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Posts Tagged ‘ADA’


My monthly post is live today on Homeschool Mosaics​. After losing my father just a week and a half before, Nala, my new guide dog, appeared at my door to brighten my world with her sweet personality. Find out about her home training experience which was new to me, but worked out perfectly. God always knows what is in store for us and has the perfect plan! Don’t you just love that about Him? He loves us so much.

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/second-match-made-in-heaven-part-2-training/

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Perfect timing! My article about applying for a new guide dog has gone live on Home and School Mosaics! Why perfect timing? Well, the next stage in the process begins this Monday, February the 16th. The waiting is over! We and our fur babies get our own Valentine, Nala! Nala, from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., is a 1 and 1/2 year old Goldador, Golden Retriever and Labrador mix. This means another article in the series will be lived  beginning Monday. I am excited! Little Joe senses that something is up, but he isn’t going anywhere. He will remain with me and continued to be loved just as much as always. Due to the goodness of business owners we know, Little Joe will also get “work” whenever he wants to because they have graciously told us that Little Joe is loved by them, too, and always welcome in their workplaces. I love that, and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Little Joe does, too, because he says he still wants to work. His heart is in it even if his body is slowing. Well, I hope you will read and enjoy this story series. There are a lot of emotions in this for us. As I am excited to bring in a new member of the family, I am heartbroken that it is time for my Joey to retire. Come along as I share, I don’t think you will be disappointed. http://homeschoolmosaics.com/second-match-made-in-heaven/

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I have a new post live today on Homeschool Mosaics. This month I share my nightmare story that has been awakened by news stories of late. So read my Airport Horror Story here: http://homeschoolmosaics.com/airport-stories/

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It is time for the second installment about my trip to the aquarium. I hope you have fun reading about it, and it can bring encouragement that life after loss or with challenges can be full of love, learning, and fun.

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/my-visit-to-the-georgia-aquarium-part-2/

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You ever have something so exciting to say that it was too long to say all at once. Well, my trip to the Georgia Aquarium with husband and friends was just that. It was so exciting that it just didn’t all fit into one column on Homeschool Mosaics. I had lots of touches. Some were soft. Some were smooth. Some were squishy. Some were icky, but they were all fun. Join me over at Homeschool Mosaics to read all about the fun, but you have to come back next month to get the full story. It was just too much fun for one telling! Let’s go read all about the trip to the Georgia Aquarium.

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TOUCH POINTS

by Renée K. Walker

 

You may remember me describing here the troubles I have had getting doctors in my area to provide me interpreters. That fight continues, but I now have completed the first battle. Though I can’t speak of the specific circumstances or resolution, I can describe the process that I have been through now and that the process worked. At least for one incident, compliance to the ADA law and education to help those who come into this particular situation in the future has been met. That is what the advocacy process can do. We all need to learn the skills to advocate for ourselves, but at times, we need help to move the mountains before us.

 

The best way to begin is to call and ask for an appointment first. Once the organization has given you an appointment, tell them your specific communication needs that fall under ADA law for effective communication. This could be the CART system, which is where you have a typist who has been trained in medical or legal interpreting depending on your setting, or it could mean an ASL interpreter, or some other form of communication. If the office tells you that they don’t provide interpreters or your method of communication, try to remain calm and use the moment to educate the personnel regarding the ADA law. Explain that it is required by law and offer to provide the personnel with a copy of the law section that pertains to the situation. You can also direct them to the National Association for the Deaf’s (NAD) website at www.nad.org or the ADA website at www.ada.gov. Document your call and its contents in some way. If you use relay services, save the transcript. If you have a hearing person call for you, see if they will write a summary of the transcripts. In my state, the laws allow me to record conversations without the permission of the other party. That could be a possibility, but you have to check the laws of your state first. You do not want to be in violation. A written record is usually quite sufficient. Even if the office personnel stated they weren’t interested in the ADA information, mail them a copy anyway asking them to please look it over and seek legal advice if they wish. Respectfully ask them to consider your need. Call the office again after giving them a little time to do as you requested, documenting the phone call. Many times this opportunity to educate politely is all that is needed to help people to understand your needs and their responsibilities. Often, the personnel didn’t mean any disrespect. They just were unfamiliar with the law and had not had any prior experience with disabled persons needing communication assistance.

 

In the event that your needs are still not met, please don’t get discouraged and give up or go to an appointment using just a friend or relative who can communicate with you. The ADA law has been written to help you. There are reasons the ADA law stipulates using a qualified interpreter. Family and friends may not be able to translate the complex medical or legal concepts to the patient in an effective manner. Often times, emotional situations may be difficult for them to handle, and the family member or friend may resort to hiding some information. The love and concern is understandable and commendable, but it is not appropriate when the patient’s ability to make decisions regarding their health or legal issue is hindered. It is the patient’s right to decide the form of effective communication they need and want, but understanding why the ADA law was written is also important in helping the patient function on his own behalf.

 

Your next step should be to contact your state’s local advocacy agency or ADA attorney. The attorney assigned to you will then work with you to get the information regarding your complaint. If non-compliance is determined, the advocate will contact the organization and inform them of your complaint against them, providing the legal information that the organization needs to understand in order to best serve you. This may be enough to resolve your situation and help you get your communication needs met.

