The Bigger Picture, Issue 11

Hello wonderful friends and family of NWGA CIL! Welcome back to The Bigger Picture! You’re in for a treat this week as we start our Doggie Dialogues, spotlighting the amazing service animals that assist our staff members! But first, some IL and disability news…

Dinner…in the dark??

Would you know you were eating grapes if you couldn’t see them? Does a dessert taste better when your tongue is the only sense you can use? How about finger foods? Can the senses of touch and taste be enough to know what you’re eating? If you have a vision impairment, these questions are probably easy for you to answer. But for people who do not have a vision impairment, Dinner In the Dark offers the chance for you to experience what it’s like to dine without vision. They recently opened a new restaurant in Kenya, and have restaurants in London, Paris, St. Petersburg and Barcelona. You can read more on this incredible concept here, and we’ve found a video that will give you a better idea of the restaurants. (Who’s down for a trip to Europe to check these out?? I’m packing my bags right now!)


Google Working on Universal Access

Those of you who follow this blog and who are familiar with what we do here at NWGA CIL know that accessibility is a huge part of our philosophy and what we practice. As part of our AT program here, I work closely with both hardware and software designed to make all facets of life accessible to everyone. It’s great to see that Google is jumping head first into the ideas of universal access. See what Engadget has to say about Google’s new venture!


Person-First Language and the Other Options

If you aren’t familiar with Person-First Language (or People First Language), you can learn about the topic here. It’s a communication style that favors putting the person first and any modifiers second, such as “people with disabilities” or “an individual with autism”. The concept has been around for a while, but in the past few years it has picked up the pace and is spreading farther. But there’s another side to this story, Identity-First Language. An opinion piece by Lydia Brown at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network gives us a dissenting perspective on Person-First Language.

The Doggie Dialogue

Humans aren’t the only workers at our organization! We have several hard-working, dedicated service dogs that assist our staff members with their daily lives. For our first Doggie Dialogue, we sat down with Felicia, the beautiful young lady who helps our Assistant Director, Christina Holtzclaw. 

Felicia (right) with her human, Chris and her predecessor, Anna (left)

Felicia (right) with her human, Chris and her predecessor, Anna (left)

Thanks for joining us today, Felicia. Are you ready to get started?? Yep!

Some of these lovely readers aren’t familiar with you like I am, so tell me, what’s your name?  Felicia Adele Holtzclaw

Who’s your human?  Christina Holtzclaw AKA Mommy

What do you do for your human?  I help find curbs, look for traffic, find stairs, elevators, and look for anything that will trip mommy up.  I also make sure she doesn’t run into other people.  Most of all, I help mommy in meetings and conferences because I’m so cute and everybody pets me.

Wow! That’s a big task! But tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t helping your human? My favorite thing to do is chase my dog buddies, Ozzy and Anna.  I sleep, sneak food when mommy is not around, and put everything in my mouth until I get caught.

Are you the only non-human at your house?  I have two other dogs, Anna and Ozzy.  One cat, Jinx, and 1 fish, who has no name.

Do you think cats are trying to take over the world? Yes, definitely.  But, me and my dog buddies are one step ahead always.

Uh oh, sounds like you guys have a plan! I promise I won’t tell my cats at home. Now, describe to me your perfectly ideal day. My perfect day would be when I could get into the kitchen without mommy catching me, sniff into the trash cans without being caught, and scavenging the backyard for anything.

Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? I’m 3, but I learned a new trick and can shake hands now.

If I were going to reward you with a treat, what would it be? Anything edible or non-edible will do.  I eat anything and am not picky.  Bacon is always a great choice.

How would your human’s life be without your help? Mommy would not get around near as well.  She would use her cane and be much slower without me.  I help mommy be more confident and she would miss me terribly.

Sounds like you have a really important job, Felicia. We are very thankful that you help Mommy so much! Maybe I can find some bacon for you; you know, as payment for this interview!

felicia toy

felicia toy2

Hurricane Season Is Here!

WRN_Ambassador_logo (1)

As an official member of NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation, we here at NWGA CIL encourage everyone to be aware of the natural dangers around them. While Rome and NWGA is in fact landlocked, we are not immune to the effects of hurricane season. Monday, June 1st, marked the beginning of Hurricane Season for 2015. Here are some helpful links to provide more information on hurricanes and hurricane season:

  • June 1 is the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Are you ready? Find out how you can prepare and know your evacuation zone.
  • Understanding the dangers associated with a hurricane or tropical system will help you understand how to prepare. Learn about the dangers in this short video from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.
  • Storm surge is the number one killer in a hurricane. Learn about this deadly danger and what you can do to stay safe.
  • Hurricane force winds range from 74 to more than 180 mph. Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes. Learn about the winds associated with hurricanes in this short video.
  • Now is the time to get ready for a hurricane ­ before one threatens your community. If you wait until a hurricane is headed your way it may be too late!

Thanks for joining us once again here on The Bigger Picture. We hope you enjoyed our new segment, The Doggie Dialogue, and we’ll have another entry next week introducing you to one of our wonderful service animals, and more news in the world of Independent Living.

In the immortal words of the great actor of the silver screen, Porky Pig…that’s all folks!

2 thoughts on “The Bigger Picture, Issue 11

  1. I love your newsletter and just enjoyed reading Issue 11. Good articles (I’d read about Dinner in the Dark and had the thought I’d try it on my own, which didn’t work). I’m curious about the Person-first language. It’s what I do, but after reading about the dissent it causes in the autistic community, I wonder how much difference it really makes. I have diabetes and it doesn’t matter to me whether people say I have it or that I am a diabetic. Just curious how you look at this. Also, thanks so much for the interview with that little cutie pie, Felicia. She is a great ambassador. I’ll look forward to reading about all the dogs affiliated with NWGACIL.

  2. Pingback: The Bigger Picture, Issue 12 | NWGA Center for Independent Living

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