hipnews Fall 2009 Edition
 
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October Focus: Vision Loss Awareness
Increasing Awareness of Vision Loss Statewide
Multimedia Transcripton Service: Supporting ...
Nancy Carr Leaves Presidency of hip Board of Trust
Holiday Party at New Location
We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members
Ruprecht Polio Fund Enters 10th year
Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey To Speak ...
hip Executive Director To be Honored ...
Senator Ted Kennedy: His Voice is Stilled ...
hip progams
Public Transportation Instruction Offered ...
N.J. Expands Coverage for Autism ...
Disclosing Your Disability: When, Where ...
Funds and Assistance Available for TBI ...
We Mourn...
Registration Drive at Bergen Regional Attracts ...
Back to School in Hudson with the YES! Program
New Programs at Hudson hip
Reverend James Warnke to Speak ...
Moving Forward in Bergen with the YES! Program
BIG DATES ON hip's CALENDAR
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- hipnews Fall 2009 Edition Text Version -


  October Focus: Vision Loss Awareness
  
 Beginning this year, the month of October will be observed annually in New Jersey as a time to bring awareness to New Jersey residents about the abilities of people with vision loss. This is in keeping with the 100th anniversary of the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a state agency providing services to people of all ages who are affected by the loss of vision.

Why should there be a special time dedicated to enhancing the knowledge of the general public regarding people with vision loss? For generations there has been a mystique about people who do not see. How can they move about independently, become educated, maintain a career, have a family, and live a full, productive life? How can they travel alone by plane, use a computer, attend the theater, not to mention sail, or negotiate a ski slope? These issues are difficult to imagine for those who have never had the opportunity to live, work, recreate, or otherwise interact with people who are either blind or visually impaired.

Those affected by vision loss whose daily activities are parallel to their sighted counterparts do not wish to be considered “amazing.” They simply want to be treated with the same recognition and respect they would receive if they were sighted. Hopefully the general public will gain increased exposure to people with vision loss, enhance their understanding of the strengths of all people, and recognize abilities, not simply see disabilities.

A FEW TIPS:
  • If you are wondering if someone needs assistance – simply ask! However, it is equally important to respect the acceptance or the denial.

  • Keep in mind that persons with vision loss are the ones who best understand their individual needs.

  • If someone requests your assistance in getting from place to place, offer your elbow.

  • Identify yourself by name when meeting a person with vision loss – never try to make them guess who you are.

  • State that you are entering, or leaving the room.

  • THE BEST TIP:
    Don’t try to guess what anyone else needs. A polite “Can I provide any assistance?” is always a good thing.


Read about hip’s programs for people with vision loss in this issue: Adjustment to Vision Loss (AVL) and the Multimedia Transcription Service. Our program for young people with vision loss, “Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Determination” (LEAD) was featured in the summer edition of hipNews and can be accessed by visiting our website, www.hipcil.org. Want additional information about vision loss? Contact Susan Vanino or Eileen Goff at the Bergen CIL, or Kathy Wood at the Hudson CIL.
 
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  Increasing Awareness of Vision Loss Statewide
  
 Governor Corzine has proclaimed October 2009 as the official kick-off month of an ongoing effort to promote vision loss awareness, education, and advocacy. hip’s Adjustment to Vision Loss Project (AVL) has enlisted the help of its members to serve as ambassadors to take part in various events such as educating the staff of a public library in Somerset County on vision loss etiquette, more commonly known as, “What do you do when you meet a blind person?” and offering sensitivity training for the students of a 5th grade class in Bergen County. In preparation for the busy month ahead, many training sessions took place in September for the “Vision Loss Ambassadors.”

Susan Vanino, hip’s peer support coordinator, has asked everyone involved in the AVL program to educate the public in any way possible to increase the awareness of strengths and abilities of people with vision loss. It’s important to share information with families, friends, neighbors, and others to enhance awareness, and to make a significant and positive impact on the community in general.

AVL assists residents of 14 counties in northern and central New Jersey with adjusting to vision loss through an extensive network of peer support groups. Members are provided with the opportunity to exchange helpful information, receive emotional support, and find solutions to challenges they may be experiencing.

As Susan says, “October will be a wonderful month where people with vision loss can convey to the public that “Yes, we can!”
 
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  Multimedia Transcripton Service: Supporting ...
  
