Posts tagged with "disability"

Rita Azar Illustrates a Movie Article for 360 MAGAZINE

The Dress

The short film, “The Dress,” which was directed by Tadeusz Lysiak, a student of the Warsaw Film School, has been nominated for the 94th Academy Awards® in the Best Live Action Short Film category. “The Dress” is a poignant story about the desire for love and intimacy, whose short-statured protagonist Anna struggles with social rejection because of her appearance. This is the second Oscar® nomination for its producer, the Warsaw Film School, an educational institution located in the heart of Europe.

Tadeusz Lysiak stated, “This is so surreal, I can’t believe this! I am so grateful to the entire film crew, my producers—Warsaw Film School and all the coproducers and good people that supported us. This is just out of this world. This film is a huge team effort, and it was made with student passion and [a] mission to change the world for the better. Thank you all for supporting us!”

Anna Dzieduszycka (lead actress) stated, “I want to say that I am very proud of us. I never imagined something like this, but now I know that nothing is impossible and it’s a wonderful feeling! Believe in yourself, respect and love each other.”

Working at a roadside motel, Julia doesn’t want to suppress her desire, sexuality, and longing for physical intimacy any longer. When a handsome truck driver comes into her life, her unrealized fantasies begin to come true. But “The Dress” is not just the story of a woman meeting a man. Julia, physically different from the society around her, experiences rejection and bullying. “The Dress” is a universal story about longing that affects everyone, regardless of the barriers and differences that divide us.

The movie was written and directed by Tadeusz Łysiak, a student at the Warsaw Film School. The production has screened at nearly 40 film festivals around the world and has won 18 awards. Awarded at the prestigious Atlanta Film Festival allowed “The Dress” to compete for an Academy Award® nomination. 

The main actress Anna Dzieduszycka hopes that her role will be one step towards changing the perception of individuals like her on-screen: “I wish people stop using the word “otherness”, become more open-minded, and embrace diversity of viewpoints. […] Looks don’t matter. We all have magic inside us.” said Dzieduszycka. Her acting has been recognized at many festivals in Poland and abroad. Anna’s awards include the Grand Prize for Best Actress at Flicker’s Rhode Island International Film Festival

The Oscar-nominated title was created by a team composed mainly of students and graduates of the Warsaw Film School. The director, Tadeusz Łysiak, participated in the prestigious program FUTURE FRAMES—Generation NEXT of European Cinema within Eastern Promises at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. He is also a winner of the “Discovery Eye” award for Young, Talented Filmmaker at the Polish Film Festival in Chicago. Tadeusz Łysiak’s previous award-winning film “Techno” has had over a million views on YouTube.

The cinematographer, Konrad Bloch, is a graduate of Warsaw Film School. He was recognized for his work as a cameraman on the set of “The Dress,” among others, at the 45th Gdynia Film Festival—the award for Best Cinematography—the Bronze Tadpole at the Energa CAMERIMAGE Festival and the Best Cinematography award at the 38th Sulmona Film Festival.

The film is produced by the co-founder and Chancellor of the Warsaw Film School, director and screenwriter Maciej Ślesicki. He is the producer of many student films, including “Our Curse,” which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2015. “The Dress” was also co-produced by DOBRO, MIŁO, and GŁOŚNO. The project was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. “The Dress” is the only production this year from Poland that is up in the running for an Academy Award®. 

The 94th Academy Awards® ceremony will take place on March 27th at the Dolby Theatre.

sports illustration by Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Polar Plunge NY

For those ready to “take the plunge” into the freezing waters of Sharpe Reservation, the 2022 Polar Plunge is nearly here. On Saturday, February 19, 2022, starting at 8 AM, attendees from across New York State will gather at Sharpe Reservation, Camp Mariah to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New York athletes in the Hudson Valley Region.

The Polar Plunge is one of the most popular, profitable, and exciting fundraisers for Special Olympics New York. Participants raise money by asking friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances for donations. 

“Polar Plunges are some of the most valuable fundraisers we host each year,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “They’re an excellent opportunity for people from all over the community to come together and support our athletes. If you join us, you’ll see why so many people return year after year.”

