From JAN: For Complete Post, click here…

Depth perception is the ability to discern the distance of objects from one another in a three-dimensional space. This requires two eyes working together and may be limited in those with monocular vision or other vision impairments. It’s important to note that many individuals with limited depth perception will have minimal challenges in the workplace. Employers should always assess the essential functions of the job to determine whether a lack of depth perception would legitimately interfere with one’s ability to perform job tasks, and whether reasonable accommodation can adequately address these limitations. When appropriate, it may be beneficial to allow a demonstration of specific work tasks. Below are examples of workplace challenges that may arise for individuals with limited depth perception and some accommodations to explore for each:  

Driving, whether it be the commute or on-the-job travel, can be difficult for individuals with limited depth perception.

  • Shift change to daylight hours
  • Driver (e.g., hired driver, volunteer, coworker)
  • Public transportation or carpool
  • Modified or flexible work schedule to meet public transportation needs
  • Reassignment
  • Telework

Working in an industrial setting may pose unique challenges, such as operating or working around forklifts and other moving equipment.

And much more…

Biden Administration to Cancel Student Debt for over 300,000 Disabled People

By Dani Birzer: For Complete Post, click here…

On Thursday, August 19, 2021, the Biden administration and other leading officials announced that they will be erasing the student for over 300,000 Americans with severe disabilities who are no longer able to earn significant income to pay off their loans.

This erases over $5.8 billion in debt, according to data from the United States Department of Education.

Miguel Cardona, Department of Education secretary, said in a statement, “We’ve heard loud and clear from borrowers with disabilities and advocates about the need for this change and we are excited to follow through on it.”

There have been calls from millions of Americans to fully cancel student loans and this first erasure wave may be the first of others to come.

National Disability Voter Registration Week: September 13-20, 2021

From AAPD: For Complete Post, click here…

What is National Disability Voter Registration Week?

Every year, the REV UP Campaign coordinates National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) to increase the political power of people with disabilities by sharing resources and getting folks registered to vote. This year, NDVRW is September 13-20, 2021. In the last election, an estimated 38 million people with disabilities were eligible to vote, and we invite national, state, and local organizations to participate in NDVRW in order to continue to raise the disability voice and civic participation across the country in 2021 and beyond!

Now Available: 2021 NDVRW Partner Toolkit!

How Can I Get Involved with NDVRW?

There are many ways to participate in NDVRW! To get involved, you can:

  1. Host a Voter Registration or Education Event! Host an event to register people with disabilities to vote or help voters in your state understand the rules, disability voting rights, voting options, safety-protocols, and key dates for the 2021 elections. For ideas and guidance on hosting an event, check out our NDVRW Partner Toolkit.
  2. Activate your Social Media! Use the power and reach of social media to motivate your network to register and vote and inform voters on your state’s election rules and dates. For sample social media posts and graphics, check out our NDVRW Social Media Toolkit.
  3. Write letters to the editor or Op-Eds and engage local radio or TV stations on the growing efforts by the disability community. Check out The Op-Ed Project for tips on writing a compelling Op-Ed!
  4. Organize a candidate town hall event or distribute candidate questionnaires to engage candidates with people with disabilities in your community. As a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization you must send an invitation to all candidates. Nonprofit VOTE offers additional resources and guides on staying nonpartisan.
  5. Connect with other disability rights and voting rights organizations in your area to partner on events and initiatives during NDVRW.
  6. Ask your Governor, Mayor, City Council, County Commissioner, or State Representative to issue a proclamation declaring September 13-17 & 20, 2021, National Disability Voter Registration Week. Find a draft Proclamation here and send any Proclamations you receive to!

New Google Chrome Extension SignUp Offers ASL Captions for Three Films on Disney Plus

By Ethan Shanfeld: For Complete Post, click here…

SignUp, a new Google Chrome extension, overlays ASL captions on three Disney Plus movies — “Moana,” “Zootopia” and “The Incredibles.”

Founded by Mariella Satow, the free tool was created because many members of the deaf community find that written captions lack vibrancy or aren’t descriptive enough, or are absent from media sites entirely.

According to SignUp’s website, a 2017 study showed that 80 percent of children who use ASL face challenges with reading, making written captions inaccessible.

“My original vision for SignUp was as a learning tool for students of American Sign Language, like me. I found it difficult to find free learning resources, and wanted to change this… I was an avid movie watcher as a child, and want everyone to be able to have the same experience,” said Satow, whose favorite movie is “The Incredibles.”

