Truth and Reality as I know it to be

Posts tagged ‘americans with disabilities’

Mental Retardation replaced by “Intellectual Disability”

Earlier today I posted this on a social media page (of which I am NOT linking — yes I very much value anonymity, especially since most of my followers are those who are not acquainted with me; and the few friends very dear to me which have been furnished the link to this blog, find it too je ne sais pas because not one has remarked with feedback once they have the link).
“Mental Retardation” replaced by “Intellectual Disability” — For all those who gripe about “politically correct” words, if you don’t understand why words are important and can hurt, you obviously have not been subject to a minority experience. This should have been changed two decades ago. At least it’s progress. Read Change in Terminology: “Mental Retardation” to “Intellectual Disability”

 Man 1 of whom is not someone I know beyond the social media site commented:
Initially being mentally retarded was a medical condition. Someone then used the medical definition as an insult. Changing the name of the condition does little to stop people from insulting one another.

It does, however, give rise to new insult.

Man 2 also someone I do not know beyond the social media site added his comment: Oh, this is just silly.

This is what I officially responded with:

I wrote a long passionate response, and decided not to post it in this medium. If one chooses to make oneself look like a jerk, the freedom of speech does permit that. By all means, speak your bigoted mind. It needs some exercise.

Here’s what I wanted to say and then decided to bite my tongue and keep the biting remark simple and short. I wanted to publish it somewhere. I’m sure it’ll offend. I won’t apologize for this one.

Good points. Yes, I’m very aware of the history of the diagnosis of mental retardation in the medical field and it’s manipulation and improper use of it by the common person. I chose to express my support for the official change, and to those that know me well know I’m decently educated on the history of mental retardation, mental illnesses, and mental disabilities. All of which are now grouped as Intellectual Disability. A few sources mentioned people if authority labeled Einstein as mentally retarded in his formative years. Medical diagnosis and the health service industry are not always sensitive. Just because someone holds a nice title or rank does not justify the use of established bigotry by them or by others. Especially when they are not informed of the context and connotations.

There’s always a way to insult people. If such behaviors are chosen, at least the new term makes the jerks have to think of a better insult, thus exercising their brain rather than regurgitate age old bigotry. Telling someone “U R returded” is a poor delivery of and insult. Too many times have I corrected insults I received to the point where the originator looks stupid and I look like the bully.

I don’t mind feedback. Glad to see people use their brains even if it’s not in ways I agree with. I politely decllne on further responses to the subject. I’m okay with people having prejudices, stereotypes, and crap. It’s sort of like religion, I gave up trying to educate people on how their views suck and wanting to make waves of change. I’ve resolved to asserting when confronted.

On a side note, I’m pretty sure Intellectual Disability is going to be subject to remarks tied to Freud since Freud’s work explored the ego and the ID, so abbreviations are going to be tossed around and the common person will find ways to not only make fun of Intelletual Disabilities, but also Freud and sexual dysfunctions — all because they are not informed and don’t attempt to be.

I’m not sure Intellectual Disability is a good term either. I’m afraid the alternatives are worse.

Self-Advocacy for Students to Pursue Accommodations in Academic Institutions

Here’s a bit on how to proceed with self-advocacy for undergraduate or graduate level higher level academic goals and accommodations needed in the process. You pay for your education, or rather someone does and you put in your share of elbow grease to make that happen, and you need certain things to be able to learn and succeed. Case workers and case managers are handy for helping you find services on transportation to/from school or funding to pay for transportation to/from school. Voc Rehab can help you with some tuition, aids, or tools needed, and maybe you have personal care services. Maybe you don’t have the support structure I mentioned. Maybe you have some of them. It doesn’t really matter because what happens when you know you will need arrangements for school assignments, tests, or those situations where you’re the Oddman Out? Who advocates for your needs?   Who better than (drumroll please): YOU. 

There must be a decent amount of students needing to do the same thing. This was one of those “scour the internet for a day and come up with minimal useful information” instances.

As much as the internet helps with finding general structures, templates and tips on how to write letters, or the thousands of letter templates Microsoft stuffs into each version of its Office suite (could have used that dispute credit transaction complaint letter template a month ago if I had paid attention to the fact I chose to install the Dutch language pack by carelessness instead of the English one and spent a lot of time randomly clicking through menus until realizing selecting “Ingles” translates everything I needed to English–horrified to think I have weak moments of behaving as a typical ignorant American right?), I significantly re-invented letter writing.  Maybe next month I will find the template after the fact when I am don’t need it. Figures. I should draft a letter of complaint to Microsoft about not being psychic and coding Word/Office to spy on my web search and email algorithms (like the Google mafia)  to populate what I want instantly. Har Har. The crude and offensive jokes are funnier than the intelligent ones.

