Sign the Petition to PROTECT THE ADA: Tell LACCD to BACK OFF

From DREDF: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Deadline to sign: February 4, 2022

Dear Community Member,

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) is trying to GUT THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND SECTION 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. LACCD plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that our laws only prohibit “intentional” forms of disability discrimination.

In most cases, disability discrimination does not happen because of an intent to harm or exclude people with disabilities. Disability discrimination happens because of how society has been organized and built, and due to thoughtlessness in ensuring that disabled people are included. If LACCD is successful, more than 40 years of hard-fought-for civil rights of people with disabilities will disappear.

The requested ruling in Payan v. LACCD would harm the entire disability community across the country, including blind students who attend LACCD campuses and who face barriers in accessing classroom materials, textbooks, educational platforms, and websites.

Please sign the disability community petition and tell LACCD to BACK OFF our civil rights.

Read more about the Payan v. LACCD litigation.

Deadline to sign: February 4, 2022

Autism history museum opening in Meridian Mall this February

By Bryce Airgood: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-I see that Xavier remains his usual dapper self. Congratulations XG!!!


OKEMOS — When he was younger Xavier DeGroat wanted to work at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, but now the Delta Township man is opening his own museum in Meridian Mall.

DeGroat, founder and CEO of nonprofit Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation, will host a ribbon-cutting event at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 for the foundation’s museum near Schuler Books.

“Not everything has to be about retail at malls,” DeGroat said.

DeGroat, 31, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum with generally higher functioning, when he was 4 years old.

He founded Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation around 2018 with the mission to create and promote opportunities for people with autism through advocacy, education, economic opportunities and humanitarian efforts. 

2022 tax filing season begins Jan. 24; IRS outlines refund timing and what to expect in advance of April 18 tax deadline

From IRS: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation’s tax season will start on Monday, January 24, 2022, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2021 tax year returns.

The January 24 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform programming and testing that is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. Updated programming helps ensure that eligible people can claim the proper amount of the Child Tax Credit after comparing their 2021 advance credits and claim any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2021 tax return.

“Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop these past several months to prepare,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The pandemic continues to create challenges, but the IRS reminds people there are important steps they can take to help ensure their tax return and refund don’t face processing delays. Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year. And we urge extra attention to those who received an Economic Impact Payment or an advance Child Tax Credit last year. People should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid delays.”

The IRS encourages everyone to have all the information they need in hand to make sure they file a complete and accurate return. Having an accurate tax return can avoid processing delays, refund delays and later IRS notices. This is especially important for people who received advance Child Tax Credit payments or Economic Impact Payments (American Rescue Plan stimulus payments) in 2021; they will need the amounts of these payments when preparing their tax return. The IRS is mailing special letters to recipients, and they can also check amounts received on IRS.gov.

Home Modifications Fact Sheet for Centers for Independent Living

by NCIL and the KU RTC/PICL: For Complete Post, Click Here…

January 4, 2022

Home modifications or “home mods” are changes a person makes to make their home accessible to them. Home mods can be as simple as a small threshold ramp to get through a doorway or as major as a full renovation. Some of the most common home modifications are ramps, improvements to doorways and entrances, and bathroom modifications.

A lot of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) operate home modification programs to help people make their homes more accessible. In a 2021 NCIL / RTC/PICL survey on home mod programs, 70% of CILs reported operating a formal home mod program. Some CILs help recommend improvements, others help with minor home mods, and some CILs assist with everything from recommendations, planning, and construction.

This fact sheet will share resources for your CIL, along with promising practices and real world examples from several CILs with successful home modification programs: accessABILITY in Indianapolis, Indiana; The Ability Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio; and Placer Independent Living Resource Services (PIRS) in Auburn, California.

CDC Director’s Comments About COVID Deaths Spur #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy Movement

B.L. Acker: For Complete Post, Click Here…

On the morning of Friday, January 14, 2022, ABC aired a segment with Rochelle Walensky, the current director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the interview, Good Morning America host Cecilia Vega asked the head of the CDC, “Is it time to start rethinking how we’re living with this virus — that it’s potentially here to stay?”

Walensky’s response, as it was presented by the morning news show, triggered immediate outrage throughout the disabled community. She appeared to be jovial, explaining that those dying of COVID-19 were mostly people with preexisting conditions: “The overwhelming number of deaths — over 75 percent — occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes: really encouraging news in the context of Omicron.”

Both ABC and the CDC made statements after the fact that her interview had been edited for time and was misrepresentative of Walensky’s statements as a whole. Good Morning America’s webpage swiftly replaced the shorter, modified clip with the original, longer, unedited version that more accurately placed her statement within a much larger exchange. This exchange highlighted the effectiveness of the vaccine in lowering death rates overall. However, the damage was already done. The hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy was born.

The hashtag has since taken on a life of its own on social media, with disabled people, adults, and children alike expressing their utter outrage and frustration.

When the Grief That Comes with Rare Disease Is Exhausting

By Katy Baker: For Complete Post, Click Here…

I think whether you have had a health condition since birth or whether you have acquired one throughout your life, I would say most people have moments/day/weeks/months of finding it emotionally challenging, and that’s totally OK. It may cause anxiety due to your body changing or causing scary symptoms to having low moments of “why me,” or adapting to life where they may not be a cure to your illness or missing out on events with others – of course there are only a few examples.

