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Showing posts from July, 2015

"The sky's the limit, the question is, how are you going to get there?"

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Recently, The Choice Group was fortunate enough to have a dynamic guest speaker.  She is almost fully blind and has been most of her life.  Her experience is not unique, but her perspective on disability is.  She shared with us this perspective and how she gained it when seeking to learn the martial art of Krav Maga.
     When she first approached her martial arts teacher revealing her desire to learn Krav Maga, he sat in thoughtful contemplation for a minute, before replying.
     “Krav Maga is a striking art, which relies heavily on awareness from a distance of your opponent’s motions and location.  What if you tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, instead?” He replied.  “It’s a grappling art, and might be better suited to someone with reduced vision.  Lots of people practice Jiu-Jitsu with their eyes closed.  You are in close contact with your opponent the whole time, which would allow you to grapple without having to rely on seeing where they are or what they’re doing."
     Thi…

REACHcycles

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A couple of weekends ago, The Choice Group's very own Chris Lavach played in the Summer Moon Music Festival that took place over the span of 2 days.  Taking place at the Center of the Universe Brewery in Ashland, there were 13 local bands that played, each one collecting money for their own charity.  Chris’s band, Buckville Hootenanny partnered up with REACHcycles, started by veteran James Howard.  It’s an organization that provides adapted cycles for children with disabilities and disabled veterans.      This coming weekend, there will be another event where James from REACH cycles will award 12 customized cycles to children and veterans.  The event will be held at Robious Landing on Sunday, August 2nd.  
Be sure to check out ReachCycles.org for more information to come!

ADA Breaks Barriers

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This past Sunday was the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being passed.  The president spoke on the progress that has been made since the ADA has been in effect and how progress needs to continue in the advocacy of inclusion for people with disabilities.  The young lady whose story follows is her personal reflection on the struggles she faced as a deafblind student and how she was motivated to become an advocate herself.  Not only were her barriers external, she fought an internal battle to succeed.  She fights for equality in technological access for people with disabilities, which is a vital component in almost every aspect of living in today's web-based world.  Read on to be inspired.
I recently had the honor of introducing President Obama at a White House reception commemorating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The President shared a moving story of how, in the years before Congress passed the ADA, his father-in-law -- who had multiple sclerosis …

25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

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Sunday, July 26th is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  President Obama made a speech last week stating that while this Act has moved us forward when it comes to making this nation “belong” to everyone by ensuring equality for people with disabilities, there is still a long way to go.  He specifically mentioned the ever growing awareness of inequality in the workplace for those with disabilities, noting that talented, willing and able people who “have so much to contribute” are still unemployed.  

     It’s true that statistics has shown disparaging numbers of unemployed people with disabilities but, with the array of new laws and awareness that currently surrounds this issue, The Choice Group is proud to be a part of progress on this front. 
The article by Michelle Diament on DisabilityScoop.com is as follows:
Obama: ADA 'Fight is Not Over' In marking a quarter century since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act became law, President Bara…

VA Schools Earn Top Rating for Serving Students with Disabilities

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It’s great news to hear that we live in such a progressive state when it comes to showing educational support for our growing children with disabilities.  We strive to help transitioning graduates by continuing their support after graduating and into their college education or blossoming careers.  Helping people with disabilities achieve their maximum potential and leading full happy lives is our ultimate goal and we are happy the Virginia Public School System sees it that way, too!
Virginia Schools Earn Top Federal Rating for Serving Students with Disabilities Virginia’s public education system received a pat on the back from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), according to a release out of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.
The USDE reported Virginia’s public schools registered the nation’s highest overall rating and second-highest score for serving students with disabilities under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). “In every school division i…

Connecting Individuals to Their Past and Future Potential

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One of our colleagues, Shawn Chase of Neuro Community Care, is an amazing person we’ve had the privilege to work with over the years.  His dedication and advocacy to help individuals who have suffered from brain injuries and other cognitive impairments hasn’t gone unnoticed by us, or Cary Magazine, who has recently featured an article about him and his work.  Often times Shawn has referred clients to us who he thinks could benefit from the help of The Choice Group when it comes to counseling, career training or otherwise. Lucky to have him as an ally, we look forward to hearing about his continuing good works in the future.

To read more about what drives Shawn, check out the article by Nancy Pardue on carymagazine.com 

Ditch Outdated Misconceptions & Let Your Workplace Thrive!

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There are a lot of misconceptions out there among employers surrounding the topic of hiring people with disabilities.  False ideas that employees with disabilities will need more sick days or leave, ideas that job accommodations will be costly, and even that work tasks will not be performed to par.  In so many cases, this could not be further from the truth.
     The profile of an employee with a disability is that of a top performing employee.  With little to no absences and a steady output of progress on tasks assigned to them, a person with a disability can be the backbone in your workforce.      Job accommodations for people with disabilities are most commonly low-tech solutions that won’t cost the employer very much if anything at all.  Through the Job Accommodations Network (JAN), employers have access to free consultations and advice no matter the size of their business and even compliance assistance for federal or state employers. 

     An inclusive work environment has p…

People with 'Invisible Disabilities' Fight for Understanding, an article on NPR

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Read or listen to this article by Naomi Gingold on npr.org about one young lady's challenge to work with her "invisible disability."  It is unclear how many people in this country struggle with finding work due to their unseen disabilities that many, including doctors, don't fully understand yet.



People with 'Invisible Disabilities' Fight for Understanding
Some disabilities are more obvious than others. Many are immediately apparent, especially if someone relies on a wheelchair or cane. But others — known as "invisible" disabilities — are not. People who live with them face particular challenges in the workplace and in their communities.

Carly Medosch, 33, seems like any other young professional in the Washington, D.C. area — busy, with a light laugh and a quick smile. She doesn't look sick. But she has suffered from Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, since she was 13. There have been times, she says, when she's "been l…

Successful Transitions Start with Continued Support

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These individuals represent what is possible with the strategy that we, at The Choice Group, implement when helping young people through a crucial time in their lives.  Making the transition from high school to college, school to work,  living at home to living on your own can all be exciting and challenging for any individual.  People with disabilities face unique challenges when it comes to the changes they’re facing at this stage in their lives.
     We believe in centering our support around the individual’s needs.  Helping them with things like transportation and finance to gain their maximum independence and achieve continuing success.  Success, we believe, is found by reducing support over time once the individual has had practice at tasks such as cooking, laundry and housekeeping.  Walking, busing, biking to and from school or work is key to an independent and healthy lifestyle that builds confidence and future success. 

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