hipnews Spring 2006 Edition
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“Night of Entertainment” ...
Accessible Parking: ...
The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
Mike Visone: Independent Living in Action
We Mourn . . .
Spotlight on New and Not So New Staff
LEAD Program Flourishing
YES! Program ...
YES! – In Touch ...
On the Move
New and Renewing Members of hip
Did You Know ...
High Examination Tables Constant Risk For Patients
Profiles of Our New Trustees:
Evidence of Harm by David Kirby
Free, Confidential Mental Health Information ....
hip Programs
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- hipnews Spring 2006 Edition Text Version -

  “Night of Entertainment” ...
 “Night of Entertainment” Theme of May 13th hip Gala

We’re trying something new on the night of Saturday, May 13th!

The annual fund-raising gala of Heightened Independence and Progress will be a “Night of Entertainment,” featuring an exciting new talent, Gary Morton. We know it will be a fun-filled party and a memorable evening. The gala will benefit programs for young people with disabilities offered by hip’s Bergen and Hudson Centers for Independent Living.

Our major fund-raising event for 2006, the “Night of Entertainment” has a financial goal of $10,000. The funds will be used to continue building on the work already launched by the “YES!” program (Youth Envisioning Success), a comprehensive program for students, ages 14-21, who are transitioning from high school to adult life.
We are counting on a splendid turnout at the Fort Lee Recreation Center for an evening devoted to dining, dancing, fun, and support for the very special young men and women in our programs. We hope you will want to join us. The fun starts at 7 p.m. Invitations will soon be in the mail. In the meantime, if you have questions, or want to contribute to our souvenir journal with an ad or congratulatory message, please call us at the
Bergen office: 201-996-9100. We look forward to your support and especially your presence.
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  Accessible Parking: ...
 Accessible Parking: Challenges Stir Controversy by Nancy Hodgins Staff Advocate.

Recently a new “wrinkle” in the issue of handicapped accessible parking is causing a great deal of controversy. Assembly bill 1875 was introduced by sponsors John McKeon, Mims Hackett, Jr., and John Wisniewski. John McKeon spearheaded the landmark legislation reported in hipnews requiring newly-built affordable housing to be constructed with features that make them either accessible or adaptable. Assemblyman McKeon has been supportive of many issues that benefit people with disabilities and I assume it was unexpected when some factions of the disability community rose up in opposition to A1875.

What is all this controversy about?

The legislation attempts to amend existing law that allows someone to obtain “temporary” handicapped parking certification for a period of up to six months. One example of eligibility is a broken leg and complications extending the recovery. The placard displays an expiration date and is a different color from a regular placard, so it is easily identifiable as “temporary.”

Is this a women’s rights issue? Is this a disability rights issue?

According to McKeon’s representative, the experiences of some of his constituents, and two women in particular, brought this issue to his attention. They had tried to apply for temporary certification for handicapped parking and were rejected. Applications for temporary placards are reviewed and approved by the local chief of police in the municipality where the applicant lives. One of the women had undergone a Caesarean section; complications prevented her from walking without pain and difficulty. Her condition would improve but not for quite a while. When she applied, she was told that her application was rejected because the Motor Vehicle Commission does not consider pregnancy or conditions caused by a Caesarean delivery as valid reasons to provide a temporary placard. If she had broken her leg, she could have qualified. Some other kind of surgery might have qualified her, but not complications from a Caesarean section.

The other woman had medical complications late in her pregnancy that impaired her ability to walk. She applied for a temporary placard and she too was rejected, because pregnancy is not recognized as a valid reason for a temporary placard, according to the Motor Vehicle Commission. Legislators supportive of A1875 say that existing law directs municipalities to provide temporary parking placards when an individual provides a certified doctor’s note verifying a temporary medical need. They believe it is appropriate to expand the existing law to include pregnant women or new mothers when they can document a medical necessity. If people can receive temporary placards for other causes that prevent them from walking without pain or serious discomfort, why shouldn’t they receive one for medically proven conditions caused by pregnancy or delivery?

Some disability groups have opposed expansion of the existing law. They believe that there are insufficient accessible parking spots right now and if additional groups are permitted use of these spots, too many people who need them permanently will find that there will not be enough to go around. Some feel that this attempt to modify the law will allow these spots to be taken by even more groups and this will exacerbate the problem. They also worry that this is the beginning of a “watering down” of the importance of the reasons for having these spots to begin with.

Others believe that anyone unable to walk for a distance without pain or serious discomfort who can provide medical verification to substantiate this temporary condition should be able to receive a temporary parking placard.

