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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Gender Roles in The Disability Universe


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Have you ever thought about how much gender bias there is in the disability universe, each gender has their certain roles? When it comes to family members as care givers, it is automatically thought to be the mother. This makes most resources more relatable to women and most media would be gear to that mind set. I think that is why when there is a story about a father just being a parent, it will be all over social media. It might be unusual to hear of a dad taking an active role, but I think it happens more than we are aware of, we might still have the stereotype of women being primary nurturers.
On the other hand, when it comes to being an inspiration that always seems to be a male trait. For example, an athlete with a disability, or a film has been based on a male character with a disability. My female friends have always said I am more in touch with my feminine side then most guys. I would think that might be due to that most careers in the disability community are held by women.
All of my Special Education Teachers were women, until I went to high school. As I can recall, I only had one therapist who was a male. Stan the man was straight from the 70’s and all of my other therapist wear Klogs, I bet that is ware Crocs came from. I know I am the person that I am, because of the strong spirited women that have been in my life starting with my mom to my wife and everyone that came in between.

Disability Threats Under President Trump's... 2020


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June 9,
Trump Administration Faces Pressure To Help Disability Service Providers
Members of Congress are asking the Trump administration why federal money isn’t flowing to help disability providers and others funded by Medicaid who have been walloped by the pandemic.
Starting in March, lawmakers set aside $175 billion to assist health care providers as part of a pair of coronavirus relief bills. However, while disability advocates say billions from what’s known as the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund have been distributed, hardly any has been directed toward providers funded primarily by Medicaid.
The lack of federal aid is hitting agencies supporting people with developmental disabilities across the country especially hard, according to the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR, a national trade group representing disability service providers.

Feb, 26,
Trump Budget Calls For Cuts To Disability Programs
President Donald Trump is proposing cuts to countless programs benefiting people with disabilities, advocates say, touching everything from Medicaid to employment and autism treatment.
Trump unveiled his $4.8 trillion budget proposal this week for the 2021 fiscal year that starts in October. The president’s budget is unlikely to be rubber-stamped by Congress, but essentially serves as a wish list outlining his priorities.
Trump is seeking reductions to Medicaid, food assistance, state councils on developmental disabilities, university centers on developmental disabilities and protection and advocacy programs, said David Card at the National Disability Rights Network.


Monday, February 24, 2020

What Does Green Convey to You?

What Does Green Convey to You

I have often been asked why I use so much green in my work, for me it is a color of contradiction. Sometimes green can mean weakness, or illness; for example, gangrene as if my body is defective since the wires from my brain have bad connections. When I talk to kids, I use the instance of a bad WIFI connection as a way they might be able to understand my disability better. The message has no problem going to my brain, but it gets scramble coming out to my muscles. Other times I see green as a sign of strength, for example The Incredible Hulk. Although he is seen as having unlimited strength, most people might see him as being weak since he cannot control his mind and the mind always trumps the body. For the record I more of a fan of The Incredible Hulk TV show than what is seen in the comics.

I also found it fascinating that green is the color of the Cerebral Palsy Awareness ribbon, maybe this was something I knew unconsciously? I do know this for sure, if we could become human generators, we would be independently wealthy because we have an endless supply of energy. It would even be better than solar power since our bodies never stop moving.

It is natural for parents and care providers to become overprotective, but we limit our selves too by being comfortable with the path we choose. I encourage you to remember that green is a symbol of growth and freshness. The more you evolve as individuals, the further progression it will bring to our fellow CPers. We all have equal amount of a roll to play in this, even though most would go unseen. We are no different than other researchers and scientists, their whole life is about asking questions and finding solutions. Only a few get to be the Albert Einsteins and Stephen Hawkings, but their work was base on other’s that proceeded them. We all have ideas that can lead to bettering the disability movement as a whole.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Things to Ponder 2020


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August 5,
Teachers are writing their own obituaries as schools near reopening amid COVID-19
A group of Iowa teachers have sent their own mock obituaries to their governor in hopes she'll revisit plans for reopening schools.

"I'm very scared," 7th grade teacher Kerry Finley of Iowa City told "Good Morning America." "Are we going to wear scrubs? Are they going to amend the dress code? If we are going to do this, we are going to have to do this the way the hospitals did. We need training. We can't just say, 'OK, go back.'"

