Disability Minute Segment Archive

Produced by people with disabilities at Chicago Lighthouse Media and airing on WBBM Newsradio 105.9 FM.

 

Air Date: October 2, 2022

Are you Qualified for the Job?


Sometimes reasonable accommodations are not enough to make a job accessible. I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

There have been countless times when I didn’t get a job because of my disability, but there were other times when I truly wasn’t qualified – and it’s important to make that distinction. Carley Englander, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, explains that, when it comes to reasonable accommodations, the key word is, reasonable.

“You can change aspects of a job to accommodate a person, but if you are getting hired to be a bus driver, that is the main point of that job. It’s not like they can take that part away. And that goes back to the idea of reasonable accommodation, that wouldn’t be very reasonable. You still have to be a good candidate and qualify.”

It’s hard to know which is which sometimes, especially if you’re already concerned about discrimination. But being assertive and confident in your abilities is a good start.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: September 25, 2022

Everybody Should Dance!

Nobody puts dancers with disabilities in a corner! I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

The cliché is, “everybody can dance.” At Momenta Dance Company, the mindset is, “everybody should dance.”

“One of the things that we strive for is to create an environment where people feel it is ok to be disabled, and that is something lacking in the world.”

That’s Ladonna Freidheim, an instructor and performer at Momenta. Ladonna trained to become a ballerina from a young age. After a joint disease in her early 20s left Ladonna partially wheelchair-bound, she wasn’t sure she would dance again. Momenta offered an opportunity to show others that “disabled” doesn’t mean “not able.”

“I want our work to open up a world of possibilities for the next generation. Also, we are really good dancers and it is fun to watch us!”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: September 18, 2022

New Accessible Vote by Mail Option Available in Illinois

Voting can be complicated for people with vision impairments. But a new system, introduced in Illinois this summer, aims to change that. I’m Ben Chargot with The Disability Minute.

“The goal was to provide visually impaired individuals – and any voter with a print disability – the ability to vote independently, without anyone to assist them.” That’s Matt Dietrich, public information officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections:

To use the new system, voters must register with their local election board, fill-out an e-mailed electronic ballot, print the completed ballot, and then mail it back using a secure, personalized envelope. Election judges then transfer the votes to a traditional ballot for official tabulation. Though not a perfect solution, it is a step in the right direction.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago lighthouse. Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: September 11, 2022

What is ableism?

You’ve probably heard about ableism, but do you know what it is? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Recently when I was at the ATM, someone asked if I was lost. My white cane hit the machine, so they assumed I was being clumsy. Actually, I was there to grab cash, just like anyone else.  The thinking that people with disabilities can’t manage on our own is the most extreme form of ableism, but there are other, more subtle forms.

You may have heard accusations that Lizzo used a word that many in the disability community find offensive. You may even wonder why the word was a problem. That one small word can be the slippery slope leading to an attitude that sidelines an entire community.

So, what can you do? Trying not to make assumptions is a good first step. But if you do unintentionally offend someone, do what Lizzo did: listen, apologize and promise to do better.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: September 4, 2022

Combating Isolation through Accessible Video Games

Social isolation can be a big problem for people with disabilities. But video games – yes video games – may offer a solution. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

As a blind child, I faced my fair share of isolation. I got it, it takes effort to accommodate someone with a disability, and I didn’t want to be a burden. So, I stayed home sometimes instead of going out with friends.

Thanks to today’s always-on connections, staying home doesn’t mean being isolated. As a young man with Spinal Cord Dystrophy, Steven Spohn found community through video games, and he now helps others find similar connections through Able Gaming, a not-for-profit that customizes game controllers for people with disabilities.

“It’s not really about the video game, it’s about that connection we forge with one another and the video games are just the tool we use to do that.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 28, 2022

Safe and Accessible Roads

For some people with disabilities – who may need more time or direction – navigating around busy roadways can be treacherous. But even some small changes could make them safer. I’m Sandy Murillo with The Disability Minute.

As someone who is blind, I’m grateful for features like concrete curb extensions, bump outs, and bus shelters. They provide a physical barrier to help keep me separate from oncoming traffic.

According to Robert Schultz, a campaign organizer with the Active Transportation Alliance

in Chicago, combining these features with other traffic mitigation programs would make an even bigger impact.

“Instead of having a wheelchair ramp that slopes downward at a corner, you build it into a speed bump so that a wheelchair user or pedestrian is not dipping down to cross the street. They’re walking across on a raised level, but that level also acts as a speedbump for the driver.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 21, 2022

Is It Ok to Say Disability?

I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute, but should we even be calling it that?

With so many alternatives to disability or disabled, it’s hard to know what is the right language to use. Many people tend to gravitate toward phrases like “Differently abled” or “Special needs,” in an effort to be more sensitive or avoid talking about disability directly. The reality is that using the word disability isn’t offensive or demeaning. It’s an honest word that describes a situation, and whether medical or societal, we have to be able to talk about it.

I know I’m made a lot more uncomfortable by people trying to talk around my disability, saying, non-sighted instead of blind and so forth. Another term gaining traction is medically complex. This has its place on clinical charts and health records, but is very clunky for everyday use and does not represent the experience of most people with disabilities. On that note…

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for News radio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: August 14, 2022

Benefits of Chess for People with Cognitive Disabilities

For some people with cognitive disabilities, chess can be more than a pastime. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Chess is a game accessible to almost anyone, and can be learned by people of all ages. The fact that it requires carefully planned moves makes chess an ideal therapeutic tool for those with dementia, brain injury, or PTSD.

