A Beginners Course About Disabilities

My disability is one part of who i am.
Leading change in society Copyright 2015 Marines

My name is Scott Janz. I advocate for social fairness.

What is the plan?

My job focuses on disabilities in the community .

Disabilities are part of culture. What is a disability? A college course on disabilities can help. A beginner course could cover the following.

Carry out Plan

Areas of focus:

Why does this matter?

To create hope for change. Disabilities are rising in society. We have future leaders in colleges. We need to excite them to lead change. People with disabilities have rights. We should help them reach those rights. We need to advocate for change in the public.  I would like the public to learn more about disabilities. Everyone has a voice.

Sensory Processing Disorder What is it? What to look for? What to do?

I am a therapist.  I am certified to give the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test.  I score the

Little boy sobbing
A little boy sobbing. Intensely upset and overcome with emotion.

test and tell parents what the results mean. Praxis means motor planning.

What is it?

The body’s senses get information. The brain receives the information. The brain processes the information wrong.

The senses that might show symptoms are any or all of the following:

– Taste.                    – Touch.                             – Smell.

– Sight .                    – Sound.                            – Pressure.

– Knowing where your body is in space.             – Balance.

– Able to feel warm, hot, cold, etc.

What should caregivers look for?

Each child may show different symptoms.  Ayers (1979) states to look for:

  • behavior problems;
  • slowness to speak;
  • clumsiness;
  • easily distracted;
  • trouble learning; and/or
  • trouble at school.

The severity of the symptoms can look different from child to child.

How can you help?

Parents can help.

  • NOTICE: Is your child having difficulty at school, home, or with friends?
  • DOCTOR: Is your child having difficulty? Contact their doctor.
  • THERAPY: Bring your child to a therapist. Make sure the therapist is trained in sensory integration.

Caregiver Resources


Ayers, A. J. (1979). What is sensory integrative dysfunction.  In Sensory integration and the child (pp. 56-58).  Location: Western Psychological Services.

Keeping Colon Cancer Away

picture of a person colonKeeping healthy is important for everyone.  People who have developmental disabilities need to do the same things to stay healthy as everybody else.  This can be hard. Doctors and nurses do not always talk with people who have disabilities about staying healthy.  Doctors and nurses can be very busy fixing health problems. Sometimes they forget to try to stop problems before they start.

Why is staying healthy so important?

  • Because we feel good when we are healthy!
  • It is easier to stop sickness before it starts. It is harder to make sickness go away once we have it.

Colon cancer is a type of sickness that is very common in people who have disabilities.

  • Cancer is what happens when our bodies grow extra pieces inside that are not supposed to be there.
  • When cancer happens in the colon, it is called colon cancer.
  • Our colons hold our solid waste, or poop, until it is time to let it out of our bodies.

Colon cancer is very serious. It can:

  • Make you feel sick.
  • Make it hard to eat and drink.
  • Cause problems with using the bathroom
  • Be very painful
  • Sometimes, make you die.

There is some good news. There are a lot of things we can do so we do not get colon cancer. We can also get checked by a doctor or nurse to catch colon cancer in our bodies before it makes us sick.

First, let’s talk about preventing colon cancer. This means we will talk about the things we can do to keep from getting colon cancer.

  • The food you eat is very important to keep your colon healthy. Eating a lot of red meat like beef, pork, or lamb is bad for your colon. It is also bad to eat a lot of sandwich meat or hot dogs.
  • You can help your colon by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like oats, brown rice and 100% whole grain breads. Be sure to speak to your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.
  • Keeping a healthy weight, or not having too much fat on your body is also important to keeping your colon healthy. You should ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for your body. Also ask what kind of exercise you can do to lose weight or keep a healthy weight. Even if you are not overweight, staying active is important to keep your colon healthy. Any activity that is more than you usually do may help your colon stay healthy!
  • Our bad habits can be bad for our colons, too. If you smoke, try to quit. Ask your doctor what you can try to help you quit. There are special medicines that can make it easier to quit. There is a pill, a skin patch and a special chewing gum. If you drink alcohol, drink no more than one drink a day if you are a woman.  If you are a man, drink no more than two drinks a day.  If you drink alcohol every day, make sure you tell your doctor. Also tell your doctor if you plan to drink less or stop drinking.

Sometimes we can still get colon cancer even if we are healthy. There is good news, though. If colon cancer is found early, doctors can treat it before it has a chance to make us sick.

