A disability-friendly community asks its citizens to become creative problem-solvers. If some of us have a problem, we all have a problem. When we solve it for some, we can solve it for all. Disability Dialog is your invitation to weigh-in on key topics, and offer your ideas and/or suggestions for solutions—the more creative the better!
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When a stroke led to my joining the disability community, I wanted to participate in all aspects of socializing including arts, dining, shopping and religion. My poor walking and one-handed reality can make it difficult to visit certain locations. I think of uneven brick sidewalks and steep entrance steps. These may look quaint but I have passed by certain shops knowing I could not enter or exit safely. My message is to business owners promoting old-timey or theme ambience. - Design choices should still accommodate people with disabilities. Twenty percent of the population self identifies as having a disability, and the leading cause of adult disability is stroke, which often limits mobility. I guess accessibility and transportation remain my main concerns for people with disabilities in the Toledo area.
It is important to note that the state of Ohio has specific criteria - a list of impairments - that individuals must meet to qualify for services from the Department of DD or a county board of DD. Some individuals who are diagnosed by a doctor or other professional as having a developmental disability, when evaluated, are not found to be impaired in enough areas on the list, so they don't qualify for services and are not able to participate in social or recreational activities offered through county boards and providers. This can happen especially with people with certain types of autism. But these individuals may need, or benefit from, the same kinds of services that the boards and waiver providers offer, albeit at a different level of support or instruction. People with autism in particular struggle to develop social relationships and so they may not have "natural supports." They may appear "smart," and teachers, etc assume they can go to college and have careers and be self-sufficient. Other agencies and organizations that serve people "with a disability" with no other criteria are sometimes poorly educated about this specific group.
It was my experience, as a person with disabilities who went to college, that career counselors and anyone involved in the job-seeking process tended to take for granted that everyone could move anywhere for a job or internship. It may have been partly because my disabilities are not easily visible, but even when I tried to explain the barriers to moving and traveling, everyone seemed to think I was just afraid to take a risk and step outside "the known." I realize not every non-disabled person can travel a long way for a summer internship, but I think those with disabilities, even if able to be in college and/or be employed probably face additional challenges and barriers to moving, especially if there are no friends or family in the new location and / or they don't know any medical providers or service providers. The more internships - in various fields, including government - that Toledo businesses and government agencies can offer, the more students will be able to get work experience without having to move or travel. (Also, career counselors and others at the university need to be educated about how disabilities like Asperger's, ADHD, and the other "hidden" ones affect employment.)
A teacher I am friends with on Facebook shared this story of a school casting a wheelchair-using girl (and her service dog) in The Wizard of Oz: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NJ-High-School-Student-Who-Uses-a-Wheelchair-Stars-in-Wizard-of-Oz-Alongside-Her-Service-Dog-508087611.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_NYBrand&fbclid=IwAR3CZRGzk1yYXMWY011GrmZ6B9NU-t0QaPqctgD6n4exPhctCS0S--M3M44
My Wife is disabled and we find it hard to go out for dinner and a lot of other activities because of the lack of family restrooms she needs my help to transfer on and off the toilet.