At this event last year, 198 participants raised $156,000. Individuals and teams who’d like to join this year’s Plunge may do so by registering online HERE and clicking on, “Fishkill Polar Plunge”. 

About Special Olympics New York

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 51,000 registered Athletes and Unified Partners across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families, or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, click HERE.

How to Advocate for Yourself When You Have Chronic Pain

People with chronic pain face an uphill battle in America. While laws exist to safeguard them from discrimination, the confusing miasma of the U.S. legal system leaves gaping loopholes where they remain vulnerable.

One of the first things many patients learn is that no one will take them by the hand and guide them through what they need to do to thrive despite their condition. They have to learn to speak up, even if they feel beaten down under the misjudgments of those who don’t understand. Here’s how to advocate for yourself when you have chronic pain.

In the Workplace

The workplace can be a battlefield for people with chronic pain. They often have to mask their conditions to survive — a self-gaslighting juggling act that can damage their psychological health.

While the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does protect from discrimination, competing laws often leave this population vulnerable. For example, employers don’t need a business reason to fire an employee in states with right-to-work legislation — regardless of how badly that worker may need the job to keep a roof over their head or maintain health benefits. Companies unwilling to give reasonable accommodations might find it more profitable to their bottom line to replace such staff with others who don’t make waves.

What can members of this population do to safeguard themselves in what is often a hostile work environment? Please take these three steps — even if you feel secure in your organization.

1. Know Your Legal Rights

Did you know it’s illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against those with a disability? Protected conditions include those that substantially limit your ability to do one or more life activities, such as walking, thinking, or communicating. For example, someone whose migraines or fibromyalgia causes brain fog, or even aphasia, could qualify under the definition.

2. Keep Accurate Records

However, the ADA alone isn’t enough to protect you. Depending on where you live, matters could end up in court. Keep careful records of all employment-related correspondence. Create a file on your computer — not your work one — and save all email chains and copies of other documents like annual evaluations. Documenting your experience may help you prevail in a lawsuit.

3. Build a Portfolio

Being a disabled worker means living with a sword over your head, always wondering when it’s going to drop. Depending on your condition, you might only be able to perform certain types of labor. For example, someone with degenerative arthritis or disc disease can’t stand for long hours to check out groceries and stock shelves. Nor can someone with a neurological condition that prevents driving take on a side hustle with Uber to see them through a rough patch.

Therefore, you have to embrace the mindset that you could be working on borrowed time and keep that resume polished. It’s also wise to develop a portfolio of your work. Sometimes, folks who struggle to thrive in traditional workplaces do well as freelancers and contractors, but you’ll need to show samples of what you can do to attract clients.

At the Doctor’s Office

Sadly, the one place you expect to be heard and understood can traumatize you the most if you have chronic pain — particularly if you’re female. Bias in the medical profession is very real. Some women have died when practitioners dismissed their legitimate physical pain as being “all in their head,” offering them psychiatric prescriptions instead of their needed treatment.

For example, women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged while having a heart attack. It can take up to eight years to get an endometriosis diagnosis, a painful condition that 1 in 10 women has.

Many chronic pain patients look forward to doctor’s visits with mingled hope and dread. They pray that their provider will take their symptoms seriously this time and offer needed interventions, but they fear having their concerns dismissed yet again. Here are three tips to make the process smoother.

1. Write It Down

Medical schools don’t teach bedside manners, and some doctors appear authoritarian and brusque. It’s understandable to feel intimidated and forget what you wanted to ask.

Write your concerns down before your visit. Make your list as long as necessary, including questions about potential treatment options you might have investigated.

2. Ask for Time

Some doctor’s offices make you feel like your time isn’t valuable, based on how long you spend in the waiting area — but it is. Many doctors schedule 15 minutes to see each patient, but it isn’t uncommon for them to leave the treatment room after two to three minutes.

At the start of your visit, let your provider know if you have multiple concerns. Politely ask them to remain until you’ve addressed all your questions — up to the full time allotted.

