How the new £10 note is helping the blind

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Royal National Institute for Blind People

The new £10 note, which entered circulation last week, features special design elements that will help the blind and partially sighted.

The Bank of England note includes clusters of raised dots in the top left corner that will help people with poor vision to identify its denomination.

It also features bold numbers and raised print.

The central bank said it introduced the braille-like raised dots following a consultation with the Royal National Institute for Blind People.

“These new characteristics should help people living with sight loss distinguish between denominations,” said Steve Tyler, an official at the RNIB.

People with poor vision previously relied on variations in size and color to tell notes apart.

The new note is different in other ways: It features the image of a woman who is not the Queen.

Celebrated author Jane Austen has replaced Charles Darwin as the face of the £10 note following a public campaign that pressured the Bank of England to put a woman on the country’s money.

Men remain on the other notes: Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is on the £5, economist Adam Smith is on the £20 and steam engine pioneers Matthew Boulton and James Watt feature on the £50.

This is the second British bill to be made out of plastic instead of traditional paper materials. The £5 plastic bill launched in September 2016.

The plastic bills are considered by the central bank to be “safer, stronger and cleaner.”

But the new bills are controversial because trace amounts of animal fat are used in their production. The bank considered switching to a different material, but ultimately decided to stick with the current formula.

The bank plans to distribute just over 1 billion of the new £10 notes across the country. The old £10 bills will be taken out of circulation.

The U.K. launched a new £1 coin earlier this year. It is made of two metals: an outer ring of nickel-brass and an inner ring of nickel-plated alloy.

The old and new £1 coins have very different designs but both feature Queen Elizabeth.

Source: money.cnn.com

Degree Designed a Deodorant for People With Upper-Limb Disabilities and Visual Impairment

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The Degree Inclusive antiperspirant was made with accessibility in mind — and with the input of those who've been hoping for more personal-care products just like it.

, Allure

Living without disabilities, for many, means taking certain seemingly simple tasks for granted. When’s the last time you put on your antiperspirant and actually thought for a moment how challenging that action — something you do each and every day without obstacle — might be for someone else? So perhaps it’s because so many of us without disabilities haven’t considered the needs of those who have them that it took so long for a mainstream drugstore brand to finally design something long overdue: a deodorant made to be accessible for those with a visual impairment and upper-limb disabilities.

Unilever has partnered with a team of design experts, occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and people living with disabilities to create Degree Inclusive. Unlike conventional deodorants — which often involve twisting a cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on a spray nozzle — this new personal-care innovation is built with features that make it much easier for those with upper-limb disabilities and visual impairment to use.

That means a hooked design for one-handed usage, magnetic closures for taking the cap off and on more easily for those with limited grip or vision impairment, enhanced grip placement for easier application for those with limited grip or no arms, a larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe, and a Braille label including instructions.

For author, journalist, and disability rights activist Keah Brown, who has limited use of one of her hands and was involved in the Degree Inclusive project, this is a more-than-welcome step in the right direction — especially since Degree made an effort to be as inclusive in the process as they are in the result.

“I’m really excited that Degree took the time to let us be a part of it,” Brown tells Allure. “My hope is that other personal-care brands will jump on board because it’s truly an untapped market. That, and we deserve the ability to feel comfortable and prosper with our personal care as well.”

As for the experience using the product itself, “the biggest difference for me is that I’m able to comfortably hold the deodorant and apply it evenly instead of having to do multiple swipes to get everything,” Brown says. “With this new deodorant, I can get it all in one go, which I love.”

That’s exactly what Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever North America, is hoping to hear from those who try Degree Inclusive, and it’s what drives the company to make this project become a reality. “Unilever will not settle until we ensure all of our products are accessible to anyone who wants to use them,” she tells Allure. “When it comes to deodorant, we saw that across the beauty and personal care industry, there is currently no deodorant designed specifically for people with upper body disabilities or visual impairment to use.”

Bracey tells Allure that Unilever is currently completing a beta program for Degree Inclusive to engage and get input from people with disabilities — a process that has already taken over a year so far. “We’ve invited 200 people with disabilities in the U.S. to trial the prototype design and give their feedback on its concept, product features, and messaging, to help improve the design for future commercial launch.”

