• Category Archives Talk Tuesday
  • Talk Tuesday: World Of Depression

     

    It is no surprise that we are living in an always changing world that is leaving long-lasting marks on people; some positive, and others not. As a result of the changes that may not be so positive, there can be a negative impact to a person’s emotional health, such as depression. Although in some instances, depression can be genetic, there is a lot that is acquired.
    Whether genetic or acquired, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed depression to be the leading cause for disability across the world. Specifically, the organization found that about 300,000,000 people are living with depression; a condition that can have emotional and physical implications. Hopelessness, sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep, isolation, just to name a few, are some symptoms that are accompanied with depression. Not to mention, untreated depression has been linked to substance use and heart disease. For depression, there are a few types of treatment that a person can choose from; medication and/or counseling.
    It is highly recommended that when diagnosed with depression that a person do one or both of the available treatments mentioned. However, according to WHO, nearly half of the reported 300,000,000 people impacted by depression, are not getting the help they need.
    April 7, 2017 was World Health Day, thus the theme of this year was depression. The motto, “LET’s Talk,” is supposed to create dialogue around mental illness, while erasing the stigma. The more you talk about something, the more you understand it. Knowledge equals understanding, which opens the doors to acceptance. So, how are you going to walk the talk about depression? Tweet us, and share your responses. We want to know!


  • Talk Tuesday: A Right, A Necessity Part II

     

    Stand up, for your voice will be heard, it will rise. When you rise, at the end of the long fight, you will find the prize. For a Colorado family, and others across the nation, the long waited prize came in the form of a Supreme Court ruling in March. The ruling states that all children, no matter ability, deserve a high quality education. Specifically, the Supreme Court unanimously voted that each child’s educational program must be ambitious, in light of his/her circumstances. Every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives, even if the child is not fully integrated into the mainstream classroom. The court made it clear that the current standards were too low for students with disabilities. If you recall, Prominent Pathways wrote an earlier blog post about such standards, and how equality is important to success. As the Supreme Court believes, any standards that hinder the progress of students, defeats the purpose of education for those with disabilities. When it comes to education, every student deserves a chance to perform to their fullest capability. Limited education does not fix a problem, but rather prolongs it. This ultimately makes an even bigger problem; drop outs.
    In the past, it has been unclear on what type of uniform standards to hold students with disabilities to. This ruling fixes this problem. Within the imposed standards, there is a more equal playing field among families and school officials. Families will have more bargaining power when it comes to their student’s education; fighting for their rights. Education will be geared to each students individual needs; promoting ability, as it should be. Now, it is up to school districts to uphold the new standards. It is time to give students with disabilities a fair chance to excel to higher levels.


  • Talk Tuesday: Open Access

    Books are the gateway to a whole world of possibilities. Let your imagination lead the way. Whether it is printed, digital, audio, or Braille books, literature educates and motivates, thus making access to all a necessity. For those with print reading disabilities, such as visual impairments and dyslexia, access to information is not on the same level, as with those without a disability. However, libraries, such as the Colorado Talking Book Library seeks to create a more leveled playing field. The library provides formatted books to those with print reading disabilities at no charge. A variety of books can be checked out, including text books. It is. a Crucial service that provides an abundance of opportunity for their patrons.
    Unfortunately, the library’s existence is at jeopardy. According to the Colorado Talking book Library’s email, which was sent to it’s patrons, “President Trump’s budget eliminates the Institute for Museums and Libraries Services (IMLS). Specifically, “CTBL receives 25% of its budget and 6.75 of our 13 staff are supported with funds that come from IMLS. If this cut were to go through CTBL services will be seriously compromised.”
    Wondering how you can help? The Colorado Talking Book Library urges you to reach out to your legislatures and tell them how this service has made a difference in your life, as well as the impact it will have if taken away. To find your legislature, visit this site http://action.everylibrary.org/preserve_funding_for_the_neh_nea_and_pbs

    Also, the Colorado Talking Book Library has included a sample letter to write to your legislature…

    funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services slated to be cut in the recently released “America First” federal budget. The small amount of federal funding appropriated each year makes a huge difference in our lives. IMLS funds supports the Colorado Talking Book Library which makes a difference in my life every day. As one of your constituents who cannot read standard print, I would not have access to books that come directly to me. My quality of life will be compromised. As your constituent, I appreciate you supporting the IMLS and will watch as the budget moves through this Congress. Thank you for helping to make and keep me connected to reading.

