Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Kamloops Self Advocate Podcast - by Krystian Shaw, Ability Online member/volunteer

I Started a new podcast in conjuction with my newsletter business called The Kamloops Self Advocate newsletter.

I focus on all disabilities including mental health issues. I interview people ranging from  disability sports like Special Olmpic atheles and Paralympic atheletes and so many other cool people like mental health advocates etc.

i also have a message for anyone out there with mental health challenges and other kinds of disabilities, you are not alone with your stuggles in your life. I would love to interview the exective director of Ability Online and others about their successes with ability online or other issues that they want to talk about. feel free to download the google  play  app for anchor so we can talk and it's a free app. so you do not need to give out your personal info for safety reasons and join in the conversation by sending voice messages etc. Remember I am here to support you all with your struggles in life and to promote different disability services like Ability Online. 

I would like to get connected with special olympic athletes and paralympic athletes about their personal experience living with a disability. feel  free to message me on Ability Online in a private message to set up a time for an interview, even if you don't want an interview, just listen to my podcast called disability awareness and success stories at anchor.fm/krystian4 and it's a free podcast hosting software. They also provide if you are USA citizens but are expanding to other countries soon is sponsorships for your podcast. so I found a company audio marketing platform in Austria that is world wide with sponsors/advertisers that added me to a data base to get sponsors for my podcast. 

I also would love to stomp out stigma and discrimination world wide. I am also on itunes with my podcast and other podcast distribution platforms too.  I am branching out with free podcasts for the  world as well now I have forums etc that is a social network part to my business about disability awareness and success stories etc. if any parents would like to be interviewed about their son or daughter and how they are proud of them please feel free to message me thanks at Ability Online in a private message to set up a time, please do so or e-mail thekamloopsselfadvocate@yahoo.com 

Interview with Michelle McClure from Ability Online, January 8, 2019.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Vision of Modality by Sarah Evans, Guest writer and Ability Online member/mentor

When Ian Hanson bought his first smart phone in 2015, he hated the keyboard, just like he hated the keyboard on the iPad he had borrowed a few years before. “I couldn't even come close to making full use of my fingers, I didn't like holding the phone in my palms and scrunching my thumbs up, and a one-thumb action was very cumbersome and slow and forced my thumb all over the screen for simple words like ‘and’ and ‘all’".  According to Hanson, there are inherent deficiencies in the standard keyboard, especially for a phone. So, as a creative person, he decided to create a keyboard that would work for himself and the millions of other people who type on their phone. “I wanted to type, and be able to type thousands of words in a day, and be able to use my phone to do it." 

To accomplish his vision, Hanson created a technology company, which he called Joyful Machines. Ever since his dad brought home a TRS-80 computer from Radio 
Shack, which he called a “Trash-80", technology has been a tool for Hanson. He is passionate about using technology to bring people together. 

It took Hanson three and a half years to get Modality to where it to today. At first, he thought of creating a simple re-arrangement of letters, similar to what August Dvorak tried to do for the typewriter in the 1930's and 1940's. But he soon realized that the system was moving toward what he calls “group typing" whereby several letters appear on the same block. He was overwhelmed by the possibilities. “Imagine navigating this wide-open field of knowing that you wanted to group letters together, but there are literally no limitations to how." For the first version of Modality, he went through hundreds of arrangements, starting with small circles and ending up with a diamond. But there were problems with the diamond. Taking a suggestion from someone, he had put all of the vowels together in one block, along with the letters Y and R. But this didn't work because there were so many ambiguities, making it hard to get to the word you wanted. For example, the words ‘foot’ and ‘feet’ appeared together when pressing the same combination of buttons, along with many other words. “I used to have to go to the fifth screen of words just to get to ‘piano’,”Hanson explains. 

The other issue with the first version was that users had to identify the first letter of each word, meaning two taps were required to get each word started. Hanson says this was lame for two letter words like ‘to’ or ‘be’. 

For the next ten months, Hanson took the keyboard apart and rebuilt it. "I had to overcome a lot of personal fears to develop Modality 1.0 into Modality 2.0,"  he said. "But Modality 2.0 is, in fact, the very best that I can do." 

His greatest inspiration in creating the new keyboard was to arrange the letters by shape. It was similar to a party game he used to play, but he again went through hundreds of letter arrangements to be sure it was the best. 

When Modality 2.0  was complete, it had five buttons. But again, someone challenged Hanson to make it four buttons, and so he did.

“It's a four button typing system that has perhaps a limitless number of applications, but in the end is natural and comfortable." 

While building the keyboard, he realize that it was the perfect size for a watch but could also work for tablets and screens as large as televisions. 

In fact, he consistently hears from users of the Apple watch and Samsung watch that there is as better system for typing on those platforms. He also says that he's received encouraging feedback from people who don't want to or can't easily move their limbs or digits. Moreover, visionaries speak well of the keyboard and point out its benefits, “trailblazing the way for people who will eventually love Modality but don't know it yet."

