Cellphones Are a Lifeline for Unhoused People—But Barriers Abound

By Moe Clark: Complete Post through this link…

A lack of internet access and charging stations makes it challenging for unhoused folks to maintain a working cellphone, posing a threat to their safety and ability to follow up with service providers or connect with employers.

As the sun started to set one early October day in Denver, nearly 100 people gathered by the side of Denver’s City Hall for Mutual Aid Monday, a weekly event for unhoused people to get hot food, camping gear, haircuts, and clothes. People sprawled on the grass to eat and chat as ’90s R&B music played from speakers on a table labeled the “Dork Energy Station,” which included a portable cellphone charging station—the latest addition to the weekly outreach event.

“We are out here to raise awareness for a permanent fix,” says Susan Law, a 37-year-old lawyer and volunteer at the event. “People need their phones.”

The idea for the charging station had been sparked a few weeks prior by Law’s friend, Kevin Campbell, at a mental health awareness meet-up in a park, called Dork Dancing. “He said, you know, the music is great, but it would be even better if folks could charge up at the same time,” Law recalled. Now, volunteers have around 30 chargers for people to use during Mutual Aid Monday as part of their pilot program, and they hope to one day install permanent charging stations around the city.

Cellphones can be a lifeline for unhoused people to be able to access critical services, stay connected to support systems, remain up to date on current events, and find upward mobility. But locating outlets to charge them, especially throughout the pandemic, has been a challenge. Many also struggle to pay their monthly phone bill, and phones can easily be lost, broken, or stolen while living on the streets—which can set people back by making it more challenging for them to follow up with service providers or potential employers.

“People tend to be able to access cellphones,” says Benjamin Henwood, a professor at the University of Southern California who directs the Center for Homelessness, Housing and Health Equity Research. “The problem is keeping the phones active.”

It’s estimated that over half of unsheltered people own cell phones, according to research by Henwood and others. But turnover—meaning the phones were lost or stolen within three months—was high.

Is a Common Bacteria a Trigger For Multiple Sclerosis?

From Neuroscience News: Complete Post through this link…

Summary: Researchers have discovered a potential link between the microbe C. perfringens and the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study suggests that an epsilon toxin from the bacteria might degrade the blood-brain barrier, initiating the debilitating symptoms of MS. This breakthrough sheds light on the potential environmental trigger of MS and paves the way for therapeutic innovations.

The study hints at the prospect of developing a vaccine or alternative treatments in the near future.

Key Facts:

  1. The epsilon toxin produced by C. perfringens may break down the blood-brain barrier, possibly initiating MS.
  2. People living in regions with high sheep populations, where C. perfringens is prevalent, have a higher incidence of MS.
  3. 61% of MS patients had high levels of epsilon-toxin-producing C. perfringens in their guts compared to 13% of healthy individuals.

Source: Rockefeller University

Social Security Backlogs Have Left Over 1 Million Americans Awaiting Benefits

By Vance Cariaga: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-The fundemental difficulty is that initial application consideration uses a set of rules for decisions that aren’t consistent with the intent of the statutory definition of disability under SSA. This results in a doubling of the number of people who are denied, with half of the denials being bogus…

The Social Security Administration has become so overwhelmed by customer service problems that even officials with the agency admit that their performance is “not acceptable.” That was how Linda Kerr-Davis, the SSA’s acting deputy commissioner of operations, described things during a recent Congressional hearing.

Kerr-Davis was there to explain why more than 1 million Americans are still waiting for initial decisions on disability benefits that currently take an average of 220 days to process.

“Pending levels and wait times for determinations on initial disability claims and disability reconsiderations are at all-time highs,” Kerr-Davis told the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee last month. “For the first time since the programs began, pending initial disability claims have exceeded 1 million. Applicants are waiting on average seven months for a decision. This is simply not acceptable — to the public, to you, or to us.”

Members of Congress — from both political parties — did not dispute that assessment. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Social Security panel of the Ways and Means Committee, said the consequences of SSA’s various service failures “are devastating.”

