It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Monday, June 30, 2008

A salute to a Maryland Athlete (Baltimore Sun),0,1805374.story

"[Tatyana] McFadden, 19, a member of the U.S. Paralympics team that will compete in China in September, had limited endorsement opportunities when she competed in Athens four years ago. But since then, she and other disabled athletes have noticed a marked rise in corporate sponsorship opportunities.

'It's an eye-opener to the whole world,' the Clarksville resident said. 'People will see us. People will get to see what the Paralympics are all about.' ...

McFadden, who will be featured on 100 million 16- and 21-ounce cups in McDonald's establishments across the country, is among a growing number of athletes with disabilities who are being sought out by corporate America for sponsorships.

As unseemly behavior among able-bodied athletes has become more prevalent in recent years, corporate America has increased its efforts to reach out to athletes with disabilities, said Dave Rosenberg, executive vice president of GMR Marketing, a San Francisco firm that matched McFadden with Hilton. ...

In addition to Hilton and McDonald's, McFadden has sponsorships with Princeton Sports in Columbia and Eagle Sportschairs, a Georgia-based manufacturer of wheelchairs for athletes. ...

'Tatyana's story is one of determination and leadership, and we are tremendously inspired by her athletic achievements, her efforts to advocate equal opportunities for athletes with disabilities, as well as her strong, loving bond with her adopted family,' said Dianna Vaughan, vice president of marketing for Hilton Hotels."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Accessible/Universial Design: Somebody Actually Gets it!!!!! (WOOT)

I'm surprised that I haven't come on here and ranted and raved about the gym at all. You see, the gym was open even after finals were over, but then the Friday before summer school started was the last day that it was open--until further notice. They were doing "repairs." I went there the first week of summer school, found out, and left. Somehow I heard it was opening back up the following Monday. So that Tuesday I got in my Jazzy and sped over, only to be told by someone in campus rec to try back early next week. I had really been looking foward to a good 2mi run that day. Sad. Instead of wasting my time changing and going over there, last week I got smart and called first. "Try early next week." AAARRRGGG. Seriously? Can't you tell me anything better then that? It had been so long since I'd gone for a good workout (my own fault) that I didn't know what I was going to do. Have a temper tantrum maybe? I NEED TO RUN!!! I was starting to lose faith that it was ever going to open back up.

So the other day I went on the campus rec site. It said it was opening up yesterday. I was still a tad bit skeptical, so yesterday morning I called again. "Will the gym be open today?" "Yes, yes, it will be open at noon" (regular summer hours). Insert happy dance.

I went today right after class. Trust me when I say that it was well worth the wait. When I got in there I parked my chair in my usual parking spot and then my mouth hung open. Nothing was "different." They hadn't done any repairs at all. But where was half the stuff? It was missing. Where did it go? All I saw was empty space. Huh???

It took a bit for it all to sink in. Wait a minute! The front desk is in a different spot... It's a new front desk... It's a lower front desk... The front desk is wheelchair height! I'm not a full-time wheeler, I don't work out in the chair ever. I always get out. But I can still appreciate the awesomeness that it was. And you know what? Now that the counter is lower, the desk attendant doesn't have to stand for the whole shift. There's a chair there. I'm sure they appreciate it. Why look at that... accessible design benefits everyone.

The first thing I always do when I work out is get on a recumbant bike. It loosens my bum knee enough so that it can do everything else I want it to do. They're upstairs and I'm always lazy and use the elevator to get up there. My Dr would rather I use the stairs I'm sure, but my view is that I'd rather save my energy for the workout, not waste it on the stairs. Hmmm... was there a bit more room to get to the corner where the elevator is?

