Great articles relating to living choices can be found on our sister publication, 50Plus-Today! Below is a sampling of our latest:
DISABILITY FOSSILISED IN MYTHS, LITERATURE, THEATRE, FOLKLORE, BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
Since 2010 Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach have toured the United States with Handicap This!, a two man stage show with a message of tolerance and inclusion. Mike is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy; Tim has served as Mike’s aide for over 14 years. The pair have captivated and motivated educators and students with their motto: “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.”
At a time when bullying is under increased scrutiny, Handicap This! brought a dimly lit auditorium of 9th-, 10th-, 11th-graders from a sympathetic quiet to laughter and applause of encouragement, all while sharing a message of acceptance, understanding, and tolerance.
To date, nearly 100,000 people have seen Mike and Tim LIVE on stage. They’ve received standing ovations and rave reviews across the country. Making Minds Handicap Accessible: The Digital Classroom Experience is a revolutionary educational product that promotes Social Emotional Learning and creates inclusion and acceptance one school at a time.
This Unique Academic Experience will enable your students to:
- Understand the Power and Benefit of Community Service
- Appreciate Differences Within Others and Themselves
- Tap into their own Abilities and Strengths
The Middle School – Junior High Experience:
- The complete Handicap This! show with full-access for 1 school year
- Pre & post discussion ideas
- Downloadable forms
- Google hangout with Mike and Tim*
The High School Experience:
The story of Robaba Mohammadi, a 16 year old artist from Kabul with partial paralysis of her limbs, is an inspirational one. Robaba has big dreams and is not about to let her disability stop her.
Unable to control her hands and feet except for a few toes since an early age, Robaba taught herself to draw with her mouth. She began to draw less than two years ago after years of hopelessness about her situation. You see, in conflict and poverty stricken Afghanistan, disability is viewed as a weakness and medical help is difficult to obtain.
Robaba began drawing less than two years ago and now dreams of an exhibit at Aga Khan museum, one of the largest art museums in Canada. She even drew life-like sketches of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Afghan-born Canadian politician, Maryam Monsef.
With her dreams of holding an art exhibition, Robaba offers hope to people with disabilities in Afghanistan where discrimination runs rampant. Life can be very hard, especially for a disabled artist, but it is still possible to achieve goals with a lot of hard work and determination.
images from Huffington Post
Read about Accessibility Resources
Now it is likely that I am preaching to the choir. I am not writing this for the other parents of children with special needs who have seen their children be politely excluded from play dates and apologetically not invited to birthday parties. I am writing to those other parents. The ones who seem to have forgotten that their job is to teach their childen about diversity, tolerance and problem solving skills.
So for those parents, let me make a few suggestions.
If your child says “I don’t want Bobby coming to my party because I don’t want to worry about him acting weird”, try to find out what the actual concern is. Is there a specific triggering behavior that you could prepare Bobby for? Maybe you could suggest that Bobby’s mother stay nearby in case there is a problem. Maybe you could remind your child that there will be plenty of other children at the party and not to focus on Bobby. Maybe you could remind your child of the positive characteristics of Bobby and that the world is made up of all types of people. We don’t have to like them all but we need to be tolerant of them. If this is a child that you would otherwise invite, a family friend’s child, a neighbor or a classmate, then you should expect your child to include this one. The best way to teach your child tolerance is to model it yourself. Help them problem solve a way to make the party work for all the kids invited as well as your own guest if honor.
If your child says I don’t want to play with Sally anymore, again try to find out why. Does your daughter think that Sally is boring, stupid, selfish, or some other characteristic that may be challenging because of Sally’s disability? Help her to see that this behavior is not intended to be malicious but rather that Sally may need help learning to be a good friend. Maybe you could suggest alternate activities that they could enjoy. Try taking them to a neutral place such as a park or a movie. Maybe in a new environment Sally might be interested in new ideas or possibly in a neutral territory you could consider a situation where she doesn’t have to share.
Ultimately if you want your child to grow up being not only tolerant but inclusive then you need to expect that from the very beginning. Don’t expect them to learn these values as adults if you haven’t encouraged it of them as children.
Here are a few more suggestions for encouraging tolerance and inclusion:
1. Encourage your child to include children with disabilities, to play. If the child cannot play the same as other kids, come up with creative ways to accommodate the child’s challenges. Making up games can be lots of fun
2. Teach the golden rule; Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
3. Help your child find commonality — a hobby or interest — between him and this child with disabilities.
4. Don’t label the child with special needs. Referring to other child as “that child with hearing aids” or “the girl who stutters” only points out differences, issues that may not even concern your child. Use “people first” language.
5. Empower your child. Let them know that they are allowed to feel safe and valued in a friendship as well. They should not accept being physically or emotionally attacked by a child with special needs just because the child has a disability. Nor should they feel like they always have to do what the other child wants if it is not a mutual choice.
Originally appreared in friendshipcircle.org 12/09/2010
Mike’s father, Sam, led an active and asymptomatic life until well into his fifties when he was diagnosed. Muscular dystrophy is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration caused by abnormal genes that interfere with the production of proteins necessary for healthy muscle formation. Unfortunately no cure currently exists, but medication and therapy can manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease.
Sam’s life changed dramatically since the diagnosis, but a positive attitude, sharp mind and loving family helped him adjust to his new “normal” and continue to enjoy life. Now in his mid-seventies and happily living in an assisted living facility, Sam gets around using a power chair or walker. Family members visit often and make themselves available to drive him to appointments and social events in their accessible Toyota Sienna minivan. He never misses his Wednesday evening dinner group with his wife and friends!