Half of adults with ADHD have had a substance use disorder

From Unversity of Toronto: For Complete Post, click here…

Alcohol use disorder is most common among adults aged 20-39 with ADHD, followed by cannabis use disorder and other drug use disorders. More than one quarter of those with ADHD had major depression.

Half of adults aged 20-39 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have had a substance use disorder (SUD) in their lifetime according to new research published online ahead of print this month in Alcohol and Alcoholism. This is markedly higher than the 23.6% of young adults without ADHD who have had a substance use disorder in their lifetime.  

Even after considering factors such as age, race, income, education, childhood adversities and other mental illness, young adults with ADHD were still 69% more likely to have had a substance use disorder when compared to their peers without ADHD.

Controlling for lifetime history of mental illness and childhood adversities caused the largest attenuation of the ADHD-SUD relationship.  More than one-quarter (27%) of those with ADHD had a history of depression, which was much higher than the prevalence among those without ADHD (11%).  

“These results emphasize the importance of addressing depression and anxiety when providing care to those with co-occurring ADHD and SUD,” reported lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Professor at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Life Course and Aging.  “Individuals with untreated depression and anxiety may self-medicate to manage the symptoms of an untreated psychiatric disorder, which can result in greater substance use.”  

Those with ADHD also experienced high levels of adverse childhood experiences, with more than a third of young adults (35%) reporting that they had been physically abused and one in nine reporting that they were a victim of sexual abuse (11%) before the age of 16.

A strong association between childhood adversities and substance use disorder has been found in previous research as well.

“Childhood maltreatment may disrupt emotional regulation and the neuro-development of children, which may predispose them to later developing substance dependence” says co-author Danielle Lewis, a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Masters of Social Work (MSW) Program.

Alcohol use disorders were the most common substance abuse disorders among young adults with ADHD (36%), followed by cannabis use disorders (23%). Young adults with ADHD were also three times more likely to experience an illicit drug disorder (other than cannabis) when compared to their peers without ADHD (18% vs 5%).

“One potential explanation for the extremely high rate of illicit drug use among those with ADHD is the accelerated gateway hypothesis,” said co-author Senyo Agbeyaka, a recent University of Toronto MSW graduate who is a social worker at University Health Network. “This theory posits that people with ADHD tend to initiate substance use at a younger age, resulting in riskier use and greater problem severity in adulthood.”

As My Disability Progressed, I’m Grateful That Games Did, Too

By Grant Stoner: For Complete Post, click here…

Accessibility options help me enjoy games I never could’ve played before.

I’ve never known life without Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II. This neuromuscular disorder progressively weakens muscles over time, stripping me of what little independence I had. Normal day-to-day activities like feeding myself, writing my name, or even using my phone have been lost to me over the years. Since receiving an official diagnosis when I was 13 months old, my family and I have discovered and created inclusive methods for me to survive and thrive in a painfully ableist world.

Growing up with a physical disability meant I had to find accessible and entertaining alternatives to the usual activities that most children enjoy. Since I lacked the capability to climb, run, or play any sport, my physical therapist at the time introduced my parents to a form of exercise that would not only strengthen my hands, but also allow me to connect with my peers: playing video games. 

Needing to constantly move my fingers and hold somewhat heavy controllers in my tiny disabled hands let me practice my dexterity and keep my muscles moving — a critical aspect of living with a progressive disease.

My first foray into the world of games began on my Super Nintendo. As a young child, the size of the controller was perfect for me and my limited reach. I could press every button, perform every action, and stretch my muscles while tricking myself into thinking I was just playing video games. EarthboundTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, and a bevy of platformers like Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! kept me entertained for hours. As games and their subsequent systems evolved, so did my disability.

The decrease of muscle mass and strength with SMA Type II is gradual, at least in my experience. There were never singular moments or events that precipitated an immense loss of movement, but rather small, often minuscule realizations of my limitations. While video games let me exercise, they also acted as a tangible way for me to track my disease’s progression.

My first inaccessible gaming venture occurred when playing Super Smash Bros. on my Nintendo 64. While my brother and his friends were sprinting and smashing (two integral mechanics to any Smash game), I was stuck performing basic attacks. At first, I thought it was due to a faulty controller, but after trading with my brother and noticing the same results, I had to adapt. I switched to using a character like Samus, who could knock out opponents with powerful standard moves. Even though an event like this was relatively minor, it helped me come to terms with needing accommodations.