Click here to read the full article on Allure.

Bob Dole’s Disability Rights Legacy Marked the End of a Bipartisan Era

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Bob Dole at the 2016 Republican National Convention with Mike Pence

By Eric Garcia, The SoapBox

In 1969, Bob Dole gave his maiden speech on the Senate floor on a topic with which he was intimately acquainted. From the moment he lost the use of his right arm and the feeling in his left, in Italy as a soldier in World War II, the challenges of a world not built for disabled people animated both Dole’s life and his political persona: Journalists familiarized readers with his trademark strategies, from holding a pen in his right hand to keep his fingers from splaying to wearing loafers, since he couldn’t tie his shoes. More importantly, the impact of it on his life shaped his ideas and played a role in his own determinations about whom he hired.

In that first address to the Senate, Dole told the story of a man who became a paraplegic and was referred to the state-federal vocational rehabilitation office, which enabled him to get a job as an insurance agent, have a new home, and adopt a child. “It takes place now because the Congress and the federal government initiated and guided a vital, vigorous program of vocational rehabilitation,” he said.

Dole’s praise of a federal government program was surprising given his role as a Republican “hatchet man.” At different points, Dole served as Republican National Committee chairman under Richard Nixon; Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976; Senate majority leader; and thrice as presidential candidate, his last foray coming in 1996 as the GOP standard-bearer who could not prevent Bill Clinton’s reelection.

At the same time, Dole was a consummate dealmaker whose efforts helped bring about the Americans With Disabilities Act, which he co-sponsored not just with Republicans such as John McCain and Orrin Hatch but with prominent liberal Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Tom Harkin, as well. President George H.W. Bush would sign the bipartisan bill into law.

“The fact that the ADA was bipartisan was hugely important, and Senator Dole was a key player in that,” said Chai Feldblum, the lead attorney on the team that drew up the bill. Feldblum’s words are all the more remarkable considering she more famously worked as the legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union’s AIDS Project, and they illustrate how concern for disabled people once spanned the wider political spectrum, from liberals like her to Republicans like Justin Dart and Evan Kemp, who served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Dole’s passing on Sunday has allowed Washington, D.C., to engage in one of its favorite activities—reminiscing on the days when bipartisanship reigned; the ADA looms large as a prime example. But it also forces a round of uncomfortable questions, regarding the way the Republican Party has strayed from Dole’s heyday, abandoning the positions on disability rights it once proudly defended.

“The history of the Republican [Party] writ large in the area of civil rights, up until recently, there’s been a strong and sustained advocacy for civil rights,” said Tom Ridge, who was a Republican congressman at the time of the ADA’s passage and is now chairman of the National Organization on Disability. Ridge’s words about the decline of bipartisanship on disability aren’t empty “party of Lincoln” platitudes: Dole voted for the Civil Rights Act as well as the Voting Rights Act; he brokered a compromise that helped extend the Voting Rights Act in 1982 with future ADA collaborator Kennedy.

“Regrettably, there hasn’t been as strong a champion within the Republican Party since he left the Congress,” said Ridge.

The arc of Dole’s political career traces the trajectory of a Republican Party that largely gave up on governing in favor of promulgating a scorched-earth form of politics as America entered the 1990s. Similarly, as the Republican Party has shifted from being a party that focuses on using government to enact conservative policies to a party that simply wants to defang government, it might mean the end of the old way of disability advocacy and the successes it wrought.

Dole’s introduction to disability was inextricably linked to a desire for bipartisanship. As he recovered at Percy Jones Hospital, Dole met future Democratic Senators Phil Hart and Daniel Inouye. His recovery would also guide Capitol Hill’s debates in a direction favorable to the disabled.

“I was a nurse, and he liked me because a lot of nurses helped him get through his disability after World War II,” said Maureen “Mo” West, who was Dole’s adviser on disability during the debate around the Americans With Disabilities Act, noting that Dole’s chief of staff at the time, Sheila Burke, was a nurse as well. Before that, West had worked for Senator Lowell Weicker, the liberal Republican from Connecticut who introduced the ADA in 1988, who conservatives loathed so much, William F. Buckley endorsed Joe Lieberman to replace him.

