Friday, February 15, 2019

The Wheel Chalenge

An effective and simple method for growing disability inclusion is to implement an experiential activity called "The Wheel Challenge." I am hoping that the idea will spread similar to "The Ice Bucket Challenge" did for alzheimers. Community Aid is thrift shop that has 7 branches and Handz on Hope is a program that provides creative learning experiences for people of all ages. These two programs are willing to help improve disability inclusion. I tried to start disability awareness with power points and presentations. I think these experiential programs will work better over the spring and summer. Eventually this will generate support of bigger businesses. People sitting in wheelchairs while doing normal activities like shopping and working will really make people re-think the way people see people with challenges. The idea is to think outside the box and give chances to people who would not normally get them.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Disability Dialogue for Congregations

This can be a good venue for the topic of disability awareness. Members often come from diverse backgrounds and have community contacts. Congregants who were receptive to the disability awareness program and want to explore ways to implement a more ambitious disability project. The goal of this project is to find employment for a person. Assistance is available for the entire project. Meeting 1 - Gather some people who are interested in helping by announcing it in the bulletin, including it in the website. Meeting 2 - Discuss steps for reaching the goal. Meeting3 - Include the person and parents at a meeting. Learn about skills, interests, experiences, abilities, likes and family involvement. Then consider the congregation and who has vocational connections. Meeting 4 - Decide who will arrange meetings and transport the applicant. Consider skill sessions (interview, resume, applications). Emotional support is crucial because the process can be a hard and long one. Meeting 5 - This will likely be ongoing. Notes should be recorded by the volunteer and reviewed by the group. What went well? What needs improvement? After a number of interviews are performed a meeting is needed to discuss high and low points. What suggestions can be reached? Details are available.

Disability Dialogue for Consumers

Coping with sudden disability can be overwhelming. There is a gap between the time one is discharged from a medical facility to readiness for community involvement. Many questions remain unanswered and the person may feel alone unless (s)he joins a support group to gain independence and be around those who have been in the same situation. These meetings encourage people to share success stories and struggles endured on a regular basis. They also have the opportunity to ask the questions that have not been answered in the hospital or rehab facility. It is common to feel alone and unable to identify with family or friends. Speaking at a support group enables one to help those who are newly disabled. Another benefit is sharing resources learned over time. Athletic people who have disabilities become distraught until they discover that most sports are adapted for people with disabilities. Speaking with health care professionals is important. Sometimes the person with the medical background doesn't see the other side. The person may have the book knowledge but not be knowledgeable of how to manage on a daily basis. "Do It Yourself Disability" is a booklet that provides strategies and thought – provoking questions for a person who has a sudden disability. It helps a person assess ones own situation.

Disability Dialogue with Teachers

Students have questions about disabilities but often do not have a forum in which to ask them. It is important that students learn when they are young so we can decrease bullying and promote acceptance of differences. A simple idea is to invite a guest speaker to talk and answer questions. Another option is to offer a detailed five- day unit for teachers to teach students. Day 1 is the topic of discrimination Day 2- is sensory and mobility disabilities. Day 3 is learning Disabilities. Day 4 is developmental disabilities. Day 5 is autistic Disabilities, Each day offers explanations, experiential activities, and questions for students of all ages. Parents and professionals, are welcome guests. Videos for each topic are also meaningful.

Disability Dialogue with Employers

People with disabilities have been known as ‘The greatest untapped resource’ yet in January 2019 employment was only 20.5%. I offer a diversity training that explores issues in the workplace and welcomes employees with disabilities in work and society. Some commons problems that companies have are recruitment, retention, and return on investment. While it is true that some alterations may be necessary when hiring employees with disabilities, they are minimal and employees more than make up for the cost. Recruitment- may involve companies attending disability conferences, partnering with agencies, and allowing applicants to demonstrate the essential job tasks rather than holding the traditional interview. Retention- may mean the addition of reasonable accommodations. However, tax incentives defray the costs of reasonable accommodations; and 59% of them are free (i.e. changing break time to coincide with a medication schedule.Return on Investment- shows that employees with disabilities show average or above in loyalty, productivity, morale, reliability, safety and more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A disability website, the flip side

I decided to purchase a website in order to enhance my disability project with a website. That seemed like a good idea but 1) it was never put online, 2) it was complex to navigate and create, 3) the support was practically non-existent, 4) there were hidden costs involved that I then discovered would have been ongoing, 5) my entire domain name was deleted. As usual I decided to look on the flip side. I rewrote the content and decided to make it into a "salesbook" like I used for job placement work. Now I am taking it a step further- I'm going to put it on this site. 1)There are already 1000's of hits on this blog which makes it already ranked well on google search engines, 2) I don't need a fancy website with all the bells and whistles for a service business (none of the photos were appropriate). 3) I do need it to be on the computer so I can share it with others, 4) I can now get business cards and share them with prospects (good thing I didn't do that under Wix). I am looking forward to this project getting implemented.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

fundraising & educating

Yesterday I attended an event for high school kids taking a trip to Vietnam and it includes a program that distributes wheelchairs to residents in the country. I learned of this after listening to a speech at the local Kiwanis Club. At first no one spoke to me and visited with three different tables. Since the goal was to make connections and the audience was a large number of high school kids I continued to mix. Then I realized that this opportunity could be turned into an educational fundraiser, there's always afterschool programs that could benefit. When someone spoke of the need to continually find funding for the wheelchairs used by Vietnamese people with disabilities I realized that was the answer. What better way to spread the message than to implement "The Wheel Challenge" in order to fund wheelchairs? Then I met a lady who actually works for Lancaster Intermediate Unit as a job coach. Her placement is at the high school that's running the Vietnam trip. Hopefully this project will offer students a unique chance for educating and fundraising.