 Multimedia Transcripton Service: Supporting Literacy for People with Vision Loss

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandated the civil rights of all people with disabilities. Although there is still a long way to go until our communities are fully accessible, curb cuts have been created, ramps have been built, sign language interpreters have become more plentiful and braille is generally recognized as being essential for many people with vision loss. But there are those who state that braille is no longer necessary, due to the technology that has been developed over the years. True, the addition of speech technology has enhanced the use of computers, scanners, calculators, watches, and scales by people with vision loss. However, although they are commonly used, these devices cannot replace being able to read.

How do you learn to spell, study algebra, prepare a supermarket list, label papers, or study a map if you cannot read? Using an ATM machine, finding your hotel room, or getting to the desired floor in an elevator are all tasks made possible for braille readers. Just try finding the correct elevator button by feeling the raised number, and see what a challenge it is! hip’s Multimedia Transcription Service was founded in 1994 to enhance the ability to read widely for people with vision loss.

Q. What does MTS provide?

  1. Braille textbooks for students in the majority of states across the country, created by Certified Braille Transcribers who maintain expertise in several languages, math, science and music;


  2. MTS extends well beyond the classroom by transcribing programs for the Paper Mill Playhouse and other theaters, festivals, and special events;


  3. Practical documents like utility bills, magazines, menus, brochures, and individual correspondence.



Studies demonstrate that people with vision loss who are braille readers are employed in significantly higher proportions than those who are not and MTS is here to help! Contact Theresa Johnston for further information at the Bergen CIL.
 
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  Nancy Carr Leaves Presidency of hip Board of Trust
  
 Nancy Carr resigned as President of the hip Board of Trustees in early August to move with her husband and son to New York State, due to the serious illness there of two family members. She also left her position as director of the Office of Specialized Services at Ramapo College. Nancy was elected president of the hip Board of Trustees in November 2008, after serving on the Board for eight years.

Anna Navatta, First Vice President, has assumed the role of Acting President and will serve until the Board elects a new President, the selection to be announced at the Annual Meeting on November 17th. Nancy began her new job as director of special services at Onondaga Community College, near Syracuse, on August 31st. The entire hip family wishes her the very best in her new life and her new career. We will miss her!
 
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  Holiday Party at New Location
  
 Our much-awaited Holiday Party is moving this year to a new location, The DoubleTree Hotel (formerly the Fort Lee Hilton) on Route 4. The move was prompted by the closing of Gatsby’s, our longtime favorite party spot. But the new location promises to be a grand substitute, since hip has a long history with this familiar gathering place for our Annual Meeting in even-numbered years. Sunday, December 13th is the date, noon to 4 p.m. the time. Greig Atkinson, our favorite holiday D.J., will return to entertain us. Get ready for a beautiful opening to the 2009 holiday season!
 
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  We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members
  
 
Elaine BuckwaldScott & Debbie Buckwald
Bernard & Frances FinkelNelson Hsia & Family
Joseph MarinoMelanie Reach
Linda Rice
 
Corporate Members
Jewish Association for DevelopmentalDisabilities: John Winer, Director
Paulgro Consulting LLC
 
Life member *
 
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  Ruprecht Polio Fund Enters 10th year
  
 The Alan and Peggy Ruprecht Fund, created by the Polio Network of New Jersey and administered by hip, is entering its 10th year of service to polio survivors living in New Jersey, whose numbers have been estimated as close to 30,000. Named in memory of the founders of Drive-Master, Inc., of Fairfield, NJ, the Fund has provided over $15,000 in 49 separate grants, entirely through the generosity of polio survivors, their friends, and supporters of the Network, for direct assistance to individuals to obtain products and services that may be difficult to finance for many, particularly those living on fixed incomes. Membership in PNNJ is not required.

hip has administered the fund since its inception. PNNJ wanted an outside administrator to preserve confidentiality and impartiality and knew that hip was a highly respected Center for Independent Living that could extend its reach statewide. While family income is a factor, it is not the sole criterion for eligibility.

No Similar Fund Exists

No other similar fund is known to exist exclusively for polio survivors. Many years ago, when the threat of polio seemed to have been eradicated, at least in the United States, the March of Dimes changed its focus from polio to birth defects. Much good has been done to correct, and even more significantly, to prevent birth defects in the last half century. But in the absence of a source of financial assistance geared specifically to the needs of polio survivors, many people in this aging population find themselves hard pressed to pay for such new needs as medical evaluations, braces, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, scooters, and home modifications.