“It allows you to formulate foresight planning and improves your concentration.” Michael Lenox co-founded Chess Vets, an online and in-person chess club. He started Chess Vets after personally reaping the benefits of the game while recovering from a stroke.

He encourages everyone to challenge themselves and give chess a try.

“We focus on the beginner, novice and intermediate level, and at that point we hand them off to a professional chess coach.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 7, 2022

The Importance of Eye Exams

It has long been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. But they can also help in the early detection of future health complications. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

A general eye exam can predict health issues like high blood pressure, thyroid disease or cancer. According to Chicago Lighthouse optometrist Dr. Kelly Sherer, an eye exam is the least invasive way that doctors can identify looming health conditions.

“The exciting part of what we can do in the eye is we can see if the blood vessel is leaking, like is it getting weak. No other doctors can see your blood vessels without cutting you open.”

In addition to getting an annual eye exam, having a healthy lifestyle is key.

“There are things that cause disease in both the body and the eyes, such as smoking, eating poorly, lack of exercise. The more you take care of yourself, that fairs well for your eyes.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: July 31, 2022

Home Ownership and People with Disabilities

More than a quarter of working-age adults with disabilities have incomes below the federal poverty level. Could home ownership help them out? I’m Maureen Reid with The Disability Minute.

It may not be widely known, but people with disabilities who receive Social Security disability payments can use those benefits to help secure a mortgage. Granted, prospective homeowners will have to qualify for that loan, which may require providing documentation that your benefits won’t expire for at least three years, and will likely have to prove their general credit-worthiness.

In addition, the Housing and Urban Development section 8 program allows eligible recipients to use a Housing Choice Voucher to pay a mortgage and other costs, like closing expenses and property taxes.

The extra steps needed to pursue these programs may be worth it, because home ownership can provide security and equity that can break the cycle of poverty that plagues so many people with disabilities.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: July 24, 2022

What is the Access Technology Affordability Act?

For people who are blind or vision impaired, a wealth of technology is available to foster independence and inclusion. A bill pending in Congress could make this technology easier to obtain. I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

The Access Technology Affordability Act would create refundable income tax credits to purchase technology, like screen-readers, notetakers, refreshable Braille Displays and Embossers.

Most of these devices are prohibitively expensive for the average person. But, as John Pare, director of advocacy for the National Federation of the Blind says, they can open up a world of opportunity. “This would help blind people succeed more in employment, but If they are more in the educational faze, it can help the same thing. Even if you’re not doing either of those, just to have this equipment in your home for self-sufficiency.”

Despite having broad bipartisan support, the bill has yet to come to a full vote. To move this legislation along, contact your representative.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago lighthouse. Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: July 17, 2022

The Disability Pride Parade Returns to Chicago!

After a two-year break, the Disability Pride Parade returns to the streets of Chicago. Will anyone notice? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Several years ago, I attended my first Disability Pride Parade. I was excited about meeting others with disabilities from all over the city, and perhaps even the country. But the crowd was much smaller than I had hoped. Chicago is notorious for attracting thousands to its summer parades, festivals, concerts, and other events. So where was everyone when it came time to celebrate people with disabilities?

The Disability Pride Parade is intended to change the way people think about disability, and everyone – disabled or not – is welcome. This is a chance for everyone in Chicago to celebrate a community that is too often overlooked. I plan to be at the parade again this year on Saturday, July 23. It would be great to see all of you there as well!

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: July 10, 2022

Making Prescriptions Accessible

Have you ever thought about how hard it might be to take medication when you can’t read the label, and all the pills feel alike? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Andy Burstein, CEO of Accessible Pharmacy, which serves the blind, deaf-blind, and vision impaired communities, notes there are many considerations that go into making sure every aspect of taking medication is accessible.

“Every individual is unique. Their ability to understand their medication – like their cognitive and intellectual abilities. Their mobility and dexterity. And also their ability to understand the drug instructions, the warnings, the side effects, the details pertaining to what they should be taking or not taking the medication with.”

Accessible Pharmacy works with its customers to ensure these individual needs are met. Regardless of whether people use their service or not, he advises patients to work with their doctors and pharmacists to create a plan.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: July 3, 2022

Finding Comfort and Connections Through Animal Therapy

Meet Soul Harbour Ranch, an organization providing comfort and love through animal therapy. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Barrington-based Soul Harbour Ranch trains and houses 20 animals, including miniature horses, dogs and cats. Founded in 2018, its team of therapy animals and volunteers visit nursing homes, hospitals and organizations serving people with disabilities. Individuals get the comforting opportunity to pet, walk, or simply hang out with these animals.

The emotional impact is priceless, according to founder and President Jodie Diegel. “There’s laughter and joy, and there’s tears sometimes. Especially some of our students that are on the autism spectrum, you see connections with our animals in a way that maybe they can’t connect with people.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: June 26, 2022

Happy 4th! Tips for Accessible Grilling

Fourth of July is almost here, and people with disabilities are more than capable of Grilling successfully. I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

For people who are blind or vision impaired, Jim Denham, access technology specialist for the Wisconsin Council for the blind and visually impaired (and grilling enthusiast), has some useful recommendations.

“The first thing is to know your grill. Before you turn it on, touch it, and get to know the cooking surface.”