But Washington’s recherche du temps perdu betrays the fact that even at that time, disability advocates did not receive a smooth ride in the halls of power. In fact, when the initial legislation for the ADA was first introduced in 1988, Dole had his own concerns—such as the removal of the “undue hardship” criteria for reasonable accommodations, what was considered a public accommodation, and what those public accommodations would be required to do in terms of retrofitting—despite being a co-sponsor.

And gauzy memories about the ADA’s passage gloss over those whom the law left behind. The ADA specifically excluded homosexuality from protection against discrimination, and lumped it in with “transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders.”

The bipartisanship of the era didn’t always lead to laudatory results when conservative Democrats teamed up with right-wing Republicans. This was the case when Senator Jesse Helms, the racist and homophobic senator, attempted to rekindle an amendment from conservative Democratic Representative Jim Chapman from Texas that would have allowed for restaurants to shift people with diseases such as AIDS from working in food-handling jobs.

The conservative movement, unmoved by the spirit of bipartisanship that guided the ADA’s passage, vehemently denounced the law. Upon its signing, National Review chided the law in a piece titled “Disabling the GOP.” Conservatives lumped the ADA together with a litany of other bills passed contemporaneously, such as the Clean Air Amendments Act and the 1991 Civil Rights Act. Ed Feulner, the founder of the Heritage Foundation, decried all three pieces of legislation as “a new onslaught of economic and social nannyism.”

Click here to read the full article on The SoapBox.

SPAN Program provides specialized health care for adults with special needs

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two adults with special needs laughing together

By

Regardless of age or health history, taking care of yourself and forming strong healthy habits is one of the most important things you can do. Achieving wellness looks different for all of us, but may be especially challenging for those with disabilities or special needs. Thankfully, some medical professionals have the expertise and compassion to help adults in this situation.

Dually certified in pediatrics and internal medicine, Laura Gaffney, MD, has dedicated her career to caring for adults with special needs. She started the Special Pediatric-to-Adult Need program, or SPAN, at AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at Shawnee Mission. The SPAN program is the only primary care program in the Kansas City area for adults with special needs including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and genetic disorders. It was Dr. Gaffney’s relationship with her mother and grandmother that prompted her to establish the SPAN program.

“My mom had multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair,” said Dr. Gaffney. “I felt like she did not get the care she deserved. People would often treat her as if she had impaired intellectual ability, yet she was a pharmacist. Also, my grandmother was a librarian for children with special needs.”

As the medical director of SPAN, Dr. Gaffney has built a team that provides comprehensive, patient-focused care for adults with a chronic condition that persists from childhood to adulthood. The SPAN program offers these patients a consistent and reliable medical home with same-day appointments.

“There are few primary care clinics in the United States for adults with a variety of overlapping needs,” said Dr. Gaffney. “We work to ensure our clinic meets the needs of this unique group.”

Dr. Gaffney and her team will see a patient’s family members and caregivers, which provides an integrated approach to care and a better understanding of the social and emotional needs of the patient. They also have social workers on hand and provide diabetes education. In addition, the clinic features an exam bed that lowers to 14 inches allowing easy transfers and the ability to weigh a patient up to 450 pounds.

“These are ways we are providing whole-person care to adults with special needs,” said Dr. Gaffney. “We have also identified dentists, physical therapists and other specialists who are interested in caring for people with special needs and doing it with respect.”

Dr. Gaffney describes herself as a curious and empathic person. These traits coupled with her background as an internal medicine and pediatric physician give her a unique perspective allowing her to provide excellent medical care for patients with special needs.

“I have been trained to understand genetic, developmental and intellectual issues and how those change as people age,” said Dr. Gaffney. “People with genetic diseases, neurologic diversity and cerebral palsy are living longer lives and there are few physicians that are willing and educationally able to care for this group.”