    Prominent Pathways wants to hear from you. Tweet your favorite things about the Colorado Talking Book Library. We look forward to hearing from you.


  • Talk Tuesday: Growing With Google

     

    Google has made great accessibility strides, from their internet ventures to mainstream products. Google realizes that accessibility should not be a luxury, but rather a right. Most recently Google has created a new feature in their maps application. So, not only can a user get directions to a given location, but they can now tell whether or not a place is wheelchair accessible. This is a really convenient and handy feature. Can you imagine going to a place to find out that you can not enter because there is no ramp or elevator to accommodate you? The time and effort it took is wasted. I imagine that could be very frustrating, to say the least. Google’s aim is to prepare a wheelchair user on what to expect from various locations, before traveling there.
    Let’s examine the new feature more closer. How is the data gathered to tell whether or not a location is accessible or not? The answer is, patrons themselves. Data is collected from people who use the Google Maps application. Within the application, there is the newly added category, accessibility. Under the accessibility tab, people write a review. But, what is exactly accessible? That depends on the detail of a person’s review; could be very detailed to limited information. In addition, to whose standards are accessibility viewed? What may be accessible to one person, may not be to another. Therefore, it would be advantageous if the reviews category had a template to base answers off of; questions that are based off the ADA criteria. The accessibility feature is a great idea and has potential to create awareness, but has some revising that needs to take place. If you have used the Google Maps accessibility feature, tweet us and let us know what you think. We want to hear from you!


  • Talk Tuesday: Independence With iDentifi

    Thank goodness for the era of technology. There are a lot of innovative ideas that keep surfacing everyday. With the surfacing of different apps, there is a need for developers to compete by making their product better and more enhanced than the others. Have you heard of the app, TapTapSee? It is an object recognition program that allows a user to take a picture of something in front of them, and be told aloud what it is. Very cool, to say the least. I had downloaded the app years ago, but only used it a few times. Since then the app has made enhancements and has become more efficient. I re-downloaded it at the urging of my partner. He tested it out and recommended I give it a second chance. I am glad I did because it has become a staple in my daily routine. Did I mention it is free? Yes, it is!
    Well, it looks like one of my favorite apps has competition. The competitor is iDentifi, created by a 12th grader in Toronto, Canada. Bright and ambitious at a young age, Anmol Tukrel began working on his app about a year ago. iDentifi uses Google Vision, CloudSight, and Google Translate to help deliver the given information in a reliable, trusted manner. Just like TapTapSee, the app is geared towards those who have limited to no eyesight. As TapTapSee, iDentifi is free in the iOs store, if you want to try it out. For a little suspense, Tukrel plans on incorporating 96 languages, object recognition in video mode, panoramic mode for navigating streets/addresses, and street crossing signs. All to which are not present in TapTapSee. I am looking forward to seeing the additions to the iDentifi app.

