We Connect Now’s Recent Guest Blog for the Equal Rights Center

August 20, 2011

Thanks to our friends at the Equal Rights Center (the ERC) for recently posting a blog entry by We Connect Now, “What Can Ingenuity, Creativity and Commitment Produce with Minimal Financial Support? – We Connect Now” on the ERC’s For Civil Minds blog.

http://www.forcivilminds.org/2011/08/09/“what-can-ingenuity-creativity-and-commitment-produce-with-minimal-financial-support-we-connect-now”/

The ERC has been working to advance civil rights for almost three decades. They are based in Washington, DC.  To learn what ERC’s current priorities are, their programs and the services they provide and to see how you can support them in their work, visit their website at http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/PageServer?pagename=abt_main.

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Smithsonian Access to Opportunities Internship Blog

August 7, 2011

Photo of Raney Newman at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC

Raney Newman is a college student from Washington state who studied at Bellevue College. She was in Washington, DC this summer doing audio recording at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival through their Access to Opportunities internship and did a blog to share her experiences this summer with us.

This week has been a time of learning about DC and also learning about my strengths and weaknesses as an intern. The weekend was the final one of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It tested my limits of enduring heat and crowds on the mall, and also of dealing with emotions raised while interacting with the people I worked with. When I get stressed, I tend to speak more quietly, worried that my words will provoke anger. I was doing this one morning, I guess, because my fellow worker said, “You need to speak up or I can’t hear you.” We had had a long hot morning running between stages, changing cards. (I don’t think we are similar because she is more organized and obsesses over details.) I don’t know how I responded, but it turns out that she said she has APD. I said I couldn’t process the new info, because was so busy dealing with own disability, but I think now that it was good she told me and although I have maybe heard of APD I also now want to learn more.

I feel that despite having some more stress the beginning of the 2nd week, it smoothed out and we got a lot done, and because we worked together so we could both be involved in the recording that we were able to take it a little easier, and divide up the workload. Also, although my boss was reluctant at first because it took extra time, he became more willing to write up written instructions for me to use. This not only helped me but also helped the other people who we needed to train to do the same work. I thanked him, but I also had to be assertive to make sure he realized that it wasn’t optional for me, even though he was talkative and preferred verbally giving instructions. He even said at one point that he hoped I was finding the instructions useful.

Also this past week, I felt more at ease at work. It was methodical and somewhat soothing work, editing music files. Compared with the Festival, it was much simpler and smoother. At the end of the festival, we were rushing, to do both the day before and also that day’s cards. Also the past week, my boss was distracted by other things, so we worked mostly on our own, which meant I didn’t have his full attention on me, making me somewhat nervous as I worked. I am glad of having learned, but not necessarily of learning itself, paraphrasing something someone once said about writing. It also takes a lot of effort to concentrate, when I am distracted because of ADD. Basically, I took the big music files and made them into smaller pieces by performance. I also did some editing out of audience or CD noise. I kept track of what they were in a spreadsheet and added useful descriptions. It’s hard work but I am glad to have challenges and to be learning new things.

Right now, I just have energy to write a bit about DC, its charm and the many events and places it offers. I don’t have a lot of money but many things are free. Also I’ve been told, though from getting lost 3 days in a row, it is a very walkable, or rollable, city. Also things are charming and you can walk into a simple place and have a new unexpected experience and be soothed and comforted all together. I won’t go so far as to say everyone is friendly, but despite walking fast, they seem able to stop and listen. I am always learning how to be more involved with people, but a sooth to loneliness, is also to experience places. I was at Gallery Place and could look one direction and there is the library where I do sign language class. The other direction is the grocery store where I saw the church people feeding the homeless. I am sometimes one of the aimless many who sit or just think on the gallery steps. This weekend there were several places where I went and felt at home, and though that was temporary, I think there will be more places like that in the future. I am learning not to live or love just the past or future, but to love the present.



British Columbia Paraplegic Association

June 24, 2011

The British Columbia Paraplegic Association is a group dedicated to improving and facilitating the lives of people with backbone injuries in British Columbia, Canada. This organization aims to fully integrate people with backbone injuries into their communities.

