Monthly Archives: January 2013

Private showing of Wreck-It Ralph for children with Special Needs!

February 4th at 3:45 ~ Tickets are $3.50 at Water Gardens Cinemas in Pleasant Grove ~ Hope you can make it.

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Balancing Work, Medication And Mental Illness

Thirty years ago, when Elyn Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia, her doctors told her she would never be able to hold a job.

“The idea was that I should lower my expectations,” she tells NPR’s Neal Conan. “I was advised to be a cashier for a year or two and then think about another job or possibly going back to school.”

She didn’t listen.

Despite hospitalization, years of psychoanalysis and continued delusions, Saks discovered that work was essential to managing her psychosis. She is now a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

“When I’m constructing an argument or responding to an argument and focusing on that, that’s where my mind goes, and the kind of crazy stuff recedes to the sidelines,” says Saks, who specializes in mental health law. “So it’s not one size fits all, and I think it’s a mistake prematurely to tell people to lower their sights, lower their expectations.”

In a piece for The New York Times, Saks argues that mental illness imposes real limitations, like medication, but says it can also spur creative thinking.

Dr. Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the Psychopharmacology Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, says, “Physicians, psychiatrists often have inappropriately low expectations after somebody gets a diagnosis of a serious mental disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and settle for function which is much, much lower than the person’s actually able to achieve.”

He explains that having a social network and a sense of purpose can be just as essential to controlling symptoms as taking medication.

Related NPR Stories

Elyn Saks: A Scholar’s Memoir of Schizophrenia Aug. 7, 2007
“At the same time,” Friedman adds, “I think we should recognize that there probably are a proportion of people who — even with all the encouragement, all the support — may not be able to achieve exactly what they expect or what we think that they should. And we should not push people beyond the point where they’re comfortable and capable of actually functioning.”

Though Saks still has some symptoms, she says they are not as long-lasting or intense. Finding the right balance of medication was key.

“I think I only really came to terms with having the illness and being careful about how I structured my life, ironically, when I got on really good medication,” Saks says. “It made me realize that, you know, these chaotic and violent thoughts weren’t things that everybody had.”

Saks says the support of friends and family has also been essential to controlling her triggers.

“If I start losing it, my husband and my closest friends usually see what’s happening and rally around to try to help me. And I’ll talk to my psychiatrist more, and I’ll take more medication,” she says.

There are times, Saks says, when she’s so unwell that she can’t work. “Then I just try to lower stimulation in my life, kind of sit in a bare room, listen to quiet music, maybe talk on the phone with friends, but just kind of give myself a bit of a break, a bit of a time to rest and reconstitute.”

Saks, author of the memoir The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, spent many years struggling with the stigma of mental illness.

When actress Glenn Close asked her to be on the board of her nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind, Close gave her a shirt that says “Schizophrenia.”

“And then I thought, ‘Do I really want to wear a T-shirt that identifies me as having schizophrenia?’ ” Saks says.

“And then I thought, ‘But people wear bracelets and ribbons and shirts identifying themselves as cancer survivors with pride, without shame, with camaraderie with others.’ And we’re just not there yet with mental illness.”

“The more I admitted that I had a mental illness,” she says, “the less it defined me.”

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Meetings at the Capitol Feb 5th and 7th

Fellow Advocates,

The Session has started!  I wanted to let you all know of two important dates next week.  Tuesday, February 5th DSPD and USOR will be giving testimony to the Social Services Appropriations Committee.  We are looking for folks who have a story to tell about how either of these programs have benefited your life or how they COULD benefit your life if you are on the waiting list to receive services.  The meeting is at 8:00 a.m. at the Capitol.  I know this is not a very convenient hour but it is so important to get people to this meeting and get a few individuals that would be willing to share their story with the committee.  If you would be able to come on the 5th and need transportation please contact me as soon as possible.

Another important day is Thursday, February 7th.  Roads to Independence is taking a bus to the Capitol and will arrive around 11:00 a.m.  We will provide lunch for you at the cafeteria.  We will try to attend a committee meeting and then talk with legislators that we request visits from.  We will be staying for the reception put on by the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities (LCPD), which goes from 4:00 to 6:00 in the rotunda.  This is a chance for us to visit one on one with legislators.  Don’t forget to email or call your legislators letting them know you are attending the reception and are hoping to visit with them!

 Again, please let me know if you will be able to come and if you want to ride the bus.  It is very important to RSVP so we can plan accordingly. 802 612-3215

I appreciate each of you and the efforts you make.  I know that the efforts we make during the Session have a positive impact and bring results for families and individuals with disabilities.  Let’s make this Session a great one!

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Health Coverage Under The Affordable Care Act

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About Independent Living

About Independent Living.

What is Independent Living?

About Independent Living.

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2013 Advanced Leadership Training – Please

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Tuesday, February 5th, Social Service Committee Meeting

The 2013 Legislative Session starts next week, on January 28th!  This is a time to get involved, a time when your efforts make a direct difference on issues and services that affect the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  On Tuesday the 5th The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation as well as DSPD will be presenting their building block requests to the Social Service Committee.  The meeting is at 8:00 a.m. at the capitol. During the meeting, the Committee will be taking input from the public.  If you would like to give comment Regarding DSPD, Vocational Rehab, or Independent Living Centers, please leave a comment or message me at  Roads to Independence ILC of Ogden can provide transportation if you need it.

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Obama Inauguration Brings Talk Of Disabilities

In laying out his vision for the next four years, President Barack Obama didn’t forget about Americans with disabilities.
Obama made specific mention of parents raising children with disabilities in his inaugural address on Monday. He also spoke of the need to protect entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid, which many people with disabilities rely on, indicating that such programs are part of what “make this country great.”
“We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity,” Obama said.
Though noting that there would be “hard choices” ahead to address the size of the nation’s budget deficit, the president indicated that he would not be willing to compromise one group of Americans for another.
“We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn,” Obama said.
Despite the upbeat talk within the president’s speech, however, disability advocates have warned that the coming months could be treacherous as Congress heads into budget negotiations.
Lawmakers are still working to sort out this year’s federal budget. At the same time, a deal reached early this year delayed a series of deep spending cuts for nearly all government programs under a process known as sequestration until March. That leaves funding for everything from special education to housing programs for people with disabilities hanging in the balance.
“Everything is on the table,” Marty Ford, director of public policy for The Arc, told Disability Scoop earlier this month. “The next three months will make a huge difference in the way our federal government addresses people with disabilities for years to come.”
Copyright © 2013 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Legislative Training

Tues. Jan, 29th 2013 @ 2:00pm. Come Join us at the Red Rock Center for Independence to learn how to be an effective advocate.

70_legislative-training.pdf (application/pdf Object).

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Town Hall Meeting Thursday Jan. 24 7pm- Riverton, Utah

Friends and Neighbors,
This Thursday I am co-hosting a Townhall meeting with Senator Howard Stephenson prior to the upcoming legislative session. I am hopeful that we will be able to connect with several of you and get your input on several issues including Second Amendment Rights, Education Reform, the State Response to the Affordable Care Act and any other issue you would like to discuss.

When: Thursday, January 24th, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
Where: Riverton City Hall (City Council Chambers)
12830 South Redwood Road
Riverton, UT 84065
Hope to see you there.
Representative Daniel McCay
Utah House of Representatives
Riverton, Bluffdale and Herriman
C: (801) 810-4110

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