Education

Sun, January 15, 2012
"A right delayed is a right denied." Today I am thinking about my grandfather and father gathered around a radio listening to Dr. King saying these words as he fought for the inclusion of people like my family. How odd that 50 years later I am in Amman, Jordan with a group of people who hold the same belief and are working to ensure that people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) are included in society. I am here with my colleagues Perry Samowitz and Fawzi Abu Hassish as...
Mon, January 09, 2012
It is interesting to notice that on a daily basis there is a new research/study that analyzes one specific aspect seen with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. A recent one identified a potential autism link with immune system abnormalities. This condition is amazingly multifaceted and it requires a constant attention to details that sometimes I feel can limit the general understanding of the condition itself. On the other hand, it also sounds like a promising scientific way to go. Any news for us is...
Thu, January 26, 2012
I was amazed, as I watched more than 24 individuals with Asperger's syndrome mark the holidays recently just like anyone else would. They socialized at their party and played charades, 20 questions and Pictionary -- activities designed to help enhance their social skills. The partygoers were all students or graduates of NIPD/NJ's Asperger's Skill Building Network. "This program has given me a great reason to get out and meet people," said Emily, 22, who has attended the program since September...
Tue, January 17, 2012
Yesterday I visited the Al Dlail institution in northwest Jordan. It is difficult to put into words what I saw and how I felt. Having been part of the revolution, moving people with disabilities from institutions to community-based programs, it was a reminder of how far we have come and to never forget how people with disabilities have been mistreated. When I first arrived at the institution, I was taken into a room to meet the senior staff and see a slide show. The slides were quite revealing...
Fri, February 10, 2012
I am very passionate about advocacy and am committed to speaking up when meeting with legislators to help maintain full support for people with developmental disabilities in helping them to gain justice, inclusion and full community participation. I also felt honored to speak to them during NYSACRA's Legislative Day on Jan. 31, 2012 about the importance of the work that we as Direct Support Professional provide to people with developmental disabilities, and how we go over and above our call of...
Fri, February 03, 2012
While in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, I was talking with Hammoud about the difference between umbrellas in the U.S. and in his country. Hammoud is a 19-year-old man with autism who lives in a residential program there and he has a particular fascination with umbrellas. We discussed how big they are, what shapes,how they open, what button you press? He even asked me to draw an example. It turned out that umbrellas are umbrellas everywhere. Then Hammoud told me about his many accomplishments. He...
Mon, April 23, 2012
Edward Ciramella recently presented the following remarks at a Westchester Legislative Breakfast. My name is Edward Ciaramella and I'm a resident in a YAI group home in Westchester County. I go out in the community to enjoy movies, sports events, and out to shows on the weekend. The residence is clean, the staff and residents are friendly and pleasant with one another. The staff are very conscientious. I feel that the residence is a real home, because I have a computer, TV and CD player and...
Mon, February 06, 2012
Several years ago, YAI's Education and Training Department decided that if we were going to produce DVDs that were for or about people with developmental disabilities, it made sense to have them portray themselves if the DVD's were going to be realistic. We did not want to dilute our message and have those people who watch or purchase our DVDs say that this or that wouldn’t really happen because we used trained "professional" actors and "real" people wouldn't act that way. I have assembled a...
Thu, June 07, 2012
YAI's Day Services Independent Travel Training program is much more than teaching individuals how to access public transportation so they can commute from their homes to a day program. Being a travel trainer is tough. It's early mornings, long days riding the crowded public transit system, and it can be so tempting to offer quick solutions to the trainee (which would be counterproductive because the skill of independent travel requires confidence and decision making.) But that first time your...
Fri, March 09, 2012
Missouri always has been known as the Show Me State. We have Harry S Truman to thank for that. But recently the City of Arnold, which I confess I never had heard of until this morning, has taken a major step for the field. The city council has decided to implement new writing guidelines -- no one with a disability should be defined by their deficit . So simple. So logical. So needed, unfortunately. As our organization begins to rethink the way we do everything (and yes, this blog is part of our...

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