3. Bring a Friend

If you’re female, you might understandably bristle at this advice. However, having an advocate — particularly a male — with you when you go to the doctor can help them take your concerns more seriously. If nothing else, your partner or friend can testify to how severely your chronic pain interferes with your daily life, underscoring your crucial need for answers.

When Out and About in Public

Fortunately, many people don’t behave rudely toward those with disabilities out of spite. However, you also can’t expect strangers to understand why you need the motorized shopping cart at the store because standing for long periods can lead to dizziness and fainting. Here are two quick tips for navigating your way in public.

1. Practice an “Elevator Speech”

It can be surprisingly hard to sum up a condition that affects every aspect of your life in one or two sentences — but you sometimes have to do so to explain your needs to strangers. Practice a little elevator speech. Something like, “I must sit because a heart condition sometimes causes me to faint,” should be sufficient to explain your need for accommodations.

2. Come Prepared

Those who have seen the movie “Joker” remember the scene where he hands a card explaining his pseudobulbar affect to a woman on the bus. If you have an impairment that sometimes causes struggles in communication, using a similar prop might help you. It’s also handy if strangers asking you about your condition or accommodations stresses you, causing you to stumble over your speech. 

Advocate for Yourself When You Have Chronic Pain

People with disabilities experience more challenges than most when navigating daily life. Their conditions often cause trouble at work, and some might struggle to get their health care providers to take their needs seriously. However, no one hands you a guardian angel to help you assert your need for accommodations. Follow the above tips to advocate for yourself when you have chronic pain.

Health clipboard graphic via Rita Azar for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Special Olympics NY × ACA/NY

Special Olympics New York and Advance Care Alliance of New York (ACA/NY) come together to guarantee proper retrieval of healthcare services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The groups come together to declare their objective of diminishing health inequalities for these groups of people by generating new opportunities.

Stacey Hengsterman, President and CEO of Special Olympics New York spoke on the partnership, stating, “This is one of our most exciting health collaborations yet. Through extensive cross-promotion, support, and more, we plan to improve our already outstanding health care for individuals with disabilities in New York.”

New efforts have begun commencement, while members from ACA/NY assisted at the Special Olympics New York’s floor hockey tournament, the Winter Classic. The tournament took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan which cultivated an energetic event for all those involved.

Jaime Madden, Chief Administrative Officer of ACA/NY recalls attending the Winter Classic, declaring, “It was a tremendous opportunity for ACA/NY to be a part of Special Olympics New York’s Winter Classic. What a sight it was to watch the extraordinary examples of teamwork and athleticism displayed by the athletes and coaches.”

While the joint partnership continues, Special Olympics NY promises to publicize crucial health info through ACA/NY’s Family Forum program, urging education of individuals throughout the region. ACA/NY has announced their commitment to many Downstate Special Olympics NY events during the course of the course of 2022. Moreover, ACA/NY has announced they will supply volunteers for Special Olympic NY’s Healthy Athletes projects, which aim to provide free health screenings and education.

“As we continue to grow our relationship with one another, ACA/NY looks forward to many more events of inclusion with Special Olympics New York,” says Madden. The groups co-hosted a Family Forum conference to discuss Special Olympics NY curriculum opportunities to ACA/NY families.

illustration bv Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Blythedale Children’s Hospital Adapts New Children’s Book

On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, commemorated the upcoming 31st anniversary of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (July 26), with onsite activities with clinicians, patients, and special guests.

More than 50 patients from Blythedale’s Day Hospital, Mt. Pleasant Blythedale School and Inpatient program joined neurodiverse author Lindsey Rowe Parker (Richmond, VA) in the reading of her new children’s book Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down. The story follows a young girl with heightened sensory experiences through her day with fun, interactive sounds, and motions.

“Seeing everyone’s reaction to the book was awesome,”said Lindsey Rowe Parker, author of Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down. “I feel like when theysaw the character in the book struggling with some of thesensory differences it was relatable. When you seesomebody experiencing the world differently than you,give a little bit of empathy, ask questions, don’t judgeand try to embrace it.”

The Hospital’s Speech Pathology & Audiology Department, “Blythedale Bookworms” (coordinated through the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program) and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force teamed up to identify books with diverse protagonists and get them into the hands and homes of patients as part of a literacy outreach campaign for kids with varying abilities.

“Inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act movement, we are also adapting some of the books at Blythedale to increase access for all kids who may have physical, cognitive or verbal differences that make a standard book inaccessible,” said Abigail Crane, Blythedale Speech-Language Pathologist. “We physically dissect the actual book which increases the child’s ability to have communicative impact while also making stories come alive in a new way.” 

Some examples include page turners or cotton balls used tomake it easier for kids with physical limitations to manuallyturn the page, Velcro tabs attached to pages with removablelaminated core words, texture added for tactile feedback,and more. Watch the full video.

Blythedale’s onsite public school district, Mt. Pleasant Blythedale Union Free School District, also marked the anniversary of the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ with a capstone project completed by some of its high school students (who are also Day Hospital patients at Blythedale).  

16-year-old Meghan Lyles of Wappingers Falls, New York (Dutchess County) researched and presented to her 12th grade class about the significance and impact of this landmark 1990 civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Meghan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has undergone numerous surgeries for scoliosis related to her spine. 

“This project is about how we can all help people with disabilities, like myself, to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential,” said Meghan.  “The ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ is important to me because I know I wouldn’t want to be treated differently just because I have a disability, so why would anyone else?”

Employee Employment Rights in California

As an employer and employee, there are certain rights and laws that you should familiarize yourself with since these laws impact current, former, and future employees of a company. A lot of lawsuits that companies find themselves wrapped up in involve simple disputes that could have been avoided had everyone known and followed the laws. Both sides need to know the laws when it comes to employee rights and they are constantly changing and evolving to make it better for everyone involved. When employee rights are intentionally violated, one should seek out an employment lawyer

What Are Some of the Biggest Employee Employment Rights in California?

One of the biggest sections of the employee employment rights in the state of California has to do with discrimination. While discrimination is illegal at both the state and federal level, there’s still discrimination happening all over. Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination illegal, it’s still a huge problem for companies as the rights evolve for certain groups.

  • It’s illegal for a company to discriminate against someone due to their gender or sex. A job applicant cannot be treated unfairly due to their gender identity. In California, this includes the transgender community. Both men and women also should be paid equally for equal work which was mandated in the Equal Pay Act.
  • You cannot be discriminated against for your nationality, race, and religion due to laws established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 makes it federally illegal for an employer to discriminate against anyone for these characteristics. An employer cannot hire, fire, discipline, demote, harass, or refuse to hire someone based on race, religion, color, or national origin.
  • An employee also has rights when it comes to disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with those issues. Employers cannot discriminate against someone with a disability, which includes hiring, not hiring, firing, demoting, or reassigning someone. Reasonable accommodations are expected to be given by the employer, such as more breaks if the person is diabetic and needs medication or needs food. If the person is in a wheelchair, proper parking spaces and accommodations must be made free of charge to that employee.
  • It’s also illegal for an employer to discriminate based on age due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. An employer cannot fire or refuse to hire someone due to them being over the age of 40. It’s illegal for any company to fire older employees just to bring in younger ones at much lower pay.

California Wage & Hour Employee Rights

It’s important to note that in California, the wage and hour laws are only applicable to those that are non-exempt. Meaning, if you’re not a full-time employee or you’re an independent contractor, the overtime and meal break laws will not apply. Exempt employees often include those in administrative, professional, and executive roles.

  • Employers are required to pay an employee the minimum wage which changes quite often. By the year 2022, California will make it required that companies provide a $15 an hour minimum wage.
  • You also have the right to receive overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in one week or more than 8 hours in one day. An employer cannot try to get around these rules by demanding an employee work off the clock. If there are more than 12 hours of work in a day, then the employer has to pay double time.
  • Meal breaks must be given if an employee works for more than five hours in one day and the meal break must be 30 minutes or more. If an employee works over 10 hours in one day, then they will also get an additional meal break of 30 minutes. Rest periods are a right for all employees as well. It’s a right that those within the non-exempt category get at least one 10-minute break every four hours.

Termination & At-Will Laws

California law is that most employees work in an “at-will” category, meaning that an employee can fire you at any time for any reason. The employer doesn’t have to justify the firing but it cannot be termination based on retaliation or discrimination. An example of this would be if someone was fired after they filed a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker. Being fired for filing that complaint would be illegal. If there was discrimination or retaliation at play in the firing, a wrongful termination lawsuit would be justified. For overtime and unpaid wages, consult with an unpaid and overtime lawyer.

Disability illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

What Qualifies You for Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a qualifying disability and have worked in jobs that required you to pay into the Social Security system. If you meet these requirements and your doctor says you won’t be able to work for one year or longer, you may be able to receive benefits until you can work again—if that ever happens. 

So which conditions qualify you for disability benefits? Read this and see if your diagnosis is on the list. If it’s not, don’t worry, your condition may still be qualifying. 

  • Asthma
  • Anxiety 
  • Autism
  • Back injuries
  • Blindness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • COPD
  • Deafness
  • Disorders of bone marrow failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart failure
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Irritable bowel disorder
  • Intellectual disorder
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lupus
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Any disease, injury, or disorder that prevents you from working for at least 12 months could potentially be a qualifying condition, depending on the severity. You’ll need to discuss your condition with a Social Security caseworker to determine whether or not you qualify. 

There are certain conditions that will automatically qualify you for benefits so you can begin receiving payments right away without having to go through the approval process first. These include early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gherig’s disease, stage IV or inflammatory breast cancer, cancer of the pancreas or gallbladder, and several other cancers.

How to Apply

If you want the Social Security disability process to run smoothly and efficiently, there are some things you need to know before your first appointment. To get the process started immediately, come prepared. Bring your Social Security number and those of your spouse and children, your W-2 information from the past year, and discharge papers if you were in the military.

The first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve gathered your information is to fill out a Social Security Disability report form. You can download this from their website and fill it out in advance. This form will ask you for information like your doctors’ contact details, the medications you’re taking, your past jobs, and any claims you’ve filed.

The next step in the process is to schedule your appointment with the Social Security Administration. You can make your appointment over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or schedule your appointment online. 

Another thing you can do to speed up the application process is to get a copy of your medical records from your physician in advance. Once you’ve requested your record, your doctor has 30 days to get it to you. Many doctors will turn it around faster than that, but it’s still smart to request it at least 30 days ahead of your appointment. 

You can download this Disability Starter Kit to learn more about what to expect throughout the process. This helpful guide contains information, a worksheet, and a checklist that’ll help you prepare.

If Your Benefits Are Denied

According to the Social Security Disability lawyers at Bader Scott, in many cases the initial claim will be denied by Claims Examiners, who often make mistakes due to a lack of experience. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to successfully appeal so your application for benefits can be settled on favorable terms. 

You can apply for an appeal hearing on the Social Security website, but be forewarned, you’re going to be waiting for this hearing for a long time. On average, the wait time for an appeal will be twelve months or longer. If your appeal goes well and your benefits are approved, you’ll get retroactive benefits either in payments or a lump sum. 

You will have 60 days after you receive the notice of denial to file your claim. If you are denied, you should get on this right away. Your benefits may depend on it.

AUTHOR: Cheryl Roy

Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

Follow Octavia Spencer: Instagram | Twitter

Follow Ruderman Family Foundation: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ways to cope with multiple sclerosis

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can come as a shock to some but a relief to finally receive answers for others. MS is a chronic disease where the central nervous system is greatly affected. No two people share the exact same symptoms, and these can come and go. Some people have regular attacks, while others constantly suffer for extended periods of time. Continue reading for suggestions on how to cope with specific MS symptoms.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision can be a very frustrating symptom as it affects most of your day to day living. Resting your eyes can reduce the strain, so ensuring you have regular breaks throughout the day and get plenty of sleep will help. Furthermore, avoiding too much screen time will help. That means that working long hours on a computer is not helpful and staring at your phone should be kept to a minimum.

Loss of balance and poor coordination

Loss of balance and poor coordination can be incredibly debilitating as it stops you from completing many tasks you probably have taken for granted most of your life. Things such as getting out of bed, standing up and climbing stairs all of a sudden seem to become almost impossible and carry the risk of injury. Risk reduction is the major thing to support you in coping with this new-found issue. Avoid carrying out any sort of activity in the dark as that strains your body more and adds further risk. Sensible shoes are a must, so choose ones with a low heel or even walking shoes. Walking with a stick can help too. 