Get off the elevator. WHOO... where did all the empty space come from up here? Well some absolute genius decided to turn all the cardio around so that they faced long ways instead of short ways. Now instead of 5 short rows of cardio machines there are 2 very long ones. Everything was so far apart. By shifting all of the machines 90 degrees it created so much more space. I counted the floor tiles. 3 tiles between the back of the first row and the front of the second row. I wish my eyes didn't suck. I wish my brain had the capacity to interperate distance. I wish I had even half a clue how big each tile that is. Minimal clearance under ADA guidelines is 36in. I'm pretty sure each of them is more then a foot. You have no idea how frustrated I am that I don't know.

Because they moved the cardio, they then had to relocate the 4 TVs they had up there. Before, when the machines were short ways the TVs were too small for anyone in the back to see them. With machines only 2 deep, everyone can see now. For those that are people watchers, instead of the machines facing a wall, they now face the balcony so that if you don't want to watch TV you're welcome to watch everyone lifting downstairs. There are mirrors on the wall directly behind where the cardio stuff is now. That's the area set up for sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, etc. Because the cardio's been moved, there's more room back there. What's that you say again? Accessible design really does benefit everyone. I'd like to note that there's still the same number of machines up there. They didn't get rid of any.

Then I went downstairs to lift. Why did they flip everything around so that the free weights are cloesest to the entrance and the machines are over at the other end now? *Lightbulb Moment* Full-time wheelers are less likely to transfer to machines to work out. Free weights and the 2 cable machines (I heart cable machines) are much easier to use from a chair. Putting them closer to the door makes them easiest to get to and puts you closer to the desk if you need assistance. And what does anyone else care? Nothing's missing over there either. As I walked through that area to get to a good spot to do my floor work, I tried to count all the floor tiles every time there was a change in distance between things. Some things were apart by 5 tiles, some 6, some so far apart I lost count. Oh HOLY COW is the clearance amazing over there now. If you're AB and hurt yourself and am hobbleing around on crutches, that doesn't mean you can't work out you upper body. All of that clearance makes it so much easier to hobble.

I did some floor work right between the free weights and the machines. After I got down, but before I got started, I scaned the area. Did they get rid of any of the machines to make that extra room? Everything was in a different spot. Where's this? Where's that? Well this is over here, and that's over there. All machines present and accounted for. Again they managed to make things more accessable without getting rid of a thing. All machines seem to be at least 36in at least on one side, if not both. Maybe I should take the chair for a spin to check that out for sure? The only machine completely inaccessible is the chin dip thingy. It's blocked by a support beam from the balcony. But no wheeler can get up on that thing. I can't get up on that thing.

Is the whole gym accessible? No. Besides the chin dip, the 2 very small rows of cardio downstairs are still rediculously close. But to seperate them would mean completely blocking all access to the elevator, or stealing clearance from the free weights. Leave them where they are. I'd rather have elevator access and extra clearance. There's enough cardio upstairs.

I've had more then a few gripes with this school through the years. There are things that they just don't get. Lately, people have made my blood boil a bit. This was nice to see for a change. Campus rec got a new director over the winter, and my understanding is that no one asked him to do this. My understanding is that they weren't reported or anything. My understanding is that this was one of his first orders of business. My understanding from talking with disability support is that he initiated everything. Can I get a cheerleader with pom poms in a short skirt who can jump high in the air and cheer? Somebody gets it finally. Accessible design benefits everyone and doesn't take all that much effort or money. The only new thing they got was the lower desk. And what's moving 4 TVs in the scheme of things?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you live in Maryland

Now Accepting Applications
The Coordinating Center is accepting applications for the Leaders in Disability Policy program. This program is an excellent opportunity for individuals with disabilities and those who are passionate about disability policy to learn how the government works and to gain the skills needed to effectively address the policies that affect their lives and communities. The curriculum is designed to address the diverse issues that people with disabilities and their families care about and is applicable for individuals at all skill levels. Classes are held in accessible locations and accomodation needs will supported.

If you know of an individual, family member, or provider who would be interested in or benefit from this innovative program, please forward this information. You can find out more by visiting our website at

Applications will be accepted until August 1, 2008.

