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  • Parenting During the College Years

    Karen Putz » Deaf Mom
    18 Aug 2014 | 2:10 pm
    Letting go isn’t easy. Not even the second time around. Today is Move In day for my daughter, Lauren. The little girl is now a college student and today’s the day I have to let go and say goodbye. Three years ago, the hubby was with me when we said goodbye to David. The tears started flowing during our final hug and the tears didn’t stop until well into the long drive home. I’m lying here in bed with my daughter next to me and the tears are already flowing this morning. I’m thankful she has her older brother on campus to ease the transition for her. As for me,…
  • 3D Printers Create Custom Medical Implants

    Disabled World
    21 Aug 2014 | 7:14 am
    Breakthrough technology creates materials infused with cancer-fighting drugs, antibiotics.
  • Impact of race, ethnicity in motor complete spinal cord injury

    Disability News -- ScienceDaily
    21 Aug 2014 | 10:26 am
    Researchers have examined racial and ethnic influences in the outcomes of patients with motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Findings included small but significant differences in self-care and mobility at discharge.
  • Gammy and Victoria

    Rollercoaster Parenting
    8 Aug 2014 | 12:46 am
    Last Friday we woke up to a sublimely sad story, which has captivated the Australian media and public.An Australian couple reportedly left behind a disabled baby boy with his surrogate mother in Thailand, while taking home his healthy twin sister. There has been quite some controversy around this story since. There are conflicting stories as to when the boy's disability was diagnosed (4 months, 6 months) and whether an abortion was requested and by whom (the biological parents or the agent). The patents reportedly told they did not know of the boy's existence, a claim refuted by the surrogate…
  • Rush Limbaugh’s Comments about Robin William’s Suicide

    Fresh Perspectives
    Michael Sporer
    13 Aug 2014 | 8:49 am
    Rush Limbaugh made the following comments about the death of Robin Williams: “What is the left’s world view in general?”  “If you had to attach, not a philosophy, but an attitude to a leftist world view. It’s one of pessimism, and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy, are they?” “[Liberals] are animated in large part by the false promises of America, because the promises of America are not for everyone,” he said. “He had it all, but he had nothing. Made everybody else laugh, but was miserable inside. It fits a certain picture or a certain image that the left has.
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    Karen Putz » Deaf Mom

  • Parenting During the College Years

    18 Aug 2014 | 2:10 pm
    Letting go isn’t easy. Not even the second time around. Today is Move In day for my daughter, Lauren. The little girl is now a college student and today’s the day I have to let go and say goodbye. Three years ago, the hubby was with me when we said goodbye to David. The tears started flowing during our final hug and the tears didn’t stop until well into the long drive home. I’m lying here in bed with my daughter next to me and the tears are already flowing this morning. I’m thankful she has her older brother on campus to ease the transition for her. As for me,…
  • Barefoot Water Skiing Featured in DevinSuperTramp Video

    30 Jul 2014 | 3:03 am
    Barefoot water skiing goes mainstream in the latest video by Devin Graham, aka DevinSuperTramp. Devin is a guy who truly is living a passionate life doing what he really loves, capturing action on film. Here’s more of Devin’s story: DevinSuperTramp Behind the Scenes Interview. The video features the World Barefoot Center crew, Keith St. Onge (co-author of Gliding Soles), David Small, Ben Groen, and Keith’s wife, Lauren. Take a moment to watch barefoot water skiing captured every which way: Barefoot Skiing Behind an Airplane I love the behind the scenes video (no captions…
  • The Dance of Communication

    16 Jul 2014 | 9:36 am
    There’s a famous quote of Helen Keller that gets to me. How it rubs me depends on whether I’m having a challenging day or feeling on top of the world. “Blindness cuts you off from things. Deafness cuts you off from people.” The quote is believed to have come from a letter to Dr. James Kerr Love (1910), published in Helen Keller in Scotland The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important, than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus — the sound of the voice that brings…
  • When You Hit a Major Slump

    28 Apr 2014 | 5:31 pm
    Regular readers of this blog will probably notice it’s been quite some time since I blogged here.  This has been one long, dragged-out winter in more ways than one. My normal, “energy on spin cycle” has hit an “off” button. I feel as if life is moving in slow motion. When that happens, I know it’s a time of transition and a time of growth. It’s a time for me to pull back and reflect on what really matters. The longer I took to get back to blogging, the harder it became to find the energy, drive, and the resolve to get back into it. It was the same…
  • The Growing Bolder Lifestyle

    1 Mar 2014 | 7:23 pm
    Back in 2011, I discovered an awesome website called Growing Bolder.  I stumbled upon the Growing Bolder segment on Banana George while doing some research for the Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water book I was writing at the time. “It’s not about age, it’s about attitude,” was the Growing Bolder tagline.  “It’s an attitude. A mission. A passion. A team of people who believe in the power of hope, inspiration and possibility.”  The site was filled with one inspiring story after another featuring people living passionate lives.  Marc…
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    Disabled World

  • 3D Printers Create Custom Medical Implants

    21 Aug 2014 | 7:14 am
    Breakthrough technology creates materials infused with cancer-fighting drugs, antibiotics.
  • Effective Exercise for Golfer's Elbow Reduces Pain

    20 Aug 2014 | 3:34 pm
    Researchers from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York City found that a simple exercise using an inexpensive rubber bar is effective at reducing pain associated with medial epicondylosis, a.k.a., golfer's elbow.
  • Acral Melanomas: The Rare Skin Cancer that Killed Bob Marley

    20 Aug 2014 | 12:47 pm
    Scientists learn more about rare skin cancer that killed Bob Marley.
  • Suggested Government Actions in Relation to People with Disabilities

    20 Aug 2014 | 11:50 am
    The United States of America has some very real issues to deal with where People with Disabilities are concerned. These issues include more than this one article can possibly approach. The issues approached in this article include Poverty, Housing, Transportation and Education.
  • Is the UK Under UN Investigation for Human Rights Abuses Against the Disabled?

    20 Aug 2014 | 10:35 am
    At the time of writing this article, a persistent ‘rumour’ is circulating that the UK has become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee for human rights violations concerning the disabled. These investigations are normally conducted confidentially, so the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which is carrying out the inquiry, have refused to officially confirm or deny that the UK is indeed being investigated.
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    Disability News -- ScienceDaily

  • Impact of race, ethnicity in motor complete spinal cord injury

    21 Aug 2014 | 10:26 am
    Researchers have examined racial and ethnic influences in the outcomes of patients with motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Findings included small but significant differences in self-care and mobility at discharge.
  • Targeted brain stimulation aids stroke recovery in mice, scientists find

    18 Aug 2014 | 12:25 pm
    When investigators applied light-driven stimulation to nerve cells in the brains of mice that had suffered strokes several days earlier, the mice showed significantly greater recovery in motor ability than mice that had experienced strokes but whose brains weren't stimulated.
  • Music to your ears? Evidence of damage to hearing from music

    18 Aug 2014 | 6:48 am
    Many people listen to loud music without realizing that this can affect their hearing. This could lead to difficulties in understanding speech during age-related hearing loss which affects up to half of people over the age of 65. New research has examined the cellular mechanisms that underlie hearing loss and tinnitus triggered by exposure to loud sound.
  • New gene editing method shows promising results for correcting Muscular Dystrophy

    14 Aug 2014 | 4:13 pm
    A new gene editing method to correct a mutation that leads to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has been successful in a mouse model of the condition. Researchers used a technique called CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, which can precisely remove a mutation in DNA, allowing the body's DNA repair mechanisms to replace it with a normal copy of the gene. The benefit of this approach over other gene therapy techniques is that the new method can permanently correct the 'defect' in a gene rather than just transiently adding a 'functional' one.
  • Bypass commands from brain to legs through computer

    14 Aug 2014 | 9:45 am
    Gait disturbance in individuals with spinal cord injury is attributed to the interruption of neural pathways from brain to the spinal locomotor center, whereas neural circuits locate below and above the lesion maintain most of their functions. An artificial connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate the functional loss. A research team has successfully made an artificial connection from the brain to the locomotion center in the spinal cord by bypassing with a computer and exercised control over walking.
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    Rollercoaster Parenting

  • Gammy and Victoria

    8 Aug 2014 | 12:46 am
    Last Friday we woke up to a sublimely sad story, which has captivated the Australian media and public.An Australian couple reportedly left behind a disabled baby boy with his surrogate mother in Thailand, while taking home his healthy twin sister. There has been quite some controversy around this story since. There are conflicting stories as to when the boy's disability was diagnosed (4 months, 6 months) and whether an abortion was requested and by whom (the biological parents or the agent). The patents reportedly told they did not know of the boy's existence, a claim refuted by the surrogate…
  • Six Months

