Monday, June 25, 2007

On the job: what does that mean for people with disabilities

Hello everyone,

Okay, so I realize it's been a while since I've updated this blog with the latest disability news. Looking at my previous posts, it's been over three months since I posted regularly. Wow, that's a long time. I am just now starting to catch up on things in my life. A lot has changed for me during this time. As my regular readers have learned, I have been actively seeking a job for a while now. Thanks to my dad and his contacts at the local university, I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting a job. By that I mean I actually have an interview! A real interview… it is set for July 13, soon after my family and I return from our usual Fourth of July vacation in Washington, DC. I am scheduled to meet with someone who deals with their hiring of general staff. There are no exact details on a position, but dad has given her a list of my abilities so she can have a chance to determine exactly where I may fit in at the University. Personally, my dad and I are both hoping that the position involves utilizing my skills as both a writer and researcher in order to help their professors. I have always had an interest in advocating for people with disabilities, so anything in the paralegal field would be great.

At this point, anything would be appreciated. I just need to get some experience under my belt of being out there in the real world. I still have a lot to learn; I look forward to experiencing both the joys and trials of having a job because I realize that it's just another part of life. In this respect, I realize I am not alone in my struggle to find a job. There are many people with different disabilities who are in a similar position. Take for example this October 2006 editorial by Ann Bauer entitled, "Willing, Able -- and Unemployable". In it, she tells this story of her 18-year-old autistic son struggling to find the perfect job. Despite his sensitive spirit and being "eerily responsible", his interview attempts remained unsuccessful. He encountered many barriers in the process of getting a job, such as a psychological test, which eliminates "people on the edge of the bell curve" at Target. She goes on to say that over the next decade 4 million people will be diagnosed with autism.

What does this mean for us as a society? Bauer answers this question by exploring the many options to her. She could sue, but for what? Bauer says , " Legal action wouldn't get Andrew, now nearly 19, working. What it would do is force him to defend himself and his abilities in court -- this young man who's still reluctant to speak at school." Wow, that gives people a lot to think about. In my opinion, the foundation of the issue still remains the same. Acceptance and understanding of a disability is vital to eliminating stereotype and bridging the gap between people. That being said, I would like to highlight some important steps public relations have taken as part of this process. For example, there is the Autism Speaks campaign. Check out the amazing "Autism Every Day" ads. They can be accessed at:

For additional information on Autism , feel free to visit Autism Society of America at



Bauer , Ann. "Willing, Able-- and Unemployable ." Washington 30 October 1998 . 28 June 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fun at the Park

Hello everyone,

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Mine was certainly on the unique side, considering I actually got to spend some one-on-one time with my father. For those of you familiar with our family or have gotten to know me and my family through the reading of these blogs, time is precious around here. Actually, it should be that way for everyone.. But still. So, dad and I headed out for a fun filled day at Cedar Point. The amusement park is conveniently located just about four hours from our house in Sandusky, Ohio. In general, Cedar Point is best known for its roller coasters and thrill rides. But being a disabled person such as I, it is obviously hard for some people to participate in those types of activities. That being said, I intend to highlight some of the disability-friendly tips as well as entertainment alternatives for fellow guests who are wheelchair-bound and unable to ride the rides.

First-time guests may want to visit the customer service office located in the Town Hall building. As well as fielding obvious questions about the park's rides, this office is also responsible for assessing each disabled person's ability to ride certain roller coasters based on their strengths and weaknesses. These lists are then compared to the ride's rules and regulations, coming up with your own list based on a person's personal needs; it also allows for special access for a personal assistant or guest to help you if need be. One of the most accessible rides is Paddle Boat ride. It takes guests on a river ride which towards the park; during the ride, they will enjoy interesting facts about Cedar Point and its history as well as the occasional corny joke.

Tired of their rides and roller coasters? Cedar Point has a variety of shows to satisfy guests of all ages. The most recent show, "Dazzle: Beyond Divine" incorporates both singing and dancing to create a fabulous act. Several songs included in the act are: "Dream Girls" from the popular motion picture, "It's Raining Men", "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend "and so much more.

Another thing I noticed since the last time I visited Cedar point was increased accessibility to most outside stands. By that I mean there is a tray to the height of a regular guest on which a consumer can finish the transaction with the employee on duty; however, there is also one for wheelchairs.

For more information regarding accessibility issues or just general questions, please visit

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another reality check


So I know it's been a while. Sure, I updated to let you guys know that I was still alive and kicking. But in retrospect, those posts did not help you if you came here looking for advice and support. For that, I am-well-I can't really explain it. All I can say is that it's been a long five months since I graduated. I have changed a lot. Those changes have not always been the best changes in the world. But well, we do not always control what happens to us. We can only control how we react and allow those changes to impact us influencing the choices we make on a daily basis! I am still trying to get a handle on that myself. I'm not doing very well at that either.

I'm not sure where to begin explaining myself. I guess it all begins with one word. Transition. According to, transition can be defined as a "movement, passage or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc.". Transitions have always been difficult for me. I'm one of those people who doesn't react kindly to change. Looking at my disability, you probably can understand why. I mean look at all it takes for me to live on a daily basis. I depend on people to get me up in the morning, feed me. The list goes on and on.

So, besides the obvious reasons. What makes this transition so different from all the others? Well, I have been trying to figure that out myself. I don't know how many of you are in this same situation or a similar one.. If you've been with me long enough, you've read about my experiences out in the real world, experiencing life in its purest form. Going to college and living on my home. In retrospect, it was just something I dreamed about. Something I hoped for. I mean, I knew it was possible. I had the brains and the intellect. I had proved that by graduating from a community college with a associate degree. Even graduating from high school.

But was it actually possible for me to experience the reality of going away to college and becoming an independent person, outside of being the daughter I knew I was as well as a person with a disability?

Yes, it was possible. They experiences I encountered as well as the people opened up a new world to me. They not only became part of my family, but showed me I can not only trust them. But I could trust myself. I was, in fact, able to make decisions as an adult. I was able to do things with my friends, without my parents always having to be there to assist me.

That being said, being back home is difficult for me now. Why? Because I've seen what is possible. I'm someone who can no longer be put in a box of limitations that society sometimes puts on me. It also makes things difficult when I look at that amazing progress many of my friends have made since graduating. For example, some of them have moved to St. Louis.

And yet, sometimes I feel like I'm in that box again.My job status is still nonexistent, which is probably a good thing for right now. Considering everything I'm going through. My independence has sort of gone down a bit, considering all I do is sit in front of my computer and talk to friends near and far. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my time off, but after awhile you start wondering whether you will ever get out there and do some good for anyone. But I do have my moments. It's just really shocking how the time off can change things for the good or the worst. Since my independence has gone down, my spasticity has gone up a ton. I am left speechless and frustrated

This just goes with the territory of having a disability, I guess. Another part of having cerebral palsy is the need for surgeries. My dorm mates know that I take medicine in a special way to decrease my spasticity. Well, I recently found out that I have to have surgery to continue with this disability maintenance. This surgery has not been scheduled yet,

Why am I saying this. I don't know, but I guess what I want people to take from this is the power of transition. You will get where you need to be in time. The hard part of life is waiting
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