What are your thoughts on this issue? We would like to know.

Other legislative proposals affecting “Handicapped Accessible Parking” in New Jersey:

S1492 – Sponsor: Loretta Weinberg (Referred to Committee, 1/10/06)

This proposal would require information about handicapped parking laws to be included on the driver’s test and in the driver’s manual. It increases fines for unlawfully parking in a handicapped accessible space and sets aside $5 of each fine paid for illegally parking in a handicapped spot to be forwarded to the State Treasurer for deposit in the “Handicapped Parking Education Fund.” It also requires that handicapped placards be renewed every three years and the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue stickers for handicapped placards and license plates upon renewal. This would make expired placards and special license plates clearly visible and should cut down on the misuse of the placards.

A1415 – Sponsor: Michael J. Doherty (referred to Committee, 1/10/06) Senate version S1043:sponsored by Leonard Lance)

This proposal authorizes temporary handicapped parking permits for certain relatives of nursing home residents. This would authorize nursing homes to receive up to five additional parking permits from the Motor Vehicle Commission so that certain family members might transport residents. A permit would be issued to the family member and could be used for a period of up to 24 hours to transport the nursing home resident. They could be forfeited or revoked if used by unauthorized persons or at times not permitted under the bill’s provisions.

A576 – Sponsor: Sean T. Kean (referred to Committee, 1/10/06)

This bill would require the State, or any board or parking authority to designate a minimum of 1% of the total number of parking spaces, but not less than two, for use only by individuals unable to travel without the aid of a wheelchair, any time it creates, repaves, or paints a parking lot with eight or more spaces. These “wheelchair only” spaces would be in addition to any parking spaces already reserved for persons with disabilities under existing law. This bill would also permit municipalities to establish “wheelchair only” parking spaces in areas within their jurisdiction and in front of residences occupied by persons unable to travel without the aid of a wheelchair.
The Senate proposals have all been referred to the Transportation Committee (Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen, chair). The Assembly proposals have all been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Public Works (John Wisniewski of Parlin, chair).

To respond to these proposals, or to acquire additional information about them, contact the office of the bill’s sponsor or access the New Jersey Legislature’s website at www.njleg.state.nj.us
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  The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
 Long before I wrote for People with Disabilities magazine, a publication of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, I read an editorial by Ethan Ellis who was at that time the executive director of the Council. In his editorial, he explained that when he was young, he and a few of his friends with disabilities created “the anger room.” Ethan has cerebral palsy like myself and is somewhat of a mentor. Recently he told me that the group who formed “the anger room” felt that their rage was standing in the way of their ability to achieve.
Being disabled is a frustrating business. Limitations, especially when they’re lifelong, ought to be dealt with using dignity and grace. But sometimes they are met with fury, rage, and even jealousy. My anger, for example, grows particularly at restaurants. Anyone who has broken bread with me knows my awkward hand movements make eating a chore. I tend to envy people who can choose whatever they want to eat. Perhaps that’s why I eat as little as possible. Therefore, you would think my speech impediment would force me to keep quiet. My friends only wish this were the case.

Humor is often my favorite hiding place for my frustration. Laughing, after all, beats crying. Years of limitations do not make life any easier. Accepting help when I need it has always been a major problem for me. A friendly colleague zipping up my coat or feeding me the last drop of yogurt is a time-saver for me. Realistically, I am unable to do these tasks for myself without a great deal of physical effort. But, on the other hand, perhaps struggling is good for my soul, and at this point in my life, my soul could use some redemption.

Like the Kenny Rodgers song says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” I have great difficulty deciding which I should do. I guess I’m a lousy poker player. After all, I have been disabled for 60 years. I am still trying to find my abilities (it’s a developmental disability, you know.). I can give you a complete list of my limitations. However, I still remember my mother encouraging me to try a little harder. Now I wonder, how hard do I try? When does one yell “uncle”? When is enough enough?

Anger and frustration often go hand and hand. Most of us deal with those emotions in a civilized fashion. Really, people with disabilities are lucky. Their rage is understandable. Wouldn’t the average person be angry too if he could not see, walk, talk, use his hands or hear? I often wonder what an able-bodied person gets angry about.

