Archive for February, 2021


Sunday, February 28th, 2021

published in the Republican

I can remember always feeling overshadowed by my disabilities. For a short while, all I felt was the weight of being labeled disabled. It left me feeling isolated and very different from everyone else. Everyone has their strong and weak points even though it is important to improve our weak areas.
Fostering strengths can have many positive impacts in one’s life. For example, a positive self-image will help pave the way to growth in many ways. Another point is the importance of including the disabled child in determining what accommodations are needed to meet their needs. It may sound like a simple concept, but sadly I have run into people during my life who felt because of my disabilities I could not speak for myself. Everywhere in society, people with disabilities of all ages deal with stigmas that reflect negatives of having a disability instead of focusing on the person and their strengths. All people deserve to be treated with respect and to be independent.
There are many different things that define us and help create our identities. Our roles vary from our professional to our personal lives. In the past, people with disabilities have only been identified and classified as being disabled, and were often judged by their weaknesses and limitations, leading to misconceptions. Just like everyone else, people with disabilities have interests, talents and strengths. Their disability is only part of their life and should not consume their lives.
In recent years, there has been a shift in perception in seeing the person first and their disability second. The main purpose of viewing the person first is to focus on strengths to help them create who they are, which will lead to higher self-esteem, self worth and a positive self-image. The key is to use the positive energy to make accommodations for any limitations. When we view a disability as a challenge to overcome, this will defeat any frustrations or negative energy.
We all have unique gifts to be shared and valued. I am proud of the roles that create my own identity, ranging from wife, yogini, columnist and activist. My disabilities are a positive influence enabling me to be compassionate, strong, and fearless.


Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

published in the Republican February 2021

Last year, a lawsuit was filed against the Trump administration for not providing sign language interpreters at the press briefings regarding COVID.  The lawsuit was brought by the National Association of the Deaf.  Last September the court ordered the White House to provide interpreters at the pandemic briefings.

The Biden administration is dedicated to making its website and briefings accessible for people with disabilities by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.  An accessibility statement on the White House website declares that its “commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans.”  The White House website also said, “These guidelines not only help make web content accessible to users with sensory, cognitive and mobility disabilities, but ultimately to all users, regardless of ability.”

As a part of being inclusive, all White House press briefings will have American Sign Language interpreters.  The administration wants to make America inclusive for everyone.

Everyone, regardless of disability, has the right to gain information that is put out by our government, especially information that concerns our well-being.

Love and confidence

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

published in the Republican February 2021

Many people with disabilities go through periods of doubt and low self-esteem.  In order to have a positive self-image, you must learn to accept yourself.

There are several steps that can be taken.  The first one is to only worry about meeting your own expectations.  One key step is to not compare yourself with other people because every person is unique and different.

Everyone has a right to be independent in their own communities, from working, getting an education and connecting with other people.  It is always important to understand that we all need improvement in one way or another.  Thus, people should not be too hard on themselves.

We often get caught up in worrying about the future when we should be living in the moment.  Each day should be an adventure filled with many possibilities.

When we have positive energy, we can overcome or find solutions to any problem.  It is important to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are.  I always like to remind people that a disability does not define.  It is only a characteristic.