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#Awareness Blog

Welcome to our blog entitled #Awareness.  This is a space that will delve into disabilities.   Good, bad, or neutral the information should help provide an “Awareness”.  Hopes being that through the information we have provided, you gain a greater Awareness what is happening to people with disabilities.  

  • 13 Apr 2020 2:11 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

          Transportation is vital for community stability and growth, but most people don’t usually think about public transportation especially if they own a vehicle and can drive it.  The hard fact is that some of us and the elderly can’t drive and/or can’t afford a vehicle and want to live independently, so we rely on public transportation or para-transportation to go places.  Here in Jackson we are very fortunate to have the Jackson Area Transportation Authority (JATA) which provides both public and para-transportation. 

         The difference between them is with public transportation. JATA’s vehicles are on a set schedule and can only be accessed at a designated bus stop or the downtown transfer center. Another thing people need to be aware of is that public transportation buses are restricted to stops within the city with few exceptions. That’s why most people call them city buses. The Para-Transit system is for a person with limitations (ADA eligible) and can’t make it to a bus stop. The person would need to have a medical professional certify that they have a disability using a form available through JATA. Once approved the person may call JATA’s dispatch center and arrange transportation through the dispatch center at 517-788-8410.  You must call at least 24 hours in advance but, if you live in the city of Jackson you can schedule a ride 2 weeks in advance. If you live outside of the city 24 hours in advance is the maximum time allowed.  JATA’s main number is 517-787-8363. At your request, they will send you a bus schedule which shows where the city buses are scheduled to arrive and when. You can also get a brochure telling about the programs JATA has available.  Para-Transportation, on the other hand, works on a demand response, which means that, once approved, you can schedule a ride door to door from your home to the location you need to reach.   All JATA vehicles are equipped for wheelchair users including the public transportation buses.                   

      Para-Transit vehicles are not restricted to the city but can go anywhere within Jackson County as long as you live in the city.  If you happen to live more than ¾ miles outside the city Para-Transit still will pick you up but they only do pickups 3 days a week whereas city residents can get a pickup 7 days a week, depending on what day and time you need.  For information on fares, schedules or general information call the main number for JATA, for compliments or complaints call 517-780-3775.

    Here are some of the main things you should know about the transportation service available here in Jackson.

    • 1.     Main number for JATA is 517-787-8363.  When calling this number you can request:
      A.    General information about services they offer
    B.     Schedules and Brochures, etc.
    • 2.      Para-Transit’s number or Reserve-A-Ride as they call it is 517-788-8410.  When calling this number you can schedule a ride, they will tell you what the fare will be as well.
    • 3.     The number for compliments or complaints is 517-780-3775.  When calling this number you can tell them how great there service was to you or what went wrong.

    Now it’s time to reveal myself.  My name is James Cyphers and a person with a disability. I deal with the effects of Post-Polio and am a wheelchair user.  I work part-time at disAbility Connections as an Independent Living Specialist.  I’ve worked as an advocate for people with disabilities for approximately 18 years and I have been a board member for JATA for about 12 years, that’s how I know this stuff about JATA plus I’ve been riding JATA’s buses for almost 40 years.  I’ll end here, but I have much more to say so stay tuned!  And I’d like to hear from you as well.

     


  • 03 Mar 2020 12:31 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    We’ve likely all seen some great uses of Duct Tape in our days.  I’m all for it, I know the cosmetics aren’t the best, but if it’s doing the intended purpose and it’s only temporary who really cares??  Even if it isn’t short term, if you are good with it, that’s all that matters.  But what about the times duct tape isn’t going to do the job?   In my opinion, Zip-Ties are the next best thing.  Plus a package/bag of a few zip ties are relatively cheap and not very hard to stash somewhere in a pocket, purse, backpack, or wheelchair so you can always have some on you.  Duct Tape isn’t as easily stowed out of the way.  But why would zip-ties be so useful you ask?  What can they do for you that duct tape won’t?  Allow me to provide some examples.