Frequently, I consider life among my able-bodied peers to be a piece of cake. Realistically, I know that isn’t the case. Limitations are a fact of life for everyone. However, few people with disabilities appreciate this reality. In some cases, the rage that we sometimes feel because of our disability prevents us from seeing our abilities. What people with disabilities often forget is that we are more alike than different from our able-bodied peers. Perfection is an elusive dream for us all.
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  Mike Visone: Independent Living in Action
 Mike Visone: Independent Living in Action by Angie Mielec

Mike Visone is a gentleman who lives every aspect of his life to the fullest. For more than 10 years, Mike’s has been the first friendly voice callers to the Hudson hip office hear on the telephone. In addition to coordinating all of the mass mailings sent out of the office and solving computer and other technology problems, Mike is always there to lend a helping hand with the Hudson picnic, the annual meeting and the dinner dance. As though this isn’t enough, Mike and his Seeing Eye dog, Viper, also bring a calming effect as well as an extremely good sense of humor to the workplace. In fact, it is not unusual to see Mike – and especially Viper – entertaining visiting children.

No stranger to hard work, for most of his life, Mike worked as a truck driver. He was also a surveyor in the petroleum industry. Mike easily transfers his talents and abilities to the broader community. He was a long-time member of the board of directors at the condominium complex where he resides. He has been extremely involved in educating school children and civic organizations about Seeing Eye, Inc. and how guide dogs work. Most recently, Mike’s daughter got him interested in the Animal League of Bayonne. Mike and Viper are often seen spearheading fundraising activities for that organization. In addition to his fundraising duties, he often acts as a coordinator in animal rescue situations.

Mike is an avid walker who, along with Viper, often travels more than two miles a day to keep physically fit. He also parlays his fitness program into community service by participating in fundraising walks for a variety of charitable organizations.

Mike is a warm and generous person. He and his wife Carol have three children and three grandchildren. He says he never thinks about retirement. As long as he remains healthy, he will continue to work. It’s a good thing, too, because Hudson hip wouldn’t be the same without him.
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  We Mourn . . .
 Bobby Ross, owner of Tri-R Renovation, who passed away in early March. Over the years Bobby was responsible for many renovations and home modifications for hip consumers, and was also a longtime supporter of hipnews through advertisements by his firm.

Also George Clark, father of David Clark (On the Move participant) who passed away in late December. George was a phenomenal father and a strong supporter of hip.
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  Spotlight on New and Not So New Staff

Susan Vanino

Susan Vanino recently joined the hip staff as the peer support coordinator for the Adjustment to Vision Loss project. A graduate of River Dell High School, she earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Harriman College. She is married, the mother of two children, and a life-long resident of Bergen County. Before coming to hip, Susan was a pre-school teacher for the YWCA in Hackensack. For over 20 years, she has maintained a home-based dog breeding business. She enjoys music and attending concerts. Susan spends much of her free time with her family and golden retrievers.

Lori Spano

Lori Spano joined the hip staff in August 2005 as a care manager for the Support for Independent Living program (SIL), a component of Bergen EASE. She is also co-administrator of the Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD) program. Lori earned her Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) at Ramapo College of New Jersey, and her M.S.W. (Master of Social Work) from Rutgers University. She is a Licensed Social Worker (L.S.W.). Lori has worked extensively with children and adults with developmental and other disabilities at home, in school, and in community settings. In her free time, Lori enjoys outdoor activities, dining out, movies, and spending time with friends and family.

Najwa De Martino

Najwa DeMartino started to work at hip in September 2005 as a care manager for the Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP), a component of Bergen EASE. She is also co-administrator of the Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Determination (LEAD) Program. She received a B.A. degree in sociology from Montclair State University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. She has been engaged in social work for eight years and has worked extensively with emotionally disturbed children and adults, families, and with adults who have developmental disabilities, in various settings: a hospital, a school, a day program, and in the community. Najwa enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends and family, and participating in arts and crafts projects.
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  LEAD Program Flourishing
 Spring Means Graduation – Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD) is moving toward the conclusion of its program year. This wonderful statewide program for students with vision loss has included many skill-building experiences and social events. Dressing for success, sharpening mobility skills, increasing knowledge of assistive technology and managing personal finances are just a sampling of the information presented to LEAD participants. Six LEAD students attended a leadership training seminar in Washington, DC, where they met with congressional representatives and used their advocacy skills. An overnight Baltimore trip provided a visit to a large assistive technology center for people with vision loss, discussion groups, tips about “being the best you can be,” and a visit to the Baltimore waterfront. This year 53 high school students from the northern, central, and southern regions of the state have benefited from involvement in LEAD. We at hip and all of the students are blessed to have six regional coordinators who serve as peer mentors and oversee all the program activities. They are: Joe Ruffalo and Jerilyn Higgins (northern region), Sherlock Washington and Ohmny Romero (central region), and Ever Lee Hairston and Ryan Stevens (southern region).

