January14,2015

The Power of Sports

A photo of Kirk M. Bauer, the executive director of Disabled Sports USA

By Guest Blogger Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA

I lost my left leg above the knee to a grenade during an ambush in the Mekong Delta serving in the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1969.

After returning to California from Vietnam and enduring seven surgeries in six months, it was hard to imagine I could ever have a good quality of life. Fortunately, during my hospitalization at Letterman Army Medical Center, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Jim Winthers, a fellow Army veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II. He taught me to ski with one leg, along with a handful of other Vietnam veterans who had recently become amputees.

When we first met and Jim suggested I try skiing, I thought he was crazy, but I agreed to go with him just to get out of the hospital. From the first moment he took me out on the slopes, I was hooked and I was motivated to see what other challenges I could take on.

Skiing taught me that I could have a great life.

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January09,2015

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: What Will You Do?

A photo of President George Bush signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on the South Lawn of the White House. L to R, sitting: Evan Kemp, Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Justin Dart, Chairman, President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. L to R, standing: Rev. Harold Wilke and Swift Parrino, Chairperson, National Council on Disability, 07/26/1990.

By Guest Blogger Katherine Schneider, Ph.D., Author and Retired Clinical Psychologist

This July, the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will occur. Access has improved for the 19 percent of us who have disabilities because of the ADA.1 It is still a work in progress and involves much negotiating for access in many situations. But if we don’t celebrate how far we’ve come, it’s easy to get discouraged. So what will you do?

So far, I’ve started working on a display for my university’s library, nudged the local Aging and Disability Resource Center to have an open house and get the county board to pass a resolution, and started working on an art contest with the theme of “What Does Access Mean to You?”

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January06,2015

Job Search Tips from the Pros

A photo of Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder of Employment Options, Inc.

By Guest Blogger Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder of Employment Options Inc.

When it comes to job hunting, it is often best to consult the professionals. Job and career counselors are certified specialists in their field and know from experience, with their own clientele, what works best and what does not. They also know the nuances of different stages of the job hunt and different industries.

Not everyone can afford a career counselor or has access to free job placement services. Therefore, I asked my job counselors, who helped more than 400 people on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) return to work last year, about their best suggestions for getting a job.

Every one of them began with “Preparation is the key to success!” So take these tips to bring out the best qualities you have to offer an employer!

The Resume 

Condense – “Keep your resume condensed and simple: one to two pages max,” recommends senior vocational counselor Ray Morrison, who places clients in on-site jobs.

Customize – “Customize your resume by adding experiences and skills that will pertain to a specific job requirement or preference,” says work-at-home specialist Lisa Seeley. “It is very common to have more than one resume.”  Read More about Job Search Tips from the Pros

January02,2015

Top 10 Guest Blogs of 2014

A photo of fireworks over National Harbor in Washington, D.C.,

By Stephanie Bostaph, Communications Specialist, Disability.gov

The start of the New Year is a time for reflection and a moment of new beginnings. When the clock strikes midnight, people resolve to do things a little differently – be a little kinder, work a little harder and love a little deeper. Our team was finally able to reveal a new user-friendly blog design, which reinforces our commitment to accessibility and usability, as well as our mission to connect people of all abilities to the resources they need to fully participate in their communities.

For the last few months, we have worked with a dedicated team of graphic designers, developers and accessibility consultants to prepare Disability.Blog for this transition. We hope you enjoy the new features: things like larger font, a clutter-free layout and a bright blue outline that appears anytime you hover over links on the site. Please share your feedback in our comments section below. We’d love to hear what you think!

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December29,2014

Easy Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency for Comfort and Savings

A photo of Allison Casey.

By Allison Casey, Writer and Web Content Strategist (Contract) for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory

When you think of making improvements around the house to save energy, the prospect may be a little daunting. You may think of big purchases like a new, energy-efficient furnace or larger projects, such as adding insulation. While those are great ideas, there are many smaller things you can do yourself to improve the efficiency of your home. So whether you’re ready to tackle a smaller project or need assistance for something larger to help make your home more comfortable, read on to see what projects and programs are available to improve your home’s efficiency.

Smaller Projects

First, the easy things! A few simple habits and fixes can do a lot to keep you comfortable and save you money during the cold winter months.

Windows

If the room feels drafty and cold air seems to come in through the windows, be sure your windows are sealed. Use caulk to seal cracks less than a quarter inch in width on the non-movable parts of your window, mainly around the frame and where the trim meets the wall. Use weather stripping on the movable parts of your window to reduce air leakage.

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