    For any mobility device users, we are often just one bad bolt from losing either a key component or our overall mobility.  However, if you have a stash of zip-ties with you it only takes a few to pass through where a bolt broke or fell out and you can continue on your way.  One time I was just getting into my van, heard a loud snap, and suddenly my back rest came unattached.  Without putting those zip ties into the missing bolt hole, I wouldn’t have been able to use my chair.  Lacking any core strength in my body, I would have been on the ground in no time if I had tried to move along and not address the broken bolt.  Then I’d be on the cold ground versus sitting in my chair still.  Big difference.  I have now had to use zip-ties at least 3 times to temporarily hold my chair together in place of a broken bolt until I can get home or a hardware store.

    Although this winter has been bearable so far, we are just one snowstorm away from wreaking havoc on mobility device users in our areas.  All people don’t or can’t get out to shovel driveways or sidewalks in a timely manner.  One of the joys of using mobility devices in Michigan is dealing with all the weather elements and then unintentionally carrying those elements with you wherever you go.  Manual wheelchairs get hard to propel because the push rims get slick from the wetness in snow and casters get filled with it as well.  Power chairs perform better in snow, but still have drawbacks.  The false sense of power may lead users into deeper snow with opportunities to get stuck.  But, if you have those handy zip-ties you can pull a couple out and loop through spokes and around your wheels/tires.  Giving you some new, self-designed snow chains on the power chair that should help get traction and you going forward. 

    Maybe you don’t use a wheelchair of any kind, but have difficulty using your hands on something like zippers.  Simply slide a zip-tie through the end of the zipper and create yourself a loop.  Should make it easier to get a finger or something into the loop to push/pull.  I have used these little loops on things like my backpacks or clothing.  Just another example of the ways you can use simple cheap items like zip-ties and provide a pretty good temporary or long term fix. 

    Hopefully that’ll get you prepared for dealing with the little nuances we experience in daily life.  Whether you try one of the tips I suggested above or have some secret uses for other products, we can help each other by sharing knowledge.  Becoming more aware of what we are getting into and potential life hacks that keep us rolling.  #Awareness


  • 31 Dec 2019 2:06 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

     Hello, this is Stephen B.

    I wanted to share my time after I left disAbility Connections on a Friday. After I left, using my power chair, I went down to the Habitat store on Prospect, there was no side walk so I rode on the side of the road. Was not bad, motorist’s watched out and merged over when possible.

    Then I returned to First Street and Prospect, bummer missed the bus at the corner. Could not get to the sidewalk, the nearby curb cutouts were covered with packed slush. So I started north on First Street. I was thinking downtown is not too far from here. Looking for a place to get off the road and onto a safe place to travel. I went one block and used a driveway to get on the sidewalk, all the corners I passed were blocked with snow.

    I could only travel short distance on the sidewalk, some residents had not removed the snow from the sidewalk in front of their home and there are areas in the sidewalk with more than 2 inch different in height. So I decided to stay on the side of the road, going against traffic. I made good time, weather felt little chilly with a mild mist. Next time I will keep better track of street names.

    There was one corner that the curb cutout was clean, Greenwood Ave. I went on the sidewalk at the corner of Greenwood Ave and First Street for about a quarter of block, then I was stopped by a difference in height of sidewalk more than 3 inches. Back on the road again only to be met with almost detouring blocking. That part of First Street road has potholes so bad, I almost had to turn around. But I managed to get through the pot holes area, YEAH!

    Onward I went, then I heard a male voice yelling. So I stopped and looked around, there was an older man in a power chair on the other side of the road. We met and decided to ride together downtown, He was moving into a new place. He was homeless for a short time. Bill was his name. We made it to his new place of residence and parted ways. I continued to the bus station, but bummer again. I made it just in time to watch the bus leave. So I decided to cruise around downtown and put in an apartment app at Otsego Apartment. Did not go to Elaine apartment, the thought of having an apartment on upper floor did not feel right. For some odd reason heights bother me now.