Sponsors make this program possible
It is the generosity of our sponsors that ensures the continued success of Leaders in Disability Policy. Please let me know if you can recommend an individual or organization as a potential sponsor.

If you have any questions or need more information, do not hesitate to contact me.

Jodie Sumeracki
Program Manager

Leaders in Disability Policy
At The Coordinating Center
8258 Veterans Highway
Millersville, MD 21108
(410) 987-1048, Ext. 161
(410) 987-1685 (fax)

*Leaders in Disability Policy was intially funded through a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Powerchair: A Very Dichotomous Piece of Equipment

I was just writing an email to someone that ended up taking on a life of it's own. They tend to do that a lot... Here's part of it.

Here are all the reasons I hate my powerchair (linked to accompanying previous posts where applicable):

People in wheelchairs get fat, and I can't get fat. That's been made perfectly clear by quite a few people including my own mother.

If I don't walk I won't be able to walk, plain and simple (see post linked to above). Then there's a very good chance that I'll need a PCA, and it's not bad that people have them, it's just that I imagine going from never needing one to needing one would be quite an adjustment. I've learned too much by hanging around here so much. I've learned that full time chair users have to worry about pressure sores and have a much higher likelihood of osteoporosis. I refuse to break bones by accident. Pretty scared of breaking my hip. It hurt enough the first time (on purpose). Not looking for a repeat. It's the worse pain I've ever felt in my life and I have a crazy high tolerance.

I've been told to take it to the main part of campus and then dump it somewhere and walk. Like I didn't already know that. In case you don't know, scooters have keys, powerchairs just have buttons. I can't figure out somewhere where I won't be paranoid someone will steal it, and for that matter, break it more then I already have. I suck at steering. Insurance won't pay for 2 chairs in one year, so when I finally order the power assist, this one better last.

Where I generally eat lunch is on the second floor of the building it's in. It's a bitch to get up there with the chair. I go up there for lunch about 3 days a week and I have standing fri night dinner plans there. If I drive the chair to the main campus and then am in essence chained to it (cause someone will steal it) I won't go up there ever. Who wants to eat alone all the time, and people will actually miss me. I also need my 2hr lunches there. They're 2 hours during the day where I can decompress when I'm very stressed. But the chair is huge and it's tight to get it in there, and again, I steer like crap. That and the building is old and the only way to get it up there is by using the service elevator. It makes me feel like I'm a second class citizen. I can't even say anything cause I know enough about the ADA and the rehabilitation act to know it's still legal. That infuriates me. I just can't bring myself to do it that often. I do it once in a blue moon. I'm better then that. I'm a whole person and I'll take the stairs thank you.

If I sit too much cause I'm chained to it my back will kill me and after about 6 or 7 weeks I'll have trouble standing in the shower. Back to point number 2.

And my very latest reason: A full time wheeler asked me the other day what the big deal is? What's so great about walking anyway? Well people who walk are smarter of course. I picked that up in preschool but I've never been able to express it so succinctly before. And no one will be my friend if I use the powerchair everyday because they'll think I'm stupid. That took a lot to get over and I was 18 when I decided that.

After all these weeks trying to get to the bottom of this, I don't think this is everything. I think there's a lot more somewhere that I haven't figured out yet, because very simply, I am a second class citizen. Helmes really speaks to me. So yes, being able to get to the mall all by myself, or to a meeting I had a week and a half ago, or being able to help a friend without having to wait for my mom to drive me or without spending forever waiting for a cab is AWESOME. People think of developmental milestones in terms of little children, but that's a big one. I just pulled out my notes from class. Why isn't just simple "independence" on Havenghurst's list of developmental milestones you need to pass in moving from an adolescent to an adult? He's got emotional & financial independence on the list, but not self-determination--to be able to decide what you want, when you want it, and what you need to do to get it. It's a freedom most AB adults take for granted. Unless you're born with CP or down syndrome or have it snatched away from you in a second when you have a stroke at 65 and no one will let you out of a nursing home. Now I'm on a tangent, but I'm angry at this point. Second-class citizen. No one thinks to study anyone with a disability before they come up with these things. We don't take self-determination for granted ever, and as I said in this post, in instances where I can do something with the chair that I could never do without it, I will always feel empowered. But at the same time it's also a very oppressive piece of equipment. Sometimes being able to take the stairs instead of the service elevator, or walking to class, is just as empowering. Because I can do that myself without the chair and without the hassle it can cause me. I guess that's the 7th reason I was looking for.