    24 Jul 2014 | 4:49 am
    Pretty much from one day to another, our 13 year old son could no longer walk.So, what do you do? You ring your service provider to inquire about a wheelchair of course.Now these guys know our boy. He started therapy there when he was maybe four or five years old. They know the way he walks, they know his quirks. They KNOW him. I explain to the intake lady that Beaver can suddenly not walk anymore.- Yeah, so he will need to be seen by an Occupational Therapist, who can then script a wheelchair.- Ok, and then...- Then we put the application in with Enable for funding...- How long will that…
  • Diagnosis - 2014, the Big Setback

    24 Jul 2014 | 3:04 am
    2014 was always going to be a difficult year of big changes. We just hadn't quite appreciated how big they would be.All three children were starting at new schools. Beaver was off to High School, and was glad for it, as the last two years of Primary School were unpleasant to say the least. The small independent school we had sent the children to had gradually been changing, and I felt our two special needs children were not really welcome there anymore. When you get a sense everything is a "management problem" and you spend lots of cash on fees and special lessons and aides and their…
  • The rollercoaster kids

    23 Jul 2014 | 4:11 am
  • Diagnosis 2013-2014

    19 Feb 2014 | 6:08 pm
    Then, very gently but unmistakably, puberty hit. And with it came a whole new set of acronyms.Before you become a parent you have certain ideas about life. Then, you have kids, and the process of reassessing starts. And then your kid develops “issues” and you can reassess some more.We have always favored what people consider a hippie lifestyle. You know the one. Vegetarian, organic, fairtrade, all natural. So how did we end up with a child medicated to the hilt? Ah, parenting…Puberty hit, the hormone household is thrown upside down and sideways. Our kids turn into cranky monsters while…
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    Fresh Perspectives

  • Rush Limbaugh’s Comments about Robin William’s Suicide

    Michael Sporer
    13 Aug 2014 | 8:49 am
    Rush Limbaugh made the following comments about the death of Robin Williams: “What is the left’s world view in general?”  “If you had to attach, not a philosophy, but an attitude to a leftist world view. It’s one of pessimism, and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy, are they?” “[Liberals] are animated in large part by the false promises of America, because the promises of America are not for everyone,” he said. “He had it all, but he had nothing. Made everybody else laugh, but was miserable inside. It fits a certain picture or a certain image that the left has.
  • Passion Sustains Discipline; Discipline Delivers

    Michael Sporer
    13 Jun 2014 | 11:05 am
    Sometimes, people who work in non-profits and government seem to take on an attitude of entitlement, feeling that because there is no pressure from stockholders, they can operate at mediocre. I have seen this phenomenon repeated frequently, especially in government. I’m sure you have witnessed government workers who have said “it’s not my job”. I talked about this in a prior post. It seems that government and non-profits sometimes aim low. In the non-profit sector, I’ve met many people who had loads of passion for the mission, but didn’t have the discipline to deliver their…
  • City of Scranton Financials

    Michael Sporer
    27 Apr 2014 | 7:01 am
    The enormority of the city's financial situation is difficult to grasp. The pension obligations are absolutely astounding.  Also, the growing arbitration award, $5 million of which is interest, is a huge problem. Is a fix possible?  Some experts seem to think so.  I'm beginning to wonder if this can be fixed. This presentation is facutal and clear.  Check it out. Download 03132014c Better Know a Budget Presentation.pdf (537.5K)
  • I Love You More Than My Dog

    Michael Sporer
    24 Mar 2014 | 1:21 pm
    This was written back in 2009 on my other blog.  It still applies. I recently read a book that compelled some thoughts about how our educational system could soar!  The book is “I Love You More Than my Dog; Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad” by Jeanne Bliss. Based on her experiences in what she calls “beloved companies”, Jeanne outlines the culture of very successful companies, and she explores how decisions made by those companies build a culture of customer loyalty.  She explores the human side of business in…
  • Education Funding in Pennsylvania - Facts

    Michael Sporer
    15 Feb 2014 | 6:26 am
    NOTE:  I Originally published this in 2011 when Governor Corbett's Budget was first proposed.  I am not a supporter of Mr. Corbett, but these are the facts based on my research.  I’ve heard many educators lament about the “draconian” cuts to education introduced in Republican Governor Corbett’s 2011-2012 State Budget.  I’ve been a government finance guy for 35+ years, so I decided to analyze the state budget line items in the education categories.  For 2010-2011, then Democratic Governor Rendell used over $1 billion in one-time ARRA funds in…
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    Rolling Around In My Head

  • A Dog's Valued Life: I'm Envious

    21 Aug 2014 | 5:13 am
    Before I write a single word, I want it made abundantly clear that I love dogs. Like everyone else I saw and read the stories about the dog with the 3D wheelchair, I even ooo'd and ah'd at the cute pictures of TurboRoo. As I read the stories about the dog, I read them from the point of view of a 'dog enthusiast' not from a 'disability' point of view. After all I've written about disabled dogs before. I think that there are lots of lessons to be learned from watching a three legged dog chase a ball. Dogs with disabilities just get on with being dogs. It doesn't seem to even much notice that…
  • Casual Cruetly

    20 Aug 2014 | 4:08 am
    He was struggling. No question. Struggling. He looked to be a man, once employed doing something he was good at, who is now waiting tables to earn a living, feed his family. I have nothing to base this on except the way he carried himself, how hard he tried, and the way his mistakes caused him a kind of personal pain. He worked his tables as hard as he could and he came across like a nice guy wanting to make sure people had a nice evening. But. He was struggling.At the table next to us was a table of young people in their early twenties. They were laughing, joking and having a good time.
  • B*d*ss

    18 Aug 2014 | 9:00 pm
    We needed to pick something up quickly and so we stopped at your friendly neighbourhood behemoth superstore. It was to be a quick in and out, often I stay in the van because it takes so long to untie me and get the power chair unloaded. But, I wanted to go in so we took the time. I zipped on in as Joe parked the car. I went to the electronics section to pick up a new DVD player while others went to get groceries and stuff. We watch a lot of DVD sets so we wear them out over time.I found one, met up with everyone and then we double checked our various lists and headed to the check out. I got…
  • My Magnetic Personality

    18 Aug 2014 | 5:16 am
    Yesterday after dinner I parked off to the side, out of everyone's way, so the others could go down the dock and look at the boats and look in the water for frogs and fish and foul. I am a bit addicted to a game on my phone so, when they got out of my range of sight, I pulled the phone out and began to play. I heard a very loud, very deep, drunken voice say, "How about a bear hug?" I turned to see him attempting to climb up on a wooden statue of a bear. He thought himself hilarious. So did the man with him, bent over laughing. The woman with them was standing, watching like she'd seen this…
  • Yellow Sneakers

    17 Aug 2014 | 4:01 am
      Typically I get up somewhere between 4:00 and 4:30 every morning. I start work at 7:00 and usually am on the bus a little before 6:00. This isn't as hard a routine as it may sound because, ultimately, I'm a morning person. So it was really unusual for us to have slept in, wonderfully on the first day of a vacation, until after 9:00. We were both in a bit of a shock. We muddled around a bit, slowly got showered and dressed. No reason to rush. No bus to meet. No work to be done. In all that we decided to go down to the Garden's for breakfast.I'm referring, of course, to Maple Leaf…
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    My Private Casbah

  • My Little Worker Bee

    6 Aug 2014 | 7:11 pm
    Tonight, my kiddo had an interview for a bar-tending position at a Japanese tavern in the historic Vieux Carré (French Quarter) in New Orleans. Hir aunt sings and plays the piano there every week and she put in a bon mot with the owner. My child just called and told me that ze begins training on Tuesday. I'm so proud of this kid.Being a college student living in a world famous city might result in a young person partying way too much and getting distracted with all kinds of questionable activities. This is especially true for a young person with ADHD. But my darling chose to stay busy by…
  • The Cost of Daring to Exist as a Queer Person of Color With Disabilities

    9 Jul 2014 | 3:18 pm
    How College Wrestling Star "Tiger Mandingo" Became An HIV ScapegoatThis is really a(nother) case of a LGBQ person of color with disabilities being criminalized for daring to try to be a part of the non-disabled world. This man was used and exploited and now that they've gotten all that they can out of him, they're sending him to prison and trying to forget that he was ever there. Where are the LGBTQIA organizations now? Why are they always nowhere to be found when the LGBQTIA is Black?A few days ago, a friend brought up the problem of white older queers who exploit young queer people of color…
  • How The Healthcare Mandate Saved My Nephew's Life

