Helping Employers “Bring Their A Game” to Workplace Mental Health

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A desk covered in work essentials and a notepad with the words

By the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)

The challenges brought to daily life in 2020, coupled with an increased understanding about the prevalence of mental health conditions, is spurring employers to consider strategies they can use to support employees’ mental health.

To help employers learn how to cultivate a welcoming and supportive work environment for employees with mental health conditions, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) created a Mental Health Toolkit centered around four pillars referred to as the “4 A’s of a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace.” The toolkit also provides summaries of research and examples of mental health initiatives implemented by employers of varying sizes and industries.

The first “A” of the four pillars, awareness, involves strategies for educating employers and workers about mental health issues and taking action to foster a supportive workplace culture. One example of an organization’s efforts in this area is professional services firm EY’s “We Care” campaign. This internal campaign uses personal stories, including those shared by company leadership, to educate employees about mental health conditions, reduce stigma, and encourage them to support one another.

The second “A” in the “4 A’s” is accommodations, meaning providing employees with mental health conditions the supports they need to perform their job. Common examples include flexible work arrangements and/or schedules, which may be considered reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other disability nondiscrimination laws and regulations.

An example of accommodations for someone with a mental health condition are those provided by defense contractor Northrop Grumman for an employee who is a veteran with service-connected disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The employee uses several workplace accommodations to ensure his workplace success, including noise-cancelling headphones and bringing his service dog to work with him.

The third “A,” assistance, refers to assisting employees who have, or may develop, a mental health condition. Many employers do this through formal employee assistance programs (EAPs). An example of this in action is chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer DuPont, which has a long history with EAPs. In fact, DuPont is regarded as having one of the first.

Today, DuPont has a number of internal initiatives focused on mental health and employee wellbeing, with strong support from top leadership. As an example, DuPont’s global EAP team created and implemented an internal anti-stigma campaign called “ICU” (“I See You”), the centerpiece of which is an animated video about how to recognize signs of emotional distress in colleagues and encourage them to seek help. Based on its success, DuPont decided to make the program available to all employers, free of charge, through a partnership with the Center for Workplace Mental Health.

EAPs are associated with larger businesses, but it is important to note that there are strategies small businesses can use to offer EAP services, for example, by banding together to negotiate for better rates. Business membership groups such as chambers of commerce or trade associations may be of assistance in this regard. In fact, providing employee assistance in the small business environment can be especially important, given that decreased productivity or the absence of even one employee can have a significant impact on a small organization.

The final “A,” access, encourages employers to assess company healthcare plans to ensure or increase coverage for behavioral/mental health treatment, something shown to benefit not only individuals, but also companies by way of the bottom line. According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than 80 percent of employees treated for mental health conditions report improved levels of efficiency and satisfaction at work.

An example of a company with a strong focus on providing access to mental health services for its employers is global pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, which engages in the research, development, and sale of drugs for psychiatric and neurological disorders. According to company representatives, educating about and decreasing stigma associated with mental health is one of Lundbeck’s core corporate beliefs—and this applies not only externally, but also internally for its employees. Reflecting this, prescription medications for mental health conditions are available to employees or their dependents at no cost when prescribed by a physician. Further, all benefits information sent to employees leading up to the company’s healthcare plan open enrollment period prominently feature mental health messaging.

For companies that are federal contractors, taking steps to foster a mental health-friendly workplace can have additional benefits by helping demonstrate an overall commitment to disability inclusion. As a result, employees with mental health conditions may feel more comfortable self-identifying as having a disability, which helps employers measure their progress toward goals under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Federal contractors, and all businesses, can use EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit to learn how to “bring their A game” when it comes to workplace mental health.

Click here to access EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit.

How the first disabled and woman-owned NYSE floor broker is changing Wall Street

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Cynthia DiBartolo (c), rings the bell during the NYSE closing auction on July 8, 2021.

By AJ Horch, CNBC

Cynthia DiBartolo’s journey to the New York Stock Exchange floor was fraught with challenges and difficulty.

In July 2021, DiBartolo’s firm, Tigress Financial Partners, became the first disabled and woman-owned floor broker to become a member of the NYSE.

Floor brokers are members of firms who execute trades on the exchange floor on behalf of the firm’s clients. They are physically present on the trading floor and are active during the New York Stock Exchange opening and closing auctions.