  • Talk Tuesday: The Conversation

    “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lorde

    It is that time of the year again, Disability Employment Awareness Month. This month people are paying homage to those with disabilities, especially the accomplishments they have and can make within the workforce. I have often said on and off this forum that disability does not mean inability. When given the opportunity, more and more people will begin to realize this fact. In terms of public figures, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Michael J. Fox, and Stevie Wonder are a few to step outside of the box that many people with disabilities are placed.
    In society, we have the need to categorize others by assigning labels to them and forming judgements based upon those labels. But, what if those labels are just that, labels? So many people let their preconceived notions stand in the way of them truly experiencing what is around them. You don’t truly know unless you experience it yourself. It is very fitting that the 2016 theme for Disability Employment Awareness Month is “Inclusion Works.” Inclusion encourages, promotes awareness and enables people to challenge their preconceived notions. Inclusion makes room for people to have a conversation with themselves and others.
    In my opinion, one step, and I believe should be the first one, to having the conversation is to address the stigma surrounding disability. What are your views regarding those with disabilities? Do they make you nervous? Do you feel they are your counterparts? Many people have stigmas, but are not honest with themselves or others about them, thus perpetuating a long stream of misconceptions. In the beginning of the month, I overheard the security guard at my building talking about me to a new guard, who was shadowing him. As I was passing by, I heard him telling her what I did and what floor I worked on in the building. Her response was, “She works?” Yes, I do work and am a contributing member in society. If given a chance, other people with disabilities can work too, and the unemployment rate within this group could be lower. It is not that people with disabilities don’t want to work, but they are unable to due to extenuating factors, the most pressing being marginalization. With this said, to aid people in having the conversation, the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council introduced a public campaign in April of 2016 called, “Let’s Think Again.” For a while the organization had volunteers post signs across various locations in the state that had controversial statements about those with disabilities. Statements that people would think, and sometimes say to a person with a disability. The campaign brings stigma to the forefront and not let it be hidden. On the campaign’s website, they have people with disabilities telling their stories as well as a quiz, allowing people to understand how much, if at all, they contribute to stigma. Check out Let’s Think Again: Stigma Project.
    I encourage you all to reflect throughout this month… How has someone with a disability impacted your thoughts? As a result, how did your thoughts impact your actions regarding those with disabilities? I ask you to have the conversation, what do you have to lose? Nothing. You have a lot to gain… Understanding. To learn how you can help create awareness about disability employment, check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s main website at National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2016.

  • Talk Tuesday: Biking The Way To Accessibility

     

    “Enable the disabled; translate disability into ability; capability, a winning opportunity-indeed a reality.” – Dr. Veena Kumari
    The last day in June of 2016 marked the first day of a new, inclusive transition for those living and visiting Westminster, CO. Being known as a state of activity and fitness, many people love putting their endurance to the test by activities, such as biking. Have you ever got on a bike, and just felt so free? Pedaling aimlessly, wherever your bike takes you? I loved to ride my bike, and honestly, that is one thing I miss about having my eyesight. Sure, there are tandem bikes, but I do not believe it would be the same. If you feel otherwise, please share your views with me on twitter, I would like to hear what you think.
    The city of Westminster and Zagster, Inc. teamed up to create a program that promotes healthy exploring, as well as accessibility. The program consists of access to over 30 cruiser bikes available at 5 stations. In addition to those bikes, there are 8 alternative bikes for those with disabilities; 3 hand bikes and 5 trikes. With less than a handful of other states (Maryland and Indiana) signing onto the program, Colorado is setting the stage for other states to think outside of the box.
    Some guidelines for the program is that riders must be 18 years or older. People have the option for signing up for hourly, monthly, or annual passes. To learn more about the Zagster program in Westminster, visit Zagster Inc. Although Zagster, Inc. is contracted with over 100 communities across the nation to deploy their bike share program, only the mentioned states, seek to make sure that accessible bikes are a part of the program. Let’s help make the number of signed up states for accessible bike share move from less than a handful to every city. Accessibility should not be a luxury, rather the norm.


  • Talk Tuesday: America Says…

    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Fear, what is it? It is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous. For many, the unknown is dangerous… Not knowing what to expect. Fear can cause a person to think of the worst case scenario, thus causing the fight or flight response. When it comes to the unknown, one fear that exists pertains to a person’s health. Living in an individualistic, able bodied society, it can be unfathomable to get sick or have a disability. It is hard for them to imagine living their life any differently.
    About three to four years ago, a study was conducted, where Americans were surveyed on their biggest fear. The poll concluded that Americans feared becoming blind more than having a massive heart attack. Can you believe that? Many Americans would rather have their life in danger than be without their eyesight. Years later, in 20016, the perception has not changed.
    According to Research America, who conducted a national online poll, 88% out of over 2,000 respondents, found good eyesight vital to overall health. In comparison to other disabilities, such as hearing, memory, or amputation, Americans ranked the fear of losing their eyesight equal to or worse than them. Could this fear be due to the fact that we live in such a visual society, and not having access to that information can be daunting? I am not sure, but what I do know is that there needs to be more awareness surrounding the lives of those with disabilities. Sure, I didn’t ask to be blind, but I also don’t think it is the end of the world. You learn to adapt. You learn different techniques to carry out the same daily tasks you completed before the acquired disability. So, lets broaden the scope before acting. To read the study in it’s entirety, Visit the Journal of JAMA Ophthalmology.