    The downtown sidewalks and curbs were clean. The area was very accessible.

    So I went back to the bus station and waited for the E. Michigan bus. The station was clean and the worker was very helpful. E. Michigan bus arrived, so I went to get on. The wheelchair ramp did not work, the driver had to use a bar to deploy the ramp. I feel the equipment needs to operate properly and drivers need to be more focused on driving and their passengers, rather than having concerns of difficulty manually deploying equipment. I exited the bus at Meijer and once again the driver had to manually deploy the ramp. I am going to start keeping track of the bus information.  Sometimes when I ride the fixed route buses, ADA led is not displaying and no audio announcement.  I did my shopping and while I was in checkout JATA reserve-a-ride dispatch called me to let me know my ride is there. They were 25 minutes early. Bummer missed out on chicken strip dinner.  The reserve-a-ride drivers are professional. All the ones that have been my driver. So far I have given every one of them a five star.

    What did I learn from my road trip?  In the winter the curb cutouts are not useful when they aren’t cleared of snow/ice, some sidewalk are not shoveled and some areas need repair. There are other people that use mobility devices to get around, it is not only me. The fix route buses need a little more attention in the maintenance area. Downtown area was nice, I need to move in town. Most of all, it felt good to get out and travel.

    Hope you enjoy my little story about my trip.


  • 13 Nov 2019 2:09 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Accessible Voting

    By: Andrew Bowen

    Research shows that people with disabilities face numerous barriers to voting. While barriers to voting can't be removed in a matter of days, there are steps that can be made to ensure that the 35 million Americans who have a disability and are eligible to vote are able to successfully cast their ballots. Polling sites are required by federal law to have at least one accessible voting machine for people with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired. The machine has to guarantee the same access, privacy, and independence that other voters expect when they cast a ballot.

    People with Disabilities in Civic Society 


    Advocacy by people with disabilities has been successful in changing policies and programs, most of which are organized by the disability rights movement. The use of adaptive technology is another vital strategy that empowers people with disabilities to connect with government.
    James Dickson and Kathy Howell, Co-Chairs of the Voting Rights Committee at the National Council on Independent Living are both people with disabilities. When asked to describe the problem of voting access from her perspective, Howell said: “Basically just imagine in all probability you wouldn’t be able to get into polls, you wouldn't be able to access web voting data and information. Imagine being treated like a second class citizen.” When Kathy spoke with Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), he said, “If there are barriers to voting, then those barriers need to be eliminated.” Congressman Langevin, who became a quadriplegic at the age of sixteen due to an accident, shared similar stories of problems he encountered: “There were a couple firsts to my voting experience. The very first time I voted, I voted by paper ballot because I didn't think it would be possible to get to the poll and vote on my own. A couple of years later I said I want to go to polls like anyone else. But when I got there, at the time we had the oldest voting machines in the country. I had to take someone in the voting booth with me.”

    What are Possible Solutions?

    Two suggestions that were additionally mentioned by Howell were to follow Australia’s model of voter registration. In Australia, every citizen is automatically registered to vote when they turn 18 and people have to opt out, rather than opt in. Secondly, she also mentioned that several European countries have made Election Day a holiday so that people can focus solely on voting and ensure they can make it to the polls. Moving our elections to the weekend, with several days before of early voting, is another option. Michelle Bishop, the Disability Advocacy Specialist for Voting Rights at the National Disability Rights Network said. “We know how to solve these problems. It is high time that we as a nation actually do solve them.” 

    If you will need use of an accessible voting machine, contact your local district and let them know.  They will need advanced notice, to ensure the equipment is there and working in proper order.