Now about Graduation – that will occur in mid June, when the LEAD students spend a weekend at Camp Marcella in northwestern New Jersey. Many activities for the students will take place on Saturday, and parents will be invited to participate in the program on Sunday. The highlight of the weekend will be the graduation of those students who are finishing their high school education and leaving the LEAD Program to move on to the next stage of their lives. In some cases, graduates return to serve as peer mentors for younger LEAD participants.

The following letter was sent to LEAD coordinator Najwa De Martino, after a recent trip to Washington, D.C. by participants in our program for students with vision loss.

Dear Najwa,

I want to say thank you for giving me the chance to go on a three-day trip to the National Leadership Training Seminar in Washington DC with the LEAD Program. I had a great time, and I learned so many things that I had never known before. I met many interesting and important people who inspired me to become more independent in my life. I would like to especially thank Mr. Joe Ruffalo, and Ms. Jerilyn Higgins. They both are wonderful role models to me, along with many other people that I met while I was there. Both Joe and Jerilyn showed me how to believe in myself and to never stop trying. I learned so much, and had so much fun, especially when we went to the International Spy Museum. This was also my first train ride, and Joe and Jerilyn taught me how to get food from the dining car.

The memories I have of my trip to Washington will stay with me for a lifetime.

Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity!


Jessica Scannell

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  YES! Program ...
 YES! Program Chipping Away at the Education Gap

According to the National Organization on Disability, the Education Gap is the difference in levels of educational achievement between people with and without disabilities. Twenty-two percent (22%) of Americans with disabilities fail to complete high school, compared to nine percent (9%) of those without disabilities (Harris Poll, 2002). “Youth Envisioning Success” (YES!), hip’s Transition Program, is aiming to close that gap.

New schools are joining those already involved with Hudson hip’s transition
program to help their students gain the self-advocacy skills necessary for success in high school and beyond. The skills taught by Hudson hip’s Independent Living Transition Coordinator can influence whether a student understands and requests his or her rights or simply gives up. Students who are more aware of their rights and responsibilities can gain self-confidence in the school environment. This can in turn affect their decision to stay in school and work to achieve their dreams. Thus, we can start to close the education gap. – Marian Padilla, Independent Living Transition Coordinator, Hudson hip
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  YES! – In Touch ...
 YES! – In Touch With Every Bergen County High School

The Youth Envisioning Success program (YES!) is working with Bergen County high schools to offer training to students with disabilities. The program informs students about services available to people with disabilities and teaches the self-advocacy and communication skills they will need to succeed.

Through weekly workshops conducted in their schools, students receive lessons in effective communication with employers, organizations, and agencies in their communities. They are learning how to write business letters, what questions to ask when applying for a job, and how to take more personal responsibility for their own education. Meetings with parent groups are helping to facilitate collaboration with school counselors and teachers, with special emphasis on various players involved in implementing their child’s Individualized Education Plan.

Since YES! began in 2004, many students and families have been assisted and every high school in Bergen County has been contacted. In this school year alone, the program offered group workshops or individualized assistance to more than 350 students from 52 towns in the county.

YES! services will continue to be provided year-round for parents and students at hip and in the high schools. Students and parents are encouraged to visit hip, and to make use of the center’s large array of services as an ongoing resource while in high school and after graduation. Call us at the Bergen office for further information. – Andrew Skea, Independent Living Transition Coordinator, Bergen hip.
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  On the Move
 Spring season for On the Move kicks off with an excursion to a Hackensack bowling alley. Other spring activities will include a day at Yogi Berra Stadium for a Jackals baseball game, a lunch and movie outing, and attendance at hip’s annual picnic. This upbeat leisure time program for teens and young adults with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities is an extremely popular project at hip’s Bergen CIL. Although some funding cuts to the program have occurred, On the Move will provide as many activities during the spring and autumn season as possible.
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  New and Renewing Members of hip
 We thank the persons and companies named below for their support of our CIL, as new or renewing members for 2006.