Tigress Financial Partners has been co-manager or selling group member on more than 620 IPO and secondary transactions with an aggregate market value of over $321 billion, including for companies such as​ Warner Music, Monday.com, and Airbnb.

In mid-2020, Wall Street banks, which are predominately run by white men, came under intense pressure to improve diversity following the Black Lives Matter protests.

Companies vowed to improve their practices via philanthropic programs, diverse hiring practices, and internships for underprivileged candidates. DiBartolo crafted a diversity questionnaire to make it easier for companies selling stock or issuing debt to find and vet minority and women-owned firms. American Airlines has already adopted the survey, and JPMorgan has begun to create a database to help automate the process.

Prior to launching Tigress Financial in 2011, DiBartolo served as a compliance director, an attorney, and as a risk management director for some of Wall Streets’ largest firms. However, her life would change in 2009 with a diagnosis of throat and neck cancer.

DiBartolo became severely disabled following life-saving surgery that compromised her ability to eat, speak and swallow. Through reconstructive surgery, DiBartolo was able to regain her ability to speak, but can only do so several hours a day.

Cancer not only took DiBartolo’s voice but also her career, as she recalled in an interview with CNBC’s Bob Pisani. “You see, there was no place for an attorney, risk management director, compliance director who couldn’t speak,” she said.

During her recovery, DiBartolo began to understand just how marginalized people in the disabled community were. “During the time I didn’t have the ability to speak, I realized how marginalized I was not just in financial services, but in society,” she said.

Inspiration from her father convinced her that she needed to act; “They took your tongue, not your brain.” her father told her. Using her experience from decades on Wall Street and tenacity DiBartolo launched the first and nation’s only disabled and woman-owned financial services firm.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Sunrise Medical has completed two strategic acquisitions in Europe in 2022

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Sunrise Medical CEO Thomas Babacan professional picture in suit with arms crossed smiling

Sunrise Medical, a world leader in advanced assistive mobility solutions, is pleased to announce that it has completed two strategic acquisitions in Europe in 2022 – The Helping Hand Company based in the UK and Now Tech based in Hungary – continuing its strong pursuit for strategic improvements and growth.

The Helping Hand Company is a reputed British company specializing in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of pressure management seating and positioning products, Symmetrikit 24hour postural care range, independent living, and environmental products.

Its well-established operation and vertically integrated manufacturing will benefit Sunrise Medical group in strengthening production capability in Europe and further optimizing its global supply chain. It also extends the product portfolio, especially in the Seating and Pediatrics area, to offer more comprehensive 24-hour postural care products to satisfy the well-diversified customer demand.

Now Tech, a Budapest-headquartered tech start-up company, joins Sunrise Medical with a strong digital, software, and electronic engineering team, bringing highly desired technical skills and more than 10 years of industry-specific knowledge and expertise. Its latest innovation, the special head control product Gyroset Vigo, has already been well received by the market and will become part of Sunrise Medical’s SWITCH-IT power wheelchair special control product offering. The addition of Now Tech will significantly strengthen the group’s innovation power.

“We are very excited to welcome The Helping Hand Company and Now Tech into the Sunrise Medical family. Continuously improving our global operation excellence and striving for great, breakthrough innovations has always been the center of our strategy,” Thomas Babacan, the President and CEO of Sunrise Medical group (pictured above) commented. “Both acquisitions will significantly strengthen our group’s setup and competences, especially in global supply chain and our innovation talents, which will enable us to further improve our products & performances and serve our customers better in many ways.”

About Sunrise Medical: Committed to improving people’s lives, Sunrise Medical is a world leader in the innovation, manufacture and distribution of advanced assistive mobility devices and solutions. Distributed in more than 130 countries under its own 17 proprietary brands, the key products include manual and power wheelchairs, power assist products, motorized scooters, seating & positioning systems and daily living aids. Operating in 18 countries, Sunrise Medical group is headquartered in Malsch, Germany and employs over 2,300 associates worldwide.

Click here to find out more about Sunrise Medical visit.

Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive clothing line offers more choices for people with MS and other disabilities

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Tommy Hilfiger's adaptive clothing line started with clothes for children. Based on their popularity the brand expanded the line for adults a year later.Tommy Hilfiger

By 

For people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other disabilities, getting dressed can be challenging. Navigating buttons or zippers can feel difficult or even some fabrics feel uncomfortable. A lot of adaptive clothing — garments designed to be functional for people with disabilities — focuses heavily on the function. Tommy Hilfiger hoped to change that by offering a line that’s functional but looks as fashionable as his other clothing lines.