To catch colon cancer early, talk to your doctor!  Tell the doctor that you would like to know more about getting checked for colon cancer. Usually you start getting checked for colon cancer once you are 50 years old. If someone in your family has had colon cancer, make sure to tell your doctor or nurse. They should talk with you about getting checked for colon cancer sooner.

There are a few different ways that you can get checked.

  • The most common way is to have a test called a colonoscopy. The day before the test you will drink a special drink or take some medicine. This will make you empty your bowels, or poop. At the test you will be given medicine to help you relax and sleep. The doctor will look inside your colon with a small camera.  The doctor will look to see if there is any colon cancer. If there is cancer that is still small, the doctor will remove it. The doctor can also remove any small polyps. Polyps are pieces of your colon that look like they might turn into cancer.  This test should be done every 10 years. If colon cancer or polyps are found, you will need to have this test more often.
  • A sigmoidoscopy is like a colonoscopy. But, it doesn’t look at your whole colon. This test uses a small camera. It looks inside the lower part of the colon, called the sigmoid colon. Sometimes this type of test is easier for people to have. You do not need to drink the special drink or take medicine that makes you empty your bowels, or poop. You also usually do not need medicine to make you relaxed and sleepy. This test should be repeated every 5 years.
  • There is a new type of test called Cologuard. You do not need to drink a special drink or take medicine first. You can do this test at home. First, you collect a small bit of solid waste, or poop. Then you send it in a special kit in the mail. The kit checks your solid waste, or poop, for a change in a chemical called DNA. This change may mean you have colon cancer. Then you’d need to have a colonoscopy to check for sure. Not everybody can have this kind of test. You should not have this test if you have had colon cancer. You should not have this test if you have colon problems. You should not have this test if somebody in your family has had colon cancer. This test should be repeated every 3 years.

Maybe you have read all of this and you are thinking that keeping colon cancer away sounds like a lot of work. Or, maybe you are having a hard time deciding what to do first. The most important thing you can do is talk with your doctor! Tell the doctor that you would like to stay healthy and keep colon cancer away. Doctors and nurses love to help people stay healthy. Sometimes they just need a friendly reminder about checking for colon cancer!

For more information, visit:

The American Cancer Society


Colon Cancer Alliance



Building Healthy Friendships

Children on the grass laying in a circle
(Photo from Wikipedia- Creative Commons license):

As a nurse, I enjoy helping people to lead happy, healthy lives.  Having friends is one way we can make our lives more joyful. Friends can talk and relax together, and have fun together! Having friends is not always easy, though.  We do not always know everything we need to know about how to make friends. We also may not know how to be a good friend.

Here are a few tips to help.

  • If you would like to make new friends, tell somebody! Find somebody you trust, like your mom, dad, brother, sister or caregiver. They can help you think about:
  • What you are looking for in a friend.
  • Things you like to do, and things you may want to try.
  • If you like to spend time with groups of people or if you like to spend time with one person at a time.
  • Make a plan for making friends! Think about places you to go and things you like to do near where you live.
  • You can look in the local newspaper or web sites for special events and activities that interest you.
  • Maybe try joining a sports team or try a fitness class like Zumba or karate.
  • Volunteer at a school or soup kitchen and you can make friends and help other people at the same time!
  • Do you like to read or watch movies? You could start a movie or book club.
  • Practice! It may sound silly, but sometimes making new friends can make us feel nervous.

Try to practice talking to a make-believe new friend in front of a mirror or with a person you trust. Then, when you meet a new friend, you will have ideas of what to say.

This can make you feel less nervous.Then you can enjoy yourself when you are with a new friend!

  • Get ready! This will help you to feel good about yourself when you meet someone new.
  • Make sure you are clean and fresh with good personal hygiene.
  • Wear clean clothes that you feel good wearing.
  • Comb your hair and brush your teeth!
  • Keep working at it! Making new friends can take time. It can take a few visits with a new friend to feel comfortable together.
  • Talk with your friend about how often you would like to see each other.
  • You can talk about what you both like to do, and take turns choosing what you do or where you go.
  • Ask for help! Sometimes friends do not always agree. This is normal! People are not exactly the same and do not always like the same things.
  • If you and your friend disagree try to focus on the things you have in common.
  • If you are having trouble with a friend, talk to somebody you trust about it. They may be able to help you and your friend work through the trouble.
  • Know the signs of a bad friendship.