Tamalia AbramsTod AdamsOlivia & Luiza AlbuquerqueAllah Ali
Kevin AngeliniAudy AltineFilippa BalistrieriLeslie Balter
Barbara BantaTina BarbuleanLinda BarrMegan Barron
Arthur BartnoveDeborah BaumannAnnie G. BeenMaryann Behnke
Thomas BengaffGilbert BensonSharon BermanJoan C. Bermingham
Mr. & Mrs. Darrell Bethea *April & Mike BilakPaula BloomThomas Bodenburg
Jerry BojkoKenneth BoutilletteGail BraunSusan Breckwoldt
Ian BrennanHeather BroadDouglas BrockerEllen Brockmann
Rosalind BrownLilith BryantMr. & Mrs. George BullerdickTonielle Cardinalle
Tom & Susan CarneyTrish CarneyNancy CarrSusan P. Carter
Kay Chase *James CherreyDanielle Ciccone & familyLillian Ciufo
George D. ClarkDavid L. ClarkPearlie ClayJoseph P. Connors Sr.
Patricia ConsiglioEleanor CookMargaret Cook LevyJames Corbett
Dolores CordierValerie CortazzoJean and Jim Csaposs *Ivan Cueva & family
Dr. & Mrs.Edmund DabagianMr. & Mrs. James DalyCathy DeatsJohn Michael Della Valle
Kim DemeraskiRalph M. De SimoneJohn C. De Witt *Donald Disch
Linda DobranskyJosephine DonalsonMaria I. DonohueJames Dougherty
Barbara Dublin *J. Robert Duffy*Dennis DusevicGeorge O. Dyer III
Joyce EberhardtWilliam J. EisenmanAustin EpsteinLottie Esteban
Mildred Evans IngramAnthony FavoritoGeorge V. FedorEdward Fedush
Glenn FeinbergRadame FernandezBetty Fetzer *Richard Finan
Mr. & Mrs. Bernard FinkelLisa FirkoKurt FisherVirginia Flynn
Beldeen FortunatoTommy Franco & familyBeverly FrostGerry Galvin
Glenn GardnerDavid & Ann GarippaGail A. GeresiNatalie Glicksman *
Linda & Andrew Goff +Eileen & Ethan Goff *Mr. & Mrs. Alan GoldMarcia Goldberg
Phyllis GrazianoDiana GuerreroMary Jo Hackett – Rehab Consulting Service +The Harries family
D’ann Harris-BlevinWilliam J. Hart Jr. Bojane HeapCeil Heller
Anita W. HernandezNancy L. HenryCarl & Rhea HessNancy & Leonard Hodgins
Richard Hodgman & Company +Henry HofLouis G. IntorreGloria Isaacson
Vincent IucciPeggy JacksonLois JacobsLorraine Jacovelli
Jay JaniecSue & Charles JohnsenNancy JudgeRosemarie Kasper
Gerri KearnsStephanie KeiserLorraine KendelTimothy Kerr
Joan F. Klug *Diane & John KowalchukCharles KruczekEstelle Krumenaker
John LambertJean LaRaiaVirginia L. LaughlinBarbara Lelewski
Gary LentiniMr. & Mrs. Mort LevinsonMarie LewisGloria Lieberstein
Judith LiebmanLevi LightRichard LillisRobert & Lea Liparini
Roy Lippin *Margaret MahoneyJoyce S MalechMike & Dottie Malik
Janet MarcusLucille MarkayHelen MarshallEileen R. Martin
David MatkowskiWilliam C. MatthewsRichard McDuffieLaura McLarnon
Ann MeloneLuis M. MendezLisa H. MillerMelissa Modero
Joseph MoleeNicholas W. Moreth, Jr.Mary Ellen MorganNelson Msia
John MulhollandJohann MullingsLetty J. Munz, Ph.D.Ernestine Murph
Robert P. MusselmanAnna NavattaMartha NebelingMary Beth Nugent
Maria OcoroErich & Pilar OdenheimEmerlinda PadillaMarian Padilla
Margaret PapageorgiouChris ParaskevacosJi Hyede ParkRaymond Payton
Andrew PecorellaAdor M. PeraltaDon Perlman – J.S Perlman & Co. +Ursula Pico & family
Andrew John PigoncelliDr. Sandra R. PinkertonRuth PixleyJohnny Porter
Carol PrellbergShaylyn PressCatherine PriceNoel Prussack
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas RagerDavid ReiterJoseph RevelloSandra Ann Robinson
Brandon RodriguezRosemarie E. RosePamela, Eddie & Mickey RostoczynskiEfimia Roumantzas
Len. S. RubinMr. & Mrs. Joseph RuffaloEric RypkemaEugene Sansum
Gladys San AntonioMrs. Jack Schwartz *Frances SchwartzMary Scott
Karin SegelbacherStephanie SeidBarbara SeidRon Shulman
Arthur P. SiegfriedRoy SierssenSteven SilkeitRudolph M. Sims II
Donn SlonimFredelia SmithLynn SmithMaria Smith
ToniAnn SoccioClementine StarksJeffery St. GermainMr. & Mrs. Paul St. Germain
Claire St. Louis- United Water +Sal & Joanne StolfoFlorence Loren StorsJo Ann Struzienski
Stella SuarezLisa A TesterJoan ThomsonJulia Ticola
Anthony & Mary TobiaJanet TolliverTyrone TowersElizabeth Unger & family
Danny VacaLauren ValentaJoseph ValentiMaria Valentin
Susan VaninoAngelissa VazquezJoseph H. VidaRonald Vida
Christiana VionneMichael F. VisoneTracy WachaRoberta Wailes
Gloria WalshLarry & Paula WalshSherlock WashingtonBarbara Wexler
Warren WilliamsRichard S. Wolfman *Kathleen WoodCarolyn E.R. Woodward *
William D. H. WrightLindsay Allise WyckRuth Wyler-PlautMary & Anthony Yorio *
Cathy ZimmermanJane Zintz KindermanPamela ZuhuskyMaureen Zurlo
Corporate +

