Legal Resources for the Elderly

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The aging population may find that as they grow older, there are many age specific legal issues that can arise. Elder law is an area of legal practice that places emphasis on legal topics that affect the elderly. This field of practice covers a wide range of issues facing the elderly and it is often recommended that senior citizens seek counseling and advice from lawyers certified in elder law.

Because many elderly people are unable to handle their daily tasks by themselves, they may require assistance from other people from time to time. Their dependence on other people may lead to certain problems, some of which can only be solved legally. One of the most common problems that elderly people face is elder abuse. Presently, there are close to six million elder abuse cases in the United States every year, and these cases can come in the form of physical abuse, exploitation, neglect, and others.

Elderly people may also seek out the help of a lawyer when making end of life arrangements. These can come in the form or planning wills, estates, funerals, power of attorneys and more. It is especially important that advanced health care decisions be made as well as funding for health care needs by obtaining medical insurance, medical compensation, income assistance and other income related support. The elder population also faces other hardships in the form of consumer issues. Unfortunately many senior citizens are taken advantage of and fall victim to fraud, identity theft and other crimes. Fortunately, there are laws in the country that provide adequate protection for elderly people, and it is important that elderly people know their legal rights. Look to the following resource guide for insight on important elder issues.

Advanced Health Care Decisions

Powers of Attorney

Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Funerals

  • The Funeral Rule: A set of rules established by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers of funeral goods.
  • Funeral Fraud: Those who understand their consumer rights can prevent funeral fraud.

Guardianships

Medical and Health Insurance

  • Medicare: Extensive information on Medicare.
  • Medicaid Rules: Learn more about Medicaid for elderly people in this website.
  • Understanding HIPAA: Find out why elderly people need to understand their rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Medicaid in Nursing Homes

Long Term Care Financing

Social Security

Income Assistance

Consumer Issues

Elder Abuse

  • Elder Abuse Laws: Federal and state laws that provide protection for victims of elder abuse.
  • Elder Abuse Reporting: This document reveals how laws regarding elder abuse vary from one state to another.
  • Elder Abuse Article: A journal article that offers an interesting insight into elder abuse laws.

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Wheelchair Resources – Disability and Discrimination

Individuals that are coping with a disability face a multitude of challenges in their everyday lives. Depending upon the severity and type of disability, the challenges can range from accessibility issues to workplace adaptability problems. However, one of the most troubling problems is that of discrimination of the disabled.

Over the course of time, disabled individuals have faced direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination in the form of employers not wanting to hire disabled individuals. The other form of discrimination is more subtle, but just as bad, is indirect discrimination where because of accessibility issues or similar environmental constraints, disabled workers are unable to do the same job as the non-disabled.

To combat the problem of discrimination among disabled individuals, the government has provided legal assistance int he form of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as other similar legislations. These legal actions have helped allow disabled workers have the same rights as the non-disabled. To learn more about the problems facing disabled workers, here are some helpful websites:

Workplace

The workplace has been a big source of difficulties for disabled individuals. The same workplace environment may not be a problem for non-disabled individuals as they are for vision impaired, hearing impaired or workers with mobility issues. To make the workplace usable for the disabled, employers have had to make the equipment and facility be able to accommodate disabled workers.

Accommodations

There are many ways that buildings, offices and other public and non-public facilities have been changed to accommodate the needs of handicapped individuals. These accommodations have ranged from having doors that allow access by wheelchair, machines such as ATMs that have letters in Braille for the vision impaired, and sound enhancements for the hearing impaired. These accommodations have been made to allow disabled individuals to enjoy all services available.

Accessibility

The problem of accessibility has been a big problem for handicapped individuals. For example, wheelchair bound individuals going into a bank were not able to reach the teller counters. Problems such as this led for the push to make buildings and offices more accessible to all people. Therefore, creations such as a drop down counter to allow people with wheelchairs the opportunity to conduct banking business, have made it easier to access services.

Legal Protection

To ensure that all people are treated the same, the government has enacted legislation that provides protection for disabled individuals and that discrimination does not occur. The laws currently in place range from workplace laws to health laws to housing rules and regulations. While the problems of the disabled and handicapped have not disappeared, they have been reduced over the past few decades, and will only make it easier for future generation of disabled individuals.

Resources

While this gude is helpful in providing information on disabled and discrimination issues, there are many more helpful sites available. Here are a few helpful general information sites to visit:

Discrimination among disabled individuals has become less of a problem in recent years. With the implementation of the Americans with Disability Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Fair Housing Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and many other vital laws and regulations, the disabled have had more rights and opportunities than ever before. While the situation for disabled individuals has improved, it is not perfect, and gains will continued to be made to attain the ultimate goal of removing discrimination of disabled.


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What’s the Best Thing to Do About Bullies?

Bullying affects everyone involved and no one comes out the winner. Even the bully is a victim. Anyone can be a bully and may not even realize it. Bullying can be physical or mental and can occur over the Internet, when the bully and the victim are not even in the same place. By creating an environment that promotes respect and acceptance, bullying can stop.

Bullying Information for Kids

Bullying just isn’t cool. But you aren’t powerless. There are lots of things you can do to get help for yourself, a friend, or a brother or sister. The first step is getting information. These websites are designed just for kids like you. Have fun and click around, just make sure that you get your parents permission first.

Stop Bullying Now This website is designed to teach kids about bullying in hopes of putting an end to it. It has sections on defining what bullying is, what you can do, and there are also fun games and webisodes.

What Can Youth Do About Bullying? This article provides information on what you can do if you are being bullied, if you see someone being bullied, and if the bullying isn’t happening at school.

The Bully Roundup This game from BAM will challenge your bully smarts. There are even prizes.

Cyber Bullying Information for Kids

Bullying can occur over the Internet on computers, cell phones, and even Facebook. This is called cyber bullying. Sometimes people who are usually quiet or nice in person, feel more comfortable saying mean things on the Internet. Just like anyone can be a bully, anyone can be a cyber bully. Have you ever heard of a person creating a fake Facebook or Myspace profile about someone in order to make fun of them. This is only one example of cyber bullying. If you think you are a victim of cyber bullying or that you might be a cyber bully, talk to an adult that you trust.