Click here to read the full article on Shawnee Mission Post.

Selena Gomez launches new media platform with a focus on mental health

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Selena Gomez smiling at the camera at a red carpet event

By Megan Marples, CNN

Talking about mental health is good for you, according to pop star, actor, and producer Selena Gomez, and she’s determined to be the catalyst for positive change.

The “Ice Cream” singer announced the launch of her latest venture, Wondermind, a mental health platform focused on connecting people with educational resources and ending the stigma around mental illnesses.

She teamed up with her mother, Mandy Teefey, and The Newsette founder and CEO Daniella Pierson to create the media company, which is set to launch in February 2022.

Gomez hasn’t been shy when it comes to discussing her mental health publicly. She previously wrote for CNN about how she’s a “big advocate for social media detoxes” and therapy.

And she announced on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram show “Bright Minded” in April that she has bipolar disorder.

“I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” Gomez said. “And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it.”

Her mother revealed being misdiagnosed for over 20 years with bipolar disorder that later turned out to be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with trauma, according to the Wondermind website’s welcome video.

Pierson opened up in the video as well, saying she has dealt with obsessive-compulsive disorder since she was a child.

The three said they struggled to find a safe space online where they could engage with uplifting content about mental health on a daily basis. Enter Wondermind.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Christina Applegate Marks 50th Birthday After MS Diagnosis: ‘May We Find That Strength’

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Headshot of Christina Applegate smiling at the camera

By Glenn Garner, People

Christina Applegate is kicking off a new chapter after revealing her multiple sclerosis diagnosis earlier this year.

The Emmy Award winner celebrated her 50th birthday Thursday, which was also Thanksgiving, with an encouraging message for her 1.4 million Twitter followers. “Yup. I turned 50 today. And I have MS. It’s been a hard one,” she wrote.

“Sending so much love to all of you this day,” Applegate continued. “Many are hurting today, and I am thinking of you. May we find that strength to lift our heads up. Mine currently is on my pillow. But I try.”

She previously talked about her experience with MS on Twitter in August, a few months after she was diagnosed. “It’s been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition,” Applegate wrote at the time. “It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some asshole blocks it.”

Applegate has since been met with love from friends and fans alike. Selma Blair, with whom she starred alongside Cameron Diaz in the 2002 romantic comedy The Sweetest Thing, offered her support in the replies.

“Loving you always. Always here. As are our kids. Beating us up with love,” Blair, 49, wrote, to which Applegate responded: “Love you sister. Our kids are so weird.”

Blair has also been open about her own MS diagnosis, which she revealed in 2018. Most recently, she detailed her journey with the disease in the discovery+ documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which Applegate recommended on Twitter.

Applegate’s Dead to Me costar James Marsden has praised her strength as well, telling Entertainment Tonight that it’s “really, really inspiring to see.”

Click here to read the full article on People.

Climate activists with disabilities fight for inclusion

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Climate activists with disabilities decry a lack of representation and burnout.

, ABC News

Despite 15% of the world’s population living with some form of a disability, research into the effects of climate change on the disabled community is still emerging.

Natural disasters resulting from climate change, like heatwaves and wildfires, disproportionately affect people with disabilities, according to advocates and activists. The harmful effects of climate change faced by disabled people are diverse and include — but aren’t limited to — reduced mobility, inability to regulate body temperature and respiratory problems.

Moreover, those with disabilities face further barriers in becoming advocates for environmental action and voicing their concerns, several experts who spoke with ABC News said.

While advocates claim the digital age has given climate change activists with disabilities more of a voice, they say the pandemic, which has forced society to live life even more online, has created more opportunities for those with disabilities; not just with work-from-home, but also to participate in activism.

Now, climate change activists with disabilities are increasingly demanding their place at the forefront of the climate change fight.

Yet, there remains an overall lack of visibility and literacy about the experiences of individuals with disabilities, Gregor Wolbring, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and an ability and disability studies scholar, told ABC News.

“You have to find a way that people are exposed more to disabled people in general,” Wolbring said.