Life Member *
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  Did You Know ...
 Did You Know That April Is National Autism Awareness Month?

In this issue of hipnews, we call attention to the complex of disorders that fall under the umbrella name of autism. Autism is rampant in our society; many people with disabilities are affected in various ways by autism’s principal effects: difficulty with social interactions and communication, and unusual behaviors. It is incumbent on all of us to learn as much as we can about it autism.

What is autism?

“Autism is a developmental disability characterized by atypical, repetitive behaviors and deficits in social and communication skills.* Current estimates suggest that one in 500 individuals is affected by autism in the United States. Furthermore, it is estimated that one in 150 people is affected by an autism spectrum disorder including autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified PDD-NOS). Autism is usually diagnosed during the first three years of life and is four to five times more prevalent in boys than in girls. It knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries. Today’s research suggests that autism is a generic disorder that is possibly triggered by environmental factors. There is no known cure for autism at this time, but early diagnosis and intervention can be effective.” – NJ Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC)
*Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) are disorders related to autism. Although these diagnoses vary from autism, all three disorders affect social interaction, communication, and behavior.


The Center for Outreach & Services for the Autism Community (COSAC) is a non-profit agency providing information, education, and advocacy for families and professionals in New Jersey’s autism community. COSAC encourages responsible basic and applied research that would lead to a lessening of effects and potential prevention of autism. COSAC is dedicated to ensuring that all people with autism receive appropriate, effective services to maximize their growth potential and to enhancing the overall awareness of autism in the general public.

Support Groups sponsored by NJ Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC):

Bergen County – Usually meets on the first Friday of each month, 8 p.m., at Mount Carmel Church, Ridgewood. Group facilitator is Claudia Moreno, Ph.D. Parent contact is Gary Lahm (201-503-9476).

Hudson County – Spanish Language Support Group: Padres Ayudando a Padres, Iglesia San Augustin, 7-9 p.m., Para mas informacion, llame a: Susana Albisu (201-864-7262)

COSAC’s Support Group Information line: 609-883-8100 x28
How to Contact COSAC:

1-800-4-autism (in New Jersey)

609-883-8100 (phone)

609-883-5509 (fax)

Website: www.njcosac.org

1450 Parkside Avenue, Suite 22

Ewing, New Jersey 08638
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  High Examination Tables Constant Risk For Patients
 Marion Rosenstein, a member of the Bergen County Polio Support Group, sent this message recently to friends on her e-mail list:

Helen, our long time member, was hurt while being transferred to an examination table in a doctor’s office. She was dropped and broke a bone in her leg and hurt her shoulder.

The message elicited the following e-mail reply from Dr. Richard Bruno, director of the Post-Polio Institute at Englewood Hospital. It has meaning for thousands of people with disabilities, not only polio survivors, so we are sharing it as another opportunity for advocates to go into action.
“Helen’s unfortunate fall is why I asked polio survivors to support the Physical Access to Health Care Act requiring adjustable examination tables in ALL medical offices.”

(Following is the complete text of the original bill. Dr. Bruno is hoping that NJ legislators will revive interest in this issue, perhaps starting with a more limited bill calling for adjustable examining tables and ambulance stretchers as a requirement for medical facilities. – Ed.)

An Act concerning physical access to health care and supplementing Titles 45 and 26 of the Revised Statutes. Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Physical Access to Health Care Act.’

2. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Every day, in this State and across this country, men and women, children and adults, who are challenged by various forms of physical disability, must confront the additional challenge of overcoming physical barriers to their accessing the health care services that they need;

b. These barriers include a widespread lack of physical accommodations and medical equipment in the offices maintained by health care professionals, such as examination tables, dental chairs and scanning devices, that is designed to be “user-friendly” to health care consumers with physical disabilities;

c. A clear and present public interest would be served by the adoption of a Statewide requirement for health care professionals to ensure that their office facilities and medical equipment meet the specialized needs of patients with physical disabilities, in order to ensure that these individuals have authentic and meaningful access to those health care services that are available to all patients, whether in a health care facility setting or the professional office of a doctor, dentist or other health care professional;

3. a. A board shall require that a health care professional, as a condition of licensure or other authorization to practice a health care profession that is regulated by that board, certify, in writing, to the board, on a form and in a manner prescribed by the director, that the health care professional is in compliance with the requirements of this act.

b. By January 1, 2005, or any date that may be specified in federal regulations adopted pursuant to the ADA, whichever date is sooner, a physician, podiatrist, acupuncturist, physical therapist, orthotist or prosthetist whose practice is regulated by a board pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, within that person’s professional office:

(1) shall maintain at least one height-adjustable patient examination table that is designed so that it can be lowered to a level that is no more than 18 inches above the finished floor, and to facilitate the transfer of a patient with a mobility impairment to and from its surface; and

(2) if that professional office provides radiological services, shall maintain at least one height-adjustable, wheeled ambulance litter, which is designed so that it can be lowered to a level that is no more than 18 inches above the finished floor, which shall be used to facilitate the transfer of a patient with a mobility impairment to and from the surface of equipment that utilizes radiological technology or other equipment used by patients as prescribed by regulation of the director, and that is not adjustable in height.
– Richard L. Bruno, Ph.D.

Have any of our readers experienced problems with inaccessible examination tables? Let hip’s Staff Advocate know about them. How about accessibility of the very offices themselves of your doctors and dentists? Any anecdotes to share? What do you think might be some solutions?

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  Profiles of Our New Trustees:
 Three outstanding community leaders were elected to the hip Board of Trustees at our Annual Meeting in November.

Betty A. Fetzer

has served not only her own community but also has led in the wider world of volunteer service over many years. A graduate of Jersey City Hospital Medical Center School of Nursing, she is a past president of its Alumni Association, and is a licensed x-ray technician and a certified parish nurse through Felician College. She is a vice president of the Girl Scout Council of Bergen County. An ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church of Maywood, her active participation in inter-denominational affairs has brought recognition from the Bergen County Council of Churches. In Maywood, she is Town Historian, has hosted many international exchange students, working with Rotary. She served on the Spectrum for Living site committee and is a Board member of Maywood’s senior housing facility. With all that, she has found time to be a master gardener and a world traveler.

Michael R. Dressler

Bergen County Surrogate, has won the confidence of the voters twice, having been elected to his second 5-year term in January 2002. The work of his office touches the lives of everyone in Bergen County; its responsibilities include the probating of wills, administering estates, the guardianship of minors, and adoptions. Mike Dressler’s personal story is “bordered by tragedy and triumph.” and “propelled by tenacity and dedication.” A swimming accident days before his high school graduation in 1970 broke cervical vertebrae, causing severe paralysis. Defying all odds, he graduated from Bergen Community College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Seton Hall School of Law, then began a brilliant career in both public service and the private sector. At age 31 he was the youngest person ever elected mayor of Cresskill. In 1996, he was elected Surrogate with over 154,000 votes. His terms have been marked by innovation and compassion. He created the first Guardianship Monitoring Program in Bergen County. This program engages volunteers to monitor the work of Court-appointed guardians for persons who are frail and elderly. Satellite offices which he founded bring services of the surrogate “to the people” in a number of towns.

Lisa A. Firko

is a partner in one of the oldest law firms in New Jersey, Lum, Danzis, Drasco & Positan, of Roseland; there she has represented many clients in cases of personal injury, including medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability, and automobile negligence; also in matrimonial and domestic disputes, and in contract actions. Ms. Firko has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney and professional mediator. She was previously an associate in the Kearney, NJ law firm of Gillespie, Gillespie, and Jablonski, where she represented clients in the areas of property, matrimonial, probate, criminal, municipal and zoning matters, as well as juvenile, adoption, custody, and divorce cases. She is a state-approved mediator and a member of both the New Jersey and the International Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She holds memberships in state and county Bar Associations, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the ATL of New Jersey and its Board of Governors. She is chair of her church’s Board of Governors and is an active participant in law education programs for her Alma Mater, Seton Hall University School of Law.
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  Evidence of Harm by David Kirby
 Evidence of Harm, published in 2005, is important reading for all adults, especially parents of young children. In it, researcher David Kirby makes a powerful case that mercury may indeed be the major cause of autism, which has risen to epidemic proportions in this country. He feels the truth about it will never be known if the government, corporations, and health professionals continue dismissing the overwhelming evidence piling up against mercury as the likely cause, not only of autism, but of other disorders. Mercury is pervasive in our lives and may be the cause of epidemics of autism, learning disabilities, Gulf war syndrome, even Alzheimer’s. It has been used in the preservative thimerosal, which is now being excised from most vaccines – but not all.