“Nobody was doing it and when the idea came to me, I thought it was a natural for us because we are a very inclusive brand and we’re really proud to be leading the way now for adaptive fashion globally,” Tommy Hilfiger told TODAY. “A lot of this has to do with my personal experience as a result of having children on the autistic spectrum and I have firsthand experiencing as far as knowing what their needs are … and understanding the fact that they too would like to be like their peers.”In 2016, Tommy Hilfiger released its line of adaptive clothing for children and in the next year adult clothing was available “as a result of the great response.”

“They need it to function. But they also want to look good and for us it took a bit of studying and due diligence to try to figure out specifically what they would need in terms of function,” he explained. “We were able to use the same design as our mainstream collection but add innovative modifications and make dress easier.”

The brand uses a variety of closures, such as Velcro, magnets and hoop and loop closures, that can be easier to manage. While Hilfiger has personal experience with family members who have disabilities, including his sister who had MS, the company worked with people with disabilities to understand what works best for them.

“We asked a lot of people with disabilities what their preferences would be and we took it very seriously,” he said. “I wanted it to really come out of the gates as being a great collection and it took us quite a while to develop that.”

After people wear the clothes, they might share their thoughts and Hilfiger said that helps them continue to improve upon the design.

“The feedback really helps us to drive the business and the changes,” he said.

In the past, Hilfiger has supported Race to Erase MS, co-founded by Nancy Davis. Her organization has raised money to help drug development for MS. When she was diagnosed 30 years ago, she and others had few options for treatment.

“I had been recently told that I would never walk again and I would never have much freedom in my life and I had a really impossible disease that (doctors) would never find any treatment or cures for, but I decided I wanted to start my own foundation,” she told TODAY. “There’s now 22 drugs on the market that have FDA approval, which is nothing short of a miracle, and it was because of so many people like Tommy Hilfiger and all the different supporters.”

When Davis was diagnosed, she had three young children felt determined to have a different future. She said most people are diagnosed between 20 and 40 when they hit “that stride in their life.”

“I so badly wanted to live my life and had so many dreams and aspirations and they told me the most that I could do in my life is operate the remote control to my TV set,” she said. “It’s scary. It’s the unknown. Today there’s so much hope.”

Even with new medications, though, dressing can still be a challenge for people with MS. Davis recently met with Selma Blair, whom Race to Erase MS honored in the past, and the actress admitted that it took her about 40 minutes to get dressed.

“When you look at how hard it is to get up in the morning and put on clothes it’s really amazing that Tommy was so forward thinking in that he came up with this line that looks beautiful,” she said. “But it makes it very easy for that person who can’t get dressed.”

Click here to read the full article on TODAY.

Pottery Barn debuts 150 pieces of furniture for people with disabilities

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man in wheelchair reaching for a book in his home office surrounded by Pottery Barn furniture

By Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

If you’re living with a disability, small design choices can make a big difference to your quality of life. High bathroom consoles make it hard to wash your hands from a wheelchair; low sofas are hard to get out of when you have a knee condition.

Today, Pottery Barn is launching a furniture collection designed to be accessible to the elderly, the injured, and those living with disabilities, making it one of the first large home brands to do so. In consultation with experts, the company’s designers adapted 150 best-selling styles—from dining tables to office desks—to accommodate a range of disabilities.

Pottery Barn’s Accessible Home line gives consumers more options for furniture that is both functional and stylish. And as a major retailer—whose parent company, Williams-Sonoma, generated $8.2 billion in 2021—this initiative may signal to the rest of the industry that it makes good business sense to design more inclusively.

Marta Benson, Pottery Barn’s president, felt strongly that the brand should launch an accessible home collection after she visited one of its stores, only to find that the bathroom didn’t contain Pottery Barn furniture. When she asked a store designer why, he pointed out that none of Pottery Barn’s bathroom consoles complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires public bathrooms to have wheelchair-accessible sinks. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’” she recalls. “From that moment, I just started tuning into what it means to be inclusive and accessible to all abilities.”
Benson tasked Pottery Barn’s designers with creating modified versions of some of the brand’s most popular products to make them safer and easier for people with disabilities to use. To guide them, she brought in experts from the Disability Education and Advocacy Network, which is led by people with disabilities, as well as designers who specialize in designing for disability.