    1 Jul 2014 | 12:44 pm
    For those fighting the good fight, here's a real world example of why the healthcare mandate is a good thing:Do y'all remember when I posted the gofundme link for my nephew who was diagnosed with leukemia? Thankfully, the donations that people sent made it possible for him to have his mother there with him while he went through treatment. If you haven't been through cancer, I hope you at least have the sense of compassion and empathy necessary to understand why a child would want their parent around while strange people poke and prod and inject potentially lethal chemicals into their body.
  • Sudden Death

    11 Apr 2014 | 11:58 am
    Life can be so full of sorrow. I finally met a person of color in this area. We're both personal care attendants and met at a function for our clients. I was extremely excited, because this was the first person of color I'd met and had a conversation with since I moved out here in October. Then I found out he was also a person with disabilities, which made meeting him even more awesome.We hung out a few times and it was nice to finally be around folks who I could relate to. He was originally from New Orleans and we had lots of laughs about things we remember about the city. He was raised a…
  • Skepchick, Your Ableism Disgusts Me

    10 Apr 2014 | 6:40 pm
    I'm really, really furious about this Skepchick debacle. See, this kind of b.s. is exactly why I made a decision to stop showing support for white women. I raised as much of a ruckus as I could muster when the Rebecca Watson elevator issue started. I did what I could to talk about why it wasn't just someone overreacting to treatment that should have been viewed as flattering. I used my voice as best as I could to state how no one is entitled to make opportunistic advances on women nor are they entitled to tell us how we should feel about the treatment we receive.However, what does Watson do…
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    Sunny Dreamer -- We write to taste life twice...

  • School and Tornado Dream

    18 Aug 2014 | 12:00 am
    So, almost three weeks ago I had yet another disturbing dream. That's nothing new; anymore all I have are weird or disturbing dreams and nightmares. And this latest one left quite an impression on me. I even remember what night/early morning it was when I had it. And after I did some digging into what the major symbols meant, it was no mystery why! I dreamt that I was up on ISU's campus for some reason, wandering around with a care provider near the Pond Student Union Building. I was in my wheelchair this time. I don't know what our destination was, but I remember having to circumvent a…
  • Christ Was/Is Love

    19 Dec 2013 | 12:00 am
    In the last few years Christmas has been...different for me. Of course, it's always different from when one was a child, but the last few years especially have...lacked the magic of Christmas. Why? Because it's become SO commercialized even my own family gets caught up in the trappings sometimes, trying to give their loved ones a great Christmas. And I've come to the realization this year that aside from the traditions my family still follows, like buying or making special ornaments each year and having a candlelight dinner on Christmas Eve, I personally don't need or want a big Christmas.
  • Rainbow Crow

    10 Feb 2012 | 12:00 am
    I wish I had more ummph today, but after what this week has brought me, I'm lucky I'm posting today at all. I'm really tired, but I'm trying to stick to my goal of blogging everyday this week, from Sunday the 5th to Sunday the 12th. I'm afraid all I'm up for posting today is a Native American myth I found over at S.E. Schlosser's site. I found it in her "Winter Tales" section. Rainbow Crow (Lenni Lenape Tribe) retold by S. E. Schlosser It was so cold. Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The animals had never seen snow before. At first, it was a novelty, something to play…
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  • Invercargill: Tuataras and Indians

    25 Jul 2014 | 4:08 pm
    This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series 2014 New ZealandWhen I first started planning our trip around South Island, Invercargill was just a one night stop between Dunedin and Te Anau. Until my beloved leaned over my shoulder as I was staring at the map and exclaimed, “Invercargill? That’s where Burt Munro is from! Are we going there? Can we see the Indian?” The excitement was palpable. In preparation for this portion of our trip, we re-watched The World’s Fastest Indian, in which Anthony Hopkins does a bang-up job of bringing Burt Munro and the 1960s to life, and we…
  • Through the Catlins to Invercargill

    10 Jun 2014 | 1:57 pm
    This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series 2014 New ZealandThe first leg of our trip around New Zealand’s South Island was a driving the Southern Scenic Route from Dunedin to Invercargill through the Catlins. The Catlins are a sparsely populated coastal area in the southeastern corner of the islands. Sparsely populated, but packed with amazing forests, bays, lighthouses and wildlife. We stopped at the Whistling Frog Cafe and Campground near McLean Falls for lunch. It’s one of the few places to eat along this route, and the food was delicious. Curio Bay, at the southern end of the…
  • New Zealand’s South Island

    20 May 2014 | 5:16 pm
    This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 2014 New ZealandWe’re just back from a month traveling around New Zealand’s South Island, and we had a great time. We visited Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau, Wanaka, and Christchurch. We rented a small car and stayed with friends and in mid-priced motels. New Zealand’s South Island is a mecca for outdoor adventure, but our April/May visit (late fall/early winter) was in the shoulder season, and so we encountered very little traffic and not a whole lot of other people (except in Queenstown, which caused us to immediately run the other…
  • Para-alpine Skiing – Standing Category

    14 Feb 2014 | 11:07 am
    Introduction to para-alpine skiing standing category. HT to We Push Sports.
  • The Havoc That is Snow

    7 Jan 2014 | 7:38 pm
    Snow wreaks havoc on my life. All of these things happened today: 1. I drove to the rec center. The lot hadn’t been plowed, and so the lines in the parking lot weren’t visible. The result? Eight cars parked tightly into the space allocated for four cars with handicapped parking permits. 2. I went to lunch. Before parking, I circled the block to assess how well plowed the street, curb cut and sidewalk were. I decided to risk it. I parked in a permit space, got out of my car, and almost got stuck in the slush/snow that had collected in the curb cut. When I left the restaurant, I…
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    Disability Studies, Temple U.

  • Enrico Toti (1882-1916)

    Penny L. Richards
    20 Aug 2014 | 7:47 am
    Statue of Enrico Toti in Rome; much-larger-than-life muscular male nude, holding a crutch, with his left leg ending mid-thigh.  In a park setting, with blue skies.  Base is inscribed with his name and other text in Italian. With all the WWI centenary coverage, we were moved to come across this statue at the Villa Borghese gardens, on a recent family vacation in Rome.  Enrico Toti (1882-1916)
  • BADD 2014: Wikipedia Against Disablism

    Penny L. Richards
    30 Apr 2014 | 8:50 pm
    Manke Nelis (1919-1983), a Dutch singer and musician whose right leg was amputated after a motorcycle accident in the 1950s; in this image, he is an older man on a sports field, singing into a microphone, with his arms raised.  His sweatshirt reads "Nelis Goes to Hollywood." Image from Wikimedia Commons (of course). (Blowing dust from the mike) Tap tap tap.... hello? testing... hello?
  • Nelson Mandela on "the long walk to equality"

    Penny L. Richards
    5 Dec 2013 | 3:32 pm
    "We cannot claim to have reached anywhere near to where a society should be in terms of practical equality of the disabled. We continue to try. We realise that legislation and regulations are not sufficient or the end of the long walk to equality and non-discrimination. Education, raising of awareness, conscientisation, eradication of stigmatisation: these are key elements in achieving
  • RIP: Anita Blair (1916-2010) and Betty G. Miller (1934-2012)

    Penny L. Richards
    14 Sep 2013 | 9:08 pm
    Two obituaries came to my attention this morning. Both women died more than a year ago, but I'm just seeing these now. If I write about them here, I won't forget to follow up with getting Wikipedia entries going about them, when the time allows. I first mentioned Anita Lee Blair (pictured at left, a white woman dressed in a dark suit, in a portrait with her guide dog Fawn) at this blog a few
  • "Luckily or Unluckily"

    Penny L. Richards
    11 Jul 2013 | 10:58 am
    Just ran across this tidbit in the transcript of a 1997 oral history interview with Masatoshi Koshiba (b. 1926), a Japanese physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 2002:  Koshiba: ...Because my father was an army officer, I was told to enter the military school during the war. Luckily or unluckily, one month before the entrance examination I got polio, which made my right arm numb. It's still
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    Fred's Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

  • APH News: August 2014

    Marissa Slaughter Stalvey
    6 Aug 2014 | 7:00 am
    The August APH News is now online! This Month’s Headlines: “Full Steam Ahead!”--Annual Meeting 2014 Registration Now Open Wings to be Presented this Year! APH Policies Regarding UEB Transition Call for Field Evaluators Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series Treasures from the APH Libraries Social Media Spotlight APH Travel Calendar New Products from APH The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…
  • The Eye-Opening Experience of Writing about Vision Loss

    Marissa Slaughter Stalvey
    30 Jul 2014 | 8:18 am
    By Nicole C. Kear I was nineteen when I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease that I was told would leave me blind. The very bumpy journey of acceptance that followed (and continues even today) is the subject of my new memoir, Now I See You.   Credit: Justine Cooper In my early twenties, I hid from the disease in denial. I made the most of the vision I had remaining -- living life boldly, seizing every day – and I convinced myself that doing so would make it easier to watch my vision fade. In my late twenties, after I became a mother, I realized I’d…
  • APH News: July 2014