I modified a template for a letter from a parent to a school about a child diagnosed with Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder needing to develop a Section 504/IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act/IEP (Individualized Education Plan. Section 504 is well known for students in public educational settings.

Chart illustrating the bounds of Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, IDEA, and IEP

Chart illustrating the bounds of Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, IDEA, and IEP

I couldn’t quickly narrow down if Section 504 was applicable to college students in private academic settings, even with that handy chart. Find out what the difference is between IEP/IDEA and Section 504. I also applied a bit of an outline structure to the letter template since I wanted to break up chunks of information for the reader, reduce redundancy, and present the request in professional and confident way to be taken seriously.

The best down and dirty info I saw was from Wright’s Law and Wright’s Law had a page with more resources
because the document from the U.S. Department of Education website was way too long and seemed to be focused for students in grades K-12 which since I’m considered alumni at my high school, which is not as relevant to my needs for pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. I’m glad there’s lots more support programs for K-12 students… though it’s a bit too scary in realizing those support systems or even the same rules may not be  there when students go to a university or college.

If you write this on someone else’s behalf, first person is ideal for these situations and then at the bottom you can indicate “prepared by _____” along with your signature. This is suggested because if you use the “I’m writing you on behalf of  My Cousin Vinny.” method and then throughout the document you state  My Cousin Vinny is limited with doing x, y,  z and he/she has to have someone fill in bubble test sheets” the difference is this makes Vinny objectified and somehow in a subtle way more or less feeds into prejudices even in a professional capacity that Vinny (who represents someone with a disability) is incompetent at test taking– making dots on a circle form which is fed into a machine. I personally wondered why No. #2 pencils had to be used and why couldn’t a medium sized black Sharpie be used which would make EVERYONE’s life easier. Then again, my logic rarely makes sense to the rest of the world. (Sarcasm). Vinny more than likely knows how to fill out bubble sheets, and could probably do it with a Sharpie but has trouble because those damn circles are half a centimeter in diameter and spaced tightly. An analogy would be as if one  wanted to state Brett Favre  as a mediocre professional athlete who can’t pass a football, failing to acknowledge the reason why is because the NFL team supplied Brett Favre and all the players with Jr. size footballs, and ice skates instead of actual football cleats for running to win.

This is a template spans two pages when copied in to Microsoft Word using narrow 0.5″ margins all the way around for all pages.

Your Name
Your Mailing Address
Your Student Account/ID number
Your Email
Your Phone

School Name
Dept or Person and title to receive the request
Address

Dear ____ : (though this can be left off if the specific person to review it is unknown)

Request for Accommodations under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act

I would like to submit a request for a number of accommodations outlined below along with a summarized description of related activities/functions/events/concerns.

The long term developmental disability, along with a disorder, and multiple secondary disabilities I am diagnosed with impairs or limits the following
a. Area: activity, task, or goal
b. Fine motor skills: (activities requiring dexterity, writing, typing, mousing) and coordination
c. Add more if needed

Please be aware my disabilities cause me to exhibit symptoms and characteristics as listed below

Fatigue, recurring acute and chronic pain, spasticity, stuttering and speech fluctuations

Accommodations for the duration of expected enrollment from Fall 2013 – Spring 2017 or until otherwise documented

Concern: Safety and Accessibility on Campus / 504 Evacuation Plan
  1. Identify a plan of evacuation in the event of fire or security threat with predetermined “safe” locations or exitways within or outside campus grounds to wait for additional assistance. Identify key faculty/staff/security personnel trained or familiar with assisting a person with a disability to evacuate safely. This needs to be updated and posted each semester in each room where classes are held. It is recommended to make it accessible near designated exits/entrances, classroom doors, elevators. A meeting each semester of the parties or persons involved in each updated 504 Evacuation Plan is also recommended.
  2. In events of emergency, I should be carried using The Two-Handed Seat approach.
  •  I am typically able to traverse a flight of stairs/steps if holding on to a hand/arm or a stationary railing to grasp balance. I do not need to be aided by the elbow, as this causes more problems for balance/walking.
  1. Crouch on each side of the wounded person. He or she does not have to be conscious.
  2. Reach underneath the victim’s shoulders with one arm and beneath the knees with the other arm.
  3. Grab onto your partner’s wrists and hold tightly. At the top, you might have to hold your partner’s arm or shoulder instead.
  4. Stand slowly, being sure not to lift with your back. Start walking in the direction the person you are carrying is facing.

