Everybody who is in a body can DANCE and move – it’s a right we all have

Co-Founder of AXIS Dance Company

International Dance Day is April 29th. Here in Northern California we have Bay Area Dance Week with all types of free dance classes and performances. As Judith Smith, co-founder of the physically integrated dance company, AXIS, says, “Everybody who is in a body can dance and move — it’s a right we all have.” And that is the message of this podcast episode.

Years ago when I held my first dance marathon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association a banner hung with the slogan, “Dance for those who can’t”

Fundraising event for MDA held in a mall in North Miami Beach, Florida ~ 1978

and that sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. The AXIS Dance Company has included artists with physical disabilities, commissioned award-winning choreographers and composers, toured 100+ cities, and appeared on Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance. Opportunities for adaptive dance exist from here — BORP’s World Dance for All — to North Carolina where Mindy Kim teaches chair dancing.

Leia Cash, a lifelong dancer and educator, teaches adaptive dance classes at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, adults with Parkinson’s disease, and seniors at a residential facility.

 


NorCal Resources Rock

I am so grateful for the move I made to Northern California in 1989…even if it included experiencing the Loma Prieta earthquake. This is really one of the most inclusive areas in our country, especially for people with disabilities. I know of a family that relocated to California from the Midwest so their severely disabled son could reap the benefits of the Regional Center’s services as well as other state resources.

And the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) is definitely one of the amazing resources. Located in Berkeley, California — across from a major public transportation hub — ERC houses a number of federal, regional, state, and nonprofit organizations providing services and resources for people with physical and/or developmental disabilities.

Located at a fully accessible transit hub, the Ed Roberts Campus is a national and international model dedicated to disability rights and universal access.
The Ed Roberts Campus commemorates the life and work of Edward V. Roberts, an early leader in the independent living movement of persons with disabilities. Ed believed in the strength of collaborative efforts: He called it “working toward our preferred future.”

Yesterday I attended the Momentum Expo sponsored by the Center for Independent Living. Here’s a short video I shot while at the Expo. The event was free. I had the chance to find out more about new and existing organizations, promote the podcast, and see friends I know from various aspects of the Northern California disabled community.

One organization housed at ERC is BORP: Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Programs. BORP has an adaptive fitness studio at ERC where I take classes. In fact, Valerie Jew’s Integrative Healing class is there. Lately I’ve been attending a World Dance for All class held in the BORP fitness studio. The next podcast episode is all about Dancing so you’ll soon hear more about this class.


Pirate as a Disability Action Figure: Disability Awareness Month

 

Professor Catherine Kudlick, of San Francisco State University, directs the The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and the annual SuperFest International Disability Film Festival.

Born blind, Catherine had numerous corrective eye surgeries and now lives with nystagmus, a condition of involuntary eye movement.

Learn about this year’s annual film festival and a new accessibility feature — audio description — and how pirates can be a tool for teaching students about disability.


How Prepared Are You?

This month of September is designated as National Preparedness Month. It’s the topic of discussion in the most recent podcast episode and, apparently, in this first of a nearly daily blog post. So, how prepared are you?

Being prepared may be more than a checklist of items you should have on hand in the event of a disaster where you may need to leave your home or stay cloistered in your home without any outside assistance. Being prepared may be more of a state of mind…or, perhaps a peace of mind? It involves going through the mental process of what if scenarios.

What if I am unable to be at home and need to sleep elsewhere? This is how I brainstorm for a trip when I am traveling. My preparation always involves making a list several weeks before the designated trip. I originally had a template but things change so quickly that I need to re-brainstorm for each trip. What happens if I’m in pain/discomfort — what do I need? What helps me sleep? Depending on the weather, what do I need to bring?

I invite you to start that brainstorming process. Let me know what you come up with.


Preparedness is Universal: Planning for a disaster if you have a chronic illness, physical, developmental, or intellectual disability

September is National Preparedness Month. If you have a chronic health condition, an injury, or are physically, developmentally, or intellectually disabled there is additional preparedness planning you’ll need to do in the event of a natural (hurricane, earthquake, flood) or other type of disaster (terrorism).

L. Vance Taylor —Chief, Office of Access and Functional Needs at California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, talks about his role in emergency management for the State of California as well as his role as a person with a physical disability (Limb Girdle muscular dystrophy).

Additional Resources to help with your personal planning and preparedness can be found at the following organization’s website:

American Red Cross

FEMA

Ready.gov


Talkin’ Tech with a Software Engineer

That software engineer is Chris Schlechty — a fellow member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s National Community Advisory Committee. We talk about home automation, on-demand services, apps, self-driving cars, smart devices, and Seattle’s microbrews.

Check out the DO IT Center which is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. Chris has been involved with this organization since he was in high school.

 


Accessible Yoga for All

Accessible Yoga includes persons with disabilities, seniors, at-risk-youth, and many others not comfortable in more traditional yoga classes.

Jivana Heyman — registered yoga therapist and teacher — talks about the origin of the Accessible Yoga organization and the upcoming conferences in New York and San Francisco. Want to know what Accessible yoga is all about? Tune in to find out more.

During our conversation Jivana mentions Dean Ornish’s book, Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health. Why not buy it now?


Sassy in a Wheelchair

Tis the season to talk romance and who better to hear from than our disability community sexpert, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk? Danielle — a licensed psychologist in New York City — discusses dating, sex, society, and disability.

For more information about online therapy, visit daniellesheypuk.com/

On a different note, here’s a webinar with Dr. Sheypuk on Coping with Depression.


The D Word: Disability

October is National Disability Awareness Month.

What does it mean to be disabled? A dictionary definition says it’s having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities. Does it coincide with the diagnosis of a chronic health condition? It didn’t for me. And even now I struggle with the term, and you’ll soon hear from a couple of my friends — Cheryl Sherman and Stephen Beard — who have also had difficulties with the term.


A Woman’s Best Friend

Service dogs can be a best friend for someone with a chronic health condition. In this podcast episode Hazel Weiss, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1989, talks about her experiences with first Hams and now Virgil. Melissa Marshall, featured in podcast episode, The Cancer Fight Song, talks about her new puppy-in-training.

Hazel mentions two organizations — Bergin University of Canine Studies and Canine Companions for Independence. You can read the policy on service animals at the City of Berkeley’s website.