The Huffington Post, by Kimberly Yam

 

Autism pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pennsylvania father whose son has autism is creating an app that will help people with the disorder and their families.

Topher Wurts is developing the “Autism Village” app which will allow people in the autism community to add, rate and review different restaurants, museums, parks, playgrounds and other locations based on “autism friendliness” — the level of comfort or accommodation a place is able to give a person with autism.

The 48-year-old, who was inspired to take on the project because his 13-year-old son, Kirby, has the disorder, launched a Kickstarter to fund Autism Village and told HuffPost he expects to launch it this summer.

People who have the disorder, along with their families, may run into various challenges when visiting unfamiliar places.

Some people with autism may have special diets, while others may be sensitive to different environmental factors like light or sound. Certain locations may not be safe for a child with autism who has little awareness of his surroundings. Wurts told HuffPost in his son’s case, the pair has difficulty going to places with overwhelming sensory elements.

“Kirby is very sensitive to sensory input and so loud and bright places are a problem,” the 48-year-old said. “We always look for places that aren’t going to create sensory overload.”

Wurts explained that through the app, people will be able to indicate to others whether a restaurant menu is accommodating to someone on the autism spectrum, or if a location is overstimulating and therefore unsuitable for some people with the disorder.

Ultimately he hopes that his app will make the the lives of people in the autism community easier, and open up new possibilities for them.

“Families and autistic adults — especially when away from home or when looking for new ideas — will benefit from being able to discover places that are highly rated and reviewed by other autism families. There’s lots of misinformation out there and reading reviews by other families or people who are actually in the autism community will be really helpful,” Wurts said in an email, adding, “What we’re doing will dramatically improve the day to day for autism families and, hopefully, give them more time and better tools to help their kids.”

The 48-year-old says that the app is in its final stages, with a few more adjustments to make before it’s released on iOS.

Wurts credits his son with being the driving force behind the project.

“[Kirby is] really just an inspiration,” Wurts said. “He led us into the autism community and then we realized how helpful we could be to many people by applying ourselves to using our skills from other startups and industries to helping with practical problems that autism folks deal with day to day.”

To learn more, visit the Autism Village website here, or check out their Kickstarter here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/19/autism-village-app_n_6886846.html

What’s Wrong Wednesday: Not dead yet!

Seniors and people with disabilities who need assistance to do everyday tasks like dressing and bathing want the choice to get those services at home and to have control over how the services are delivered. They do not want to be forced into a nursing facility, nor see themselves and their spouse, and sometimes their children, forced to live in poverty to qualify for help with such basics. Unfortunately, that choice is not a reality for most.

 

Seniors and people with disabilities who need assistance to do everyday tasks like dressing and bathing want the choice to get those services at home and to have control over how the services are delivered. They do not want to be forced into a nursing facility, nor see themselves and their spouse, and sometimes their children, forced to live in poverty to qualify for help with such basics. Unfortunately, that choice is not a reality for most.

Society is failing to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities have access to consumer controlled long term services and supports when they need them. The last thing we need is for those in power to make a public policy choice, during this time of vast budget cuts in Medicaid health and long term care, that an early death is the cost saving answer to these very real human needs.

http://www.notdeadyet.org/disability-groups-opposed-to-assisted-suicide-laws

“If you realize how powerful your thoughts are, you will never think a negative thought.” (Peace Pilgrim)

Your-mind-is-a-gardenyour-thoughts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you knew how much power your thoughts have to shape you outer life, you would be very conscious of the kind of thoughts you allow to take root.  You are what you think, and your life is a reflection of the accumulation of your thoughts.  Choose your thoughts wisely. (The Inner Guide 2015)

Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you look at the thoughts you plant and fertilize.

PS: Remember to hold the one’s you love just a little closer and tighter (without expectations).

Hey, Handicap’…Neighbor Leaves Horrible Note On Amputee’s Car

Hey handicap letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Brady lost her leg in 2014. Although she’s learned to walk again with a prosthetic limb, even up three flights of stairs at her apartment complex, moving around on ice proved to be a challenge this winter.

Her apartment complex created a designated parking spot for her close to the building, so that she could avoid icy slips. Brady got her spot last Thursday, March 12. By Saturday, she found one of her neighbors was parking in it.

So, she wrote a note, which did not go unnoticed by the recipient. “I was stern and confident in what I was saying and just letting her know she doesn’t know what its like to walk around without your own leg,” Brady told Dayton’s ABC 22 News. “She in return had placed this really rude note under my windshield wiper.”

‘Hey, Handicap’: Neighbor Leaves Horrible Note On Amputee’s Car

Brady posted the note to Facebook, where it went viral. The letter reads:

“Hey handicap! First, never place your hands on my car again! Second, honey you ain’t the only one with ‘struggles.’ You want pity go to a one leg support group! You messed with the wrong one! I don’t care what your note said shove it, but you touch my car again I will file a report, I am not playing! I let the office know the cry baby one leg touches my property I will cause trouble so go cry your struggles to someone who cares cause I’m walking away with both mine! -[expletive].”

“I read it probably like 5 times over and over, because my brain just couldn’t even process the level of mean that it was,” Brady said.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the victimization of individuals who suffer from disabilities. In 2012, a video surfaced online of a man mocking a 10-year-old child using crutches for issues relating to cerebral palsy. That man was subsequently jailed for 29 days on two misdemeanors, one relating directly to the incident caught on camera, according to TIME.

Just last year, two Delaware teens were arrested after beating a 26-year-old man with a neurodevelopmental disorder. According to USA Today, the 13- and 14-year-old boys were charged with “offensive touching, assault on a vulnerable adult and third-degree conspiracy.” Again, there was a viral video attached to the perpetrators’ actions.

