Disability Minute Segment Archive

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

 

Air Date: June 16, 2024

The Hidden Costs of Rideshare and Delivery Services


Technology and increased connectivity have opened up the world for people with disabilities, but they do come at a cost. I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have made it easier for people with disabilities to get around their community, especially to areas that are not accessible by public transportation. As we all know by now, they are not cheap … or easy.

“The surge pricing can be difficult. They have these pool features where you can actually share the ride with other people. It’s cheaper, but the cheapest version, you generally have to walk to some waypoint where they’re going to pick you up.”

That was Ben Chargot, the Disability Accessibility Analyst at Access Living. Ben, who is also blind, says that even free apps that primarily rely on AI, costs can be incurred, that – once put together — can be quite expensive.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: June 9, 2024

The Hidden Costs of Caregiving

The sleeping giant among the hidden costs of disability is the cost of caregiving, and it’s about to wake up. I’m Sandy Murillo with The Disability Minute.

According to the AARP, more than 48 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult family member or friend. 61% of these caregivers have full or part-time jobs, and are increasingly having to cut back on their hours for caregiving activities. Most caregivers report out of pocket expenses averaging over $7,000 annually.

As our population ages, the impact of these costs will only become more pronounced, especially for minority groups. By 2034, adults aged 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 18, having a compounded effect on the ability of GenZ and Millennials to participate in the workforce and economy. Like so many things about their future, they may want to begin planning now.

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

 

 

Air Date: June 2, 2024

The Hidden Costs of Disability

Many Americans are watching the economy with concern, especially people with disabilities. I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

Adults with disabilities face a double-edged sword when it comes to personal economics. Our earning potential is often decreased due to barriers to education, skill-development, and opportunity. Many basic expenses cost more through higher fees or increased time, which – as the saying goes – is money.

On average, disabled adults make 82-hundred dollars less than a person without a disability per year in the U.S. Also, a family where one adult is disabled must make nearly 18-thousand dollars more to achieve the same standard of living as a family where no one has a disability.

This month, we’re exploring the hidden costs associated with having a disability in the United States.  From transportation to medical care, they are always present in our daily lives.

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

 

 

Air Date: May 26, 2024

Cooking without Sight

Cooking is not only a life skill, but can be an adventure! I am Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

Being blind does not mean you’re helpless. I am a mom, and I love providing for my family – which I can do with small adaptations. My measuring cups use Braille. My seasonings and meats are organized in a way that makes sense to me, and my appliances are all smart operated, which means they can be voice-controlled. Plus, I have been blind mostly all my life, so it has become second nature to me.

Debra Erickson, a blind chef and also the CEO of the Blind Kitchen, lost her vision later in life and now devotes her time to teaching newly blind adults how to reenter the kitchen with confidence and safety in mind.

“I decided that the focus of the Blind Kitchen would be on people who already know how to cook, but they don’t know how to cook with vision loss. It helps restore their confidence and their identity, an important piece of their identity.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: May 19, 2024

Accessible Travel and Tourism

Are you ready to explore the world? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

More than 12 million people with disabilities traveled in 2018 and 2019, and that number is expected to nearly triple to more than 33 million by 2028. According to travel and tourism marketing agency MMGY Global, travelers with mobility disabilities spend 58.2 billion dollars on travel every year, and they’re also likely to stay in luxury hotels and fly in premium economy, or first-class.

Not surprisingly, the travel and tourism industry is making an effort to go beyond the minimum requirements to create some truly accessible and inclusive experiences. One acquaintance of mine who is blind and in her 70s took a week-long bike tour across southern France on a tandem as part of a group.

Whoever you are and whatever your ability, it’s time to get out there. The world is ready and waiting for you!

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

 

 

Air Date: May 12, 2024

Accessible Beaches in Chicago

Chicago’s beaches will open for the summer on May 24. What accessibility services can people with disabilities find? I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

The Chicago Park District operates thirty-one beaches in the Chicagoland area. Sixteen of them have accessible walkways on the sand, allowing people with walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches to easily reach the water. Among those on the lakefront are Montrose Beach and North Avenue beach.

Many beaches across the City also have beach wheelchairs. These have larger wheels to allow for easier rolling on the sand and into the water. They include Osterman beach and Southshore beach. To rent a beach wheelchair for free, you first have to go to the location’s beach house and show a valid ID.

To learn about other Chicago beaches with accessibility services, go to chicagoparkdistrict.com.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: May 5, 2024

Service Animal Discrimination

A recent study from Guide Dogs for the Blind found that more than 83 percent of guide dog users have been refused rideshare service because of their dog. What can we do in this situation? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

Peter Berg, a Certified ADA Coordinator, suggests a four-step process:

First, advocate. Speak with the supervisor, manager, or owner. Second, educate. Follow up with information outlining the rights of persons with disabilities, and responsibilities that businesses have. Third, complain. File a formal complaint with the federal, state, or local government. Finally, shame. If all else fails, use media – including social media – to raise awareness of the violation of your rights as a person with a disability.

Taking control of the situation can result in meaningful change.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 21, 2024

Being “Cured” from Disability

I’ve been blind most of my life, so I don’t really know what it’s like to see. So why do a lot of people tell me not to give up hope for a cure? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

For sighted people, the idea of not being able to see is one of the worst scenarios imaginable. For me, however, this is my normal. My life doesn’t need to be “cured” any more than theirs does.

Even if there was a “cure,” what would that be like? I’d have to go through so much rehabilitation, re-learning, and retraining, it just wouldn’t be worth it.

For many of us, our disability is just as important as our race, religion, or heritage. It’s not something most of us want to change, even if we could. Instead of hoping and waiting for a cure, I’d rather spend my time helping to make the world more accessible and accepting of who I am.

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

 

Air Date: April 14, 2024

Accessible Exercise for People with Disabilities

Finding accessible exercise if you have a disability isn’t always easy. But in the end, it’s worth it! I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

As a blind person, I’m always nervous of trying new exercise routines. So, when people suggested I try Pilates, I was hesitant. I knew I needed hands-on instruction, so I didn’t think it was worth the trouble. Erica Mott, my trainer at Movement Med, explained some of the benefits.

“Not only can you get stable and strong, but if you want to go weight train or do cardio work, this is a really good complement to that as well.”

Two years later, my fitness, general health, and spatial awareness have all improved. I encourage people with disabilities to try something outside of their comfort zone. I think you’ll be glad you did!

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 7, 2024

Income Tax Filing Resources

Most of us file our income tax returns, and for some, it’s a daunting task they can’t complete without assistance because of a disability. Where can people find resources to get help? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

Both Chicago and Illinois share resources on how people with disabilities can receive assistance in filing their income tax returns with volunteers certified by the IRS. Dial 311 or visit taxprepchicago.org.

The Illinois Department of Revenue also offers guidance on available programs to receive assistance. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).

Taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue website, tax.illinois.gov, or calling 800-732-8866.

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

For more information on Chicago Tax, click here.

For more information on Illinois Tax, click here.

 

Air Date: March 31, 2024

Walgreens Employment Initiatives for People with Disabilities

Only 20 percent of people with disabilities are currently employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. How is one national company working to change this narrative? I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

Walgreens has prioritized disability employment through two programs: the Transitional Work Group, and also the Retail Employment Disability Initiative. Both programs are designed to help people with disabilities get real life work training that hopefully will result in meaningful and full-time employment.

Marc Senia, Manager of Disability and Inclusion, says these programs have helped over 1,200 people with disabilities find permanent jobs.

“We work and partner with a lot of schools, voc rehab agencies, local nonprofits that support the employment of people with disabilities. And we go out, and we recruit and bring people through the program. And then if they make it through successfully, we offer them positions within the company.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: March 24, 2024

Cultural Venue Accessibility

Cultural institutions like art galleries or theatre performances may feel uninviting for people with disabilities. But they don’t have to be. I’m Maureen Reid with the Disability minute.

Whether it is sensory friendly performances, audio description, or tactile representations and descriptions of visual art work, there are so many ways that people with disabilities can enjoy the arts. As someone who identifies as neuro divergent, Chuck Gruman of Windy City Accessibility consults with Cultural venues to promote and facilitate accommodations that expands the audience experience.

“Most of the work that I do revolves around the sphere of cultural accessibility, and making sure That guests and visitors from anything – from a theatre, to a museum, to a library – feel welcomed and feel like they’re not asking too much to participate in a community event.”

If you have been hesitating to purchase tickets for a play or to go to a museum, it’s worth asking the venue what might be available.

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: March 17, 2024

What’s Blind Soccer?

Summer 2028 may feel like it’s a long time away. But for a group of blind athletes, it can’t come soon enough. I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

The United States fielded its first national blind soccer team last fall in preparation for its debut at the 2028 Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. While the principles for the sport are the same, the set up for blind soccer is a bit different. Each team consists of four players – who are blindfolded to level the field – a sighted goalie, and a ball that contains bells in it so the players can locate it. The pitch is surrounded by kickboards to keep the ball in-bounds.

Though the sport won’t make a debut for another four years, players have already begun their training. For Noah Beckman, one of the team’s captains, it’s all a dream come true.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it. You don’t win by accident. It’s such a huge honor to be a groundbreaker in a sense, being named to the first ever men’s blind soccer national team.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: March 10, 2024

Walmart Sensory Friendly Hours

During the pandemic, many retailers made accommodations – such as setting aside hours for vulnerable groups – for the sake of public health and safety. Today, Walmart is continuing some accommodations for people with sensory disabilities. I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

For people with different sensory needs, essential daily tasks like going to the grocery store can be very disruptive. Walmart worked with members of the disability community to develop a plan which began with a pilot test last year. A few months later, Walmart rolled out sensory hours every day between 8 and 10am, when the music is turned off, lights are dimmed, and televisions are tuned to static.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, and it certainly didn’t need to adopt these practices to maintain its profitability. Hopefully, its thoughtful approach to accommodating its customers with disabilities will serve as a model for others.

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

 

 

Air Date: March 3, 2024

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Natural disasters are frightening enough on their own, but for people with disabilities, they can be downright catastrophic. What can they do to be prepared? I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

Because most natural disasters are unexpected, the best way to handle them is to be prepared. Have an emergency kit at the ready and make sure it has items that will accommodate your disability. For example, a person with a mobile disability should have a spare lightweight wheelchair that is easily accessible.

A person with a hearing disability should always have extra hearing aids and batteries. For those who are visually impaired, in their emergency kit they should have a spare cane, and also a water-tight case that houses all their medications which should be labeled in both braille and large print

You should always communicate your plan and your kit’s location with your family members to avoid any confusion. We can’t predict when a natural disaster may occur, so it’s important to use this time to do some research and think about what you may need.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

Air Date: February 18, 2024

Accessible and Inclusive Super Bowl Ads

Amid the celebrities and silliness of Super Bowl ads, Google’s heartwarming ad for its Pixel phone stood out, for both its tone and what it represented. I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

In case you missed it, Google’s ad told the story of a blind man, documenting his life using his Pixel phone’s AI-powered accessible features. In addition to hiring a blind actor, the ad is notable for its behind-the-scenes representation.

Stevie Wonder narrated the commercial, and the director, Adam Morse, is blind himself. In a behind-the-scenes video, Morse says his participation will hopefully open more doors for others in the disability community.

For me as a blind person, seeing someone like me on both sides of the camera moved me in ways I hadn’t expected. Hopefully, more companies will make the effort to create their products and ads more accessible. It’s great business practice for all!

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

 

 

Air Date: February 11, 2024

Romantic Assumptions

Why do some people assume that somebody with a disability is married to someone who shares that disability? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

This may surprise you, but I’m married to somebody who is not blind. And though my husband is deaf in one ear, disability is not the thing that brought us together. We met through eHarmony – basically your typical match-making site – and connected through our shared experiences and interests.

Even now – almost 16 years later – those values are what bind us, not the difference in the way we see the world. I was upfront in my online profile about my disability and the fact that I use a guide dog. Fortunately, my future husband was willing to evaluate those factors, and decided they weren’t as important as the deeper connection we might make.

For those seeking a little romance this Valentine’s Day, I suggest you open your mind – and your heart – to a chance for love!

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

 

 

Air Date: February 4, 2024

Biking the Entire Route 66 to Raise Awareness About Vision Loss

As NHL players lace up for this year’s All-Star Game, we want to share how one referee spent his off-season. I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

Last summer, NHL referee Dan O’Rourke biked the entire 27-hundred-mile Route 66, from Santa Monica to Chicago, to raise awareness about vision loss. Dan says his dad has been vision impaired most of his life.

“Obviously, we want a cure for blindness… but until that day, let’s live the life we want, and not let blindness hold us back. That truly struck a chord with my dad, his example he showed me and my brother.”

During his six-week long journey, Dan made eight ‘”pit stops”, and soon realized that most people don’t even know that there are many resources for those with vision loss.

Dan plans to take this year off from awareness raising, but hopes to have a bigger event in 2025.

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

 

 

Air Date: January 28, 2024

Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace

Some accommodations for disabilities are easily apparent, such as providing an elevator for people in wheelchairs. But what about those disabilities that are not detected, disclosed or understood? I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

Invisible disabilities – such as autism or chronic pain – are thus named because they are often hard to detect, but still, they are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result, those individuals who have invisible disabilities are still granted reasonable accommodations.

While it is up to individuals to disclose their disability, Zoe Gross, Director of the Autism Self Advocacy network, says employers need to create an environment where it is both friendly and safe for employees to disclose their disability without fear of losing their job.

“Employers can demonstrate that they are open to providing accommodations, they can talk to employees about accommodations, they can put it in the employee handbook, and talk about during onboarding how to get accommodations. And then just have a culture of believing people about what they need.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley with NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: January 21, 2024

Helpful Winter Travel Tips for People with Disabilities

For me as a blind person, getting around Chicago during winter is anything but easy. These next travel tips may be especially helpful to people with vision or other disabilities. I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

My white cane detects the ice and snow just fine, but I prefer to walk slower on snow-covered ground. Wearing ice cleats on your snow boots or shoes can also give you better traction on slippery sidewalks. Protect a service animal’s paws from the ice, cold and salt with dog booties or by using paw balm or wax.

Instead of waiting outside for the bus or train on a day with frigid temperatures, consider getting a ride from a friend or cab if that’s an option. It’s also a good idea to have your cell and other assistive devices fully charged before heading out.

And to all home and business owners, please remember to shovel your sidewalks!

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

 

 

Air Date: January 14, 2024

Counterpoint: Why Braille Is Important

Last week, my co-host, Kalari Girtley shared why braille isn’t relevant in her life. I respectfully disagree! I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

I became blind as a toddler, so when it came time to read and write, braille was my best option. While my sighted peers learned their ABCs and 123s in print, I learned them in braille. This leveled the playing field for me in the classroom, and in the real world.

Because braille was my so-called reading language, I learned grammar, spelling and punctuation, which are essential to my job as a journalist. Plus, when I speak in public, I never have to look down at my notes! Using braille doesn’t make me technology averse. I use screen readers and audio technologies daily. But braille is my third language, and it is just as important to my communication as Spanish and English.

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

 

 

Air Date: January 7, 2024

Is Braille Still Relevant Today?

No one’s experience with disability is the same, even if they share the same disability. For instance, my experience with braille is not the same as my colleague Sandy’s. Which brings me to the question: is braille still relevant today, and if so for whom? I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

I lost my vision when I was six years-old, so I was already learning how to read print. Even after losing my sight, teachers encouraged me to use large print books and also magnifiers to maximize the little vision I had left. Obviously, this did not work! It took me up to 40 minutes to read one page. As you can imagine, this was extremely frustrating for a antsy kid!

I switched to braille, but my reading was still slow. I had learned to visualize words, so to read by touch was challenging. Fortunately, I discovered audio devices and screen readers, and I have never looked back. Outside of needing braille to read elevator signs or play Uno with my children, braille is just not a big part of my life.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: December 31, 2023

Why I Like to Joke About Being Blind

Disability is no laughing matter for most people. As a blind person, my view is completely different! I’m Sandy Murillo with the “Disability Minute.”

Often, sighted people don’t find my jokes about being blind all that funny. Once when I was giving a speech, I told the crowd that if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to ‘see’ my braille notes. It took them a few seconds, but eventually everyone laughed!

Joking about some of the awkward situations I run into because of my blindness helps me laugh at things that would otherwise be uncomfortable or embarrassing. It’s also the best way to ‘break the ice’ with sighted people, who are sometimes afraid to say things they assume might offend me. Hearing me making fun of myself makes them feel more comfortable.

So, the next time you hear me joke about being blind, go ahead and laugh! For me at least, it’s all in the spirit of having fun and helping other people feel more at ease.

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

 

 

Air Date: December 24, 2023

Using Humor to Spread Disability Awareness

Finding humor in blindness is a great way to spread awareness! I’m Kalari Girtley with the “Disability Minute.”

“I found the best thing to do was to talk about myself because there are a lot of comedians that will talk about you. They will talk about the people around you, they’ll talk about things that’s going on. And to be honest, most of the time, in entertainment, music, comedy the best person that you know is yourself.

That was Zephyrin Victor, aka Comedian See No Evil. Victor is a blind comedian that has been educating and entertaining audiences for eight years with his humors anecdotes about going through life while blind. he says he wants his audience to walk away entertained, but most importantly, more aware of what blind people are capable of.

“I’m educating people on the blind life. You know, I can make you laugh, but you’re gonna  go home and be like ‘I didn’t know blind people did that.’ Their needs to be more awareness for us out there. We’re not broken.”

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: December 3, 2023

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Today’s the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, established by the UN. This year’s theme is ‘A Day for All’, but what does ‘all’ actually mean? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Every disability is different, so are the cultures, identities and life experiences. Simply put, disability is not a one size fits all thing, even for those with the same disability. Celebrating “all” requires challenging the beliefs, rules, and institutions that marginalize those outside of the mainstream.

As Sami Schalk says in bodyminds reimagined, “a different way of living, even as it may negate doing some things, opens up new ways of being and existing that are valuable and important as well.”

A day for all is a good place to start, but reshaping social norms takes more than one day. We encourage a shift in mindset to everyday for all.

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

 

 

Air Date: November 26, 2023

Talking to Kids About Disabilities

A child in your care points, stares, or asks about a person with a disability. What do you do? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

Children are naturally curious, and when they encounter something they don’t understand – like a person with a disability – they may act in a way that is uncomfortable to you and the person with a disability. Rather than cringe or run away, Monica Solarewicz, a parent and registered behavior technician, suggests approaching the scenario head on.

“I try to be just very factual about it and like very neutral when explaining it, but then I also try to explain how that specific disability might make someone’s life different.”

As much as you may want to, don’t assume the person with a disability wants to be part of the teachable moment. They, like you, are just trying to go about their daily lives, and may not want to act as a spokesperson for their disability just then.

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

 

Air Date: November 19, 2023

Air Travel with Guide Dogs

A new rule designed to cut down on emotional support animals on airplanes is adversely affecting people who use dog guides. Why? And what can be done? I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute.”

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation created a form for all airlines that passengers with service animals must complete to fly. Not everyone has been informed of this change, and the form is not accessible through tablets. Finally, they have to bring and manage paper copies.

This can cause unnecessary delays for blind travelers, leading to complaints from service animal handlers doubling over the past few years. Disability rights attorney Albert Elia is working to have the forms changed.

“Let the airlines ask the two questions that they are permitted to ask. ‘Do you require that service animal because of a disability, what service is that animal trained to perform?’ And if the person says it’s trained to perform emotional support, then you say ok, I’m sorry that’s not a service animal.”

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

 

 

Air Date: November 12, 2023

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Awareness Day is November 14, and as rates of Type 2 diabetes increase, so do related disabilities caused by the disease. I’m Maureen Reid with The Disability Minute.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by the body either not producing enough insulin, or not using it well enough to allow our bodies to process the glucose from our food. According to the World Health Organization, 95% of diabetes diagnoses are Type 2, which can be prevented.

“A lot of focus is being put on pre-diabetes now.” That’s Dr. Patricia Grant, senior vice president of research at The Chicago Lighthouse. She leads the Total Wellness Program that’s part of a national diabetes prevention program. Her program encourages people to make small changes that add up.

“If you’re someone who is active 0 minutes per week, and then all of the sudden you’re doing 5 minutes per day, that’s change. And that’s positive change.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: November 5, 2023

What is the Illinois Persons with Disabilities ID Card?

Did you know there’s a free id card for Illinoisans with disabilities? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

The Illinois Persons with Disabilities ID card is a way for those with disabilities to self-identify, and perhaps gain better access to some programs and services.

“Local areas of government may offer certain types of programs and services. You can use your ID card to provide proof of your disability. It doesn’t specifically list your disability. What it does do is it gives a classification of your disability.”

That’s Bill Bogdon, Disability Liaison with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, which issues the ID. People must first fill out an application available online, or at any DMV office.

“After the form is completed and signed by your doctor, you bring the form to any Secretary of State facilities. Then we would go ahead and issue you the id card.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: October 29, 2023

Intersectionality and People with Disabilities

I’m blind, Black and a woman. How does that affect the way I interact with the world? I’m Kalari Girtley with the Disability Minute.

Intersectionality is a term that describes people who have “marginalized identities,” such as race, gender identity or disability. According to Risa Rifkind, Director of Civic Engagement and Marketing at Disability Lead, those multiple factors can color our experiences.

“If we hold more than one marginalized identities, how we interact with the world is drastically different. I have a form of dwarfism. So that doesn’t mean I’m just short, I have other things going on.

Those identities compound to create certain assumptions around Risa’s capabilities. And they may prioritize one experience, like race, over another one, such as disability. As a result, people may not see her as a whole person. Like other DEI efforts, the key to understanding intersectionality is representation.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. Kalari Girtley for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: October 22, 2023

DEI for Employees with Disabilities

It’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, and if you’re not hiring people with disabilities, you’re missing out! I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Companies that prioritize the hiring of people with disabilities have higher net incomes, higher revenues, and higher profit margins. Still, less than a quarter of people with disabilities were employed in 2022. To embrace the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce, I have some recommendations.

A diverse representation of people need to be included in shaping workplace culture, and empowered in decision-making leadership roles. Pervasive buy-in across a company supports a thriving workplace for employees with a disability. This means executives, hiring managers, and coworkers are invested and engaged in the process.  It’s important to remember that everyone deserves the chance to work, and accommodations are just a tool that facilitates that.

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

 

 

Air Date: October 15, 2023

What is The White Cane?

October 15 is White Cane Awareness Day. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Believe it or not, blind people don’t automatically know how to use a white cane. It requires training with a certified Orientation and Mobility instructor. Jaret Bozigian works at The Chicago Lighthouse in that capacity, training children and adults.

“I have definitely encountered people who have come to me for their first lesson and they have the cane already, and they’ve never been shown how to use it.”

Jaret’s instruction includes teaching techniques like tapping, sweeping and shorelining, which is using the cane to trail along a grassline or the base of a wall. It also often involves breaking some bad habits.

“I know a lot of people who come to me, they’re saying they are counting stairs, and we’re like, ‘We need to move away from that.’ There are many stairways a person can encounter in their daily life, and you can’t keep track of all the different numbers of stairs. It could be dangerous.”

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

 

 

Air Date: October 8, 2023

Why Aren’t There More Disabled Journalists in the Field?

In our two years of producing this segment, we’ve come to a disturbing realization: There’s a decided lack of disability representation in mainstream newsrooms. Fortunately, one person is trying to change that. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

“Newsrooms are exactly like the rest of the world, super behind on understanding disability. The culture around newsrooms is to be suspicious of anyone who is telling you something that you have never heard before. The problem with that is that no one talks about disability being an identity.”

That’s Cara Reedy, journalist and founder of the Disabled Journalists Association, which officially launched on June 30th. Reedy, who is a dwarf, says the group’s goal is to change the narrative of how disability is covered in the media.

“Coverage is so bad right now around disabled people. Yeah, it’s getting better, but it’s not where it needs to be.”

Proudly produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Sandy Murillo for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: October 1, 2023

Inaccessible Ads

Would you buy a product without knowing what it is? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

A recent study from Extreme Reach, an advertising research company, found that only one-percent of all video advertising has audio descriptions so that people with vision impairments — like myself – can understand what’s happening on screen.

“It’s all well and good having some beautiful music running through it, maybe some sound effects, but if that doesn’t identify what the product, service or brand is, how do I know whether I want it?”

That’s a clip from a video produced by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and it’s a sentiment I share. Most of the time, I have to ask a sighted companion what’s on the screen.

There are roughly 12 million consumers with vision loss in the U.S. I’m sure that companies want our business, but it would really help if we knew what they’re selling!

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

 

Air Date: September 24, 2023

Switching from a White Cane to a Dog Guide

People often make assumptions about how a dog guide assists someone with a vision impairment. It’s actually a partnership, that not everyone wants or has the skills for. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Jim, a colleague of mine at The Chicago Lighthouse, recently received his first dog guide after years of cane use.

“The last couple years with my guide dog it’s been completely different. He handles a lot of the obstacles and a lot of the basic navigation skills for me, which is extremely convenient, but I also miss out on some of that additional information the cane used to give me.”

Still, Jim uses his cane to get around in familiar areas and for quick trips when using his dog in harness isn’t convenient.

“There are times when I’ll need to meet someone new. They may or may not know that I’m legally blind. It’s much easier to just be using a white cane, because it communicates so much in a relatively elegant way.”

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

 

 

Air Date: September 17, 2023

History of the Football Huddle

It’s football season! And what better way to celebrate than how athletes with disabilities contributed to the evolution of the modern game. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Back in the early days of football, Paul D. Hubbard, quarterback for Gallaudet University, was stymied by the opposing team’s ability to gain advance knowledge of his team’s upcoming plays. As athletes at a university for deaf students, Hubbard communicated with his teammates through sign language, which could be easily understood by deaf players on the opposing teams.

Hubbard had an idea: create a circle so players could sign privately with each other. Thus, the football huddle was born. Within two years, huddles made their way to the mainstream and are now not only a recognizable part of the game, but a metaphor for all types of team gatherings. Feel free to share this month’s story at your next tailgating party!

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

 

 

Air Date: September 10, 2023

Making Museum Exhibits Accessible

For everyone to learn about history, it must be made accessible. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

This summer, the Pritzker Military Museum has been hosting “Tet and the Battle of Hue,” documenting one of the Vietnam War’s most significant battles. Photos in the exhibit have tactile sensory points, allowing those with vision impairments to feel the images, and hear firsthand from soldiers who were on the front lines.

“You can experience it at your own speed. They don’t need to rely on a docent, they don’t need to rely on a friend to explain to them what they think about the image.”

John Olson produced this exhibit, and captured these images during the war. He owns 3DPhotoWorks, a company that turns two-dimensional images into three-dimensional pieces. He founded the company to help people who are blind experience photography as a form of art.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: September 3, 2023

What is the Oko App?

For people who are blind, technology helps in ways that were unimaginable even five years ago. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Oko is an AI based smartphone app that may help those with vision loss cross streets more safely. By using the camera on their phone, users can know when the light changes to green through audio, vibrations, and visual cues. Michiel Janssen, co-founder of OKO, says this app has many advantages.

“There’s no additional infrastructure that needs to be installed at the pedestrian traffic light. We don’t use a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, which of course in big cities like Chicago, there can be some sort of dead zones where cellular connection might be bad.”

The free iOS app is currently only available in the U.S.  and Belgium. Michiel notes that Oko does not replace good orientation and mobility skills, a white cane, or a guide dog.

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

 

 

Air Date: August 27, 2023

Using Social Media As a Navigation Tool

Social media helps us all stay connected, and it may one day allow people with vision impairments to get around more easily. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

In 2015, a group of researchers in New Zealand developed a system that uses social media to crowdsource situational awareness and improve navigation for people with vision loss. Using audio and vibration cues, the system – consisting of a wearable device and data processing algorithm – identifies events, categorizes them as social or emergency events, and can give more details about them when prompted.

Preliminary tests showed 75% of participants found the audio effective in establishing their sense of space. As is the case with most inclusive designs, this technology would help both people with and without disabilities navigate with more safety and awareness.

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

 

 

Air Date: August 20, 2023

Accessibility of QR Codes

Many times, technologies become part of our lives before they are even truly accessible for people with disabilities. Why? And what can be done? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

During the pandemic, many people who are blind like myself could not access the QR codes found in restaurants and other places. We were told to “simply scan the code,” but we had no idea where to point our phone cameras. If someone wasn’t there to help, we couldn’t get the information we were looking for.

Studies have been conducted about possible QR code solutions for the blind – such as putting braille dots in the center or having the entire code raised so it can be identified by touch. These are all great solutions, but it would’ve been so much easier if accessibility had been considered right from the start.

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

 

 

Air Date: August 13, 2023

Human Vs. AI Sighted Assistance

For people who are blind, modern technology can be a pair of virtual eyes. But does AI enhance or diminish the experience? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Visual interpreting apps, like BeMyEyes or Aira, connect users with vision loss to a sighted person, who then describes things and places by looking at the live camera feed of the user. BeMyEyes has integrated a virtual volunteer using Chat-GPT. So far, it can only help with identifying things and reading printed material.

I’ve tried out this Chat-GPT feature, and got a better sense of how it can help me with simple tasks. Still, I’m not so sure about having AI help me with more involved things, like letting me know if I’m getting into the right bus or cab, or describing a play or movie. For me at least, there’s a special connection with sighted assistance from a human that AI will never replace.

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

 

 

Air Date: August 6, 2023

The Impact of AI on People with Disabilities

You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about how Artificial Intelligence is going to change our world forever. Should we be worried? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

This month, we will look at the ways that technology and virtual reality are impacting the disability community. We asked Chat-GPT to write a segment on disability. This is what it came up with:

“Disability is not a limitation; it’s a unique perspective on life. We must create an inclusive society where everyone can participate. Disability is a natural part of the human experience. Embracing diversity makes our communities stronger.”

This is all fine. It hits all the right marks, but lacks the nuance of what it’s like to have a disability in the real world. We are still in the early stages of AI, but for now, I think we’re all better off if I write my own segments.

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

 

Air Date: July 30, 2023

Back to School Tips for People with Disabilities

The first day of school can be filled with anticipation and apprehension, especially for students with disabilities. How can we set them up for success? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

“No child should be made to feel like ‘an other’ because of something that is natural to them and is part of their reality.”

That’s Jordan Owens, VP of education, director of special education services, and principal at the Chicago Lighthouse’s Children’s Development Center, which provides education for students with profound disabilities.

As students get older, Owens encourages students to develop self-advocacy tools. Students are legally required to participate in their IEP meetings starting at age 14, to prepare them, “administrators should be highly involved in knowing how the environment accommodates those children and allows them to integrate fully.”

Produced by people with disabilities at the Chicago Lighthouse, Ben Chargot for news radio 105.9 WBBM.

 

 

Air Date: July 23, 2023

Remembering Judy Heumann

Last March, renowned disability rights activist Judy Heumann died at the age of 75. On this anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we pay tribute to this extraordinary woman. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Disabled from polio in the 1940s, Judy Heumann dedicated her life to breaking down barriers.

At a time when institutionalizing people with disabilities was common, Judy and her family insisted she be included in the educational system.

That knowledge and experience helped Judy open doors for others. She led sit-ins and protests in the 1970s, and served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations advocating for disability rights. Passing the ADA would have been impossible without Judy leading the charge.

Judy Heumann made the world a more accessible place for countless individuals. Thank you Judy, and rest in power!

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

 

 

Air Date: July 16, 2023

Inclusive and Sensory Playgrounds

Sensory playgrounds are areas that encourage playtime for everyone, whether they have a disability or not. How are they bringing families together? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Peg Chaidez is co-founder of Dream. Build. Play, whose mission is to have a sensory playground in every Illinois community. She was inspired to create the organization when she discovered there were no places where her son, who is in a wheelchair, could play with his siblings. Through her efforts, Chaidez has seen the accessible playgrounds benefit children, as well as adults in wheelchairs who had never been able to enjoy the equipment in their youths.

“I saw adults being able to get on swings for the first time. I saw parents in wheelchairs playing with their kids, and I saw just pure joy from people coming together and experiencing play where they haven’t been able to in the past.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: July 7, 2023

Adopting Disabled Pets

Humans are not the only ones who are or can become disabled. Many pets are too. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

“One of the interesting things about pets is, they very much live in the moment, and they’re very adaptable. They figure out how to get around. They learn the nuances and of their environment, and, as long as you can create a very predictable environment for them, they can manage very successfully.”

That’s Susanna Wickham, CEO of PAWS in Chicago. As a no-kill shelter, the organization sees its fair share of pets with special needs looking for forever homes. While some might hesitate at adopting a pet with a disability, Wickham says when owners understand the animal’s strengths and limitations, the bond can be even more rewarding.

“As long as you’re committed to honor what they can do and what they can’t do, it’s great.”

Produced by people with disabilities (and their pets) at The Chicago Lighthouse. Maureen Reid for NewsRadio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: June 25, 2023

What is Early Intervention?

How do kids who are blind learn to live in a world built for the sighted? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

I lost my sight at 2 years old. Fortunately, the state’s Early Intervention program was there to help me adapt to this new reality. Marla Garstka is the director of the early intervention program at The Chicago Lighthouse. She helps infants and toddlers with vision impairments learn how to use other senses to understand the world around them.

“We want them to become aware of all of their sensory abilities. Their hearing, their touch, their oral exploration.”

Teaching these skills early is critical in laying the foundation for learning that can last a lifetime.

“The sense of touch is so important for literacy down the road, but it’s also the connection we want children to make with their environment through their daily activities and routines.”

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

Air Date: June 18, 2023

Raising Children as A Father with Vision Loss

Happy Father’s Day! I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Last year, my co-host Ben Chargot spoke to his dad about what it’s like raising a child with a disability. This year, our colleague Andre Asbury – a father with vision loss who has two daughters with the same disability – shares his experience.

Andre, and both his daughters, have congenital cataracts. Finding out that his children had the disease was not easy.

“We were worried, we realized the best thing to do is to reach out to specialists and talk to family.”

Having a disability has made their father-daughter bond grow stronger. They help each other out with practical issues – like tips for navigating in dark places, or recommending what assistive technology or devices might work.

“We understand what it’s like to go through dealing with a disability, and it brings us closer together.”

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

 

 

Air Date: June 11, 2023

Accessible Pedestrian Signals in Chicago

What are Accessible Pedestrian Signals, and why is Chicago in trouble for not having enough of them? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

An Accessible Pedestrian Signal – or APS – is a sound-based notification placed at intersections to help people with vision impairments cross streets safely. You may have heard these chirping signals in other cities. I certainly did when I would visit them, even as a young child. But here in Chicago, only one percent of our 28-hundred intersections are equipped with such signals.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that Chicago’s efforts to install those signals has been inadequate. While not surprising, it’s disappointing that it took a lawsuit to realize that Chicago has been behind the times for decades. I hope this ruling spurs the city not only to install these signals, but make other long-promised accommodations for people with disabilities.

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

 

 

Air Date: June 4, 2023

Adaptive Sailing in Lake Michigan

For many people, summer means spending some time on Lake Michigan. Thanks to the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, that includes people with disabilities. I’m Maureen Reid with The Disability Minute.

“Our goal is to offer freedom and independence to people with disabilities by teaching them this new skill of sailing.”

That’s Kerry Tarmey, Executive Administrator of the Jud Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, which offers sailing lessons for people with disabilities, and provides scholarships. It’s not just recreational sailing.

“Most of our sailors – a lot of times like to get involved. Then we also have a racing program, and they really enjoy getting involved in the racing program.”

No matter how you participate, Kerry says spending an afternoon on the lake is a great way to let your cares go.

“They do come and try it, and they get out on the water, and the fear seems to go away with the wind.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: May 28, 2023

How Will the End of the Pandemic Affect People with Disabilities?

During the Pandemic, people with disabilities received many health care protections.

What will happen now that it’s over? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

At the start of the pandemic, Congress passed laws protecting Medicaid enrollment

and ensuring coverage and services through the crisis.

“There were many flexibilities put into the Medicaid program. One was paying family caregivers for some of these services given the fact that there was a worker shortage. Another was telehealth and the ability to visit with doctors and other providers during telehealth.”

That’s David Goldfarb, Director of Long-Term Supports and Services Policy at The Arc. He says states will begin re-evaluating more than 90 million cases. Many people will lose their coverage, and others will see benefits cut back.

“With the ending of the pandemic, it is a question to what extent those flexibilities will remain.”

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

 

 

Air Date: May 21, 2023

Accessibility vs. Usability

Digital inclusion can largely be measured based upon two factors, accessibility and usability. I’m ben Chargot with the disability minute.

As a whole, accessibility is objective, evaluated by specific criteria and guidelines, like making sure images have alt text and that controls are labeled. Usability is much more subjective, gaged by the user experience, like sections of content that are hard to understand or navigational methods not working as expected. Geovanni Bahena, an analyst with DAX Consulting at the Chicago Lighthouse, explains the importance of evaluating both sides.

“in a lot of cases, websites or apps can be technically accessible, but not very user friendly. On the other hand, others can be perfectly usable, but not pass certain accessibility criteria.”

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

 

Air Date: May 14, 2023

Raising Kids as a Mom Who is Blind

Last Mother’s Day, I shared an appreciation of my mom. This year, my colleague Kalari Girtley-Jackson shares her adventures as a mom who is blind. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

“People always ask me how it is raising children as a blind mom. When my oldest daughter Kyana was born, I was concerned that my blindness would keep us from forming a strong mother-daughter bond. Luckily, it didn’t. But that is not to say there weren’t any bumps along the road. Sighted parents will never know the fear that comes along with your toddler taking the bells off her shoes that you are using to locate her. Kyana thought this was funny, I was a wreck!

Having a mother that is blind has taught my children the true meaning of inclusion. One of my favorite memories of my daughter is when she would place my hands on her pictures so I could ‘see’ what she had drawn. It is these experiences that have made our mother daughter bond unbreakable. Happy Mother’s Day!”

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

 

 

Air Date: May 7, 2023

Accessibility at Lincoln Park Zoo

With free admission and a prime location, The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of Chicago’s true treasures. It’s also a model for accessibility. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Bill Green is The Lincoln Park Zoo’s Hart Prins Fund Accessibility and Inclusion manager. His job is to make sure everyone – kids, teens, and adults – can enjoy the zoo according to their abilities and interests.

“Providing tactile experiences, programs that are geared towards multisensory experience, having someone who can dedicate their time to make a program that benefits them and creates the most meaningful experience for them.”

Accommodations range from a robot that provides remote tours to hospitalized children, to plexiglass windows imbedded in fences, allowing unobstructed views for wheelchair users. Green says the idea is to integrate the accommodations seamlessly.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: April 30, 2023

Gardening Tips for People with Disabilities

Planting season is upon us, and gardening can be an accessible and inclusive activity. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Much like grilling, as discussed in a previous episode, gardening is a great equalizer, a chance to get outside, and most everyone can do it with some simple adaptations. People with limited mobility should consider raised beds to bring the plants and soil closer, or ergonomic and long handled tools to extend their reach. Garden spaces should also be accommodating for mobility aids.

People with vision impairments may want to choose plants with interesting textures and smells, over those with vibrant colors, or at least arrange the garden in a way where there is a lot of contrast between plants. People with invisible disabilities can benefit greatly from horticultural therapy, focusing on developing life skills and having individual needs met through gardening.

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

 

Air Date: April 23, 2023

Autism Awareness Vs. Acceptance

This April marks the 10th anniversary of Autism Awareness Month. So, we’re aware… now what? I’m Maureen Reid with the Disability Minute.

Awareness comes from the medical model of disability, which frames the disability experience by its perceived deficits and how to fix them. Disability is not something to cure or fix. Rather, it is one aspect of a full and multi-faceted life.

This is the founding principle of the social model of disability. Disability rights activists and researchers champion it as a healthier, more empowering framework. Within this model, awareness is replaced by acceptance, which brings with it a series of language shifts. Deficits become challenges, interventions are supports, symptoms are characteristics, and special needs are just needs. Period.

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

 

Air Date: April 16, 2023

Deaf President Now Movement

“Taxation without Representation” was the cry of the American Revolution. “Education without Representation” may have been the call of the disability rights movement. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

April is Deaf History Awareness Month, and I’d like to share a story about how students at Gallaudet University – a school focused on higher-education for people who are deaf or hearing impaired –changed the way we think about disability leadership.

In 1988, Gallaudet’s board passed up an opportunity to appoint the school’s first deaf president – instead selecting an individual that had no experience with the deaf community. Demanding representation, Gallaudet students staged a protest. Once students threatened to dis-enroll, the board relented and the school has had a deaf president ever since.

The “Deaf President Now” movement brought attention to the growing disability rights movement, and contributed to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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

 

Air Date: April 9, 2023

The Importance of Sign Language and Closed Captions

In an age of closed captioning, is sign language still necessary? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

The short answer to that question is yes. Those who are born deaf or become deaf early in life use sign language as their primary language. Written or spoken English is a second language, and comprehension can get lost in translation. The opposite is true for those who lose their hearing later in life.

Karen Aguilar, vice president of the Chicago Hearing Society, says that difference is key to understanding why we need both forms of communication, particularly in times of emergency.

“When it comes to a person who’s deaf or hard of hearing or deaf-blind, the accommodation depends on what they require in order to insure effective communication. The accommodation is ongoing, and we haven’t done a very good job as a community as a whole on educating people on the needs and requirements in order to communicate.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: March 26, 2023

Mental Health and People with Disabilities

Mental health wellness is a complex issue for anyone, but for those with disabilities, there is an added factor doctors and patients must consider. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

People with disabilities seek mental health treatment for any number of reasons, but the quality of care — and the results they see from it — are contingent on the provider understanding the role disability plays. It may be inaccurate for a therapist to say, “You’re depressed because you’re blind,” but it would also do a disservice to not acknowledge the disability at all.

While finding a provider with lived experience with disability would be best, finding one can be difficult. Some community organizations specialize in connecting people with disabilities to therapists, but the best place to start may be your own personal networks. And, don’t be afraid to interview any prospective provider about their experience with your specific disability.

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

 

 

Air Date: March 19, 2023

Teaching Future Doctors About Disabilities

With no national curriculum standards for teaching students about treating patients with disabilities, schools have to develop their own courses. How are they doing this? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Several medical schools have created courses on treating disabled patients. The University of Michigan offers a course where students rotate among the school’s various clinics specializing in disability-based care. They also host free webinars for current primary care professionals wanting to learn more about caring for people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic’s medical school has incorporated disability modules in its first-year genetics and public health courses. Students are encouraged to share their own experiences with disability and medicine. One goal of the program is for students to understand that disabilities do not need to be “fixed.” That’s a notion I, as a disabled person, commend.

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

 

Air Date: March 12, 2023

Healthcare Barriers and Disparities for Disabled Patients

Why do patients with disabilities experience barriers to health care, and what’s being done about it? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Dr. Tara Lagu is a professor of medicine at Northwestern University. She studies physicians’ attitudes toward patients with disabilities. Her research shows that some doctors have devised ways to discourage disabled patients from coming to their practice. While troubling, Dr. Lagu says the problem is not with the individuals, but with the system.

“This is a system problem. And it needs to start with reforming medical education.”

Medical schools are only required to ‘provide opportunities’ for students to recognize their biases. What those opportunities are, and how to manage biases remains vague. Fortunately, change may be coming. The National Council on Disability is working to make disability healthcare education its own accreditation standard.

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

 

 

Air Date: March 5, 2023

Healthcare Inaccessibility for Patients with Disabilities

Navigating our healthcare system is complicated for everyone. If you have a disability, a simple visit to the doctor can be a comedy of errors. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

As a blind person, nearly every visit to my doctor’s office is a challenge. They have paper forms that I can’t read or fill out.

On top of that, many doctors and nurses are baffled when they first see me come in, and don’t quite know how to help. If I’m alone, they ask if someone came with me. If someone comes with me, they’ll speak to my companion as if I’m not there.

I know that healthcare staff don’t mean to create these obstacles. It’s more likely that the system lacks training, and isn’t well set up to work with disabled patients.

Throughout March, Disability Minute will explore this topic in greater depth, and hopefully we will find some practical suggestions that will benefit everyone.

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

 

Air Date: February 26, 2023

What’s New with ABLE Accounts in 2023?

There’s good news for people with ABLE accounts, and those who may be contributing to them. I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

ABLE Accounts help eligible people with disabilities to save for disability-related expenses, without jeopardizing their government benefits. In 2022, the maximum amount individuals could contribute to the accounts was $16,000. That amount has now increased to $17,000 per year.

Those who are working can contribute an additional $13,590 per year. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs says there are also tax benefits for other individuals who wish to contribute to loved ones’ ABLE accounts.

“An Illinois taxpayer who contributes to any Illinois ABLE account can deduct $10,000 if filing as an individual, or $20,000 if filing jointly from Illinois State Income taxes.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: February 19, 2023

Disability Fringe Benefits

From occasionally getting to skip the line to free or reduced fare rides on public transit, having a disability has its fringe benefits. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Growing up, I was often offended if people offered me what I considered special treatment. Now, as a blind adult making my way in a world that is not built for me, I take advantage of all the perks I can. That said, some are more acceptable than others.

Skipping the line at Secretary of State, boarding flights first, and getting upgraded seating at venues? That’s all fine. It is done in the spirit of convenience, and truly makes life easier. Other times, people want to pay for my meal or just give me money out right. This is harder to except, as it usually feels like it is being done out of pity, rather than expedience. Either way, I usually take the free food and laugh it off, knowing that I can do most things the same as everyone else. But sometimes it is nice to not have to.

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

 

 

Air Date: February 12, 2023

Health and Sex Ed for Blind Students

Most parents and educators agree that Health and Sex Education is important for students. How does somebody who is blind learn about this subject? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

For students who are blind, Sex Ed is a touchy subject. Like, it is literally taught through touch. Embossed photos and raised-line drawings offer some perspective, but they may not be as thorough as other methods.

“The replacement then, is to make models.” That’s Gaylen Kapperman, a professor emeritus in special education at Northern Illinois University, who also happens to be blind.

Dr. Kapperman has long advocated for anatomical models to be used in Sex Education for the blind. Unfortunately, this hands-on approach has met with some resistance.

“The sighted individuals … I believe, they interpret that as pornography for the blind, and it is totally and completely a false notion.”

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

 

 

Air Date: February 5, 2023

Wearing Eyeglasses Doesn’t Mean You’re Legally Blind

Some people might joke that they’re blind without their eyeglasses, but nothing could be further from the truth! I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

Legal blindness is defined as having best corrected vision of 2200 or worse. It cannot be restored with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.

Dr. Kara Crumbliss is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at The Chicago Lighthouse.

“While someone whose vision is significantly reduced without their glasses may be able to relate to – and appreciate – some of the challenges someone who is vision impaired may experience, out of respect to people who have this permanent disability, it is best to refrain from inaccurately referring to themselves as legally blind.”

I’ve been blind for as long as I can remember, and hearing this comparison only makes me feel as if people are minimizing my disability and the challenges that come with it.

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

 

Air Date: January 29, 2023

Theatre by the Blind

Have you ever wondered how an actor who is blind navigates the stage? I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Theatre by the Blind is the nation’s only company that produces plays whose casts are entirely comprised of blind actors. Greg Shane, the Artistic Director, has created a unique solution for the actors he works with.

“I created kind of a texturized flooring that they would navigate as if it was braille for their hands, it’s braille for their feet.”

Based in Los Angeles, Theatre by the Blind produces two shows a year featuring original theatrical works. According to Shane, these productions are vital for changing perceptions about the capabilities of blind actors.

“From roller blading, to skateboarding, to doing magical illusions, to jumping off platforms, we have done it all at Theatre by the Blind. And I don’t think there’s a single thing that a sighted actor can do that a blind actor can’t do.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: January 22, 2023

New Accessibility Coming to Six Flags Parks

It may be the dead of winter right now, but Six Flags is getting ready for the summer by making sure their parks are even more accessible. I’m Ben Chargot with “The Disability Minute.”

Last year, all parks in the Six Flags family became registered autism centers, offering sensory friendly days, quiet areas within the parks, and additional training for staff. Coming this summer, many rides and attractions will offer customized restraint harnesses so people with physical disabilities can ride safely.

In addition, riders with service animals can take advantage of an option similar to the child swop program, where one member of the party waits with the animal while the other party rides. They then switch when the first rider returns to the station, eliminating the need to wait in line again. Specific accessibility information for each park and attraction can be found at sixflags.com.

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

 

Air Date: January 15, 2023

Finding Clinical Trials for Disabilities

Receiving a diagnosis that involves a disability can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

When Oscar Scott was told he had retinitis pigmentosa, he learned that his vision would most likely deteriorate to the point of blindness. Oscar has been looking at clinical trials for gene therapy in the hopes of slowing or reversing his vision loss.

“When you sit down with the doctor, at least you have some choices, at least you have some hope.”

The process of accessing experimental treatments and finding clinical trials isn’t always clear. You’ll likely have to visit a genetic specialist for testing, and then register at sites, like clinicaltrials.gov to determine what trials you qualify for.

Still, not every person with a disability wants to be “cured.” I’ve been blind for over 25 years now, and my disability is part of my self-identity.

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

For more information, click here.

Air Date: January 8, 2023

Experiencing Audio Description as Blind People

More than 48 million people in the United States have some sort of hearing loss. Will over-the-counter hearing aids help? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Until recently, hearing aids were only available by prescription. In October 2022, however, the FDA allowed the devices to be sold over-the-counter for mild to moderate hearing loss, but people may still want to seek out professional care.

“The support that you get from having a hearing care professional help you learn how to use it, make sure that it’s set correctly to offset your hearing loss, those are such big bonuses.” That’s Dr. David Schmidt from the Chicago Hearing Society.

Audiologists can provide customized fitting, and can determine whether the hearing loss is related to an underlying medical issue. Still, the increased availability of hearing aids is a step in the right direction.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: January 1, 2023

Experiencing Audio Description as Blind People

Last week, our colleague Aaron gave you his point of view about Audio description as a sighted person. Now it’s our turn! It’s Ben Chargot and friends with “The Disability Minute.”

Widespread audio description is relatively new. In the past, this often left us without key information.

“In Home Alone, when the burglar’s gold tooth was found in front of the McCallisters, this provided another level of appreciation for the movie.”

It can also make a greater emotional impact.

“I love The Lion King! I finally got the full impact of Mufasa dying. Hearing that Simba crawled under his paw made me cry all over again!”

Or it can be laugh out loud funny.

“So I was part of a test screening of Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood. The description of him emerging from a puddle he fell into described him as ‘Standing with his tunic clinging to his wet slender body.’ It seemed a little suggestive!”

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

 

 

Air Date: December 25, 2022

Experiencing Audio Description as a Sighted Person

I’ve been blind since early childhood, but still enjoy watching tv.

Is my experience equal to that of a sighted person? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

People who are blind watch tv with audio descriptions, which narrate the actions on screen. I’ve often wondered how accurate the descriptions are. Aaron Baar, one of my sighted colleagues, “watched” a show using this feature.

“The action scenes were a little confusing. They didn’t really describe movements all that well. So there was a lot of grunting and screaming without much context.”

Aaron watched “See,” an Apple TV+ series starring Jason Momoa. The show is about a world where everyone is blind.

Aaron was impressed with some of the poetic language used to describe the credits, but he did find one element quite disappointing.

“Mere words can’t describe how hot Jason Momoa is.”

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

 

 

Air Date: December 18, 2022

Accessible and Useful Products for People with Disabilities

From wearable devices that guide people who are blind, to wheelchairs that climb stairs, it seems like every week brings a new product described as “designed for people with disabilities.” But are they even useful? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

It’s great that product designers think about accessibility in their work. But that’s only half of the job. Understanding how people might use your product is also important.

“A lot of the time, teams don’t have the background in disability to make good choices about what the needs are.”

That’s Dr. Joshua Miele, Principal Accessibility Researcher at Amazon and a 2021 MacArthur Fellow.