There are also ADA compliant grills at the right height for people who use wheelchairs, including many charcoal post grills available in public parks. Other useful accessories include fire proof gloves, long handled spatulas, talking meat thermometers, and cold beer. Most importantly, “Grilling is something to get people socializing, get people outdoors, and is a really important equalizer.”

So, let’s all fire up the grill and have a happy fourth!

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago lighthouse, Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM

 

 

Air Date: June 19, 2022

Happy Father’s Day

Being a parent is challenging no matter what. For fathers of children with disabilities, there aren’t necessarily more challenges, but different ones. I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

I asked my dad Clay how he felt when I was diagnosed with Lieber’s Congenital Amaurosis.

“Obviously you’re concerned, but the good news was that we had an answer.”

He taught me to advocate for myself. Telling people “Don’t ask me, ask Ben. He’s the one who knows what works and what doesn’t work.”

Until I was old enough to do that on my own, he pushed for the things he knew I needed. “Full inclusion into regular classroom settings, participate, do stuff just like everybody else, build self-confidence and independence.”

He also has some advice for parents in similar situations. “You can’t wait for someone else to do it for you, we saw a lot of that. Parents that were too damn protective. You got to let them go do stuff. Try it.”

Thanks dad! Happy Father’s Day.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago lighthouse, Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM

 

 

Air Date: June 12, 2022

Transitioning to College for Students with Disabilities

Transitioning to college means students have to take on more responsibilities for themselves. For students with disabilities, those responsibilities include disclosing their conditions and advocating for their needs. I’m Maureen Reid with The Disability Minute.

Sophia Hamilton, director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago explains… “At the high school level, a lot of the planning and implementation of accommodation is taken care of by administrators. Once the student transitions to college, you have to reach out and ask for support if you need it.”

Fortunately, most college and university counselors are well versed in the wide range of disabilities students may experience.

“Typically, the person the student is going to be talking to has a lot of experience and expertise.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: June 5, 2022

Dare2Tri!

A local organization is helping people with disabilities regain their confidence and rediscover their passion through sports. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Dare2Tri offers fitness classes and training camps for people with physical and visual disabilities of all ages. Programs range from occasional workshops for those who want to try new activities, to intense training programs for people who want to complete a triathlon.

“We see a lot of self-confidence being built. Dan Tun is co-founder and program director at Dare2Tri.

“It’s a domino effect – one person might witness another person hitting those goals and it might motivate them to set their own personal ones as well.”

I encourage you to go out, try a new sport, and have fun! Next thing you know, you’ll be competing in the 2024 Paralympic games!

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: May 29, 2022

Mental Health and People with Disabilities

People with disabilities are at increased risk of mental illness. Unfortunately, recognizing the symptoms and finding qualified care can be challenging. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Bullying, isolation, and a lack of social support are common among people with disabilities. Dr. Lisa Neitzki is a psychologist at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska. “It can be very difficult for people to find a therapist or mental health provider that has experience working with disabilities.”

In addition, some people with disabilities may have difficulty expressing their feelings, making mental illness hard to diagnose. Dr. Neitzki encourages caregivers to pay close attention for certain signs.

“Sometimes you see more agitation or behavioral concerns, maybe some irritability if a person is depressed or experiencing anxiety.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

Air Date: May 22, 2022

What is the IBCCES Accessibility Card?

Theme parks, like Six Flags Great America, are making it simpler for people with disabilities to request services ahead of their visit. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

The Accessibility Card is a resource available at various theme parks throughout the United States. It allows guests to enjoy more time at attractions during their visit.

“Instead of having to fill out a bunch of paperwork every time you visit a park, you have your accessibility card.” Meredith Tekin is the CEO of IBCCES, the organization that developed this resource.

“You would just show that to the park staff, and they say, here’s this person, here’s what they need, let me get you a wristband, let me get you assistance, let me get you a map of the park that shows where the accessible entrances are.”

You can request the Accessibility Card online, and it is good for up to a year. Have a great time!

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: May 15, 2022

Digital Accessibility is Good Business Practice

Using the internet isn’t just a way of life. It is life. So why are so many websites still inaccessible? I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability Minute.

Roughly one in five Americans identify as having a disability, yet 70 percent of websites in the U.S. have critical accessibility issues. For businesses whose websites are inaccessible, the results can be costly – in the form of lost customers and lawsuits.

“You might get sued. Then you get audited and pay for that. You have to remediate and pay for that. All of this was completely avoidable by doing it right the first time for far cheaper.” That’s Joe Devon, co-founder of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which is May 19th this year.

“It’s the culture of digital product development that has to change.”

One of the best ways to ensure everyone can use a website is to include accessibility planning in the early stages of design.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago lighthouse, Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: May 8, 2022

A Tribute to All Mothers of Children with Disabilities

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

When we’re at new places with my mom Margarita, I’m often the one telling her where to go. “Aren’t you the one with good eyes?” I joke.

When the doctors told my mom my blindness from glaucoma is irreversible, she was understandably devastated. I was only 2 years-old, and my future seemed dark.

Still, she fought tirelessly to give me the best chance at being independent. From having high expectations at home and school, to searching for helpful services, my mom always supported and encouraged me. Because of her efforts, I am now confident and self-sufficient.

Millions of moms are advocating for and supporting their children with disabilities. For that I salute and thank you. Your love and guidance makes all the difference in our lives!