A friend should NOT:

  • Make fun of you or call you names
  • Hit you or touch you in a way you do not like
  • Lie or tell you things that are not true
  • Always want to know where you are and what you are doing
  • Keep asking for money or gifts

Tell somebody you trust right away if a friend is doing one of these things! You can choose not to be friends with a person who treats you this way.

Making new friends may seem hard at first. You may need to give it a few tries to find someone you have things in common with. Keep trying and soon you will be relaxing and having fun and enjoying time with your new friends!

For more information, visit:  Widening the Circle

Assistive Technology for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Boy leaning on a stack of booksWhat is ADHD?

How many types are there?

What are challenges people with ADHD may have?

What can families and teachers do to help a child with ADHD?


In ADHD, children have a hard time making and keeping friends. They also may not do well in school. Some children with ADHD have low self-esteem. ADHD affects millions of kids around the world. Adults have it too. Treatment can help people with ADHD feel better. But, it does not cure ADHD. Treatment is either medicine, behavioral interventions, or both. It happens more in boys than in girls.

There are three main types of ADHD (according to the Mayo Clinic).

  1. Hyperactive (Over-active). This happens more in boys.
  • Talking too much.
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn.
  • Difficulty staying seated in the classroom.
  1. This happens more in girls.
  • Short attention span.
  • Difficulty staying on task.
  • Making careless mistakes.
  • Difficulty staying focused.
  • Appearing not to listen, even when spoken to directly.
  • Difficulty with organizing tasks.
  • Easily distracted.
  1. (both overactive and inattentive). This is the most common type in the United States.

Other challenges in children with ADHD

  1. Learning disabilities.
  2. Understanding difficulty.
  3. More car accidents and injuries.
  4. More poisoning and choking.

 What can teachers do to help CHILDREN with ADHD?

Teachers can help children with ADHD to stay focused by putting them in a quiet space. By doing this, there are fewer noises and other distractions.  Also, white noise helps kids concentrate and pay better attention while learning.

Other helpful ways to help kids focus is to use a timer. There are different kinds, such as kitchen timers and dual timers. They help kids with ADHD manage time wisely. They help improve concentration. Some people prefer kitchen timers or timer apps. Many therapists think a timer app works for only a short time before a kid with ADHD tunes it out. (See Timer Visual Productivity / Android version.)

Routines and rules in the classroom can make a big difference

Audiobooks, talking books and text to speech (TTS) will enable kids with ADHD to listen carefully to text. TTS helps kids with ADHD understand what they are reading. It also helps them recognize words.

Children and adults with ADHD can use a smart-pen, such as LIVESCRIBE, to take notes in class and record the classroom. After school, people with ADHD can read notes they took and listen to a recording at the same time. (See the YouTube video, “5 Students Share smartpen Lecture Techniques”.)

Other useful resources for people with ADHD:

Explore Simple Math, Basic Math, and more!

Three Components of Successful Programs for Children With ADHD.


How to Call a Deaf Person on the Phone

person using video relay servicesI am a doctor, and I am deaf. A deaf person is someone who cannot hear most things. For example, I cannot hear your voice on my cell phone, but we can still talk on the phone!

If you need to talk to a deaf or hard of hearing person on the phone, it is important to ask him or her what is the best way. We may have a special phone number for you to call.

Some people use a special phone like a TTY/TDD or a Captel phone. You can call on any regular phone, and a person in the middle will type what you say on their special phone, so the deaf person can read it.

If the deaf person knows sign language, it is popular to use a video relay service. During a video relay call, you will talk to a sign language interpreter on your phone. The interpreter shows up on a video camera to the deaf person, and will sign what you said. I can use this app on my cell phone!

Through this phone technology, deaf people can call the doctor and talk to family. They can also call 9-1-1 in an emergency. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can use these services for free.

The Rochester Institute for Technology has a How To Guide about Video Relay Service (PDF)

Fire Alarms for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

I am a doctor, and I am deaf. A deaf person is someone who cannot hear most things. For example, I cannot hear a fire or smoke alarm. Fire safety is important. I use a special fire alarm. There are different kinds.

  1. Strobe light
    • This alarm makes a loud noise and flashes a very bright light quickly. It replaces your standard fire alarm
  2. Shaking alarm
    • This alarm makes a loud noise. It also has a piece you can put under your bed or inside another piece of furniture. If the alarm goes off, it will shake the furniture. It connects to your standard fire alarm.
  3. Low frequency fire alarm
    • This alarm sends out a sound that is deep. It helps people who cannot hear high pitched sounds, but can hear other sounds. It connects to your standard fire alarm.

