJ (Monmouth County)
Thursday, February 19, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
72 Larkin Pl., Rear
Oakhurst, NJ 07755

Northern NJ (Morris County)
Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

98 Rte. 46, W., Office 2
Budd Lake, NJ 07828

If you cannot attend an open house, please fax your resume to 609-882-4022, or visit us at our website to download an application or find out more about us.

Contact person: Tiffany Carter-Conway,
Human Resources Director
609-882-4182, Ext. 521