Employment, Healthcare & News to Use

Apr 29, 2024

A favor, please.

I’d love to hear what you think of Another Normal. Can you please take a moment to comment on today’s newsletter and tell me what matters to you? Just click on the “thought bubble” above (next to the date) and let me know if/why you liked something or are interested in hearing more about a particular subject. Feel free to click the “heart” icon, too, which just says “keep up the good work!” Input from you will facilitate conversation about topics that matter to our kids and communities. All thoughts and comments are really valuable.

"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RIP

All in a day’s work.

Activists and parents faced off again this week as the federal government took steps to eliminate sheltered workshops that employ people with disabilities. A new report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says this type of employment, generally offering sub-minimum wages, has been trapping workers in "exploitative and discriminatory" jobs. Some families argue, however, that eliminating these employment opportunities actually reduces choice for people with disabilities and may leave them worse off and unemployed. Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” solution to this challenge. I believe that people with disabilities, along with their family members, have the right to choose what kind of setting they want to work and live in. All settings should be closely monitored to ensure they comply with civil rights laws. What do you think?

Speaking of work, check out this new cafe in Shanghai, this Irish snack manufacturer, and what Microsoft is doing in Asia to provide job opportunities to people with disabilities.

Know a company you’d like spotlighted? Let me know, and I’ll dig a little deeper. So good to search for and reapply what works in one community to improve opportunities elsewhere.

Managing medical care.

As many of us know all too well, health care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) becomes more difficult as children age. Medical professionals often lack experience treating people with I/DD, and the transition from pediatric to adult medical care can be scary for everyone. Register here and learn how to navigate this journey on Tuesday, Sept 29, from 6-7:30pm via Zoom. Guest speaker is Dr. Lisa Weisinger, an internist in Hartford, CT, with a special interest in the healthcare needs of adults with disabilities and the mother of a 25-year-old son with Down syndrome.

Speaking of training.

Much has happened since Another Normal first posted on the importance of training first responders and police about intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recently, we’ve seen more tragic examples of what can happen when people we rely on for help in a crisis aren’t sufficiently trained to provide it. In Utah, a 13-year-old with autism was shot by police after his mother called 9-1-1 for assistance at their home. Other examples from across the country show how community resources are often ill prepared to de-escalate situations involving people with mental health issues. Let’s improve our ability to respond to such emergencies and provide effective, compassionate assistance when it’s needed most. The “Memphis Model” seems like a good place to start. Who can you share this with in your community?

Coronavirus concerns.

The pandemic continues to present challenges to how we live, learn and engage with each other. Now, it seems there are issues with how and when proposed vaccines for Covid-19 will be made available to people with disabilities. 30% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience underlying health conditions. This puts them at greater risk of adverse health effects and even death from contracting the virus. Should we prioritize society’s most vulnerable, along with those who care for them, so they get early access to vaccination?

On a related note, outdoor dining spaces created for Covid are posing problems for people with disabilities, especially those with vision challenges and mobility impairments. We all need to be mindful of how sidewalk cafes can reduce actual sidewalk space (and ignore ADA requirements) in their efforts to expand socially-distanced seating for hungry patrons. Dining out soon? Look carefully at what’s happening at your favorite restaurant and speak to a manager about how to ensure expanded outdoor dining doesn’t pose problems for people with disabilities. Remember, we’re all in this together.

This makes me smile.

New York’s 2020 Fashion Week just featured a virtual Runway of Dreams. The non-profit is working with leading brands like Zappos and Tommy Hilfiger to make fun, fashionable, adaptive clothing available to all. Take a few minutes to start your week with this inspiring video. Shopping awaits!


Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

Contact Kris

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