However, I think what a lot of people go through with illness is grief. This may sound ridiculous because you haven’t lost someone, but you are grieving for the life you had planned but now are not able to have. Or you are grieving for perhaps losing your ability to do certain things, maybe losing your employment or relationships with others. I am going to explain each stage of grief a bit more and reassure everyone that you are totally human for experiencing these emotions.

Denial: refusing to accept reality and protecting yourself from acceptance.

Autistic people challenge preconceived ideas about rationality

By Liron Rozenkrantz: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The human brain is bounded by limited computing power. It is impossible for people to compute all the scenarios, weigh all the options, and integrate all the available information, especially given limited time to make decisions. So we tend to use cognitive shortcuts (also called heuristics) to filter incoming information. Human irrationality can be seen as partly a byproduct of these shortcuts and other filters – which can include past experience, context, emotions and intuitions.

How do these filters affect behaviour? To take one example, people are highly motivated to avoid loss, and they will reliably choose options that are framed in terms of gains more than they choose options framed in terms of losses, even if the outcomes of these choices are in fact the same.

Such examples can make it seem as if such irrationality is an inevitable characteristic of human thinking. However, in the past decade or so, challenges to this idea have arisen from unexpected places. As we explained in a recent review paper, researchers have repeatedly found evidence that Autistic individuals are, on average, more consistent, less biased, and more rational than non-autistic individuals in a variety of contexts. (We use identity-first language, eg, ‘Autistic people’, as it is preferred by many people on the autism spectrum.) Specifically, many Autistic people seem to be less susceptible to cognitive biases, and therefore better able to make judgments and reach decisions in a more traditionally ‘rational’ manner.

Disabled People in the World in 2021: Facts and Figures

From Disabilities Around the World: For Complete Post, Click Here…

There are currently more than 1 billion disabled people in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) a disabled person is anyone who has “a problem in body function or structure, an activity limitation, has a difficulty in executing a task or action; with a participation restriction”.

What are the different types of disabilities? How many people are affected? Which populations are most at risk? What impact has COVID-19 had on people with disabilities? Let’s take stock of the facts and statistics around the world. 

How many people have disabilities in the world?

You may not see disabled people in your everyday life, and yet the WHO has identified over 1 billion disabled people, 20% of whom live with great functional difficulties in their day-to-day lives. 

A few outstanding figures of disability around the world (according to the WHO’s 2011 report):

⊗ 253 million people are affected by some form of blindness and visual impairment. This represents 3.2% of the world’s population. That’s twice Mexico’s population*!

⊗ 466 million people have a disabling deafness and hearing loss. This represents 6% of the world’s population, that is to say all of the inhabitants of the European Union!

⊗ About 200 million people have an intellectual disability (IQ below 75). This represents 2.6% of the world’s population. It covers the number of inhabitants in Brazil!

⊗ 75 million people need a wheelchair on a daily basis. This represents 1% of the world’s population. That’s twice Canada’s population!

These statistics may remain an evolutionary average, but one thing is certain: the number of people affected by any form of disability represents a significant part of the world population, from children to adults alike. It is also important to underline the fact that some people may have multiple disabilities. This explains why the total number of people with disabilities in the world isn’t equal to the sum of people with disabilities per disability type. Indeed, the same person can be both deaf and blind.

Scientists in India develop durable Braille maps using advanced technology

By Disability Insider: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Scientists from the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation, (NATMO) under the Department of Science & Technology, have developed user-friendly and durable Braille maps using advanced technology for students with vision disabilities.

The digital embossing technology is a technology that eliminates the need for printing plates, moulds, chemicals, and solvents, emitting no pollutants or waste, and reduces overall energy usage, said a statement.

“It has been experienced that the maps produced with earlier technology have lost their readability and feeling experience within a very short span of time. Feedback from experts and students of the Braille community has encouraged and motivated us to prepare the low-cost state-of-art product in terms of reduction of volume of the atlas, enhancement of the readability features, ease of carrying the maps, and atlas, etc.,” NATMO said.

The maps produced using this technology are not only useful for high-speed production of the maps but can also create Braille Maps that can be used by more people for years together. It has been experienced that the maps produced with earlier technology have lost their readability and feeling experience within a concise period, it added.

Initially, NATMO had published Braille Atlas for Visually Impaired (India), edition 2017 in English Braille Script, which received a massive response from the visually impaired community. It was developed with an indigenous manual embossing method. It was conferred with the National Award on “Science & Technology Intervention for Physically Challenged” for this publication officially released on February 10, 2017.

In continuation, NATMO received unexpected and overwhelming demands for Braille Atlases from different corners, encouraging it to prepare Braille Atlases in Hindi and other regional languages.

My wife had long Covid and killed herself. We must help others who are suffering

By Nick Güthe: For Complete Post, Click Here…

My wife, Heidi, took her own life after a 13-month battle with long Covid that started as a mostly asymptomatic coronavirus infection. Long Covid took her from one of the healthiest, most vibrant people I’ve ever known to a person so debilitated that she could not bear another day on this planet.

I came home one day last May to find that she’d decided to end her pain. As our 13-year-old son waited outside for the paramedics, I tried desperately to revive her. I did a good enough job that by the time we got her to the hospital they could restart her heart, but she was brain dead on arrival. The emergency room doctor assumed that she died from depression. When I told him, “She wasn’t depressed, it was long Covid,” he looked at me with bewilderment and asked, “What’s long Covid?”