Finley is one of several educators who wrote their obituaries after art teacher Jeremy Dumkrieger shared his own obit with the local news blog, Iowa Starting Line.

July 30,
Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.
While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

June 19,
Why is Cinco de Mayo better celebrated than Juneteeth?
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House two months earlier in Virginia, but slavery had remained relatively unaffected in Texas—until U.S. General Gordon Granger stood on Texas soil and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

May 4,
How Do You Sign ‘Don’t Drink Bleach’?
Have you notice when most government officials hold a press conference/update, they always have a sign language interpreter especially in times of crisis! That is true for everyone except King Trump, this is just sign of disrespect to the community of People with Disabilities. Maybe he is paranoid that the sign language interpreter will add their own commentary.

Feb, 17,
Trump’s words, bullied kids, scarred schools
Two kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered "Ban Muslims" at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president's proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: "This is Trump country."


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Role Models


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Here is my latest piece in progress: Chirsty Brown, he was the main character in the film “My Left Foot”. The film came out when I was a sophomore in high school and I also wrote my senior thesis on him. The movie focused on Brown as a painter, but in Ireland he was better known as a poet. The art was the reason why my art teacher suggested that I should go see the film, plus the CP thing. So my friend Laura and I went to see it at the Senator Theater, it was the first film I liked that was about someone with a disability since it was not a pity party. I mean he was a freaking Irish mon, I did like how the movie showed him carrying a bottle with a straw in his inside coat pocket. I would not call him a role model, just a person of interest. I have never been the type to collect role models, you only see what the media wants you to see. This would also include myself, we all are human and have friends with stories.

The first Christmas that Dena and I were a couple, we watched “My Left Foot” together as she made the popcorn strings for the tree. I did show my ability to ”make” Microwave Popcorn myself, without burning it, or me!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Educational Tid Bits 2020


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August 20,

What The Coronavirus Means For IEPs This Year
As a school year like no other gets underway, the laws surrounding individualized education programs remain unchanged and experts say parents should fight for the services their kids need.

While the details may look different — with IEP meetings occurring virtually rather than in person, for example — special education advocates and attorneys say that families should approach the IEP process much like they would in any other year.

“I think that’s where people get lost is they think that COVID changes things and under the law, it does not,” according to Denise Marshall, CEO of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, or COPAA, a nonprofit that works to advocate for the rights of students with disabilities and their families.

July 21,
Schools Want IDEA Liability Protections From Congress
Concerned that the pandemic will prompt an onslaught of special education litigation, school leaders want federal lawmakers to grant them liability protections related to their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, as well as the National School Boards Association and the Association of Educational Service Agencies are calling on Congress to include the protections in the next COVID-19 response legislation.

In a 21-page report, the three groups said that surveys of school leaders across the nation show growing concern about “unparalleled rates of litigation” as schools struggle to follow through with students’ individualized education programs during the pandemic.

June 23,
Ed Department Issues New Guidance On Special Education During Pandemic
The U.S. Department of Education is offering up details about how states and schools can address special education disputes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal agency issued two question-and-answer documents Monday — one outlining considerations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act dispute resolution procedures for services for kids ages 3 to 21 and another for younger children.

April 26,
DeVos Finds ‘No Reason’ To Waive Key Provisions Of IDEAe
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will not seek changes to the central tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a report to Congress released late Monday, DeVos recommended that lawmakers consider what the Department of Education called “additional flexibilities on administrative requirements.”
But, DeVos said in the 18-page document that her agency “is not requesting waiver authority for any of the core tenets of the IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, most notably a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive

April 13,
DeVos Could Recommend Waiving IDEA Protections
As schools remain closed due to COVID-19, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is weighing whether they should be temporarily freed of some of their special education obligations.
DeVos must decide in the coming weeks whether to recommend that Congress allow portions of special education law to be waived in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the stimulus bill passed in late March, DeVos was given 30 days to issue a report to Congress with recommendations for any waivers she believes are necessary under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to “provide limited flexibility” to states and school districts during the emergency.

April 8,
Once again, the rights of students with disabilities are on the chopping block. Here's the latest:
Congress has requested Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recommend education waivers that would allow schools to drop services for students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While schools are designing innovative new ways to bring the classroom to students who are quarantined at home, Secretary DeVos is devising ways for them to skip providing that same innovation to students with disabilities!
We need your help to stop Secretary DeVos!