In a recently published study looking at more than 5,500 abstracts of the academic climate change and environmental action literature, Wolbring and his colleague Chiara Salvatore found that none of these studies focused on youth with disabilities as environmental activists, and none dealt with the impact of environmental activism on youth with disabilities.

The 14 studies they identified that did address disability and environmental action did so in the capacity of impairments due to environmental issues such as toxins.

Recently, there were also claims that COP26, considered the largest and most significant climate change conference, was inaccessible to many with disabilities, even though COP President Alok Sharma in May 2021, promised the event would be the most inclusive COP ever.

Reports from the first week highlighted the inaccessibility of the conference venue as Israeli energy minister Karine Elharrar-Hartstein, a wheelchair user, was unable to enter.

The minister was eventually able to enter the venue after her concerns reached Israel and UK Prime Ministers Naftali Bennett and Boris Johnson, who issued her a public apology.

COP26 organizers also addressed the incident in a tweet and said, “#COP26 must be inclusive and accessible to all and the venue is designed to facilitate that.”

“I think people are definitely horrified at the lack of accessibility, but because it was solved for the Israeli minister, they don’t think it’s a problem anymore,” 17-year-old climate activist Scarlett Westbrook, who uses crutches, told ABC News.

From reports of having to walk over 10 minutes to enter the venue to the misuse of accessible elevators by camera crews, Westbrook said every part of the conference was “as inaccessible as it possibly could be.”

Click here to read the full article on ABC News.

People with disabilities still face barriers finding work during the pandemic—here’s how companies can help

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Photo of an asian woman in a dress and a cane. People with disabilities still face barriers finding work during the pandemic—here’s how companies can help

By Morgan Smith, Make It

For nearly 20 months, debates about the future of work have dominated meetings and Twitter feeds as the coronavirus pandemic upended every aspect of our jobs from commutes to office dress codes. These conversations continue to influence companies’ return-to-office plans and their remote work policies. But despite the pandemic taking a disproportionate toll on their job prospects and well-being, people with disabilities continue to be left out of many of these critical conversations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double that of those without: 9% compared to 4.4% as of September. People with disabilities are also far less likely to be employed than workers with no disabilities. There are several factors driving this disparity, including discriminatory hiring practices and fewer people with disabilities completing bachelor’s degrees.

The pandemic has only exacerbated this gap. Before the pandemic, workers with disabilities were more likely than those without disabilities to work from home, a new report from Rutgers University found. But because people with disabilities are more likely to hold blue-collar and service jobs, they have had far fewer options for remote or flexible work arrangements during the Covid-19 crisis, the report notes.

As employers announce plans to bring people back to offices and experiment with hybrid work schedules in the coming months, workers with disabilities and disability advocates are urging companies to rethink the structure of their organizations to better accommodate people with disabilities. “Folks with disabilities have been asking for flexible and remote work options for decades and have been consistently denied,” Maria Town, the president and CEO of The American Association of People with Disabilities, tells CNBC Make It. “Now we know these jobs can be done remotely — and people don’t want to see these options go away the moment we decide the pandemic is over.”

The pandemic created new challenges for workers who were already struggling
People with disabilities already experienced “significant” barriers while navigating the pre-pandemic job market — the pandemic has both amplified existing barriers and removed certain hurdles, Town points out. Job applications and interviews are increasingly online, but Town observes that many people with disabilities don’t have access to the assistive technology they need to navigate online job boards. “The expectation is that you will find and apply for jobs online, and for many people with disabilities, that’s not possible,” she says. “But they can’t approach a community center or store in person and ask if they’re hiring anymore, because it’s riskier during the pandemic.” Some people with disabilities are more likely to get infected or have severe illness from coronavirus, according to the CDC.

The ongoing pandemic has also heightened the isolation people with disabilities faced prior to the pandemic. A recent study published by the Disability and Health Journal shows that people with disabilities experience loneliness and social isolation at much higher rates than those without disabilities. “With social distancing and the rise in new variants, it’s even harder to find out about job opportunities and connect with others,” Town says.