 

If not, you are not alone. Your advocate will help you with the next steps. If you wish to proceed, the advocate will file on your behalf a complaint to the Department of Justice (DOJ). You will provide input as to what you would like to receive from the organization that is in non-compliance, such as an appointment where an interpreter is provided to allow effective communication. Once the complaint is written, you will receive a copy and give final approval to allow the advocate to file the complaint with the DOJ. DOJ prefers to start off with using a third-party mediating company. This company provides people who are trained to remain objective and help the parties in a dispute come to an agreement. In this situation, they help the organization understand the need for compliance to the ADA and the best procedure to do that. They also help educate both parties in how to best meet the needs of the complainant (person filing the complaint). The mediation meeting takes place at a neutral place or using telephone conference or whatever method works best for the parties involved. Your advocate is with you throughout the process. You can decide if you want the advocate to speak for you or if you want to speak for yourself asking help from your advocate as needed. The process of mediation is not a court trial. It is an informal meeting for discussion. The mediator helps to keep the discussion flowing and working toward resolution. Either party can end the mediation process at any time. All conversation during the mediation is completely confidential, so you and the other parties can be open. You are not forced into anything, but you do have lots of support from your advocate and the mediator to help things run smoothly and professionally.

 

Hopefully, the mediation meeting will lead to a resolution plan. The plan itself may take several months or more for the respondent (the person you are filing the complaint against) to fully complete all aspects of the plan depending on the situation and the complexities involved. When all is complete, you will be notified. If you are to be given an appointment using effective communication, that will be part of the plan. You will be given the opportunity to arrange that appointment. The mediation process and your case will not be closed until you and your advocate agree that the plan has been completed as prescribed.

 

Should the mediation process fail, the DOJ will then take the case back and a federal trial may then be held. I am not familiar with that process yet, and hope I will never have to go that far. I would prefer that education and/or the mediation process would be enough to secure my rights to effective communication in medical and legal settings. From my experiences with the mediation process so far, I can see that it is highly effective, and the results are probably very successful in many cases.

 

Remember as you request for your needs to be met, that you are not only advocating for yourself, but you are also advocating for others who will follow you. If we all are more willing to use the resources available to us to enforce the ADA law, we can educate more organizations and make the lives of all disabled a little easier.

 

If you have comments about this topic, you may write a letter in braille or print to Renée Walker, 143 Williamson Drive, Macon, GA 31210; or you may email me at rkwalker@wynfieldca.org. You can also read and comment on my blog at http://www.deaf-blindhope.wordpress.com. You can also check me out at www.facebook.com/reneekwalker.

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I seldom get truly upset these days. Age mellows you, I guess. The last several weeks, though, I have been increasingly frustrated on Sunday mornings. I have tried several different time frames from early morning to early afternoon on various local stations and satellite looking for Christian worship services that are closed captioned. During the week, you can find many Christian network programs and even on regular network programs at certain times that involve Bible teaching and Christian lifestyle programs. I love these, but I also want to worship like I did at Church most of my life. Yes, I can worship in many different ways, in different places, and at different times. I still want to watch a good Church program, though, especially on Sunday. For many years, I have watched a service at a local church that I used to attend. For financial reasons they changed networks recently. I watched the program on the new station this Sunday. I couldn’t understand a thing. I sat close, but I couldn’t find the very fuzzy words at all. I sat and watched the grayish and reddish screen flicker and hoped that I would at least see captions when the pastor spoke. It never happened. I was disappointed.

Then I was angry. Closed captioning is very important to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Even I use it by reading very close. No, I don’t get everything, but I get enough. With Closed Captioning, I can watch TV shows and movies that others are watching and talking about which helps me to feel connected. More importantly, with Closed Captioning, I can learn from others about faith, love, and the ways to a better life through Christ. Closed Captioning is necessary for accessibility. The Deaf need the accessibility to the Hearing world. They need, I need, the access to the message of the Bible in this way, as well as the others I use. I have looked and found only Charles Stanley out of Atlanta who has partial captioning when the pastor speaks. The only full captions I have found have been on the LDS channel. They provide captions for the songs, message, and everything. I really prefer that. The words of the hymns and contemporary songs have a message themselves. I should be able to learn from the music, too. The problem with that is I don’t agree with the LDS, so that isn’t an option for me. It is a shame that other Christian denominations don’t seem to have the compassion for others as the LDS do, though.

Why does the Church not see the need for this? Too many pastors are saying it is because of the economy. Let me note here that Closed Captioning equipment and therefore, services, too, have been decreasing in costs in recent years, so lack of money can’t really be an excuse. Even if it is money, if Believers truly believed their Bibles, and if Believers truly lived the words they read, then the economic situation wouldn’t matter. Believers need to present the need to God, and then believe the word He promised to provide for all our needs. Truly, though, I see they have money for the things they really want to do and give to most often. Many brag of what they send to far, remote places to spread the Gospel. I think that is wonderful, but if there are those who are needy within your own back yard or even in your own house, why not put a priority there before you venture to far mission fields?

The Church in America, I believe, is failing in its mission. It isn’t about doing the Father’s business. All too often it has become its own business seeking money for its own agenda by catering to making people feel good. It isn’t about speaking the Truth. This shows as there isn’t enough faith to bring in the resources and to serve its members’ needs. Love is short when the faith is lacking. Wake up, Church!

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