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.

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.

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:

How the wheelchair opened up the world to millions of people

BYERIN BLAKEMORE: Complete Post through this link…

Wheelchairs have existed since the invention of the wheel. But technological advances have revolutionized the way that people use them.

Bath, England, wasn’t just the hotbed of romance and gossip depicted in Jane Austen novels—it was a place of freedom for people with limited mobility who sought the healing waters of its Roman baths.

These tourists often arrived in an “invalid” or “Merlin’s chair”—a predecessor of the wheelchair. These revolutionary vehicles freed them to participate in the city’s famous social life, usually with the help of servants who pushed them from place to place.

But though they offered unprecedented mobility, these wicker-and-wood chairs were seen as a sign of invalidism and dependence—and couldn’t have been more different from the modern wheelchairs that offer even more ways to move. How did wheelchairs go from clunky to user-friendly? Thank wheelchair users themselves.

‘Merlin chairs’ and other early wheelchairs

Wheeled seats have existed since the invention of the wheel, but it took centuries for the devices to gain traction with the masses. At first, people with mobility issues were pushed in wheelbarrow-like devices or wheeled furniture pushed by medical attendants or servants. When Philip II of Spain, who suffered from gout and arthritis, commissioned a wheeled chair in the late 16th century, it was known as an “invalid’s chair.”

Digital puzzle games could be good for memory in older adults, study shows

From University of York: Complete Post through this link…

Older adults who play digital puzzle games have the same memory abilities as people in their 20s, a new study has shown.

The study, from the University of York, also found that adults aged 60 and over who play digital puzzle games had a greater ability to ignore irrelevant distractions, but older adults who played strategy games did not show the same improvements in memory or concentration. It is known that as humans age, their mental abilities tend to decrease, particularly the ability to remember a number of things at a single time – known as working memory.  Working memory is thought to peak between the ages of 20 and 30 before slowly declining as a person gets older.

Previous research, however, has shown that the way we hold information in the brain changes as we get older, and so the York team looked at whether the impacts of particular types of mental stimulation, such as gaming, also had altered effects depending on age.

Disabled artist exposes challenges in redesign of Mattapan Square

By Seth Daniel: Complete Post through this link…

Staring down the zig-zagging crosswalks of Mattapan Square on two legs is enough to make a pedestrian want to give up, but Ellice Patterson did it on two knees, crawling slowly as a form of art and protest to highlight how difficult it can be for the disabled – and the elderly – to cross more than a few of the streets of Boston.

The “protest crawl” on June 7 was part of Patterson’s Artist in Residency (AIR) with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and was aimed at opening eyes about the challenges within the ongoing Mattapan Square Transportation Action Plan by showing planners and community members the real “barriers to public life” that exist for disabled people at a major nexus like Mattapan Square.

The results spoke for themselves. It took Patterson 45 minutes to get from the eastern side of Blue Hill Avenue over to Cummins Highway then to River Street heading west, and then back to Mattapan Station. She couldn’t make a full circle because there is no crosswalk at the southern end of Blue Hill Avenue.

“If there’s one thing I hope to see at the end it would be the ability to actually make a complete circle here safely,” said the 29-year-old Patterson during an interview in Mattapan Square. “It seems small, but it does have a big impact because when I got to the far side (of River Street) I couldn’t just cross four lanes of Blue Hill Avenue. I had to come back and cross countless lanes and that takes a long time and has a big impact on my ability to get to whatever I have to do on this side of the street.”

About the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines for the Public Right-of-Way

From the US Access Board: Complete Post through this link…

The Access Board has published new guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) that address access to sidewalks and streets, crosswalks, curb ramps, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, and other components of public rights-of-way. These guidelines also review shared use paths, which are designed primarily for use by bicyclists and pedestrians for transportation and recreation purposes.


Additional Resources

Table of Contents

‘You literally stole my independence’: What happens when an airline breaks a wheelchair

By Meghan Smith: Complete Post through this link…

When Boston resident Colleen Flanagan arrived in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, she got the news every wheelchair user dreads: Her power wheelchair was badly damaged during her flight.

“It wouldn’t power on because the whole joystick was smashed. There was no power switch anymore and the whole side is kind of dented in,” Flanagan said.She had to wait three hours for a loaner chair that doesn’t fit her properly, and she doesn’t know how long it will take until her wheelchair is repaired. The incident left her in tears. “There’s also that emotional part of like, wait a minute, you owe me. You literally stole my independence, my plans,” she said.

Damaged wheelchairs while flying is a frustrating yet too common problem for people with disabilities, advocates say, and the problem is not getting any better.

“This is an issue people with disabilities deal with on a constant basis,” said Rhoda Gibson, co-founder of disability rights group MassADAPT, who was traveling with Flanagan from Boston.Airlines damage thousands of wheelchairs every year. According to the most recent data from the Department of Transportation, in January alone, U.S. airlines reported mishandling 871 wheelchairs or scooters, or about 1.6% of those taken on domestic flights.

JetBlue — which Flanagan took to Washington — had the second highest incidence of mishandling in the latest federal data, at 5.8% of wheelchairs and scooters being mishandled. That’s about five times as much as other domestic airlines. Only Spirit Airlines, at 7.19%, had a higher rate of damaged wheelchairs.

The FCC Will Now Offer $75 Off Your Home Internet If You Qualify

By Luke Bouma: Complete Post through this link…

Today the FCC announced a measure to offer $75 a month off of home internet services for qualifying customers in high-cost areas through the Affordable Connectivity Program as directed by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act).

This is for customers who qualify for the program but can demonstrate that the standard $30 monthly benefit would cause them to experience “particularized economic hardship.

”This comes as Congress has directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in partnership with the FCC to identify high-cost areas that would be eligible for the new program.

At this time, we do not know what areas will qualify, but this is great news for anyone who struggles to pay for home internet.

To qualify for this program, you, or your child or dependent, are enrolled in government programs like Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, or others, or, based on your household income.