People with disabilities have also struggled to get certain accommodations approved for their work throughout the pandemic. Town notes, for example, that some immunocompromised teachers have been asked to be in the classroom or host in-person office hours despite their concerns of falling severely ill from the virus. People infected with long Covid may also qualify as disabled, but struggle to get the accommodations and benefits that come with a more well-known condition.

Click here to read the full article on Make It.

How a 25-year-old with a disability lives on $33,000 in Chicago: ‘People don’t realize how expensive it is to be disabled’

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Britt Dorton, 25, is meticulous about her budget. She has multiple spreadsheets to document her earnings, bills and goals, and feels comfortable knowing every dollar is accounted for.

By Jennifer Liu, CNBC

Britt Dorton, 25, is meticulous about her budget. She has multiple spreadsheets to document her earnings, bills and goals, and feels comfortable knowing every dollar is accounted for.

For Dorton, planning ahead financially has been a huge part of her life since she was diagnosed with two chronic illnesses as a teenager. Dorton lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a hereditary degenerative disorder that affects her connective tissue, and complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, an acquired chronic nerve pain disorder.

“My disabilities affect every aspect of my life, including my finances,” Dorton tells CNBC Make It. “Unless you have lived with a chronic illness or somebody that you love has, I don’t think a lot of people realize how expensive it is to be sick or to be disabled.”

There are obvious medical costs — doctor’s appointments (Dorton gets spinal injections three to four times a year to manage her pain, which cost $1,200 per session), medications ($60 to $150 per month), emergency hospital stays ($300 per visit) — totaling several thousand dollars per year.

There are also a lot of hidden costs like physical therapy, braces, orthopedic shoes to prevent dislocations, an Apple Watch to track Dorton’s heart rate and oxygen levels, or ergonomic equipment so she can work from home.

Making a living in Chicago
Dorton graduated from the University of Chicago in 2020 and began working for a legal aid clinic. Over the summer, she quit and took a part-time paralegal job at a civil rights firm so she could focus on studying for the LSAT. After taking the entrance exam in October, she transitioned to working for the firm full-time.

She also earns up to $1,200 per month through side hustles, including doing freelance social media work for an attorney, being a sensitivity reader for a YA novel about chronic illness and disability, and running ads and sponsored content on her personal social media platforms.

Dorton won’t start law school for another year, but it’s already a huge factor in her budget. She’s spent nearly $3,000 on prep courses, taking the LSAT and law school application fees before even stepping foot on campus. Then there’s the estimated $200,000 sticker price of tuition, which she hopes to cover through as many scholarships, grants, fellowships and other forms of financial aid as possible, before inevitably turning to student loans.

Dorton doesn’t expect to earn a lot of money once she becomes a lawyer — she wants to do pro bono public interest work advocating for disability and prisoner’s rights. It’s not exactly a lucrative field.

“As someone who’s chronically ill and disabled myself, working for my community and advocating for disability justice is something that’s really important to me,” Dorton says.

Living on just $33,000 in Chicago forces Dorton to be strict with her budget, but “it’s not impossible.”

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Dyslexia: The learning disability that is overlooked

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child with dyslexia, Joey Harrington, 13, sits with his computer at his home in New Paltz.

By Helu Wang, Yahoo! Sports

By the time Joey Harrington was in kindergarten, his mother, Kathy, realized that he was struggling with reading and writing. While his teacher at Wallkill Central School District said he would outgrow it, his reading scores kept going down. He was not identified as a child with special needs until five years later.

“I got so frustrated. I knew something was wrong,” Harrington recalled of the troubled journey that her family has gone through.

Even though Joey continued falling behind in reading and experiencing meltdowns, the school never evaluated him further, said Harrington. After the family had paid $2,600 for a private psychological evaluation, the district finally identified him as a special needs student when he was in fifth grade. The results showed he has dyslexia with language and learning disorders.

Many families across the region shared similar experiences: children showed signs of reading delay as early as in kindergarten, but they are not identified as special needs students until several years later.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in the country, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. It is a learning disorder that involves difficulty in reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. The organization estimates about one in five children have learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Dawn Prati of Wallkill, a pediatric nurse practitioner who has helped families navigate the process, said one of the biggest challenges they face is children not being identified early. Many children with dyslexia do not benefit from typical reading support programs that are offered by schools, she said.