  • 01 Nov 2019 1:58 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    More to Give

              Bare with me on this one as I try to convey a mindset.  As a person living with a disability, I have encountered an odd situation.  Am I really an inspiration to others?  I’m just trying to get through life like you, just need to do it differently.  This “inspiration-porn” as it is often called, people looking at someone with a disability and trying to justify it in their minds.  Sometimes even saying to me something along the lines of “I couldn’t live like that.” or “How do you do it, go every day and not be discouraged?”  Sometimes followed by “I’ll pray for you to walk again.”  Gee thanks, $50 would really do more for me, but whatever makes you feel better.  First off, I have my struggles just like you and everyone else.  Secondly, how am I really supposed to respond to those comments? 

              I’m competitive.  Always have been.  As a new patient following my diving accident in 2005, it’s a mindset I developed.  It can always be worse.  Can’t use my fingers, at least I can move my arms, that would make things tougher.  Can’t walk, this wheelchair certainly makes it easier to get around.  No sensation below my injury level, better than constant pain or being perpetually un-comfortable.  There are any number of ways in which our individual circumstances could be worse.  So what keeps me going?  A stubborn personality accompanied with motivation to keep going. 

              I too find inspiration in other people.  This brief clip from an E60 report hit home for me. Cliff Devries Birthday Dive

    Whether they have a disability or pass along unique insight or experience for motivation.  They typically have some common threads such as refusing to quit and giving more because they had more to give.  A few of my personal inspirations are former Navy SEALs David Goggins, Adam Brown, and Marcus Luttrell.  The books Fearless based on Adam’s life, and Lone Survivor based on Marcus’ gunfight and survival in Afghanistan, will pop into my head whenever I’m struggling.  Giving me an internal monologue of “keep going and I have more to give, give it”.  They have been through more difficulty than I have and are still here.  I highly suggest reading those books and seeing what determination can do for a person.

              Knowing/learning about your body is essential.  Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations or scenarios, but pushing yourself to do more is a powerful experience.  A way to build self-confidence and develop goal setting.  The building on myself is what has the biggest impact.  The ability to know what can be accomplished and also not being afraid to fail, as we are not going to meet every challenge.  Failure can be just as equal a building block as success creates.  

    So the next time that things aren't going as planned or you are struggling, look inside yourself.  Is there more to give?  We have the ability to decide.  #Awareness

  • 28 Oct 2019 12:09 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

              Looking for a way to manage the upcoming days of GreyPerson with long sleeve dress shirt holds a sign in front of their face that says. If you change nothing, nothing will change!! and the ensuing Winter Time Blues that Michigan brings over the next several months?  Ever try getting involved with adaptive sports for people with disabilities?  Michigan State University has an Adaptive Sports program that offers an opportunity for people to try adaptive sports.  People with disabilities that wish to try, can simply show up during one of their weekly open gym sessions.  There, people with disabilities are getting active in tennis, ping pong, biking, rugby, floorball, bocce ball, and more.  Whether you are interested in team or individual sports, or just looking to be more active, the MSU Adaptive Sports program is a great opportunity for experimentation and free of charge.  Plenty of student volunteers are there to assist getting adjusted or into equipment, working with you towards your goals, or to compete against as you play.  The atmosphere is relaxed with enthusiastic students and loaner equipment available for you to experience. Equipment such as sport chairs, arm bikes, or exercise equipment and more are already there for people to use or if you have your own to bring, that is welcome too. 

              When you are there interacting with other people, it creates a nice escape from daily life with a disability.  You are simply another player on the team or someone that is getting exercise.  No other label or stigma.  In this safe environment you are able to leave your daily life and escape into an activity.  It’s a totally different feeling when you are no longer in the minority and are among peers.  As a person with a disability, whether it is true or not, it can feel isolating to enter a room full of people.  As if the entire room stops and you feel their eyes follow your every movement.  However, enter a room of others with similar disabilities and nobody looks twice.  Unless you have some sweet gear or a service dog.  Then you may get a second glance, but it’s out of jealousy and wanting what you have, rather than curiosity at the oddity entering in the room.  When I go to a rugby tournament and the wheelchair users easily outnumber the non-chair users, it’s a different dynamic.  I’ve heard the comment several times how it is different to have the roles reversed.  There it is a gym full of people in wheelchairs and the people walking are in the minority for a change.  Then the true gem is going outside and checking out the parking lot.  All those people in wheelchairs had to get there somehow and had to park somewhere.  The parking lot is typically a nice mix of angled parking and double spaced to allow for all the ramps and lifts in vehicles. 

