A-Z Disability Challenge | E : Events

This was originally supposed to go to a fellow blogger’s site that fall, but by the time I had the time to work on it, she was booked on her blog. So, when I came up with this series, I thought about putting this subject on my blog instead. I hope this post helps with creating or attending your next event.

We all make some type of events with our friends, coworkers, etc all the time. A lot of people love being the person that comes up with the ideas and puts it all together. I will give kudos to anyone that does that job, because I would have a headache going into it. Anyways If you are the one that plans for the entire thing, you usually have it all planned out in your notebook or tablet, just to keep everything organized, you might be missing some things that you wouldn’t necessarily think about needing to know right away.

If you invite somebody that has a disability, whether it’s physical or invisible, you need to cover all areas to fit that person’s needs. Now how do you do that? Well here are some of the basic things you need to remember to do.

  • You need to make sure the place where you will be having the event itself is handicapped accessible.

  • If you’ve invited somebody who is deaf, hire an interpreter.

  • Put things to at eye-level, so that everybody can reach for things easily.

  • Allow them to have their own food brought in, if they can’t have what you’re serving.

  • Brings plastic ware like forks, knifes, spoons, and even multiple straws.

  • Ask the person if they need help, especially if they didn’t bring somebody with them.

  • Make sure they are included in every aspect.

I was going to explain each one of the helpful hints in full, but I thought some were pretty self-explanatory. The first one needs to be discussed is making sure the area is accessible to everybody. For somebody with a disability, we always look out for certain things, like ramps, elevators, and a large bathroom. As a warning, from the moment we get out of our vehicles, we are like hawks, making sure everything is how it should be. You have to be as honest with them as you can as well. If you tell a person with a disability, that the building is accessible, you have to mean everything! If there are stairs, there has to be an elevator. If there is a curb, you have to say “there’s no ramp”. If the bathrooms are tiny as hell, you have to tell them!

Nowadays, lots of people have different food allergies. They might have an allergy to gluten, milk, peanuts, etc and since these are pretty common, a lot of people will respect their wishes and make sure to leave out these foods for that person. However, if you’re on a special diet, and this goes for vegan/vegetarians too, things can be a little bit more difficult for the planner. You want to serve food that everybody will enjoy, but when more than one person cannot have a certain dish, you can’t just change it for them. This is why I included allowing people to bring a small bento box of food that they know they can have to eat, but also I say this for those, who are only allowed to be feed through a tube as well!

To me, this last one just seems mandatory for anybody hosting or planning an event. You need to make sure that everybody in the room is getting attention. Whenever I’d go to events at school, I always felt like I wasn’t included on a lot of things my classmates were doing, and it made me feel really conflicted and sad, because you don’t want to pull somebody or a group of people away but you also don’t want to be lonely at the same time. One thing I do want to say is that, when you do have somebody with a disability at your event, don’t watch them like a hawk. We don’t want your full-on attention, we just want to be included with the rest of the group, so just treat us like in the way you would want to be treated.

Have you ever hosted and/or planned an event before? If you invited a person with a disability, did they explain to you what you needed to look out for to abide by their needs? If you’re disabled, please comment below with some of our helpful hints you think people should know when inviting disabled people to events. 

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Looking Back & Forward

Howdy!

This is last blog post of 2019! I cannot believe we are now embarking on a new journey. I know everybody (or most likely) will have different resolutions for the new year. I think with every passing year, people will make these lists and have good intentions but as time goes on, we seem to forget everything we wanted to accomplish in the beginning! I was like that for most of the year. I published a blog post at the start of 2018 talking about some of the goals I wanted to do, and only managed to do two on the actual list. However, I think this is a win because I completed two specific plans during the whole year!

The goals I was able to do this past year were:

  • Make time for other stuff

  • Write Out Ideas

Everytime I tried to plan out my blogging schedule or anything something would happen. There were a lot of different obstacles in the way and it wasn’t until the end of summer that I just gave up with planning and just let everything slide!

At the start of the year I got sick for the first time since probably 2012 and I wasn’t allowed to do anything but tightly wrap up in my fleece blankets to sleep and sweat it off. I was basically scrambling to get material written and scheduled on here and my social media accounts for you guys, but somehow in the mist of it all I just decided that I needed to stop stressing myself out so much that could wait until I was healthy enough to officially be ready to come back, thus I made time to recover and enjoyed being lazy and watched television for hours on end!

As you might remember, my sister was originally due to give birth to my nephew on the 4th of July weekend. Well, I had some ideas on what kind of content I wanted to release during the month of June and parts of July too. The only one that never changed of the first plan were the baby shower and nursery tour. Well, since little man was born kind of early, my whole schedule was basically put on hiatus; and I relished on the fact that I was now an auntie to this little human but after I took some time off to love on him, I wrote the only post that went up after his birth in the summer before my mental health took a downhill and where instead of being awake at night because of my drippy nose and uncontrollable coughs, I was in the middle of a depression spell one week after being put on antidepressants.

