Category Archives: Disabilitiies

“Two Team Photos, One Difference: The Cheerleader With Down Syndrome” – The New York Times

“A junior high cheerleading team took nearly identical photos with and without Morgyn Arnold. The school called the publication of the photo without her a mistake that is under investigation.”

cheerleader 3

by Amanda Morris

“Morgyn Arnold is a natural cheerleader. She grew up supporting her six older siblings at sporting events in Utah and followed in her father’s and sister’s footsteps by becoming a cheerleader herself.

“For Morgyn, who has Down syndrome, being on the Shoreline Junior High School cheer squad gave her a chance to make friends and feel included after transferring to the school last summer.

“But when the school yearbook came out a few weeks ago, Morgyn, 14, was not in the team’s photo or listed as part of the squad. The school has since apologized for what it called an ‘error,’ but Morgyn’s sister Jordyn Poll said she believed that the exclusion was intentional.’

Read this article in its entirety at The New York Times, click here.

 

“NI students dubbed ‘the diabetic duo’ out to smash stigma around disease” – Belfast Telegraph

“Pals become poster girls for condition after clips showing the strangest places they’ve taken insulin go viral”

Diabetic duo

“REACHING OUT: Beth and Ellen use their platform to spread awareness about diabetes.”

by John Toner

“Two university students who use social media to tackle stigma around diabetes have told how they find it empowering as they prepare to step up their campaign.

“Best friends and Type 1 diabetics Ellen Watson and Beth McDaniel, dubbed ‘the diabetic duo’, went viral on the video sharing platform TikTok in 2020 with their candid clips about the condition.

“They have since gained over 25,000 followers on social media and have become poster girls for raising awareness about diabetes.”

Want to learn more? Click here to read this article at the Belfast Telegraph.

 

“New Device Taps Brain Signals To Help Stroke Patients Regain Hand Function” – NPR

post stroke

“A woman demonstrates the IpsiHand rehabilitation device for stroke patients.” – NeuroLutions

by Jon Hamilton

“People recovering from a stroke will soon have access to a device that can help restore a disabled hand.

“The Food And Drug Administration has authorized a device called IpsiHand, which uses signals from the uninjured side of a patient’s brain to help rewire circuits controlling the hand, wrist and arm.

“The device can be used at home and offers stroke patients “an additional treatment option to help them move their hands and arms again,” said Dr. Christopher Loftus of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in a statement.

“IpsiHand’s authorization comes after the FDA reviewed results on patients like Mark Forrest, who had a stroke in 2015.

“‘We called 911 and off to the hospital I went,’ Forrest, who lives near St. Louis with his wife, Patti. ‘By the time I got there most of my right side was paralyzed.’

“After six months of rehabilitation, Forrest was walking again, but still had little control over his right hand. He struggled to pull on socks and button shirts.”

Keep reading this article at National Public Radio, click here.

“Why getting more people with disabilities developing technology is good for everyone” – The Conversation

blind“Accessible technology is better for everyone, and accessible technology benefits when the people who rely on it most help build it.” Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images

by Kristen Shinohara and Garreth Tigwell

“Unless you’re blind or know someone who is, you might not know that blind people use the same smartphones as sighted people. In fact, many blind people use touch-screen smartphones every day. The secret is that smartphones have a screen reader, a tool that allows blind people to use a mix of gestures and taps, along with vibrations or audio feedback, to use their apps.

“Screen readers work on desktop computers as well as mobile devices. You can usually find the screen reader in settings under accessibility. On iPhones the screen reader is VoiceOver. It provides a verbal description of what’s on the screen, including buttons to click and other actions available to the user. A well-designed website or app user interface makes the information on the website or app accessible to the screen reader, which makes it accessible to blind users. However, a badly designed website or application will be rendered invisible to a screen reader.

“We are researchers who focus on technology design that is usable for people with all kinds of disabilities. We’ve found that more needs to be done to make technology accessible and inclusive, such as improving design tools so they are accessible to screen reader users.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.

