Improving mental health by training the suppression of unwanted thoughts

By ZULKAYDA MAMAT AND MICHAEL C. ANDERSON: Complete Post through this link…


Anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and depression markedly increased worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. People with these conditions experience distressing intrusive thoughts, yet conventional therapies often urge them to avoid suppressing their thoughts because intrusions might rebound in intensity and frequency, worsening the disorders. In contrast, we hypothesized that training thought suppression would improve mental health. One hundred and twenty adults from 16 countries underwent 3 days of online training to suppress either fearful or neutral thoughts. No paradoxical increases in fears occurred. Instead, suppression reduced memory for suppressed fears and rendered them less vivid and anxiety provoking. After training, participants reported less anxiety, negative affect, and depression with the latter benefit persisting at 3 months. Participants high in trait anxiety and pandemic-related posttraumatic stress gained the largest and most durable mental health benefits. These findings challenge century-old wisdom that suppressing thoughts is maladaptive, offering an accessible approach to improving mental health.

Soundscape, and the way I use it

From NCBI: Complete Post through this link…

After last week’s exciting announcement about the new Soundscape Community app from NCBI IA labs and its partners, we are going to discover some use cases for the app and the different ways some people use it.

If you have not heard of Soundscape, it is an app you can download on your iPhone that helps you explore and learn your surroundings using 3D spatial sound. It calls out streets and intersections and you can create Markers and you can even follow an audio beacon for navigation to a destination.

Personally, the way I use it is strictly as a Points of interest finder or if you prefer to describe it as finding out what places I am passing as I walk by them. I use a pair of AirPods Pro in transparency mode, this allows outside sounds into the airpods for safety while listening to announcements from the Soundscape Community app.

In my small town, I rarely use it because I know it so well but when I go to a bigger town or city, I like to know what I am passing by. So, if I am in Kilkenny or Dublin City, I will turn it on and listen, shops and points of interest will be called out. The ones on my left will be announced in my left ear and you might have guessed the ones on my right are announced in my right ear. This gives me a great sense of awareness of what’s around me and it is also great for letting me know when I am passing little service roads and intersections.

Soundscape also has a feature called an Audio Beacon which you can attach to a specific location nearby and walk to it. The beacon makes a changing sound as you walk to the destination. You can also make this sound give you haptic feedback if you prefer. Some people love this type of guidance.

Think DIFFERENTLY Initiative Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Students With Disabilities Access Resources to Succeed in School

From Molinaro Website: Complete Post through this link…

U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) today introduced the Think DIFFERENTLY About Education Act. This bipartisan bill helps parents of children with disabilities advocate for the resources their child needs to succeed in school. It builds on Rep. Molinaro’s successful ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative. Rep. Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill alongside U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04), and Mike Lawler (R-NY-17).

In an annual IEP meeting, school staff and parents of a child with a disability meet to develop an educational plan for the student. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents have the right to bring a third-party advocate, such as a therapist, lawyer, or knowledgeable family member, to these meetings. However, most parents are not aware of this right.

The Think DIFFERENTLY About Education Act requires K-12 schools to inform parents of their right to bring an advocate to individualized education program (IEP) meetings.

JCPenney Has Affordable, Adaptive Jeans

By Shannon Kelly: Complete Post through this link…

JCPenney has added new men’s and women’s jeans to its adaptive clothing line for wheelchair users. The mutual weave Men’s Easy-on + Easy-off is a straight-leg style jean, made from soft stretch denim, that features hook-and-loop fasteners, an adjustable waistband and pull-on loops. These jeans do feature back pockets, something to be aware of for those worried about skin issues.

The a.n.a Adaptive Womens High Rise Straight Leg Jean is similar, though without the back pockets, and with a high-rise fit that provides better coverage while sitting, making the pants easy to wear for longer periods without experiencing discomfort or sagging. The jeans replace the standard buttons and zippers with Velcro to make dressing and cathing easier.

Both styles are currently on sale at an affordable price: $29.99 per pair. Along with their adaptive features, the jeans include classic styling and detailing, making them look like any other pair of jeans, but with added accessibility elements.

JCPenney offers several items in its adaptive category, including tops, bottoms, intimates and sleepwear, and plus-size clothing.

Tech Tuesday: Making Sense of the Michigan Assistive Technology Programs

From MATP: Complete Post through this link…

The federal Assistive Technology Act states that each state and
territory has an AT program to provide increased access to and
information about AT options. Michigan has 3 organizations that help
individuals with disabilities, their family members, and organizations
do exactly this. The Michigan Assistive Technology Program (MATP,) the
Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund (MATLF,) and Disability Rights
Michigan (DRM.)