Stop Cyber Bullying This interactive website provides information about cyber bullying for children 7-17, parents and caregivers, and law enforcement.

Are You a Bully?

Sometimes people do not think they are a bully because they do not fit the stereotypical bully profile. Anyone can be a bully, including you. Bullying can be both physical and mental. Bullies can be boys and girls. Bullies can be any age. If you make another person feel bad about themselves, you make be displaying bully behaviors. If you are lashing out at someone because you are mad or upset, you need to get help. There are lots of resources that are available for you. Check out these websites and also talk to an adult that you trust. Once a bully is not always a bully. You can make amends and become friends.

Do You Bully? This article from Stop Bullying Now is a great resource to help you if you think that you are bullying. There is even a quiz to decide if your actions could be considered as bullying.

Are You a Cyber Bully This quiz from Stop Cyber Bullying will help you determine if you are a cyber saint, a cyber risky, a cyber sinner, or a cyber bully.

Bullying Information for Adults

If a child were to approach you about a bully, would you know what to do or say. Sometimes adults provide guidance that can make the situation worse or teach children things that may negatively affect the way they handle situations in the future. By gaining the appropriate information ahead of time, adults can create an environment that discourages youth violence. Adults can also promote positive behaviors that can teach children to be proactive. You can make the difference; start with the right information. Note: The following websites are designed for adults and may not be appropriate for children.

The ABC’s of Bullying This online course provides an introduction to addressing, blocking, and curbing school aggression.

Children Who Bully Could your child be a bully? This article from Stop Bullying Now provides an insight to common bullying behaviors and common myths associated with bullying.

OJJDP: Bullying This article provides strategies for dealing with and preventing bullying. It also highlights three programs that are dedicated to bully prevention.

Bullying Among Children and Youth This article from the OJJDP provides an insight for adults on what bullying is, a model for intervention, the consequences of bullying, and bullying in the United States.

Cyberbullying Research Center This website provides current research and findings about the “nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyber bullying among adolescents.”

Wired Safety This website provides information on how to be safe on all aspects of the Internet world, including online gaming, Facebook, and identity theft. Use this information for yourself and to help guide your children.

When Your Child is the Bully This article from Family Corner highlights five issues to address if you believe your child is displaying bully behaviors.

How Bullying Affects Your Child This article from My Optum Health discusses the negative effects of being a bully. It also discusses the “passive bully.”

Bullying Prevention Programs

Every bullying situation is different and the solution may require different approaches. These programs are provided to give information to caregivers, educators, and administrators about preventing and dealing with bullies. Note: Not all of the programs listed below are free.

Bully Proofing Your School This program provides training for teachers and administrators on creating a school environment free from bullying. This site contains program information and contact information.

BullySafe USA This website provides various resources for adults on youth violence prevention including a training, publications, and presentations.

Don’t Laugh at Me: Program Information This article will explain the curriculum behind the DLAM program (Includes Contact Information)

Don’t Laugh at Me: Free Packet Sign up here for a free packet about the DLAM program.

Peaceful Schools Program – Menninger Clinic This program focuses on the three social roles of the bullying situation: the Bully, the Victim, and the Bystander. (Includes Contact Information)

The Safe Culture Project This program will teach you how to change the culture from a bullying environment to a one that includes dignity, safety, and respect. (Includes Contact Information)

The Steps to Respect Program This program focuses on the responsibility of all members in the bullying environment to decrease its occurrence.


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Wheelchair Resources – The Disabled Travel Guide

For travelers around the world, they face a number of challenges. Decisions such as what mode of transportation to choose, how long to stay, where to stay and what to do when traveling are just a few of the common questions that travelers need to face. These are questions which can have an impact on the quality of the business or pleasure travel.

However, disabled people not only have these challenges to face, but a number of other concerns. Disabled people who are blind, deaf and are wheelchair bound face additional challenges. Issues such as accessibility, being able to understand words that are spoken or written can make travel doubly difficult.

To help the disabled be able to enjoy the travel experience, we have assembled a collection of resources. These web sites can be helpful for travelers with disabilities. Please feel free to visit these sites and we hope you enjoy your travel experience.

Blind Travel Resources

Deaf Travel Resources

Wheelchair Travel Resources

  • Vacationing – helpful information on travel arrangements for people in wheelchairs.
  • Disabled Travel – useful resource aimed at the disabled traveler.
  • Disability Travel – disability travel and recreation resources are discussed.
  • Travel Resources – information on travel for individuals with disabilities.
  • Wheelchair Travel Tips – tips and information on traveling with an individual using a wheelchair.
  • Wheelchair Air Travel – helpful website providing information to air travelers with wheelchairs.
  • TravelinWheels – database of destinations includes detailed, objective accessibility information.

Travel Accessibility Resources

Handicapped Travel Resources

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Wisdom From A Wheelchair: An FDR Resource Guide

Despite his numerous health issues, including being paralyzed from the waist down, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is considered, by a large majority, one of the greatest Presidents in American history. Believing that his health issues would make him appear weak to outsiders and worry the American public, FDR rarely allowed himself to be photographed in his wheelchair, and went to great lengths to hid his other ailments. Even in his poorest condition, President Roosevelt changed the social policies of America, and helped conceive of the single largest peace keeping organization in the world – the United Nations. The following links will provide biographical information, lesson plans, study guides and information on FDR’s legacy, as well as suggested readings.

Brief Biographies

  • Biography of FDR This article provides a quality biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, including the early years of his life.
  • Brief Biography This website provides a brief biography of FDR, including what he was known for and where he was born.
  • Innagural Addresses This website has a biography of FDR, as well as links to his four inaugural addresses.
  • Famous President This website provides brief facts about this famous president, as well as a short biography.
  • Columbia’s Biography This biography of FDR comes from the school he attended: Columbia University.