Most companies can help you find someone to set up the equipment so it is working right. The equipment may even be free. It is important to test your fire alarm once a month and change the batteries regularly.

For more information on fire safety and where to buy fire alarms:


What is Transition?

 We hear school talk a lot about Transitionpath in the woods

Transition is getting yourself ready to do a lot of things after you finish High school.  A lot of people finish high school when they are 22 years old.

A good Transition is:

When school, your parents, and yourself work together to help you get ready.

You can have a good job that pays you money.

You can take a bus by yourself, be safe on the street. You can have your own place to stay. You can live with a friend. You can travel. You can do a lot of things you likegoing to the movies and more. You can go to college to learn more stuff if you want to.

When a student is 14 years old, the school and the teachers work with the student to help him ready to do all these beautiful things after high school. The teachers can go out with you to teach you how to cross the street and be safe. We call it travel training. The teacher can go to your job with you to show you how to do a good job. We call it job training. Sometimes you have to try different jobs to see what you like more.

You can work with your teachers and your parents to learn about money and save money. Tell us what you like and want, and what you want to do when you finish high school. You can learn how to ask for what you want. You can ask for what you need because you are an advocate. You are a good advocate because you can speak for yourself. Sometimes, everybody needs help. You can learn how to help others, how to volunteer, like helping your school, helping your church.

You learn how to take care of yourself. Stay clean. Dress well for the weather. Learn about girl friend and boy friend. How to protect your body. Learn if someone hurts your body, learn to tell your teacher and your parents. You can learn more about eating well and exercise. Tell your parents and your teachers what you like to do when you finish High school. Everyone can help you get ready for Transition.

It is a very nice time because you are now a beautiful young man or a beautiful young woman who worked hard to learn how be independent.

This is all part of Transition.

Find transition resources:

Access Services

My name is Shey Jaboin and I’m the parent of a child with disabilities.open door

If you are a parent and don’t know how to speak English well, it’s hard asking for help.  When you are a Parent and have a child with disabilities, it can be difficult to find services for your child.

We want you to know that there are a lot of places that want to help:

  • You can call your doctor to ask for help.
  • You can call the doctor of your child.
  • He can give you telephone numbers to call for services.

In Massachusetts,

  • They have different family support services.

You can call them. They can come to your house to see how to help you.  They will ask you questions. They will give you papers to sign before they start helping you.  Sometimes, these people have to send papers to your doctors before they help you. Don’t be scared.

  • These people are there to help.

Sometimes, a nurse from the agency will come to your house to check your child before they give you services.

  • Please remember that you are not alone.

They are parents and other people with disability who needed help too.  They are helping others now.

  • They are disability advocates.

They are making life better for people with disability. When you think you are ready, you will be helping other people with disability too. Connect with other parents who have children with disabilities.

  • Remember to connect with other disability advocates. They are great. They help people like you and me.

For information on Parent Resources

The Discipline Gap: How Children with Disabilities Are at a Loss in the Classroom

Discipline is part of growing up. But many kids with disabilities are disciplined in the wrong Children's colorful alphabet blocksway. This can hurt a child in the long run.

Kids that go against teachers or struggle with classmates are called naughty. This is worse for kids of color with disabilities. One in 4 black boys and 1 in 5 black girls are sent home from school. This is much more often than white kids.

When schools are lax with Individual Education Plans (IEP), disciplining kids with disabilities turns out to be harder.

Next steps:

  • Know your rights! Parents should know how kids’ IEP’s will be used.
  • Teachers must be taught. When teachers are not aware of kids’ needs, everyone is at a loss.
  • Schools should be graded on how well they follow IEPs

All kids should get a fair chance. Kids with disabilities should get to thrive. Raising them with respect is key.


Lewis, K. R. (2015, July 24). Why do schools over-discipline children with disabilities? The Atlantic. Retrieved from The Atlantic

My Child with a Disability Keeps Getting Suspended or Recommended for Expulsion. (2014, November). Retrieved from Disability Rights California Nov 2014, Pub. #5563-01

What you need to know about IDEA 2004: Suspending children from school. (2012, March 22). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from Wrights Law, October 28, 2016, from Wrights Law