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    Community Voices

    5 Ways Financial Aid Stunts My Recovery

    Part 1 of 2 Financial aid is necessary for my survival as a disabled person. I am grateful that I receive this assistance, but that doesn’t mean it has been a positive experience. I can be grateful for the money that allows me to survive, while also calling out the system for handling financial aid irresponsibly. Here are some of the ways that being on financial aid has slowed down my recovery process.

    1. Surveillance Paranoia

    Part of my Complex-PTSD from childhood is a sense of being constantly monitored. Whether I’m online, in my house, on the sidewalk, or in the most isolated place I can think of, I have always and still feel watched. Being on financial aid, I feel as though I am constantly being watched by the financial agency, and that if they see anything that indicates too much wellness they will take away my financial aid. This plugs directly into my CPTSD causing me to feel genuinely paranoid about being seen by the public or even posting on social media. This feeling has lead me to isolate myself from other people and avoid spending time in nature. This feeling has also caused me to miss out of opportunities to increase my wellness, as I am so preoccupied with performing my disability that I can’t fully participate. And I have to fight with these feelings in order to share my story and my experiences here on The Mighty.

    2. Scheduled Re-Traumatization

    Any interaction I am forced to have with financial aid workers is traumatizing. Sometimes I’ve been treated with blatant disrespect, contempt, and cruelty, and sometimes the workers are doing the best they can, but the system forces their hand. Either way, the experience is one of being denied my personhood, denied my lived experience, and often denied my most basic needs. These are all pieces of my original traumas from childhood. Since I am scheduled to renew my financial aid once a year, I am forced to re-traumatize myself at scheduled intervals in order to survive. This puts a halt to the progress I’m making with my physical health, often causes some kind of relapse or flare, and forces me to focus on crisis management rather than growth. This cycle can cause me to feel overwhelmingly frustrated, but I am learning to accept it as part of the process.

    3. Mental Illness Fixation

    I have been on financial aid for several years, and during this time I have also been seeking medical diagnoses for the symptoms of chronic illness that disable me. My doctor when I had my first flare wrote on all my forms that I have anxiety as my main medical problem, which I have always known was false. The financial agency has been working from this assumption ever since, even though I’ve had several more recent doctors write that my main problems are my physical disabilities. Financial aid continues to ask me to seek mental health programs and psychiatric care, even when it is inaccessible to me as a disabled person. They have made it harder for me to find answers for my physical health problems by requiring me to ask for treatment and referrals that I don’t need, while wasting my time and precious energy. And they’ve made communication between my doctors and I harder, as they regularly become confused about testing or treating me for the sole purpose of checking off the financial workers list, rather than for my health and well being.

    4. Reinforced Shame

    Internalized shame is another overarching theme from my CPTSD. Financial aid plays on this expertly by casting doubt about whether I’m sick enough to deserve aid, sowing guilt for needing help at all, and openly judging what they think a poor person should and shouldn’t be allowed to do or have. Financial aid makes me feel shame for being disabled at all, for looking unkempt, for being hungry, and for asking for help. When I am in need or appear to be in need, financial aid tells me I am unworthy of human decency and kindness. Financial aid also makes me feel shame for not being disabled enough, for dressing nicely, for eating well, and for offering help if I feel able to. When I am doing well or appear to do well, financial aid tells me I am unworthy of joy and health. Under financial aid, anything I do and anything I am is implied to be wrong and shameful.

    5. Community Division

    Financial aid does a great job of dividing people, even those with common interests. Financial aid divides us by deciding one of us deserves help and the other doesn’t. They divide us with the concept that you only ask for help when you’re at rock bottom. They divide us by ensuring that we rely on them, and not each other, by giving us less than we need so we are unable to share and collaborate. They divide us by telling both society and participants that receiving financial aid is a sign

    6 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Back when I was 18 i started to have symptoms of nausea and stomach discomfort and pain. I ended up going to the doctor and I went through a few tests. During the time I waited for tests and for the doctor to find out what was wrong I stopped eating.

    It felt like it was easier to not eat so I didn’t have to go through the discomfort and nausea. Sometimes vomiting.

    Next thing I knew my doctor sent me to an eating disorder clinic. I really just went along with it as I thought my doctor knew best. I mean I was in the right age range for an eating disorder, I was in an activity that could create eating disorders (figure skating) and I was already diagnosed with depression and anxiety since I was 10 years old. so why shouldn’t I trust the judgment of my doctor that it was an eating disorder.

