Category Archives: Disabilitiies

WEBINAR: The Joy of Animals

Mark this date and time on your calendar: Wednesday, July 22, 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Join Link partners, Karen Greth, Meagan Good and Chris Hainley as they introduce you to special animal friends of theirs during this Webinar presentation.

Our special presenters (human and animal) will be sharing ideas and examples of the ways animals help fight social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and other emotional and out-of-normal feelings. COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have changed everything except the joy that animals bring to people.

joy of animals draft

Human Presenters:

  • Karen Greth, K-PETS – Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
  • Meagan Good, Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy 
  • Chris Hainley, Fairy Tail Acres, the Rescue. 

Each of the presenters will introduce Webinar participants to their animal presenters.


You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 22, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: The Joy of Animals!

Register in advance for this webinar:

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

Disability Pride Virtual PA – be there, June 27 through July 26

disability pride


disability pride conversation 2

FREE screening: “Opening Doors to College”: Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability.

opening doors

Opening Doors to College” is a 36-minute documentary by filmmaker Dan Habib which shows the educational, social and self-determination strategies of inclusive higher education at Millersville and Temple Universities. Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.

Watch the trailer here.

Watch this film for FREE on June 19 at noon. Register here:

Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. are opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disability. The 36-minute film “Opening Doors to College” shows how students like Fudia, Missy, Curtis, and Janet are leading this inclusion revolution as they immerse themselves in classes, residential life, extracurricular activities, and the entire college experience at Millersville and Temple Universities.

Perspective: “The Plight of the African American”

by Susan Shaffer

Background – After the horrific killing of George Floyd, by a police officer, America become more focused on the poor treatment and stereotypes toward people of color. We have experienced a plethora of outrage on the issue. Venting / anger must now be transformed into ongoing dialogue and constructive action. As a person with a disability, I’m aware of how society may treat marginalized populations. I’m qualified to offer strategies for improvement. The key to change is meaningful action.

Introduction – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This mandate must again be front and center as well as upheld and implemented; there is no use for a law that has no teeth in it. Below are a series of typical scenarios illustrating what African Americans experiences as well as some success stories depicting ways to avoid the rabbit hole i.e. negative patterns. This is a two- way street the individual must be empowered to take responsibility one’s own choices and reject temptations.

#1 It isn’t easy being black: Exploring Life as an African American. I did not ask to be born black. I wish I was given a choice, as if I was able to check the appropriate box before my cells were formed. Life would be significantly easier I’d have been able to live in a house like Tom Brady’s with a parking lot on the balcony. Instead I lived in a rat -infested place in the projects. The space heater and fan never worked and sometimes the toilet wouldn’t flush. Dinner was usually cereal or an unidentified item that came from the fridge. Once in a while mom cooked but since mine wasn’t the only mouth to feed, I often left the table hungry. I loved visiting grandma who lived a few towns over she was a good cook and she cooked for an army so my belly was always full when I went there.

School was an escape from home but it was boring; students didn’t learn much. The class was located at the end of a long narrow hall filled with graffiti. Our books were outdated and most kids didn’t have nice backpacks and notebooks. The teacher spent a lot of time trying to get the kids to stop talking, not many listened.

After school I spent time with my friends but there were kids in gangs who kept trying to interest me. The kids seemed nice but after I agreed to hang out with them, they only wanted me to shoot people and take drugs. I knew it was wrong but they had money, power, and were happy. I didn’t want to live this life but before I knew it, I was committing crimes and could not see any way out. Sure, there were after-school programs for kids like me but it wasn’t cool and my group leader “reminded” me that he would not protect me if I chose to leave. I saw what happened to kids who wanted to take a different path. I grew up just like almost everyone else I knew. No real way to improve myself, hell, I didn’t think I could. What would I do? What were my skills other than stealing, killing, and selling drugs?

#2 Taking Responsibility for my action: Life is not a pity party. I realize now that I had to want to change and it wasn’t impossible. I must speak up and find my inner strength to reject the “easy” road as so many of my “friends” continue to do. They may feel like, “Nothing can happen to me.” But no one is invincible, too many people end up in jail or worse. They may have money and power now but what about tomorrow; there may not be a tomorrow. Especially if they have kids; what kind of example are they setting by inciting violence? What kind of future would their kids have? They are continuing the problem instead of being part of the solution. Some of my brothers have enrolled in college and will learn a profession that enables them to turn their future around completely. If they can do it I can too. I must seek out healthier routes. All I had to do was remember how many times I came to getting killed.  I snuck out with, the few dollars I saved, and took a bus to a town where no one knew me. I had no idea what I was doing and I knew no one, only that I had to leave my past horrid situation. I just walked up and down the streets then found a building that offered a program for kids like me who needed a second chance. I will be on the right side of the tracks (the law).