One of those experts is Lisa Cini, founder and CEO of Mosaic Design Studio, and a leading designer in the field of long-term care and Alzheimer’s. She’s known for a project called the Werner House, a 10,000-square-foot mansion she purchased in 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. Her goal was to explore what it takes to create an inclusive, multigenerational house, and she invited designers and manufacturers to help renovate it. It’s equipped with technology like height-adjustable sinks and toilets, and transitions in flooring to make it easier for people to age in place. Cini herself lives in the house with her elderly parents and makes adjustments based on the family’s everyday experiences.
Cini and the Pottery Barn team used the Werner House to help create the Accessible Home line. “We looked at all the current Pottery Barn products and determined what was most appropriate for the Werner House, but we also identified gaps in the market,” Cini said via email.

In some cases, the designers made small tweaks to existing products. For instance, they redesigned mirrors so they can tilt, making it easier for those in wheelchairs to easily see themselves. They also created modified versions of popular office desks, like the Pacific, Dillon, and Malcolm, with dimensions that accommodate wheelchairs. These desks also feature open storage and shelving, to eliminate the need to grip and pull drawers.

Some products required more elaborate changes. The brand has taken its most popular armchairs—Wells, Irving, Tyler, and Ayden—and adapted them to include power lift, which makes it easier to get in and out of the chair. The chairs are also able to move in every direction, which relieves pressure and stress on the body. The 150 products will be available online and in select stores, and they’ll be the same price point as the original versions.

Click here to read the full article on Fast Company.

Amazon, Starbucks and Google among best places to work for professionals with disabilities

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Google announced the launch of the Google Cloud Autism Career Program for neurodiversity..and is one of the best places for professionals with disabilities

By Ashton Jackson, CNBC

In 2021, 77% of workers with disabilities said their employer has done a better job supporting them since the pandemic started. Now, companies are building on that support, with significant increases in leadership and boardroom diversity, according to the 2022 Disability Equality Index report from Disability:IN, a global organization advocating for disability inclusion in the workplace.

“People now understand that disability inclusion is not some kind of ADA compliance issue, but it’s actually a business imperative,” says Ted Kennedy Jr., co-chair of the Disability Equality Index.

“People today want to go to work for companies that they think are doing the right thing, that share their values, and share their vision of the world, [including] making sure that people with disabilities have an equal shot at going to work at that company every single day.”

The Disability Equality Index is a benchmarking assessment, where leaders submit their companies to be scored in areas like technology accessibility, employment practices and culture. This year, the report covered 415 companies, including 69 from the Fortune 100, who were then ranked to identify the best places to work for disability inclusion.

With scores of 100, these companies, along with several others, led the pack:

Amazon
Bank of America
Capital One
Deloitte
Goldman Sachs
Google
Starbucks

Increased disability inclusion in leadership is one of the most prominent trends in the report, with 126 companies having a senior executive who is internally known as a person with a disability. In 2021, only 99 companies had this kind of representation at the executive level.

The report also found that 6% of companies now have someone who openly identifies as disabled on their corporate board, and 74% of companies have investments with disability-owned businesses, showing not only an internal change, but an effort to diversify outside relationships as well.

According to Jill Houghton, the president and CEO of Disability:IN, the call for disability inclusion at work, coupled with the “global talent shortage” has made it vital for companies “to rethink how they hire, develop and cultivate talent.”

Ninety-six percent of companies in the report offer flexible work options, making completing certain tasks more accessible and accommodating. Fifty percent are also investing in new technology to help advance digital accessibility.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Meet the startup that gives wheelchairs aftermarket superpowers

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Female legs on an electrick wheelchair

By , Digital Trends

As a technology that’s been around for decades, powered wheelchairs aren’t exactly a hotbed of innovation. Aside from some basic improvements in power and battery life, they’ve largely remained the same for the past few years.