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: May 1, 2022

CODA’s Win

Will CODA’s success carry over? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute”

With CODA’s triumphant award season – including its recent Oscar for Best Picture – many hope this is the time for disabled actors to shine in Hollywood. In 2021, several members of the entertainment industry called for more representation of people with disabilities in all forms of media.  But is the industry paying attention?

Last year, networks reported a 12 percent increase in their depictions of individuals with disabilities. However, many of those roles were played by non-disabled actors. That’s why we at “Disability Minute” are particularly proud of CODA Star and Deaf Actor Troy Kotsur’s Supporting Actor win. His performance is yet another indicator that those with disabilities can not only do the same jobs as non-disabled people, but can also reach the apex of their professions.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: April 24, 2022

Home Modifications tips for People with Disabilities

Spring is home-improvement season. If you’re considering making your home more disability friendly, even small adaptations can make a big difference. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

People often think accessibility modifications are big projects, like installing wheelchair ramps or widening doorways. But simple changes, like having good lighting around the house or putting household items within reach, can make your home more accessible.

Most importantly, says Laura Hayes, occupational therapist at The Chicago Lighthouse, make sure that all modifications address the individual’s specific needs.

“A particular solution that works for one client, may not be appropriate for the other. Just because something says it’s universally designed, doesn’t mean that’s still going to be the actual solution.”

For more modification tips and resources, visit the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities’ website.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 17, 2022

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for People with Disabilities

Medical marijuana has been proven to alleviate symptoms from chronic pain to depression. What considerations might people with disabilities want to make before trying it? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

According to Feliza Castro, founder of The Healing Clinic, an advocacy group for cannabis patients, “There are currently 52 qualifying conditions in Illinois, so the first step would be to make sure that you qualify.”

For people with disabilities, those qualifying conditions can include Autism, glaucoma and seizure disorders, to name a few. Castro says that thee benefits of having a medical cannabis card include access to a wider array of products and cost savings.

“On average they pay about 30% less than recreational customers.”

Unfortunately, as it is still illegal on the federal level, even medicinal use may negatively affect social security benefits, so be sure to way your options.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 10, 2022

Accessible Travel and Tourism Resources

Thinking about a vacation? For people with disabilities, travel planning can involve additional considerations. I’m Maureen Reid with the Disability Minute.

In addition to travel concerns like cost, timing, and location, people with disabilities may want to include accessibility as part of their agenda. Challenges may include physical access and disability-friendly transportation.

Tour groups and private guides can help navigate accessibility challenges, but they often come with added costs.

Craig Kennedy, Program Coordinator at Open Doors, a travel resource for people with disabilities, says advance planning and honesty is key. “Doing your research ahead of time, taking ownership of your situation and knowing what you need. Sharing that information with the people that are providing the travel for you.”

For me, planning my trips is as much fun as going on them.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 3, 2022

Resources for  Aging in Place: Illinois Department on Aging

Many of the natural effects of aging, like decreased vision and hearing, physical impairment, and comfort in routine can eventually tip into the realm of disability. What resources are available to help older adults continue living in their own homes? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

The Illinois Department on Aging has several programs designed to help adults live independently for as long as possible. The assistance offered includes meal delivery, shopping assistance and transportation services. According to Department Director Paula Basta, the goal is to help seniors remain confident and connected to their communities.

“People want to have a choice. They want to be able to live in the communities that they grew up in and that they know best.”

More information can be found at illinois.gov/aging or by calling 1-800-252-8966.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

Air Date: March 27, 2022

Workplace Inclusion for People with Autism

What challenges do Individuals with Autism face in the workplace? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

According to the National Autism Society, more than 85 percent of college graduates who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, are unemployed. Among the reasons for this disturbingly high unemployment rate are: cultural stigmas, missing employment resources, and lack of reasonable accommodations.

As businesses contend with the ongoing labor shortage, many employers are re-considering employment possibilities for people on the Autism spectrum. Tucker Kelly, a job coach for Urban Autism Solutions, says employees with Autism deserve this chance to succeed.

“If I can speak directly to employers just to say that these are hardworking young people, who are as committed and engaged as anyone else. You should hire these students because they are as qualified to do these jobs as anyone else.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: March 20, 2022

GenerationG

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, and a Chicago-based organization is using the occasion to promote acceptance. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

GiGi’s Playhouse is a national network of “Achievement Centers” that provide a community of support for people with Down syndrome. For the past six years, the organization has been running a grass-roots campaign of acceptance called “Generation G.”

“It means ’be accepting, be generous, and be kind’.” GiGi, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome, inspired the Playhouses.

In addition to encouraging others to be generous, accepting and kind, being part of Generation G includes pledging to be more pro-active about celebrating others’ differences.

For more information about how to join Generation G, check out their website at IAcceptYou.org.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: March 13, 2022

Accessible Credit Cards

Financial companies are stepping up their game to improve privacy and security for people who are vision impaired. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Distinguishing between credit cards can be a real challenge when you can’t see. When I’m at a retail register, I often have to rely on the kindness of staff or other customers to determine which card I’m using. In the end, I have to trust that they don’t steal my information.

MasterCard recently announced a line of touch cards that would incorporate a tactile mark to help distinguish between its debit, credit, and pre-paid cards. These cards are coming out after MasterCard also began using a series of audible tones to help users who are blind and vision impaired recognize when they complete a transaction.

Inclusive design, like these touch cards, is an important step in helping people with disabilities be secure and independent in a modern world.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: March 6, 2022

What is The Disability Equality Index?