Lesson Plans

  • Four Freedoms Lesson This website provides resources, lesson plans and activities for studying the four freedoms.
  • FDR’s Disabilities This lesson plan focuses on President Roosevelt’s disabilities, teaching students about how he hid the disabilities and overcame them.
  • FDR And the Supreme Court These four lessons teach children about how FDR dealt with his constituents and the judicial system.
  • The New Deal This lesson plan focuses on the New Deal, helping elementary aged students understand it.
  • The Great Depression and FDR This website offers a comprehensive lesson plan for high school teachers focusing on the Great Depression and how FDR handled it.
  • Great Depression This lesson plan focuses on how the American people dealt with the great depression and how they responded to FDR.
  • The Supreme Court This lesson plan focuses on why FDR wanted to change the Supreme Court to help keep the New Deal.

FDR Study Guides

  • Four Freedoms Study Guide This study guide focuses on FDR’s four freedoms: freedom of speech, religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
  • FDR Study Guide This website provides study questions and essay ideas for student’s focusing on President Roosevelt.
  • The Great Depression This study guide focuses on the cause of the Great Depression and how FDR handled it.
  • FDR and the War This study guide provides 56 study questions about the War and President Roosevelt.
  • Great Depression and New Deal Study Guide A study guide for two of the major parts of FDR’s presidency, with 59 study questions.
  • Crash of 1929 This study guide focuses on the period right before and after the Great Depression.

Legacy

FDR is most commonly remembered for his implementation of the New Deal, a set of social programs intended to aid the America public during the Great Depression. His idea for a peace keeping organization gave way to the inception of the United Nations, although this did not happen until after his sudden death. He was such a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts, that he actually became the President of the New York Boy Scouts, attending several functions during his presidency. Historians and analysts consider Roosevelt one of the best and most influential presidents in American History, in league with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

His Disabilities

In 1921, well before his presidency, FDR contracted what was then believed to be polio, becoming paralyzed from the waist down. In later years, this diagnosis was heavily debated, with many believing he actually had Guillain Barre syndrome. Since he became paralyzed, FDR underwent countless different therapies, refusing to settle for being paralyzed, even teaching himself to walk for short distances. He is also believed to have had hypertension, anemia, and possibly melanoma. He was placed on digitalis for what some believe to be congenital heart failure.

  • Disability and Deception This article describes the many ailments of the 32nd president and how he hid them from the American people.
  • The Death of FDR This article explains when and how FDR died, including speculation into his health issues.
  • The Dying President This article details how those working with FDR dealt with his ailing health.
  • Health Issues This website provides a list of all of the known health issues that President Roosevelt faced.

Recommended Reading

  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt This book, written by Edmund Morris, details how FDR became the 32nd president of the United States.
  • Roosevelts Writings This website provides a list of the writings of FDR.
  • By and About This website details all of the books written by and about President Roosevelt.
  • Good Books These three books focusing on President Roosevelt are recommended by America’s Library.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Collection This website provides a list of books, photographs and exhibits all about President Roosevelt.
  • The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt This book, written by Lewis L. Gould, details the presidency of FDR.
  • The Wilderness Warrior This book, written by Douglas Brinkley, provide details on the private life of FDR, including his love of hunting.
  • Books and Articles This website provides a comprehensive list of a majority of the books and articles written about Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Articles and Editorials This website provides a detailed list of all of the articles and editorials written by FDR.
  • Why We Should Study FDR This TIME Magazine article explains why Americans should study the life and works of President Roosevelt.

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Autism: On The Spectrum

Autism In Our Culture

Autism is defined as a neural developmental disorder that is most often characterized by communication difficulties and impaired interaction with others. Symptoms may include, avoiding eye contact and a lack of perceivable empathy. Many people with autism display repetitive behaviors, such as rocking and hand flapping. Some behaviors may be self abusive like head banging and biting. The amount of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD is unclear. It is estimated that, in America, approximately one out of 110 children have ASD of one severity or another. Boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed by a ratio of four to five, according to current data. Racial and socioeconomic factors seem to have no bearing on the rate of occurrence of ASD in children and adults. Most cases of autism manifest observable symptoms very early and are diagnosed with ASD before the age of three.

The Spectrum

Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD, refer to the modern way of diagnosing those with autistic related developmental disabilities. Like many other developmental disorders, symptoms of autistic people range greatly in severity. Diagnosing individuals using the spectrum based model, can help ensure that they are getting the best treatment for their specific symptoms. Lower and higher functioning autistic individuals may require a very separate set of treatments than those who range somewhere in between. Asperger’s Syndrome is typically the most recognizable syndrome associated with high functioning autism. Currently there is a diagnostic distinction between high functioning autistic people and those with Asperger’s. Whether or not the distinction is necessary is the subject of some debate. The diagnostic description of Asperger’s is functionally the same as that for the highest functioning persons with autism, and while a large culture has arisen among those who have adopted Asperger’s as a significant portion of their identity, it may eventually be eliminated as a separate medical diagnosis.

Treatment and Education

There is not one specific, or organized, treatment plan for those with ASD. Individual care and attention to the particular needs of the individual is a necessity. Early intervention is ideal. Special and strong focus on teaching the child the basic skills of talking, walking, and interaction with others before the age of three, can help the child’s development later in life. Continuing to expand on these skills through personalized programs, staged interactions, and education is also very important. A variety of therapies may be combined and integrated into the individual’s life ranging from dietary plans, medication, to behavior and communication therapy. Depending on the person, care can range from daily one on one attention to occasional supervision during education and work. There is no known cure for autism. As research continues, a better understanding of these conditions can be gained. Knowledge, understanding, experimentation, and personalization are key in providing the individual proper care in the here and now.