It was brand new and scary but so was breaking a window with a gun in order to threaten a home owner. I saw someone with a name tag around her neck and explained my situation. The person listened and called another worker who explained that he knew a local program designed to help people who are like me. I was driven to a house with teenagers who were in the process of turning their futures around. I met a few and spent time listening to “my” story but it was told by someone else. For the first time I realized I was not alone. If I could follow their lead, I will have a chance. College was not easy but I stuck with it, I found work, then a profession, then a girlfriend and followed the path to a life filled with healthy choices. The key is not to wallow in pity but take full responsibility for myself and my situation. As a counselor, I encourage anyone to pursue another route.

Here are some discussion questions:

  • What makes people resist making the changes that can help them find the way to a better future?
  • What can communities do to improve the situations of people in lower income neighborhoods?
  • How can people break the pattern of “poor me” that perpetuates the situation?
  • What steps can religious entities take to help troubled kids and their families?
  • How can the current programs and efforts be improved to reach more people?
  • What role does the family play in this situation? What can be done at a family level?
  • What can individuals do to encourage their peers to take responsibility for their own lives?
  • What is already done in the schools to encourage inclusion? What improvements can be made?

Susan Schaffer has a congenital physical disability. Since birth her parents were encouraged by many medical to place her in an institution. Her parents refused to agree with the bleak future others predicted. Her parents literally awoke throughout the night in order to clean substances in her body.

Susan was unable to make sounds, sit up, or eat independently. She grew out of many of the medical problems but made regular visits to specialists at Du Pont Institute during her childhood. She continues to be extremely sensitive to the stereotypes of the community her entire life. People did not understand her challenges especially her peers; public school was a very difficult experience.

The law mandated that she be accompanied and cared there by an adult. The formative years are crucial in psychological development. Low self-esteem can lead to a plethora of emotional problems. Attitudes cannot be legislated but actions can. People with  disabilities have the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. People of color have the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Statistics prove that people of both populations can make meaningful contributions to society. However, the former still get patted on the head and the later still get arrested though innocent due to society’s judgmental attitudes. There are many similar threads that result in anger and danger. Venting is a meaningful act but this energy must be transferred into healthy, simple action. Communication is the way to reach true inclusion.

Please visit to learn more. Contact me to help implement programs. I may be reached at

“‘It’s not cutting it’: Significant roadblocks deter special education students from progressing at home” – Lancaster Online

unique struggle

by Alex Geli

“Denise Schwebel and her daughter, Emma, sat at the head of their dining room table on a recent Friday afternoon to finish the final few online assignments of the school year.

“Schoolwork for Emma, who is in a multiple disabilities support program run by the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 at Conestoga Valley High School, is always a team effort. The 20-year-old is cognitively delayed and in a wheelchair, can’t talk and only eats pureed foods.

“But because she hasn’t been in school since mid-March because of the coronavirus shutdown, her mom has been by her side to help.”

Click here to read this Lancaster Online / LNP – Always Lancaster article in its entirety.

“lonlieness and the absence of touch” | COVID-19 yields

covid senior despair(Hannah Norman / KHN Illustration)

by Judith Graham

“As states relax coronavirus restrictions, older adults are advised, in most cases, to keep sheltering in place. But for some, the burden of isolation and uncertainty is becoming hard to bear.

“This ‘stay at home awhile longer’ advice recognizes that older adults are more likely to become critically ill and die if infected with the virus. At highest risk are seniors with underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung or autoimmune diseases.

“Yet after two months at home, many want to go out into the world again. It is discouraging for them to see people of other ages resume activities. They feel excluded. Still, they want to be safe.”

Click here to read this Kaiser Health Network article in its entirety.

“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” – The Scientist

“Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.”

by Ashley Yeager | in The Scientist

“It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“’Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,’ says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

To continue reading this article at The Scientist, click here.

“Live Transcribe is an accessibility app designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing and usable by anyone.”

Screenshot_20200527-153154_Live Transcribescreenshot using “Live Transcribe” during the Webinar.

Tuned into this ADvancing States WEBINAR today, “Using Technology to Meet the Needs of Older Adults Isolated at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Of the volumes of Webinars that have proliferated the landscape in the past bunch of months, this one had some real applicable learning points. One we are eager to share with our Link partners and people who come to this Website.

Meet “Live Transcribe” – an quite useful app for your smart phone.

Live Transcribe is an accessibility app designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing and usable by anyone. Using Google’s state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition technology, Live Transcribe performs real-time transcription of speech and sound to text on your screen, so you can more easily participate in conversations going on in the world around you. You can also keep the conversation going by typing your response on the screen.

On Pixel 3 and up, these additional steps are required to use Live Transcribe:

1. Open your device’s Settings app.
2. Tap “Accessibility”, then tap “Live Transcribe”.
3. Tap “Use service”, then accept the permissions.
4. An Accessibility button should now appear at the bottom right corner of your screen, next to the Home button. Tap the Accessibility button or use gesture ( to start Live Transcribe.

Real-time transcription:
• Supports transcription in over 70 languages and dialects.
• Supports quick-switching between 2 languages.
• Displays non-speech sound so that you know if someone is knocking on your door or a dog is barking.
• Reply without speaking by typing your responses within the app.