When Mike decided to build a new house for his family in Granbury, he incorporated accessibility into the plans even though his dad was not yet at the point where he needed the accommodations. He thoughtfully anticipated what the future might look like, and knew the expense to build an accessible residence from the start was significantly less than the cost of later renovations. It made sense, especially considering by doing so he was providing himself with the option of aging comfortably in the house should he choose to stay there. The open concept house features 3 foot wide doorways, extra wide hallways, ADA compliant toilets, walk in shower, no steps, and more. Sam is able to comfortably visit knowing the house is without barriers to access for him.
Mike’s participation in caring for his dad provides him with unique insight into working with older adults. Providing personalized wealth management services to seniors and individuals with disabilities involves special considerations, and Mike is compassionate, knowledgeable, and familiar with issues such as long-term care, Medicare, and local eldercare resources.
Michael McGowan CFP®, a Financial Advisor, is the president of McGowan & Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. He is licensed and registered to conduct business in TX, AL, CO, WA, AZ, WI, FL, CA.
Address: 606 Fall Creek Hwy, Granbury, Tx 76049
The information in these documents is provided by a third party and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. While the publisher has been diligent in attempting to provide accurate information, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. Laws and regulations change frequently, and are subject to differing legal interpretations. Accordingly, neither the publisher nor any of its licensees or their distributees shall be liable for any loss or damage caused, or alleged to have been caused, by the use or reliance upon this service.
Five Simple Suggestions to Improve Accessibility:
As approximately 50% of small businesses fail annually, great customer service for a diverse customer base can really give you a leg up. Catering to people with disabilities seems to be the new “green” and business owners are recognizing they are catering not only to this population, but to their friends and families as well.
Costly accommodations might be difficult in some cases, but small changes in attitude and service is doable for very little effort or expense. The following suggestions might seem minor, but can go a long way in improving your bottom line.
1) Make aisles wide and clutter-free.
Aisles that are easy to navigate through will appeal to parents with baby carriages as well as wheelchair users! I realize square footage is expensive, but cramming in as much merchandise as possible at the expense of alienating these two groups of people is not good for business. I’d like to see pathways at a minimum of 3 feet in width, preferably closer to 5 feet, to allow for easy access on both sides of the aisle.
2) Know it is OK to offer to help.
Should you offer to help and risk insulting the customer? Should you ask right away or wait until the need for help is obvious? Should you wait until the customer asks you for help? If you don’t have a lot of experience with people with disabilities, you might feel awkward in this situation. Offering help is kind and generally appreciated. However do not provide help without asking first, and accept the answer if the offer is declined. The individual with the disability may not need help, or may want to try to be independent first. However, it is nice to know the help is available!
3) Teach employees to treat all customers with respect.
Why is it that so many people look at a single person from a minority group and automatically assume that they represent the group as a whole? Nowhere does this issue, known as tokenism, seem more prevalent than in higher education. In my experience, it’s been a huge problem.
As an Early Childhood Education Major, I often study the different ways to incorporate inclusivity in our classrooms. Each semester, I have to try not to flinch as my classmates get whiplash from how fast they turn to look at me when the word “disability” is mentioned.
Keep in mind, I have spent years working with students with disabilities, reading dozens upon dozens of scholarly articles on different teaching methods and approaches, and joining advocacy efforts of multiple organizations. But in the eyes of my classmates, these credentials aren’t what qualify me to speak on behalf of students with disabilities. No – my wheelchair is what qualifies me.
Apparently, having a disability means I have the authority to answer every single question that has to do with disabilities. In addition to assumptions made by my classmates, I have faced an endless line of professors calling on me time and time again when it comes to the topic of disabilities. Make no mistake – I am happy to share my opinions, including those based on the research and professional knowledge that I have gathered. However, it is unfair for professors, faculty, and administration to assume that my disability means I’m able to speak on behalf of every single person who has a disability.
Each person with a disability has different needs, different opinions, different personalities. Each student with a disability requires different accommodations based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. So, I cannot tell you what a blind student needs to succeed any more than they can tell you what I, a wheelchair user, needs to succeed. Nor can I tell you what another student in a wheelchair needs to succeed anymore than they can tell you what I need.
I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that it is impossible to speak on behalf of everyone.
We all want to feel like we have the power to be a voice for others. But the truth is that we all only have one voice. It is not fair for nondisabled students and college professors to look onto a disabled student with the expectation that they can be the token voice for an entire community, and it is not fair for a disabled student to speak for everyone. Even if they are called upon to do so, it is important to remember that differing views must be brought to the table if a classroom is to ever truly be inclusive. For inclusivity does not mean simply listening to one voice. Inclusivity is about hearing as many voices as possible, exposing yourself to as many opinions as possible, and seeing the reasoning behind each and every stance surrounding an issue.
Article originally appeared http://www.rootedinrights.org/ on December 21, 2016
Burgandi Rakoska is a fifth-year Education Major at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Born with Spina Bifida Occulta, Burgandi began using a wheelchair at the age of twelve and has spent the past ten years advocating for herself and other people within the disabled community. This advocacy has led to her involvement and connection with multiple organizations including the SUNY Student Assembly, the SUNY Fredonia Students with Disabilities Union (of which she was the co-founder/president), the New York State Disability Services Council, 3E Love, the American Association of People with Disabilities, Handicap International, and now, Rooted in Rights.
The innovative company is currently piloting several models in various cities across the country to determine which wheelchair accessible vehicle options best meet the needs of riders and driver-partners. These pilots range from making their technology available to wheelchair accessible taxis to providing wheelchair accessible options through partnerships with commercial providers (e.g. in New York, Houston, Chicago, London, Portland).
By launching uberWAV, Uber offers people requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles the opportunity to request an on-demand ride with the touch of a button. Way to go, Uber!
resource: https://accessibility.uber.com/ 1/12/17