One of the most rewarding parts for Hanson is interacting with customers.  He says the company is committed to reaching out, listening to its customers’ suggestions and personally thanking them for their support.  It is especially encouraging when a customer makes a suggestion that is in line with what Hanson and his team are  already thinking for a future update.  "It clearly indicates that we have begun to express our vision more clearly and that the customer can see that vision and wants to be a part of it." 

Modality for four platforms  - iPhone/iPad, Android, Apple Watch and Samsung Watch - is available at joyfulmachines.com. For more information or support, email support@joyfulmachines.com.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Top 4 Careers for Individuals Interested in Helping Children with Disabilities by Jill Howard, guest writer for Ability Online

Children with disabilities live with challenges early in life that can make even everyday tasks a struggle. However, these children have enormous potential and many can beat the odds to live fulfilling lives. While some children manage to rise to the challenge on their own, others do not have the tools they need to thrive, or simply need an extra boost to help them live up to their potential. 

If you have compassion for children with disabilities and you’d like to find a fulfilling career helping them, you have options. There are many jobs that allow you to help children with extra obstacles in life—you just need to find one that suits your skills and personality. Here are 4 of the top careers you might want to explore if you’re interested in helping children with disabilities. 

Why Helping Children with Disabilities Grow and Develop is Crucial 

Building resilience is important for any child, but it’s especially important for children with disabilities. Because they have additional obstacles to deal with, it’s important that they develop the tools to persevere when the going gets tough. Issues like bullying or difficulties completing schoolwork can take a toll on a child’s mental health, and these affect children with disabilities disproportionately. By giving these children extra help and encouragement, they can develop self-confidence and self-worthso they can live lives that are as full and happy as children without physical or mental challenges. We need people taking on careers to help these children to be a resource they can count on. 

1. Behavioral Analyst

A behavioral analyst applies the science of behavior to understand why people behave the way that they do. This is key in working with children with disabilities, who often exhibit behavior that is difficult to explain or modify. 

Behavioral analysts can help parents and educators to understand why a child behaves in a certain way and provide suggestions for intervening and reducing or improving behavior based on the child’s needs. By understanding the cause of unusual or unwanted behavior, analysts can help children integrate more successfully into the world and lead happier lives. 

Behavioral analysts typically need to earn a Master’s degree or a Graduate Certificate in Behavior Analysis. The average salary for a board-certified behavior analyst is around $60,000 per year. 

Check out these resources to learn more about studying behavior analysis: 

2. Clinical Psychologist 

Children’s disabilities can be mental, physical, or a combination of the two. Even children whose disabilities are only physical may experience emotional distress from how they are treated by others. For children who need mental health support, psychologists can play a major role. They may offer counseling and create a treatment program to help children overcome mental disabilities or cope with stresses in their lives. Clinical psychologists work in a range of settings, from private practice to schools or other institutions.  

To become a clinical psychologist, a PhD or Psy.D. is typically needed—a path that starts with a Psychology bachelor’s degree. Average salary for clinical psychologists is around $75,000 per year, but may be much more depending on the setting. 

3. Social Worker 

Social workers improve the lives of children with disabilities every day through their vigilance and dedication to creating positive outcomes. Most social workers provide guidance and oversight to help children thrive in their current environment or ensure that they are cared for in a more beneficial environment. Their job is to find solutions with children’s best interests at heart. 

Although social work is a rewarding field, it is emotionally challenging. Those who are interested in this field must understand this and be prepared for the reality of working with families who do not have the resources to work through obstacles on their own. Social workers need to earn a Master’s degree to begin working and earn an average of around $45,000 per year. 

No worries though, there are a ton of online social work programs where you can study without having to quit your job. One of the topic programs is Ohio University’s Master in Social Work Online where students can study at their own pace and timeline to accomplish their career goals. 

If you’re interested in learning more, check out these programs: 

4. Children’s Nurse 

Many careers that involve working with children with disabilities are focused on assisting with behavior and mental health, but children’s nurses have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of children, both with physical and mental disabilities. Children’s nurses may assist pediatricians or work in a school or institutional setting to help children and their parents manage health issues. 

Nursing is a versatile profession, and there are programs ranging from certifications to a Master’s degree. Higher-level degrees tend to command higher salaries. The overall average salary for a children’s nurse in the United States is about $37,00-83,00 annually. 

Similar to social work, nurses interested in moving up in their career can do so without having to quit work by entering an online MSN program. 

Interested in learning more about an online MSN education? Then check out Norwich University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing programwhich has all the information you need! 

Get the Education You Need to Make a Difference

It’s never been easier to get the education you need to make a difference in children’s lives. With flexible online programs, almost anyone can advance their education to help children. It’s a noble calling that’s needed in all areas of the country!

Friday, 2 November 2018

An Educator’s Guide for Helping Students and Parents End Bullying By Anna Andersen, guest writer for Ability Online

Bullying has always been a problem in schools all over the world. With the emergence of cyberbullying, the problem has become even worse and can extend outside the walls of the school. Children can be very cruel to one another, and the harassment that sometimes even includes physical violence can leave a lasting negative impact on kids who are regularly bullied. 

