Ann Arbor community discusses expansion of Narcan vending machines

by Maleny Crespo: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd- In an era of fentanyl and other adultrants, this seems sensible…

The Ann Arbor District Library first became home to a Narcan vending machine in April 2022. The vending machine, which dispenses overdose treatment kits free of charge, was installed by  Home of New Vision, a local rehabilitation center aiming to provide more easily accessible lifesaving support for those with substance abuse issues.

Eli Neiburger, director of the Ann Arbor District Library, told The Michigan Daily he believes Home of New Vision’s harm reduction resources are essential for the Ann Arbor community. Neiburger said he feels the vending machine was a critical first step in reducing overdose-related deaths.

“Narcan is something that’s important for people to have access to carry around, not just if they have someone who has an opiate addiction in their lives, but also just in case they encounter someone,” Neiburger said. “ … And (the vending machine has) been a very easy way for people to get access to life-saving medication that has very big advantages.” 

Following the positive response from the community on the first machine, Neiburger said they expanded the program to other Ann Arbor District Library branches. 

California’s power outages are a life-and-death issue

By Alice Wong: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-This is a critical issue in Michigan as well. Great problems that laste dfor days to weeks happened in the 2013 ice storm…

A perspective on the impacts of storms for people with disabilities.

The terms atmospheric river and bomb cyclone were not in my vocabulary until recently. During the first two weeks of 2023, however, the San Francisco Bay Area was deluged with a series of storms. I am a disabled person who depends on power to live. When I came home after four weeks in the ICU last summer, I was tethered to a feeding machine that pumps food into my stomach, as well as to a ventilator that’s attached to a hole in my throat, among numerous other devices. The stakes for potential harm during a power outage have exponentially increased. My anxiety, vulnerability and fear are real.

Jan. 3, 2023, 10:44 p.m.: Texted my caregivers on what to do if a power outage happens while I am in bed tomorrow night. Air mattress will deflate, and I will immediately need to be transferred into my wheelchair. I will need to use my backup electric batteries for medical devices such as my suction machine, since I need to suction hourly every day.

Jan. 4, 10 a.m.: Mentally calculating how much battery life some of my machines need before needing to use my backup electric battery. My other devices do not have a built-in battery.

1 p.m.: Bookmarked the link to Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) Outage Center, so I can look up all the outages by location and report one if it happens in my neighborhood.

1:30 p.m.: Asked my father to make sure my backup electric batteries are fully charged.

2 p.m.: Let my morning caregiver leave her shift early so that she can get home safely before the brunt of the storm arrives. Did not hydrate today, because my nighttime caregiver will not arrive until 9 p.m. Worried for her, and worried for me. I hope I don’t get a full bladder.

3:02 p.m.: Tweeting information about the storm. Noticing that many weather-related Tweets do not have alt text in graphics and captions in videos that contain vital information about the storm, evacuations and road closures.

3:30 p.m.: Watching the news and scrolling Twitter. My father, who thinks I’m being an alarmist, said, “The news always exaggerates the dangers.” After living with me for decades, he still doesn’t understand.

6:01 p.m.: Pre-emptively charging some of my devices, topping them up with power tonight, just in case.

6:19 p.m.Uh-oh. My bladder feels a little full. Let’s see if I can hold on until 9-ish when my caregiver arrives. I hope she makes it.

And Much More…

Celebrating Ed Roberts Day With A Special Message From WID Co-Founder, Judy Heumann

Bu Judy Heumann: For Complete Post, Click Here…

My name is Judy Heumann, and I’m a proud co-founder of the World Institute on Disability (WID). It’s hard to believe that WID is 40 years old. As I think about WID’s future, I harken back to the early days when so many activists were pushing for broader representation of disabled people. At the time, there
were no public policy think tanks for disabled people. Ed Roberts, Joan Leon, and I wanted to change that and thus WID was born.

It is fitting that on Ed’s birthday today, we also celebrate WID’s founding and 40th anniversary, for they are forever linked in a global movement for the rights, opportunities, equity, and justice for all people with disabilities.

Ed is known by many as the “Father of the Independent Living Movement” and I’m often called the “Mother of the Independent Living Movement.” Together, we were instrumental in advancing Centers for Independent Living across the United States. We were able to influence and develop policy at federal, state, and local levels with a mission to achieve the full inclusion of people with disabilities throughout all facets of our society.

As we look at the next 40 years of WID and beyond, I believe we can all carry with us Ed’s fighting spirit that enabled him to make an ever-lasting change, in our community and the entire world. Ed is an example of the power of one, but he is also an example of what community engagement looks like.

Dyspraxia And Apraxia

By Jillian Enright: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd- This has been an issue with me over the years and seems to be worsening as I get older…

Motor and coordination issues in Autism and ADHD.

Communication is a basic human right

Humans place an unreasonable level of importance on communicating verbally, but that’s an ableist belief of superiority based on speech being the method of communication preferred by the majority of the population.

Building on my previous article, I do acknowledge the potential flaws in the rapid prompting method of communication (RPM) and Facilitated Communication (FC).

Despite some drawbacks to certain types of assisted communication methods, I’d still much prefer to support avenues which increase autonomy and options for effective communication for everyone.

Acknowledging the weaknesses of some methods will hopefully lead to improvements and thus, even better options coming about in the future.

This article isn’t about that, specifically, but it is related. Many Autistics who have unreliable speech or are non-speaking use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), RPM, FC, and Spelling to Communicate (S2C).

Many Autistics and people with ADHD have co-occurring conditions called dyspraxia and apraxia, which can significantly impact one’s speech, but do not impact a person’s intelligence. People seem to understand this in principle, but not in practice.