    Marissa Slaughter Stalvey
    10 Jul 2014 | 7:30 am
    The July 2014 issue of the APH News is now online! This Month’s Headlines: “Full Steam Ahead!”--Annual Meeting 2014 National Prison Braille Forum: Save the Date! BOP Authors Write and Revise in Louisville Braille Plus 18 receives FCC Chairman’s Award Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series Treasures from the APH Libraries Social Media Spotlight APH Travel Calendar New Products from APH The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…
  • Zagga Entertainment: Descriptive Video… On Demand

    Marissa Slaughter Stalvey
    5 Jun 2014 | 9:20 am
    By Kevin Shaw, President and CEO, Zagga Entertainment, Ltd. Remember the scene in Moulin Rouge where Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sing to each other on top of the elephant? Or that amazing chase sequence through the subway in the Italian Job? Or how about the upside down kiss in the first Spiderman movie? Everyone, regardless of visual ability, loves a good story. Movies and TV make up an important part of the cultural experience we all share. It’s these stories that unite us with our families, at work or with our friends. For a long time, I found myself in many awkward conversations…
  • APH News: June 2014

    Marissa Slaughter Stalvey
    4 Jun 2014 | 7:01 am
    The June APH News is now online! This Month’s Headlines: Get the "Spirit" at Annual Meeting 2014! Announcing Josh Miele, Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker Committees Double Up for Meeting at APH 3D Printing: What Is Your Opinion? Michael Collins and Newel Perry to be Inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field in 2014 New Instructional Products Catalog Now Available! Treasures from the APH Libraries Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series Social Media Spotlight APH Travel Calendar The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…
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  • Apple’s App Review Should Test Accessibility – Marco.org

    8 Aug 2014 | 2:06 am
    Marco has a great post outlining why Apple (among others) should require accessibility of an app before releasing it. The closer to the design end of the development curve that accessibility is included, the better. Poor or broken accessibility is exactly the sort of problem that Apple’s App Review team should check for: many developers forget to test it, it’s easy for Apple to quickly test when reviewing each app, and it’s easy to fix. via Apple’s App Review Should Test Accessibility – Marco.org. Related posts: YouTube videos focusing on Mobile Accessibility Apple’s Retina…
  • The Great Automatic Light Saga or How to control a WeMo light from your PC

    16 Jun 2014 | 10:28 pm
    Summary: Control a lamp with a script on your PC via WiFi and a WeMo Switch This is going to get a bit convoluted so try and stick with me. I moved house the end of last year and, as happens every time, I left behind all the alterations and small tweaks I’d done to make my living environment accessible. One of these was the large light switches I’d had installed lower during a door modification to allow me access to turn the light on/off in my bedroom. Now in my next (current) house I was determined not to spend effort and dollars in such modifications as light switches to be left behind…
  • DwellClick

    4 Jun 2014 | 7:24 pm
    DwellClick lets you use your Mac without clicking. You point, it clicks . DwellClick will drag for you. Point at windows and resize areas to auto-drag, and use the control panel  for anything else. Save thousands of clicks per day. Drag hands-free with total control. What is dwell clicking? Dwell clicking enables clickless operation of your computer. Just point with your mouse or trackpad, and DwellClick clicks for you. Why use DwellClick? By avoiding the repetitive clicking action, you protect your hands from the damage that can build up with long-term computer use. DwellClick helps…
  • Handsfree calling from your Mac via Dialogue

    20 Apr 2014 | 3:22 am
      I could use this, badly. Pity I don’t have the most up to date Mac OS [10.8+] that it needs…   Dialogue Related posts:  HandsFree, a Mac app worth $4.99 in the Mac App Store, that uses your Mac as a… Snapvoice – Photos With Audio Recordings
  • Reader Writes: Another alternative for a touch mouthstick

    13 Apr 2014 | 3:00 am
    Overcoming the “touch barrier” I received a message the other day from a reader … in …. Michael writes: Please see the attached [link for] pencil tops or stick tops – or whatever you’re having yourself – tops. I have been using something similar from the same website for some time.  They are effectively novelty pencils, or novelty stylus pencils.  I am sure they are still  on the website somewhere . I believe this is done by simply using carbonised rubber, and I carry the necessary small charge to mine because it’s mounted on an aluminium mouth stick.  The…
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    My Disability Blog

  • Is it a good sign when the vocational expert at a disability hearing says....

    Disability Blogger
    29 Jul 2014 | 8:51 am
    Someone recently asked this question and I will paraphase it: "If a vocational expert at a hearing cites the existence of jobs that a person might be suited for but also states that they lack the ability to perform those jobs, is that a good sign? I responded with the following: The vocational expert is basically there to determine whether or not a claimant can engage in what is known as
  • Members of Congress seek to make Social Security Disability an adversarial program

    Disability Blogger
    8 Jul 2014 | 11:55 am
    This video was posted by Disability Attorney Jonathan Ginsberg. As he states, it is fairly difficult to watch this Social Security administrative law judge--who is obviously very nervous--being grilled by South Carolina’s 4th District Congressman, Trey Gowdy. Gowdy is, to put it plainly, a jerk. He does not give the judge, who is somewhat elderly, a chance to formulate his thoughts or respond
  • Social Security Disability out of money by 2016

    Disability Blogger
    10 Jun 2014 | 6:48 am
    The Social Security Disability fund is due to be exhausted by 2016. If something isn't done, meaning something isn't done by Congress, it may mean a 21 percent cut in benefits for beneficiaries. This has a double whammy effect. It makes living on a disability check, already a pretty tough act, much tougher. Secondly, it cuts back pay, and, thus, the fees that may be received by
  • Is there any such thing as a permanent disability with Social Security?

    Disability Blogger
    18 May 2014 | 3:41 pm
    Someone asked the question: "Is there any such thing as a permanent disability with social security? When a person is awarded disability benefits, the presumption is that their case will be reviewed at some point. If medical improvement was expected at the time the case was approved, then the CDR, or continuing disability review, might happen fairly soon. I recall, as a disability examiner,
  • Is it getting harder for disability lawyers to work in the field of Social Security Representation?

    Disability Blogger
    18 May 2014 | 3:35 pm
    Charles Hall's blog has a post about layoffs at Allsup. Frankly, I was stunned to read that. Even with lower ALJ approval rates and with the recession and side-moving economy of the last few years accounting for more job-loss-related disability claims, the fact remains that there are still quite a few more disability claims being filed now than in 2006. Why the layoffs? I won't hazard to
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    Rolling Rains Report

  • Inclusive Tourism at the South-South Development Expo 2014

    Scott Rains
    21 Aug 2014 | 10:07 am
    he Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) is planning to organize a Forum for Accessible Tourism and Sustainable Development for All on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 (tbc) to promote accessible tourism as an effective means for poverty eradication, employment generation and social inclusion of persons with accessibility needs.DSPD is calling for nominations of initiatives (policies, projects and innovative solutions) that have proved successful in the promotion of the accessible tourism and sustainable…
  • New Accessible Railway Cabin for Two from Vancouver on the Canadian

    Scott Rains
    20 Aug 2014 | 7:42 am
    Press Release: Montréal, August 20, 2014-VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) is proud to announce that the Canadian leaving Vancouver yesterday will include, for the very first time, a newly renovated Park car featuring an accessible cabin designed for people with disabilities. This new cabin is a testament to VIA Rail's continued commitment to improving the accessibility of its services in order to ensure the safety and comfort of all its passengers.The new accessible cabin for two was designed following extensive research of accessibility requirements within the transportation…
  • Be Part of the Disability Visibility Project: 25 Years of the ADA

    Scott Rains
    15 Aug 2014 | 8:53 am
    I have just one thing to say about Alice Wong's gift to the US disability community known as the Disability Visibility Project: Just do it!" Register online to record your story then walk, roll or hitch a ride over to the nearest StoryCorps recording booth. If you have a disability, tell your story. If you are family, friend, coworker or ally of someone with a disability think about participating too. The StoryCorps model is based on the simple observation that telling a story in conversation can be a very moving experience for those who hear it. In this case it will become…
  • Wet Wheels: Tourism for All

    Scott Rains
    13 Aug 2014 | 10:17 am
  • Travel Morocco

    Scott Rains
    12 Aug 2014 | 2:08 pm
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    Pipecleaner Dreams

  • ASL Happy

    Ashley's Mom
    21 Aug 2014 | 9:07 am
    For my son, Ronnie...
  • Don't Look Down On Me

    Ashley's Mom
    20 Aug 2014 | 8:57 am
    While this video is directed at one specific disability, the wisdom of Mr. Novick can be extended to all types of disability.
  • Yet Another Loss This Week...