Research and Causes

There is no known specific cause for autism. The syndrome’s symptoms revolve around the brain, specifically the neural developments. Research on the brains of those with ASD vs. non-autistic individuals; show that the shape and structure of the brains differ. Further research is necessary to understand and develop on the causes of the differences. Heredity is suspected to be a significant factor, and research continues to study those causal links. Experimentation and case studies on autistic individuals can be used to understand the strengths and limitations of these syndromes. This knowledge will directly help individuals, and their families, to recognize and explore new methods, promoting functionality of all individuals with ASD.

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A Comprehensive Stroke Resource Guide

Stroke is a physiological disorder that arises as a result of insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. Blood circulation in the arteries of the brain gets impaired due to the narrowing or hardening of the arteries causing the supply of oxygen to the brain to be cut off. In serious conditions, the arteries may rupture causing internal hemorrhages within the brain. Stroke, also known as Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA), is one of the leading causes of deaths in the U.S. In 2006, it’s estimated that about 6,400,000 U.S. citizens suffered a stroke, which suggests that on the average, somebody suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.

 

Risk Factors

 There are several factors that contribute to stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol level leading to atherosclerosis
  • Disturbances in heart beat

Smoking, drinking, obesity, and aging are other important causative factors leading to stroke.

Detection/ Warning Signs

Insufficient oxygen supply to the brain impairs its normal functioning. Warning signs that someone may be experiencing a stroke include:

  • Sudden severe headache
  • Weakness or numbness in one or more limbs, often encompassing one side of the body
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred or deformed speech
  • Loss of balance and coordination

Because strokes can occur to anyone, and the results can be so severe, it is important to be able to recognize these symptoms when they occur, and seek immediate help. In serious cases, seconds can make a difference.

Types of Strokes

Strokes are categorized under two major headings:

  1. Ischemic Stroke or Cerebral Infarction: In this case, the stroke is caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain. The blood circulation in the blood vessels gets blocked, resulting in impaired oxygen supply to the brain. These blockages are mainly caused due to blood clots arising from atherosclerosis. The blood clots flow through the blood stream and cause blockages in the small arteries of the brain. The source of Ischemic strokes lies mainly in the carotid artery that arises from aorta placed just above the heart. About 85% of the strokes are Ischemic in nature.TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) is similar to a stroke, but is of short duration and causes little inturruption in the brain’s supply of oxygen. TIAs rarely result in any lasting disability or serious consequences, though they may be a sign of a more serious problem. Most TIAs are diagnosed after the fact based on a description of the symptoms, which can include confusion, temporary numbness or weakness, and problems with balance or coordination.
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: In this type of stroke, a rupture occurs in a blood vessel in the brain, causing moderate to severe internal bleeding. It occurs most frequently as a result of the weakening of the arterial wall at a particular point, a condition known as aneurysm, but may also occur as the result of head trauma. This is known as hemorrhagic stroke, which is observed in about 15% of the cases. The brain is very sensitive to the presence of free-floating blood, and the reactions that occur as a result of the internal bleeding can be equally, if not more dangerous than the interruption in blood flow.Bleeding within the brain can be further categorized under Subarachnoid Hemorrhage and Intracerebral Hemorrhage. In Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, the blood vessels in the brain rupture and blood fills all the fluid filled spaces in the skull and the brain. This stroke can affect people of any age. In Intracerebral Hemorrhage, the artery in the brain ruptures due to high blood pressure and fills the surrounding tissues in the brain.

Diagnosis of Stroke

The traditional symptoms of stroke are well known to the staff and physicians of emergency rooms around the world, and will often result in immediate efforts to either confirm or rule out a stoke diagnosis. A thorough examination of the reflexes and responses of the patient guides the investigation. Imaging technologies such as CT-scan, ECG, and MRI are carried on upon consultation with the neurologist to diagnose stroke. The doctor gathers all information about the past medical history and medications in case of the diabetic and hypertensive patients.

Treatment of Stroke

The treatment of ischemic stroke is carried out by administering medication as soon as possible to dissolve the blockage responsible for the stroke. A Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA) is injected into the bloodstream through the arm within a few hours of the stroke. Other blood thinners (heparin, aspirin) and anticoagulants are also administered for quick recovery. The dose of the medication depends upon the condition of the patient, and should be administered with caution to avert hemorrhages. In some severe cases, surgical intervention is carried out to remove larger blockages.

Clipping and coiling treatments are carried out in patients with aneurysms. In the “clipping” procedure, a clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm to prevent the blood from entering. It is considered to be a permanent solution, but requires direct access to the brain through the skull. The coiling procedure is a newer development, wherein a small catheter is introduced through the femoral artery in the thigh and with the aid of sophisticated imaging technology, passed upward to the site of the aneurysm in the brain. A small platinum wire is introduced into the aneurysm, which forms a coil around which blood clots, filling the aneurysm, preventing further bleeding.

Survivors

After the patient recovers from the stroke, special care and attention is given to reduce the occurrence of long-term disability, and bring the patient back to a normal state as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the stroke and its outcome, this can involve regular physiotherapy, speech therapy, and other nursing care with the help of professionals. In many cases, age causes hindrance to restoring the mobility of the stroke patient but through utmost care and family support, the situation can be improved. In 2006, there were approximately 138,000 people who died as a result of suffering from a stroke, but this number reflects a significant reduction as a result of modern diagnostic and treatment practices.

The long-term prognosis for stroke survivors can vary widely depending on the severity of the stroke, and the health of the patient. Patients who achieve a full recovery may often take up to a year to do so. Some patients achieve a full physical recovery, but may continue to suffer from psychological impacts which can be either the result of damage to specific portions of the brain, or the manifestation of post-traumatic stress.


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Disability Etiquette: Beyond Wheelchairs

People who live with disabilities often face fear, discomfort, and hostility at a rate that far exceeds that encountered by those who do have no disability. The vast majority of such treatment is rooted in a basic lack of understanding about the challenges that come with having a disability, and the experience of sharing the world with people who do not. People often seek to fill in gaps in their knowledge, and when information is lacking, confusion and even fear may result.

