11 Disability Rights Activists on Where the Fight for Justice Stands

BY TEEN VOGUE STAFF: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Airlines have lifted mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that most Americans no longer need to social distance or quarantine. Schools and employers are doing away with remote options and other accommodations for students and workers. In several states, expanded vote-by-mail access is being stripped away.

Meanwhile, many Americans with chronic illness or disabilities — whose numbers have grown due to long COVID — feel they’ve been left behind, discarded as an acceptable consequence of the return to “normal.”

We asked 11 disability rights advocates about their experiences during the various stages of the pandemic and what’s next in the fight for disability rights and inclusion. Their responses have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

  1. How do you think the pandemic changed the public perception of people living with disabilities or chronic illness?

Proposed Bills Would Address Long-Term Elevator Outages in Apartment Buildings

From Galloway and Collins: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Sens. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) are announcing legislation to address elevator outages at apartment buildings in Michigan to help ensure building safety and accessibility for tenants.

As many of Michigan’s large residential buildings age, elevators fall into disrepair and become nonfunctional. There are times when elevators are not working for days, weeks, or even months at a time, and tenants are not receiving notification or updates from property managers.

In response, the senators introduced two bills, Senate Bills 1144 and 1145 that would require building owners to develop a written plan about how they will provide tenants with accommodations in the event of long-term elevator outages. Building owners would choose which accommodations work best for their needs, be required to share these written plans with tenants, and then submit them to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for their review.

Disabled Monopoly Player Panics as Assets Approach $2000

by NATE WOOGEN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

With his top hat token resting on Pennsylvania Avenue, disabled Monopoly player John Owens, 24, panicked as he realized he had $1,900 in total assets. If he reached over $2,000, he would be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — and that $200 Go space was looming right around the corner.

“If only Sarah hadn’t landed on Connecticut,” bemoaned Owens after collecting unwanted money from an opponent. He subsequently offered to trade New York Avenue for a property of lesser value. 

Since SSI counts total assets, not just cash, merely putting his money into purchasing houses on his monopoly of Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues would not help. SSI rules and Monopoly rules are similar in that some people are forced to follow the written policies closely while others are so privileged they don’t even know the rules exist.

“I should have been buying houses and then selling them for half the value to keep my assets low,” said Owens, calculating how much money he could lose if he mortgaged and unmortgaged his properties with a 10% interest rate. “But I forgot.”

The three able-bodied players were able to amass sizable financial empires while Owens struggled to keep his fortune under $2,000.

Autism and Lying

By Mette Harrison: For Complete Post, Click Here…

I find it excruciating to lie. But let me clarify a bit here. To me, lying is not what most other people would call lying. I say other people are lying a lot of the time because they say things that I consider “contrary to fact.” Most people, when I point these out, give me a funny look and say something like, “that’s not a lie.” They think of these things as “white lies” or something don’t think of them as lies at all. This is largely because their brains are not as literal as mine is. But if you tell me something that is an exaggeration or a social nicety, I will call that a lie. And you will be confused. This is often a subject of argument between me and people who are neurotypical who have no idea what I think of as a lie.

There are two kinds of lies that I see most often in the world.

1. Lying to make someone else feel better

2. Lying to make yourself look better

Most people only consider the second one a lie, and only in extreme circumstances. If you lie to make someone else feel better (“flattery” perhaps you might be able to call this), then you don’t think of it as a lie because that is what normal social interaction is. This is exactly why autistic people struggle so much with learning how to interact normally in the social world of neurotypicals. We don’t understand why flattery is necessary or good. We don’t understand how other people want to be seen (as smarter than they are, as thinner than they are, as prettier or stronger or taller than they are or whatever), so we really struggle with compliments.

NTA Blog: Improving Services to Taxpayers With Visual Disabilities

From The NTA Blog: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Millions of U.S. taxpayers are visually impaired and unable to read print material in a standard font size. As a result of a settlement agreement between the IRS and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on July 10, 2020, the IRS agreed to develop a process for taxpayers to request post-filing tax notices in a variety of acceptable formats, including Braille and large print. (See IRS statement, July 15, 2020.) This settlement resolved a case brought forth by several blind taxpayers and NFB who alleged the IRS was in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits individuals with a disability from being excluded from the participation in, being denied the benefits of, or being subjected to discrimination under any executive agency.

Visually Impaired Taxpayers Now Have More Accessibility Options

In January 2022, the IRS implemented a new alternative media process where visually impaired taxpayers can elect to receive certain types of written correspondence in:

  • Large Print,
  • Braille,
  • Audio (MP3),
  • Plain Text File (TXT), or
  • Braille Ready File (BRF).

Taxpayers can make this election either by calling the IRS and making an oral statement, by attaching Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference, to their tax return when filing their taxes, or by mailing a separate signed Form 9000 to the IRS.  Once the taxpayer makes the election, the IRS will place an indicator on the taxpayer’s account so it will provide certain written correspondence in the selected format going forward.

Penalty Relief

If the IRS sends a standard print notice despite the taxpayer’s election to receive such notices in an accessible format, and this results in the taxpayer not taking a required action (for example, making a payment), relief from certain penalties may be available. To obtain the relief, the taxpayer would still need to establish reasonable cause, including providing the following information:

  • Did the taxpayer provide a description of the impairment that prevented him or her from reading the standard print notice?
  • What was the taxpayer’s degree of knowledge about the tax, interest, or penalty owed before receiving the standard print notice?
  • When did the IRS receive the taxpayer’s request to receive notices in an accessible format?
  • If a notice was later sent in an accessible format, did the taxpayer promptly respond to it?

