Archive for April, 2013

“Call Us Regulars” – First Thoughts


As a person with a very visible physical disability, I know what it’s like to stand out in most situations and therefore not be considered regular even though I am. Now I always have a problem when speaking about everyone in the disability community, because you can’t lump all members of any group together and describe them all in the same terms. There will always be at least one dissenter who thinks, “Sorry, but you don’t speak for me. I feel differently.” That’s understandable and OK with me; I, oftentimes, find myself being that dissenter. So in the series of “Call Us Regulars” columns written by me, I am speaking for myself and nobody else unless they are explicitly mentioned.



The title of this post came from something I said when speaking about a certain local restaurant that my wife and I frequent. My wife, who is a quadriplegic and uses a motorized wheelchair due to a diving accident over 25 years ago, and I, who use a scooter or a wheelchair, due to Friedreich’s Ataxia, were attending a Birthday dinner for a friend at that same restaurant. The wife of the Birthday Guy (I can’t really call him a Birthday Boy as it was his sixtieth!) went over to the host/hostess to ask for something special in the way dessert was served, and the host/hostess looked at the table, saw us, and said that of course they’d do what she asked because she was with us and we were “regulars.” Now it might seem that being “regulars” isn’t a huge big deal in most situations, but it was and still is to me.

I tend to stick out wherever I go due to my trusty scooter or wheelchair. Whether it’s having to jam myself onto a crowded subway train, having to use a lift (which often breaks down – but that’s another post!) to get to wheelchair accessible seats at local sports venues, or having to use certain building entrances because they don’t have stairs. I’m not complaining and whining about having to do those things, I’m just saying that they can make you stick out and not feel like a “regular.” So when people you don’t really know refer to you as “regulars” it makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’ve managed to be seen as a person and not just a living, breathing wheelchair!

Being seen as a person is a major victory! I would hazard a guess that everyone wants to be seen as a person; not just a thing.

I know I do.

by Tony Trott – Peer Mentor


April 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm 2 comments

VSA International Arts Program for Children with Disabilities


The Kennedy Center, through its affiliate VSA, proudly presents a unique opportunity for student-artists with disabilities from around the world to present their artwork side-by-side in an online exhibition. A selection of artwork from the online entries will be chosen for a live exhibition at the United States Department of Education in Washington D.C.!

Deadline to submit: July 1, 2013 Who may submit: Children with a disability, ages 5 to 18  Artwork specifications: Two-dimensional works only, no larger than 18 x 24 inches

Yo Soy….Je Suis….I Am…My Family Children with disabilities are encouraged to create a family portrait that illustrates themselves among the people that provide love, support, and encouragement in their lives – their families! Portraying themselves with some of the most important people in their lives gives testament to the idea that family – no matter how big or how small – help shape who we are and provide the foundation for who we will be.

Please note: The call for artwork requires additional information for each entry as outlined below:

  • About the Submitter – Name, Email, Phone and Relationship to the artist
  • About the Artist: – Name, Age, Location and Disability
  • About the Artwork: – Title and Medium

About Education at the Kennedy Center For more than 35 years, educational programming has been at the central core of the Kennedy Center’s mission. The Kennedy Center, along with its affiliates/partners (the National Symphony Orchestra, VSA and the Washington National Opera), offers inclusive educational performances and programs in the arts to people of all ages. The educational resources focus on producing, presenting, and touring performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based residencies and other programs that directly impact teachers, students, administrators, and artists through professional development; systemic and school improvement through the arts and arts integrated curricula; partnerships; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; the development of careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations.

About VSA VSA, an international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. With a network of national and international affiliates, VSA provides arts and education opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities and increases access to the arts for all. VSA is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Past Submissions 2012 Entrants & Exhibiting Artists

April 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

FCC Adopts Rules on Emergency Information and More

FCC Adopts Rules on Emergency Information and Video Equipment Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Descriptionfcc

From the Federal Communications Commission, 4/12/2013

The FCC adopted rules to make televised emergency information more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The new rules require emergency information that appears visually during a non-news program (such as when information about the emergency appears visually on the bottom of the screen during a regularly scheduled program) to be provided audibly on a secondary audio stream.  The rules will take effect two years after publication in the Federal Register.  However, The Weather Channel has an additional 6 months to comply, and The Weather Channel on DIRECTV has an additional 1 year to comply.

New Requirements for Equipment.  The FCC also adopted rules to ensure that certain equipment used to receive, play back, or record television programs is able to make secondary audio streams available.  Secondary audio streams will convey emergency information, as well as the video description that makes programs accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  These rules also go into effect two years after they are published in the Federal Register.

Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).   In addition to adopting the new rules, the FCC is asking the public to comment on three issues:

(1)  whether the FCC should require companies covered by the new rules to provide contact information and customer support services to help consumers who are blind or visually impaired navigate between the main and secondary audio streams;

(2)   whether new services that deliver certain types of television programming over tablets, laptops, personal computers, smartphones, or similar devices should be covered by the FCC’s requirements for video description and accessible emergency information; and

(3)   whether the FCC should require accessibility content on the secondary audio stream to be tagged in a manner that enables equipment to detect this content when it is present – this will make it easier for consumers who are blind or visually impaired to find the secondary audio stream.

FNPRM Comment Date:  (60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)

FNPRM Reply Comment Date:  (90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)

Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

Statement issued by Commissioner Clyburn:

Statement issued by Commissioner Rosenworcel:

Statement issued by Commissioner Pai:

For more information, contact Diana Sokolow,, or Maria Mullarkey,, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120.

April 15, 2013 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

Ensembles for Everyone

 The Loudoun Symphony en4everyYouth Orchestra presents

Ensembles for Everyone

Mark your calendars! Encouraged by the success of last year’s concert, the Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra (LSYO) is pleased to present the second annual Ensembles for Everyone on April 13, 2013.

Thanks to a grant awarded to them in 2011 by the S. Murray Rust and Mary H.C. Rust Student Philanthropy Project and the Piedmont Community Foundation, the musicians of LSYO were able to make the vision of conductor, Dr. Yeong Su Kim a reality. This year the student-led coalition will build upon the groundwork laid last year to put on another outstanding concert for all – and especially for the special needs community.

This sensory concert includes visuals to accompany the scores from well-known music, as well as specialized devices on-stage which allow participants to feel the rhythm through vibrations. Most of all, Ensembles for Everyone is completely interactive and encourages the audience to participate using percussion instruments loaned by LSYO!

There is no entrance fee! Reserve your seats now at our website! Feel free to contact us at for more information.

Post Concert Activities: 4:45-6:00 PM


Concert Time: 4:00-4:30 PM

43100 Hay Rd Ashburn, VA 20147

April 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

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