When we upgraded to the GameCube, the control sticks were significantly easier to operate. I gained the ability to sprint, but still struggled to smash my enemies. Thankfully, Super Smash Bros. Melee lets players smash with the C-stick, a feature that allowed me to experience my favorite characters in a new light. Yet, despite the new accessibility accommodations, the GameCube controller posed a new problem that not only demonstrated my declining physical state but also shaped how I play games today.

With systems like the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64, the overall weight and size of the controllers let me easily grasp and reach every button. The GameCube controller, while comfortable in my lap, was too large for me to properly reach L, R, and Z — three buttons which are crucial for numerous games. For the first time in my life, I required outside assistance to perform tasks and finish levels. Transforming into various paper objects as Mario in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, wielding Leon’s knife and executing quick-timed-events in Resident Evil 4, or scanning objects and locking onto enemies in the first two Metroid Primes were only achievable because my brother and mother were there to press the appropriate buttons. 

How Veterans with Disabilities Wind Up Homeless

BY CYNTHIA GRIFFITH: For Complete Post, click here…

The Tie Between Veterans with Disabilities, the Disappearance of Retail Employment, and Homelessness.

Close your eyes for just a moment and imagine. I know it’s early, and you’ve barely finished your morning coffee. Or maybe it’s late, and you feel overloaded from the workday. I promise that by the end of this exercise, whatever you’re doing right now will seem much less burdensome.

Picture yourself back in high school. Remember the way that hard cold desk used to feel when you fell asleep halfway through watching Bill Nye the Science Guy’s experiments? Remember the smell of the pencil sharpener, that funny feeling of walking into the cafeteria on the first day wondering who had the same lunch timeslot from your group of friends?

Now, imagine you’re in twelfth grade. You’re nervous and even a little bit excited. Not just about the prom coming or the turkey squares the cafeteria lady’s getting ready to plop on your tray. No. You’re nervous and a little bit excited about your future.

In the hallway, you come across a decorated military officer who strikes up a conversation right along the lines of what you’re already thinking. Of course, he does. He’s trained to work with adolescents, to meet them, take them out, talk to them about their future, and eventually get them to enlist. There are so many benefits for veterans. Why wouldn’t you enlist? It’s a free education, lots of financial perks, the military opens doors that would otherwise be closed for an individual of your social status, etc.

You have nothing to worry about. You’ll only have to fight if there’s a war. And how often do those happen?

Your young mind is unaware of the bombs going off in far-flung territories. Soon, you will be right in the middle of that action. It happens fast. First the enlistment, next the training, and suddenly there you are, praying for your life in a foxhole. Gunfire takes your right arm in an event so horrific you will replay it in your head over and over again for years to come.

You return from war disabled, unmarried, staring at your former prom date on Facebook. Life is less exciting in the aisles of retail, but you’re still somewhat grateful to have a job.

But then, something unexpected happens yet again. An international health crisis puts employment on freeze. You are sent home from your retail employment position and promised unemployment. You wait a whole year to see that first check. Your rent is in arrears. You are on the brink of homelessness, a different kind of war.

Now open your eyes. Understand that this scenario might not be happening to you, but it is happening to veterans all across the country. If there’s one thing we all learned in elementary education, it’s that numbers never lie.

Here’s what the stats look like for disabled veterans working retail employment occupations in 2021.

Making Sense Of Conflicting Messages About Disability

By Andrew Pulrang: For Complete Post, click here…

One of the more difficult things to sort through in disability discussions is that the topic often seems to be full of contradictions.

Depending on our personal situations and objectives at any given time, people with disabilities often express what appear to be conflicting ideas and opposite messages. This isn’t evidence of confusion, dishonesty, or calculated rhetoric. On the contrary, these apparent contradictions are true to disabled people’s actual lives.

The key to understanding conflicting disability messages is to recognize that they usually aren’t contradictory at all.

Here are three examples of ideas the disabled community tries to communicate about ourselves, and that would-be allies try to argue on our behalf, that can on the surface seem incompatible:

Resilience and adaptability

We say …

People with disabilities are strong. We can endure hardship and adversity, and overcome challenges that others think are too much for us. We are also great at adapting to difficult situations. We have to be to survive and achieve our goals.

