The Bigger Picture, Issue 1!

Welcome to the first issue of NW GA Center for Independent Living’s weekly blog update, The Bigger Picture! We’ll be bringing you news from the world of Independent Living and Disability Advocacy, as well as technology/application recommendations, pictures & updates from us here at the CIL, staff spotlights, and other info you won’t want to miss!

Accessibility at the Airport…

Travel season is quickly approaching, and with it comes the daunting task for so many: successfully navigating the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have guidelines for travel that change frequently, and for many people the very idea of having to go through security at an airport causes anxiety and confusion. DisabilityScoop has some insight into this matter that you may find helpful.

How is traveling via airplane for you? Tell us your experiences in the comments below!

Robotics for Tetraplegia…

Remember a small, modest movie from the early 1990’s that told a quaint little story about scientists re-creating dinosaurs in a theme park? (No? Here, have a refresher.) Well a robotic engineer named Randy Simmons helped bring to life the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, and now he’s helping to bring mobility to veterans with tetraplegia (this time without scales or claws, I’m guessing). Head over to VAntage Point to read more!


Staff Spotlight – Andy Wade

Each week on The Bigger Picture we’ll be bringing you a closer look at one of our wonderful staff members. This week, in our inaugural edition, we’re excited to shine that spotlight on Andy Wade.

Andy Wade

Andy Wade

How long have you worked with NWGACIL? “I have been with the organization since the doors opened in 2004. At that time we were known as disABILITY LINK NW.”

What do you do at NWGACIL? “I am the Independent Living Coordinator that works with Nursing Home Transition.”

What topic of independent living do you find most important? “To become a self advocate.”

What’s the best part of working at NWGACIL? “The staff. We are like one big happy family that is willing to help each other. I also enjoy talking with government officials. (Advocating)”

What have you learned from working here? “How to speak up for myself and how to get our local government to recognize the importance of making things more accessible.”

What do you do for fun? “Playing on the computer; spending time with friends; during basketball season, keeping the scorebook for my Alma Mater (Shorter University).”

What one food do you wish had zero calories? “Oreos…oh and Peeps!”

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? “Would love to go to San Francisco and Key West in the United States and travel through Europe.”

What’s the best advice you ever received? “Be myself. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not just to please other people.”

What would you tell someone trying to gain their independence? “Have a good support system to help with any problems that might arise and do what makes you happy. It’s your life; live it.”

Any plans for the future? “In order to become more independent, I want to get my own place where I can have a relationship without other family members interfering; becoming more of an advocate for the disabled; doing some traveling.”


Recent Updates from NWGACIL…

Last week was a busy one for us here at the CIL. On Wednesday 3/18, Jill attended the Family Connections Collaboration meeting in Gilmer County to perform Outreach to organizations and potential consumers in the area. The next day, Thursday 3/19, we had two very big events to attend. Maia, Christina and Jim attended the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission meeting, and they gave a presentation to those gathered about our mission, our services and what all we can do for the community. They were very well-received, and our center is so honored to have been invited to this event. Also that day, the remaining staff attended the Tools for Independence Town Hall Meeting, partnered with SILC and Tools for Life. We had over 80 attendees who were able to experience many assistive technology devices first-hand, and discuss openly with NWGACIL, SILC and TFL staff members their concerns about the issues facing people with disabilities in our area. They were great dialogues opened up through the program, and we want to thank everyone who attended the program!

Tools for Independence:  A Town Hall Meeting

Tools for Independence: A Town Hall Meeting

That’s all from The Bigger Picture for this week…we hope you’ll tune in next week to see what updates we have to share with you! Please leave us your comments below, and have an excellent week!

2 thoughts on “The Bigger Picture, Issue 1!

  1. Having a guide dog always opens doors to interesting interactions, and flying is no exception.

    Some examples: Having security send first a wheelchair (I can walk) and then a golf cart to escort me through the terminal; having agents afraid of my dog, reluctant to check his harness pouch, or asking me to remove his harness and his leash (no, I didn’t); and being upgraded to first class by a pilot so my dog could be more comfortable. My dog just takes it all in stride, and I look at each situation as an opportunity for education.

  2. Traveling through an airport is an adventure by itself. Although I have a hearing dog, I never take her through the airport because she reacts to my emotions and would totally flip out. My experience 2 summers ago is a good example. I had made my way successfully through the checkpoint, and was on my way to the escalator when I caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye. A guard was trying to stop me and I heard my friend scream my name. When I looked back, guards were running at me and my friend was hysterical. It seems that a drill had been scheduled and I did not hear the siren going off. I did contact TSA later about the incident and explained that I couldn’t hear the siren. It seems that when there is a drill, they only alarm and do not use the strobe lights I would have recognized. So, now I have a card in my purse that says I am hard-of-hearing and that I have to see what someone is doing before I can react. Anyway, it was a good lesson for me and for TSA and I was really glad my dog, Maggi, wasn’t there!

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