The Polio Network of New Jersey created the Ruprecht Fund as an experimental program to help pay for just such needs, in whole or in part, allocating up to $5,000 in each fiscal year. An individual can qualify for a grant once annually of up to $500. Payment is always made to the provider of the product or service. Each grant has met a need that could not readily have been fulfilled by any other source.

Maria Valentin at Bergen hip will be glad to hear from interested persons. So if you, or someone you know, has had polio and is in need of limited financial assistance, don’t hesitate to apply. Readers are also invited to visit the PNNJ website: www.njpolio.org
 
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  Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey To Speak ...
  
 Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey To Speak at Annual Meeting

Santina Muha, Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2009, will be the guest speaker at hip’s Annual Meeting, Tuesday evening, November 17, at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, Secaucus. The program will get under way at 6:30 p.m.

Ms. Muha is communications associate for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. She is also a pending member of the New Jersey Statewide Independent Living Council (NJ SILC), an Abilities Expo ambassador, a CNN iReporter and host of various online programs including “SCI News and Views,” and “Rolling Like a Celebrity.”

Ms. Muha is the East Coast correspondent for “Tiger Beat” and “BOP!” magazines. She is also a public speaker and a mentor to younger wheelchair users. In November 2007 she was the first contestant to use a wheelchair on the game show,” Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Ms. Muha also appeared in a national campaign for Target Stores, representing consumers who use wheelchairs. She will share her experiences and insights about leading an active and dynamic life and educating the community about disability rights.

Also on the agenda, Executive Director Eileen Goff will report on hip’s programs and services during the past year. Elections and re-elections will take place to the hip Board of Trustees.
 
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  hip Executive Director To be Honored ...
  
 hip Executive Director To be Honored with Diversity Award

Eileen Goff, hip’s Executive Director, will receive the Community Service Award of the American Conference on Diversity, Bergen-Passaic Chapter, at a dinner on Thursday, October 29th, at the Royal Manor, Garfield. The organization has as its goals, “valuing diversity, educating leaders, and promoting respect, in workplaces, in our schools, and in our communities.” Men and women of achievement are recognized annually for their “outstanding work in serving the overall best interests of the Bergen and Passaic region.”

A statement to the American Conference on Diversity supporting the nomination reads in part: “Eileen exemplifies in her own life the concept of ‘independent living,’ the philosophy behind this nationwide movement. Moreover, she constantly focuses on the potential of others to realize their own goals. Each year, her personal influence improves the lives of hundreds of people, and over the years, thousands. This past year alone, hip staff provided direct assistance to 936 individuals and addressed 19,824 requests for information and referral.” Working with our small, dedicated staff, Eileen’s work embraces people with disabilities and their families from all walks of life, regardless of race, creed, economic background, educational attainment, or national origin. True diversity!

Information about the award event can be obtained from Jean Csaposs at 201-843-0481 or 201-843-2903 (messages).
 
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  Senator Ted Kennedy: His Voice is Stilled ...
  
 Senator Ted Kennedy: His Voice is Stilled, His Legacy Lives On

The timing could not have been worse. Just as real momentum grew for a new health care system, its most active champion, Senator Ted Kennedy, learned of his lethal brain tumor. This “champion of causes,” known never to shy away from initiating an effort or joining a cause because it promised to be difficult, met his last and most difficult challenge with courage, determination, and grace. Death stilled his voice but could never negate his many hard-fought accomplishments spanning a 47-year Senate career.

One of the major issues confronted by the Senator was real equity for people with disabilities. Many of these advances were a direct result of his passion, as well as his diligence, tenacity, and legendary ability to bring opposing sides together.

