This Foster Mom Is Going Viral After Sharing The Routine For Her First Day With New Placements

by Alexa Lisitza: For Complete Post, Click Here…

“We owe them love, care, and safety.”

This is Brittany Burcham, a foster mom in Birmingham, Alabama who houses teenage girls placed in protective state custody. Children in need of emergency placements like these are often scared and confused, which is why Brittany’s welcome package is both inspiring for aspiring foster parents and going viral for its extra human touch.

In a video viewed over 3.1 million times, Brittany shared what the first night with a new emergency placement looks like in her house:

A New Jewelry Collaboration Celebrates the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities

BY CHRISTIAN ALLAIRE: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Model, actor, and activist Chella Man has spent most of his life dealing with hearing devices. The multi-hyphenate received his first hearing aid at four-years-old, and at 12 received cochlear implants. His experiences with both devices gave him the ability to hear, but would also go on to be a recurring challenge for him on the fashion front. “The appearance of hearing aids and cochlear implants never felt like me, and I had no control over their designs,” says Man, adding that he often found himself brainstorming ways to reclaim the machinery that had now become part of him. “Even when I’m on set [today], no stylists would know what to do with what’s behind my ear.”

Man’s ongoing style conundrum served as the inspiration behind a new jewelry collaboration with the New York label Private Policy. He and designers Siying Qu and Haoran Li met at New York Fashion Week last year and instantly clicked. They came up with an idea together: a line of ear jewelry that celebrates the deaf and hard of hearing communities. “This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for years,” says Man. It resulted in a collection of shapely, gold-plated ear cuffs, priced from $330 to $620, that are meant to draw attention to and accentuate hearing devices or cochlear implants. “The earpiece really stood out for us from a fashion perspective,” says Qu. “We were intrigued by how we can use jewelry to be educational.”

Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe’s ASL Super Bowl performance went viral

By Andrea Salcedo: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Ever since the National Association of the Deaf asked him last month to perform the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” in American Sign Language at Sunday’s Super Bowl pregame, Snipe, who is deaf, began studying the lyrics and translating them to ASL.

“I would listen to the music over and over to get a feel of the music and the singing,” Snipe, a 50-year-old rapper and actor, told the The Washington Post in an interview via text messages early Monday. “This takes a lot of time and you want to make sure you’re understood, so playing with various ways to interpret a song is warranted!”

National Anthem in ASL at Super Bowl LV

Study: Words should match the pictures when broadcasting social media safety messages

Reviewed by Emily Henderson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

When using social media to nudge people toward safe and healthy behaviors, it’s critical to make sure the words match the pictures, according to a new study.

After looking at social media posts, parents of young children were better able to recall safety messages such as how to put a baby safely to sleep when the images in the posts aligned with the messages in the text, the researchers found.

The study appears in the Journal of Health Communication.

Take the safe sleep example, for instance. The researchers found posts that advocated a bumper-free crib for baby but used an image of an infant in a crib with bumpers. They saw posts about preventing head injury with bike helmets illustrated by pictures of kids without bike helmets.

“In this study, we were trying to understand how much those mismatches matter — do people understand the message even if the picture isn’t right? Does the picture really matter?” Klein said.

Their answers came from research using eye-tracking technology to gauge the attention young parents paid to various posts, and subsequent tests to see what they recalled about the safety messages.

When the 150 parents in the study were shown a trio of posts with matched imagery and text and three other posts with mismatched visual and written messages, they spent far longer on the matched posts — 5.3 seconds, compared to the 3.3 seconds their eyes lingered on the mismatched posts.

Further, the matched messages appeared to make a difference in understanding and recall of safety messages. After accounting for differences in health literacy and social media use among participants, the researchers found that each second of viewing time on matched posts was associated with a 2.8% increase in a safety knowledge score.

Let’s Win the War Against Bullying of Disabled People!

By Audrey Ignatoff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

An important and groundbreaking bill, NJ A4519 was introduced into the New Jersey Legislature by Representative Daniel Benson, and cosponsored by Representatives Valerie Huttle and Anthony Verrelli. This bill, “AN ACT concerning the bullying of disabled persons”, will extend the statute of limitations for disabled minors and adults who have been bullied, abused, exploited, and neglected.

