Car Rentals for People with Dwarfism

From Ability-Tools Staff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Dan Okenfuss – Public Policy Manager, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers

It’s summer! Time for vacations to faraway places! Whenever I fly on a pleasure trip, I am usually renting a car at my destination, especially when visiting friends who live far from reliable public transportation. That way, I can comfortably drive with my family of four and carry our luggage.

Picking out a rental car for most travelers is fairly simple: just pick the appropriate size and capacity of car at your particular price points. However, it’s a lot more challenging for a family of four individuals with dwarfism (skeletal dysplasia) who are less than 4 feet 6 inches tall.

To accommodate this accessibility challenge, I usually rent a car with hand controls because I’m usually the driver and I can’t reach the brake or accelerator due to my short legs. I used to bring my own pedal extensions, but I found it difficult to connect them to the rental car pedals as I got older and less flexible.

The hand controls look like a motorcycle or bicycle hand grip that sticks out of the left or right side of the steering column. Usually, you turn the handle down for the accelerator and push the handle in for the brake.

Most major rental car companies have cars with hand controls available upon request, as long as you notify them in advance. I try to give rental car companies at least a month’s notice that I need a car with hand controls ready at my destination.

Sometimes, you can’t select this option on the rental car reservations website. You need to search more creatively. Therefore, I try to avoid any online hassles and call the rental car agent directly and ask for its “accessibility” or “ADA customer” desk. That way, you get in touch with the right expert who can best take your request and ensure you have an accessible car waiting for you at your destination. Remember to always get names, phone numbers and emails from the contacts you work with. That way, you are more prepared to book for future travel.

How to sleep well again

by Chris James: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Insomnia is awful, but highly treatable. Look beyond pills and potions, and use these effective methods to get your life back.

Most of us struggle after a night of poor sleep: we feel groggy, tired, irritable – there’s a general sense that we’re not firing on all cylinders, or like we’re going through our day in a ‘fog’. Insomnia sufferers know these symptoms all too well.

Individuals who experience insomnia often describe it as a debilitating, distressing, deeply frustrating condition that affects all aspects of their life. The negative impact of just one night of poor sleep can weigh heavily on us, so for those who are consistently sleeping poorly it can feel like torture. Sleeping should be easy, right? Why can’t I just close my eyes and fall asleep like everyone else? – a question I’ve heard many times in the sleep clinic. Insomnia can be such a cruel condition. The desperate desire for sleep and the increasing frustration that comes with being unable to sleep actually makes it even harder to get to sleep. Breaking this vicious cycle is one of the keys to overcoming insomnia.

Securing good sleep is essential for physical and mental health. When sleep is healthy, it helps the body recharge, fuels its natural ability to heal, and plays a vital role in helping the brain process the day’s events. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep to feel sufficiently rested, though the exact duration needed varies from person to person. People with insomnia often report not getting sufficient sleep; some report just five or six hours. Others get more, but it is typical for people with insomnia to have highly fragmented sleep – in other words, they don’t sleep solidly and have long periods of wakefulness in their sleep.

Broadly speaking, insomnia involves persistent difficulty with getting to sleep and/or staying asleep, at least three nights per week. For those with chronic (vs short-term) insomnia, this goes on for a period of at least three months. These difficulties are accompanied by daytime symptoms such as fatigue, memory or concentration problems, or irritability. There also has to be some degree of dissatisfaction or distress about one’s sleep. Importantly, for the problem to be classed as insomnia, these issues have to be occurring despite adequate opportunity for sleep (so the sleep problems are not caused by factors such as shift patterns, late-night partying or noisy neighbours). And, the symptoms aren’t better explained by other conditions that can lead to poor sleep, such as circadian rhythm disorders or sleep apnoea.

Insomnia can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life and day-to-day functioning. It can affect performance at work, relationships, and motivation to exercise and keep a healthy diet. People with insomnia often stop doing the things they enjoy as they no longer have the energy or drive to do them. As a result, they can often feel unhappy, powerless and trapped.