US Reluctance to Sign Treaty on Disabilities is Painful, Puzzling

"A treaty that takes effect this month could benefit one quarter of humanity: the 650 million people, as well as their families, who live with disabilities. The U.N. International Treaty on the Rights of People with Disabilities is also the first international treaty that guarantees the rights of such people to equality and self-determination.

People with disabilities are the world's largest minority, yet the United Nations reports that only 45 countries have disability-rights laws.

The U.S. has not signed the treaty, either, but it should. ...

In far too many nations, people with disabilities lack rights to vote, work, marry, own property, sign contracts or retain custody of their children. Ninety percent of children with disabilities in less-developed nations receive no education. ...

The treaty enshrines important principles that Americans hold dear: nondiscrimination, equal protection under the law and the right to autonomy and independent living in integrated, community settings. ...

We know that our society is richer for — and that everyone benefits from — including people with disabilities in schools, housing, workplaces, voting booths, houses of worship, public accommodations and every other sphere of life. ..."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cultural Development & Disability

As I said in a post last week, I'm in summer school. The class I'm taking is adolescent psyc. As an aside, I just got my midterm back and she came over to me and told me that I got the most multiple choice right of anyone in the class Big Smile Today's topic was cultural development in adolescence. Or should I say ethnic development. You have know idea how much this makes my blood boil (well maybe you do because you all live this too). We're a culture too and people are going to get that even if I have to cram it down their throats. I doubt there's research on the topic, so I raised my hand incessently today.

We were focusing mostly on Helmes' stages of ethnic identity and it was amazing how well it suited us and our culture. Someone brought up the difference between light colored and dark colored African Americans. Lighter skined ones are "better." I'd like to propose a comparison between African Americans and people with physical disabilities.

As I wrote in a different post last week, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my powerchair. I'm very anti-chair and that's not helping me. I keep asking myself if I would ever look down on somebody else who couldn't walk at all. I don't even have to think. The answer is of course not. So why do I insist on walking so much that it's so bad it's affecting my grades? Well it comes to me after whoever said that like a bolt of lightning. People who walk are smarter of course. Now really I do see the falicy in that, but this belief is so deep rooted that I picked up on it in pre-school. When I was little I didn't want to be within 500ft of a kid in a chair. I wasn't like them. I could walk. God forbid anyone thought I was like them. I'm not retarded. So now I'm 23 and "people who walk better are smarter" seems to have been burned in the back of my head.

So lighter skined blacks are better and people who walk are smarter. Anyone have an oppinion on that?

Monday, June 23, 2008

ATTN Disaboomers: S. PA-NOVA

If someone could please explain to me how I always manage to show up to my shrink appts early but I'm usually 20mins or so late to class, that'd be great. So anyway, last week I conned a friend of mine into driving me to my appt to save the cab $ and he got me there 15mins early. Usually I just rock out to my ipod while I'm waiting, but I happened to glance over at the table next to me where a copy of the June issue of Baltimore Magazine was sitting. The cover article caught my attn--Baltimore's best salons. Turns out that wasn't so interesting, but Baltimore Blogged was. The article featured some popular local bloggers and the site Blogtimore, Hon. The site is a blog aggregator, meaning that once you give them your RSS feed (for example the site will list your content so that it may possibly peak the interest of other local bloggers. I don't know how much extra expoure this will get me, I just got listed yesterday. As long as you live somewhere between S. PA and NOVA the site will list you. Please be nice and put CherylBeryl in the referred by box.