    Ashley's Mom
    14 Aug 2014 | 12:20 pm
    Mary MacCracken, Writer About Disabilities, Dies at 88
  • Summer Pleasures

    Ashley's Mom
    31 Jul 2014 | 9:57 am
  • Aren't You Sorry You Asked?

    Ashley's Mom
    30 Jul 2014 | 9:25 am
    It's been a rough summer. You could probably tell that based on the lack of posts to this blog. So, here's a quick summary, and a promise to try to start doing better...Ashley's ESY/summer school ends tomorrow. The best thing about summer school this year? The bus driver. Other than that, I have no idea who Ashley's teacher was, whether or not she had the 1-on-1 signing aide she was supposed to have, what she did, whether she ate lunch, whether she got her medicine every day, etc. etc. There was no contact with a teacher for the entire session, and no progress notes sent home. Needless to…
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    How to be an Inspiration

  • Making A Move - Part One

    Stephen Deal
    8 Aug 2014 | 9:33 am
    If you have been a follower of this blog for any length of time you will know that in 2011 we moved to a new house. Previously we had been living in a two bedroom ground floor flat with a small garden but with two growing boys and the paraphernalia that comes with disability it was becoming a bit of a squeeze, to say the least. It took the intervention of our MP, Tom Brake and our GP, Dr T as well as social services, the district nurses and letters from a specialist doctor at Kings' Hospital to eventually get things moving, so to speak. And, of course, an Occupational Therapist, someone with…
  • Faulty Connections

    Stephen Deal
    3 Aug 2014 | 10:20 am
    Thank you to everyone who has welcomed my return to blogging, I've appreciated every comment, like, repost and retweet. I'm glad to be back, after all, if Li wasn't blogging I wouldn't be able to ask you this...What, I ask you, would you consider to be the minimum requirements, the prerequisites, for a wheelchair repair engineer? An encyclopaedic knowledge of different kinds of wheelchairs? A familiarity with the various faults that wheelchairs can develop? A well equipped toolkit so you can fix the fault you have cannily discerned and identified? You'd think so, wouldn't you. Let me disabuse…
  • Hear Hear!

    Stephen Deal
    31 Jul 2014 | 6:59 am
    Over recent years I have noticed something peculiar about people. They all mumble. They miss out bits of words. Children are the worst, what with their squeaky high-pitched incomprehensible rambling. Women are almost as bad. People in groups produce a wall of unintelligible and impenetrable sound. The whole world needs elocution lessons. Or... Just possibly it might be my hearing. To rule out this absurd possibility I recently attended the Audiology clinic at my local hospital. It turns out that 50% of us with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy have high frequency hearing loss. Guess…
  • How To Be An Inspiration is BACK!

    Stephen Deal
    30 Jul 2014 | 1:01 pm
    'When are you going to start writing your blog again?' a number of people have asked me lately. This, I have decided, is a not unreasonable question. I stopped writing the blog because it had become physically very difficult to type the words needed to express myself satisfactorily. Things though have changed a bit since my last entry in 2011 and quite a lot since I stopped regularly updating in 2010. I'm still using an iPad (an iPad Air actually) but I have discovered that if I use a longish stylus, a particular type of stand, and a non-slip mat I can position my hand in such a way that…
  • Fifty and Counting

    Stephen Deal
    20 Jul 2011 | 11:45 am
    Welcome to a 50th birthday celebratory blog posting written by me, using my trusty old stylus and an iPad. Extraordinary as it may seem I have made it to 50. There have been a number of occasions over the last fifteen or so years when that achievement had seemed a trifle optimistic and so it was with some relief that the 13th of July arrived without the accompanying sound of sirens and the flashing of blue lights. In fact the bulk of the day passed uneventfully what with the children at school and Polly having an appointment at the hairdressers. I had been told that my mother-in-law, Pam, had…
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    Low Visionary

  • Political party web sites fall short

    7 Aug 2014 | 4:44 pm
    Disabled people often rely on the Internet for information because many other information sources are inaccessible.  They experience accessibility barriers when finding and using information on the web if sites have not been designed and built with accessibility in mind. Why we audited  political party web sites “Can we all come to the party” is a report we produced at AccEase to see how easily people with disability can engage with party political websites before the New Zealand election on September 20th. The report says “Voting and participation in the electoral process is a…
  • A voice for everyone

    16 Jul 2014 | 1:13 am
    This is an edited version of a keynote speech delivered at the disability conference, How do we all raise the volume of the unheard voice?,  Auckland July 2 2014. Tena koutou tena koutou katoa  Minister Turia, Health and Disability Commissioners. Ladies and gentlemen. Greetings to you all. Thank you to the HDC and others who have organised this day. Thank you for asking me to speak. This is one of the few opportunities people in the diverse disability community have to meet and exchange ideas. It is valuable and important. Let’s make the most of it. Raising the volume of the unheard voice…
  • Levelling the playing field for disabled women

    9 Jun 2014 | 4:16 pm
    This is an edited and updated version of a speech given on a panel at Rehabilitation International Seminar, Embracing the Opportunities April 16 2014, held in Wellington. Disabled women in New Zealand have made progress but there is still a long way to go. I will not outline yet again in detail the many inequalities faced by disabled women. For many disabled women the playing field is some distance away, never mind whether they can access it, or whether it is level or not. In 2014 disabled women in New Zealand are still relatively invisible  and our interests, rights and perspectives are…
  • Website access: A few basics.

    13 May 2014 | 11:41 pm
    Accessibility of any kind is really about eighty percent attitude and the other twenty percent know how.  When it comes to web accessibility the same applies. If you want to do it you can. Your web site is usually your front door to the world so make sure everyone can use it in the way that suits them, not the way it suits you and your brand advisers. It takes a bit of thinking and planning, but the web is full of good and practical advice. In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day I have summarised a few basics to get you started. The list does not guarantee an accessible web site,…
  • From disableism to human rights

    30 Apr 2014 | 4:50 pm
    The free online dictionary defines disableism as “discrimination against disabled people”. This is rather simplistic and does not state that discrimination is both direct and indirect, the direct being, for example, an employer not giving me a job for which I am well qualified simply because I am disabled. While this is distressing, inappropriate, misguided and often unlawful, it is the disableist indirect discrimination that is often harder to confront, quantify and eliminate. Disableism as indirect, or systemic discrimination is the result of unspoken, unquestioned and often…
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  • How to Switch to Typing With Dvorak

    Ricky Buchanan
    18 Aug 2014 | 5:20 am
    If you use a Mac computer and have trouble using the standard QWERTY keyboard layout, the Dvorak layout may be a good option for you. Dvorak layouts put the most frequently used keys right under your fingers, so you can type with less finger movements needed. Several years ago, I was having significant trouble with wrist and hand pain so I taught myself to use the Dvorak keyboard layout for touch typing. It was frustrating to do, but paid off handsomely in the end… here’s what I did and how you can do it too… Should You Switch? This is what the Dvorak keyboard layout looks…
  • Weekend Roundup for 17 August 2014

    Ricky Buchanan
    17 Aug 2014 | 3:28 am
    Here are some of the best articles, links, and new products that I have spotted online in the past week or so which have some relevance to Apple products and disabled or chronically ill users … General Links iMore has been writing a lot about accessibility lately. Here’s a podcast from Tech Doctor about how founder Rene Ritchie became interested in accessibility. OS X Links How-to: Make accessible iBooks with iBooks Author. Beyond the basics: advanced Mac keyboard tricks. SeroTalk Podcast 207 includes a demo of iBlink Radio for Mac OS X. ZoomText Mac Tips & Tricks – Reading…
  • Sign a PDF with Mac OS X’s Preview application.