The following are some of his legislative accomplishments that specifically benefited people with disabilities:


  • Cosponsored legislation and created a bill of rights (1975) for people with developmental disabilities and created 50 state-based systems of protection and advocacy;

  • Cosponsored the Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments to protect people from discrimination on the basis of their disability (1978);


  • Cosponsored the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act to enforce the rights of those living in institutions (1980);


  • Original cosponsor of a bill that allowed states to cover respites for parents by providing home health care services for children with disabilities under Medicaid (1982);


  • Cosponsored legislation to require polling stations to provide physical accessibility for older voters and voters with disabilities both in voting and registration (1984);


  • Original sponsor of the Air Carrier Access Act which required that facilities and services be provided for people with disabilities traveling by air (1986);


  • Introduced the Fair Housing Act Amendments. extending the 1968 Act to include people with disabilities and families with children as protected groups under this law (1986);


  • Original cosponsor of legislation to change the name of the Education of the Handicapped Act to IDEA, changed the language from handicapped to disability, included autism and traumatic brain injury in the Amendment (1990), and in 2004 was the sponsor and lead negotiator of the reauthorization of IDEA;


  • Introduced, with Senator Harkin, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law on July 26, 1990. The law prohibits discrimination by a covered entity against any qualified individual with a disability in employment, by state or local governments, by places of public accommodation, and in the area of telecommunications;


  • Cosponsored the Crime Victims and Disability Awareness Act, which directs the Attorney General to address crimes against people with disabilities (1998);


  • Led reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act which provided essential services and life-sustaining medications for persons with HIV disease (2000);


  • Won passage of the Family Opportunity Act after a 5-year battle, enabling families of children with disabilities to purchase health care coverage through Medicaid (2006).


It is likely that every American with a disability, at one time or another has enjoyed the benefit of at least some part of the Senator’s legislative accomplishments. The list is much longer than those cited here. Senator Ted Kennedy’s death will leave a huge void in the arena of disability legislation.

Equal access to quality health care for all Americans was the major cause to which Kennedy devoted much of his energy. After so many years of dedication to making a significant difference in the quality of life for Americans, the causes he became so identified with will be battles left to be won by others. Those others can be you and me. We can win this effort by staying informed about the various issues involved in health care reform, staying abreast of developments, learning the real facts about proposed legislation and making our needs and expectations known to our legislators. Each one of us is capable of making Senator Kennedy’s work a legacy that lives on.
 
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  hip progams
  
 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 support, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.  Some programs have statewide, even national impact.  The following is a summary of hip programs.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A new state-funded case management program for New Jersey residents who have survived an acquired brain injury, for services and supports they need to live in the community. Contact: Paula Walsh and Alicia Freda (Bergen); Marily Gonzalez (Hudson)

A New Journey provides financial help to families newly impacted by the onset of illness or disability. Contact: Anne Ciavaglia McMahon (201-288-2867)

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)

Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) a component of Bergen EASE, provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities. Contact: Alicia Freda (Bergen)


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

Hispanic Outreach Program directs all Independent Living services to individuals with disabilities of Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish. Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson)

Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide mentoring and skill-building project, assists high school students with vision loss in their transition to adult life. 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, and audiotape formats. Contact: Theresa Johnston (Bergen)

Polio Network of New Jersey – The Ruprecht Fund. Named in memory of the founders of a nationwide mobility service organization for people with disabilities, hip administers this fund for PNNJ to help polio survivors in New Jersey finance necessary products and services. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Project Access reviews residential construction plans to ensure compliance with existing legislation. Contact: Bob Duffy (Bergen)

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

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) provides funding and facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

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: Alicia Freda

Support Groups – COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities. Contact: Paula Walsh (Bergen).

Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) assists high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Sarah Derico (Bergen).
 
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  Public Transportation Instruction Offered ...
  
 Public Transportation Instruction Offered by NJ Tip for Access Link Riders

NJ TIP Inc. is a free service that offers travel instruction to people with disabilities (except for those with visual impairments*) who reside in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union Counties, and who are applying for Access Link or are already Access Link riders.

The program is completely voluntary and is geared to give participants more safe and independent travel options. Being able to ride public transportation increases employment and educational opportunities, promotes integration into the community, and enhances self-sufficiency. NJ TIP is funded by NJ TRANSIT. The only cost to participants is bus or train fare during the training.

*NJ Tip staff are not certified O and M (Orientation and Mobility) instructors. Persons with vision loss obtain training from the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visual Impaired.

The NJ TIP model has five components:
  • Outreach: NJ TIP staff contact people who are applying for Access Link to explain travel instruction and determine whether they might be interested in participating. The program is also publicized by NJ TRANSIT and through organizations that serve men and women with disabilities.

  • Intake: Intake interview are conducted at customers’ homes to learn about their travel goals, prior travel experience, and travel instruction needs. Family and other concerned parties may participate in interviews to share information and concerns.