We Connect Now thanks them for adding a link to “We Connect Now” to their web site.  We Connect Now is now part of the support network, together with the British Columbia Paraplegic Association, that is being developed all over the Western Hemisphere to support the human rights of people with disabilities.  Thank you British Columbia Paraplegic Association for becoming part of that network.

Please visit the British Columbia Disability Association at http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XLukzMNCxksJ:www.bcpara.org/+%22British+Columbia+paraplegic+Association%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=safari&source=www.google.com

Disability rights are human rights.

The staff of “We Connect Now”

 


Blog

March 19, 2009

Young woman in wheelchair seated before a computer

Blogs that We Connect Now has been featured in:

http://includingsamuel.org/Blog/09-12-08/We_Connect_Now.aspx

Want to blog for us?

Send us an e-mail at weconnectnow2008@gmail.com and your resume and let us know why you would like to blog for us.

Want to guest blog?

Send us an e-mail at weconnectnow2008@gmail.com and your resume and your one-time blog. We would love to publish it.

Want to promote us?

Send this blog and website to your friends and associates and help us network on-line. Did you promote us? Let us know. We would love to hear about it.

Though we prefer one-time blogs, we also accept cross blogging.

We are featuring below a cross blog from Michael McManmon of the College Internship Program (CIP) on the topic of the importance of young adults with Asperger’s, autism, or other learning differences finding the right environment to accommodate their particular sensory needs. You can find more information about CIP on their website at www.cipworldwide.org.

Sensory Integration and Young Adults: Finding the Right Environment in a Classroom or Dormitory Setting

By Michael McManmon, Ed.D

I am the founder of the College Internship Program (CIP) a program designed to help young people with Asperger’s Syndrome, high-functioning autism and learning differences make successful transitions from adolescence to young adulthood.  At CIP, we prepare young adults ages 18 and up to enter college, pursue career training, and learn the skills needed for life, work, and independent living.  The diagnosis of Asperger’s, autism, or a learning difference sets the stage for young adults with sensory issues to get the help needed and gain the self-awareness necessary to make a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Finding the right classroom, dormitory room, or an apartment environment that supports and accommodates your young adult’s needs is essential.  When I was in my early 50’s I was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Looking back at events during my childhood and schooling my late-in-life diagnosis explains so many of the sensory issues, situations, and difficulties I experienced and continue to experience as an adult.

When I was in high school, with no desk in my bedroom or quiet space to go to, I used the dining room table when doing my homework and my favorite pastime, drawing.  I had to learn to deal with the constant traffic going past the table and the sensory overload this caused as my six siblings would come and go all evening.  Looking back and in retrospect, this was good training for college as it prepared me for being able to seek a quiet space to study.

My dorm room was impossible for this task.  The noises and distractions reminded me of my chaotic study space at home and caused me to feel the same anxiety I experienced during my early school years.  I found that if I started to read a book in my room, I would get distracted by my roommate trying to talk to me.  In my case, the rules of the library were perfect for me.  Studying in a small, enclosed cubicle met my needs, as everyone had to be quiet.  I would feel enclosed, encased, secure, and accomplish my work in an atmosphere that fed, not deprived my senses.  There was just enough background noise to keep me awake, but no conversation to distract me.

For your young adult the issues might be loud or repetitive noises (i.e. a loud clock ticking), bright lights, or foul smells.  Young adults who suffer from sensory overload can either implode or explode when faced with these issues on a daily basis.  To avoid either scenario, young adults need to develop their own specific pro-social coping mechanisms for dealing with individual sensory issues.

Students in our programs start with individual sensory assessments and then focus on the areas that cause them the most distress.  Awareness is the first step, followed by being motivated to change and lastly, being willing to incorporate new behaviors for coping with the issues.

Finding the right sensory environment for your young adult is vital.  Some students can do well in a cubicle in a library (as I did) others require fluorescent lights, or a quiet space with dim lights.  The spaces that students work should be accessible and work for them not of against them.  This allows your young adult on the Asperger’s, autism, learning differences spectrum to be more productive, have fewer problems, and gain the skills necessary for school, life, and work.

For further information about The College Internship Program, please visit www.cipworldwide.org or call 1-877-566-9247.

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We Connect Now is featuring below a cross blog from our friends at the E-Skolar Blog, The Spout, who provided the following list of useful resources for college students. Their website can be found at http://e-skolar.com.

Resources for Students with Disabilities

by NICOLE on SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

College students typically have a hard time adjusting to life changes in their freshmen year. It’s the whole new independent lifestyle that would be challenging for anyone. Newly found independence and freedom can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention the personal responsibility of managing course work and organizing a schedule. Anyone who has been through the first year of college can relate to this stress.

But what about those who have more challenges to overcome? What about those students who need special assistance due to their disability? The university campus can be a great social melting pot that can be used to make lifelong friends and contacts. But sometimes people with disabilities need a little extra help adjusting to this new world.

Here are some great links for students with disabilities who are thinking about signing up for college courses.

  • National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials External LinkMaking Learning Resources Available to all Students with Disabilities
  • LD Online External Link – The world’s learning website on learning disabilities and ADHD
  • Disability.gov External Link – This site is a great resource for students with disabilities looking for information on new legislation, classroom support, accommodation, scholarships, etc.
  • COSD External Link – Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
  • ODEP External Link – Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • ADA External Link – Information on the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • National Network External Link – Guidance and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • ODEP External Link – Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • JAN External Link – Job Accommodation Network: Questions about workplace accommodations, questions about ADA, and related legislation
  • Project Action External Link – Promoting access to transportation for people with disabilities.
  • National Resource Directory External Link – Education and training resources for wounded, disabled, and injured service members.
  • ADA External Link – ADA guide and publications
  • AAPD External Link – American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Disability Access Services Blog External Link – Blog from Oregon State University with information about students with disabilities.
  • We Connect Now External LinkWe Connect is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities.

High School and College Students

  • ED.gov External Link – Office for Civil Rights Publication: Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights
  • ED.gov External Link – Office for Civil Rights Publication: Protecting Students with Disabilities
  • Washington Do-It External Link – Disabilities, Opportunities, Internet Working, and Technology: Programs for individuals with disabilities who want to study technology and computer science.
  • NPR External Link: 10 Tips for College Students with Disabilities
  • Eberly College of Arts and Sciences External Link – Science education for students with disabilities.
  • Access Text Network External Link – This site facilitates and supports the national delivery of alternative electronic text books to higher education institutions for students with documented disabilities.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs

  • College Board External Link – Information on searching scholarships and aid
  • College Net External Link – Search for scholarships by keywords
  • Disability.gov External Link – The financial aid section with information on scholarships, loans, and grants for students with disabilities.
  • International Scholarships.com External Link – Scholarship information for those who want to study abroad
  • disaboom External Link – Disability scholarship information
  • Incight: External Link – Scholarship research information
  • Lime Connect External Link – Scholarship for students with disabilities
  • AAPD External Link – American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Proyecto Vision External Link – A Bilingual website with scholarship information
  • CIA.gov External Link – Undergraduate scholarship program
  • Sertoma External Link – Sertoma hard of hearing and deaf -scholarship information
  • NAD External Link – National Association of the Deaf
  • AFB External Link – American Foundation for the Blind – scholarship applications
  • CRS External Link – Christian Record Services for the blind- scholarships
  • Lighthouse International External Link – Scholarship & award programs for the blind
  • NFB External Link – National Federation of the Blind- scholarship Programs
  • 1800 WheelChair External Link – Scholarship information for wheel chair bound students

For more resources in Spanish: Apréndelo.com External Link

Other Blogs Worth Reading

a blog about: Life Without Limits with UCP-OC, United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County http://ucpoc.wordpress.com/

IMAGE Center Blog Changing the Meaning of Disability for Everyone http://www.imagemd.org/blog/

Campus Progress http://www.campusprogress.org/page/community/members

YP4 http://www.youngpeoplefor.org/blog

World Statistics on Disabilities

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/sconcerns/disability/disab2.asp

Academic Paper on Political Participation of People with Disabilities

Sidelined or Mainstreamed? Political Participation and Attitudes of People With Disabilities in the United States

http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/8/0/2/1/pages280216/p280216-1.php