As I suffered every hour of those 31 days, Netflix and I began fast friends in that time period as I binge watched The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and every nature documentaries I could find that was hosted by David Attenborough. After two months went by, I suddenly had my energy back and was able to write blog posts again. I even started to read again, and I was really enjoying reading “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han. I really wanted to get it done before the movie premiered but I still haven’t finished it or “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs, but I’ll get to it and they can be something I can do this year!

After September, I was just me again. I had no issues, other than the increasing back and knee pains but mentally I was doing better and that was okay with me! I have had slower weeks and whenever that happens I just let myself give in and take some time off of everything and when I feel good enough, I jump back in again but now I’m at the point that I don’t try to fight it. I need to make time to create better ideas and ultimately material for you all and I like being able to scoot away from everything every once in a while. I’m never totally offline during the break, but I am out for three hours at a time so that’s a big thing for me!

Would you like for me to do a separate post of my favorite blog posts of 2018? 


For 2019, I have a few things I’d like to do but I have a new project for GMB!

I really want to challenge myself to come up with as many disability themed pieces as I could for my blog. So, I have created an A to Z Disability Challenge to get me through half of the year. I don’t know what really inspired it, I just felt like I needed to talk about these themes on here a little bit more. A lot of the articles will be things that I’ve personally went through in my life. I think it’ll give people, of various ages a totally different outlook on how one disabled person’s life should be, and it also shows the parents, grandparents, etc ideas on how they can give their disabled child or young adult a chance to be proven wrong.

I am very excited about this project. I’ve actually been thinking about it since the end of July, which is a little odd considering I did not want to think of anything blog related, but managed to come up with this anyways. I asked my Facebook friends of ideas on letter suggestions, so every letter is represented by a certain disability theme, like B is “building trust” so I’ll be discussing how a person with or without a disability should develop trust with people. Another example is the letter H and the theme is “Asking For Help” and we’ll be talking about why you should ask help and most importantly teaching others how it’s better to ask a disabled person if they need help with anything, before you go ahead and do it for them.

I’m hoping that these posts will be starting next week, but it would all depend on anything big happening in the meantime. My family is in the process of moving into our new house, and it’ll whether or not we have internet when those pieces will be published, but they will go up on a start of a new week, so hopefully everything will work out well enough (but so far nothing’s been on time) but who really knows!

Are you making any resolutions or goals for 2019? What are you most looking forward to? 

What It’s Like To Be A (Disabled) Blogger

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Howdy!

Last Friday, I celebrated another milestone, nine years of blogging! I know some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t just skip celebrating it when it’ll be the big one zero next fall, but I think it’s important every single thing, big or little, that happens in your life. There’s also the possibility I may not continue blogging next year too, although that is not going to happen anytime soon, but a lot can happen between now and then honestly.

For this post, I wanted to give you an insight on what goes on as a blogger, from my point of view as a disabled person. I think it’s important to show you (someone on the outside) what I do on a monthly basis. Honestly a lot of the time I’m in a panic because I haven’t gotten one day of the week finished yet and my mind has already moved on to the next two weeks! It can get really crazy but I have made it a point to not push myself as a writer. I go at my own pace, sometimes it’s a little fast, but it’s a steady pace!

 

A Day In The Life

Where normal people have their laptops either placed on a table or on their laps, I don’t have that luxury. Mine is always at the foot of the bed so I can get to everything easily. I started going about it this way, because it is getting increasingly harder for my parents to pick me off the floor. I did try it on the floor a few times in the beginning, but it was very uncomfortable as far as how I sat on my butt and my back instantly hurt everytime I went to type on the keys. This other way became my only way to continue my blog.

One more interesting part to this set up is the fact that the laptop is not flat on the floor, unfortunately that is too low for the way my feet are arranged, so it sits on a mobile seat cushion that a person would normally use during sports events and even graduations! I’ve used two or three of these things in the last six years, and the one I have now is a beloved, family cushion of Indiana University and yes, I feel horrible that it is literally breaking at the seams!

You might see pictures of other people with their computers, they look absolutely gorgeous as they’re clean and polished. Well, mine is not that way at all! It has a lot of hairs and dust on the screen and keyboard. Hell, I’m even missing the letter “D” but like I tell everybody that takes a look at it, “it still works!” I do try to wipe it off the best I can, but nothing really works. Let’s be really honest, have you tried your best to clean your screen on your phones and/or reading tablet?

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You are probably freaking out that I actually shared a picture of it, but if I want to be brutally honest about my layout. This is part of it too. You have to remember, I use my toes to type on this, so they can collect different particles, sorry to the ones who are terrified of feet! If you had to use your feet to do everything for yourself. you’d be surprised what could happen! I mean, despite that, think about the ones who have to use pencils to prick the keys or maybe their tongue to work it, that’s a lot of different flecks from various places that get stuck in between those small areas.

Besides the laptop setup, I have two other things that I use to help me out on a weekly basis. My nana gave me a small bookshelf a couple of years, and I actually have a lot of fun organizing it, as I continue to get things to help stack papers together and make more room for other things too. This was a picture I used in the original blog post, it has now changed, but I’m thinking of switching it back to this, because it looks less chaotic! Anyways, I have everything from my pens to numerous notebooks placed in the two shelves, all ready for me to grab and figure out what I need to do next.

