Disabilities

Disabilities

Deafblind Service Center – Seattle DBSC

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

The Deafblind Service Center empowers deafblind people to gain independence by teaching them skills and providing resources that assist their ability to communicate and get around. Deafblindness is often not given a lot of awareness because of its rarity, and deafblind people have to work through many challenges to function well in a society that doesn’t provide a lot of accessibility for people with both vision and hearing loss. This organization was created because the needs of deafblind people were not being served by any other groups in the area, and they provide resources to improve the communication of deafblind people. 

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

The creation of DBSC came from a need that many people saw was not being served for the deafblind community. There was not enough access to programs to assist deafblind people, and according to DBSC, “The members and friends of the Task Force on Deaf-Blindness, the Washington State Deaf-Blind Citizens (WSDBC), agency representatives from the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) recognized that the unique needs of deaf-blind people were not being met by any one existing agency or service.” This is why they created a service center which could provide more specialized resources that could improve the lives of deafblind people.

Whom do they serve?

DBSC serves the deafblind community and advocates for their best interests.

Programs offered?

DBSC offers the DeafBlind Interpreter Referral Service, the SSP Program, the CF program, and the NDBEDP. 

The interpreter service provides access to interpreters who are skilled in PTASL or ProTactile ASL, and tactile communication.

The SSP program works with deafblind people to provide them a Support Service Provider who is a trained sighted person who can help guide and provide visual information for them.

The CF program assists deafblind people with accessing touch screens and making calls by providing a Communication Facilitator who is a sighted person that uses tactile sign language to assist them. 

The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) works with the FCC to provide low-income deafblind people with the equipment they need to help them access information.

What could they do better?

This organization could do a better job of providing job applications and volunteer applications for people interested in helping this nonprofit. Many of the volunteer positions require getting in touch with a program coordinator, but this doesn’t seem like a very efficient way to get to know if volunteers have the skills necessary and attract them to the programs. The addition of online forms that provide more information about how to work towards attaining the skills to join this nonprofit and collect information about those interested would greatly improve the effectiveness of their outreach and impact. 

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

The information provided by this organization’s website was accessible, but the design of their website is very outdated. The website could use some improvement with its User Interface which could make their information more accessible at a glance and for people who might struggle to navigate the website.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center which serves the Puget Sound area works in a similar field. The main difference is that DBSC is more specialized in helping the dual sensory loss found in deafblind people, and they offer more resources to interpret and teach tactile and other forms of communication that work best for deafblind people.

Image Credit

“Communication” by cobalt123 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Association

Why is The Learning Disabilities Association of America important?

The Learning Disabilities Association of America is important because they serve as voices for individuals with learning disabilities of all ages and their families, providing support, resources, and opportunities to those who have a disability. A child with learning disabilities may have a difficult time in reading, writing, speaking, listening, understanding new concepts, and with general comprehension. Organizations such as the LDA will support those children and their families with the resources they can provide to aid them.

History of The Learning Disabilities Association of America

In 1963, a group of families have come together and joined a conference in Chicago. The participants of this conference have come up with the idea to help those with learning disabilities. They came up with the idea because of the lack of support they have and services did not exist for these children. Months after the conference, The Learning Disabilities Association of America have been discovered after gaining many volunteers to assist in forming this organization.

Whom do they serve? Programs offered?

The LDA provides support to children with learning disabilities and their families who experience their child with a learning disability. The organization wants to help educate those children who are struggling with their learning disabilities and offer them opportunities so that they can improve themselves.

The LDA offers help to individuals who are affected by learning disabilities. They do this by providing the resources under their websites. The resources they offer are a listing of websites and publications that provide information on teaching, disability rights, and many more. The LDA offers conferences that are very inspiring and provide information. According to the participants, those who participate help their way of teaching and also have provided them ideas with how they help those children in need.

What can they do better?

I believe that the LDA should find those in the community who has actual experience themselves when it comes to learning disabilities and how they overcome them. The board of directors seems to have a pattern where only their children had learning disabilities, but I feel that if they have people who experienced overcoming their learning disability it can provide the organization with more resources and ideas and also reach out to a lot more people who suffer from a learning disability.