    At the Clinic I remember looking through the application and I just couldn’t think that any of the questions applied to me. I ended up not going for any of the programs. Thankfully my symptoms went into remission around 19 years old.

    By 2021 Summer the symptoms started to get worse again. And I went back to the doctor. Throughout the fall and winter I went through doctors appointments for many things including all symptoms related to my stomach.

    By the spring, I was back at the eating disorder clinic to see if there was any programs I would join. I decided once again to back out and go to a dietitian.

    Summer of 2022 I worked with the dietitian and I was put on a trial gastroparesis diet. Turns out it was helping me. Thankfully the dietitian pushed my doctor for a stomach emptying test to rule out gastroparesis.

    Finally in September 2022, at 22 years old I found out I had gastroparesis and not an eating disorder. I’ve been so thankful that the dietitian had helped me.

    It’s been a lot to process that I was right about something physically was wrong and it wasn’t an eating disorder all along.

    Community Voices

    Love is forever. Grief is forever.

    My grief journey began 27 years ago, when my mom died incredibly suddenly and unexpectedly -- six days after Mother's Day. I was 8 years old. Last year, after many years of feeling lost in terms of finding my passion/purpose, I started pursuing a path of grief support and education. I completed two programs to become both a Grief Support Specialist and a Certified Grief Educator (and I'm starting a third program this coming week). I also launched an Instagram community last year, over Mother's Day weekend, centered around grief support/education that has since grown more than I ever imagined and brings me so much fulfillment as I've made so many meaningful connections and feel I've been able to help others struggling in their own grief journeys.

    What I most want people to know is that grief doesn't end -- and it's not supposed to. If you're "still" grieving a long-ago loss (or even one that perhaps wasn't that long ago, but by society's misguided and unrealistic standards you should be "over it" by now)...I want you to know there is nothing wrong with you. Below is a brief excerpt from an essay I wrote and had published by a site called Grappling with Grief:

    "Grief is love in another form. If love never ends, why would grief? We will never stop loving those we have lost, and we will never stop grieving their absence in our lives.

    Love is forever. Grief is forever." #Grief #griefawareness #griefjourney #griefisnotlinear #griefisforever