The question now is what the SSA plans to do about it. Kerr-Davis told the committee that her agency has worked to identify issues that led to the backlog and plans to take “immediate steps” to address and resolve them.

Viagra could slash risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%: study

By Brooke Steinberg: Complete Post through this link…

Viagra could cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%, according to a new study.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found that Viagra (sildenafil), a drug most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, blocks an enzyme found in the brains of those who suffer from the disease.

The study looked at more than 27,000 people over 65, comparing half of the participants who had been prescribed sildenafil with half who had not. Findings showed that Viagra suppresses a protein called PDE5.

In Alzheimer’s patients, PDE5 is “significantly increased” in the part of the brain that manages memory.

“We found sildenafil was significantly associated with a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Xingyue Huo told The Sun.

Everyone has a place at the table in The Blind Kitchen!

From The Blind Kitchen: Complete Post through this link…

What The Blind Kitchen does

The Blind Kitchen ships practical adaptive cooking tools to blind and visually impaired cooks to assist with a safe, confident, and independent cooking experience in their own kitchens. We also provide blind-friendly tips and strategies for the many aspects related to cooking that do not involve a specific tool or kitchen equipment.

Questions and Answers on the Application of the ADA’s Integration Mandate and Olmstead v. L.C. to Employment and Day Services for People with Disabilities

From ADA.gov: Complete Post through this link…

Nationally, a significant number of individuals with disabilities spend the majority of their daytime hours receiving public services in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. These settings segregate individuals from the community and provide little or no opportunity to interact with people without disabilities, other than paid staff.

 Guidance & Resources

Read this to get specific guidance about this topic.

The work of individuals with disabilities in segregated settings is often highly regimented and typically offers no opportunity for advancement. In many sheltered workshops, for example, people with disabilities perform highly repetitive, manual tasks, such as folding, sorting, and bagging, in shared spaces occupied only by other people with disabilities. They also often earn extremely low wages when compared to people with disabilities in integrated employment, resulting in stigmatization and a lack of economic independence. As long as individuals with disabilities who can and want to work remain in segregated work or day settings, they will be deprived of an important opportunity to interact with the community and the community will be deprived of their talents, skills, and contributions.

When people with disabilities are instead given access to supported employment services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, they have the opportunity to live fuller lives, be more integrated into the community, and gain financial independence to “move proudly into the economic mainstream of American life.” 1 These opportunities fulfill the core promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self- sufficiency.” 2

State and local governments that fail to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs may be failing to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The U.S. Department of Justice (the Department) has created this guidance to discuss and explain the requirements of the ADA’s integration mandate and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999), as applied to segregated employment settings and facility-based day programs.

And much more…

Smart assistive lamps ​reduce falls in care home by 84 percent

By Sarah Sarsby: Complete Post through this link…

An AI-powered lamp has reduced the number of falls in a care home in Cumbria by 84 percent, with a 28-fold increase in response time when a fall occurs.

The Nobi Smart Lamp, developed by Nobi, is an AI-powered piece of assistive technology that aims to revolutionise fall detection and prevention in care homes globally, including in the UK.

If a resident falls, the lamp detects this immediately and speaks to the resident, asking if they are okay.

In the event of no response or a call for help, the lamp is pre-programmed to send a message to either caregivers or family members. In the event of an emergency, the emergency services are notified with the lamp having the ability to open the door for them.

The technology has been in use since May 2023 as part of a pilot that is being funded by NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) at the Hartland House care home in Cumbria. The lamps are already having a “significant” impact on the lives of residents and care staff.

Nobi Lamps detect 100 percent of falls and offer preventative measures that have led to a huge reduction in falls at Hartland House, according to Nobi. ​

Deborah Gent, the adult social care digital lead for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, said: “We have been very happy with preliminary results from the pilot programme with Hartland House and the Nobi lamps.