“She’s considered the mother of disability rights — and she’s a ‘badass’” – The Washington Post Magazine

judy heumanm

by David A. Taylor

“Judy Heumann’s pandemic year started off extremely well. In late January 2020, she attended a Sundance screening of “Crip Camp,” a documentary about disabled young people — including her — who, after meeting at a Catskills summer camp run by hippies in the 1970s, went on to shape the disability rights movement and change federal law. It was a surprise hit and became an Oscar nominee for best documentary.

“The following month, she published a memoir called ‘Being Heumann.’ (She hadn’t known when the film would be released, so the timing was a coincidence.) Publishers Weekly hailed the book as ‘thoughtful and illuminating.’

“Then, just days before the world shut down, Heumann — who has made her home in D.C. since 1993 — joined Trevor Noah on ‘The Daily Show.’ At one point in the interview, Noah called her a ‘badass’ and asked her about the time, in 1972, when she ‘decided to shut New York down” with a disability rights protest.”

Watch the 10 minute Trevor Noah interview here.

Continue reading this Washington Post Magazine article, click here.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for People with Disabilities | news release

DRP vax program

Harrisburg, PA – Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP), a leader in disability rights advocacy for more than forty years, will operate a Vaccine Hotline to assist Pennsylvanians with disabilities who are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

People with disabilities who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, or who are experiencing problems getting it, can call DRP at (833) DRP-2-VAX, (833- 377- 2829) or email DRP at vaccine@disabilityrightspa.org between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please contact the DRP Vaccine Hotline if you:

  • are denied a reasonable accommodation at your vaccination site
  • encounter physical accessibility or effective communication barriers at your vaccination site
  • can’t leave your home to get the vaccine due to a disability
  • need transportation to get to your vaccination appointment
  • need help finding a vaccination appointment due to a disability
  • would like more information about the importance of receiving a vaccine 

“Pennsylvanians with disabilities need and want to be vaccinated to protect themselves, those they love, and the community at large,” said Peri Jude Radecic, Chief Executive Officer of Disability Rights Pennsylvania. “They cannot be denied their right to choose a life-saving COVID-19 vaccine due to illegal barriers on scheduling websites or at vaccination sites, or the failure of providers to administer or deliver the vaccine in a manner that is reasonable in light of their disabilities.”

Through the Vaccine Hotline, DRP staff can provide legal advice to Pennsylvanians with disabilities on how civil rights laws ensure their ability to access the COVID-19 vaccine.  Staff may also provide information, resources, and/or direct assistance related to scheduling a vaccine, connecting with transportation services, and resolving problems that are preventing a person with a disability from getting the vaccine.

Information and resources are also available on the Vaccine page of DRP’s website at https://www.disabilityrightspa.org/covid19/#vaccines.

Individuals who speak languages other than English should state their language and an interpreter will be connected to the call. Callers using the Pennsylvania Relay Service can dial 711.


Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is the statewide protection and advocacy agency for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. DRP protects and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities so that they may live the lives they choose, free from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and segregation. DRP’s vision is a Commonwealth where people of all abilities are equal and free. www.disabilityrightspa.org.

Ottawa, Canada: “Family begged to have sister with Down syndrome vaccinated sooner. Now she’s on a ventilator with COVID-19” – CBC

“Research suggests people with Down syndrome who contract COVID-19 have significantly increased risk of death”

covid downs“Demetra (Toula) Zouzoulas, 44, shown on her birthday. Her sister says she asked repeatedly if Toula could be vaccinated before those with Down syndrome became eligible. She says every request was denied.” (Submitted by Olga Zouzoulas )

by Nicole Williams

“Toula Zouzoulas, 44, who has Down syndrome, has spent the last year terrified of catching COVID-19, according to her sister Olga Zouzoulas.

“Now, Toula is on a ventilator, fighting for her life in the ICU of Montfort Hospital in Ottawa after testing positive.

“Zouzoulas said she feels all this could have been avoided if her sister had been vaccinated, arguing that Toula and others with Down syndrome should have qualified sooner.

“Under Ontario’s vaccine rollout program, those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are considered high-risk under Phase 2, but didn’t become eligible until May 3 — too late for Toula who contracted COVID-19 a week earlier.

“‘The government didn’t see them as the highest risk and they failed. They failed my sister,’ said Zouzoulas.”