    Ricky Buchanan
    13 Aug 2014 | 7:45 pm
    Preview is OS X’s default application for viewing PDF files. If you scan a document, it will probably turn up as a PDF file, so this is the application used most often for things scanned into the system. This Preview app has an awesome and almost hidden function – it allows you to scan a signature with your Mac’s camera, then store that signature and easily add it to any PDF file. This is handy for any user, but for those users who can’t easily manage a pen to sign physical documents it’s a really useful accessibility function too. Setting Up Setting up your…
  • Reader Question: Typing Math on a Mac

    Ricky Buchanan
    11 Aug 2014 | 8:20 pm
    Typing can be a fantastic access method for those with Dysgraphia who find handwriting difficult, but how can you type math equations? Here are some OS X applications especially for inputting mathematics. Reader Robin emailed me to ask: My 16-year old son has Dysgraphia. Typing is a whiz for him and really allows him to express his written self with few barriers. The issue is math. Do you know of any math software programs that allow him to do higher math (Alegebra 2 and up)? Yes! The apps in this list will allow users to input math equations via keyboard, mouse, or tablet. Since you are…
  • Weekend Roundup for 10 August 2014

    Ricky Buchanan
    10 Aug 2014 | 3:54 am
    Here are some of the best articles, links, and new products that I have spotted online in the past week or so which have some relevance to Apple products and disabled or chronically ill users … There aren’t so many this week because my computer crashed halfway through the week and had to be sent to the computer shop for several days. There’s nothing like being without my assistive technology to make me feel disabled – and not much ATMac stuff got done this week. OS X Links How to set up continuous OS X Mavericks dictation. iOS Links Mobile Home from Beanco Technology adds…
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    Disability Scoop

  • Support Growing For Autism Behavior Therapy

    Shaun Heasley
    20 Aug 2014 | 9:01 pm
    A new government-backed review finds that there is substantially more evidence for behavior therapy in treating autism than even just a few years ago.
  • Down Syndrome Laws Stir Debate

    Marie McCullough, The Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT
    19 Aug 2014 | 9:13 pm
    A growing number of states are requiring that a Down syndrome diagnosis be accompanied by accurate information about the disorder, but not everyone is pleased by the new mandates.
  • New Sites Added To Autism Treatment Network

    Michelle Diament
    19 Aug 2014 | 11:30 am
    Two more medical centers will soon join a national network designed to provide a one-stop shop for autism care.
  • Plan For Special Education Substitutes Draws Concerns

    Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun/MCT
    19 Aug 2014 | 11:17 am
    With too few teachers on staff as the school year kicks off, one school district may rely on long-term substitutes for many special education classes.
  • Developmental Disorders More Common Than A Decade Ago

    Michelle Diament
    18 Aug 2014 | 9:01 pm
    The number of children with disabilities is on the rise, largely due to growth in incidence of mental and developmental disorders, researchers say.
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    Social Security Disability Blog

  • No Jail if You Refuse to Use SSDI Money to Pay Court Ordered Obligations

    18 Aug 2014 | 1:26 pm
    The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an interesting decision in a case called In re Robby Lampart about the right of a state agency to go after a claimant’s Social Security disability to enforce a criminal restitution order.  In a tightly written opinion which you can read here, the Michigan appellate judges held that a trial court could not use its power of contempt (i.e., putting a defendant in jail) to coerce that defendant to use Social Security funds to pay his obligations. Usually, of course, the payment dispute involves child support rather than criminal restitution. My…
  • How Does a Social Security Judge Decide if I have “Transferable Skills” for Grid Rule Purposes?

    11 Aug 2014 | 2:59 pm
    This is a good question – the short answer is that judges will look to vocational expert witness testimony to determine whether a claimant has acquired transferable skills. Your question got me thinking that it might be helpful to review how the grid rules work and to take my readers through a grid rule analysis, so, here you go: The grid rules, or “medical vocational guidelines” can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits even if you have some capacity to work, but you are not likely to find work because of limited skills and a limited education. In order to qualify for…
  • SSA Overpayment Issues Can be Difficult to Handle

    22 Jul 2014 | 8:45 am
    If you need a lawyer to help you with an overpayment issue, you are going to have a hard time finding help. Overpayment cases arise when Social Security discovers that they have paid you too much – sometimes for years – and now they want their money back. In most cases, you will receive a letter that says something like this: We are writing to give you new information about the disability/retirement/survivors benefits which you receive on this Social Security record. We have determined that you were overpaid in the amount of $30,000. Please refund this overpayment within 30 days.
  • How to Explain Earnings After Your Disability Onset Date

    8 Jul 2014 | 7:32 am
    If your earnings record shows salary earned after the date you say you became disabled, you can be sure that the judge in your Social Security disability hearing will ask for an explanation. Example:  you say you became disabled on April 3, but your earnings record shows income in May, June and July. In this video I explain  how I advise my clients to respond to questions about post-onset earnings in three common scenarios: unsuccessful work attempts accrued earnings or benefits that are paid after the last date you were physically present at work part time work No matter what the reason,…
  • Fibromyalgia and Social Security Disability: Can You Still Win?

    21 Apr 2014 | 7:07 pm
    Social Security disability judges are increasingly reluctant to award benefits to fibromyalgia claimants unless these claims meet a certain profile.  Let me tell you about this profile – what is currently working for me in disability hearings I try here in the Atlanta area hearing offices. I first started seeing disability claims based on “multiple myalgias” or “fibromyalgia” around 10 years ago.  Back then, many disability judges had never heard of this condition and they struggled with how to approach claims where claimants seemed credible and treating doctors offered…
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    Clear Helper

  • Gap Analyses for Cognitive Web Accessibility (W3C Task Force)

    John Rochford
    19 Aug 2014 | 6:14 am
    The members of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force have been working since January to develop a set of gap analyses. A gap analysis, as we have defined it, identifies the gap between where the state of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities is now when using the web, and where we want it to be. The gap analyses are based upon common cognitive disabilities. The following list of the gap analyses includes their primary authors (as of July, 2014). ADD / ADHD Authors: Susann Keohane, Mary Jo Mueller Aging and Dementia Authors: Katie…
  • Proposed Infrastructure For Automatic-Accessibility Personalization

    John Rochford
    29 Apr 2014 | 6:55 am
    The WC3‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force received a presentation about a project called the “Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure” (GPII), from Gregg Vanderheiden, on March 31, 2014. Quoted below is a project description. “The purpose of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) is to ensure that everyone who faces accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy, digital literacy, or aging, regardless of economic resources, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for…
  • 2014 Boston Accessibility Conference – May 10 – Register Now!

    John Rochford
    21 Apr 2014 | 6:00 am
    Register Now for the 2014 Boston Accessibility Conference! When Saturday, May 10, 2014, 9 AM to 5 PM Where Cambridge IBM Innovation Center One Rogers Street, Cambridge, MA 02142 (One Charles Park) – 2nd floor Near the Cambridgeside Galleria What This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web, but also mobile, games, and much more. It is an opportunity for designers, developers, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other. Who Keynote Speaker: Judy Brewer Director of the Web Accessibility…
  • New W3C Task Force for Cognitive Accessibility

    John Rochford
    7 Apr 2014 | 7:49 am
    A new task force has been formed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop accessibility guidelines for people with cognitive disabilities. It is led by Lisa Seeman, a long-time expert and advocate. Task force members are well-known experts from all over the world. I am a member, an “Invited Expert”. My current, primary responsibility is to create and manage volunteer research groups of people with disabilities and others. I participate in the weekly conference calls of the task force, which so far have consisted of brainstorming sessions, presentations, and…
  • 2013 Boston Accessibility Conference – September 28 – Register Now!

    John Rochford
    9 Sep 2013 | 6:39 am
    Register Now for the 2013 Boston Accessibility Conference! When Saturday, September 28, 2013 Where Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center One Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02142 What This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web, but also mobile, games, and much more. It is an opportunity for designers, developers, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other. Who Organizers include: Char James-Tanny, @CharJTF Sarah Bourne, @sarahebourne Kathleen Wahlbin, @wahlbin Mark…
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  • Rollin’

    21 Aug 2014 | 11:07 am
    installation, ceramic “RENAISSANCE”, installed at SFe Convention Center, 10′x3′ __________________________________________________ This weekend brings a tsunami of out-of-towners to Santa Fe in search of Native American treasures at INDIAN MARKET. The town literally doubles in size with over 100,000 visitors. I have a hard time with the frenetic vibe of so many people milling around so today I decided to go down to the plaza while peace still reigned. SUCH a gorgeous day, my ferality nowhere to be found, Livvy and I stopped in a tiny glade of flowers. A statue of St.
  • Feral

    19 Aug 2014 | 10:09 am
    I have come to the conclusion that these days I have more in common with some feisty and feral creature than I do with the humanity I have moved within previously. Really, I am not an upstanding member of society at the moment (pun intended). I make plans. Cancel. Look forward to an excursion to the movie theater. Too hot that day. Cancel. Then- never feel quite good enough to entertain the idea again. Feel bad about that. Occasionally I will inadvertently eat something that my body is highly sensitive to and be reduced to utter lethargy in bed for the whole day until the culprit makes its…
  • What I’ve Learned

    16 Aug 2014 | 6:04 pm
    A friend sent me this great little piece from a recent ESQUIRE magazine written by Jim Harrison who penned LEGENDS OF THE FALL in 9 days, by god. WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?”, I asked myself. I can fit 27 green grapes in my mouth at the same time. You’d be surprised how often this tidbit has slid into conversation which says something about me I don’t think I’ll ponder further. I think God gave me exactly what I needed (MS) to kick the shit out of my ego and need to please everyone. Now, I can’t and don’t not because I realized it was an insane pursuit but because…
  • Do It Till You Do It