  • Talk Tuesday: Finding Acceptance With Dory

    “The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” -Brian Tracy
    Energetic, happy, curious, determined, and free spirited they are, children offer the world a dose of inspiration. Through their innocence, when they are at a young age, children embrace all; they are nonjudgmental. Children speak what is on their mind, leaving no mystery behind their thoughts. It is when children become more exposed to the world that they start to lose that open-mindedness, and begin to act on what they see and are taught. This can be a good and bad thing because children are impressionable. So, instead of teaching hate, teach love. Instead of teaching exclusion, teach inclusion. Instead of teaching stereotypes, teach open mindedness. Teach acceptance. The new movie, “Finding Dory,” seeks to do exactly this.
    We were first introduced to the kind hearted fish, Dory, in the 2003 movie, “Finding Nemo.” On the path to finding Nemo, who went missing, the journey turned into one of self discovery. Dory ends up showing a father that he must learn to trust his son, Nemo, by giving him room to experience new things in his life. However, in “Finding Dory,” this time, she is the one on self discovery; trying to find her parents. But, just like the prequel, Dory is teaching another lesson; acceptance. In “Finding Nemo,” we saw a glimpse into Dory’s struggle with memory, but in this sequel, we are beginning to realize that her memory problem is actually due to a long-term disability. In the movie Dory’s forgetfulness is presented as something she had since birth.
    Director Andrew Stanton, said he was not trying to portray any particular disability, but rather show the challenges that one can pose, and how Dory found the need to apologize for it. We live in an able bodied society that makes it hard for differences to be embraced. In addition to Dory, her friends also have various disabilities; visual impairment and anxiety. The movie shows that disability does not mean inability. Dory and her friends may carry out their tasks differently, but the fact is that they can do it, and are not giving up on themselves. They have faith in their abilities, and so should you. “Finding Dory,” is currently in theaters. I urge you to go see this movie, and if you can, take a child with you. It offers insight into a world that people have so many misconceptions about.


  • Talk Tuesday: Not Just A Joke…

    • I have written blog posts in the past about the impact of laughter, both the physical and emotional benefits. On the contrary, I have talked about a negative aspect of laughter as well. Well, not a direct negative of laughter itself, but rather something that is used to cause people to laugh, a joke. Jokes are supposed to lighten the mood, and make people feel better; the key word being supposed to because it doesn’t always happen that way. Sure jokes have the power to make people laugh, but they also have the power to make others sad and feel bad about themselves. If not delivered properly, as I mentioned in a previous post, jokes can marginalize people.. How do you know if a joke has gone too far? The answer is easy, if it causes emotional pain to another. I know it is impossible to please everyone, but I also know that it is possible to be aware and empathetic to other’s feelings. It can not be said enough, if you are laughing at someone, rather with them, then your joke has gone too far.
      So, what caused me to write about this topic again? Well, it is due to one word, actually, one television station, Showtime. The station airs a comedy special featuring Gary Owen, “I Agree With Myself.” The comedian repeatedly uses the word, retarded, and makes jokes about those who have intellectual disabilities, to which his cousin has. Mr. Owen is heard making jokes about his cousin’s sexuality and speech, just to name a few. Does having a family member or friend of a person with a disability, give a person the right to make insensitive jokes about a particular group? The answer is no. I would hope it would make a person more empathetic and aware of what to do and/or say. I wonder if Mr. Owen is aware of the national campaign to take retarded out of a person’s vocabulary. In an almost hour and a half, Mr. Owen managed to alienate a group of people.
      The Special Olympics are shaking their heads in disbelief and disagreement, with Mr. Owens comedy routine on this Showtime special. Board Chairman, Tim Shriver, said it perfectly when he described the comedic statements as being, “demonizing to those who are different.” The Special Olympics has created a petition to put pressure on Showtime to stop airing the special, which is running online and broadband. To view and sign the petition, visit this linkhttps://www.change.org/p/tell-showtime-gary-owen-use-of-the-r-word-is-not-okay