A Deaf Student Says His School District Failed Him. The Supreme Court Will Decide

By Mark Walsh: For Complete Post, Click Here…

When the U.S. Supreme Court takes up his special education and disability discrimination case on Wednesday, Miguel Luna Perez will in the courtroom. Perez, now 27, is deaf, and he will be aided in trying to understand the complex legal arguments by both a certified deaf interpreter and an American Sign Language translator.

“My case at the U.S. Supreme Court is hard for me to understand,” Luna Perez said in a statement released by his lawyers. “Part of it is about having no interpreter at Sturgis [Public Schools]. Part of it is that some judges said I can’t tell my story in court.”

The young deaf immigrant’s statement hints at a personal narrative of dashed dreams allegedly caused largely by the failures of a Michigan school district to ensure that he was being provided the educational assistance he needed to learn to communicate.

OneButtonPIN increases security for blind and low-vision tech users

From University of Waterloo: For Complete Post, Click Here…

New authentication method helps protect data from privacy attacks.

Working closely with blind and low-vision (BLV) users, researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Rochester Institute of Technology have developed a new authentication method that could help BLV technology users more securely access their devices. The new method, OneButtonPIN, allows users to input PIN codes using a single large button and a series of haptic vibrations.

People with BLV frequently express frustrations with existing authentication methods such as drawing patterns, fingerprint and face scans, and PIN codes. Some methods are difficult to use effectively without visual data. Others are vulnerable to privacy attacks.

OneButtonPIN addresses these security issues by using haptic vibrations imperceptible to outsiders. When prompted to enter a PIN code, the user presses and holds a large button on their smartphone screen. This activates a series of vibrations separated by pauses; the user counts the number of vibrations corresponding to the number they desire to enter, then releases the button and repeats the process until the desired numbers are entered.

While biometrics such as fingerprints and face scans are unique and easy to use, a person’s biometrics cannot be changed or reset, explains Stacey Watson, a lecturer in computer science and one of the researchers on the study.

“More traditional forms of entry are vulnerable due to many BLV people’s use of screen reader technology,” said Watson. “PIN users are vulnerable both to eavesdropping and shoulder surfing attacks, which is where someone nearby can observe a user’s device without their knowledge.”

Town Hall Series: Navigating the Community Mental Health System | Grand Rapids

From MHAM: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Thursday, February 16, 2023 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Register Online

Please select from one of the registration options below.

Would you like to learn more about how the community mental health system works? Would you like to learn more about how you can help your child/loved one or yourself access the community mental health system?  

  • If you are a parent of a child or adult child with a serious mental health condition, this is for you. 
  • If you are a member of the community such as a police officer, teacher, nurse, legislator, policymaker or doctor, you might be interested in this event. 
  • If you are a family member or friend of an adult or child with a significant mental health condition, this is for you.

Join us for this in-person event on February 16, 2023, from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Hope Network’s Education Center in the Motivation Conference Room, for this town hall session where we will be talking about the public mental health system.

Marianne Huff, LMSW
CEO & President

This in-person event is open to members and non-members and limited to the first 145 people.

State launches county-level substance use tool

By George Castle: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched a new tool to help stakeholders target efforts to address substance use issues in their counties and will support decision-making for spending opioid settlement funds.

It’s called the Michigan Substance Use Vulnerability Index (MI-SUVI). According to the MDHHS, before this tool, only overdose mortality data was relied on to identify areas with higher substance use. That method didn’t consider a community’s access to resources, the impact of nonfatal overdoses or social determinants of health. MI-SUVI uses data on access to services, social vulnerability and substance use burden. With the additional data, county-level vulnerability scores can be made. MI-SUVI shows areas that are more vulnerable to harmful substance use outcomes.

“We know substance use disorder programming is most effective when it is community-focused and data-driven,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “However, measuring the community impact of substance use is complicated, and no single indicator reflects its true impact. MI-SUVI is an innovative tool for communities to address the opioid crisis and other substance use disorder issues they specifically face. With the disbursement of opioid settlement funds across Michigan, we foresee the index playing a vital role in facilitating community conversations and developing targeted efforts to assist vulnerable individuals.”

Woman and her 2 sons die after walking freezing Michigan streets for days

By Dennis Romero: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-Appalling lack of safety net….

A woman and two of her children were found dead in a field over the weekend after wandering the streets of Pontiac, Michigan, for nearly three days amid freezing temperatures, authorities said.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the deaths could have been prevented.

Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel said at a news conference Monday, “This is a horrible, heart-wrenching tragedy.”

Smartphone App Can Significantly Improve Memory Recall

From Neuroscience News: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Summary: A new smartphone app, dubbed HippoCamera helps to significantly improve memory recall and could have applications for improving memory for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The app mimics the function of the hippocampus, constructing and maintaining memories. The app enhances biological memory encoding by boosting attention to daily events and consolidating them more distinctly.

Source: University of Toronto

Researchers at the University of Toronto have demonstrated that a new smartphone application helps to significantly improve memory recall, which could prove beneficial for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory impairment.

Dubbed HippoCamera for its ability to mimic the function of the brain’s hippocampus in memory construction and retention, the app enhances the encoding of memories stored in the brain by boosting attention to daily events and consolidating them more distinctly—thus later enabling richer, more comprehensive recall.

In a two-step process, HippoCamera users record a short video of up to 24 seconds of a moment they want to remember with a brief eight-second audio description of the event.

The app combines the two elements just as the brain’s hippocampus would, with the video component sped up to mimic aspects of hippocampal function and to facilitate efficient review.

Users then replay cues produced by HippoCamera at later times on a curated and regular basis to reinforce the memory and enable detailed recall.