Taxpayers can request reasonable cause relief by calling the toll-free number on their IRS notice or writing a letter to request “penalty relief due to reasonable cause.”

Subtitle the world

ByAmanda Florian: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Sirens blare and the roar of impatient drivers echoes in the background. Jake Giovanni, who is deaf, sits across from me in his apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina, to test out XRAI Glass—new tech that produces captions in real time for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Giovanni, 24, is one of the first in the US to see the tech in action. A compatible smartphone running XRAI Glass software captures audio while a pair of augmented reality glasses—in this case, the Nreal Air AR glasses created by Beijing-based Nreal—display captions on Giovanni’s lenses. After selecting “start captions,” the app begins captioning our interview as if we were watching a TV show or film with subtitles.

“I’m really thankful that somebody’s doing this,” he said. “You have to start somewhere. And the impact that this could make on someone’s life is incredible.”

On the top left of Giovanni’s lens is a small icon that shows network strength, and in the middle is me. The sleek glasses, tinted—with space for prescription lenses—allow a person to view what’s in front of them as captions appear on the bottom left side. London-based tech startup XRAI Glass provided Morning Brew with a compatible device from Nreal in order to test the software with interviewees.

Giovanni, a consulting analyst, explained his profound hearing loss was caused by a mutation in a particular gene on his X chromosome.

Federal Courts Deliver Victories for Voters With Disabilities

By Matt Vasilogambros: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Paralyzed from the neck down, downtown Milwaukee resident Martha Chambers has difficulty voting.

She can use a mouth stick to mark her ballot and sign her name on an absentee ballot, but she has no way of folding the ballot, slipping it back in the envelope or returning it to the mailbox.

Driven by its conservative majority, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in July outlawed assistance in the absentee voting process. After that decision, Chambers worried that her caregiver — who also gets her out of bed in the morning, brushes her teeth and puts her clothes on for her — could become a criminal for ensuring she can participate in the democratic process. Chambers said she was effectively disenfranchised.

The ruling in Wisconsin was one of two big legal victories in federal court for voters with disabilities this summer. In June, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman struck down parts of a Texas law that forbid certain assistance for voters with disabilities and voters with limited English proficiency.

The cases are part of the larger, ongoing battle over voting access. More than 20 Republican-led states enacted a wave of barriers to the ballot process in the past two years, making voting — especially by mail — more difficult in the name of preventing voter fraud, which is rare in the United States and did not affect the results of the 2020 presidential election. Voting rights advocates have challenged many of the laws. Protecting voting rights for people with disabilities is one of the few areas in which they’ve had success — and even found some consensus.

After many difficult months of voters with disabilities trying to navigate restrictive new voting laws, these legal victories are welcomed, said Rebecca Cokley, program officer for U.S. disability rights at the Ford Foundation, a New York-based philanthropy that provides grants to organizations that lead voting efforts for people with disabilities.

At a wheelchair rally, Inglis House residents protest the sale of their home

by Harold Brubaker: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-Financial capitalism at its worst…

Residents fear the loss of a way of life if the facility is sold to Tryko Partners.

A group of Inglis House residents took to the sidewalk in West Philadelphia Friday afternoon to protest the planned sale of the home they deeply appreciate to a for-profit organization from Brick, N.J.

They said they fear the loss of so much they love about the nursing home at 2600 Belmont Ave., which specializes in the care of people with paralysis and impaired mobility. High-quality food, computers, museum visits, music, and shopping trips — things they may not find at other homes that can accommodate their physical needs — are some of the amenities that residents dread losing if the sale happens.

“Now it’s going to change, and not for the better,” said Annette Davis, who has lived there for eight years.

Inglis Foundation announced the sale of Inglis House in July to Tryko Partners, a fast-growing for-profit that already owns 10 facilities in the Philadelphia region. Inglis management said at the time that the nursing home loses so much money that it will eventually jeopardize the entire organization, which also provides community services and develops low-income housing for individuals with disabilities who don’t need nursing-home levels of care.

A contentious issue is the Inglis Foundation’s $240 million endowment. Management says only a slice of it is restricted to the nursing home and will continue to support the nursing home after the sale.

The unexpected star of NASA’s Webb images — the alt text descriptions

by Theresa Vargas: For Complete Post, Click Here…

A team in Baltimore was responsible for the words that made the stunning photos accessible to everyone.

In the days since NASA publicly shared stunning images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, people have oohed and aahed. They have marveled at the breathtaking beauty of those photos and the significant lessons about the universe that might exist in those crisp cosmic details.

But it’s not only the photos that have wowed people.

Many have also been struck by the thoughtful descriptions that have accompanied them.

“If anyone ever tells you alt text isn’t important, show them @NASA’s alt text for the #WebbSpaceTelescope images,” Kate Meyers Emery tweeted. “They are able to convey the wonders and beauty of these in words, making these breathtaking views accessible.”

“This isn’t just a stunning picture from @NASA, it’s a brilliant example of how to use alt text,” the Royal National Institute of Blind People tweeted. “Do you agree?”

10 Signs of Unresolved Trauma You Would Never Think Of

By Gillian May: For Complete Post, Click Here…

For example, being bad with direction or needing everything to stay the same may be signs of unresolved trauma.

Let’s look at 10 signs of unresolved trauma that we rarely mention or think about. Many of these symptoms are embedded in the body and indicate a stressed nervous system. The energy of trauma never leaves our body until we process it. In some ways, these symptoms are the body attempting to process and resolve the excess energy of trauma.

Many trauma therapists know that this can occur, and they often work on these symptoms with their clients to help them integrate and become more aware of what’s behind the symptoms.

Shaking

Skin and hair picking

and many more…