Insomnia is common, but treatable

AARP launches free online hub to help Veterans fight fraud

From VAntage Point: For Complete Post, Click Here…

In response to the growing number of online fraud reports against the military community, AARP recently launched its Veterans Fraud Center, a new education and resource hub to help protect Veterans, service members and their families.

The data

Just last year, an AARP survey found that one in three active-duty military members and Veterans have lost money to at least one fake service-related offer.

Additionally, the number of fraud attacks against the military community jumped 69 percent compared to the previous year, according to the 2021 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Of those 110,827 reports of fraud, 26 percent resulted in financial losses, which totaled $267 million. Individual victims within the military community reported losing more money than their civilian counterparts, with a median loss of $600, compared to $500 for civilians.

“Targeting scams at members of the military community is unconscionable,” said Troy Broussard, senior advisor of AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Initiative and U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran. “The AARP Veterans Fraud Center is designed to alert Veterans and their families about the latest scams and how to avoid them.”

AARP’s free resources

AARP’s Veterans Fraud Center offers free information on the latest scams targeting the military community, tips for spotting other types of consumer fraud, and specially tailored resources to help protect Veterans and military families.

They include:

For the latest news and information impacting older Veterans, bookmark the Veterans, Military and Their Families page on AARP.org.

Blind and Low-vision People Can Now ‘See’ the World with This App from Google

From Ankur: For Complete Post, Click Here…

It’s hard for visually impaired or blind pals to identify things unless they are voice-guided. Google has a new app that tells the visually impaired what they see right through their Android phone – Lookout. Although it’s an app for blind and visually impaired people, not necessarily everyone.

Let’s see how you can make an Android phone accessible for blind people with the Google Lookout app.

How to Use Lookout App for Blind and Visually Impaired People

DISABILITY DISCLOSURE

From JAN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Introduction

Deciding if, when, and how to share disability-related information with a prospective or current employer can be overwhelming. The decision-making process requires answering a number of personal questions that may be different with each employment experience. There is no single right or wrong approach to disclosing a disability. The disability disclosure decision-making process can include questions like: “Do I have an obligation to disclose?” “When is the right time?” “How much information does the employer need?” and “How will disclosing the information affect my employment?” 

The remainder of this resource is a summary of issues and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to disability disclosure and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This information is relevant to both individuals with disabilities and employers.

Information about Disability Disclosure and Employment

Daycare Apps Are Dangerously Insecure

BY ALEXIS HANCOCK: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Last year, several parents at EFF enrolled kids into daycare and were instantly told to download an application for managing their children’s care. Daycare and preschool applications frequently include notifications of feedings, diaper changes, pictures, activities, and which guardian picked-up/dropped-off the child—potentially useful features for overcoming separation anxiety of newly enrolled children and their anxious parents. Working at a privacy-oriented organization as we do, we asked questions: Do we have to use these? Are they secure? The answer to the former, unfortunately, was “yes,” partly so that the schools could abide by health guidelines to avoid unnecessary in-person contact. But troublingly, the answer to the second was a resounding “no.”

As is the case with so many of these services, there are a few apps that are more popular than others. While we started with the one we were being asked to use, this prompted us to look closer at the entire industry.

“The (Mostly) Cold Shoulder”

These days, offering two-factor authentication (2FA), where two different methods are used to verify a user’s login, is fairly standard. EFF has frequently asserted that it is one of the easiest ways to increase your security. Therefore, it seemed like a basic first step for daycare apps.

The gifts and challenges of being a quadriplegic father

By Caitlin Gibson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The routine varies a little each night — life with a newborn is unpredictable like that — but one thing is always the same: Before he goes to sleep, Josh Basile takes extra time to be physically close to his son, Calder. Sometimes Calder nestles into the crook of Basile’s arm and dozes. Other nights, if the baby is alert and wiggly, Basile lies down beside the co-sleeper bassinet and talks to his son face-to-face; lately, as Calder nears 12 weeks old, he’s started to smile at his dad. Basile’s partner, Katie Fava, often places their little boy on Basile’s chest, and helps hold him there.