Keep reading this article at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, click here.

“‘Your mouth becomes a minefield’: the Americans who can’t afford the dentist” – The Guardian

“Pandemic job cuts have meant many people have no insurance to pay for dental work – and the poorest are hardest hit”

older persons dentistryMillions of Americans have no dental insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay out of pocket for extensive dental care needs.” Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Reuters

by Michael Sainato

“Maureen Haley, 66, lost her home in Florida in the wake of the 2008 recession. She now lives in a camper near Greensboro, North Carolina, relying on social security and Medicare to make ends meet and pay for healthcare.

“But Haley has problems with her teeth, and cannot afford to see a dentist to have them fixed.

“’My teeth problems are the biggest problem I have each day,’ said Haley. ‘I need root canals and implants. I have a tooth impaction. I have to massage the heck out of it to get the air out of my gums and cheek after chewing a meal. Painful is an understatement, and the worry of how this may affect my heart compounds it.’

‘She worries about remaining independent, and not ending up in a nursing home. On a limited income, her decisions revolve around what is most pressing, such as fixing her vehicle and drug prescriptions. The last time she was able to visit a dentist was three years ago, and she was given an estimate of over $8,500 for the work she needs.”

Continue reading this article at The Guardian, click here.


In September, 2019, PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area coordinator, Brian Long, appeared with others on a panel at a United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing entitled, “Promoting Healthy Aging: Living Your Best Life Long Into Your Golden Years.” 

In his testimony, he reinforced “Partial and total tooth loss is something that a larger share of older persons deal with, particularly if they are from disadvantaged populations. We know that older seniors, women, persons of color, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have fewer or no remaining teeth. Missing teeth and gum disease are prevalent among many older people in those demographics. Earlier lifestyle choices and forgoing dental treatment, perhaps, have contributed to this, but we know that the absence of regular dental care and treatment can lead to disastrous health consequences.

“Again, affordability is a huge contributor. The issue of coverage for dental, vision and hearing services is about healthy
aging. Without access to these services, we know that older adults have a greater likelihood of:

  • Experiencing social isolation or mental health issues
  • Becoming the victim of a scam
  • Having difficulty accessing transportation resources
  • Struggling to adhere to their prescription medicines
  • Encountering hazards in the home”

“Many Older Adults Lack Even Simple, Helpful Equipment” – The New York Times

“Railings, grab bars, shower chairs and other inexpensive devices can make it easier to continue living at home, but not enough older people acquire them.”

assistiive devicesCredit…Rosem Morton for The New York Times

by Paula Spahn

“In 2019, John Hancock had become so disabled after a hospitalization that he went close to a year without being able to take a bath or a shower. Using a walker, he could, with difficulty, move around the townhouse in Baltimore where he lived with his daughter and grandson. But because he felt too unsteady to climb into the tub, one of them had to help him with sponge baths.

“Then a program at Johns Hopkins called CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place — Advancing Better Living for Elders) sent a nurse, an occupational therapist and a repair person to provide some inexpensive assistive devices. ‘It made a tremendous difference in my life,’ Mr. Hancock, a retired school cook, said.

“Over several visits, the team asked about his needs and priorities and supplied a shower chair and a rubber bath mat. The repair person installed grab bars around the tub, attached a hand-held shower nozzle and added a railing next to the toilet. Mr. Hancock learned how to use it all.

“’I feel safe and I feel secure,’ he said recently. ‘I don’t have to call somebody to help me. I feel independent, and I’ve been independent all my life.’ Recovering well from a recent stroke, Mr. Hancock, now 64, can not only bathe on his own but can also cook for himself, manage stairs and go to church.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.


Be sure to register for this Link-sponsored Webinar:

May 6, 2021 @ 11:00 am – “Is Assistive Technology just a device?” | Shelly Houser, presenter (Register in advance for this webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VwCzY-5-SN2j6GtFNokISA. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.)

This is a FREE webinar you’ll not want to miss: register now, you’ll gain a whole new perspective on independence and inclusion.

S

When: May 6, 2021 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: WEBINAR: Is Assistive Technology just a device?

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VwCzY-5-SN2j6GtFNokISA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.