Anyone wishing to overcome this experience in themselves will be best served by first recognizing that a disability is a limited phenomenon. A physical disability may have a large impact on how an individual interacts with the physical word. A sensory disability may alter the gathering of information. These are conditions however, in no way prevent the individuals who live with them from having unique personalities, talents, knowledge, humor, and lives. People who live with disabilities have more in common than not with those who have no disability. We all share the same existence, and the same basic needs.

In order to establish a foundation, he top three considerations, as repeated in the vast majority of lists of disability etiquette concerns are:

  • Ask if a person needs assistance before attempting to assist them. All people, whether or not they live with a disability, take pride in what they are able to do. Making any assumption about a person’s abilities in any given situation can rob them of this feeling.
  • Speak directly to a person with a disability, even if he or she has an interpreter. While a person with a hearing impairment may have to look at an interpreter for communication, it is discouraging to everyone to be looked around or over when communicating with someone.
  • Ask permission before touching and assistive device or service animal. These items and creatures are the tools that the user needs to live their life. They are very important, and very personal.

Never Say Never

The more a discussion of etiquette directly relates to lifestyles and personal abilities, the more likely it is that the word “never” is used to illustrate what not to do. While this is often a useful guideline, it can be cumbersome in some situations. In some cases, people who are less experienced in respectful and positive communication may stumble over wording, and significantly impair communication efforts. In other cases, people who are living with a disability may have feelings about language that is not in keeping with the established guidelines for etiquette. Whatever the reason, the commonly recognized best practices of disability-related etiquette may not always be the preferred practices, and it is always most important for the most effective and respectful communication, to first respect the wishes of the individual.

Mobility impairment

People with mobility impairments are often the most immediately identifiable people who are living with disabilities. As such, the stigma that our culture attaches to these people out of fear and ignorance, often impacts people with mobility impairments most frequently, and most harshly.

Developmental and Cognitive Disabilities

Developmental and cognitive disabilities are an extremely broad, but very interconnected category. Both types of disability frequently occur together as a result of a single causal factor, though they just as frequently occur individually. While an experienced and compassionate person may be able to recognize that a person has a developmental disability, there is often no way of knowing whether the person also suffers from a cognitive disability without interacting with that person. Likewise, cognitive disabilities may occur in people who do not appear externally to have any disability whatsoever. It may take observation of behavior and interaction to determine how to communicate most appropriately with someone. Further, a basic recognition that a person’s behavior differs from the range that is considered mainstream may not absolutely indicate a cognitive disability, but could be a result of a mental illness (see below) or simply a personality quirk that does not constitute a disability. Lastly, a person with a cognitive disability may not be recognizable in casual interaction. Conditions such as dyslexia, and attention deficit are classified as cognitive disabilities, and can reasonably require both accommodation and sensitivity, but neither will necessarily be immediately apparent. It is in this broad category that the most care must be taken in making assumptions about what a person is or is not capable of doing on their own or with assistance.

Blindness

Make no assumptions about what someone who is blind can and cannot do. Modern assistive technology has made things that were formerly inaccessible to the blind commonplace. A primary example is computer usage, which has become a nearly ubiquitous skill for sighted people, and is rapidly becoming standardized as audio screen readers and web standards converge.

  • Being a sighted guide A reference on the established protocol for assisting someone as a sighted guide
  • Blind Etiquette 101 Some words of advice from a person who lives with a vision impairment
  • Etiquette A rundown of etiquette considerations for people interacting with those who are blind in social and professional situations

Deafness

Deafness is an extremely common disability, and one which does not present the same mobility issues faced by many other people with disabilities. This, combined with modern support for signing (which was once discouraged as a form of communication) has resulted in vibrant deaf communities springing up around the world. Still, interacting with a person who is deaf can be challenging, as deafness presents a communication barrier not experienced by most people who live with disabilities.

Mental Illness

People living with mental illness may or may not have a disability. The specific criteria for determining the nature or severity of a psychiatric condition that constitutes a disability constantly shifts, but generally rests on a consideration of the level of impairment of daily activities suffered by the person in question. The biggest barrier faced by people living with mental illness is the lack of understanding which is nearly universal to almost all psychiatric disorders. Stigma, and the accompanying ignorance, remains the primary barrier to overcome.

Additional Resources

  • Focus on Ability Tips for employers interviewing applicants who have disabilities
  • Developing Sites A guide to web development for users who have cognitive or learning disabilities (most accessible design is focused on visual disabilities)
  • Discribing People With Disabilities A resource on people first language, for use when talking about people who have disabilities

Mistakes Will Be Made

Everyone will at some point make a mistake in conversation. This is one occasion that requires absolutely no special consideration for people who live with disabilities. As when interacting with anyone else, when a mistake is made, simply apologize. People who live with disabilities learn early and unequivocally that others are frequently uncomfortable interacting with them. Most people who have lived with a disability since birth (and many who have not) have experienced bullying and harassment as a result of individual ignorance. A conversational error will not be the harshest experience suffered by any person living with a disability. An apology is an acknowledgement of an error, and of a person’s intention to be sensitive. Communicating an awareness of etiquette and concern for an individual’s feelings may even set one apart from the crowd, and be the first step toward making a new friend.

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People First Language: I Am Not My Wheelchair

Consider the sentence:

“Christopher Reeve was a wheelchair-bound actor.”

To those familiar with his career before he suffered the accident which lead to his paralysis, this would be a gross misrepresentation of a popular and beloved figure. Why then, is it acceptable to characterize others in similar ways – even if they have lived with a disability from birth?

