Archive for October, 2011

Laurent Clerc

Can you imagine where deaf and hard of hearing people would be if we never had Laurent Clerc?

In 1816, Clerc traveled to America with his friend and interpreter, Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet from Paris on a ship for 52 days. During that time, Gallaudet tutored Clerc in English. And, Clerc also showed him how to use the method of signs for abstract ideas.

They arrived in Harford, Connecticut, on August 22, 1816. On the very same day, Clerc met Alice Cogswell who was deaf. She also was the daughter of Gallaudet’s neighbor and friend, Mason Fitch Cogswell.

Alice signed and showed a lot of hunger for knowledge without any language. It was then when Clerc decided to carry out his mission that he came to do.

Thomas Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell Clerc, Gallaudet and Dr. Cogswell delivered many speeches and demonstrations of their teaching methods to deaf children in order to get public, legislative and financial support for their goals. From October 1816 to April 1817, they traveled to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other places. They continued informing the public, interviewing parents of deaf children, and prospective students. They raised about $12,000 from the public. The Connecticut General Assembly made history by voting an additional of $5,000 for the school.

On April 15, 1817, the first School for the Deaf in America was opened in Harford, Conn. with seven students. Of course, Alice Cogswell was the first student to enroll this program. At first, it was called the Connecticut Asylum at Hartford for the Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons and now it is the American School for the Deaf.

Gallaudet was the principal and Clerc was the head teacher. One year following, poor and uneducated students enrolled. Their ages ranged from 10 to 51 years old.

Clerc’s influence had thirty residential schools established during his lifetime. In June 1864, he was a guest of honor at the inauguration of the National Deaf-Mute College, now Gallaudet University.

If it was not for Clerc, deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages would be considered mentally retarded and live in institutions without any form of communication. We need to bow to him with our great appreciation and a lot of applause for what he did for us.

I cannot imagine myself without my education. I also can visualize that others feel the same way as I do.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor


October 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“I have breast cancer.” Those are words that I never thought would come out of my mouth. But on July 7, 2010, I joined the one in eight women who have this terrible disease. However, breast cancer does not have to be deadly. Preventive care, such as consistent breast examination and early detection through routine mammograms, are proven to catch breast cancer early. If caught early, mortality rates are low. All of this sounds relatively simple, but when you have a disability, many factors place breast cancer prevention at the bottom of the list of health care issues. Women with disabilities must pay attention to breast cancer. This is a call to action!

I do not have a history of breast cancer in my family, so the last thing that I imagined was that I would have breast cancer.  However, I did start getting mammograms at age 40 (I am now 44). It is not fun. Although the machine is accessible, you still have to do a great deal of “gymnastics” to fit close enough to the machine to get an accurate picture. Also, all wheelchairs are different and women with disabilities can have varied functional status, so that creates additional challenges. Many women with disabilities, like me, cannot do their own breast exams. Therefore, it is vital that health care providers and personal caregivers assist with breast examination. My caregiver felt the lump in my breast that ultimately was cancerous.

Despite the fact that I was dealing with a trach, wound issues and other health care challenges, being diagnosed with breast cancer brought home to me the fact that even though I am a woman with a disability, I AM STILL A WOMAN. That means I need to focus on women’s health issues that face all women, regardless of my disability. Because of early detection, I was able to have surgery and remove a stage I lump. There was no cancer in my lymph nodes, so my recurrence rate is quite low.

The message is clear. Women with disabilities must get mammograms and do breast exams. Demand that your health care provider do a breast exam at least once a year. Even though it isn’t easy, make sure you get a mammogram.  In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, be an advocate and strongly encourage your friends to take care of their breast health. It is a matter of life and death. You can hear more about my story, and positive advances being made in breast health for women with disabilities in a recent WUSA 9 Buddy Check broadcast

By Sheri Denkensohn

October 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm 2 comments

My Cochlear Implant (CI, Part 6) – One Year Later

Tony and SheriIt really is hard to believe that it has been a year (OK, technically a year and a day) since I had my cochlear implant surgery. It has definitely been a year of excitement and anticipation as well as one described by many other adjectives. 