    1 person is talking about this
    Laura Snelling

    An Airline Violated My Rights as a Traveler With a Service Dog

    Per the recommendation of my treating providers, I fundraised and paid thousands of dollars to a canine behaviorist named Gary so he could task-train a dog specific to my disability to assist me with being able to live and function independently. Having an emotional support animal (ESA) can help other people — but it was not going to be beneficial to me. Having a service dog comes with all kinds of challenges. While I wouldn’t change it for the absolute world because my service dog, Leo, is the best thing to ever bless both this planet and my life, you may often find yourself in some pretty shitty situations because people sometimes don’t know how to treat people with service animals. They also may not know how to follow laws and regulations about service animals. In early 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) made changes to the federal regulation known as the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). These changes were supposed to benefit people like me — they were supposed to make things easier and less discriminatory for those with disabilities while also cracking down on the issue of bringing ESAs and fake service dogs on flights. So far, though, this change has only hurt me and many other service dog handlers. In October 2021, Leo and I were scheduled to fly to Iowa with my partner. I have flown many times with Leo on many different airlines with no issues. I have always provided the required documentation and information and remained compliant with federal regulations regarding Leo’s behavior. This flight was the first flight Leo and I took since the regulation had changed and a new form was introduced. On this form, it asks who trained the dog. Contrary to popular belief, federal regulation allows individuals to task train a service dog themselves — which is also called “owner training.” There was talk in the disability community that this portion of the new form the Department of Transportation now requires may cause some issues. This is because airlines were calling individuals and telling them their dogs’ training regimens were not legitimate if they didn’t come from a program or accredited organization. However, because I had paid Gary to train my dog, I listed him as my dog’s trainer and figured there likely wouldn’t be any issues. Wrong. After sending the required documentation to Allegiant Airlines six months prior and receiving no response, I then emailed the documents two additional times prior to my departure date and followed up on all three emails numerous times. I never received a response that was either a clear “yes” or “no” to traveling with Leo. I headed to the check-in desk — which by law, I’m not required to do — instead of going directly to our gate to verify my information for Leo. At this time, I became a victim of discrimination and unethical behavior by Allegiant Airlines employees. Below are some of the things I experienced as well as excerpts from an official 12-page complaint that I submitted to both the Department of Transportation and Allegiant Airlines. The Department of Transportation is currently investigating the situation. I have since received a response from Allegiant Airlines that included false accusations surrounding the situation that will be cleared up once surveillance footage is viewed by the Department of Transportation. Staff members of Allegiant Airlines claimed they attempted to contact my service dog trainer but never received a response. They instead Googled Gary, which brought up information from years back when Gary first advertised his training business — which at the time only included obedience training. However, my trainer no longer advertises. The airline stated that the information they found showed that my service dog trainer was only an obedience trainer and not a licensed service dog trainer. The last time anything was updated online was around five years ago, so none of the information is current or accurate. I later confirmed with Gary that he was never contacted by Allegiant Airlines. The employee assisting me told me that based on the information they received, my dog was not task-trained, and therefore, he was not a service dog. The basis for this made no sense to me, and quite frankly, spending so much money on training a dog to help me live independently didn’t sound like it really mattered at this point. Allegiant Airlines failed to inform me they felt I was non-compliant with their policy prior to the date of departure. As a result, instead of notifying me of this so that I could book another flight well in advance, I was forced to travel without my partner and scramble to find a flight to Des Moines that got me there before 12:00 p.m. on October 9, 2021. Several hundred dollars were spent on last-minute flights to ensure I arrived in time. I attempted to explain that federal regulation allows handlers to “owner train” dogs themselves anyway and that licensed service dog trainers are not a legitimate concept and not recognized as any more legitimate by the federal government as a normal dog trainer would be. The response I got from the employee who was assisting me was, “Federal law may allow owner training, but we here at Allegiant do not, so if you cannot comply with that, do not fly with us again.” Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation states otherwise on this topic. When the proposed regulation was released to the public for comment prior to it taking effect, the DOT then responded to said comments. Commenters wanted individuals to have service dogs trained or evaluated by an accredited organization to validate the animal’s training. In response, the DOT stated, “We decline the suggestion of A4A that the form requires service animal handlers to certify that the animal was either trained or evaluated by an accredited organization as a means of validating the animal’s training. While DOT provides space on its form for a service animal handler to state the organization or individual that trained the service animal to do work or perform tasks to assist the handler, DOT does not require that individuals with disabilities have their animal trained or evaluated by an accredited organization as a condition of transport.” The questions airlines are permitted to ask to help determine whether or not a service dog is a service dog were only asked to me via email and not asked while I was at the check-in counter. In fact, I begged to answer them again, and my requests and pleas went unheard and ignored. I was compliant with Allegiant’s service animal policy. My information was credible