“Katie is the one who does all the heavy lifting,” Basile says, and he means this literally. In the earliest stage of parenthood, so many of the demands are physical — the baby needs to be fed, burped, cleaned, dressed, rocked — and Basile, a quadriplegic who has only limited movement in his arms, can’t feed, burp or rock the baby. He can’t buckle the straps of a car seat, or wash a bottle, or change a diaper. His version of fatherhood is one that must transcend the limitations of a body that is immobile from the chest down.

But in the 18 years since the accident that left Basile paralyzed, he has learned to focus his attention and effort on what is possible, on the things he can do — so he goes to great lengths to make sure Calder can see him, hear him and feel him every day.

Disability Rights California’s New Art Mural for Sacramento’s Wide Open Walls Festival

From DRC: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Featuring artist Raphael Delgado.

Disability Rights California is excited to join Sacramento, California’s Wide Open Walls mural festival.  This festival was founded in 2016 “bringing underserved neighborhoods public art that encourages a sense of pride and identity,” the festival organization says.

Wide Open Walls believes, “Art is an integral part of the human experience, and can empower, inspire and transform lives.” You can learn more about it here: https://www.wideopenwalls.com/about/history/

Disability Justice is About All of Us

Disability Rights California worked with Raphael Delgado to design and create a mural representative of the disability community.

We are excited to have this mural outside our Sacramento office and grateful to Raphael, who was mindful in his creation and inspired by representing how disability justice is about all of us. He created this piece inspired by Lady Justice, who is a personification of the moral force in the judicial systems, sometimes also referred to as Blind Justice as she is often depicted wearing a blindfold.

Of his mural on the L Street side of DRC’s Midtown Sacramento building, Raphael shared that he wanted to create a “monument to justice and to disability rights.”

Raphael’s mural depicts a personification of Blind Justice, but, as he states, “this time we’ve interpreted it differently.” The figure, whom he says also has nonbinary elements, uses a prosthesis in the form of a sword in place of one of their legs, and one of their arms is replaced by a wing, “meant to uplift and protect,” says Raphael. A wing and a sword – perfect symbols for DRC as a P&A, or Protection and Advocacy organization.

“There’s beauty, there’s power,” says Raphael. “I wanted to make [the figure] feel solid and strong,” but, he continues, “There’s delicate balance – it’s delicate and strong at the same time.” The colors Raphael used will also be one of the first things to catch a passerby’s eye, as Raphael made a point of selecting bright pigments full of vitality and energy.

Disability rights activists fight for access to cities’ Pride events

By Giovanna Coi and Aitor Hernández-Morales: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Cobblestones, steep inclines, gravel — for members of the LGBTQ+ community with disabilities, seemingly small obstacles on the route a Pride march takes through a city can mean they are left out and forced to watch from the sidelines.

That’s something Pride march organizers are only slowly starting to address.

“Pride is the main event of the year for queer people,” said Ingrid Thunem, a paralympic swimmer and activist who leads the Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities. “It’s an event for partying, for protest, for making social contact … but we [have been] contacted by queer disabled people who told us, ‘Why can we not go to the parade? ‘We feel excluded.’”

Steve Taylor, board member of the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) and secretary-general of Copenhagen Pride, said city infrastructure is a key part of the problem.

“By virtue of their history, [Europe’s] capital cities are not accessible places,” he said. “Pride [organizers] can take steps to make events as accessible as possible … When the city infrastructure works against you, that presents a challenge.”

Beyond physical barriers, people with disabilities can face additional obstacles, like a lack of sign language interpretation or an overload of sensory stimulation, that require special attention to allow them to take part in such large-scale events.

Nimble one-finger cutter

From Disability Horizons: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Nimble is a compact and simple cutting device that has been designed with safety and ease-of-use in mind. The Nimble fits onto the end of the fingertip, much in the same way you would use a thimble. On top of the secure yellow rubber body of the Nimble is a safe yet sharp ceramic blade. Very safe, it is difficult to cut yourself using it.

Even though the blade of the Nimble is sharp enough to slice and score through many materials (including paper, food packaging, polythene and more) its size and design ensure that the user remains safe whilst it is in use. It is very difficult to hurt yourself using a nimble  because the tiny blade is contained in a small, flexible rubber tip.