In other news, Saturday I went to Giant (the Giant in DC, MD, VA, & DE, not the one in PA, they're different) to get some perscriptions and found out they're now giving back $0.05 for every bag you bring. Yes you say, "but it's only $0.05, who cares?" Well if you bring in 5 bags you get back a quarter. The economy is bad and gas is up (even if you don't drive, cab prices went up too Sad ) It can be an old plastic bag from Giant, a paper bag, a dept store bag, a tote, anything. I got lucky in that I always buy a lot of frozen food so when I go in the summer I always bring one of those reusable insulated bags. Otherwise while I wait for a cab outside for 20mins in 90 degrees things would get ugly. If you use a scooter and have a basket in the front, tell them to put you're stuff in there loose and make them count it. If you use a chair, hand them your backpack. Heck, I may just bring a backpack next time. I'm sure I could find a use for an extra $0.05 somewhere...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What's That You Say?!?! You Find Your Chair Empowering???

A bad pic of me in my Jazzy[picture discription: a bad picture of me in my Jazzy powerchair from Feb 2006]

That's right ladies and gentleman. Me of all people, the person who walks around so much that she's so tired she falls asleep on the floor with the lights on and walks around close to tears from exhaustion. I like my powerchair. Today. We'll see about tomorrow. As I said in an email this morning, these last 3 weeks I've felt like some sort of foreign being has invaded my body. I've been in a great mood, I'm "popular" all of a sudden, and low and behold, I like the chair. Today. Things will probably change if/when I exit the alternate universe I'm in currently.

Why do I like the chair all of a sudden? Because I'm BORED. I don't have a working TV or computer (still) and right now I live alone. You see, in addition to being a chronic chair hater, I've also been absolutely convinced for years that I'm incapable of finding ways of entertaining myself. Enter TV and computer. That I don't have anymore. Summer is light on my schedule. Some days (like weekends) I may have 6 straight hrs to fill. What am I going to do? Stare at the wall for 6hrs? I've been a fan of staring at blank walls for years. I do so on a daily basis. But not for 6hrs. I absolutely draw the line at an hr and a half. On top of everything else, the gym has been closed for repairs since May 20-something and every week I check to see if it's open and they say, "Try early next week." I'm in much need of a good 2 mi run. Angry

What have I been doing? Well a few weeks ago I went to the supermarket about a mile down the road 3 times in a week. I ventured into the public library maybe 1/2 mi down the street (as opposed to sticking to the school library) and read part of one of Marlee Matlin's books. Unfortunately they didn't have Moving Violations. I went to the zoo with friends. That time since a friend with CP came we split and half the time she used her scooter and I used my crutches and then we switched. So it wasn't actually my chair, but it counts. The day before I went to the mall (across the street from the supermarket) and searched and searched for a pair of sunglasses that weren't huge. Don't understand that trend. I can usually walk the mall, but I had to cover the whole thing 3X to find them (then I lost them 2 days ago and had to get another pair Embarrassed ). I cut through Barnes & Noble to get to the mall because it's safer, so I've been there too. While I was still out that day, a friend called and asked if I wanted to go with her to someplace "on the strip." I said "No prob. I'm in my chair already there. Call me when you're leaving. No need to get me. I'll meet you at the place." That felt cool. Afterwards we went 2 stores over to have dinner, and then I took the chair (and myself) home. I had a meeting on Fri and instead of wasting my $ on cab fare, guess what I did? I took the chair. It was a block further than the mall and thankfully in a completely accessible building.

Not in the chair, I've gone up to Wegmans for dinner with that same friend (LOVE that place) and down to the inner harbor with her to hit up a bar. Afterwards we went into Little Italy. I've gone to a pizza place with another friend, and then to his place for a bit of TV (because I can't never watch TV and of course we couldn't go to my place). On Father's Day I went to Harbor East with the fam for a late brunch.