Join Kellie Blackwell, MATP Co-Director, Tracy Strating, MATLF
Director, and Sarah Healey, DRM Advocate for the next TechTuesday on
September 26, 2023. The presenters will provide an overview of each
program and explain the differences of how each program is available
to help someone with exploring what AT options are available to them.

13% of Americans have a disability—what this means during the job application process

By Isabel Engel: Complete Post through this link…

For more than 40 million Americans, job applications may pose a challenging question: Do you have a disability? 

Roughly 13% of the U.S. population identifies as having a disability, according to the Pew Research Center. But this percentage is likely an undercount, Mia Ives-Rublee, disability justice initiative director at the Center for American Progress, tells CNBC Make It. 

“While we continuously talk about how many disabled people are working, how many disabled people there are in the United States, in the world, it’s always an undercount because of the fact that there is such a stigma around identifying with the disability,” Ives-Rublee says. 

Many job applicants who identify as having a disability grapple with whether or not to self-identify and which option to select, Ives-Rublee says. The voluntary question on some job applications encourages prospective employees to select one of three options when asked about their disability status:

  1. Yes, I have a disability, or have had one in the past.
  2. No, I do not have a disability and have not had one in the past.
  3. I do not want to answer.

When applying for a job, “you want to p

Smart Ass Cripple: So Sue Me

BY MIKE ERVIN: Complete Post through this link…

Thirty-three years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. But even today, stories abound of disabled folks being forced to assert the power of the ADA to fight inaccessibility problems that should have been addressed a long time ago. Sometimes government entities are the most blatant violators. 

When it comes to living up to their responsibilities under the ADA, these agencies seem to have a “so sue me” attitude. Rather than at least try to comply with the ADA because it’s the right thing to do, they’ll wait around to be sued before paying much attention. Thus, decades have passed—and even more decades will pass—with a lot of the exclusionary barriers the ADA was supposed to obliterate still rearing their ugly heads.

There are so many examples of government entities adopting a “so sue me” ADA strategy that trying to keep up with them would make you dizzy.

Making the Biggest Music Festivals in the U.S. More Accessible

By Alex Ghenis: Complete Post through this link…

The two-weekend, six-day Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in Indio, California, is one of the most famous and well-attended annual music events in the U.S. With over 100,000 attendees packed into a sprawling venue and 100-degree desert temperatures, it’s also a potential nightmare for accessibility.

Austin Whitney, the festival’s ADA compliance coordinator, is responsible for making certain that nightmare never materializes. As the president and founder of Ten Fifty Entertainment, the leading provider of accessibility and guest services for large events, Whitney works behind the scenes to ensure that other disabled people can enjoy whatever shows they choose to attend.

5 Schizophrenia Coping Skills I Couldn’t Live Without

By Ashley Nestler : Complete Post through this link…

Schizoaffective disorder — a disorder that is a combination of schizophrenia and, in my case, major depressive disorder (MDD) — is a big part of my life. I often find that my symptoms dictate what I am able to do and what I am not able to do in my daily life. Fortunately, I do have certain coping mechanisms that make the days easier and allow me to find some reprieve from my illness. My hope is that if you struggle with schizophrenia yourself, the following coping mechanisms might give you some absolution from your illness as well.

1. Cuddling With My Emotional Support Animal, Fat Louie the Cat…

2. Putty…

3. Warming Pad…

4. A Cold Bowl of Water…

5. Television and Music…

Accommodation and Compliance: Neurodiversity

From JAN: Complete Post through this link…

About Neurodiversity

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity describes the natural way that people think, learn, perceive the world, interact and process information differently and in unique ways. Although this term is often used to refer to people on the autism spectrum, it also includes a wide range of people with cognitive, intellectual, developmental, and neurological conditions that shape how people think and learn. For example, neurodivergent people include:

  • autistic people;
  • people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD);
  • those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions; and
  • people with learning disabilities, including dyslexia.

Neurodiversity and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Is neurodiversity a disability?

The ADA does not contain a definitive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more “major life activities,” (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Neurodiversity

What are common workplace challenges faced by neurodivergent employees?

Workplace challenges for neurodivergent employees can vary greatly from person to person. Some common challenges reported by neurodivergent employees, family members, advocates, providers of work supports and services, and employers include:

  • Social skills
  • Organization
  • Concentration
  • Sensory issues
  • Time management
  • Performing work effectively
  • Stress management
  • Interaction with coworkers
  • Speaking and communicating

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  6. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Key Accommodations: