Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CeDIR Closed for the Holidays

The CeDIR library will close at 5pm today for the year. We will reopen at 8am on the 4th of January.

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Governor's Council Videos

The Governor's Council for People with Disabilities, a fellow member of the Indiana Developmental Disability Network, is an "independent state agency that facilitates change." The GCPD hosts community projects and supplies various publications and small grants for PwDs and their families to attend events. Most notably, they host an annual conference attended by many Indiana residents.

At this year's conference, several individuals with disabilities volunteered to provide testimonials about the everyday issues they've faced. Check out the Center on Aging and Community's YouTube page to access more than a dozen interviews with extraordinary people. The speakers cover surgeries, art, public transportation, advocacy, higher education, accessing services, and other diverse issues.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gifts for the Parents

People who have children or other relatives with disabilities can be on edge during the holiday season. It can be difficult to know what to say or how to act when your friend is dealing with hospital bills or new diagnoses. Diane Flacks of The Star interviews several parents who explain what they would like most in the article, "Making it through the holidays."

For example, the mother of a kindergartener with Prader-Willi syndrome expresses gratitude for friends who made small gestures like contacting extended family to inform them of the situation. An author and mother of a boy with autism says practical help, like an evening of babysitting, can provide much needed relief. Another parent describes a time a family hosted a low-key holiday party for local children with disabilities.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gene for Non-Syndromic Intellectual Disability Identified

Science Daily reported today that mutations in the gene TRAPPC9 may be responsible for nonsyndromic intellectual disabilities (i.e. learning disabilities and mental retardation not associated with Down syndrome, FAS, Fragile X etc.) The finding could explain the origin of 50% of intellectual disability cases worldwide.

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada isolated the gene through an examination of a large Pakistani and Iranian families with numerous individuals with intellectual disabilities. The researchers intend to pursue research as to exactly how TRAPPC9 is involved in brain function.

You can read the original article here. For more information on intellectual disabilities, check out CeDIR's Kids' Corner Book Nook for a list of books on the subject.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why Cant U Teach Me 2 Read?

Why cant U teach me 2 read? Three students and a mayor put our schools to the test is an examination by Beth Fertig of the effects of the No Child Left Behind Policy in New York City. Three adolescents with learning disabilities attempt take the New York City schools to task for failing to teach them this essential school by the time they reached high school. Fertig describes how mayor Bloomberg of NYC rallied teachers and parents to question the meaning of education and the future of the public school system.

Interested in this book? Indiana resident? Email us!

Not an Indiana resident? Find this book at your local library through WorldCat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amazon's Kindle and Accessibility

Kindle, the popular wireless reading device by Amazon, may become more accessible to persons with visual impairments. The Daily Orange reports that Amazon has responded to complaints by Syracuse University and University of Wisconson that students with visual impairments had difficulties navigating through their documents with the device.

In a news release, Amazon stated that they plan to implement an audible menu and extra-large font to make Kindles more accessible.

You can read the original article here.

Toys 'R Us Differently-Abled Toy Guide

Stressing about the holidays? The Toys 'R Us Differently-Abled Toy Guide can help parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts find the perfect gift for their young loved ones with disabilities. The guide suggests toys that enhance particular skills and abilities; you can choose from auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. The site also offers further refinement by age group, gender, theme (like Fairies, Cars, or Sesame Street), and price range. Almost every toy description is accompanied by reviews from parents.

If you don't want to order your gifts online, a box beneath the shopping cart allows customers to search for stores near their zip code and confirms whether the toy is available at that location.

Need more ideas? CeDIR owns several books on toys and recreation:
-The new language of toys: Teaching communication skills to children with special needs
-Fun with messy play: ideas and activities for children with special needs
-Play and imagination in children with autism

Email us if you're an Indiana resident and interested in checking any of these out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Power to Spring Up

In The power to spring up: Postsecondary education opportunities for students with significant disabilities Diana Katovitch provides an overview of the options available for students with disabilities who wish to pursue higher education. She covers modified academic programs on university campuses, vocational residential programs for students with special needs, and a range of possibilities in between. Each chapter is devoted to either a comprehensive description of a specific program or a range of options for specific disabilities. The book also guides students through a planning process of deciding whether they're ready for college, whether their future aspirations require a college degree, etc.

Interested in this book? Indiana resident? Email us!

Not an Indiana resident? Find this book at your local library through WorldCat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

School is Not Supposed to Hurt

School is not supposed to hurt: Investigative report on abusive restraint and seclusion in schools is a 60-page publication by the National Disability Rights Network. The report delves into the inadequacies of legal protection, summaries of prominent cases, and suggestions for the current federal administration to reduce instances of harmful restraint of students with disabilities.

In addition to the public PDF linked above, CeDIR also owns a a copy for lending. Email us for more information if you're an Indiana resident!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lower Attendance and Graduation Rates for Students with Disabilities

The Consortium on Chicago School Research reports that high school freshmen with mild cognitive or emotional disabilities missed five to eleven more days per semester than students who hadn't been diagnosed with a disability. The high number of absences correlates to lower performance, and ultimately lower graduation rates.

According to a press release in the Chicago Tribune, "Among on-track students, 87 percent of students without disabilities graduate in five years. That drops to 77 percent of students who have learning disabilities and to 57 percent for those with emotional disturbances."

Rod Estvan, education coordinator at Access Living, says the findings are a sign that many students with disabilities are undiagnosed or undersupported.

You can read the story here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cerebral Palsy and Dance

Last month, the New York Times featured an actor with cerebral palsy who vastly improved his motor control by learning to dance. The man, Gregg Mozgala, is 31 and has been undergoing physical therapy since childhood to straighten his gait. Through a performance with the organization Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Mozgala met choreographer Tamar Rogoff, who has been coaching him since.

Mozgala says that a tension-releasing technique, common to dancers, has been instrumental in allowing him to regain control of his body. "My body just really took to it...I did that for about 20 or 30 minutes, and when I stood up, I was walking completely differently. My feet were flat on the ground." He is now performing Rogoff's piece in New York, and will again at the VSA International Arts Festival in June at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

A rheumatology specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan says his progress sets an example for people with disabilities everywhere: "It’s not over," he said. "There's always a chance to change. You should not — you dare not — give up."

You can read the original article here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Heating Assistance

ARC Master Trust Winter Heating Assistance Program: The Arc of Indiana is now accepting certification forms for The Arc Master Trust's 2010 Winter Heating Assistance Program. $35,000 has been approved by The Arc of Indiana's Board of Directors for the 2010 program. This will allow 350 low-income individuals with disabilities to receive assistance with $100 toward their winter heating bills. Funding for the Winter Heating Assistance Program comes from The Arc of Indiana's Master Trust Remainder Fund.

The Trust wants to distribute funds as equally as possible throughout the state. Therefore, a limited number of applications will be accepted from each of Indiana's counties. Also, for 2010 initial payments will be made only to those that have not received assistance in the past. If they have received assistance in the past, their name will be placed on a waiting list. After first time applicants have received their check, and money remains to be distributed, checks will be issued to those on the waiting list on a first come first served basis. Complete information about the 2010 Winter Heating Assistance Program is available on The Arc of Indiana’s web site at http://www.arcind.org/news/?naid=24.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Making the MDGS Disability-Inclusive

Yesterday's International Day for Persons with Disabilities was themed "Making the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) disability-inclusive." The MDGs are "the set of global targets to halve poverty, hunger and other social ills by 2015," as set out by United Nations officials like Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

American singer Stevie Wonder, who has vision impairment, was appointed the new "Messenger of Peace." In a New York news conference to address his appointment, he said, "It is beyond my ability to fathom that 10 per cent of the people of this world [living with disabilities] do not matter to the other 90 per cent of the people in the world...seeing a person who’s left without an opportunity means that we are all with a disability."

You can read more about the goals and activities of IDPwD at the UN News Centre.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

International Day of People with Disability

Happy IDPwD! Today, events around the world will bring together people with disability and the general community. The goals of IDPwD are to:

• showcase the skills, abilities, contributions and achievements of people with disability
• promote a positive image of people with disability
• involve people with disability and the broader community in activities to celebrate and raise awareness of IDPwD.

The official International Day of People with Disability website is based in Australia, and can be accessed at http://www.idpwd.com.au/. You can also celebrate by visiting the IDPwD Facebook page!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whistler Resort and the Paralympics

Whistler Village, British Columbia is getting an accessibility makeover in preparation for the 2010 Paralympics. The village, which is a resort-style city, will be the site of the medal ceremony and other Olympic-related events.

Some of the upgrades include transportation improvements, with an addition of 21 new accessible vehicles to the public system, wheel-chair accessible taxi services, barrier-free pathways to get around the city, and the creation of a database of accessible lodging establishments.

For more information about the transformation, see the Able Traveler article on Whistler. For more information about barrier-free travel, see some of our past posts on the subject.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a national network of cooperating libraries that provide braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. A US resident is eligible if they have a visual acuity of 20/200 or less or limited range of vision with correcting lenses, or those certified by a competent authority as unable to use standard print materials as a result of visual or physical limitations.

The service can provide books in English or Spanish. The NLS also publishes biweekly reviews of the most recent additions to their braille and talking book collections.

To find a local participating library, consult this search engine. To sign up for mail-order library service, visit this page. To browse their collection, you can utilize their online catalog.