TAOA has moved to WordPress

Just wanted to let all readers (if any remain at this point) know that I have moved TAOA to WordPress. I have brought the blog back to life and have started posting again.

See you over at WordPress!


Stay tuned!

Dear readers,

I will be taking a hiatus from TAOA for a little while. I definately plan on continuing the blog though my posting will become less frequent, but at least once a week. I hope you have enjoyed yourselves here at TAOA and that you will continue to check in and see what I'm up to. I will continue to chronicle my quest for a service dog, along with the comings and goings of life. Interesting things can be found in the mundane, you just have to stop for a moment and look. Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more!


Let's talk winter safety

When the winter season comes along complete with snow and ice, everyone's safety is at risk. And if you're not willing to uproot yourself to a place where winter is almost nonexistent, and therefore a non-issue, then listen in for some safety tips!

Usually when people think winter safety, they consider traffic crashes and winter sports accidents. Instead, let's consider another everyday interaction with winter weather: walking. Simply getting from point A to point B and remaining upright can be a challenge. When I walk around in a winter wonderland, it is not a matter of if, but when I will fall.

The inevitability of falling at least once in a winter wonderland leads me to the importance of prevention. There are products on the market that are made to promote the smooth sailing through ice and snow on foot.

Shoe stabilizers can be slipped onto the bottom of yur shoes or boots to give you better traction in the snow. They are similar to cleats in their purpose and are often made of rubber for a tight fit and easy removal.

While the benefit of shoe stabilizers is more universal, my favorite winter mobility tool is the ice tip. To put it simply, it is a rubber crutch tip with the added bonus of a tiny ice pick on the bottom. How awesome is that?! The crutch tips are designed so that the metal component can be inverted for transition from outdoor to indoor use.

I anyone is interested I found a quirky list of "winter slip and fall safety tips" which provide obvious do's and don'ts as well as a play-by-play of how one might fall and what to do when one is falling. Enjoy the ride, courtesy of University of Tennessee, Iowa State University, and University of Alaska Fairbanks (very collegiate work there, guys).

Campus accessibility: the grass is always greener

As a college student who has cerebral palsy and uses crutches to get around campus, accessibility is very important to me. It affects my everyday life as I go to class, the dining hall, the library, and my dorm. I wrote an article for my school newspaper at The Saint Rose Chronicle about accessibility.

As a student journalist, I found it interesting and frustrating that I had to keep my perspective out of the story. I could not interject my voice or my opinion about the accessibility of a campus I have become familiar with over the past three and a half years. I had to separate myself because journalists are to act as conduits for information without bias.

So I gathered my sources two of which work in the office for students with disabilities one is a current student and the other graduated in 1993. What they had to say was interesting and perplexing to me because I didn't necessarily agree with them. The outlook of my disabled peers on campus accessibility was much more positive than my own perspective was at the time. When I was conducting the interview I thought to myself are we talking about the same campus?

Whenever an elevator or a button to open a door was not working, I would utter a popular phrase on campus, the St. Rose difference. Using the college's old slogan in a negative light which is perhaps why they have since changed their slogan.

Earlier in the semester when I was writing the article I was also thinking of transferring to Siena college hoping to find a different atmosphere (difference in what way, I do not know). I just wanted a change. So I took a tour of the place and made a very ironic discovery. The office for students with disabilities was in the oldest building on campus, the only one without an elevator! I had to go around to the back of the building to get to the bottom floor where the office was located.  The staff also had no knowledge of e-text, which is an integral part of how I read my textbooks and therefore how I function as a student.

Siena College was my dose of perspective. Everything about it was comparable or worse than St. Rose. Accessibility being one of those things that were worse. Visiting another college reminded me that even while campus accessibility may not always be ideal and certainly has some glitches, at least it's not stuck in the Stone Age without elevators or e-text in vital places.

An undeserving revelation

The other night I was lying awake trying to figure out why I have stopped and started the service dog application process so many times. People ask me if I really want the dog, sighting my procrastination as an indication that perhaps I do not. I do truly want to get a service dog. I do believe that having a service dog would enrich my life in many ways. Being partnered with a service dog will make me more independent and give me a greater sense of self-confidence.

My revelation came in the form of this thought: I do not deserve a service dog. But now I must ask myself why?

For some reason I feel like my physical restrictions are not as severe as that of other people seeking service dogs. But at the same time, I must remind myself that although demand is greater than supply, I am not preventing someone who needs a service dog from getting one just because I am pursuing the same goal.

I must relinquish the idea that I do not deserve a service dog if I am to be successful in completing the application process. I hope I can do that, but it is more than a hope, it is a must. It's time for a paradigm shift towards success.

From green light to red light

In a previous post, I mentioned my goals for the upcoming break that would lead me to greater independence. However, one of my major goals has been crossed off my list and not by my own choosing (thus the major strike through of one entire paragraph in my previous post).

I planned on taking my road test in the next few weeks. My driving instructor recently promised me that winter break would be the best time to take the test and that I would be ready. Today she recanted her statement so in all likelihood, I will not be taking my road test. And as usual, the timeline in my head is considerably shorter than reality.

This is the second time that she has made such a promise and broke it. I'm really angry and disappointed! Getting my license means so much to me and my independence. I was so excited that after spending 15 months taking lessons, I would finally reach my goal. Now my timeline is postponed further. I wish she had not gotten my hopes up!