    15 Aug 2014 | 3:57 pm
    hand-painted silk, 1987 __________________ I’m da MAN! Ya!… click here
  • The River

    14 Aug 2014 | 11:17 am
    I WENT TO THE RIVER Today I went to the river That rolls by the church. Diminutive in size, It’s power is always a shock After a truly long and weighty rain. I went this morning To mix my tears Into the slow and steady creep The river chose as her outfit For today’s particular display. Under the beleaguered bridge Are fat navy blue letters Left by some stringy-haired kid Wanting to say something We won’t hear. The violent and gushing rains of last week Left my river swollen. The young willows on the fringe Are now plastered into the flood banks. The water had risen…
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    Need Project Podcast

  • IEP with Melissa Horvath revisited

    15 Aug 2014 | 11:00 am
    Melissa Horvath has a masters degree in special education and has taught preschool through 6th grade in a variety of settings including regular classrooms and special schools.
  • Need Project update with Bob West

    14 Jul 2014 | 11:00 am
    Ministry President Bob West gives an update on current projects and what we are planning for the next year!
  • Hidden Disabilities with Dr. Stephen Grcevich

    15 Jun 2014 | 11:00 am
    Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as Founder and Director of Strategic Initiatives of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University.
  • The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities with Kathy Bolduc

    14 May 2014 | 9:20 pm
    Our guest is Kathleen Bolduc, Kathleen is a speaker and Author her newest book is The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities. The book is about how to grow in your personal spiritual life while raising a family that may have more challenges then others.
  • Foster Care & Adoption with Linda Ellegard

    14 Apr 2014 | 11:00 am
    Linda is the Executive Director of Special Kids Special Families, an organization dedicated to provide community support services to families who are raising youth and caring for adults with developmental disabilities and special needs.
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    Handicapped Equipment

  • How To Raise Your Bed

    13 Aug 2014 | 9:48 pm
    Whether you are a college student strapped for space or a senior citizen that has trouble getting out of bed each day, everyone can benefit from making their bed higher. Luckily, there are effective yet inexpensive methods to raise your bed that are quite easy to do. How to Make Your Bed Higher The most […]
  • Bath Salts For Those Feeling Stressed And In Pain

    8 Jul 2014 | 11:24 pm
    Feeling Stressed And In Pain? Bath Salts Are The Answer! Overview Chances are, if you are like most people, your favorite time of the day is when you can finally sink into a warm and relaxing bath with a few candles glimmering around you and a glass of wine or good book in hand. These […]
  • How to Save on Medications

    15 May 2014 | 7:51 pm
    Finding less costly medicines is possible when you look at the options available to help save on prescriptions. From discounts through the manufacturer to ordering your medications through a reliable pharmacy online, there are simple solutions to buying medications on a budget. The first step is to decide which options will work best for you. […]
  • Ease Big Toe Pain With A Bunion Aider

    26 Apr 2014 | 11:36 pm
    If you suffer from bunions, then you already know just how painful and irritating they can be. A bunion is a type of bump located on the side of the foot. It usually occurs because some kind of structural deformity in the bones of the foot exists. However, you do not have to live with […]
  • Arch Support For Painful Feet

    4 Mar 2014 | 8:48 pm
    If your feet hurt during daily activities and they become a major deterrent to take on such activity, you need help. There are many causes of chronic foot pain. However, with the help of an experienced podiatrist, relief is in sight. Here are a few common foot conditions and possible treatments. Please consult your physician […]
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    Wheelchair Accessibility Blog and Disability News from AMS Vans, Inc.

  • “Disability Treaty” Promises Power and Global Access

    Jill Liphart
    21 Aug 2014 | 7:26 am
    More Progress in Global Disability Rights The disability rights movement has been going on for decades and has constantly faced the reality that legislation related to people with disabilities has been passed without their involvement or inclusion. Similar to the famous Boston Tea Party slogan, “No taxation without representation,” the disability rights movement has gotten to the point where it’s adopted a variation on that mantra: “Nothing about us without us.” Since the civil rights movement in the 1960s, people with disabilities have begun to adopt…
  • Will This Protective Safety Bag for a Wheelchair Fly?

    Jill Liphart
    20 Aug 2014 | 6:18 am
    MoreProtect Your Wheelchair Up in the Air! One of the biggest concerns people with disabilities face when traveling is that of damage to their wheelchairs. While airlines are slowly beginning to improve in this area, there are still far too many cases of wheelchairs being folded wrong, forced into overhead compartments where it won’t fit, thrown haphazardly in with checked luggage, and arriving at the destination severely damaged or broken. In these cases wheelchair owners must file a claim with the airlines and can sometimes wait months for repairs or replacements to come down the…
  • AMS Vans, a Bobcat, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

    Susan Hawkins
    19 Aug 2014 | 6:00 pm
    MoreAMS Vans’ WAY COOL ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! You should be beyond familiar with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now. Celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Oprah, LeBron James, Conan O’Brien, Bill Gates, Matt Lauer and many others have publicly accepted the challenge to raise awareness of and research money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the ALS Association. Once challenged, the individual or company has 24 hours to pour a bucket of icy water over his or her head. Refuse the challenge, and you must make a donation to the ALS Association. If you…
  • ‘My American Dream’ Contest Empowers People with Disabilities

    Jill Liphart
    18 Aug 2014 | 6:52 am
    More What’s Your American Dream? It’s time for people with disabilities to fire up that video camera and share your dreams for the future—take the first step in making that dream come true! The National Disability Institute kicked off its 4th annual “My American Dream—Voices of Americans with Disabilities” Video Contest on August 5. The contest solicits videos wherein people with disabilities share their dreams. The grand prize is $1,000, a tablet computer, and the opportunity to work with a mentor towards making those dreams come true. The National Disability…
  • U.S. Veterans ‘Make The Connection’ in New Campaign

    Susan Hawkins
    15 Aug 2014 | 5:50 am
    More Lately, the news for our U.S. veterans hasn’t been particularly encouraging, especially for those veterans who need access to prompt, compassionate mental and physical health care. While our government works on correcting these issues, there are already efforts underway to provide much-needed support to the thousands of American men and women who served this country. A new campaign from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, called Make The Connection, asks our military veterans to serve each other in ways only they know how. Make The Connection stems from the reality that no one…
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    Enabled Kids

  • Tip of the Week #11

    19 Aug 2014 | 2:57 pm
  • How A Balanced Diet Improves Health for Kids

    Leslie Vandever
    14 Aug 2014 | 1:32 pm
    The fact that a balanced, healthy diet is good for children may seem obvious. The vitamins, minerals, and other substances found in the foods that make up a healthy, balanced diet influence everything about your child, from how their brain develops to the strength of their toenails. What is a healthy diet? Can it really […]
  • How to Manage Tooth Decay in Children with Chronic Diseases

    Ali Fakhimi
    14 Aug 2014 | 7:10 am
    Have you ever wondered why cosmetic dentists always stress having routine dental exams for children with chronic diseases? The dentist provides routine dental care, which is the most important step toward preventing tooth loss in later years. Often the parents and caretakers of children with chronic diseases have increased demands on their time and energy. […]
  • Top 3 Travel Sites with Special Needs Accessibility

    Janice Yeung
    7 Aug 2014 | 2:15 pm
      It is estimated that one in eight people worldwide live with special needs. Handicapped travellers are one of the most intensely growing tourism markets today. In North America alone, people with special needs are known to spend more than $13 billion each year on travelling. People with special needs constantly find it troublesome to […]
  • You Can Fly

    6 Aug 2014 | 2:07 pm
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    Support for Special Needs

  • Lower Expectations

    Julia Roberts
    20 Aug 2014 | 1:01 am
    When my daughter, Quinnlin was diagnosed with recessive polycystic kidney disease at two days old and her brother received his diagnosis just three months later I entered into a time I lovingly refer to as “The Fog.” For at least 6 months to a year I went on autopilot for work, housekeeping, family feeding and self care. Managing the kids’ new needs (like several weekly doctor visits, 15 therapy appointments between the two, filing for state funding because of their disabilities) and just keeping everyone else scheduled was taking all my attention and energy. I was working…
  • Unwanted monsters

    Robert Rummel-Hudson
    18 Aug 2014 | 5:00 am
    I’ve written about this topic before. I’ll write about it again. So if it feels like I’m recycling, perhaps you’re right. But I guess it bears repeating, because in some ways, it’s the thing that’s the hardest to take about Schuyler’s disability, and her increasing self-awareness of how it shapes her world. We don’t want Schuyler’s monster. I know we’re not supposed to say it, but we there it is. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that Schuyler had a couple of incidents that made for a rough week. There’s no nice…
  • Meeting the Geneticist

    Julia Roberts
    15 Aug 2014 | 10:04 am
    I’ve been thinking that we have a lot of specialists. More than most not as many as some but it includes a couple of geneticists. We’d met our first one with our son Gage, when he was 20 months old. That was some appointment. He walked into the room holding several books. Was it four? Six? I don’t remember, but I remember that they were thick. I do remember that it was a lot for the size of him. I’m not sure I remember how he greeted us or if he was engaging with Gage, who was sitting on my lap but I do remember how scared I felt about the appointment. Scared he would…
  • New backpacks always bring hope.