But that’s not to say nobody’s pushing the envelope in this space. A couple years ago at at CES, Digital Trends got an early look at LUCI, an innovative startup that’s aiming to give all the world’s wheelchairs a technological upgrade, retrofitting them with aftermarket abilities like obstacle avoidance, drop-off detection, 360-degree sensor vision, and smart assistant integrations. In 2021, the company had just barely launched and was still getting off the ground, but here in 2022, it’s really starting to make waves — so we caught up with founders Barry and Jered Dean to hear about the company’s journey so far — and also what’s coming next.

Digital Trends: What inspired you to rethink the way wheelchairs work?

Barry: It comes from my daughter, Katherine, our family, and our lived experience, frankly. I’m not in a chair, nor is Jered, but my daughter, Katherine, is, and we had a friend of the family who was injured in a wheelchair accident. We wanted to find the technologies and protection to help her have more independence. And as she got older (she’s 21 now), we found it didn’t exist. We’ve found that frustrating, and so we began working to try to solve that problem.

A lot of people don’t realize that these power wheelchairs cost about as much as a car, and the only safety feature on them is a seat belt. The disability community has been left behind by technology, and it’s sort of this forgotten world. At LUCI, we’ve been working really hard to bring technology to this world, to these users, to our family.

What surprised you the most when researching wheelchair owner data?

Barry: The things that probably surprise people the most are the cost of the wheelchair and the weight, which we knew from our lived experience. Also, finding out that twice as many people are getting hurt and going to the ER in wheelchair accidents as they are in motorcycle accidents. There are a lot of wheelchair accidents out there, but everyone sort of assumes it’s just them or they may even think, “it’s my fault.” We had those same thoughts until we started understanding that it wasn’t just a family problem, but rather an industry problem — a safety issue for anyone who’s using a motorized mobile device.

We wanted to demonstrate safety issues in a scientific way. We worked with a crash test facility that does automotive and aerospace. After the first test ran, the facility engineers started realizing the problem and they called an expert, who said the forces we’re seeing when a person runs into a wall (at full speed on a chair) exceed what’s allowed in cars by the federal government. The person is the bumper in a wheelchair if you think about it.

Let’s talk features. What makes LUCI different from other mobility devices?

Jered: So basically, a user can add LUCI to an existing power wheelchair, and it turns a dumb wheelchair into a smart wheelchair.

We do collision avoidance and drop-off protection, and connectivity to the outside world. Collision avoidance and drop-off protection really are enhanced mobility. They help people navigate safely, and more independently. LUCI allows users to connect to health trackers, Alexa, Google Assistant, and allows them to communicate and share information with their teams. It comes with a mobile application, which can let users take advantage of features and upgrades like LUCI View, which is something that we just launched in April. It allows users to see a 360-degree view of what LUCI sees around the chair.

Our users are of all abilities. Some can move freely with traditional joysticks, some use alternative drive controls, some even drive with their eyes, so LUCI View can be critically helpful, letting users see what’s behind them and all the way around them, just like on any modern car.

Barry: In the smart tech world, we’re used to over-the-air updates and a platform approach to technology, adding features that we don’t necessarily have to pay for a new device to get. That’s not something that’s come to this industry in this way. When you think about it, a power wheelchair is probably one of the largest expenditures someone is spending on, yet it’s not connected to the things we want it connected to? We wanted to change that.

We’re also introducing new technology for seating that is game-changing. As an example, some people use air cushions — 25% or 30% use an air cushion to help mitigate pressure injury. But if that air cushion is not inflated properly, it works against you. So, we have a monitor called LUCI Air that helps keep track of this. It sends alerts or texts if it detects a problem and tracks the data over time.

There’s also a new technology that we’re working on — just now in beta, so it’s not out yet. It helps people using ramp vans (which are the narrowest ramps) using tagging and robotics technology.

We’re constantly looking for the pain points, and we listen to our customers and ask ourselves “what are the things that people are asking for, and how do we get those to them as soon as possible?” We initiated the platform, and now we’re able to start addressing those directly.

Click here to read the full article on Digital Trends.

Six Flags Is Making Its Parks More Accessible for Visitors with Special Needs

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Six Flags

By Antonia DeBianchi, People

Six Flags has announced its expanding accessibility for park-goers with special needs.

On Thursday, the theme park company shared some new initiatives that are intended to make the amusement parks more inclusive. One of the new safety programs includes a special “restraint harness” for all Six Flags thrill rides for guests with some physical disabilities, per a release.

