Blogging Along


In this section we are going to feature guest blogs and want to here from YOU.  Do you have an interesting take on disabilities or want to share information that may be beneficial to the general public?  If so, we want you to take some time and submit a writing.  We have a few things to iron out with taking submissions, but are eager to hear from you!  

  • 04 Oct 2019 2:13 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.

     


  • 17 Jun 2019 9:13 AM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Disability Defining and a Necessary Change in Rhetoric

    As a person with a disability, I can’t keep track of how many times I have been referred to as a “disabled person.” First of all, thank you, truly, for putting my disability before who I am as a person, as that does leaps and bounds for my self-esteem. Secondly, I feel for those individuals who you have referred to as such in the past. Let me, potentially, be the first to tell you that, for all intents and purposes, that’s not the correct identification. Before you lose your mind due to the fact that I have disrupted a deeply-ingrained thought process, allow me to explain the difference.

    Something called people-first language is put in place when people with disabilities are referred to as such, putting the person at the forefront and not the disability. Instead of autistic person, per se, you would say person with autism. Instead of wheelchair-bound, you would say person who uses a wheelchair. A few extra words can make all the difference.

    With this in mind, articles have been written for and against this necessary change in rhetoric. While disability-first language, as I will call it, is poor form, others dispute that people-first language is just as distasteful. The focal point behind this thought process stems from the idea that an individual’s disability is looked at in a negative light when people-first or person-first language is used. “Though person-first language is designed to promote respect, the concept is based on the idea that disability is something negative, something that you shouldn’t want to see,” wrote Cara Liebowitz in a 2015 piece on the subject. Essentially, Liebowitz thinks that her disability should be mentioned when she is being referred to, as it is a part of who she is. She writes, “The idea of separating the disability from the person stems from the idea that disability is something you should want to have separated from you, like a rotten tooth that needs to be pulled out.”

    Admittedly my stance on the topic changes depending on the situation I am presented with and a concrete response on Liebowitz’s ideas is something that I have yet to establish, even after reading her piece three times through. I much prefer “person with a disability” over “disabled person.” I am not a girl with cerebral palsy, but much more that should be considered first before my disability is even approached in conversation. While “person with a disability” is more respectful than “disabled person”, that poses the question of whether a disability should be mentioned at all.

    Would you prefer to have your disability mentioned in conversation when you are first being introduced to someone, not at all, or at another point? Do you identify as a “person with a disability”, a “disabled person”, or neither?


  • 15 May 2019 2:19 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



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

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