  • Route Check: Once the travel destination and time frame have been decided, the travel instructor walks and rides the route from the customer’s door to the destination and back. The instructor is looking for any environmental barriers or travel conditions that could impact the customer’s trip.

  • One-on-One Travel Instruction: The customer and travel instructor ride the route until all skills needed for safe and independent travel are mastered. The number of travel instruction sessions varies depending on individual needs: some customers need two sessions, others may need thirty.


  • Follow-Up and Re-Training: After customers graduate from the program, they are followed for 12 months. NJ TIP staff members call graduates at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12-month intervals to determine how often the customer is traveling, if they are experiencing any difficulties, and whether there is a need for additional training.


To participate in NJ TIP, start by calling: 1-973-533-1665.
 
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  N.J. Expands Coverage for Autism ...
  
 N.J. Expands Coverage for Autism, Developmental Disability Therapies

by Katherine Santiago
New Jersey Real-Time News

On August 13th, New Jersey became the 15th state to enact a law requiring insurance companies to cover the screening and therapeutic treatment for children up to age 21 who are diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities. The legislation overcame the opposition of business associations and insurance companies, who have predicted the measure will make health coverage unaffordable. Insurers have denied coverage for speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapies because they deemed it “educational,” not medical in nature, or because the therapy would not restore a child’s ability to speak if the child never could speak at all.

But as the evidence of autism’s pervasiveness hit home for New Jersey, that has the highest rate of the disability in the nation, momentum for the bill grew. One in 94 children in New Jersey is diagnosed with autism, compared to one in 150 children in the nation.

“There is no justification, no rationalization, that makes it possible to turn our backs on people who have so much love in their hearts for their children,’’ Governor Jon Corzine told a packed room...at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick.

Assembly Speaker and bill sponsor Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) said the bill tries to be fair to business interests by setting limits on some spending. Applied behavioral analysis, a popular autism therapy, is capped at $36,000 up until 2011, and will rise in later years based on the consumer price index, according to the bill. The bill takes effect in February 2010.

“The economics are just as persuasive an argument’’ to support the bill, Roberts said, noting it costs about $13,000 to educate a child in public school compared to $50,000 for a child in special education. These therapies already enable many toddlers to bypass some special education programs. “The savings we have year in and out is extraordinary,’’ Roberts said.
 
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  Disclosing Your Disability: When, Where ...
  
 Disclosing Your Disability: When, Where, How, and Why

Disclosing a disability may be a consideration when starting a new job; transitioning from school, another job, or unemployment; or retaining a job after acquiring a disability. For individuals who may still be struggling with accepting their medical condition, making the decision to disclose can be overwhelming. Because some impairments are not visible, individuals may face such challenges as understanding their impairments and determining what types of accommodations are available. As with any new experience, preparation is vital.

The Job Accommodation Network is a free consulting service available online from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist people with disabilities to make sound decisions in a variety of situations involving major life and career changes. The following recommendations from JAN provide an overview of the do’s and don’ts of disclosure. Note that disclosing is a very personal decision, but some of the following tips may be helpful in making that decision. Contact JAN for additional information related to job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other resources. Online: www.jan.wvu.edu.


Do disclose when you need an accommodation:

Deciding when to disclose can be a difficult choice for a person with a disability. If you have a hidden disability such as brain injury or post traumatic stress disorder, knowing when to disclose your condition can be a real dilemma.

Under the ADA you can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or while you are employed. You can request an accommodation even if you did not ask for one when applying for a job or after receiving a job offer. So when should you disclose that you have disability? In general, you should disclose your disability when you need to request a reasonable accommodation – when you know that there is a workplace barrier that is preventing you, due to a disability, from competing for a job, performing a job, or gaining equal access to a benefit of employment like an employee lunch room or employee parking.

Do know whom to disclose to:

This can be tricky. Many employers have their own in-house procedures that detail how they handle accommodation requests. Check your employee handbook or your company’s intranet for this information. Also, if you have an EEO office or a human resources department, they can assist you. The other option is to talk to your manager or supervisor directly.

Do know how to disclose:

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you only have to let your employer know that you need an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. You can use “plain English” to make your request and you do not have to mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation.” Once you disclose, then the interactive process should begin. At this point, your employer can ask for limited information about your disability and your need for accommodations.