“In any design that is going to have real impact, people with disabilities have to be involved. Make sure that you have as many people with disabilities as possible to give feedback from the very beginning.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: December 11, 2022

Accessible Holiday Shopping

My momma told me you better shop around, but as someone with a disability, that’s easier said than done! I’m Maureen Reid with the “Disability Minute”

Before online shopping became the norm, buying presents was frustrating at best. In addition to the things all shoppers hate – big crowds, long lines, and fighting for that Frozen princess – I would have to wait 30 minutes or more for store-provided assistance, and then I would often have to wait another hour for transportation just to get home.

In the busy holiday season, no one has that much time! In recent years, new technologies and services like Aira, Be My Eyes, and even Uber, have made in-person shopping less time-consuming, though there’s still plenty of stress. And everyone knows, online shopping is a great convenience. Well, Unless the website isn’t accessible, but that’s a topic for another time.

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

 

Air Date: December 4, 2022

What Are Invisible Disabilities?

Have you ever heard of an invisible disability? I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability minute.

As indicated by the name, invisible disabilities are conditions that are not immediately apparent from someone’s outward appearance. These can include severe anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, and autism spectrum disorder.

“It is a term used to incorporate and actually challenge the traditional concept of disabilities are limited to something that is generally perceived or observable.” That’s Alex Kingston, a disability advocate focused on law and government policy with the Invisible Disability Project.

If you suspect that someone may have an invisible disability, Kingston advises approaching them with empathy and openness.

“Checking in in a neutral way, I think is always appropriate. It’s the trust and the respect, that’s where it starts.”

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: November 27, 2022

Is self-Description Useful or Necessary?

I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.” I am a Latinx woman with brown eyes and black hair, and I’m wearing a black dress and pearl earrings.

Did you find that essential to your enjoyment of this segment? When Vice President Kamala Harris described herself at an event over the summer, many people were confused. Is this something we should all be doing? Or is it even necessary?

Actually, the blind community hasn’t figured it out either. Some people find it to be a nice courtesy, an acknowledgment of diversity. Others, like me, don’t really see the need for it. Hearing what someone is wearing only distracts from the point. It can also lead to prejudicial assumptions around physical appearance or race.

Plus, how can I verify what the person is saying is true? By the way, I’m not even wearing the black dress or the earrings!

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

 

Air Date: November 20, 2022

Accessible Airline Travel

Traveling is rarely easy when you have a disability, but there are resources available to make it more pleasant. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

If you’re considering traveling this holiday season, you should be aware of two things that make it easier. TSA Cares is a program that provides trained staff to assist travelers with disabilities. Contact the TSA a few days ahead of your trip with your travel information, and they can have someone meet you at security to escort you through the screening process.

In addition, airlines are required to offer Complaint Resolution Officials who can help you with accommodations if you experience issues during your travels.

Most importantly, know that you have rights as an airline passenger. The U.S. Department of Transportation has a summary of them on their website at transportation.gov.  These tools can turn you into a VIP traveler, making the experience so much better.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse.

Maureen Reid for news radio 1059 WBBM.

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: November 13, 2022

Managing Diabetes with CGM Devices

One of the primary complications of diabetes can be vision loss. Fortunately, the tools used to monitor the disease are becoming more accessible. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

The Continuous Glucose Monitoring device – or CGM – uses a sensor implanted within a person’s body to collect and measure interstitial fluids. Using the device – along with a mobile app – means less finger sticking and more accurate measurements.

Eric Wegman is the director of Clinical Services at Accessible Pharmacy. “It is obviously difficult for blind patients to know if their finger stick has produced a large enough blood droplet to satisfy the volume of the standard blood glucose monitor. Simply just being certain that they are placing the blood droplet in the correct location on the strip can be a problem.”

CGM devices provide real-time readings of glucose levels, enabling patients to make more informed, healthier choices.

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

For more information, click here.

 

 

Air Date: November 6, 2022

Service vs. Emotional Support Animals

Is that dog wearing a vest a service dog, an emotional support animal, or just a house pet in a costume? I’m Ben Chargot with the Disability Minute.

Service animals are specifically trained to help people with disabilities navigate their daily lives. They are exposed to many different stimuli from a very young age, and are trained how to react (or not react) to them. Emotional support animals, while not specifically trained to mitigate disabilities, can be particularly helpful for people with severe anxiety or similar conditions. Lauren Berglund, consumer relations coordinator at the guide dog foundation and America’s Vet Dogs, explains where the issue lies.

“Misrepresentation of pets by non-disabled individuals to take them in places that are not pet friendly is where the problem occurs. Undertrained animals that do not have tasks and are not properly socialized.”

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

 

 

Air Date: October 30, 2022

Is Owning a Business Right for You?

Throughout Disability Employment Awareness Month, we’ve explored the barriers that prevent employment for people with disabilities. So why not just start your own business? I’m Sandy Murillo with “The Disability Minute.”

For those with disabilities, running a business can be a way to apply their experience and knowledge differently. Colleen Wunderlich runs the Forsythe Entrepreneurial Center, which helps people with vision impairments launch their own companies.

“Perhaps the job they once had is not able to be accommodated. For example, if someone drove a truck, they might want to start a small trucking company. That would be a good example of someone who could still use their industry experience but in a different way.”

All startups come with risk. Colleen notes that finding accessible workarounds for proprietary software can be a challenge, as can transportation and your own mindset. Being your own boss also requires discipline and hustle.

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

For more information, click here.

 

Air Date: October 23, 2022

Why Is DEI Important?

What does DEI mean to you? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have become a business imperative over the past several years as companies strive to make their workforces more reflective of the American population.

As an employment services counselor, I applaud these initiatives to provide more opportunity for people from under-represented communities. As a person with a disability, I’m cautiously hopeful, though I’m concerned we’re getting lost in the conversation.

An Accenture report a few years ago revealed that a mere one percent increase in disability employment would add $25 BILLION to the country’s economy. Roughly one out of every four Americans has a disability, making us the largest minority group. As business leaders, HR professionals, and others consider how they can introduce more diversity in their workplaces, I hope they keep that in mind.

Produced by people with disabilities at The Chicago Lighthouse. I’m Maureen Reid 1059 FM.

 

Air Date: October 16, 2022

Finding the First Job When You Have a Disability

First jobs are an important introduction into the world of work. Are you open to considering a person with a disability? I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

“if I go to an interview, they’re gonna be seeing right away my cane, that’s just how I’m gonna show up. That’s always in the front of my mind.”

That’s Angela Davis, who saw her confidence grow and opportunities increase after landing her first job. Now a Caseworker at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Angela says that first job after losing her vision, helped her understand her value to any potential employer.

“The way that we have to focus, just to navigate, that is a major skill that works for a job. Everything I’ve gone through as a visually impaired person – all the challenges – really make me I think a better worker.”

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. If you’re hiring, Consider somebody with a disability.

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

 

Air Date: October 9, 2022

What is the SSA Cash Cliff?

When is getting paid more a bad thing? When there’s a cash cliff ahead. I’m Maureen Reid with “The Disability Minute.”

To qualify for government benefits, individuals with disabilities must keep their incomes below a certain threshold. Go above that amount, and your benefits may stop. This is the Social Security cash cliff, and it can be a problem.

When I was offered a promotion, I had to do the math to see if walking away from Social Security benefits made financial sense. Fortunately, my job offered health insurance, I have no dependents, and I could negotiate higher pay. Others are not so fortunate. One colleague intentionally keeps her hours low so her family won’t lose the peace-of-mind that Social Security benefits provide.

The sad irony of this is people with disabilities work hard just to get a job that will lead to independence, only to find that doing well enough for a promotion may put that autonomy at risk.

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

 

 

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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