3. Seating options where able to easily maneuver in position using a wheelchair or walker without hardship to myself or jeopardizing the safety of other students

  1. A reserved table or desk measuring between 27” – 30” in height or ability to have adjustable height, and a minimum of 36” wide with lockable caster wheels, kept in the Theatre/Auditorium since the seating is built in with desks which is not usable
Concern: Living Off Campus

May 13, 2013 I met with Transition Advisor, and submitted a note from my doctor recommending I not live on campus. This is due to already being established at a residence in CITY NAME, off-campus. The residence I have is best suited to the conditions I need to be independent, and also for an ideal study environment because living in a dormitory setting would create additional environmental difficulties to meet assignment deadlines and course objectives and maintain medical treatment and independent care activities.

Concern: Credits and Coursework
  1. Approval to have less than full-time student status, reduced workload 6-9 total credits per semester as needed. It may not be needed for the entire time I complete my program(s) of study. I have been working on getting a new, custom, manual wheelchair which is needed to reduce the amount of energy my body exerts for mobility. The mobility aid offers specialized seating support and other features for this purpose.
  2. It was kindly suggested by the Student Transition Advisor in Student Affairs to have a generic manual wheelchair and assign a person to aid me while on campus. This option would not work for my needs because a generic manual wheelchair is sized for an adult, and my body type is too small/petite. The use of a generic manual wheelchair would present an added hardship and offer no support for my body (which would be sitting roughly 6-10 hours a day for 4 days a week depending on class scheduling and downtime in between classes) requiring my body to exert more energy to compensate, which means I would not risking my health in order to fulfill SCHOOL NAME’s requirements for students to be fulltime status with 12-15 credits per semester. This equates to 24-40 hours of sitting while on SCHOOL NAME campus.  Being permitted to register with a reduced workload consisting of 6-9 total credits per semester as needed would mean I would be sitting 8 hours a day twice a week, totaling 16 hours of sitting without proper support while on campus. This would also be flexible to continue tending to treatments such as Physical Therapy which occur multiple times a week. Whereas a fulltime student schedule and workload would definitely be a major factor with fatigue and restrict the time to continue necessary health and medical treatments needed to fulfill duties for school, work, and independence.
  3. Permit the ability to request from instructors/professors extend time allotted to complete timed quizzes, exams, tests
    The ability to type coursework requiring students to submit responses with written essay or more than 4 sentence responses.
Concern: Tuition Fees
  1. Approval to have less than full-time student status, reduced workload 6-9 total credits per semester as needed. It may not be needed for the entire time I complete my program(s) of study. I have been working on getting a new, custom, manual wheelchair which is needed to reduce the amount of energy my body exerts for mobility. The mobility aid offers specialized seating support and other features for this purpose.
  2. It was kindly suggested by the Student Transition Advisor in Student Affairs to have a generic manual wheelchair and assign a person to aid me while on campus. This option would not work for my needs because a generic manual wheelchair is sized for an adult, and my body type is too small/petite. The use of a generic manual wheelchair would present an added hardship and offer no support for my body (which would be sitting roughly 6-10 hours a day for 4 days a week depending on class scheduling and downtime in between classes) requiring my body to exert more energy to compensate, which means I would not risking my health in order to fulfill SCHOOL NAME’s requirements for students to be fulltime status with 12-15 credits per semester. This equates to 24-40 hours of sitting while on SCHOOL NAME campus.  Being permitted to register with a reduced workload consisting of 6-9 total credits per semester as needed would mean I would be sitting 8 hours a day twice a week, totaling 16 hours of sitting without proper support while on campus. This would also be flexible to continue tending to treatments such as Physical Therapy which occur multiple times a week. Whereas a fulltime student schedule and workload would definitely be a major factor with fatigue and restrict the time to continue necessary health and medical treatments needed to fulfill duties for school, work, and independence.
  • Permit the ability to request from instructors/professors extend time allotted to complete timed quizzes, exams, tests
  • The ability to type coursework requiring students to submit responses with written essay or more than 4 sentence responses.
  1. The Student Transition Advisor also informed me tuition fees may not be reduced if an approval of reduced credits per semester was granted.
  2. Proposal: I would like to request consideration of Reduced Tuition. I make this request because I was a student in 2008, withdrew, on-campus would be far more beneficial.  I committed to moving from the Midwest to CITY NAME to attend the campus programs, made payment arrangements for the outstanding balance   before attempting to re-enroll with splendid help from the Enrollment Advisor. I feel SCHOOL NAME is still the best value for my career development goals. SCHOOL or DEPT NAME allowing an exception for Reduced Tuition Fees for only the semesters where I am not registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours or alternatively basing tuition on per-credit-hour would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Fulfilling less than 12 credits per semester without an exception would also create a significant hardship and risk having to withdraw from SCHOOL NAME reluctantly as I do not have the financial support structure most traditional students have from their parents, or spouses. I am not eligible for PELL as verified by Financial Aid Administrator. Because of these factors, options are merit based scholarships, loans and increasing the hours of employment. I spend 12 hours per week working to pay for off-campus living expenses and tuition. For the semesters where I need to have 6-9 credit hours and required to pay full tuition  rates, I would need to increase work hours to 40 hours per week to finance what scholarships and loans do not cover. This would hinder my performance and risk causing academic probation as a result of fatigue and increased pain. On page 42 of the SCHOOL NAME Catalog for the Year 2012-2013 the chart shows 48.08% of students complete the PROGRAM NAME on time. I am determined to complete the PROGRAM NAME. I ask for a Tuition Exception to be able to be part of the 48.08% from SCHOOL NAME to complete the programs on time and hope SCHOOL NAME is willing to help committed students such as myself, achieve success.