People who live with disabilities face social challenges daily, and they may feel uncomfortable when ordinary people refer to them as “disabled people”. Some basic consideration of the language that we use to talk with and about people with disabilities can make a substantial difference in the atmosphere within a workplace, classroom, social situation, or even in casual encounters. The characterization of people with disabilities as people first and foremost can be the difference between recognition and dismissal of a person who has ability, interests, and ambition. For instance:

  • “Ray Charles was a blind musician” minimizes his accomplishments, and frames them as occurring in spite of his disability. “Ray Charles was a world-renowned musician who was blind” is a recognition of his individuality and talent, above the disability which he lived with.
  • “Helen Keller was deaf and blind” defines her solely in terms of her disability, and entirely ignores her career as a human rights activist and writer. “Helen Keller was the author of 12 books, and was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree” identifies her as a person who was intelligent and motivated, regardless of her sensory disabilities.
  • “Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a disabled politician” seems an almost absurd description of a man who became one of the most respected Presidents of the United States. His accomplishments are so well known and regarded that they eclipse the fact that he spent much of his life in a wheelchair as a result of a battle with polio. Does this then suggest that there is a threshold beyond which a person with a disability must achieve to be afforded an identity beyond their physical, sensory, or cognitive impairment?

People first language is defined as a linguistic prescriptivism that seeks to eliminate dehumanization of people with disabilities. It helps those who don’t live with a disability recognize people with disabilities as individuals with personalities and identities that are distinct from their disability. The most basic and effective use of the language is to identify people with disabilities by their names.

Because people first language is intended to increase the communicated level of respect in interaction between people who have disabilities and people who do not, it is recommended that it be a consideration in all such interaction. However, the extent of its use should be determined situationally. If including people first language in a single sentence is cumbersome, and causes a speaker to stumble over words, it may not be ideal or critical that the most explicit and clear people first language be used. Some feel that extreme adherence to people first language constitutes excessive political correctness, and takes the focus away from effective communication. In all cases, it is important to consider the context of the communication, and the wishes of the people involved. Likewise, if a party to a communication feels that any of the language used is inappropriate or not useful, they should make this known, for the sake of fostering an environment of mutual respect and positive interaction.

Many educational institutions that serve young children encourage people first language in order to establish an environment of respect and inclusion early in a child’s social development – both for the sake of children who live with disabilities, and for those who do not.

Here are links to more information about people first language:

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State Accessibility Laws

By law, people with disabilities are ensured equal opportunities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, telecommunications, commercial facilities, and state and local government. Along with the Americans with Disabilities Act, each state has their own laws regarding disability rights. The following resources will help you learn about the disability rights laws in your state.

Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program

Alaska Disability Law Center

Arizona Center For Disability Law

Arkansas Disability Rights Center

California Disability Laws and Regulations

Colorado Disability Advocacy

Connecticut Disability Laws and Benefits

Delaware Disabilities Law Program

District of Columbia Disability Law Center

Florida Disability Law Resources

Georgia Disability and Mental Health

Hawaii Disability Rights Center

Idaho Disability Laws

Illinois Disability Rights

Indiana Disability Laws

Iowa Disability Law Resources

Kansas Disability Rights Center

Kentucky Office of Disabilities

Louisiana Disability Laws

Maine Disability Law Resources

Maryland Disability Law Center

Massachusetts Disability Law Center

Michigan Disability Law Resources

Minnesota Disability Law Center

Mississippi Disability Rights

Missouri Disability Information

Montana Disability Rights

Nebraska Disability Rights Advocacy

Nevada Disability Law Center

New Hampshire Disabilities Rights Center

New Jersey Disability Laws

New Mexico Disability Rights

New York Disability & Health Laws

North Carolina Disability Rights

North Dakota Disability Services

Ohio American Disabilities Act

Oklahoma Disability Law Center

Oregon Disability Rights

Pennsylvania Disability Rights Network

Rhode Island Disability Law Center

South Carolina Disability Law Resources

South Dakota Disability Determination Services

Tennessee Disability Law Center

Texas Disability Law Resources

Utah Disability Law Center

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

Virginia Disability Rights Services

Washington Disability Rights Laws

West Virginia Disability Laws

Wisonconsin Disability Law

Wyoming Disability Laws

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Molecular Biology Resources Online

Molecular biology is a branch of science which studies biological systems at a molecular level. The purview of molecular biology often overlaps with fields such as biochemistry and genetics, since molecular biology closely studies cell systems and their complex interactions. Protein biosynthesis, DNA, and RNA patterns are also explored by molecular biologists.

History of Molecular Biology

The name molecular biology was coined in 1938 by Warren Weaver of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Natural Sciences department. Though studies in molecular biology started as early as the 1930’s, it was not until the 1950’s that major strides were taken in the field. The Rockefeller institute helped popularize molecular biology by funding several molecular biology research projects. The advances in X-ray crystallography contributed greatly to the filed of molecular biology as well. In the 1960’s, biologists finally succeeded in isolating, characterizing, and even manipulating molecular cell components such as DNA.

The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology

In 1958, Francis Crick articulated the central dogma of molecular biology. Subsequently, he re-stated the central dogma in 1970. The central dogma explains the sequential information transfer in terms of detailed residue transfer. It also states that information cannot be re-transferred from protein to nucleic acid or protein. To better understand the framework of sequential information transfers comprising of biopolymers, the central dogma is often used. The central dogma also categorizes the biopolymers into three groups, namely the DNA, RNA, and the proteins. Furthermore, the central dogma further sub-divides the groups into three classes: the 3 general transfers, the three special transfers, and the three unknown transfers.

Molecular Biology Techniques

There are a number of important molecular biology techniques which help scientists to isolate or manipulate the molecular cell components.

  • Expression Cloning – This method is considered a basic technique for studying protein functions. In this technique, the protein’s DNA coding is cloned into an expression vector called a plasmid. This plasmid may or may not contain promoter elements for producing protein of interest.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction – This technique is used for DNA copying since it’s very versatile. In PCR, a DNA sequence can be easily copied thousands of times or can even be altered.
  • Gel Electrophoresis – This technique is based on the premise that electric fields can separate proteins, DNA, and RNA molecules. The agarose gel electrophoresis is the technique wherein agarose gel is used to separate RNA and DNA.
  • Southern Blotting – Southern Blotting is the technique for finding out a particular DNA sequence which is present in a DNA sample. After the DNA samples are separated by gel electrophoresis, they are passed on to a membrane by blotting.
  • Northern Blotting – The northern blotting technique helps in the better understanding of a specific RNA molecule’s expression patterns.
  • Western Blotting – In western blotting, small amounts of protein are injected into animal specimens such as a mouse, creating the antibodies of the proteins. When produced by using animals as agents, they are called polyclonal antibodies and when produced in a cell culture, they’re known as monoclonal antibodies.
  • Eastern Blotting – A protein’s post-translational modification can be identified by the eastern blotting technique. A few specific substrates are used for probing the modifications of the blotted proteins.