As businesses focus on diversity and inclusion, they may want to take note of the Disability Equality Index. I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability Minute.

The Disability Equality Index, or DEI, offers a list of top companies that prioritize hiring people with disabilities. The DEI measures a number of benchmarks including employment and recruitment practices, community engagement, and supplier diversity, as well as culture and leadership. By using the DEI, businesses gain knowledge of disability inclusion, while expanding their brand recognition and equity. At the same time, potential employees get a list of companies who are more likely to hire and include them in all aspects of employment. For companies who want to improve their DEI scores, the Index offers tools and guidelines for best practices. To learn more, visit DisabilityIn.org

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: February 27, 2022

2022 Beijing Paralympics: all about Sled Hockey

The Paralympic Games are here! I’m Sandy Murillo with the Disability Minute.

This March, seventeen sled-hockey players head to Beijing to compete in the twenty-twenty-two Paralympic Games. Sled hockey follows the rules of traditional hockey, with five players and one goalie for each team. Players use a specially designed sled that sits on two ice blades and uses two sticks instead of one.

The sticks serve double duty. As an ice pick that propels the player, and a hockey stick for passing and shooting.

Kevin McKee, a forward for the Shirly Ryan Ability Lab Chicago Blackhawks, is excited to represent the USA at this year’s Paralympics. As a two-time gold medalist, he says the sport has given him independence.

“It was one of the first sports I played with other disabled people. It was also a sport that I was able to get out of a wheelchair, that is what kind of drew me into it. The speed was one of the best things too.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: February 20, 2022

Spectrums of Low Vision

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. What does it mean to have low vision? I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

Low Vision means having impaired vision that cannot be corrected by glasses, surgery or medication. Dr. Kara Crumbliss, low vision optometrist, says many factors play into having low vision.

“As a majority, they affect visual acuity, visual field, or both, but they can also affect light sensitivity, contrast sensitivity, color vision and color impairment.”

Some people with low vision may be able to read a street sign, but still need a cane for navigation. Others may see well enough to navigate, but are unable to read signs and restaurant menus.

“It’s important to learn that legal blindness, blindness and vision impairment are all on a spectrum, and people with a recognized visual impairment can still be very visual.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago lighthouse, Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 105.9 WBBM.

 

Air Date: February 13, 2022

Finding your Match through Online Dating

Love is in the air! How are people with disabilities finding their match? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Online dating has become commonplace. But for people with disabilities, wading into the world of Match and Tinder can be intimidating.  It may feel like disability is the difference between a right or left swipe.

Some sites are enabling features that filter by disability, as well as general interests. This gives users more autonomy and choice.

“It does expand opportunities in uniting different communities within the disability community and those without disabilities.” Dr. Julie Williams is a professor at Wright State University who studies disabilities. “Personal choice, to have the freedom to choose, is very relevant.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: February 6, 2022

At-Home COVID Test Inaccessibility

At-home tests are a key component for controlling COVID. For many people with disabilities, however, these tests may as well be useless. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute”.

Taking an at-home COVID test requires several steps that may be difficult for people with disabilities. People with visual impairments are unable to read the directions or the results, and those with dexterity limitations may have trouble placing the swabs and droplets in the tests.

Though family and friends can help, Dr. Kara Crumbliss, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at The Chicago Lighthouse, says there are drawbacks to that approach.

“If you have to invite someone else to help you into your home to administer that test, when you potentially have COVID, you’re compromising their health and safety as well.”

Dr. Crumbliss hopes future versions will include features to make them more accessible.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: January 30, 2022

Shovel your Sidewalks Please!

It’s winter and you know what that means- snow covered sidewalks.  I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability Minute.

Unshoveled sidewalks can make winter travel dangerous and sometimes impossible for people with disabilities. Andrew Polrang, Disability Activist and writer for Forbes says that the first step to fix this issue is defining the responsibilities of public services versus private citizens.

“You own your property, but you don’t own the sidewalk. Many of these municipalities act as if you do, saying, it’s your responsibility to clear the city sidewalk in front of your house or business.”

Besides unshoveled sidewalks, other hazards include ice, blocked crosswalks, and trees heavy with snow and hanging low. People are often forced to navigate in the street to go around these obstacles and some have no choice but to stay home. Let’s keep the community safe.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: January 23, 2022

What are ABLE accounts

You may have heard people with disabilities can benefit from an ABLE account. What is it, and how does it help? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute”.

Achieving a Better Life Experience – or ABLE- accounts were created by Congress in 2014 to allow people with disabilities to save and invest money without putting their Social Security benefits at risk. The accounts, which also carry some tax perks, are available for people whose onset of disability occurred before the age of 26. ABLE account funds can be used to pay for qualified disability expenses, such as housing, transportation, and medical bills.

Here’s Illinois State Treasurer, Michael Frerichs.

“I am proud to have launched the Illinois ABLE program for those with disabilities to save for the future, and for a better quality of life.”

For more information about creating an ABLE account, go to illinoisable.com.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: January 16, 2022

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. What do you need to know?    I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

People of all ages can get glaucoma. Those at higher risk include individuals with a family history of the disease, or underlying conditions like diabetes.  Dr. Tracy Matchinski, an Optometrist at The Chicago Lighthouse, says it is important to know the symptoms and to get regular eye exams.