Thinking back to the actual day of the surgery, I remember seeing my surgeon, Dr. Charles Limb, before the operation, being prepped for surgery, seeing my Mother and my wife as I was being taken to the OR, and then arriving in the OR which was probably the cleanest most sparkling room in which I have ever been! I remember a nurse telling me that the anesthetic was about to be applied and then the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room with a bandage around my head. 

There was, thankfully, little pain (that would come later, when the anesthesia wore off) and I was able to leave Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore about five hours after the surgery.  The ride home took about an hour and a half (I think, I was still pretty hazy) and then I got home, and went straight for my favorite chair and stayed there until it was time to go to bed. 

The bandage around my head included a semi-circular piece of plastic over my ear to protect the actual area where the incision had been made, so I had to get used to not rolling over on it! I had taken a pain pill and, trust me, I fell right to sleep. But it was great to be home and not in the hospital even for one night! 

The next few days were spent recovering from the surgery and getting my stomach back in shape (anesthesia can really mess things up down there!). After several days, the bandage came off and I went back and saw the surgeon who said everything looked fine and my next appointment at Johns Hopkins would be in the middle of November for the initial activation of the implant. 

I’ll write about that anniversary next month, but today I’m just remembering the actual surgery.

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor

October 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

My Virginia Medicaid Matters

David BurdsAs you can see from our cover story there is a tremendous concern by the elderly and people with disabilities about the future of Medicaid. We know that if there are cuts to Medicaid on the federal level there will be cuts on the state level.

The first things to receive cuts are the Medicaid Waivers. These people who depend on the Waivers, due to financial straits, have opted to have Medicaid services in the home rather than possibly have to be institutionalized or have their loved ones institutionalized. 

These Waivers are: Alzheimer’s Assisted Living (AAL), Day Support, Elderly or Disabled with Consumer Direction (EDCD), HIV/AIDS, Individual and Family Developmental Disabilities Supports (IFDDS), Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation (ID/MR), and Technology Assisted (Tech).

With these Waiver services, Virginians who are elderly and or disabled and lacking the funds for in home care and services, have those needed services to prevent institutionalization. Without them many of these people will be institutionalized.

Even though studies again and again demonstrate that Medicaid Waivers save the state money, the Waivers are often the first to receive cuts. To prevent these cuts we must let our General Assembly members know that we demand that assistance for the most vulnerable not be touched!

ECNV staff and member at the RallyLast month about 75 people representing ECNV (2,500 people nationwide) gathered at the U.S. Capitol to voice their opposition to federal Medicaid cuts. Now on the state level we need our Virginians to be heard by our state senators and delegates. Go to or call ECNV to find your senator and delegate and email or write them a letter to preserve the Virginia Medicaid Waivers.

By David Burds, ECNV Executive Director
Article from the ECNV Declaration (Fall 2011 Edition)

October 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

Disability-rights Advocates Protest Obama’s Proposed Medicaid Cuts

ECNV staff and Members at ECNV

400 Hundreds of disability-rights advocates congregated on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday [September, 21st] to protest billions of dollars in proposed cuts to Medicaid.

“States are cutting Medicaid, and federal cuts on top of state cuts would be … catastrophic,” said protester Jessica Sadowsky of Maryland.

President Obama proposed a major debt-reduction plan earlier this week designed to cut more than $3 trillion over the next decade. An estimated $580 billion would be saved through cuts to entitlement programs.

Medicaid, a healthcare program for the poor that is administered by states, was singled out for a $73 billion decrease. Medicare could be hit even harder, with a proposed $248 billion cut.

Protesters of the plan, many themselves with disabilities, demanded that Congress maintain funding for those in need.

“I’d just like to see absolutely no cuts. You’re taking from the poor, the disabled and seniors — how much more can they take?” asked Carol Jones, from Georgia. “I think that they have to look in another direction; maybe cut some of their unnecessary spending.”