and verifiable, but the proper steps to ensure my credibility were not taken. Therefore, it is incorrect to state that my information that was provided was not verifiable. Allegiant’s service dog policy is clear, and I was not in violation of it. The email I received from Allegiant Airlines that the DOT requires to be sent within 10 calendar days to the individual with a disability, stated, “Allegiant verifies all information provided on the USDOT form and reviews travel history and previous correspondence prior to providing the required approval.” This is incorrect, as the information regarding my trainer was not verified properly. My travel history would show I have flown with my service dog onboard Allegiant Airlines flights many times in the past without problems. The Department of Transportation outlines how airlines should determine whether or not the dog is a service dog. Airlines can determine whether an animal is a service animal or pet by “asking an individual with a disability if the animal is required to accompany the passenger because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.” They can also look for physical indicators like the presence of a harness or vest, look to see if the animal is harnessed, leashed, or otherwise tethered, or observe the animal’s behavior. Once I arrived at the airport, Allegiant Airlines failed to ask me if my service dog is required because of a disability, and they failed to allow me to state what tasks he is trained to perform. My service dog was properly vested and leashed with a traffic lead for identification purposes. They observed the behavior of my service dog, but I was told that his behavior only proved that he was trained in obedience. It is worth noting that I received a response from Allegiant Airlines some weeks after my complaint was submitted. It was clear based on their response that they likely did not pull and review surveillance footage reviewed as I requested in my complaint. The department that handles complaints was informed by the employees assisting me that when I walked away from the check-in desk in tears, Leo began barking. However, if they had pulled the footage, they would probably see that a small dog in a carrier began barking at Leo as we walked by. In this same response, the airline stated that my service dog was not performing his tasks when they felt he should have been. Leo is trained to alert me and others to oncoming panic attacks related to triggers that are associated with traumatic life events. Leo was not and is not trained to alert anyone to any kind of emotional response I have to situations outside of triggers related to my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My getting emotional at the check-in desk is not a situation Leo is or was trained to alert or respond to. He neither alerted nor responded to me because this type of emotional response is not related to my PTSD and therefore, I do not need him to perform any tasks for me when I become emotional or upset in that way. The Department of Transportation does not allow airlines to determine when a service dog should be performing tasks for its handler as grounds for determining that the dog is a pet instead of a service dog. While Allegiant had the right to ask if my dog is a service dog and what tasks my dog is trained to perform, they didn’t have the right to ask or know the details of my trauma, my PTSD, or what types of situations cause Leo to alert and respond. However, in their response, they stated, “The second CRO (complaint resolution official) was able to hear you crying in the background and screaming over the phone and asked the airport representative to observe the behavior of the service animal. As the situation continued to escalate, Leo remained calm by laying on the ground and took no action. Based on the observed behavior, Leo was denied travel as a service animal.” My dog — who is highly trained to help me with my disabling condition — is also highly trained in obedience. This includes laying or sitting down next to me or in front of or behind me when I am standing still or otherwise direct him to do so. I have a photo of him lying under the check-in desk with his head on the floor, completely disinterested by the hundreds of people around us, minding his own business as he is trained to do unless he needs to alert someone, and waiting for my next command. I wasn’t screaming — I was instead crying and simultaneously begging the ticket agent to speak to the CRO so that I could explain which tasks Leo is trained to perform. Many people’s voices become a bit elevated in sound when they are emotional or upset — and it often has nothing to do with mental illness. Federal law states that staff are not allowed to require that the dog demonstrate its tasks or inquire about the nature of a service dog handler’s disability. The reason for this is that it’s considered a civil rights issue to have the same access to entities that a person without a disability is. Allegiant’s insistence that my dog should be performing certain tasks because they feel a situation triggered my PTSD symptoms is neither ethical nor appropriate. None of the reasons the DOT gives to deny transport to a service dog were applicable to me, my service dog, or our situation. The DOT is clear that the airlines may observe the behavior of the animal. According to the Department of Transportation, an airline cannot legally determine when a service dog should or should not perform its tasks. The law means that observing the behavior of a service dog and noticing whether or not it’s being disruptive, aggressive, or not under the control of its handler is fine — but not making judgments about when it should perform its tasks. Allegiant Airlines took no responsibility for the situation, refused to acknowledge that I had been mistreated, and refused to compensate me for the plane tickets I had to purchase at the last minute to try to make it to my destination — which would have been much cheaper if I would have been notified ahead of time that they would not let me travel with the airline. The email response I got from them clearly stated all of this. Allegiant Airlines violated federal regulations about service dogs. Their staff needs to be educated on the regulations about owner training and receive guidance and education on how to treat disabled individuals who have legitimate disabilities and utilize service dogs. I now feel reluctant to fly with any airline that does not understand the Department of Transportation service dog laws. I will only use airlines that are educated about the DOT’s service dog regulation changes and treat me and my service dog, Leo, with dignity and respect.