“The beginning symptoms of glaucoma can be hazy, cloudy vision.  You miss some things in your environment like a chair, or a person or a car. They kind of get lost in the side vision that you don’t have. Don’t wait until you feel like you are losing your side vision to get tested because then it is already very advanced.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: January 9, 2022

Enhancements to Disney’s DAS Program

Disney wants its theme parks to be places of magic and wonder. How does this extend to people with disabilities?  I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Disney’s Disability Access Services (D-A-S) program helps people with disabilities avoid lines by reserving a time for quick admission to rides and other attractions. In the past, people could only arrange these benefits in-person. This fall, the company will debut its D-A-S Advance service, allowing guests to pre-register for experiences up to 30 days in advance.

In addition, guests registered through the D-A-S Program will be able to book ride reservations through the company’s “My Disney Experience” app. More information about Disney’s accessibility services can be found on their website.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: January 2, 2022

Using the Taxi Access Program to increase flexibility and Independence

In Chicago, people with disabilities are fortunate to have many options when it comes to transportation. But there are advantages and disadvantages to them all. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

PACE Paratransit is perhaps the most used transportation by people with disabilities. Its door-to-door service is convenient for most errands and appointments. However, rides must be scheduled a day in advance, making it harder to use PACE on short notice.

For more spontaneous activities, people with disabilities can use the Taxi Access Program, or TAP Card, which allows riders to call a cab in the City of Chicago when they need a ride on demand. With a TAP Card, rides under 30-dollars only cost 3-dollars.

TAP Cards are available to people who already qualify for PACE Paratransit. You can get more details by calling PACE or visiting their website.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9FM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: December 26, 2021

Resolutions for 2022 and Beyond

The New Year is just around the corner! What resolutions might you make to help people with disabilities?

I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute”.

We decided to turn the tables a bit and asked our non-disabled colleagues about their new year’s resolutions.  Here are some of their answers.

“I want to support organizations that promote accessibility.”

“Next time we’re at a restaurant, I’ll read the menu to my co-worker who is blind.”

“There’s a boy who has Down syndrome in my son’s class, and I’m going to invite him over for a playdate.”

“I’m going to see people’s abilities, not their limitations.”

No matter the time of year, these resolutions never get old. We all can do our part! Every little bit helps to make a world of access and inclusion in the New Year and beyond. Our resolution is to continue producing “The Disability Minute.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse, Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: December 19, 2021

Art Therapy for people with disabilities

For those experiencing learning disability or mental illness, art can be much more than a pastime. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

People with Autism, mental illness or other conditions sometimes struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings. Robyn Jablonski from Project Onward, an art studio for people with disabilities, says they can reap many therapeutic benefits from creating, exhibiting and selling art.

“Artists with disabilities or with mental illness, they think visually, and this is our way of communicating with the world. That satisfaction of being able to communicate a thought is what gives our artists pride in what they do.”

Seeing the final product come to fruition also gives a sense of gratification and calm to these artists.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: December 12, 2021

Understanding Age-Related Disabilities

Sixty may be the new forty, but aging is an experience we all share. As we grow older, the potential for disability increases. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

In the U.S., Half of all people over 65 have a disability, though many of them don’t consider themselves to be disabled. Commonly acquired disabilities include hearing loss, vision loss, and issues related to memory and brain function.

Dr. Michael Peplow, who specializes in geriatric medicine at Amida Health, said that staying active is key.

“It’s important to stimulate your brain, doing activities and certain puzzles. Doing some exercises, even just walking a few days a week is important.”

If you or someone you know is concerned about age-related disability, The Chicago Department of Aging, the Illinois Department on Aging, and even your primary care provider can help you find resources and information.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: December 5, 2021

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

As the world begins recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, people with disabilities want more inclusion. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Lack of health information in sign language or braille, inaccessible spaces, and social isolation are a few of the challenges people with disabilities regularly encounter. These long-standing obstacles were further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates across the world see this as a new opportunity to rethink accessibility and inclusion.

Dr. Antony Duttine, regional Advisor on Disability and Rehabilitation with the World Health Organization, offers the following tips:

“Continue to raise your voice. Continue to identify areas which can be addressed, and offer solutions as well.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: November 28, 2021

Sensory Friendly Clothing

Finding the right clothing can make you feel confident and comfortable. I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability Minute.

For people with Sensory Processing Disorders, clothing can be uncomfortable, distracting, and intolerable. Chicago entrepreneur Dina Lewis, who makes a line of sensory safe clothing for kids called Minor Details, says she looks to eliminate features that may be triggering.

“The fabric has to be extremely soft. What we do is we made our neck lines wide enough that they easily go over heads. We eliminated tags completely. Our seams are as flat a seam as you can get, which is a huge trigger for a lot of kids.”

The result is clothing that is fashionable, sensory friendly, and something they want to wear. In addition, adaptive clothing promotes independence and self- esteem.

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: November 21, 2021

Family Gatherings: finding comfort for people with sensory disabilities

Holiday gatherings can be stressful for people with sensory processing disorders. How can you make your guests feel more comfortable? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability minute”

Sensory disabilities, such as Autism, occur when a person has difficulty processing sensory information. For some, large gatherings can mean an overwhelming number of stimuli, leading to possible outbursts.

Deborah Vance from The Answer Incorporated, an autism support agency, made this recommendation. “The first thing I would suggest is for the parent that has a child that is living with Autism to have a conversation with the family members as it relates to their child’s triggers, some of the things that they like and dislike.”.