Additional Information and Techniques

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Caregiver Day of Action – July 28, 2010

The experience of helping loved ones in need can be both rewarding and trying. Over the last ten years 1800wheelchair.com has helped tens of thousands of care givers with mobility related issues. We often hear the same questions and struggles. Using Meetup.com’s Everywhere platform we hope to bring people together to discuss what they’ve learned, share stories and maybe inspire each other.

The first meetups will all take place on the same day – July 28th, 2010.  These events are for you, by you, so meet wherever you like. If you find these meetings helpful, feel free to organize more. Meetup.com can help with that.

After July 28th, we’ll open it up, allowing you to create events for any date and time you prefer.

 

 

 

FAQs

Can anyone be involved? I don’t live in the U.S. Can I still participate?

Yes, the 1800wheelchair cargivers meetup is all about connecting with other local cargivers in your community to share and learn, no matter where in the world you live.

Do I have to be a 1800wheelchair customer to join?

No, this event is open to everyone to attend.  

Do I have to have an Meetup account to join in these meetings?

No, you can RSVP with your Facebook sign-in, if you don’t have a Meetup account. If you don’t have a Facebook account or a Meetup account, you’ll need one or the other to RSVP and/or step up as an organizer for a cargivers meetup. It’s free and easy to sign up.

Can we change the time of the event?

Yes. The event organizer can change the time and set the location of the event.

Can I add a new Meetup to the map, even if my town already has one?

Yes, pick a convenient location.  The idea here is to foster face to face connections.  And, if the current Meetup is too far away, feel free to schedule another.

Does using the Meetup Everywhere tool cost money?

Nope. The Meetup Everywhere site is free and creating a Meetup.com account is free. You might want to pitch in for refreshments and drinks.

What do we do at the cargiver meeups?

That is up to you to decide. We hope you’ll all share stories, propose new ideas and ask questions. It’s an open forum.  

What’s the difference between Meetup Everywhere and Meetup Groups?

Meetup Everywhere is not a Meetup Group. A Meetup Group is a local community group. Meetup Everywhere is a simple way to spark Meetups all over the world.

This sounds great. How can I help get the word out?

Help us spread the word. Email, Facebook, tweet, call … anything.  Just invite your friends to this link: https://www.meetup.com/caregiver/

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The Game of Quad Rugby

Quad rugby is a sport that was developed for individuals and athletes who have upper body disabilities. The event typically takes place on a basketball court in which the players are in wheelchairs. Originally known as “murder ball”, quad rugby has transformed into a popular Paralympic sport practiced in over twenty countries. Established in 1993, the sport of quad rugby is governed by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federations.

Wheelchair, or quad, rugby was developed in 1976 in the country of Canada by five Canadian wheelchair athletes. Jerry Terwin, Randy Dueck, Chris Sargent, Duncan Campbell and Paul LeJeune created quad rugby to be a sport for quadriplegics. The sport required its players to dribble and shoot baskets. Each team is made up of four players and allowed unlimited substitutes. Quad rugby is played with a volleyball which is carried, batted or passed with the object of the game being to get the ball across the 20 meter goal. Chair contact with other players with or without the ball is encouraged and the player with the ball must dribble or pass the ball in intervals of ten seconds.

  • Quad Rugby History: The history of quad rugby (wheelchair rugby), field dimensions and rules of the game.
  • USA Paralympics: Official United States of America Paralympic website with performance plans, selection procedures and team rosters.
  • Adaptive Sports Program: Wheelchair rugby as an adaptive sports program as a rehabilitation option with videos of a quad rugby game.

In 2005, a documentary film called ‘Murderball’ was directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro. The Oscar nominated film focuses on the rivalry between Canadian and U.S rugby teams. The low budget film is about quadriplegics who play the sport of quad (wheelchair) rugby which lead up to the 2004 Paralympics games. The film was nominated in the 78th Academy Awards for ‘Best Documentary Feature’. The major international quad rugby competitions are held in Zone Championships, or each odd numbered year. In even numbered years, the World Championships are held, opposite the Paralympics Games and the Summer Paralympics Games.

Quad rugby is a competitive, fast-paced sport for individuals with quadriplegia. There are over 50 hard-hitting quad rugby teams in the United States alone and over 20 international teams, making this wheelchair sport one of the most popular Paralympic events.


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An Overview of Stephen Hawking

This article is brought to you by 1800wheelchair – The Power Wheelchair Store.

When life throws you a lemon, you don’t sulk, complain or feel sorry for yourself. Instead, you just make lemonadeYou make the most of the situation that is handed to you, just as Stephen Hawking has done in his lifetime of accomplishments, achievements and deeds while being severely disabled. Mr. Hawking is an extraordinary human being who defeated all odds and stood his ground in maintaining his sense of humor and integrity, despite his physical limitations. Society puts him in the same category as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton for his knowledge and experience in Physics, Mathematics and Cosmology. He is a man defined not only by his disability, but by his accomplishments and his contributions to science.

  • The Early Years

Stephen Hawking is a Physics professor at Cambridge University, located in Cambridge, England. His expertise and passion dwells in that of Cosmology, the study of the universe. He was born during World War II, and given the name of Stephen William Hawking on January 8, 1942 in Oxford England. Although it was his father’s dream for his son to become a doctor like himself, Stephen chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps for his love was in Mathematics, Physics, Science and Astronomy. As a boy growing up, he was enrolled at St. Albans at the age of eleven. Though today, he is noted for his work as a researcher, which details a lot of reading and analyzing, as a child Stephen’s reading was at a low level. He found it to be more satisfying trying to figure out how things work, than it was reading text books. Figuring things out on his own opened doors that put him on his career path.