Don’t disclose too soon:

Many people with hidden disabilities may feel that they are not being completely honest with an employer if they do not tell everything about their disability up front at the time of their interview. Just remember that you are not obligated to do so. When you disclose, just provide basic information about your condition, your limitations, and what accommodations you may need.

Don’t disclose too late:

Don’t wait to disclose until after you begin to experience work performance problems. It is better to disclose your disability and request accommodations before job performance suffers or conduct problems occur. Employers do not have to rescind discipline that occurred before they knew about the disability nor do they have to lower performance standards as a reasonable accommodation. Remember, the purpose of an accommodation is to enable a qualified person with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job. So, disclose when you first realize you are having difficulties.

Don’t disclose to everyone:

Remember that you have a right to keep information about your disability private. It is not necessary to inform coworkers and colleagues about your disability or your need for accommodations. While they may be aware of the accommodations, especially if you are allowed to take extra breaks or you have a flexible starting time, they are not entitled to know why. Your employer is required by the ADA to keep your disability and medical information confidential and to give it to managers and supervisors only on a need-to-know basis.
 
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  Funds and Assistance Available for TBI ...
  
 Funds and Assistance Available for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

hip Selected for Case Management

The New Jersey Division of Disability Services is administering a fund which allows New Jersey residents who have survived an acquired brain injury to obtain the services and supports they need to live in the community. The Fund’s purpose is foster independence and maximize quality of life. Individuals may be eligible for up to $15,000 per year in supports and services, with a lifetime cap of $100,000. Funds may be used for, but are not limited to physical, occupational, or cognitive therapies; medical transportation; home modifications and home care; pharmaceuticals and assistive devices related to brain injuries.

hip has been selected to provide case management for residents of Bergen and Hudson County who meet TBI Fund eligibility requirements. Applicants must provide medical documentation of acquired brain injury, have liquid assets of less that $100,000, and have lived in New Jersey for at least 90 consecutive days. Injuries such as stroke, anoxia and traumatic brain injury would be eligible. Congenital disorders, such as cerebral palsy, birth trauma, and degenerative disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, are not covered under the Fund.

Applications are available and processed at The NJ Division of Disability Services; upon approval, residents of Bergen and Hudson County are referred to hip for case management.

At both our CILs, case managers are excited to be a part of this program. For further information or to request an application, contact Harry S. Pastille, TBI Fund Manager at 1-888-285-3036 (press 2).
 
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  We Mourn...
  
 the death of Al Esteban, the husband of Board member Lottie Esteban, after a long illness.
 
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  Registration Drive at Bergen Regional Attracts ...
  
 Registration Drive at Bergen Regional Attracts Over 50 Eager Voters

Michael Augustowicz, tireless hip volunteer and civic activist, has made it possible for about 50 residents of Bergen Regional Medical Center to update their voter registration information, to register for the first time, or to request a mail-in ballot.

After much preparation, the voter registration drive for long-term care residents at the Center in Paramus was held on August 24th. Michael, a former LTC resident at Bergen Regional and now one of their most valued and dedicated volunteers, was busy for weeks reminding staff residents that they needed to make sure that they are properly registered to vote in the November gubernatorial election. He inquired about their registration status and created lists of those who wished to register. For many, the principal needs were to change their address and request mail-in ballots.

Michael reminded the staff about which residents wanted to attend the registration drive event in person. Lists were constantly updated, schedules made and amended, and then amended again, to accommodate all who wished to attend. If any residents weren’t up to coming to the event in person, Michael met with them in their rooms to answer any questions they might have. When necessary, staff members assisted residents to complete their forms.

hip’s Advocate, Nancy Hodgins, brought forms to the event and assisted people to fill them out. She also provided information about voting rights and the importance of casting one’s vote. Every 2009 mail-in voter will automatically receive a letter in January 2010 offering the option to receive a mail-in ballot for any or all of the 2010 elections.
 
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  Back to School in Hudson with the YES! Program
  
 It was a busy summer for the Hudson County Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) program. Twenty students from two Hudson County high schools attended 12 workshops given by Marian Padilla, hip’s Independent Living transition coordinator, and Marily Gonzalez, hip’s Independent Living specialist, focusing on time and money management, career preparation and job searching, traveling independently, and involvement in community-based activities.

Many of the students were ahead of President Obama’s Call to Action urging volunteerism as they participated in the annual Chalk Fest, a sidewalk art festival at Jersey City’s Exchange Place to benefit the York Street Project, a center for homeless and disadvantaged women and children. Some students showcased their talents by painting 5' x 7' murals sponsored by businesses. Others assembled packages for the project’s food pantry.