    Community Voices

    Playing The Devil's Advocate When Talking About Able-Bodied People Dressing Up As Disabled People For Halloween

    In one of my previous opinion pieces I stated that people should not dress up as a disabled person during Halloween. Sometimes people dress up as disabled historical figures and don’t even realize it (and it isn’t even their own fault to some extent). That is because some famous people with invisible disabilities have done a good job of hiding their disabilities, thus giving the illusion that they are not disabled. This is where I think we shouldn’t criticize people for dressing up as historical figures that have a disability. One rule of thumb I go by is “If this person was able to get to where they are without support programs for those with their disability, would they still be successful?”. Another rule of thumb is asking,” When can you use person-first language to describe the person and also have no descriptors change”, that is the time when it is ok to not criticize others who dress up as a historical figure with a disability for Halloween. If at least 10% of all adults have an invisible disability, you are likely to find a handful of people dressed up as historical figures with learning disabilities at any Halloween event.

    Whenever people talk about Elton John, Edward Snowden, and Julius Caesar, all epileptics, their disability is almost never mentioned in the conversations about them. One could call Greta Thunberg an activist instead of an autistic activist: since anyone can memorize the amount of CO2 a sweatshop produces. One thing people in the United States don't talk about when mentioning Greta’s rise to fame and success is that she is a “nepotism baby”, even though she attributes her success to her autism. Also Elton John’s, Edward Snowden's, and Julius Caesar's epilepsy didn't get in the way of them doing their work at the height of their careers. Almost all the people dressing up as Greta Thunberg, Julius Caesar, Elton John and Edward Snowden aren't doing so to mock disabilities. In their context, those people are dressing up as famous influencers whose achievements define them more than their disability.

    However, unlike the celebrities above, you cannot separate Helen Keller from her disability while having a conversation about her. If Helen Keller didn't have a disability she would just be known as a woman with a university degree. You also cannot separate Temple Grandin from her autism when talking about her, as her autism has played a huge role in her inventions. If Temple Grandin didn't have autism, she might have just been a veterinarian instead of someone who revolutionized the way livestock are treated and cared for.

    Another problem within the Halloween costume debate is when able-bodied people treat adaptive equipment like accessories. I've heard of stories of “emotional support peacocks” and “emotional support pigs” pooping on planes, which can lead to people questioning the legitimacy of actual guide dogs. People who need adaptive equipment to do regular tasks is another situation when a person can't separate themselves from their disability, even if they are able to hold a regular job. An example is Walter White Jr from Breaking Bad. Despite the fact that his personality has a bigger influence than his physical disability in terms of his relationships with other people, he couldn't do every day tasks without his adaptive equipment.

    #InvisibleDisability

    #invisibledisabilities

    #Epilepsy

    #LearningDisability

    #LearningDisabilities

    #halloweencostume

    #Costume

    #Halloween

    #Autism

    #adaptiveequipment

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    Community Voices

    Time for change

    In society the Criminal Justice system, recovery programs and mental health services are not supporting or respecting our rights ! They say that they treat us with respect and dignity but the fact Is they don't and never will! if we don't start speaking up and fight to be seen then we allowing the world to think that it's ok to put us down, define us as people who can not function successfully in our society.

    I wi never let anyone tell me who I am and what I can and can not do. In Broward county schools ,mental health services,recovery programs,courts and police are the problem. They dont have any idea how to help us because they dont listen to you or care . Over the past 7 years I have experienced discrimination, hate, and disrespect from the police, the medical services and the court system. It has been years of PTSD and fear for my life and my safety. I have been asked to prove that I was a teacher and that has worked for Westchester department of community mental health, homeless out reach, alternative to incarceration . They think that because I asked for support to get me to the hopstal when i new i wouldnt go if it was left up to me and I was concerned about my mental health makes me incompetent or incapable of living a productive life. I am smart ,intelligent ,and very passionate about making sure that I and all of us never have to be seen as anything less then who we are

    I am asking all of you to please help me out I want to make sure that our rights are being respected by everyone.

    If you have every experienced discrimination or hate ,disrespect and mistreatment at from those who are supposed to be helping us and making sure that our rights are enforced tell me about it! I want to share our stories with others to show the real facts from those who have experienced these

    Experiences

    If we speak up and speak out we can make the world see the truth!

    #equality #Discrimination #Speak up #bethe Changet the world needs

    5 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    More Travel Tips for People with Parkinson's

    Here are some more things to keep in mind as you travel.

    Hats and sunscreen

    I never leave home without at least one hat. Many of them are packable, so take a couple. You can always look chic wherever you go. Don't forget that we are more vulnerable to Melanoma and other skin cancers. Take a good sunscreen with you so you don't have to look for it while you are traveling. My dermatologist recommends Elta MD Broad Spectrum 46 and I have been very happy with it.

