Embracing Inclusivity: A Guide to Better Communication with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

In today’s diverse and interconnected world, promoting inclusivity is not just a buzzword but a vital aspect of fostering understanding, empathy, and unity. This month, September, is Deaf Awareness Month, and we want to discuss breaking down the communication barriers the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HoH) community faces.

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Embrace the Great Outdoors: Exploring Outdoor Accessibility in New Jersey this Summer

cartoon tree and bush with title of article and ENJ logo

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to venture out and embrace New Jersey’s natural beauty. This picturesque state is not only known for its cities and rich history but also boasts outdoor spaces catering to people of all abilities. In this blog, we at Easterseals NJ explore outdoor accessibility options in New Jersey, ensuring everyone can experience the joy of nature this summer.

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How A Child With Down Syndrome Can Qualify For Social Security Disability

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Written by: Elizabeth Van Arsdall

Parents who have a child born with Down Syndrome and are having trouble making ends meet because of the additional expenses related to their child’s illness can apply for Social Security disability benefits for their child. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a type of disability benefit, to the parents of children with serious medical conditions. The money from SSI can be used to pay for any of the child’s living or medical expenses, but the parents must keep records showing that the money is spent on the child’s expenses.

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MLB Players With Disabilities Conquered the Big Leagues | EastersealsNJ

March 30th marked the opening day of Major League Baseball. So that’s right… Baseball is in full swing!

We thought there was no time better to take a trip down memory lane and showcase some MLB stars with disabilities who didn’t let anything stand in the way of their dreams. Get inspired by uplifting
stories of those who defied all odds and overcame obstacles to make it big on their terms!

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10 NFL Players Who Overcame Barriers to Their Disabilities

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From Shaquem Griffin to Tom Dempsey, the league is full of inspiring stories.

With the big Super Bowl game coming up, the spotlight is on the NFL. While we have a lot of football fans here at Easterseals NJ, we’re the biggest fans of players making a difference in the disability community. Many of these players created foundations and nonprofits to help others. Below are just a handful of current and former players that showcase that anything is possible.

Keith O’Neill

The former Colts and Cowboys linebacker has been vocal about his struggle with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. O’Neill started the 4th and Forever Foundation to help others struggling with mental health.

Brandon Marshall

Marshall, a former NFL linebacker, announced he had borderline personality disorder in 2011. He’s made it his mission to spread awareness and destigmatize BPD. He even started his own nonprofit– Project 375– with the goal of “unlocking human potential through conversation, education, & inspiration.”

Shaquem Griffin

Griffin is a former NFL linebacker (and twin brother of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin) born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. ABS affected Griffin’s right hand, causing it to become underdeveloped. Griffin eventually underwent surgical amputation to have the hand removed. Griffin has worked with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a sports program for those with physical disabilities.

Tom Dempsey

The late Tom Dempsey was a kicker for the New Orleans Saints. Dempsey’s kicking foot was deformed; he wore a special boot while playing. He famously made a record-setting field goal against the Detroit Lions in 1970. The kick resulted in the “Tom Dempsey Rule” which now requires all players to use shoes similar to the NFL standard. Interestingly enough, Dempsey’s custom shoe was lighter than other shoes.

Brent Boyd

Often called the father of concussion awareness, Boyd is a former NFL offensive guard for the Minnesota Vikings. He founded the advocacy group, Dignity After Football, and famously testified in front of congress regarding the NFL’s disability plan.

Rocky Bleier

Bleier was a former halfback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He sustained severe injuries to his right foot and leg during the Vietnam War. He wrote a book about his experience, Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story, discussing his injuries and his time in the NFL.

Tedy Bruschi

Bruschi, a former linebacker for the NFL and current ​​senior advisor to the head coach at the University of Arizona, suffered a stroke in 2005. After sitting out a season to recover, he was able to continue playing for several more seasons. Shortly after his stroke, he started a non-profit organization, Tedy’s Team, to raise awareness for stroke and heart disease victims while supporting survivors.

Samari Rolle

Rolle, a former cornerback for the Oilers and Ravens, has been very open about living with epilepsy. While he eventually retired, citing his illness as well as injuries sustained on the field, he’s currently the assistant football coach at a high school in Florida.

Joe Barksdale

Barksdale is a former offensive tackle in the NFL, but his impressive resume also includes singer-songwriter and stand-up comedian. Last year, Barksdale publicly shared his autism diagnosis. He mentioned in an interview with the Today Show that the diagnosis made him feel comfortable with who he is.

Eric LeGrand

LeGrand signed a symbolic contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, but he’s never played in the NFL. This college footballer fractured two of his vertebrae in a game against Army, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Since then, LeGrand has created a platform to speak out about those living with spinal cord injuries. He partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to create the nonprofit Team LeGrand. He’s also an author, sports analyst, and motivational speaker.

Of course, these are just a handful of the many NFL players with disabilities who are making a difference in the world. Who are some of your favorite players and nonprofits?

Part One: Making Nature in New Jersey More Accessible

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In this first blog of a multi-part series, we explore the importance of making sure both public and private natural resources are available to all who want to enjoy being outdoors in New Jersey. 

While there are activities where accommodations may be impossible for some, New Jersey offers a vast array of natural experiences for all. 

New Jersey is known as the Garden State but make no mistake, in addition to gardens and farms galore, NJ boasts more than 452,000 acres of natural and historic property including forests, parks, and recreation areas. Visitors are invited to take part in a variety of activities including biking, hiking, camping, boating, swimming, and picnicking. 

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Survey Shows: Americans with Disabilities are a Major Voting Block

There is still time to request an absentee ballot in New Jersey

Do you want to vote in the 2022 midterm elections but are unable to get to your assigned voting place on Nov. 8, 2022? No problem!

By November 1, 2022 you can request a mail-in paper ballot. Start by pressing this link: https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/vote-by-mail.shtml

Be sure to follow all directions. Don’t forget to return your ballot! It must be put in a drop box, returned to your County Board of Elections or postmarked by Nov 8, 2022, for your vote to be counted. 

You can also go to an in person early voting location from Oct. 26 – Nov. 6. You can find a location in your County and hours here.  

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Is Your Business Website ADA Compliant?

It comes as quite a surprise to many business owners that the provisions detailed in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extend to websites. Well, it most certainly does!

People living with disabilities have every right to live, learn, work, and play using the Internet, just like anyone else. They know all too well that many companies aren’t aware of updates made to the original 1990 ADA. Their failure to accommodate people who are blind, deaf, living with mobility issues, etc., has made it difficult for people with disabilities to use the web.

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Easterseals New Jersey Supports CEOs Who Support Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

If you are super lucky, you love your work. Getting up every day is a thrill and you can’t wait to see what new information the day will bring. However, if you are, unfortunately, like most, you go to work to earn a paycheck. And, hopefully, you have more good days than bad.

If you find yourself “not fitting in” at work, stop and think. Does your company have a Diversity and Inclusion policy that protects you?

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