  • The Incurable Disease

Stephen admits that as a child his first challenge was that of being physically uncoordinated. This physical problem led him to shy away from activities dealing with sports. However, the minor set back did not keep him from entering competitions in rowing and coxing at the age of seventeen. It was at the age of twenty-one that he began noticing some more changes in his coordination, more accidents would occur, like falling for no apparent reason. After many tests and hospital visits, he was diagnosed with an incurable disease that would eventually leave him permanently disabled. Today he lives his life confined to a wheelchair and speaking through a voice synthesizer, because the disease has claimed his voice and destroyed the muscles in his body, which leaves him paralyzed. The incurable disease that has taken over his body is Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS as it is sometimes called.

  • His Published Works

The defining man not only loves doing research, giving lectures and interviews. He has a passion for writing as well. He is an author whose contributions include book publications and essays. His first book published is entitled: A Brief History of Time which was followed by two more published works: Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays. Another book was published in 2001 entitled The Universe in a Nutshell. All of which, shows his enthusiasm and interest in Cosmology. Mr. Hawking has proven that he is unstoppable, even in a wheelchair.

  • Conclusion

Hawking is a man of integrity, strength and determination. He is also humble, because regardless of his accomplishments while living with his disability, he still claims that he is no genius. Though in a wheelchair, Hawking is married and has a family. Besides his accomplishments in research, he has won recognition for being on TV Programs such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and being entertained at the White House. With all the things that this man has accomplished, it goes to show that a disability may slow you down and interrupt your life, but it doesn’t have to mean that your life is over. You can still do great things and prove your worth.

Below are lists of links that will lead to interesting reading on the life and accomplishments of Stephen William Hawking, the man who didn’t let being disabled stop him from living.

Hawkins at the University of Cambridge

The Man and His Contributions

About Professor Stephen Hawking

Cosmology at Cambridge

A Glimpse into His Personal Life

Facing the Medical Emergency

An Interview with Stephen Hawking

An Essay on Hawking

 Witnessing a Stephen Hawking Lecture

Beating the Odds

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What Type of Wheelchair Vehicle is Best For Me?

Deciding which type of accessible vehicle to drive or use for transportation is difficult. Almost any type of vehicle can be modified to accommodate accessible transportation, but one stands out as the best wheelchair vehicle for families, businesses, or public transportation.

WHEELCHAIR MINIVANS Wheelchair minivans come out on top as the best wheelchair vehicle all around. They offer affordable pricing, lots of interior space, great gas mileage, quick access, and top safety ratings. Buyers can choose from side and rear entry wheelchair vans with a power or manual ramp for easy access in and out of the vehicle. Minivans have a low center of gravity and drive like a car making them very gas efficient and easy to drive. Some minivans such as the wheelchair vans offered by AMS Vans also negate the need for an expensive kneeling system by extending the ramp 4 inches. This saves the customer thousands of dollars versus other national brands.

FULL SIZED VANS Most full size conversion vans use a lift rather than a ramp. Lift systems are significantly more expensive than ramps in addition to the vehicle itself being more expensive than a minivan. Full size vans are built on a truck chassis making driving and maneuverability extremely challenging. Full size vans have either captain’s chair seating or bench seating that forces the buyer to choose less passenger seating or benches that a caregiver would have to crawl over to get to a passenger. Full size vans have very low gas mileage and a high center of gravity making it less stable than a minivan. Most full size vans carry the additional expense of needing the back doors widened to accommodate a lift or ramp and possibly the roof raised. Using a ramp is possible with full sized vans, however a kneeling system is required adding thousands to your accessible conversion.

SUVS SUVs are stylish, popular, and often coming standard with four wheel drive for off road driving. While this feature is nice in the occasional snow storm, the low gas mileage, expensive maintenance, higher insurance rates, and unstable high center of gravity doesn’t really make it worth the trade. Making an SUV accessible is extremely costly by adding transfer seats, kneeling systems and expensive unreliable hitch mounted lifts. While SUVs are as big or bigger than a minivan, most of the cargo space is taken up by bench seating for passengers. Once you transfer a user out of the chair and onto the seat and store the wheelchair in the relatively small space in the back for cargo, your storage space is cut in half.

CARS While cars are typically good on gas, easy to drive, and stylish, using one as accessible transportation can be difficult. Since they are so low to the ground, transferring out of the wheelchair and into the car can put not only the wheelchair user at risk, but the person assisting at risk for injury. Using a car requires the use of a foldable wheelchair, a portable wheelchair that does not necessarily offer the same customized comfort amenities as the user’s wheelchair he/she uses all the time. Once a portable wheelchair is placed in the trunk, it becomes basically useless with all the space taken up from the chair.

MOTORCYCLES Motorcycles are fun, environmentally friendly vehicles that can be customized to a wheelchair user. Wheelchair users can purchase add on packages to either drive from their chair, slide from their chair onto a common motorcycle seat that is stored inside a lift attached to the back of the bike, or ride in their chair shotgun via a side car. While an exhilarating hobby, most area climates are not conducive to year round motorcycle use since you and your chair are exposed to the elements. Motorcycle accidents are among the most horrific on the road since they are not surrounded by a metal frame, and they are less visible to other drivers. Using a motorcycle for your primary accessible transportation only allows the wheelchair user and possibly one other rider to use it at the same time so the versatility of the vehicle is rather limited.

PICK UP TRUCKS Pick up trucks have the same unstable high center of gravity and low gas mileage as SUVs. An expensive transfer chair or robotic system is required to transfer in and out of the cab of the truck. Even with the purchase of high dollar king or extended cab trucks, the wheelchair has to be transported in the bed of the truck which is exposed to the elements critically reducing the life of your chair.

Finding the best wheelchair vehicle for yourself, your family, or your business can be a daunting task, but you are on the right path towards making the right decision and enjoying the mobility freedom you deserve.

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