Intervening in bullying situations is important, but it can be difficult to know how to approach the problem. If you’re a teacher worried about the well-being of kids in your care due to bullying, here’s what you need to know about how bullying affects kids and what you can do to end it in your classroom and school. 

Bullying and Mental Health 

Childhood and adolescence are often challenging periods in a person’s life. Kids have to learn an immense number of life skills and get through school while navigating relationships and discovering who they are. It’s a formative period that can have a lasting impact on a students mental healthif negative experiences, like bullying, occur. 

Research has shown that there is a strong link between bullying and mental health, putting bullied children at greater risk for developing psychiatric disorders both during childhood and later in life. Young adults who were bullied as children are more likely to develop anxiety or depression, and bullying can even make victims more likely to commit suicide. A few comments might seem harmless enough, but ridicule and bullying can have lasting negative implications, and it’s not something kids should be left to deal with on their own. 

Why Teachers Need to Step In

When it comes to some issues their students face, teachers shouldn’t necessarily get involved. Kids can often work out minor disputes between friends on their own, while in other situations a parent or school counselor may be a more appropriate resource for a child. When it comes to other issues, like bullying, however, educators need to step in and intervene. This is not only to help end the bullying itself, but to demonstrate what healthy relationships between peers looks like and to teach students to speak up on behalf of others. 

Teachers spend more time with students than anyone but their parents or guardians in most cases. Since many kids don’t report bullyingor even recognize it, educators have a unique opportunity to witness social bullying, which is more likely to take place in front of a teacher than physical bullying. Teachers need to be an advocate and support system for students, intervening as necessary and acting as a role model for appropriate behavior. 

How Teachers Can Help

So how can you intervene in a way that actually stops bullying, rather than just pushing it out of your view? Bullies who are simply punished might just continue their bullying out of educators’ earshot or even online, where it’s harder to detect. 

Your first step should be to get very familiar with your school and school district’s policies on bullying. If your district doesn’t offer resources, talk with your principle and colleagues and discuss a bullying prevention plan to help you educate and support your students while providing appropriate discipline when necessary. 

Set Clear Expectations

It’s also important to establish your classroom as a place of respect. Make it clear that there is no room for any kind of bullying, from physical violence to maliciously leaving someone out. Establishing these ground rules up front will allow you to intervene immediately if you witness bullying and will show students when intervention should occur. Doing activities as a classroom and providing ongoing education on the subject of bullying will help to keep the issue top of mind. 

Involve the Students

Lots of kids have bullied someone and many more have stood by and watched it happen. Empowering your students to regulate one another’s behavior and stand up for their peers can be very effective. 70.6% of students have seen bullying at school, but incidents of bullying stop within 10 seconds 57% of the time when someone speaks up and intervenes. You can’t be everywhere at all times, so you need to clearly teach your students what’s right, what’s wrong, and when they should step in. 

In the end, it’s all about supporting the kids. Listen to them, find out what they need, and work with them to end bullying in your classroom for good. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

I want to find a job - by Sarah Evans

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about getting a job. I would really like to work. I volunteer doing a number of different things. Although I know my efforts are really appreciated and I enjoy what I do, it feels a bit different than having a job. A part of me would like to be able to support myself because it is something that I am sure I could do.

There are a number of things that I do as volunteer work that I’m sure I could find a job in. I like to write and transcribe. I recently discovered my love of digital scrapbooking, which could be a fun small business.

One of the things that I used to think would be a barrier to working is the fact that sometimes I get tired easily and I have to keep a flexible schedule because of my attendant care. But these days, many people work from home and therefore, can set there own schedules.

A big thing that I feel is a barrier to working is the Ontario Disability Support Program - ODSP. While I really appreciate the financial support from the government, there are restrictions about how much one is allowed to earn before that support would be affected. In addition, the amount of rent I pay is based on my income. I don't know exactly how all this would be affected if I were to earn money, but sometimes it is a difficult to feel motivated when I know I would have to deal with all this red tape.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Finding Motivation

Finding Motivation - By Ability Online Blogger, Sarah Evans

I used to love when it was time to go back to school. I was one of those kids who got bored easily, even though I had fun at summer day camp. Even today, I really miss the excitement of going back to school in September.

I think one of the reasons that I loved going back to school is that it provided structure and challenge.

Working from home, sometimes it is difficult to structure my time. Even when I have things that I want or have to do, I sometimes feel like I only have myself to figure out how to get motivated and if I am on the right track with my work. But recently I reached out to a friend to discuss my frustrations. I realized that I am blessed to have people who support me and can hold me accountable. 

I am also motivated by work that is intellectually stimulating.  I realize that work can't be exciting all the time  - that's not just the way it works. Growing up, I saw people who I considered to have exciting careers.  They always seemed to be involved in so many exciting things.  I wanted to have an exciting career like them.  I don't know what this means or looks like for me. I have to take into account personal factors like my disability and energy level.  Still, I have heard that people who are in my generation can expect to change careers a number of times, so I am hopeful about what opportunities I may have in the future. In the meantime,  I try to enjoy what I am doing in the present.