              Adaptive sports aren’t just about getting active.  It allows for real-life conversations among your peers with disabilities too.  You realize you are not alone.  Another large benefit to getting into adaptive sports is the ability to learn from others in similar scenarios.  Asking and watching what other people do to make their lives easier, as those of us with disabilities know, that everyday life things can be hacked for better.  How do you…?  What about…?  Where did you…?  Equipment, sex, food, social life, aides, travel, school, work, activities, or anything you are comfortable with speaking/sharing, are important pieces to enjoying life and who better to speak with than those living similar lives?!  #Awareness

  • 28 Aug 2019 4:09 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    There are many things an average person will want in their lifespan like happiness, to meet a partner, or landing the dream job.  Or if you narrowed it down to the person specifically, maybe it would be wants of good health, being a good friend, or going on a trip. Will those wants be the same between an average person and a person with a mobility disability?  Probably pretty similar for the most part.  Now, if they switched and wrote wants for the other person.  What do you think would be at the top of the list for the disabled person from an average person?  I bet I know. 

    Walk again. 

    There is an obsession by people with the ability to walk to think that’s all that matters.  I get it.  That’s all you know.  The ‘Abled Life’. Yet, when I talk with other people with SCI, walking is often far from the top of their list.  Talk to Quad’s and Para’s popular choices are:

    Quad’s

    Para’s

    • 1.  Hand and finger dexterity

    Bowel/Bladder Control

    • 2.  More functional muscles

    More function

    • 3.  Better sensation

    Walking

    These lists will vary depending on the person’s length of injury and also their injury level.  But, notice where walking shows up on the list.  At the bottom of Paraplegic’s want list.  In the long list of things we can get back, our walking legs typically isn’t the foremost thought.  For the most part, anyone using a mobility device can get through the day.  What we want is simply to speed up our day and make it easier overall.

    Another aspect I never thought of prior to my injury were social norms and how they may be impacted.  For you men out there.  How were you taught for a good introduction?  Walk up, look the person in the eye, introduce yourself, and give a good firm handshake.  Something along those lines?  As a Quad, shaking hands is something I hate.  Simply because I can’t shake hands.  Instead, I’m extending the dead fish attached to my wrist for the person to awkwardly hold.  Plus, looking up at people all the time gets old.  Especially you really tall folks, would be nice of you to find a chair or take a knee if we have a conversation.  Just a little common courtesy for the next time you encounter someone in a chair. 

    Daily life in a wheelchair is not as bad as everyone imagines.  No, it is not the ideal scenario and likely never crossed your mind as a possibility.  However, there’s no going back and life goes on.  You will quickly notice how UN-accessible the built environment is, have to wait while people take the big stall in bathrooms or the accessible parking space, but things can always be worse.  Day-in and day-out, no matter what is going on, the lack of ‘normal’ hands is by far the hardest/most frustrating part of Quadriplegia.  EVERYTHING takes longer and the likelihood of dropping something skyrockets.  That’s why I don’t have nice things, I have dropped everything.  At least now I have the #Awareness of knowing my limitations when holding items.  In fact, it has probably been a good couple of hours since my last drop so I need to wrap this up before the laptop takes another tumble down to the ground.


  • 24 Jul 2019 2:15 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Welcome To My Life: The Oh-So Typical Cerebral Palsy Edition

    Living with Cerebral Palsy, I am recognized as such: The Girl with Cerebral Palsy and more often than not, not for who I am as a person. Allow me to save you an awkward introduction with a plethora of explanations that you don’t need: My name is Madison, I am a twenty-one year old, caffeine-addicted, concert-attending bookworm who happens to have Cerebral Palsy.