My therapist said last week that she thinks bored suits me. I can't argue with her. I feel exhausted just reading that. Except that for once, even though I still walk about 1.5 mi to/from class 2X/week, I'm not tired. I'm committing suicide just by writing this. I'm never going to live this down. I may have just given up my right to fight with people. Except that well, I'm still worried about getting fat and losing muscle mass, because the more I use the chair, the more I want to use the chair. It's so comfortable and much faster than I am. There's a lot of appeal to that. It's a very dangerous slippery slope, that I'm afraid I may already be on.

But why am I really empowered by the chair? A close friend called yesterday afternoon. He really needed me. It was a rough day for him. But he also needed to be out. He wanted to go to the mall. "How long will it take you to finish what you're doing and cab it?" he asked. "Well if we're going there, then I'm taking my chair and it just so happens that I'm already in it. I'll call you when I'm leaving campus and I'll be there in 20mins." We went to the mall, cut through Barnes & Noble, the art store, Hudson Trail, and Trader Joe's. I'm empowered by the chair because I was able to drop what I was doing almost at a moments notice and be there for somebody that needed me. That's something I couldn't do without the chair. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Damn chair... It's just supposed to be pure evil.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Summer of Stares: Part III

No, you're not crazy if you don't remember me posting part I or II, there aren't such posts. This post is titled part III because this is the 3rd such summer in a row. I've been in summer school for 6 out of the last 8 summers. I'm not allowed to work and I need to be occupied. If I wasn't in summer school I don't know what I'd do with myself. this is the 3rd summer because it is the 3rd summer in summer school here.

Why do I call these summers "the summers of stares?" Well, because I get stared at several times a day 5 days a week. Honestly, it's gotten old. This campus has at least 4 camps that run throughout the summer. Maybe more. And that's not including summer cheerleading camp for high schoolers and such. We're infested with kids. Kids who like to stare at me like I'm some sort of side show circus freak.

You know it's not so bad when adults or big kids stare. They don't stare. They glance. It's just an ever so slight glance in my direction and then they're on they're way. In fact, I can't even prove that they're looking at me because I look funny. I'm hard on my feet when I walk and I clip my keys to the outside of my purse. Because of the way that I walk, they make a lot of noise. They may just be wondering what's making the racket. When I'm in the chair speeding along at 6mph, not only are they wondering what that noise is, but they realize they need to get out of the way. I don't like when people don't get out of the way. Thankfully that's not often. I love going fast. It's the only time when I'm faster then everybody else and I doubt the thrill of that is ever going to go away.

But back to kids. Kids stare. The turn their head very sharply 90 degrees in my direction and lock their gaze on me while still walking straight in the direction they're going in. As an aside, I don't know how they can do that. I can't. It might be somewhat dangerous. It's not so bad in the grocery store or in the mall. Their parents are there and they don't let them stare all that long. Also it's probably only one kid, and since I spend most of my time on campus or in my friends' apartment and not in public places (poor college student, can't afford to) it's not so often. But camp counselors have too many kids to look after. They're not paying any attention to me or the fact that one kid in their group is staring at me. As I said, right now we're infested with kids. It's one kid probably yes, but that's one kid per group. You have no idea how many groups cross my path within the course of a day.

School ended sometime last week so all the camps started Monday. As I was walking to the library to use the computer (still don't have my new one yet). I got my first stare of the summer. And I got really upset. Part of me can't understand why I'm so upset. I've grown up with people staring at me. It's just a part of who I am, the same as having blond hair. But this summer is different for me. This summer I'm bipolar. I'm just dealing with so much right now (although I'm happy to say I'm improving very nicely) that I don't need to deal with this on top of everything else. I just don't need to be stared at like I'm a circus freak M-F. Maybe I could get a neon sign to float over my head everywhere I go that points straight at me and reads simply "not a circus freak." Although, I think that might backfire. I think I'd get more stares with a gigantic neon sign over my head.