“All Medicare matters. … These people can’t afford that,” she added, motioning to her fellow protesters. “They’re living minimally now; any more cuts would really be astronomical for them.”

Advocates gathering at the CapitolMore than 90 national advocacy groups — including AARP and the American Association of People with Disabilities — sponsored the rally, one of several to be conducted across the country. Many protesters and advocacy groups planned to visit lawmakers’ offices after the event to further communicate their message.

For Arlington, Va., resident Caroline Levy, whose five-year-old son Adam suffers from cognitive and physical disabilities, Medicaid is a necessary government expenditure.

“My motto about Medicaid is that fair isn’t when everybody gets the same thing,” she said. “Fair is when everybody gets what they need.”

This article was reprinted, with permission, from The Hill Newspaper and may be seen online at

Article from the ECNV Declaration (Fall 2011 Edition)

October 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Housing and Community Development Needs Hearing

Arlington County Consolidated Plan FY 2011-2015
FY 2013 Action Plan Needs Hearing

Public HearingThe Consolidated Plan is a blueprint for developing affordable housing, preventing homelessness, ensuring fair housing, expanding economic opportunities, and improving neighborhoods, over a five year period.  Annual Action Plans describe strategies and guide the use of County resources to address these issues within the five year framework.  

Arlington experienced a significant reduction in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the current fiscal year.  Further cuts are expected, and therefore, support for Consolidated Plan programs and activities must be decreased in FY 2013 and beyond.  

You are invited to comment on housing and community development needs and priorities related to Arlington County’s Fiscal Year 2013 Action Plan.  

When:  7:00 PM on Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Where: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Room 311 Courthouse Plaza, Third Floor,   Arlington
Sponsors:  Community Development Citizens Advisory Committee (CDCAC) and The Housing Commission

The County provides accommodation for individuals with a disability that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  To request this please call (703) 228-7096 (voice and TTY) or email .  Spanish interpreters will be available at the hearing.  For other languages, please contact

Jane M. Eboch
Community Development Coordinator
Arlington County Housing Division
2100 Clarendon Boulevard; Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 228-3822
(703) 228-3834 (FAX)

October 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

Presidential Proclamation — National Disability Employment Awareness Month


 Office of the Press Secretary
 For Immediate Release October 3, 2011




Utilizing the talents of all Americans is essential for our Nation to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the skills that people with disabilities bring to our workforce, and we rededicate ourselves to improving employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors for those living with disabilities.

More than 20 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities, including injured veterans, are making immeasurable contributions to workplaces across our country. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains too high — nearly double the rate of people without disabilities — and reversing this trend is crucial.

In both the public and private sectors, we can increase employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities. My Administration is promoting competitive, integrated employment for persons with disabilities and the elderly through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Last year, we also recommitted to making the Federal Government a model employer for people living with disabilities. Agencies are working harder than ever to promote equal hiring practices and increase retention, while also expanding internships, fellowships, and training opportunities.

We know education is the foundation on which all children can build bright and successful futures, and no child should be limited in his or her desire to learn. In September, we announced the final regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C, to improve services and outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families during the critical years before kindergarten. The educational environments we are creating for children with disabilities will ensure they are better prepared to succeed in the classroom and later in the workplace, helping position our Nation to lead in the 21st century.

Work accessibility is just as vital to success as ensuring educational and hiring opportunities. Public transportation is a service that should be available to all Americans, and rules instated this year by the Department of Transportation require new rail construction or renovations to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities. We are also improving our compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to make Federal agencies’ electronic and information technology more accessible to individuals with disabilities. This will ensure all applicants have equal opportunity to apply for jobs, and it will allow Federal employees to better use technology at work.

To win the future, we must harness the power of our Nation’s richest resource — our people. Americans with disabilities, like all Americans, are entitled to not only full participation in our society, but also full opportunity in our society. Their talents and contributions are vital to the strength of our Nation’s workforce and our future prosperity. Together, we can ensure persons living with disabilities have equal access to employment, and to inclusive, supportive workplaces.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2011 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


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Credit to the White House Disability Group

October 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm 1 comment

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