Jenna Brich

March 19, 2015

https://www.yahoo.com/health/hey-handicap-neighbor-leaves-horrible-note-on-114052992892.html

 

Most people are not going after what they want. Even some of the most serious goal seekers and goal setters, they’re going after what they think they can get. (Bob Proctor)

Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you go after what you want.

PS: Remember to hold the one’s you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations).

Community Integration for People with Disabilities: Key Principles

July 2013

General Principles

  • Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to live like people without disabilities. They should have the opportunity to be employed, have a place to call home, and be engaged in the community with family and friends.
  • Individuals with disabilities should have control over their own day, including which job or educational or leisure activities they pursue.
  • Individuals with disabilities should have control over where and how they live, including the opportunity to live in their own apartment or home. Living situations that require conformity to a collective schedule or that restrict personal activities limit the right to choose.

Employment

  • Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to be employed in non-segregated, regular workplaces. Virtually all individuals with disabilities can be employed and earn the same wages as people without disabilities. When needed for such employment, they should have access to supported or customized employment. They should be afforded options other than sheltered work, day treatment, clubhouses, and other segregated programs.

Housing

  • Virtually all individuals with disabilities can live in their own home with supports. Like people without disabilities, they should get to decide where they live, with whom they live, when and what they eat, who visits and when, etc.
  • To this end, individuals with disabilities should have access to housing other than group homes, other congregate arrangements, and multi-unit buildings or complexes that are primarily for people with disabilities. They should have access to “scattered site” housing, with ownership or control of a lease. Housing should not be conditioned on compliance with treatment or with a service plan.

Choice

  • Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to make informed choices. They must have full and accurate information about their options, including what services and financial support are available in integrated settings. They should have the opportunity to visit integrated settings and talk to individuals with similar disabilities working and living in integrated settings. Their concerns about integrated settings should be explored and addressed.

Public Funding

  • Government funding for services should support implementation of these principles. Currently, public funding has a bias toward institutionalization, forcing individuals to overcome myriad barriers if they wish to age in place and remain in their communities.

 

These community integration principles are embraced by:

  1. ADAPT
  2. American Association of People with Disabilities
  3. American Diabetes Association
  4. Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  5. The Arc of the United States
  6. Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
  7. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  8. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  9. Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  10. Easter Seals
  11. Little People of America
  12. Mental Health America
  13. National Alliance on Mental Illness
  14. National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy
  15. National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services
  16. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
  17. National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
  18. National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
  19. National Council on Independent Living (Freedom Resource Center is a member of NCIL)
  20. National Disability Rights Network
  21. National Federation of the Blind
  22. National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse
  23. National Organization on Disability
  24. Paralyzed Veterans of America
  25. TASH
  26. United Spinal Association
Individuals who need to use the "power assisted" door aren't welcome when it's cold out at this South Fargo healthcare clinic.

Individuals who need to use the “power assisted” door aren’t welcome when it’s cold out at this South Fargo healthcare clinic.

I read this today and thought of the work Freedom Resource Center staff does with each of the consumers that walk through our doors and/or call us on the telephone:

A few weeks ago I met a man who told a story I shall never forget.    

When he was in third grade, his schoolteacher told his mom that he’d never amount to much. “Lower your expectations,” his mother was advised. (Can you imagine!)

But, he added, there were three adults in his community that supported him even when others had given up on him. A Barber, a Pastor and a Neighbor were there for him through the years, making sure he understood his homework, thought about his future, and shared his report cards.  

“They held my dreams for me until I could hold them myself,” the man said. Today he’s an accomplished leader in a large nonprofit.   

How do we “hold dreams for others until they can hold them for themselves?”

This story from Terry Chadsey, Center for Courage, is very important to me because this is what my parents and I were told when I was in 6th grade.  I am grateful that my parents encouraged me to discover and hold dreams…I’m sure they held my dreams until I was able to hold them myself. Makes me pause and wonder…whose dreams am I holding? Who’s holding my dreams?

Wishing each and every one of you peace and wellbeing as you hold the dreams of others, until they can hold them for themselves.

PS: Remember to hold the one’s you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations).

 

Freedom Friday: Taking the initiative

Change can easily create a culture of dependence. Maybe you feel uncertain, or confused, so you decide to sit back until you get a new set of directions. You’ve got questions that need answers. You want help. It could be that you’re disgusted. Let’s say you don’t buy into the changes, so you figure you’ll hold off until somebody comes around and tells you specifically what to do. After all, “doing nothing” is one of the popular ways people fight changes they dont like.

Of course, it might be that the culture hasn’t required you to think for yourself. Maybe you assume you’re supposed to wait for guidance, to always turn to someone else for guidance, so you’ve just naturally come to depend on others for your marching orders.

Those days are over. The shift toward a culture of initiative and independence means you must figure out for yourself what the you need. Then move on it.

Self-directed behavior is essential in today’s world of accelerating change. For one thing, businesses, organizations, agencies are learning to run lean, and that means every person must become more self-sufficient. You cant count on having someone to come around and hand-feed you instructions on a regular basis.

So put yourself in charge of problem-solving. You dont have to have all the answers. Nobody does. Just show some initiative. Come up with your own answers, and theres a good chance theyll be better than you could get from anybody else.

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Attributed to Yogi Berra

Adapted from Price Pritchett, PH.D.  Culture Shift: The Employee Handbook for Change Corporate Culture.

Blocking the access isle is not only illegal because it prevents the person who needs the curb cut  from accessing the business.  In this case it prevented a barrier for a 90 year old from accessing the accessible pathway to the business.

Blocking the access isle is illegal because it prevents the person who needs the curb cut from accessing the business. In this case it created a barrier for a 90 year old from accessing the accessible pathway to the business.