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IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION FROM ERIC THUT:

If you have a special need, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Volunteers are available at the registration desk to assist with mobility issues or other needs.

Assistive listening devices are available in the general session room and some panel rooms. Inquire at the registration desk about which rooms are covered and how to pickup a headset.

Captioning service will be provided on a separate screen in the general session room. Captioning service is available for sessions in Room 210 AE, but users must bring their own laptop/tablet (we will provide a website link for viewing).

A limited number of scooters are available for rent at the registration desk on a first-come, first-served daily basis. If you’d like to secure your own scooter for the entire weekend, call Scootaround Mobility Solutions at 888-441-7575 to arrange delivery. We’ve also reserved tables in the main hall with easy access for those with mobility issues.

This is information to be printed in the program, so it is good to go!

Just about a year ago, I was in the middle of preparing for my first Netroots Nation, thanks to my DFA scholarship and the financial support of Kossacks who helped pay for my travel and other related expenses.

It was a great experience, one I wish that everyone could share. I was lucky that my stamina held out (perhaps better last year than it might for this one) and that I could accomplish just about everything I hoped to do. But I was aware, thanks to the efforts of KelleyRN2 and other KosAbility activists, that getting to NN is not feasible for everyone and that once there, difficulties might arise that prevent people from getting the most out of the experience. For some people with disabilities, even the prospect of getting to an NN might be as likely as getting to the moon.

This diary, then, is meant to be part of the process of moving us along even a little bit toward the goal of making NNs as accessible and as disability-friendly as possible. In other words, it's my update on the current status of our little crew's efforts to institutionalize some supports. I may be missing some details, something I'd like to acknowledge early on; furthermore, there are still 11 days until the event begins, and more work will be done during that time. (Anyone with more updates to add, please feel free to do so!)

Please join me below the jump for that update. Before that, however, I'd like to thank TheFatLadySings for her efforts during the last few weeks to improve accessibility options for NN13 attendees, and Eric Thut for his support these past couple of months in responding to our earlier requests. Thanks, also, to postmodernista for making this platform available today.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.

When we entered into discussions with NN13 staff (primarily with Eric Thut), we listed five items we wanted to address regarding improved accessibility. I’m happy to say that we’ve made good progress on three of them so far, with other advances possible between now and the start of the convention.

The first is an official KosAbility Caucus. We will have one! It's scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM in room 113. (I’ll return to this subject later, after I review the other items we’ve requested action on.)

The second was to have a Volunteer Coordinator, a role which TheFatLadySings had offered to fill. That was also OK, especially since her presence meant another person available to carry some of the burden of coordinating volunteer activities.

The third was to authorize creation of a KosAbility Volunteer Corps. We have that in place now, so far in a rather modest way. Right now, we have these folks listed as potential volunteers—that is, people attending the convention who will be willing and available to help out when needed: ramara, Horace Boothroyd III, thankgodforairamerica, and me (peregrine kate). It’s not clear yet to any of us what might be needed, but we’re game! Of course, it’s not too late to volunteer, and any help that you might be able to offer in spreading the word in this regard would be most welcome.

The fourth was to generate some more information about accessibility of off-site locations, via the efforts of some of our local Kossacks who might be able to weigh in ahead of time. We did have someone offer to do that early on, but life intervened. I’m going to check with some of the other folks in the area to see what, if anything, at this last minute they might be able to do for us.

The fifth included a whole array of on-site accessibility aids, some free and some not. These ranged from having first aid/rescue stations at the convention center to captioning some sessions (especially plenaries) to a thorough labeling of food, possibly having some gluten-free options. It’s this whole category that’s still the most uncertain for me, since I’m not quite sure where things stand. Registration this year did include a small ($5.00) surcharge to be directed toward accessibility support; we have no idea where that money’s been allocated. I do know that we have pending requests for three mobility vehicles of one sort or another, and that we also have two people who have offered to subsidize their cost. TheFatLadySings has been the point person on this task of securing wheels for those who need them.

One other low-cost and potentially low-tech suggestion was made, to have a KosAbility Courtesy Reminder list widely disseminated. Our thoughts about this topic early on were that sometimes people just don’t know what they could do to be helpful, or don’t think about what they do that isn’t helpful. Hence, a list might be of use, one that could include reminders such as—Make sure you leave some open seats at the front of every room so people who need to sit up close can do so. Or, Don’t block aisleways, or leave items on the floor that could cause people to trip and fall. We had another couple of offers to work on that list, but again, life intervened. I’m not sure at this late date how much we could do toward this end, but I’m willing to entertain concrete suggestions.

OK. Now for the fun part—your comments and input!

First, please do tell us if you will be at NN13. If so, it will be lovely to meet you at the caucus, if not before.

Second, whether you’ll be at NN13 or not: what would you like us to discuss at that caucus session? We who are able to be there will be mindful of all of us who cannot, and though we cannot truly speak for you we can at least attempt to ensure that your concerns will be expressed.

Third, if there's anything else in this diary pertaining to NN13 about which you'd like to comment, or ask a question, please do. If I don't have the answers myself, I'm sure we can figure out who might.