Referring back to transcription:
• You can save a transcript up to 3 days which stays secure on your device. (By default, transcriptions are not saved.)
• Touch and hold the transcript to copy & paste.

For more accurate transcription:
• Use an external microphones found in wired headsets, Bluetooth headsets, and USB mics for better audio reception.
• Check the loudness and noise indicator to find out if your environment is suitable for transcription.

• Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and up.

Live Transcribe was made in collaboration with Gallaudet University, the premier Deaf and hard of hearing university in the US.

Join the Google Accessible community (!forum/accessible) to provide feedback and receive product updates.Visit link: to connect with an expert on the Disability Support team.

Permissions Notice
Microphone: Live Transcribe needs microphone access to transcribe the speech around you. The audio is not stored after the transcript is processed.


The Crip Camp Impact Campaign is proud to announce Crip Camp: The Official Virtual Experience!

crip camp2

The Crip Camp Impact Campaign is proud to announce Crip Camp: The Official Virtual Experience! In these unprecedented times, there is no one better to think outside of the box and deliver community building right to your home. We are inviting all grassroots activists and advocates to join us this summer for a virtual camp experience featuring trailblazing speakers from the disability community. All are welcome, you do not need any activism experience to participate.

Please note all times on the Zoom link will appear in your local timezone. Online workshops will occur via Zoom and are ASL interpreted with Deaf Interpreters plus captioning. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. We encourage you to attend all, or as many sessions as possible. We will send Crip Camp 2020 swag materials to everyone who attends 14 out of 16 sessions.

When: Every Sunday at 5 pm EST from now to August 30th for one and a half hours each.

  • May 24: Shedding Shame & Embracing Wholeness: Why We Must Address Internalized Ableism
  • May 31: Disability, Race, Class, & Gender: Intersectionality
  • June 7: All the Feels: Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care Strategies into our Work
  • June 14: We Have ALWAYS Resisted: The History of Disabled Black Activism
  • June 21: Our Worth, Our Humanity: Disability Justice as a Spiritual Practice
  • June 28: Let’s Talk about Sex: Our Bodies, Our Lives & Reproductive Justice
  • July 5: The Personality Behind the Work: Finding Your Social Media Voice
  • July 12 : Hashtag Activism: Organizing Online for Your Community
  • July 19 : I F&*#ed Up: What I Learned from It and How I Apologize
  • July 26 : ADA 30 Celebration
  • August 2: Education for the People: Best Practices in Facilitation
  • August 9: Art Activism: Visual & Performing Arts as Vehicles for Change
  • August 16: Working All the Angles: Civic Engagement and More
  • August 23: Getting Paid Without Selling Out: How to Finance Your Work
  • August 30: Building Across Movements: Disability as Social Justice Issue

Register in advance for these webinars: Click here.


“Savant in the Limelight, 1988–2009” – The Scientist

Kim Peek, the inspiration for the title character in Rain Man, brought public attention to savant syndrome.


by Sukanya Charuchandra

“Even for Darold Treffert, an expert in the study of savants who has met around 300 people with conditions such as autism who possess extraordinary mental abilities, Kim Peek stood out from the pack. Treffert first spoke with Peek on the phone in the 1980s. Peek asked Treffert for his date of birth and then proceeded to recount historical events that had taken place on that day and during that week, Treffert says. This display of recall left Treffert with no doubt that Peek was a savant.

“Peek’s abilities dazzled screenwriter Barry Morrow when the two men met in 1984 at a committee meeting of the Association for Retarded Citizens. Morrow went on to pen the script for the 1988 film Rain Man, basing Dustin Hoffman’s character on Peek.

“The concept of savant syndrome dates back to 1887, when physician J. Langdon Down coined the term “idiot savant” for persons who showed low IQ but superlative artistic, musical, mathematical, or other skills. (At the time, the word ‘idiot’ denoted low IQ and was not considered insulting.)”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

“More than 1 in 5 Americans are taking care of their elderly, ill and disabled relatives and friends” – The Conversation

caregiver“Caring for loved ones is harder during the coronavirus pandemic.” –  Maskot/Getty Images

by Erin E. Kent

“I’m studying how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing caregiving.

“Immunocompromised people, seniors with dementia and anyone with a chronic disease are more likely to experience the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Caregivers face new worries due to the coronavirus, including whether they can they still assist their vulnerable relatives and friends and what they should do if they themselves or someone they live with gets sick.

“This quandary affects about 21.3% of Americans. The total number of Americans doing this unpaid work has reached an estimated 53 million in 2019, according to the latest data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving, an advocacy and research organization, and AARP. That number, which excludes people caring for children without disabilities, is up from 43.5 million, the previous estimate made in 2015.

“Caregivers support their loved ones and friends by voluntarily performing an array of duties. They help with activities of daily living, such as eating and getting dressed, along with a range of medical needs. They change bandages, make sure the person they’re caring for is taking their drugs and monitor symptoms.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Conversation.