Minors will have up to 37 years and those over 18 will have up to 7 years after they realize that damage was done to them for any of the above actions. This is a civil action and actions against vulnerable adults may also be reported to adult protective services and to law enforcement.

Undoubtedly, this will provide a new layer of protection for the disabled and, hopefully, similar legislation will be introduced in other states. Not only will this type of legislation allow victims to be compensated for damage done to them but will also act as a deterrent against future abuses.

Bullying has emerged as a major public health problem displayed in various forms such as verbal, physical and psychological aggression. The effects of childhood bullying can cause problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleep problems, low grades, physical problems, substance abuse, and even suicide.  These effects can reach into adulthood and have a profound effect upon a person’s development and life.

It is estimated that fully 33 percent of all students have been bullied with 25 percent of them experiencing bullying daily. From 37 to 45 percent of adults have been bullied, many in the workplace. These figures increase even more in the disabled population.

New Mobility Person of the Year: Andrea Dalzell

By Teal Sherer: For Complete Post, Click Here…

At 6:45 p.m., on a warm spring evening, Andrea Dalzell pushes into the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City. COVID-19 cases are surging. Dalzell, a registered nurse, drops off snacks to share in the staff lounge, puts on protective gear, and huddles up with her coworkers around a white dry erase board. For the next 12-plus hours, Dalzell, who typically has six to eight patients, and up to 13 when the floor is short-staffed, administers medication, tends to wounds, gives baths and suctions the airways of those on vents. She holds patients’ hands when they need comforting, FaceTimes with their family members and responds to codes. The stakes are high and the work is emotionally taxing, but Dalzell is exactly where she wants to be — at the bedside caring for patients.

At 33, Dalzell is the only registered nurse she knows of in New York City who uses a wheelchair, and she is forging a path for people with disabilities in healthcare. “Andrea is a pioneer,” says Karen McCulloh, a nurse with multiple disabilities who co-founded the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities in 2003. “Nursing with a disability is still not completely accepted.”

Despite repeatedly having her abilities questioned through school and being repeatedly denied acute care nursing jobs, Dalzell answered Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plea for assistance as COVID-19 cases overwhelmed New York City hospitals. “I just wanted to help,” she says. Dalzell’s knowledge of ventilators, gained from having friends who use them, proved valuable, and her co-workers and superiors took notice.

Wheelchair accessibility in ridesharing through Uber and Lyft

From Mahtot Gebresselassie: See Survey link below

The following information is forwarded to you by the Great Lakes ADA Center (www.adagreatlakes.org) for your information:

WHAT:   Seeking participation of wheelchair/scooter users anywhere in the U.S in a research project out of Virginia Tech (Research Project IRB # 20-629).

RESEARCH TITLE:    Wheelchair accessibility in ridesharing through Uber and Lyft

STUDY PURPOSE:  The purpose of this research is to develop a greater understanding of the accessibility of service hailed through Uber and Lyft apps from the perspective of wheelchair/scooter users and support informed policy making. The study is not affiliated with Uber or Lyft.    

WHO:  You are a wheelchair or scooter user (at some point in the past, currently, occasionally, sometimes, full-time) and live anywhere in the US. You may or may not have experience with Uber or Lyft. The study is interested in impressions too.   

HOW:  Eligible participants will complete an online survey that takes less than 10 minutes for those without experience with Uber and Lyft and about 15 minutes for those with experience.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Please email ul_wheelchair@vt.edu or call 202-643-2474.

OTHER:  You will be entered into a drawing for three $50 gift cards from Amazon in appreciation of your time and effort upon completing the online survey.

LINK:  Click the link to go to the online Survey: https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6rsUle54qKYYWqx 

Mahtot Gebresselassie (She, her, hers) 
VTGrATE Fellow
Instructor of Record |PhD Candidate, Urban Affairs and Planning 
Email: gmahtot@vt.edu 
Website: mahtotegebresselassie.com 
Twitter: @MahtotSselassie  

Taking action against ableism

From Google Trends: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Ableism, as defined by dictionaries, is discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities, and searches for the phrase in the United States nearly doubled over last year.

Still deeper insights on the topic can be found in the voices of disabled advocates like Alice Wong (pictured), an activist, media maker, and consultant based in San Francisco, and the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project.