“Some people say you cannot diagnose dyslexia until third grade, which is not true. There are indicators before that,” said Prati. “The problem is that there is a period when the brain develops in kids when they are in kindergarten and they are attaining those building blocks. It’s super important to give them what they need to learn.”

Learning disability overlooked
Janice Vincenzo had trusted the school would do the best for her daughter until she found her then tenth-grader reading at a first-grade level. Her daughter had been identified as a student with special needs at third grade and was offered accommodations, including being assigned to a smaller learning group and offered extensions for testing, Vincenzo said, however, the accommodations covered up her daughter’s actual needs. In 2019, more than a year after Vincenzo requested her daughter to be evaluated, the Wallkill School District finally paid for a private evaluation.

“I didn’t realize it for many years that the accommodations they gave her in effort to help her succeed never allowed them to pinpoint what her diagnosis was,” said Vincenzo.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Sports.

‘Deaf’ is not a bad word: ASL event teaches students deaf etiquette

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From left, Information Specialist, Debby Zeigler, has worked at GHC for 29 years and was previously a counselor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing program. Admissions Counselor, Trish Linsdey, is certified in ASL.

By Russell Chesnut, Six Smile Post

Students were given hands-on experience with American Sign Language and insight into the deaf community at Student Engagement’s ASL basics event on Oct. 18.

Information Specialist, Debby Zeigler, and Admissions Counselor, Trish Lindsey, led the class of 17 over Zoom and in person. Rebecca Cowan-Story translated for Zeigler, who was born deaf and uses ASL to communicate.

Lindsey and Zeigler used a slide presentation to teach the attendees how to sign the alphabet, colors, basic greetings and questions. The audience was encouraged to follow along to practice.

“I learned how to sign an entire sentence,” said Samantha Lewis, Cartersville student, “I was able to say it to our host and it genuinely made me happy.”

The event included a conversation about etiquette for communicating with those who are deaf.

“Speak directly and clearly,” said Lindsey, “Don’t feel like you’ve got to talk any slower. Definitely don’t speak up. Just keep talking normally.”

Lindsey said that even if there is an interpreter present, the speaker should still face and speak directly to the person they are communicating with.

Lindsey emphasized that using facial expressions when speaking to deaf individuals helps to convey meaning when signing.

“For example,” said Lindsey, “if I’m telling you I’m really upset about something, I’m not going to sit here and have a smile on my face, right? I’m going to look really upset about it, or I’m going to look really confused, or whatever that emotion is. You’re matching that with your face.”

The presentation included a list of do’s and don’ts to follow when communicating with deaf individuals.

“Number one: ‘Deaf’ is not a bad word,” said Lindsey, “One of the things that is important to know is it’s not a hearing impairment for them.”

Zeigler said “the term ‘hearing impairment’ itself really is offensive today to many people. It is very offensive to me.”

Terminology like “hearing impaired,” “deaf-mute” and “deaf and dumb” can be misleading and harmful when used to describe individuals who are deaf.

“When they say that I’m hearing impaired, I’m like ‘ugh!’” said Zeigler, “It’s almost like . . . If I were to drag my nails on the chalkboard.“

“A lot of people in the deaf community do not look at deafness as an impairment, because there’s nothing that they cannot do,” said Lindsey.

“If she (Zeigler) wants to go sit at a concert, she can go sit at a concert,” said Lindsey, “She drives. She goes to work. She goes and does all of these things we typically would do as just any other person who can hear.”

“So, for her that’s not an impairment. That’s just who she is,” Lindsey said.

An example of a hearing impairment would be if someone who grew up hearing lost their ability to hear.

“I walked away more aware of how to approach someone who is deaf,” said Lewis.

Student Engagement is using the ASL basics event to see if there is interest in an ASL club or certification course in the future.
Lewis says that if the certification course becomes a reality, she will be the first person to sign up for it.

Click here to read the full article on the Six Smile post.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022