I expect a copy of the written report, decisions, or changes and applicable documentation involved to review.

In the event written permission or documentation needs to be provided for these accommodations to be authorized and implemented, and I will be happy to do so upon receipt of the proper forms and explanation of the process.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that we may begin the next steps.

Appreciatively,

Your Name

Writing Offers Freedom

It may be bold to assert: writing is my best friend. Judgement free, writing lets me vent, lets me change topic, enables me to interrupt, be rude, crude, prejudice, ignorant, confused, immature, vulnerable, selfish, intelligent. Writing does not cut me off, insult me, badger, writing does not have an ego, a temper, insecurities. Words will never hurt me. Words may not hurt, it is interpretation and the intonation or context which command power. Writing is freedom in such a sense where freedom of the truest sense is rarely sustained amongst people. Amongst is not a proper word, either. It seems fitting, in use of alliteration.

Composition books and pens are much more affordable and easier than committing to paying someone to listen, advise, and pretend to care to help you decipher your mess. I understand what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. I just would rather save my money, and find it an odd concept to pay someone to tell me what to do, how to cope, and pay them to pretend to care, and fool ourselves into the whole “confidentiality between trained professional and client.” So this person is trained to pretend to care, and trained to be objectively be subjective since treatments are subjective insomuch that they vary from patient to patient and the success rate also varies?  We can all end up acting as trained therapists (for mental and emotional purposes) when being open to our own intuition, use of research, reading/profiling people along with behavior, and developing critical thinking skills. Naturally we should also seek out those with experience in similar situations to gain knowledge as part of research.

This week I worked on polishing up a resume for a former graphic design classmate today, reviewed the estimated price quote for remodeling the 9 ft. closet in the Master Bedroom, and I did a bunch of miscellaneous other odds and ends.

The day seems to have passed by fast.

I keep wondering how someone manages to have a conversation (intervention for someone who is not an addict) like “You need a case manager because you clearly have problems functioning independently,” and “You need to be tested for something wrong with you.” I’m pretty sure that sums up the soon to be former roommate. He wants me to find him another place that is as cheap. I told him to use Craigslist which will probably be the best place. He weakly said he tried and found commercial ads. I said he needs to narrow his search and use the custom search options.

A mix of:annoyance, and then pity for very nice, ignorant people who don’t know where to go to find what they need, nor possess the awareness of who can help them figure out how to make their life better/easier followed by attempts for personal growth to pacify my temper, exercise compassion, and quite possibly the desire to be done with an awkward situation where there is the risk of inflaming my temper more in a “you’ll breed bad energy you would have brought on yourself by not just helping the 30 year old overly sensitive, ignorant, and naive child because you think he’s being lazy and not thinking for his own best interests or have the skills to learn from his experiences in the long run” attitude. I very loosely incorporate Buddhist creeds in mellowing a temper which in the past was passive aggressive, spiteful, and vicious. Rehabilitated for a temper problem is laughable. At best people are works in progress (perhaps this is why I find it challenging to finish personal projects). Perfection is a full-time job.

It took me 10 hours over the span of two days to sift through hundreds of ads/postings from 8 different rental/roommate available listings, compile a list of links for the best possible conditions for Hairy.  I found over twenty-five (25) possible leads out of everything I reviewed.  True, there’s some topics I scour the internet for and find minimal useful information. Finding a place to live is not easy, but it’s manageable with some determination. Keep in mind Hairy is not limited on time. He works 30 hours a week at most, and his hobbies are: sleeping, yoga/Pilates, sleeping, Tai Gong, using paper based hygiene products excessively, breaking things and not telling me about it until I notice and denying knowing anything of when, how, or where the rest of the broken item is, asking me if he can ask a question every single time. So his time is not that limited. I hope he figures out he is his own best investment. All the Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Gong, or meditation isn’t going to be enough if he doesn’t try to learn from his experiences to make himself a better or at least easier life.