Organizations that do similar work

  • The ARC of Washington provides quality services and fundings to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families including special education and many more services.
  • Disability Rights Washington protects the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Developmental Disabilities Council bring together community partners to address critical issues, provide leadership, training, and advocate for equitable policies, programs, and practices on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Disabilities, Mental Health

The Madrone School

The Madrone School

The Madrones School

The nonprofit organization that I decided to research is The Madrones School. This organization helps students that are on the spectrum of autism by proving alternative schooling and behavior analysis to help every student that goes to school. I wanted to look into alternative schools that help students with learning disabilities, but to also educate other students and classmates that there are more schools than public and private schools. The Madrone School is a private non-profit school that runs just like a public school throughout the country.

Brief History of The Madrone School

The Madrones School understands the rough history within our school systems of mental health disorders and how people who have them are made fun of and discriminated against in schools. They believe that by coming together as a school and a community they can kick that stigma in the face. This school is one of the only schools in the Seattle area that’s first priorities are the autistic students.

This is a picture of a school that has in big bold letters above the front doors “Enter Here to Grow In Wisdom”.

About The Madrone School

The Madrones School provides education for students with autism in the Seattle area. Looking throughout the website, I could not find anything that tells me what things they teach their kids or how they teach their students. The only thing that I found about the ways that they teach their students are the different types of teaching programs that they have the students go through. They have three different programs that they have their students go through, Redmond 1:1 Program, Early Intervention Program, and their Focused Instruction Program.

Personal Thoughts about The Madrone School

After researching schools for this project, I thought there were only two different types of schools that students would go to for education. Public or Private school. Although this is a private school, it’s a private school for students that have learning disabilities. When I first researched the Madrone School, I was surprised that they did not tell us the type of subjects that they teach their students.  about this organization is that they don’t tell us what is taught at the schools. There is no list of classes, projects, clubs that they have at the school to help their kids learn better.

Similar Organizations

Hamlin Robinson School

Auburn School District Student Special Services

Academy for Precision Learning

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Disabilities

Disability Rights Washington

A man in a wheelchair waiting for a train. Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

My mother used to be a special education aid in a classroom. The stories she’d tell to my brother and me were always full of life, laughter, and love. As a young child, I only thought of my mother as a teacher’s aid to students, mainly because that’s how she described them. I would have never thought that the students my mother loved so much would be any different than myself. In high school, I went to a middle-class school in a suburb of Sacramento. The only time I saw students with disabilities was in the cafeteria at lunchtime. They were secluded to the back of the lunchroom at a table no one else would sit at. Occasionally, a student would make a crude joke point and laugh and it hurts my heart remembering how many people giggled. 

I often hear the rhetoric of “Giving a voice to the voiceless” or “Fighting for those who can not fight for themselves.” These cliche statements are problematic for me personally because people with disabilities are not voiceless and I’m pretty sure if you told Judith Heumann that she couldn’t fight for herself she’d laugh at you. These comments may seem helpful and well-meaning, but they are just more microaggressions hurled at a group of oppressed people. Instead of making blanket statements, there are organizations right now doing the work to protect human rights for those with disabilities. 

WHY?

This group of students needs organizations like Disability Rights Washington because they have been historically oppressed. Social stratification has left them on the lower end of hierarchy and prioritizing able-bodied people since the beginning of time. Just a few years ago when the pandemic started the DRW filed the first complaint toward the state’s rationing plan because it was discriminatory against people with disabilities.  

A brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization. 

DRW was founded by two women; Katie Dolan and Janet Taggart. These women worked together and with others to found Northwest Center which was responsible for opening a school for children with disabilities in 1965. This school served these children because they weren’t being served in the public school system. In 1971 these women amongst others helped secure and enact the nation’s first mandatory special education act.

Disability Rights Washington is a non-profit organization whose mission is, “to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights.” The organization envisions a society where everyone is equal and treated with dignity and where there are equal opportunities for all. 

Who They Serve?

They help serve those with disabilities and their families in a multitude of ways. The main resource this organization gives to the group of people they support is access to advocacy. The organization believes that all people have moral and constitutional rights and that these rights should not be invalidated based on ability.

Programs Offered? 