A group of students took the opportunity to combine traveling independently and job-searching by taking mass transit to Newport Center Mall where they met with human resources personnel at a major department store. They also used kiosks at various retail establishments to explore employment opportunities and apply for positions.

At press time we are looking ahead to our Back to School event featuring motivational speaker Mighty Mike Simmel, who combines an interactive basketball skills show with goal-setting and disability awareness. We are also looking forward to Disability Mentoring Day in October as well as to providing workshops to new and previously visited schools in Hudson County. For further information about the YES! program, contact Marian Padilla at Hudson hip or at mpadilla.hud@hipcil.org.
 
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  New Programs at Hudson hip
  
 New or enhanced programs have been made possible by funding from the Hudson County Department of Health and Human Services:

Comprehensive Independent Living Support Program (CILS)

Hudson hip will soon implement a new program, Comprehensive Independent Living Support (CILS), which will provide care management services for individuals who have complex disability-related issues requiring ongoing support. For information, contact Kathy Wood at the Hudson CIL.

New Rehabilitation Technology Program for Senior Citizens

Special Assistance for Independent Living for Seniors (Senior SAIL) will serve Hudson County residents 60 years of age and above. Senior SAIL can provide funding for emergency alert devices, hearing aids, seat-lift recliners, stair glides, and other devices as well as home modifications to enhance the independent lifestyles of seniors living in Hudson County. For more information, call Marily Gonzalez at the Hudson CIL or e-mail her at mgonzalez.hud@hipcil.org.

SAIL Receives Increase in Funding

The Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) program has recently received an increase in funding. This will allow Hudson hip to provide enhanced rehabilitation technology services for people under age 60 who have physical and sensory disabilities. If you or someone you know could benefit from a home or automobile modification or a device that will enable you to live more independently, contact Marily Gonzalez at the Hudson CIL.
 
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  Reverend James Warnke to Speak ...
  
 Reverend James Warnke to Speak at Hudson Supper Meeting

Hudson hip plans what is sure to be a most enjoyable evening for members on October 6th at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, Secaucus. A light supper will be served, with time set aside to socialize with friends. Reverend James Warnke, a longtime friend of hip and a vivacious and entertaining speaker, will address the group. His motivational message, offered with his usual wit and wisdom, is sure to provide many positive ideas for all who attend to take away with them.
 
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  Moving Forward in Bergen with the YES! Program
  
 The Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) program, a self-advocacy program for students ages 14 to 21, provided self-advocacy workshops to three pre-employment programs and 115 students this summer. Students learned interviewing skills and goal-setting strategies, and garnered information about services in their neighborhoods. Nancy Hodgins, hip Advocate, provided a workshop for students on how to advocate for themselves during and after high school. Four groups took field trips to the hip office to check out what our Center for Independent Living (CIL) provides and to explore career options. Everyone had a great time and talked about what they learned while enjoying a pizza lunch at hip. One student, Samantha Cioffi, was an intern at hip for the month of July. She assisted hip staff with general office administration under the supervision of Independent Living transition coordinator, Sarah Derico. Samantha was a great help to hip and honed her office skills while interning.

As the summer drew to a close, YES! began its outreach efforts for the approaching school year. The YES! transition coordinator meets with school administrators individually and coordinates a series of workshops to meet the needs of the students in each school. At press time for this issue of hipNews, approximately 60 workshops designed to improve students’ self-advocacy skills had been booked.

hip will also be a hosting site for Disability Mentoring Day on October 21st. For further information about the YES! program, or to get students involved in Disability Mentoring Day, contact Sarah Derico at the Bergen CIL, ext. 13, or by e-mail: sderico.ber@hipcil.org.
 
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  BIG DATES ON hip's CALENDAR
  
 hip’s 30th year begins on October 1st. It’s Membership Renewal Time. Please be an Early Bird by using the Membership Form enclosed and re-joining hip for 2010 – or join us for the first time. We value our members!

Election Day is November 3rd. Your Vote Counts!

Come to hip’s 2009 Annual Meeting Tuesday, November 17th (See Page 1 for details) Get ready for hip’s Annual Holiday Party – always a
joyful occasion. December 13th, in a new location. (See Page 9 for the story)
 
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