A New Hands-Free Option to Control Your Wheelchair: munevo DRIVE

By Ian Ruder: Complete Post through this link…

Ten years ago, I wrote an article for NEW MOBILITY about Google’s supposedly revolutionary Glass headset and what it might offer for wheelchair users. I had a lot of fun testing out the futuristic-looking device, but wasn’t sure what its future looked like. I closed the article with a quote from a Google staffer who promised, “We’re going to learn about things that Glass can help people do that we have no idea about now.”

In case you’ve forgotten or never heard about Glass, it was a lightweight headset attached to a glasses frame, with a built-in visual display that let you make calls, take pictures and videos, and access social media hands-free, using voice, head tilt or other controls. Two years after my article, Google stopped making Glass for the public.

I forgot about my headset — packed away in its felt pouch in the back of my closet — until last year. A representative for a German company had sent a message through the NM website touting “a new technology combining smart glasses to help electric wheelchair drivers control their wheelchair (hands-free) through a minimalist head control device via Bluetooth.” When I saw the pictures on their site, the device looked just like a Glass, and more importantly, it seemed to allow users to control their power chairs by simply tilting their heads.

The company, munevo, had been operating in Europe for three years and was preparing to bring their product, munevo DRIVE, to the U.S. Having heard numerous friends rant about their frustrations with current hands-free control options for power chairs, I was excited to hear about a new way to safely drive for those who can’t use arms or hands.

The headset has been exhibited at Abilities Expos around the U.S., and munevo offered one to NEW MOBILITY so I could try it and get feedback from other testers.

Promising Potential

Understanding Cognitive Disengagement Syndrome – Webinar on Dec. 5

From ADDitude: Complete Post through this link…

EXPERT: Joseph Fredrick, Ph.D.
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 5 @ 1pm EST
(12pm CST; 11am MST; 10am PST)  |  Find it in your time zone > This webinar will be recorded. Register now and we’ll reserve you a spot (even if you can’t attend live) AND email you the replay link »
. . . . .
Up to 40 percent of children with ADHD also experience symptoms of cognitive disengagement syndrome (CDS; previously called sluggish cognitive tempo). These include excessive daydreaming, staring or zoning out, being lost in one’s thoughts, sleepiness, and peer relationship challenges. While CDS is not an official diagnosis in the DSM, decades of research confirm that CDS is an important type of inattention that negatively impacts day-to-day functioning.

In this webinar, you will learn:About the similarities and differences between CDS and ADHDHow CDS increases risk for internalizing conditions, academic impairments, sleep problems, and strained peer relationshipsAbout the behaviors common in individuals presenting with CDS, and approaches to assessing CDSAbout evidence-based treatment of CDS, including the finding that stimulants aren’t as effective as they are with ADHD symptomsAbout strategies to decrease the negative impact of CDS at home and in school
Register Now to Reserve Your Spot & Get Replay Access »

Lansing Man with Disabilities Settles New Accessibility Lawsuit

From Fair Housing Center: Complete Post through this link…

Daniel Black, a man with dwarfism, has settled his lawsuit after a five-year struggle against Capitol Commons Apartments and First Housing Corporation in Lansing.

Mr. Black spent years asking his federally subsidized housing provider, Capitol Commons, to outfit his bathroom with a roll-in shower to accommodate his disability. He also requested that the building install an accessible electric entrance door so that he, other seniors, and people with disabilities could freely come and go without assistance from their accessible apartments.

With no progress on his requests, Mr. Black contacted the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan (FHC). During the summer of 2022, FHC staff advocated extensively on his behalf. Still unable to gain reasonable accommodation, FHC Cooperating Attorney Robin Wagner of Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, Bonanni & Rivers ultimately filed a lawsuit on Mr. Black’s behalf on December 2, 2022, in U.S. Federal District Court in the Western District of Michigan. The case was assigned to the Honorable Robert J. Jonker; it settled for an undisclosed amount in September 2023, and both the accessible shower and electronic door were installed.