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I have a Styrofoam box that my nana used to get her meals delivered in a couple of years ago. We had one stashed underneath the kitchen table at my grandparents house, and she let me take another one home so I could have a makeshift table to write on right by my bed. I actually use for various things; like writing out ideas in my notepads or looking at my daily planner. I can even use to do simple things like read a book or place my remote on it in the middle of the night so I don’t have to worry about kicking it off the bed!

Despite all of this, blogging is still a lonely thing to do. What gets me is that the only time we allow others to join in is when we want guest posts, other than that we are the ones that do everything for our blogs because it could be we’d rather do everything ourselves. We update our social media accounts and network our asses off! We usually get whatever ideas come to us in different times of the day (or night) and they’ll drive you nuts until you have to get out your phone or in my case To Do List and write out a collection of prompts to keep in mind for future open spots.

Overall though, blogging is fun! You get to “meet” wonderful people that are usually trying to do the same thing you are and because of them, you can express your worries and celebrate every good thing that comes your way. Unfortunately, not everyone will congratulate you on your accomplishments, but there is always someone that will send you a “good job” comment or tweet that will make you feel loved, and I think that’s part of the reason why we continue to do it, because thanks to them, we’re being appreciated for our hard work and it makes everything worthwhile!

snowflake

 

Guest Post |How and Why People with Disabilities Should Start A Home-Based Business by Patrick Young

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Hello!

Today’s post is about something different, I was contacted by Patrick back in May I think, and he wanted to write a piece about why people should create home-based businesses. I thought it was really interesting and a good read for anyone with a disability, and can’t work a normal job.


Having a disability can make both finding a job and working more difficult. A *study showed that 50% of unemployed disabled people reported some type of barrier to employment. Additionally, more than 50% of employment disabled individuals reported some difficultly completing their work duties because of their disability. For these reasons, those with disabilities may look to launching their own home-based businesses to reap the benefits of being their own boss.

Why You Should Go For It

Entrepreneurs with disabilities report that “being able to work from a particular location, in hours that suit the individual, can be hugely liberating.” Working set hours, such as the typical 9-to-5 schedule, can be difficult for those with disabilities, especially if the disability tends to be worse in the mornings, like with Multiple Sclerosis. Similarly, veterans who return home with disabilities find it difficult to work these hours or to work with a new disability, and those suffering from mental health disabilities tend to benefit from a more flexible schedule.

Travelling can also be difficult for people with disabilities, particularly those with mobility issues, such as someone confined to a wheelchair. If you were to own your own home-based business, you could work hours that accommodate your needs and set up a home office that fits your lifestyle.

Starting your own business also means you get to decide what tasks to assign yourself, so there’s no worry about duties that are difficult for you to tackle. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about not getting assigned work because someone else doesn’t think you can handle it, even though you can. You get to determine your role within the company from day one, and you can modify that role as you see fit.

Funding

Running your company from your home will save you money since you won’t have to rent or purchase property, but you’ll still need to find funding for other aspects to your business. Freebies are hard to come by, so when you come across someone offering free help, don’t pass up the offer. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are located all across the United States and support and promote small businesses by offering face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on a variety of valuable topics, including accessing capital, writing business plans, marketing, technology, development and more. Take advantage of this opportunity and find an SBDC near you.

Although federal and state governments do not offer grants for disabled people looking to start a business, they do offer loans with admirable interest rates and grants for entrepreneurs in general. Many private companies also offer loans specifically targeted at disabled entrepreneurs. Grants may be available through colleges and universities.

If you do not get 100% funded from one place, combine funding from multiple avenues. For example, a chef in Chicago worked with her local SBDC to write a business plan, obtain permits and licenses, and launch her corporation. Their combined efforts helped her harness a grant from the University of Illinois at Chicago for $5K, a grant from the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation services for almost $29K, and a microloan from Accion for $7K.

Finding People

In order for any business to be successful, it needs customers. Since you won’t have a storefront in the community for people to find you, you’ll need to utilize social media. Almost every business uses at least one social media platform, so it’s an easy way to reach your audience. Attend events and network with the community and other businesses. Do a giveaway for people to sample your product your product or service.

Once you start your fan base, get them to help you grow it even further. Word-of-mouth referrals from other customers grow your audience and make your business more appealing. Consider providing coupons or discounts in exchange for referrals and reviews. You can also offer a small commission on referrals.

You may be a veteran who is returning home with a disability and cannot fathom working 9-to-5 shift. Perhaps you suffer from a mental health illness, and the ebb and flow of the office environment exacerbates your symptoms. Or maybe you’re confined to a wheelchair, and transportation is a major hurdle for you. No matter your disability obstacle in the workforce, home-based entrepreneurship can offer a way for you to avoid the barriers and work comfortably on your own terms. With a little help and a lot of planning, you can successfully make it happen.