    From Carol Clupny, author of The Ribbon of Road Ahead, who just returned from a 67 day trip to Europe:

    Using a walking stick to navigate the cobblestone sidewalks. Oh those cobblestones! I have great stories about wheelchair assistance. And because of the wheelchairs, I did not have any trouble carrying my trekking poles on the plane. I found disability assistance to be very good in Europe.  There are even programs that an individual could access on trains.  I was  boosted up to a back door of  a plane on  a lift in Latvia  and had  a personal  assistant  who took us  through  the  entire  airport  and  even showed us  how  to  buy train tickets in Munich. A small suction cup shower bar. I used it a lot! (note that many come in pairs. You probably need to take just one with you.) Pack light.  Plan clothes to layer. We had only carryon-size roller bags and a backpack each. A drain cover to stop the sink when you are rinsing clothes.  (a great idea for those sinks that won't hold water). Piece of shower line. We were able to buy Sinemet in a pharmacy by only showing the bottle.  (and it was very inexpensive) Be aware of discounts for seniors,  disabilities, and care partners in museums and attractions.   We usually spent less than 50%We happened upon a  9 euro train ticket that allowed us to ride any type of public transportation in Germany (EXCEPT the intercity fast trains) we traveled for two weeks on 9 euros!!!

    More travel tips from Parky Boy from his March blog post.

    Choose luggage that you can cope with – this may have changed Aim to go at the pace that you need, especially when navigating transport hubs – because only you know Control anxiety and stress as much as you can by having everything you need very accessible. This may include Covid pass and locator form, which we’re not used to carrying. Take a few days more medication with you than you need – just in case If you’re flying, take a few days medication in your hand luggage (with, of course, toothbrush and knickers) – just in case. Carry on enjoying enjoying traveling

    Happy Travels!

    #eltamd #carolclupny #parkyboy

    Community Voices

    I'm new here!

    I'm here because I have a son who has suffered with depression and anxiety for years. It began around 15-16 years old, and he is currently 42. He made it through college with good grades, and only a little drama, and worked for a number of years. Since 2014 he's been hospitalized in various programs for more times than I can remember. He has been treated with numerous medications, talk therapy, and most recently he's undergone ketamine treatments. Early on in this journey, the medications and hospital stays helped for a while, but as time goes on the depression and anxiety return more quickly and intensely after each one. The 12+ ketamine treatments have been essentially worthless. I think he enjoys a lunch out, or a movie, or some activity, and he will occasionally take a walk with me, but the depression and anxiety return immediately after the activity is over. He has learned and knows about self care, how exercise, eating right, etc., are key to feeling better, but does not actually follow up with any of these practices. I am at a loss as to what more I can do, other than be here, talk to him if he likes, take him places occasionally, and help support him and pay the bills as much as I can. It's very sad, I've watched his youth fly by without any enjoyment.

    #MightyTogether

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    Community Voices

    ADA 32 Year Reflection

    On July 26th 2022, we will celebrate 32 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law that was signed by George HW. Bush in 1990. As we take time to reflect on the passing of the ADA, we must remain vigilant during these times at any attempts to weaken this historic law. In addition, as we enter the third year of the pandemic we should be encouraged to incorporate the lessons learned to create a future of work that is accommodating to the growing needs of people with disabilities. This is causing workforce shortages in many career sectors such as the shortage of Direct Support Professionals in the field.

    As we look to the new normal that will emerge, it is important that working from home become part of the menu of options when employing people with disabilities. Working from home gives people with disabilities the opportunity to be part of the workforce while not having to worry about transportation barriers or the risk of getting sick with illnesses like COVID. We must adopt inclusive working policies to provide employees with the option to have a flexible work schedule. People with disabilities are a major untapped talent pool that employers must invest in hiring and retaining given that we are some of the hardest workers you will find. In addition, by hiring people with disabilities and embracing flexible workplace accommodations it can boost company morale, lead to increased profits and save money in hiring and training costs.

    Moving forward the time is now to create a world where people with disabilities can be included and foster a sense of belonging in the world of work. We must use the lessons learned from this COVID crisis to make positive changes to the world of employment and community living for all people with disabilities.

    Tips for Employers in Hiring and Providing Accommodations to Workers with Disabilities:

    1. Make job applications in accessible formats, in plain language, and in easy to navigate platforms.

    2. Adopt flexible work arrangement policies to allow people with disabilities the choice to work from home. COVID is still a pandemic we should not be rushing folks back to offices especially high risk populations.

    3. Embrace job sharing and flexible scheduling to allow us to work and manage medical appointments. Be mindful that not everyone can work 40 hours per week at eight hours per day.