It also helps to plan ahead. Provide familiar activities and food that might put them at ease. Also, consider having a quiet room or area where guests can regroup without judgment.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: November 14, 2021

A Break from Student Loans for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities who are burdened with student debt may soon be getting some relief. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

In August, the U.S. Department of Education announced it would discharge more than 5-point-8 BILLION dollars in federal student loans for people who have been recognized as having a “total and permanent disability” The Department will use Social Security Administration data to determine relief.

“If you have a review period of once every five to seven years; that will trigger for the Department of Education, that you are entitled to now an automatic discharge of your outstanding Federal student loans under the total and permanent disability program.” That’s Alex Elson with the National Student Legal Defense Network.

Wondering if you qualify? The Department of Education will be informing people whether their loans were discharged in the coming weeks.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here. 

 

Air Date: November 7, 2021

Veterans Return to Civilian Life

Transitioning to civilian life can be challenging for all Veterans, especially for those who may have acquired a disability. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

For Veterans with disabilities, returning home can be difficult. Many parts of their pre-service life may now be inaccessible, and friends and families may be uncomfortable or even unaccepting.

“They may have to adjust to coping with that disability day in and day out.” That’s Catherine Cornell, Attorney with The Veterans Practice, Limited.

For Veterans with disabilities who are struggling with the transition to civilian life, there are resources available. One such option is Illinois Joining Forces, which connects Veterans with local assistance organizations. Their phone number is 8-3-3-INFO-I-J-F.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information click here. & here.

 

Air Date: October 31, 2021

Born for Business 

People with disabilities are often over looked in the job market, and start their own businesses instead. I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

People with disabilities are drawn to entrepreneurship because they often can’t find opportunities in traditional work environments, either because of false perceptions or a lack of understanding by potential employers. Jonathan Murray is the producer of The Real World, Born This Way, and most recently, Born for Business, a program currently streaming on Peacock showcasing four entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Murray says these individuals see their business as a way to be included in society.

“They want to participate fully. They want to participate in employment and in their communities. They don’t want someone to just hand them a check.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information click here.

 

Air Date: October 24, 2021

Scary, Wacky or Quirky: Adaptive Halloween Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching. Where can people with disabilities find inclusive and accessible costumes? I’m Ben Chargot with The Disability Minute.

Not everyone with a disability needs or wants a specialized Halloween costume, but for those that do, the options are increasing. Adaptive costumes are created with features like opened backs to simplify getting dressed for people with limited mobility, hidden pockets and access ports for medical equipment, and designs that incorporate devices like wheelchairs and canes.

In addition, major retailers like Target and Party City have these costumes readily available, so kids and parents don’t have to stress about finding them. As Target’s chief design officer Julie Guggemos said in a company blog post: “Everyone deserves to feel included and celebrated.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for News Radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information click here. 

 

Air Date: October 17, 2021
Equal Pay for People with Disabilities

Illinois recently took a major step forward in closing the wage gap for workers with disabilities. What happened and why is this important? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

A federal law dating back to the 1930s allows companies to pay employees with disabilities wages well below the minimum wage. As a result, people with disabilities on average earn 87-cents for every dollar earned by those without disabilities.

On October fourth, Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker signed an executive order barring vendors doing business with the state from paying employees with disabilities sub-minimum wages. The order applies to new and existing contracts.

Governor Pritzker said this is the right thing to do. “People with disabilities deserve equal treatment with others who are working.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

To listen to the full interview with Governor J.B. Pritzker, click here.

 

Air Date: October 10, 2021
Respite Care Services

It often goes unsaid that providing round-the-clock care for someone with a disability can be physically and emotionally draining. For caregivers who feel overwhelmed, there are resources available. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Respite care helps caregivers take a break, care for themselves, and emotionally recharge. Often publicly subsidized, respite care can take many forms, ranging from in-home care and specialized day programs, to overnight camps.

“The benefit of getting out of the home is important,” says Maggie Lyons from the Illinois Respite Coalition. “Individuals that are caring for someone don’t really realize how stressed they are. You don’t think you need to reach out to anybody.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9FM.

For more information click here.

 

Air Date: October 3, 2021
The Benefits of Inclusive Employment

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Why should companies hire people with disabilities? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

As a job counselor with The Chicago Lighthouse, I help people with disabilities find employment. Even when they have advanced degrees or extensive vocational training, many clients have difficulty landing a job in their field. Employers may be concerned about the cost of providing accommodations or worry about a possible disruption to the workplace. However, quantitative studies and anecdotal evidence show that including staff with disabilities has both practical and emotional benefits.

“Employees with disabilities, we find, are innovators. They’re creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.” Dawn Rose is the Director of Planning and Human Capital at Northwestern Medicine. “We also know employees with disabilities are really dedicated and committed to reliably working in their roles.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

For more information click here.

 

Air Date: September 26, 2021
Mitigating Diabetes’s Disabling Effects

Type-2 Diabetes is a growing health concern in the U.S., and its long-term effects can lead to several disabling conditions. But there are ways to prevent this disease and its effects. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

According to the CDC, one in three adults are at risk for diabetes, especially those who are overweight, or have a family history of the disease. For those at-risk, Lucia Flores, of the Illinois Public Health Institute, offers these tips.

“Eating raw, whole fruits. Drinking more water. In terms of incorporating physical activity, the recommendations are 30 minutes five days a week.”

Resources like Chicago CARES to Prevent Diabetes offer additional information that can help prevent and manage diabetes.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

For more information click here.