Six Flags, which has over 20 theme parks around the U.S., Canada and Mexico, notes that 98% of rides have an “individually designed harness.” The new innovation has multiple sizes to accommodate park-goers with “physical disabilities such as a missing limb or appendages starting at 54″ tall.”

“Six Flags is proud to be the industry leader on these innovative programs that allows our guests to enjoy the more thrilling rides that our parks have to offer,” Selim Bassoul, Six Flags President and CEO, said in a statement.

Along with the new harness, the amusement park company announced that all properties are now accredited as Certified Autism Centers in partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Park leadership will be trained in helping provide various support elements for guests with autism.

Included in this initiative are special guides to help visitors plan the day, highlighting sensory impacts of each attraction and ride.

Six Flags joins other major theme parks that are already Certified Autism Centers, including SeaWorld Orlando, Sesame Place San Diego and Legoland Florida Resort.

“This offering, coupled with the IBCCES certification at our parks, shows our unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our company is truly dedicated to this initiative and making sure that encompasses our guests with abilities and disabilities,” Bassoul added.

Some more features that the parks will offer as Certified Autism Centers are “low sensory areas” to allow visitors who have sensory sensitivities to take a break in a calm environment. Trained team members will also be on hand to assist park-goers, according to the release.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Meet the Google Dealmaker Advocating for Disabled Workers

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Meet the Google Dealmaker Advocating for Disabled Workers

By , Times Grid

Rising up within the south German metropolis of Tuttlingen, Patrick Schilling could not use his native library.

Born with shortened legs and arms, Schilling’s incapacity left him reliant on an electrical wheelchair from an early age.

However the nearest library to Schilling’s household residence was solely accessible through stairs, which means he had to make use of the web to search out studying materials.

Talking to Insider from his residence in Zurich, the place he has labored as a strategic dealmaker at Google’s cloud computing division – though he just lately made a sideways transfer into product improvement – Schilling mentioned this expertise was emblematic of the distinctive dynamics that drove his early ardour for know-how and innovation.

“There’s two angles to it. The primary is that if you happen to use an electrical wheelchair, the primary time it breaks down, you develop an intrinsic motivation to make it possible for know-how that is being constructed for hundreds of thousands of individuals really works,” he mentioned.

“Then again, I take pleasure in the advantages of technological developments fairly early on. My native library was solely accessible through stairs. When the web got here alongside, I may immediately learn virtually something I needed to within the digital realm.”

In line with the World Well being Group, near a billion individuals worldwide are in want of assistive gadgets to go about their day, however solely a fraction of them have entry to such know-how.

Rising up in a working-class household with little “mental publicity to this space,” Schilling mentioned he may have a tough time navigating an unkind world.

“I acquired confronted with the nice, the unhealthy, and the ugly of rising up with a bodily incapacity fairly early on,” he mentioned. “I used to be born to 2 great mother and father, who weren’t ready for this to occur in any respect. However ever since day one, they took this method the place they mentioned: ‘You may both make your life depend, or do not.’

“I attempt to make each day depend.”

Schilling says residing with incapacity has taught him invaluable life expertise.
4 years into his profession at Google, Schilling attributes a lot of his success to an inner “narrative shift” he began engaged on in his teenage years.

In his late adolescence, Schilling discovered himself “in a not-so-great spot.” “I used to be like, ‘Why is it me? Why do I’ve to stay by this?’”

However disposing of a broken-down wheelchair prompted a rethink. “This chair had let me down a few occasions. It had prevented me from taking the bus, or leaping in a cab and assembly a good friend for dinner,” he mentioned.

“However the whole lot I might performed over time – from residing and learning overseas to only sustaining nice friendships – was solely doable due to it. That shifted my considering away from a story centered on the negatives.”

Schilling’s realization – {that a} lifelong dependency on a wheelchair had helped him construct a powerful roster of life expertise – helped him meet his potential.

“In the event you’re in a wheelchair and also you wanna take a practice, that is an entire challenge in itself. Is the practice accessible? Is the station accessible? That is challenge administration,” he mentioned. “If you are going to should ask individuals on the road for assist, you are going to want communication expertise.

“These are strengths, they usually’re strengths that each corporations, and society at massive, can profit from.”

Schillings is looking forward to the subsequent technology of disabled staff.
Whereas Schilling’s expertise at Google has been overwhelmingly optimistic, he’s removed from complacent concerning the continued want for activism within the office, admitting “hardly per week goes by” with out him being invited to talk on one panel or one other, or meet one other younger particular person going through comparable challenges.