Did you know, for example, that for years the flu vaccine, urged for seniors, delivered mercury at more than three times the maximum level recommended for exposure? Considering that mercury accumulates in the body, that dose each year has to be added to other adult exposures, including a similar level that a one-ounce serving of certain fish can contain.

Our government has delayed in requiring removal of mercury from infant and childhood vaccines, which may have caused untold numbers of children to live with many levels of permanent neurological disability, from mild learning deficiencies to severe autism. Not only are alternatives to mercury preservative compounds available, there are also methods of purging the already-injected mercury from their bodies to limit permanent damage. Does this mean parents should avoid vaccinating their children?? Positively not, according to all reliable sources. The advance of polio in Asia and Africa, for example, just at the time when total eradication of the disease seemed imminent, gives shocking evidence of the harm that ignorance and fear can do. Say Yes! to vaccinations, say No! to mercury (thimerosal) in measles and flu vaccines.

For more information on thimerosal in vaccines and on mercury and “heavy metal” toxicity in general, these websites will be useful: http://www.evidenceofharm.com, and http://www.ewg.org/reports/autism/execsumm.php. The latter is the website of the Environmental Working Group.
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  Free, Confidential Mental Health Information ....
 Free, Confidential Mental Health Information & Referral Available

MentalHealthCares is a service of the Mental Health Association, funded by the NJ Division of Mental Health Services. Interested persons can learn about and locate mental health services including: legal, housing, employment, rehabilitation, inpatient and outpatient care, self-help, and more.

Call 1-866-202-HELP or visit their website:
or e-mail: njmentalhealthcares@mhanj.org

Note: NJ MentalHealthCares does NOT provide crisis intervention. If a situation is an emergency, call 911 immediately.
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  hip Programs
 hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the
Independent Living Needs of People with Disabilities
in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

Founded in 1980, Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) has come a long way from its humble origins.  hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer counseling, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.  The following is a summary of hip programs, with the project coordinator’s name and location.

Community Advocacy and Outreach Program seeks to promote full inclusion through advocacy, education, and legislation. Contact: Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)

Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities directs all Independent Living Services to individuals with disabilities of Afro-American or Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish.

Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson).

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more.

Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Modification Access Project (MAP) assists with barrier-free home renovation projects from concept to completion. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) converts written materials into Braille, large print, computer disk, and audio tape formats. Contact: Cathy Zimmerman (Bergen)

ABLE–Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts maintains a year-round schedule of outdoor activities for persons with vision loss.  Contact: Mike Visone (Hudson)

Support for Independent Living (SIL), a component of Bergen EASE, provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities (18-59). Contact:
Lori Spano (Bergen)

Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide project for high school students with vision loss, is geared toward the development of a variety of life skills. Contact: Najwa De Martino and Lori Spano

Transition Programs assist high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Andrew Skea (Bergen).

Adjustment to Vision Loss coordinates peer support groups and assists with access to mental health professionals for individuals with vision loss. Contact: Nancy Hodgins or Susan Vanino (Bergen)

Support Groups– In Bergen: COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities.

Contact: Paula Walsh.

Membership Meetings offer an update on the latest issues in Independent Living and an interesting theme, ranging from health care to hip’s annual picnic. Contact: Paula Walsh (Bergen) or Mike Visone (Hudson)

On the Move provides opportunities for young adults with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities to participate in recreation and social skills development programs.

Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen)

Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Noris Nunez (Hudson)

Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities. Contact: Najwa De Martino

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  hip's WEBWATCH
 From time to time, we would like to share information about websites that may be of interest to people with disabilities.


Heightened Independence & Progress (hip): Visited our own website lately?? www.hipcil.org

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL): A membership organization that advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the human rights of, and services for, people with disabilities...Our own national independent living organization. www.ncil.org

United Spinal Association (formerly Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association): Strong on a wide-range of advocacy issues www.unitedspinal.org

Disability Rights Commission: Uses legal enforcement to work towards eliminating discrimination against disabled people. Includes information on disability rights, campaigns and news. www.drc-gb.org.

“The Disability Odyssey” (wide-ranging advocacy issues): Steve Gold at http://www.stevegoldada.com Back issues of Information Bulletins are available online.

State Government: To contact your state
legislators in both Senate and Assembly:
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