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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

Veterans may see expanded programs and services if President Obama’s 2010 budget plan passes, which includes $112.8 billion for the Veterans Affairs department, an increase of 15 percent. Calling it “veteran-centric,” the VA says Obama’s proposed budget represents the largest percentage increase sought by a president in more than 30 years. “Our 2010 budget represents the President’s vision for how VA will transform into a 21st-century organization that is veteran-centric, results-driven and forward-looking,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. The centerpiece of the VA budget proposal is a dramatic increase in veteran healthcare funding, with an 11 percent increase over the current year’s funding (excluding one-time Recovery Act funds). At the forefront: Helping the VA to remove the backlog in processing compensation and pension claims. Funding will go to building an online system, making processes more efficient, adding staff, and increasing training. The proposal also places a high priority on ... keep reading »

Kindness in a Can

September 12, 2008 | by

I was taking the Greyhound bus from Boston to New York earlier this week, and the bus driver decided to stop at Arby’s for dinner – my favorite place (NOT!) This is a roast beef chain where, I’m told, the meat comes out of a can. Like Playdoh. I was placing an order of chicken fingers, when Arby’s saving grace appeared to me in a laminated sign just above the cash registers. It read something like this: If you need help with anything please don’t hesitate to ask us. If you’re visually impaired we can read you the menu aloud. If you’re hearing impaired we can speak slower or offer you a pen and paper to write down your order. If you’re mobility impaired we can bring your food to your table. etc. I read this notice a few times, then looked over at the teenagers at the cash register, and then spotted the shift manager. ... keep reading »
This article that I wrote was published in today’s WSJ in the Careers section. Here’s an online version: Finding the Right Way To Disclose a Disability. I wrote this article because people often ask me if they should disclose, and I’m a believer that it will do more good than harm, as long as you choose a good company and understand how to approach your boss with the types of accommodations you require. I have a disclosure poll up on this blog that you can vote on – I’d appreciate knowing all your opinions. keep reading »
A New York Times Saturday profile, A Blind Boxer Inspires Uganda on Bashir Ramathan, a blind boxer from Uganda, sparked my interest, not just for the awe-factor: “Wow, a blind boxer!” but rather because of a statement he made towards the end of the article. Listing the good fortune that has befallen on him since his newfound fame on the boxing circuit, Mr. Ramathan said to the reporter that he would give it all up for two working eyes. “They think I’m doing this for attention or for money. But I’m not pretending. I want to see, like them.” This is how a lot of driven people with disabilities really think, including myself. I’m a disability writer, but I’d give up a a graduate degree and professional writing career — and yes, start over — if I could have hearing in my two ears. I’m not regretful about my disability, but this ... keep reading »
I just finished writing a book proposal for a publishing company that wants me to write a book on Assistive Technology for those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis. The proposal itself really opened my eyes to the myriads of symptoms associated with MS, including numbness, difficulty walking and balancing, fatigue, vision and cognitive limitations, speech slurring, and more. I recently met with an executive at Pepsi who has MS and some of these symptoms. He showed me around his office, and showed me the kind of Assistive Tech that he uses to power his workday, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition with a wireless headset, as well as a power wheelchair. Pepsi is a really “disability-forward” company; they gave him a parking spot next to the loading dock so that he could slip into his office with ease, rather than having to park in the regular employee lot. Like many companies ... keep reading »

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