    Now, if that isn’t exactly what you are looking for, allow me time to explain what you probably, truly, want to know: I was born three months premature simply because I wanted to grace the world with my lovely presence a little earlier than planned. Because of this, I was naturally a pretty small kid; two pounds and one ounce, to be exact. Because I was so tiny, getting oxygen to my brain was a task similar to climbing Mount Everest as a few-day-old baby: I couldn’t. With that being said, what followed is what I call The Stroke, capitalized not only for emphasis but because according to family and friends that was the moment that turned things on its head. I had a stroke due to that pesky lack of oxygen to my brain.

    What usually happens with strokes in children is medical professionals do not know the effect it had until months later, when the child is developing cognitively and is a bit more mobile. It wasn’t until a check-up that doctors asked my parents, “Does she favor one hand over the other?”

    “Yes, definitely her left,” I’m assuming they answered, unknowingly.

    They were then informed that children my age don’t have a dominant hand, thus explaining the after-effects of the stroke. What followed was realizing my right eye needed surgery and my right leg wasn’t quite right either. I’m sensing a theme…
               

     As I grew up, my “limitations” were increasingly apparent, making everything from getting dressed in the morning before school to cutting up food for lunch a little harder than it needed to be. Now, twenty-one years later, I’d like to think that I have pretty much overcome what was daunting growing up. I have two college degrees and a full-time job, I can drive a car, and did I mention that I am a fully-independent adult? I’m doing just fine.

    With that being said, there are one million things that I have yet to discover. This blog is being used, in part, to facilitate a conversation about a necessary topic: Living with a disability. I hope that by reading this blog and reading my thoughts you feel welcome to share your stories, struggles, and triumphs. Most of all, I hope this blog helps its readers realize that you are not a disabled person, you are a person with a disability, living life like everyone else.


    Until The Next Adventure,

    Madison


  • 18 Jul 2019 1:58 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Back in April 2019, the Disability Advocates of Kent CountyIleana wears a white tee shirt, red pants and heels sits in her wheelchair on the stage at 2012 Ted Talks hosted their inaugural launch into Absolutely Accessible Kent.  An initiative to bring together the disability community with those involved in building design.  Resulting in a room filled with Architects, Designers, and Builders gathered listening to a glass ceiling shattering, world renowned Architect, Ileana Rodriquez.  Ms. Rodriquez has already earned global recognition utilizing Universal Design in her projects.  Ms. Rodriquez is so sought after, the country of Kazakhstan specifically contracted her to design their first fully accessible building.  She has done consulting in countries such as Japan, Germany, and Peru to name a few.  If that wasn’t impressive enough for you, how about throwing in that she is in a historically White Male profession as a Cuban born female that due to an Arteriovenous Malformation in her spinal cord at age 13, she can longer walk and uses a wheelchair for mobility.  After relocating with her family as a teenager to South Florida for better medical opportunities, Ileana joined her high school swim team and continued her education going on to graduate from Florida International University with a Bachelors and Masters in Architecture.  Still not enough for you?  Ileana set a U.S. record in the 200 Breaststroke and is also a former Paralympic Swimmer, representing the United States at London in 2012. 

    All of these global accomplishments and accolades and she hasn’t turned 35 yet. 

    With a high caliber of information and experience in Universal Design, but limited time, some of the key takeaways I have are as follows:

    • 1.   Education is important all around.
    • 2.   Who has a seat at the table?  Missing input?
    • 3.   Design. Plan. Design.
    • 4.   Not if, but when this happens.

    Education cannot be stressed enough.  As a society we can help each other.  Architects and builders have their technical backgrounds, but they may not know what is best for people with disabilities within their buildings.  It is important we do our part to share information on what is needed and beneficial for full inclusion and access.