Her book Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the Twenty-First Century was released in June 2020, and it shines a light on what ableism means in today’s world.

In a World Run by Algorithms, Weirdness Is Our Best Weapon

By Douglas Rushkoff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

How anomalous behavior defeats the systems of social control.

The easiest way to break free of simulation is to recognize the charade and stop following the rules of the game.

No, cheating doesn’t count. Illegal insider trades and performance-enhancing drugs simply prove how far people are willing to go to win. If anything, cheating reinforces the stakes and reality of the game.

Transcending the game altogether means becoming a spoilsport — someone who refuses to acknowledge the playing field, the rules of engagement, or the value of winning. (Why win, anyway, if it’s only going to end the game?) In certain non-Western cultures, the spoilsport is the shaman, who lives apart from the tribe in order to see the larger patterns and connections. In a world where a person’s success is measured by career achievements, the spoilsport is the one willing to sacrifice commercial reward for social good. In a middle school where social media likes are the metric of popularity, the spoilsport is the kid who deletes the app or chooses not to own a phone at all. The spoilsport takes actions that make no sense within the logic of the game.

Such anomalous behavior challenges convention, breaks the conspiracy of conformity, and stumps the algorithms. A.I.s and other enforcers of social control can’t follow what they can’t categorize. Weirdness is power, dissolving false binaries and celebrating the full spectrum of possibility. Eccentricity opens the gray area where mutations develop and innovations are born.

We can assert our uniquely human sides through things like humor and pranks, music and magic — none of which can be appreciated or even understood by machines or markets. 

Justice Department Reaches Landmark Agreement with Massachusetts Department of Children and Family to Address Discrimination Against Parents with Disabilities

From DOJ: For Entire Post, Go Here…

The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that they reached a landmark agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).  

The agreement resolves findings by the Justice Department and HHS that DCF discriminated against parents with disabilities in the administration of its child welfare program in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This is the first Department of Justice settlement to address disability discrimination by a state child welfare agency.  

“The stakes are never higher than when a parent faces the possibility of losing a child,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Individuals with disabilities have just as much a right to raise their children as any other person in this free country, and no government should unnecessarily infringe upon that sacred right. While child welfare agencies are faced with challenging and weighty decisions on a daily basis, they must always strive to ensure that no child is removed from a parent on the basis of unsupported stereotypes, discriminatory attitudes, or other unlawful reasons. This agreement will ensure that parents with disabilities are treated as individuals, and that they receive the supports and services they need to have an equal opportunity to retain or regain custody of their children. We believe this agreement will not only help thousands of families in Massachusetts, but also will provide a roadmap for child welfare agencies nationwide on how to treat parents with disabilities with the fairness, dignity, and respect that they deserve.” 

“Parents with disabilities should never lose custody of their children due to discriminatory assumptions about their abilities,” said Roger Severino, Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights. “The love of a father and mother, coupled with proper support services, can overcome a multiplicity of challenges. We are pleased to have reached this great result with DOJ and Massachusetts.”

In 2015, the Department of Justice and HHS jointly found that DCF discriminated against a mother with a developmental disability and sought to terminate her parental rights to her infant daughter based on assumptions about her disability. Over the past five years, the Department of Justice and HHS received similar complaints against DCF from parents with physical, hearing, developmental, and other disabilities. The departments also received numerous complaints alleging that DCF denied requests for reasonable modifications, failed to provide interpreters to individuals with hearing impairments, and otherwise denied parents with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from DCF’s programs and services. The Justice Department investigated and substantiated many of these allegations, as well as allegations that DCF’s methods of administering its programs and services have the effect of discriminating against parents with disabilities.

Under today’s agreement, DCF will take critical steps to ensure the ADA’s protections extend to parents with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. DCF will not base decisions about removal of a child on stereotypes or generalizations about persons with disabilities. Rather, DCF will base such decisions on an individualized assessment of the parent with a disability and objective facts. Additionally, DCF will appoint statewide and regional coordinators to oversee DCF’s efforts to comply with the ADA and Section 504; create a new Parents with Disabilities Policy, including processes for requesting disability-based accommodations and filing disability-based complaints; train staff on DCF’s obligations to parents with disabilities and its new policies and procedures; and periodically report to the Department of Justice and HHS on its handling of accommodation requests and disability-related complaints.