 

Air Date: September 19, 2021
Making Convenience Accessible

More industries are relying on self-service technology, so what can be done to make sure everyone can serve themselves? I’m Ben Chargot with the disability minute.

Self-checkouts in grocery stores and touch-screen fast-food ordering kiosks make the retail experience more convenient – and faster – for many consumers. But many of these options are neither accessible nor intuitive for people with visual impairments.

Integrated screen readers can provide audio guides for touch screens. According to Ray Campbell, Senior Accessibility Analyst for United Airlines, one way to encourage businesses to incorporate this technology is by acknowledging those that already do.

“We complain enough, and I think it’s just as important that we also commend those that are doing the right thing. I think it’s important that not only do we commend companies for doing that, but that we use those things.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: September 12, 2021
Long-Haul COVID Relief Under the A.D.A.

Recently, President Biden indicated that people living with long-term health complications from COVID may be entitled to protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Why? And what may qualify? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

While contracting COVID itself does not qualify for protections under the ADA, those who have “long-haul COVID” symptoms such as Brain Fog and difficulty breathing may ask for certain accommodations.

A student who has difficulty concentrating may ask for extended test times. Or, a customer who has difficulty standing for long periods of times may request that a place be held in line while they sit.

Wondering if you qualify? The civil rights divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice are offering guidance on their websites.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9FM.

For more information click here.

 

Air Date: September 5, 2021
CPS’s IEP Backlog Leaves Students with Disabilities Hanging

Chicago Public Schools has resumed full-time, in-person instruction for the first time in more than a year. How has this long break affected children with special needs? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

According to Chalkbeat.org, more than 17-hundred C-P-S students with special needs could not get their Individualized Education Programs reissued during the last school year. Those programs are legal documents guaranteeing resources and supports. Amanda Klemas, an attorney with Equip for Equality, says the district should create a plan to ensure these students get the services they need.

“We’re sort of leaving our most-vulnerable students hanging, and so we need to figure out a way to correct that so that they’re not put at a major disadvantage as they’re continuing to move through their education.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Sandy Murillo for Newsradio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 29, 2021
Media Representation Matters

How does media representation impact the perception of people with disabilities? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

The way people with disabilities are portrayed on screen can either support negative stereotypes or debunk them. A 2018 study evaluating 280 network and streaming television shows found disability “almost always portrayed as an undesirable, depressing and limiting state.”

“Most people in the world don’t know any blind people, and so these representations on tv and the movies are often many people’s only encounter and engagement with disability.” That’s Andrew Leland, who has published several articles on the topic.

There may be some progress. Earlier this year, 80 Hollywood stars and industry figures signed an open letter calling for disability representation in all forms of media.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

 

Air Date: August 22, 2021
Is working from home a reasonable accommodation?

Like others, people with disabilities have benefitted from working remotely during the pandemic.  Whether they can continue to do so is not guaranteed. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace. While there is no concrete definition of what that means, Peter Berg, of the Great Lakes ADA Center, says accommodations must be directly related to job duties and performance.

“They’re not obligated to provide the specific accommodation an employee requests. Nor are they required to provide what amounts to a preference.”

“An employee with a disability may prefer to work from home because they like it, but that’s not the basis for an accommodation.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Sandy Murillo for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 15, 2021
Don’t call me inspirational

Have you ever wondered if you’re saying the wrong thing? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Let’s face it, language is confusing. Meanings change, and what may have been acceptable once may be out of favor now. On top of that, preferred terms often differ from person to person.

For example, as someone who is blind, I don’t like being called inspirational because I take the bus to work. Life with a disability is my normal. Being someone’s inspiration makes me feel like they have lower expectations because of my disability, even if they mean well.

Others, however, may not mind “inspirational.” In most cases, it comes down to personal preference.

So, how can you know what language to use around people with disabilities? In my experience, it always helps to ask.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

 

Air Date: August 8, 2021
Clinical Trial shaping the future of vision technology

How are three local organizations continuing Chicago’s spirit of innovation to help people with disabilities? I’m Maureen Reid with The Disability Minute.

The Chicago Lighthouse, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Rush ​University Medical Center have launched a clinical trial that may help people who are completely blind regain some light perception. The Intracortical Visual Prosthesis, or ICVP, is a group of wireless implants that are approximately the size of a pencil eraser that connect directly to the brain’s visual cortex.

The ICVP will not restore normal vision, but it is a step in that direction. Principal Investigator Dr. Philip Troyk likens trial participants to John Glenn paving the way for Neil Armstrong. “Much like the astronauts, the experiences that they tell us will help us shape the technology for future recipients and future systems.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: August 1, 2021
Accessibility Rocks!

With music festivals across Chicago back on the calendar, how can attendees with disabilities get the most out of their experience? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

To start things off right, most big festivals like Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, and Pitchfork have designated drop-off and pick-up areas for people with disabilities and entrances that are less crowded or allow early entry.

Once you’re inside, staff at access and information booths can answer questions, provide assistance, and hook you up with a wristband to enter accessible viewing areas.

Space in these viewing areas is limited, so you’ll want to arrive early. Sign Language interpreters will also be available at most stages, but it is unclear whether they can interpret mumblecore. Enjoy the show!

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Ben Chargot for NewsRadio 780 and 105.9 FM.

For more information, click here.


For more information, please contact:
Angela D’Antonio
(312)447-3246
angela.dantonio@chicagolighthouse.org

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