Primarily based on common conferences with the “seven or eight” mentees he meets with recurrently, Schilling feels the way forward for office incapacity advocacy is in good arms.

“I am 27 now, proper? I used to be the primary particular person ever with a incapacity to attend my highschool. However the of us which can be 10 years youthful than I’m and, nicely, they aren’t taking it.”

He recounts the story of 1 younger particular person he is aware of. This particular person was interviewing for a job, and felt the recruiter wasn’t comfy with the very fact he did not have arms.

Click here to read the full article on Times Grid.

REEBOK’S ADAPTIVE FOOTWEAR COLLECTION TRULY WANTS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR DISABLED

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REEBOK’S ADAPTIVE FOOTWEAR COLLECTION TRULY WANTS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR DISABLED

By Gaurav Sood, Yanko Design

Everyone deserves a pair of sneakers that amplifies the craving for everyday success. That said, the power of comfortable and accessible footwear should not be exclusive. Thankfully Reebok really wants to help the physically challenged community with a gimmick-free collection of lifestyle and performance-oriented sneakers.

Brands like Nike have lately offered adaptive sneakers for people with disability but were they affordable? Surely, not. The Go FlyEase hand-free sneakers are a good example of this fact. They were at one point in time very inaccessible, and some resellers listed them online for an exorbitant price tag of $2,000. In the end, their purpose of helping the disabled community got juxtaposed. Rebook wants to fix this with the Fit to Fit accessible footwear collection which is practical and priced sensibly for everyone to explore without burning a hole in the pocket.

The new edition of sneakers is designed in partnership with Zappos Adaptive, and includes two sneakers crafted for easy on-and-off wear to facilitate disabled people. Dubbed the Nanoflex Parafit TR and Club MEMT Parafit, these sneakers are low-cut and feature removable sock liners (for orthotics) and high abrasion rubber outsoles for superior grip. While the Nanoflex Parafit TR has a breathable mesh upper, medial zipper and heel pull tab for easy putting on or taking off – the Club MEMT Parafit has a leather upper and extra 4E width.

Thankfully both the sneakers come in unisex sizing, and can be purchased as a pair, or as a single shoe too. Reebok has priced them both sensibly as the Nanoflex Parafit TR retails for $90, while the Club MEMT Parafit comes for $65. We genuinely hope the sneakers will not go out of stock, and end up selling for more prices at later stages. If that’s not the case, Reebok and Zappos are surely going to be popular brands among disabled people and physically challenged athletes. After all these functional pairs of footwear permit a life of independence and free movement. All this while maintaining Reebok’s iconic design and timeless silhouettes.

Click here to read the full article on Yanko Design.

Meet the Black Doctor Reshaping the Industry With Virtual Prosthetic Clinics to Help Amputee Patients

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Dr. Hassan Akinbiyi, the Black Doctor Reshaping the Industry With Virtual Prosthetic Clinics to Help Amputee Patients

By YAHOO! Entertainment

Dr. Hassan Akinbiyi, a leader in physiatry and rehabilitative medicine from Scottsdale, Ariz., is pleased to announce his partnership with Hanger Clinic, to provide Virtual Prosthetic Clinics.

Dr. Hassan, a highly esteemed board-certified physiatrist, is preoperatively involved in explaining the process from limb loss to independence with a prosthesis.

Through the Virtual Prosthetic Clinics, he is reshaping the prosthetic rehabilitation program by using telehealth for diagnosis, evaluation, and prosthetic care. As a result, a patient can now afford to receive specialized prosthetic services virtually.

He helps set the patient up for success by assisting with their transition through the post-acute care continuum, overseeing their prosthetic care, and ensuring they are thriving. In addition, his expertise and extensive knowledge as a physiatrist enable him to navigate the insurance process for prosthetic devices and issue all necessary documentation.

Regardless of an amputee patient’s entry point, Dr. Hassan ensures they receive the necessary care to resume their life’s activities when they desire it most.

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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. ROMBA Conference
    October 6, 2022 - October 8, 2022
  4. Reeve Summit 2022
    October 13, 2022 - November 14, 2022
  5. 2022 M-Enabling Summit Conference and Innovation Showcase
    October 24, 2022 - October 26, 2022