What was I going to say before I went on that tirade? Oh yeah.

Irony at its best, I did some logo proposals for a LGBT non-profit who was promoting and lobbying for the Same-Sex/Civil Union legislation back in 2008. They rejected my ideas (all of them), and went with a circle or a blue dot on yellow background. Attention getting, sure. Annoying color combination, slightly. I was disappointed because I had wanted to use the equals sign either in the center of the state’s border outline, or connecting the two word name of the organization, subtitle with implying the organization was going to bridge the gap to unify the opposing and the pro-civil union.

Here is the year 2013, and the LGBT movement in California is spreading and trying to pass same LGBT rights legislation in their state, with an equals sign. A pink symbol on a red background. Which I find a bit over the top with color choice. People are not dying in masses during this movement. I realize there have been a great deal of deaths as a result of homophobia over the centuries. Yes, there are cases such as Matthew Sheppard from Wisconsin. I do not mean to marginalize the deaths. In fact, I am appalled these acts of extreme violence still occur. Logically, and comparatively speaking, this LGBT movement is mild compared to say the Civil War, or the movements in the 60’s and 70’s. That would have been more fitting to make a prominent use of red, as those deaths were greater in numbers. Subjectivity can be argued indefinitely should one indulge in such transgressions. Obviously I have entertained in them.

I know this next thought will sound bitter. I am going to express it, regardless because it is on my mind. Before LGBT took full swing, the ADA and People with Disabilities were building up momentum as well to implement, amend, and/or  reinforce legislation and social change. LGBT’s lobbying seems to have overshadowed that to some degree. The Republican party wants to hinder the U.N from adopting a Disability Treaty which is a similar concept based on the Americans with Disabilities Act to help those with disabilities in less developed nations have more opportunities with access to be involved in their communities/towns/village/province/districts or at least less of a burden.

I predict LGBT movement will end up spanning roughly three more decades, maybe as much as 50 more years. As a courtesy here is an interactive timeline for “Gay Rights”.  The People with Disabilities movement has a twenty (20) year set back now because of this (my own estimate). It may be milestones in genetics, genetic engineering(1, 23)/eugenics (1, 2) and genetic therapy such as stem cell research to jumpstart the ball rolling again. The Disabilities Rights movement was started 100+ years prior.  It would be a joyful thing if the People with Disabilities movement successfully ended within the next seventy-five (75) years. Yes, there is legislation in place (for the U.S.) on a federal level. The opportunities are still lesser. When will we have consumer-ready vehicles with hand controls instead of having to take a vehicle to a third party laborer to make after market modifications to the vehicle? Not to  mention the extra work involved just to obtain and test the vehicle in the process of purchase. Even the fitness center I’ve toured at the Disability Empowerment Center has equipment that while it can be used for those who use wheelchairs, the lowest weight settings are still the same as exercise equipment at a regular fitness club. The equipment is not adjustable for the lowest demographic, petite in stature/size, or poor muscle tone. Why is the entry point to a ramp so far away from the door? And why do doors open outward, making it more cumbersome and possibly risking safety for someone who uses a mobility aid (walker, wheelchair, etc) either being hit with the door by someone carelessly walking out, and having a small space to maneuver in and risk falling off the landing/platform even if there is a open pole-style railing. Automatic sliding doors should be enforced and standardized for all businesses and government organizations. Even those needing the regulate security have found methods. I worked for a non profit for children who seemed to figure out their security protocol with sliding motion sensor or badge activated doors.

When will societies (not just the one I am apart of) realize making it cumbersome for persons with disabilities to pursue happiness with access to similar options to reap or fulfill a healthy, active life style applicable to each will alleviate the burdens that not providing such imposes in the long run? Making it easier for some people, also makes it better for everyone in a macro sense. Not in the Trickle Down economics approach, but in a social and civic responsibility approach. Providing top notch education across the nation gives employment, prepares the future generations, and can reduce the amount of violent crimes or reduce the frequency or lessen the severity of the crimes. I could go on. I realize this is not a setting of academia and I risk boring any reader with my impassioned diatribe and disenchanted ideologies.

In case you wondered the train of thought this posting took:

Writing as therapy
Current activities undertaken to resourcefully help people >> Roommate changes and personal growth >> Home improvement projects
Back to the activities to help people branched to fads used in graphic design >> social movements, politics, civic duties.

What thoughts do you have to share?

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