How do I Able, Not Disable

It Depends. If you are in Salem County, New Jersey, it may be a matter of opportunities that are available. Transportation is always an issue, but in a more rural area, it becomes even harder. There is a specialized transportation option, but you need to plan effectively and have time to wait for your ride. If you are looking for off normal hours, weekends and holidays, it becomes even more difficult. Having a large supportive network makes it easier to take advantage of opportunities and to develop a vibrant social life.

Friends of mine have Retinitis pigmentosa (RP). RP is the name given to a group of inherited conditions of the retina that all lead to a gradual progressive reduction in vision. Difficulties with night vision and peripheral (‘side’) vision are the first things that are noticed. Later, reading vision (detailed vision), color vision, and central (‘straight-ahead’) vision are affected. The age at which symptoms start is variable and the rate of deterioration often varies – for example with the different genetic types – but is generally very slow with changes occurring over years rather than months. Despite their diagnosis, it would be difficult for most able people to keep up with them.

When we were in Jamaica this past summer, our group went to Dunns River Falls. Imagine an incline of water rushing by you as you try to navigate slippery rocks. The guide is telling everyone to pay attention and hold hands because everyone is going to need help in getting to the top. My friends, who are legally blind, are with us and we all made it to the top. They refuse to be disabled and are on various adventures throughout the year. They also moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, so that they could take advantage of a very good transportation system that allows them to live independently.

Mark and Sherry have a large and supportive network that they have developed and they use the latest technology available to their benefit. We able our children by helping them learn these strategies. Is that really true and is this what are schools are doing?

In truth, this is not happening because schools are more about testing and planning for college. Vocational programs have been taken out of our schools and most child are “left behind” because they haven’t been given the chance to learn how to develop basic living skills (cooking, cleaning, balancing a checkbook, fixing things, using tools safely and etc). We don’t give our students a lot of opportunities to be creative and learn to be independent. We also have a tendency to do things for our children rather than letting them struggle some as we guide them through the learning process.

Give a child a fish and you feed that child for a meal, if you taught the child to cook. Teach a child to fish and cook and you feed that child for a lifetime.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

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