    Julia Roberts
    14 Aug 2014 | 5:27 am
    Like the newness of backpacks each year, we begin the school year with a clean slate, a fresh start. By all accounts, last year was incredible. Our daughter was a leader, a star student. She played basketball and was given an award for most improved where her coach, when presenting the award, cried because she was so proud. Our son played basketball and started golf and again, was most improved in golf. They did great in academics, made some friends and the wheels didn’t fall off like in previous years. I can mark each year with something. I’m a huge follower of what I call .
  • The Special Title

    Julia Roberts
    13 Aug 2014 | 7:14 am
    I know to the outsider it looks like I always was a mom to kids with special needs. I wasn’t. One day I was holding my perfectly healthy little baby and the next day I was in the back seat of a car looking at my daughter on the way home from the hospital – wondering about her chances for survival. I didn’t know then that the secret her genetics held would require her and her brother to one day face require kidney transplants. Nor did I know that both kids, because of a vision disorder would require aggressive therapy and jammed-packed special education plans to achieve some success…
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    Friendship Circle -- Special Needs Blog

  • Back To School: How to Write your Child’s “Owner’s Manual” for Special Education Teachers

    Michael Dorfman
    21 Aug 2014 | 7:13 am
    Every new car comes with a large owner’s manual detailing what every dashboard light means and advice to troubleshoot problems with the vehicle.  Every make of car is different requiring a specific manual for your make and model.  While two people may own SUVs–a GM SUV will have a completely different set of maintenance requirements than say, a Honda SUV, and those two owner’s manuals could not be used interchangeably. Kids with special needs are no different than cars.  Two children with autism, or two children with ADHD, are nothing alike, other than having the same…
  • 4 Things No One Tells You About Inclusive Schools

    Nicole Eredics
    20 Aug 2014 | 5:31 am
    There is quite a bit of research that has proven inclusive schools to be extremely beneficial to students of all abilities.  This research usually highlights several key areas in which students with special needs and typically developing students both benefit from inclusive environments. Students in inclusive schools are known to form meaningful relationships, have the same learning opportunities and high academic expectations as one another, and learn to respect the diverse nature of humankind. However, in addition to these very important, key benefits of inclusive education there are…
  • 3 Summer Suggestions for Whole Body Learning in Children with Autism

    Penina Rybak
    19 Aug 2014 | 4:18 am
    Summer may soon be over, but the warm weather activities can still provide a springboard for us to address whole body learning. How? Through structured and unstructured teachable moments involving toys and tech; indoors and outdoors. The key to implementing whole body learning to improve play and social communication skills is to plan lessons and find specific activities to do which involve: Cognitive causality to foster self regulation and comprehension of time, including specific related language concepts such as sequencing, verb tense, and inferences Psychological Theory of Mind…
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    Advocacy in Action

  • Eye movement objective test to diagnose ADHD

    20 Aug 2014 | 8:16 am
    Eye movement key to diagnosing ADHDCredit:  Alex Grech on FlickrAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders diagnosed in children.  Because there isn't a simple test to diagnose ADHD, misdiagnosis is also common.Now researchers from Tel Aviv University believe they have discovered an objective indicator for ADHD - involuntary eye movements.  Using an eye tracking system, researchers studied the eye movements of 22 people with ADHD and 22 people without the disorder. The participants' involuntary…
  • SPECIAL NEEDS NEWS - 19 August 2014 -Dogs & Autism, ADHD & Heart Problems and Autism & the Brain's Switchboard

    19 Aug 2014 | 10:25 am
    Dog trained to read visual clues from nonverbal children with autismDrake, a golden retriever, is trained to respond to cues on flashcards. This method allows nonverbal children with autism to communicate with Drake. Children can use flashcards to have Drake come, sit or even go for a walk with them.  Drake is working at the Comprehensive Autism Center in California.  He was trained by Good Dog Autism Companions. ADHD medications increase the risk of heart problemsA Danish study of over 700,000 children found the risk of heart problems Credit:  Microsoftdoubled for children…
  • Suicidal thoughts very common among people with high functioning autism

    14 Aug 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Credit: MicrosoftTwo thirds of adults with high functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome have suicidal thoughts, reports a recent study.  In addition, suicidal thoughts are common among teens and young adults with autism.  Like Robin Williams, many people who commit suicide are depressed and this includes people with autism.  It can however, be more difficult to detect depression in people with autism. They may not be able to access or have the vocabulary to describe their emotional state,” says Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge in the…
  • Five back to school tips for your children with special needs

    12 Aug 2014 | 11:46 am
    Most children have some anxiety about returning to school according to John Piacentini, Ph.D. of UCLA's Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital. Your Credit:  Alex Starr on Flickrchildren may be starting a new school, moving to a new classroom or getting a new teacher. The uncertainty of these unknown places and people is usually the cause of their anxieties. You can reduce your children's back to school anxiety by preparing them for their return to school. Here are some tips to help get you and your children with special needs ready for the new school year.1.    …
  • Special Needs News - Girls with autism, GI problems linked to autism & Obama signs autism law 12 August 2014

    12 Aug 2014 | 2:00 am
    Current autism testing methods miss females with autismGlobe from Wikimedia CommonsFemales with autism are not being diagnosed with the disorder because they present differently than males. Diagnostic questionnaires are aimed at symptoms seen primarily in males with autism reports, psychologist Dr Lori Ernsperge. "That doctor is going to do a diagnostic checklist ... it may have 20 questions or so [but] they're the sort of questions that lend themselves to male behaviour or boy behaviour," Ernsperge said. She also stated that females with autism may mask their…
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    Sick Chick

  • Service Dogs vs Emotional Support Animals: The Difference

    Sick Chick
    4 Aug 2014 | 8:07 pm
    These days many people have some confusion when it comes to understanding the difference between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals. Although they are similar, they are not the same and this important distinction needs to be made. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals can only be dogs, or in some cases, miniature horses. Service dogs are trained to perform tasks that mitigate a disability, such as picking up dropped items for a person in a wheelchair or alerting a deaf person to sounds, such as a doorbell. To understand more about the jobs service…
  • Is that a Saddle? Service Dog Equipment

    Sick Chick
    3 Aug 2014 | 9:21 pm
    Today I thought I would take a break from the insurance/doctor/pharmacy drama and focus on a less stressful subject. So in this post I’m going to discuss the gear I use with Dale – Service Dog Extraordinaire. Dale resting in his harness in front of the piano before our recital. All of Dale’s gear came from the program that trained him, Canine Partners for Life (CPL). His equipment is vital to his job, as well as to his health while he is working. Dale’s harness from the back, you can see his no petting signs here. The first thing everyone notices is his harness, which is…
  • The Tysabri Rebound Effect: What happens after?

    Sick Chick
    2 Aug 2014 | 7:04 pm
    A subject that has been of interest to me lately is the Tysabri Rebound Effect. This refers to the increase in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease activity after stopping treatment with IV Tysabri infusions. Although I did study this rebound effect before starting on this therapy, it has recently become a much more prominent feature on my list of things to worry about. The reason for this increased concern is that after several months of infusions, changes in insurance, doctors, and pharmacies  have resulted in, at the very least, the postponement of my next scheduled infusion (set for the day…
  • Fighting For Care: We Deserve Better

    Sick Chick
    1 Aug 2014 | 11:22 am
    Some of you may have read my articles My Insurance Nightmare and The Nightmare Continues. In these I discuss the bureaucratic BS, known as routine policy changes, which resulted in the loss of my entire medical team in the blink of an eye. However, even before the policy change that resulted in my insurance no longer being accepted at the medical facility where all of my doctors are located, my ability to access care and medications has been a rough road, that obviously lead to a cliff eventually. For the past six months, I have been solely responsible for every bit of research and…
  • Accessibility Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

    Sick Chick
    30 Jul 2014 | 8:28 pm
    Accessibility, like beauty, truly is in the eye of the beholder. Even the word “accessible” can have a wide variety of understandings. This may not make sense to able bodied people, after all, the question “is this building/office/destination etc accessible” is surely a yes or no question, right? Anyone who has spent time navigating the world in a wheelchair knows this is simply NOT the case. After all, the world is made for “Walkers.” It is only recently that buildings have been required to meet minimum standards of accessibility, and those built before this are covered under…
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