It's just a damn shame that these camps don't have inclusion programs. I went to camp from when I was 3 to when I was 16. The vast majority of the camps that I went to had inclusion programs. Even the camp I went to in the late 80s. I started there in '88. It's been 20 years. C'mon people. Get with the program. I even started an inclusion program at one camp. The director wanted to start an inclusion program and knew me, so the summer before (when I was 9) she used me as her guinea pig. I loved that camp and I loved the drama day camp I went to before that. I didn't go to there for the inclusion program. I went there because I simply loved the camps. It just so happens that no one stared at me there. That's a good thing.

Those kids are missing out on so much. I worked at a camp one summer (the camp I went to at 3) which still has an inclusion program. There was a kid in my group with aspergers syndrome, a kid with a mild LD, a kid with a rare genetic disorder who had his own nurse come to camp with him because he was tube fed and such, and a girl with CP that was so severe that she was in a chair, non-verbal, had to be fed, and was 13 I think and still in diapers. In other groups of the same age range there was a kid with CP in a powerchair who could talk and feed himself, a kid deathly allergic to peanuts (I consider that a disability), a kid in a chair who was recovering from some kind of orthopedic surgery, and another kid who I think has CP who was in a chair, walked sometimes, made noises but not words, had to be fed, but was potty trained I believe, and had several seizures throughout the summer. The AB kids wanted to hang out with the disabled kids. They were very concerned when the girl had seizures, and one kid who was a great swimmer actually begged to be placed in the lower swim group so he could be with the kid with the genetic disorder who was his best friend. There was no staring at that camp. The AB kids never thought twice about the disabled kids being there. It was camp. It was just the way things were, the same as me having blond hair.

Maybe that's why I'm so upset about being stared at? Because it's 2008 and it's not supposed to be this way anymore.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Call For Papers--Just Found Out But Deadline's THIS Friday


Proposals from all segments of the AUCD network and its partners are welcome, including individuals with disabilities and their family members, faculty, researchers, program directors and staff, graduate students, policymakers, administrators, and advocates. In order to ensure full participation of all attendees, pay special attention to the accessibility guidelines and related resources available on the AUCD website. Proposals that address the following topics are especially encouraged: changes and challenges of the future; international, national, and local relationships addressing collaborations across cultures and communities; strategies and present results that demonstrate the translation of research into practice and policy formulation; leadership development of student trainees and others; diversity and cultural knowledge and competence; involve multiple AUCD members and existing partners; address leadership development at all levels; and demonstrate research-to-systems-change outcomes and promising practices. Questions regarding the AUCD 2008 Annual Meeting & Conference should be directed to Crystal Pariseau or Laura Martin at AUCD.


I know I've talked a lot on here about my independent study (to the point of overkill probably), but I don't know if I ever mentioned that we tacked a research study onto it. What's the point of putting all of your blood sweat and tears into something if you then have no idea if you actually did what you set out to do? So we did a little pre/post-test, using an established scale, but I don't have it with me and I can't remember what it was. We're hoping that in the course of 3 hours we were able to alter students' ableist thinking. Even if just by a tiny bit. So you may ask, "Did you?" Well, I have not a clue. The professor in charge of number crunching couldn't start on anything until about 4-6 weeks ago. She was finishing her disertation, teaching 2 classes, and she has a 1 year old. Althrough she still has a 1 year old and is teaching summer school, she's now a Dr., so she's able get to work on this. I'll let you know as soon as I do. From what I understand it's somewhat of a lengthy process.

In the email she sent me this morning, she asked me if I wanted to be included as an author. "You will have some responsibilities to prepare and present as the conference draws closer (if we are accepted)." My answer was "YES YES YES!!!!! Of course I do. You didn't even have to ask." This is my life's work after all.

I'm so excited!!!!!! If I could actually jump, I'd be jumping for joy. I'm an undergrad.

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