March 26,
SEEK, An Equal Education is a Civil Right
For all of the latest news on how school closures impact your child receiving special education services. An Equal Education is a Civil Right.

March, 15,
Feds Weigh In On Special Ed, Medicaid Concerns Over Coronavirus
“If (a school district) continues to provide educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure, the school must ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities.”

Feb, 13,
We Need to Take Care of Our Teachers Before They All Burn Out
We need to support our teacher friends this winter break. They’re exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. The sugar-crazed last day of school before winter break would have been enough to put most of us in bed for the rest of December. But teachers keep pushing. They’re going to spend their time off frantically trying to catch up on chores and visiting all the people they’re afraid they’ve been neglecting.

Jan, 17,
Ed Department Urged To Ban Seclusion In Schools


Interesting Disability Articles 2020


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April 9,
Girl who inspired Charlotte’s Web marijuana oil dies
A girl with a rare form of epilepsy whose recovery inspired the name of a medical marijuana oil that drew families of children with similar health problems to Colorado for treatment has died after being hospitalized and treated as a likely coronavirus patient, her mother said Wednesday. Charlotte Figi was 13.

March, 14,
How The Disability Community Can Respond to COVID-19
Many people with disabilities are at increased risk of serious or fatal complications from COVID-19 (coronavirus). In an active community outbreak, the safest option may be to self-isolate at home, perhaps for weeks or longer. In order to prepare for this possibility, the CDC is currently recommending that people at high risk stock up on necessities, including maintenance prescription medication.

March, 13,
'Who's Going To Help Them?': Caregivers Brace For The Spread Of Coronavirus
Remote work is not an option for home, health and nursing aides, who look after some of the most vulnerable, often themselves without health insurance and earning little.

Feb, 24,
Why Disabled Women Haven’t Joined the “Me too” Movement
Sadly, however, there is still a group of women whose voices are seldom included in the conversation –women whose existence has been so marginalized that most people get surprised at the thought of having to liberate them from the claws of sexual abuse. The sad truth is, disabled women are, more often than not, victimized and abused without them even realizing that what they have experienced is abuse. They don’t know they have the right to say “Me too”.

Feb, 13,
As Caregivers Age, People With Disabilities See Few Housing Options
A national study finds housing choices are limited for people with developmental disabilities who often get little say about where they might live when they leave home.
Currently, about 75 percent of adults with disabilities live with an aging parent or caregiver and most are not utilizing public supports or services, according to a new report from The Arc. More than half of families have no plan for the future.

Feb, 12,
Model Jillian Mercado dedicates fashion week moment to anyone with disabilities who 'has felt unseen and unheard'
As model Jillian Mercado continues to break barriers and advocate for the representation of others with disabilities, her New York Fashion Week debut was an amazing moment that she beautifully dedicated to others.
During The Blonds Fall 2020 show, the Latinx beauty, who has muscular dystrophy, shined bright on the runway while wearing a sparkling gold ensemble topped with an elaborate matching headdress.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 Primaries Election Candidates


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Feb, 5,
Disability Positions of Primary Candidates for President
As the 2020 election approaches, it is critical to pick candidates in both parties who will support the needs of children and adults with disabilities and complex medical conditions. Candidate health plans, education plans, home and community based services plans, and overall disability plans tell us a lot about how a candidate will — or will not — support the disability community in the coming years.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

My Brother, Paul DamonKeplinger (1974-2014)


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Originally Posted February 9, 2014

My Brother, Paul DamonKeplinger 1974-2014

I was a bit disappointment when they canceled the big snow for Saturday. Given the events of the past week, it would have been a good reason to hibernate for a few days and veg out on the Olympics.
There are too many connection to my brother’s passing, some have made the connection of being the anniversary of Paul’s best friend, Tim’s death and the Facebook Post that Paul wrote a year ago to mark it. I also think Paul knew there would a lot of things around to trigger reminder of him to other people.
Paul love to pull mind shit just to see how others would react. Well get this one, when we were about 12 and 11, the winter Olympics were on and Paul had the TV in his small bed room. There was a snowstorm one night and schools were closed, so we stayed up late watching the down hill skiing. Then we got the idea to start playing Monopoly, just to make the night even longer.
So the weekend after Paul’s passing they were call for snowstorm, the Olympics started, and Maryland lottery is advertising their new Monopoly scratch offs.