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The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi       Head shot of Patricia Bochi. She is in front of a boat that is in the water.

In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.

The website is: www.yourupwardjourney.com

Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey

Animal Partners– A need not a want

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Disability Independence Group hosted a wonderful committee of animal advocates for a brainstorming session on how to work together with the GOAL of creating programs, support systems and strategies that will allow the elderly, disabled and those in nursing homes or ALF’s to keep their pets or have the comfort of a pet. Some of the questions raised were: When folks have become elderly, ill, or need to go to a hospital or an ALF/nursing home, what happens to their pets? What if they are still in their home but can’t afford animal care and pet food? What safety nets exist to assist someone in those circumstances? What can we do to create those services when they don’t exist? How do we, as a community of people who care, begin a dialogue that promotes and recognizes the importance of one’s pet to his or her health and well-being?  

(click here to read more) 

 

Philadthropy

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This month, Disability Independence Group was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the University of Miami’s PhilADthropy event. Run through the School of Communication, PhilADthropy is a 25 hour event where undergraduate students work together in groups under the direction of a team leader from the community in order to provide 16 local nonprofit organizations with free advertising and creative services. As one of the chosen nonprofits, DIG was able to present our team with information and material about our new Animal Partners project which caters to persons with disabilities requiring assistance animals.
Our team, which consisted of eight undergraduate students and their group leader Manny from Sapient Nitro worked tirelessly from the time we briefed them on Friday afternoon until Saturday when they presented us with their finished products. In only a short period of time our team conducted a photo shoot, designed a logo, created a Facebook and twitter page, as well as helped to design a page to be added to our website, all of which will be instrumental in kicking off our Animal Partners project.
We would like to give a special thanks to the University of Miami for choosing us to participate in this truly amazing event as well as our team members, Liying, Erika, Holly, Brooke, Viviana, Alek, Sean, Alex, and Manny for all of their hard and incredible work!

Introducing Animal Partners –

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A core individual freedom is a one’s natural right to make decisions affecting his or her health or body. This freedom is an integral part of the dignity and control for persons with disabilities as well. One of the major goals of the Disability Rights movement is that each person with a disability has the right to self-determination – free from the patriarchal attitudes of the “able-bodied”. This right to make medical decisions extends not only to traditional forms of medicine, but also to alternative treatments that assists a person with daily life activities — whether these activities are physical, sensory, psychological or social. More and more people with disabilities are using animal companionship and assistance to help them with their daily lives. DIG is creating a new project to address the needs of people with disabilities who would like to use service animals or emotional support animals. The project is called “Animal Partners”.

If you go to justdigit.org, and read our newsletter or look at our blog at justdigitlaw.wordpress.com, you will meet Deborah Fischer, who uses a service dog, Sorenson, to assist her due to her multiple sclerosis. You will also meet Anthony Merchante, a six year old boy, who uses a seizure alert and protect dog, Stevie. Last month’s newsletter contained the fight of U.S. Air Force veteran, Ajit Bhogaita, to keep his dog, Kane, at his home to assist him in coping with his post-traumatic stress disorder.

Using animals as a component of therapy has long been recognize to cause significant improvements in cognition, social interaction and physical skills for persons with disabilities. Not only may an animal assist in physical activity, it also builds an emotional connection between a person and an animal promotes release of the neurohormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for inducing feelings of love and trust and is strongly implicated in pair bonding. For the past few years, more and more people with disabilities have chosen to enhance their lives and their condition by using animals as components of their care and lifestyle. This ranges from the elderly person that has depression or Alzheimer’s, a veteran that suffers from PTSD, an autistic child that needs a companion animal to become socially interactive, to an epileptic person that needs a seizure alert dog.

The law may allow people to have their service or emotional support animals in many public and private areas, however, many employers, or housing providers do not understand the law and they just automatically deny people with disabilities the right to have their animals. On the other hand, people with disabilities often do not know what is required to have a service dog, and the limitations of having an emotional support dog or a service dog. “Animal Partners” will attempt to present the law and requirements in a user-friendly manner so people will understand the rights and responsibilities relating to assistance animals. “Animal Partners” has a two pronged mission.

  • First, to legitimize a person with a disability’s choice to have an assistance animal and to provide information of value and tools so that a person with a disability can by empowered to make an informed choice.
  • Second, to make our community to be a kind and civilized place where it is acceptable for people with disabilities to feel comfortable and welcome with their assistance animals.

We hope you friend our “Animal Partners” Facebook site, visit the webpage at justdigit.org, and sign up!

Deaf Fair Housing Video Project

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This year DIG worked with the National Fair Housing Alliance on a joint project, funded by HUD, to create videos in America Sign Language (ASL).  We developed, wrote, filmed, and produced twelve videos on various fair housing and fair lending topics.  The videos are in ASL and have captioning.  Each video starts with a small vignette that sets up a fair housing/fair lending scenario and then explains the ramifications of the Fair Housing Act and other national laws that protect persons with disabilities. We created a website to host the videos and to be a resource center.

Please go to the videos — http://www.fairhousingdeafvideos.com/Cat Cloud and Debbie Dietz    production stills from deaf videos

Giddy the Gog

Giddy the Dog