    4. Offer benefits that allow for reimbursement of work from home technology, internet and phone costs. It is also good to offer reimbursement for expenses like alternative medicine and therapy that is often not covered by private insurance or medicaid.

    5. Develop programs to pay and support access to job coaching support for people with Autism and other significant disabilities. Especially those who do qualify or are on waiting lists for Home and Community Based long-term services and supports.

    6. In the area of supporting workers on public benefits it is especially important to take advantage of work incentives that can help people with disabilities work.

    7. Offer assistance with transit and provide reimbursement upfront when it comes to work travel assignments.

    8. Offer options to contribute to ABLE Accounts in lieu of offering a typical 401K, 403B retirement plan options.

    9. Contract with Centers for Independent Living, advocates, and other allies for disability awareness training.

    Community Voices

    Starting to break the generation trauma cycle in my family

    Baking cinnamon buns and thinking about generational trauma and the healing of it on this windy, raining Wednesday. Yes, oddly as I’m baking cinnamon buns for my family this is the thought in my mind. Recovery 24/7 in my world.

    I’m always hearing people say that it takes one person in a family of generational trauma to end it. One person to end the pattern that has gone on through years and years and years, hence the word generational I suppose, lol. When I started my recovery journey 4 years ago I was so proud that I was that person in my family. I was ending the generational trauma in my messed up family for my kids and their kids and YAY me!

    First, it did take me a minute to understand that there was generational trauma in my family. Honestly, I had never really cared for why my parents didn’t care about me or how they let the neglect and abuse that happened happen. I just cared that it did and how it was seriously messed up and that was that. Then I did work around why my mother was how she was, and how her parents were how they were. Then imagined that the generation before that was worse considering there are actual eras in time that abuse in many forms was not only acceptable but frankly encouraged. “Spare the rod, Spoil the child!”

    You’re only as capable a parent (maybe even person) as what was exampled and taught to you by your only role models in that department, your parents. Something I’ve also been learning in my recovery. It’s a crappy fact for some of us? I started accepting, no more acknowledging that my parents did the best they could with what they had. Doesn’t make any pain go away, just explains slightly the reason for the environment and lack of parenting skills they themselves possessed.

    Anyway, here I am baking my cinnamon buns and I think to myself am I the one that’s stopping the generational cycle of trauma in my family? I mean I am the one in therapy, doing the programs and work and trying to heal all the bull I had been put through as a child, I was doing that. I am the one doing that. Nobody else in my family has ever done that, so I must be the one stopping it? I’m the end, right?

    Here’s the thing though, if I myself wasn’t modeled how to be a parent. If I lived with neglect and abuse and fear. If I didn’t learn emotional control or even emotional appropriateness, or how to love unconditionally maybe even love. If I never learned those things and I myself was a parent, the basic and true facts are that raising my amazing kids I had to have messed them up a bit.

    They witnessed no emotional control, outbursts of anger and rage. Yelling was a way to be heard, and aggression the way to get what you wanted. They saw parents that were learning as they went, and not only how to not only be parents but to be partners. Something else never modeled properly for either my husband or myself. I know my kids felt they had parents that were more immature then their friends, and not just in age and its because we were. As I heal I still am.

    So, If I non intentionally and subconsciously passed down some of my trauma, (believe me after my childhood I vowed my kids would NEVER go through anything like I did) not the abuse in the physical or sexual form. And not the neglect or lack of unconditional love. But emotional trauma, which is still passing down a form of trauma. If I did this, then even though I’m now healing and fixing the cycle I am not the one that’s stopping it. I’m not the savior of the family and the end all be all of the trauma cycled though my bloodline.

    NO, I am merely the beginning of what will be work my children and their children will have to choose to do. I am merely the example of the needing it and the possibility and hope of there being an actual end. It will be their choice to do the work I started, work handed down to them at no fault of their own.

    So, when someone like myself is the first to start the healing process by acknowledging and accepting the generational trauma cycle and then starting the years of work it will take to heal it and I have kids. Well, I’m not the one ending the cycle I am the one starting to break it. The work will be for generations to come. And I find that both sad, they never asked for the family shit that’s rolled downhill, but also happy and proud because I am showing that there’s hope and it can all end. There is an end! We wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t started the process.

    So still YAY me!