    When discussing a new project, where are you getting input?  Who is giving the input?  Who is your target?  Heard from them?  Who is not at the table?  Should they be?  Has this been done elsewhere?  If so, what did they encounter and would they do anything differently?  These questions need to be asked, and more than once.  Re-evaluate to check if the answers change.  If not, what changed?

    Beginning design matters the most.  If designed poorly or the information is not clearly followed correctly there is a greater chance of coming back having to re-do.  Taking more time, money, while upsetting both workers and customers.  Plan accordingly by talking with all parties to be involved.  Design the project around these factors.  Design to help all people instead of just a few (ramp to be accessible aside from main entry)

    Lastly, don’t think “If ….happens I will get…” think “When….happens I will have…”.  It just makes sense to think long term.  If you think of what you will need in the future and what accommodates those needs, design/plan and make it now.  When the need arises, accommodations aren’t needed.  They are built in because of the knowledge you used, and in the end it just makes sense.  Make changes for the long term benefits and uses by all people.  #Awareness


  • 21 Jun 2019 1:15 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    I can still remember when he came in the room.  “That was unexpected, but he should be able to help me.” were along my first thoughts.  Yet he hadn’t said a word.  Then he asked all the same questions, did all the same checks and tests on me, my answers and results hadn't changed from before, but I had a new hope.  This guy should be able to give me helpful information and guide me through this disaster. 

    Dr. Scelza had my attention and curiosity the instant he rolled into the room.

    I was a freshly injured quad within my first month of inpatient therapy.  Dr. Scelza was in his Residency working with Spinal Cord Injuries at U of M, and is paralyzed and a wheelchair user himself.  At 20 years old, this may have been my first interaction with someone with a visible disability in a prestigious job.  Absolutely was my first since getting injured.  Didn't see any others zooming in and out of rooms and down the halls anyway. 

    A great article in New Mobility Magazine about Doctors with disabilities brought these memories back.  The article emphasizes the need to have people with disabilities involved in our health care needs, as they have a deeper understanding of everything entailed with our disability.  Not that people without disabilities cannot do the same.  However, having someone involved in your care that has experienced it themselves provides an instant credibility.  Such as telling you that using one type of suppository over another can speed up a bowel program.  Not that those that walked in before didn’t have the same information, but advice carries different weight when it comes from a relatable source.  I mean how common is it for non-disabled people to use various suppositories in search of what works best???  I haven’t heard of that homework assignment during Med School.  Although, maybe they should…fits well with sharing in the full experience of what their future clientele experience.   Next time students try to experience paralysis by using wheelchairs for a day, go the full extent.  They need to do a suppository bowel program, use a catheter to pee all day (also forcing them to find an accessible bathroom and hope someone isn’t in the one accessible stall), go shopping in a clothing and grocery store, out to eat somewhere they haven’t been, and try to find parking spots.  All the common areas where struggles occur.  Goes well with not asking others to do what you haven’t done yourself.  Right?!

    Dr. Scelza isn’t likely to be rolling into too many of your lives, considering circumstances of my intro to him, but his impact can carry on.  As more and more people with disabilities take on new and interesting careers, we are out more in the public eye.  We have a chance to be that informational resource or inspirational light of possibility for others.  We can expand the influence out into every work field.  Not just within healthcare. 

    How many scenarios have we been in that including the disabled community from the beginning could have avoided??  Just because you haven’t seen or heard of somebody with a disability in a job/career doesn’t mean anything.  As we continue to knockdown barriers and follow our passions, simply being out there for others to see can be helpful.  Similar to any other project, the involvement of people with disabilities from the beginning is important (cough cough... housing continually built inaccessible). If nothing else, we make others aware how helpful engagement with the disability communities early on provides long term benefits and reduces unnecessary struggles or re-do’s for all people.  #Awareness



disAbility Connections, Inc.      409 Linden Ave.  Jackson, MI   49203      Phone:  (517) 782-6054      Fax:  (517)  782-3118

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