Extreme fatigue

Extreme fatigue will come and go with MS. One day, you may feel able to conquer the world and the next, you may find merely walking to the bathroom a challenge. Prioritizing tasks is really important when it comes to your fatigue. Reserve your energy for the most critical activities. If you do feel able to engage in some of your usual activities, try to make them less strenuous to enable you to complete more. Exercise is still important, so short walks, for example, could be incorporated into your daily routine. If you are able to, take little naps during the day to perk you up somewhat. Limiting your caffeine intake may also help. 

Muscle spasms and spasticity

There are many different types of treatment and medication available to help ease the pain caused by muscle spasms and spasticity. It is always recommended that you speak with your consultant to ensure the best course of action is being followed. Some people also ultimately choose to use cannabis for medicinal purposes from somewhere like The Green Solution, who will be able to give advice on the best product to use. Physiotherapists will be able to offer a program of exercises to ensure you are able to get the most out of your day with posture and seating positions being most important. Movement is essential to ensure you continue to be as flexible as possible.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, USA, NYC

What are veterans actually entitled to?

Enlisting in the military is a huge decision that isn’t to be taken lightly. Yet millions of the population take that step without hesitation to protect their country and sadly, return home sometimes with life-changing injuries.

VA disability benefits

VA disability pay rates demonstrate how veterans are given a combined disability rating which is also impacted by their number of dependents. It is complex to understand and vets are not always awarded the right compensation they deserve, which is why legal advice is often necessary.

However, financial entitlement is merely one of the many issues facing vets when returning home. What they have to live on is only a small component of the multiple ways they are faced with piecing together a life after serving in the military. 

The adjustment from life on the frontline to life back in the world they have been defending can be difficult. This is not just in the cultural, everyday sense of no longer existing in a disciplined and structured way with danger and high risk at every turn, but also in the practical sense too.

The paperwork that is required to exist back in life as a normal citizen, the health implications that may be a result of service, the overwhelming list of things to organize to have everything you need – it is a whirlwind, to say the least.

Health benefits

Health issues can be extremely broad-ranging. From the hugely debilitating and devastatingly life-altering physically to the equally paralyzing mentally, and often, as a result of the latter, the all-consuming consequence of this being substance abuse.

Therefore, there is a wide range of health benefits vets are deservedly entitled to use, depending on their specific needs. However, it is often hard for them to know exactly which services they might need if they haven’t yet identified their issues, or it might be that they aren’t aware of the services or cannot get access to them.

Education tuition and career counseling

Another avenue for vets to go down is education and tuition to enable them to further their civilian training and find a suitable career route after the military. It could still be that they pursue a career within the military but just not in active duty, or it might be that they want to retire from service and pursue something different entirely in civilian life.

There are many ways they can do this, such as applying for help to cover the costs of school or job training, or it might be that career counseling is needed. This is when vets seek advice and guidance on where their skills might be best suited within other jobs and which programs would help them get on that path. 

Furthermore, it also helps them to recognize where they might be going through some issues which are preventing them from achieving their goals.

Housing

Vets are entitled to home loans and grants to help towards the costs of paying for their homes or any modifications necessary as a result of their injuries. This may be in the form of ramps, wider doorways or much more complex changes, that could potentially even impact the building structurally.

However, in more extreme circumstances, but sadly, increasingly more common these days are the instances of homelessness amongst vets. There is advice available on shelters and storage of personal belongings as well as what other options might be open, such as armed forces retirement homes and housing programs. 

In conclusion…

It is so important to create awareness and support our veterans who have done so much for our country. So, hopefully by sharing this information, people who may have vets in their family, or friendship circles can help them find the advice they need to get a better start after they return home.

There is a lot of confusion out there, just as there can be with any benefits. But, by being aware of the challenges these men and women face on civilian soil after performing their duty, we can all make it a better country by sharing this and helping them as they’ve helped us.