Disability Rights Washington offers serval programs. There is AVID which is working to preserve the rights of incarcerated people with disabilities. They have a community inclusion program that works to secure support and accommodations for meaningful community connections through their advocacy work. Another is the disability mobility initiative which is raising awareness for the need of consistent and reliable transportation for those with a disability. Their Story map of this initiative is a great tool to see the stories of those impacted by this issue.

Possible Improvements? 

The strides and work of this organization are very important and I don’t want to take away from that; however, I don’t see a lot of emphasis on younger individuals. Something I’d like to see within the space of community inclusion is advocating for more accessible communal areas such as parks. 

Site Accessibility.

The site was very accessible. They put in an immense amount of thought for example, within their videos they used a way of describing their appearance and the room they were in while introducing themselves. 

Other Organizations.

The ARC of King County started in 1936 from a group of parents fighting for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their mission is to fight for children’s rights to access housing, education, employment, and community resources.

Northwest Center People of all Abilities  was founded by four women determined to change the course of history for their children. They refused to intutionalize their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They started Northwest Center and hired teachers to develop educational programs for their children and other students. The mission is maintained by promoting growth and independence for those with disabilities.

References

Disability Rights Washington. (2020, March 16). Mission, Vision & Values. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/mission-vision-values/

Northwest Center. (n.d.). Northwest Center About. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.nwcenter.org/at-a-glance.html

The ARC of King County. (n.d.). The Arc of King County : About : Mission & Vision. Retrieved 2022, from https://arcofkingcounty.org/about/

Photo Credit

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

Disabilities, Early Childhood Education, Foster Care, Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless

Kindering

Why is This Group Important to Research?

I chose to research support services for young children because having access to quality interventions early in the life can greatly increase the later success of a child in life and in school. Early interventions can take the form of many different types of services and are tailored to the specific needs of a child and their family. There are many different reasons why a child may benefit from or require early intervention services. It is important to note that 13 in 100 toddlers have developmental delays, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 1 in 303 children are born with Cerebral Palsy, and 1 in 9 children are born prematurely; all of these conditions and more are ones that can be benefitted by a family having early access to high quality interventions and support.

History and Purpose of Kindering

Kindering was founded in 1962 by the families of five disabled children and was run at first by volunteers who worked in private homes. In the following year, Kindering got its first location in a Bellevue School District classroom in order to help meet the demand for their services; this is also the year that they transitioned from being run by volunteers to having paid workers. Over the next 20 years, the school moved its base location into various rooms in other businesses until they finally got their first independent location in 1983. After they had their own building, demand for services continued to grow which led to their continual addition of more services as well as in 1996 they began to contract with local school districts to provide services for the young children in the local areas. After they began their contracted work with school districts, the need for their support grew even more which prompted the addition of even more new services they offered as well as the expansion of their locations. Currently, they have four locations and offer services related to consultation, outreach, pediatric therapies and support, early learning and school readiness, and family education and support.

Who Do They Serve?

Kindering offers services to children and families in King and Snohomish Counties. They have services not only for children ages birth- 10 years old but also for their families and siblings as well. In addition to having services specific to disabilites, they also have specific services for families experiencing homelessness, spanish-speaking families, and children in foster care.

Programs offered

Some of the many programs they offer include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Free developmental evaluations
  • Nutrition and feeding therapy
  • Child care and preschool consultations
  • Special education services
  • Parent education
  • Family co-op play group
  • Virtual services

This is not an extensive list of all of their programs they offer. Please consult their website to see all of their programs.

What Could They Do Better?

Although I do not see any ways that Kindering as an organization itself can improve since it seems like they offer a very comprehensive variety of services, one way that they could improve their website would be to make it more transparent about how donations are used. Based on their website, it is not very clear how donations are utilized, especially since it seems as though they do still sometimes charge families and/or insurance companies for their services.

Was Information About the Organization Accessible?

Information on their website was very accessible. There are multiple tabs at the top of the website that correlate to different important information about the organization and the services that they offer. The links to information about the specific services they provide is also available right on the home screen of the website which makes it even easier to access this information.

Similar Organizations

Two local organizations that provide similar early intervention services are:

Wonderland Child and Family Services

Birth To Three Developmental Center

References

Kindering. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022 from https://kindering.org/

Kindering (n.d.). [Kindering Logo]. Retrieved February 1, 2022 from https://kindering.org/

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