In many ways, this is all true. It does take inner strength and innovation to live well with a disability –– even just to survive. It’s also a message that can help counteract negative stereotypes that cast disabled people as weak, delicate, lazy, complacent, and dependent on others to solve our problems.MORE FOR YOUExpect $600 Federal Unemployment Checks Slashed To $400 Or LessSpace Startup Rocket Lab Enters New Business Frontier With Deployment Of Its First Satellite

But we also say …

Many of us are wounded and traumatized. Physical barriers and social prejudices really do hurt us. We aren’t invulnerable. Many of us are not okay. And we can’t survive on ingenuity and pluck alone. We need accessibility, accommodations, and sometimes material support to live freely and successfully.

Most of the problems of living with disabilities are imposed on us from the outside. Resilience and adaptability can only get us so far. Most of us at some time need help –– sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Being admired for stereotypical versions of resilience and adaptability may be encouraging, but it can quickly become first an expectation, then an obligation. It’s also a convenient “out” for people and institutions that don’t want to assist us or change their own ableist habits.

It may seem like a contradiction for disabled people to declare our strength, ingenuity and self-reliance one minute, then ask for or demand help, accommodations, and support the next. It’s not a contradiction. Part of being disabled is having endurance, and the ability to go it alone in many ways, while also seeking and using the tools and services at hand to enhance our independence. And sometimes, that means insisting on those tools and services when they should be available to us but aren’t. And making those demands is itself a sign of strength and integrity, not weakness or dishonesty.

Ida aims to hit Louisiana on Hurricane Katrina anniversary

By KEVIN McGILL and JANET McCONNAUGHEY: For Complete Post, click here…

Hurricane Ida struck Cuba on Friday and threatened to slam into Louisiana with devastating force over the weekend, prompting evacuations in New Orleans and across the coastal region.

Ida intensified rapidly Friday from a tropical storm to a hurricane with top winds of 80 mph (128 kph) as it crossed western Cuba and entered the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center predicted Ida would strengthen into an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, with top winds of 140 mph (225 kph) before making landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast late Sunday.

“This will be a life-altering storm for those who aren’t prepared,” National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott said during a Friday news conference with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The governor urged residents to quickly prepare, saying: “By nightfall tomorrow night, you need to be where you intend to be to ride out the storm.”

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered a mandatory evacuation for a small area of the city outside the levee system. But with the storm intensifying so much over a short time, she said it wasn’t possible to do so for the entire city. That generally calls for using all lanes of some highways to leave the city.

Voting While Disabled Is About to Get Harder

By Sarah Katz: For Complete Post, click here…

It’s long been difficult for Americans with disabilities to vote. Inaccessible paths are an obstacle to people who use wheelchairs. Long lines are a huge hurdle to people with chronic pain. Voting machines without audio or large-print ballots are an impediment to those who are blind or who have low vision. But last year, something different happened: As states passed pandemic-driven reforms to make voting easier for everyone, they inadvertently made voting a lot easier for most people with disabilities.

And vote, they did. Nearly 62 percent of Americans with disabilities voted in 2020, a surge of nearly 6 percentage points over 2016, or 1.7 million more voters. The number of disabled voters reporting difficulties while voting also dropped significantly; in 2020, 11 percent of disabled voters reported having problems, down from 26 percent in 2012, according to an Election Assistance Commission report. That’s not to say voting was suddenly simple: Mail-in ballots aren’t easier for everyone, including those with visual or cognitive disabilities. And in 2020, disabled Americans were still roughly 7 percent less likely to vote than nondisabled Americans. But the changes made a real difference.

Now state policy makers want to turn back the clock. Citing exaggerated concerns about voter fraud, state legislators have passed a wave of new bills that will make it harder for disabled people to vote in future elections. Overall, lawmakers have introduced more than 400 bills in 49 states this year that would restrict access to voting for people with disabilities. At least 18 states have already passed such laws. These laws either target mail-in ballots, reduce the amount of time voters have to request or mail in a ballot, restrict the availability of drop-off locations, impose stricter signature requirements for mail-in voting, or enact new and stricter voter-ID requirements.

Are the authors of these bills intentionally attempting to disenfranchise disabled voters? The truth is more nuanced, and perhaps grimmer: People with disabilities are, for the most part, omitted from the conversation altogether.