Thanks for taking part in this dialogue tonight, which I realize directly affects only a small portion of us every year. With hard work and vision, I am hoping that each successive NN convention will be more and more accessible to all, so that the barriers that currently exist to full participation become smaller and less significant.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm very glad to be here tonight. (16+ / 0-)

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say--add--suggest--ask.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 12:28:51 PM PDT

  •  upcoming schedule: (8+ / 0-)

    postmodernista is the moderator of KosAbility’s diaries and maintains the schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Sunday, post a comment or send her a private kosmail.
    The content of the KosAbility diaries is important to many folk who depend on the exchange of information and ideas about their struggles with real life-changing conditions. The moderators of these diaries will not tolerate rude, disruptive, off topic, and/or threadjacking behavior. If in doubt, read our mission statement in the diary.

    Upcoming Schedule:
    June 16 - Jane in Maine
    June 23 - cloisterwood: SSD information

    All other June and forward dates are open at this time.

    Also, if you've written a previous diary in the distant past, please consider republishing it- our membership has grown, and there have been many helpful, informative diaries that our current members may be interested in, but have never had the opportunity to read.

    Let's try for a Part II next week. If you've have information about a new/current disability issue, please post in the comments, or send it to me by Kosmail. I'll append it to next week's diary and we'll see how it goes.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:06:19 PM PDT

  •  I think you all have made some wonderful (9+ / 0-)

    suggestions and inroads to solutions here. I've never been to an NN, so I'm not really sure what is needed, and what is lacking. I'm also certain some change from venue to venue.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:29:02 PM PDT

  •  Glad you did this diary dear (9+ / 0-)

    Great one !  I agree with FSNMOM as well.  I never been either....except in spirit.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:37:13 PM PDT

  •  google Johnathan Young (7+ / 0-)

    if I can get a hold of him again, he would be excellent speaker.  He helped with the ADA...worked in the west wing for President Clinton and consultant to President Obama.  A great guy...Was good friends with Justin Dart.
    He emailed me a couple of years ago  as a catch on lives...as he hosted us in DC regarding the 10th anniversary of the ADA...  He was with Presidential Task force on Adult Disabilities...by the way..he reads Daily Kos.

    Just a suggestion.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:42:08 PM PDT

    •  I did Google him, and I'm very glad you suggested (7+ / 0-)

      I do that. He seems like a really great person from the little bit of bio I read; maybe we can arrange to have him be a part of the next NN. (And then you'd really need to be there ;)
      He was also, until early this year, the chairperson of the National Council on Disability. I am grateful to you for making the suggestion to look him up, because otherwise I still wouldn't know about the NCD. I'll tell you, the older I get, the more I realize I don't know!
      A PS to postmodernista: maybe it would be a good idea for us to have a few diaries about disability advocacy organizations. I am sure I am woefully ignorant about them.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:12:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I completely agree- (7+ / 0-)

        that would be so valuable! Perhaps anyone in group who knows of such organizations could throw in contact info, whether local, state, or national, and we can collectively put together a list?

        Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

        by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:18:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  John is a liberal (3+ / 0-)

          and I know him as a great advocate and friend to us.
          funny, I was smoking a cigarette outside in 2000 of the party where Tom Harkin was and Becky Ogle, former sec of labor and I were sharing a lighter and talking about Justin Dart and Jonathan....I had no clue I was chewing the fat with such a major advocate and cabinet member until President Clinton mentioned her three times in one speech at the FDR memorial and then she was in the Washington Post the next day..LOL..Talking about being ignorant.

           She met me at the memorial and I have pic somewhere with her..Great lady as well

          We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

          by Vetwife on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:57:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a great story. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vetwife, postmodernista, FloridaSNMOM

            I've never been a smoker, but I do understand that the opportunity (maybe the wrong word, but I hope it makes sense here) for smokers to get together outside is sometimes a really big chance for bonding, and making connections that might not otherwise be made. Not being a smoker, I really can't say if it's worth it, to have the restrictions on smoking that make that scenario possible. But I can also appreciate that it's one of the factors now that can make it a little bit harder to quit. Never know who you'll meet and what will happen with those cigarette breaks. Of course, in your case it also helps that you were such an activist to be in the right spot to begin with!

            Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:09:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I actually was wondering (6+ / 0-)

    if it might be possible to recruit students via the local colleges to assist with anything from pushing wheelchairs to setting up visual aids. the conference likely isn't enough for a semester's credit, but might be a project/practicum/internship + research kind of thing.

    At least to me, it really isn't a stretch to think that EMS, OTA, PTA, social services, psych, sociology students, education and public health majors, and such might be willing to put in a little manpower for extra credit, observations, interviews that could further their understanding of disability issues.

    just a thought....

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:44:00 PM PDT

    •  What a promising idea. (5+ / 0-)

      I suspect it's too late in the process for this year, but for next year that sounds really excellent. I bet we'll be in a college-rich environment, one way or another. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:14:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sent you the link to the title II ADA thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, FloridaSNMOM

      and the another bright idea occurred to me- as much as we progressives don't like to be bought, companies like us to like their products. Might there be, for example, a vendor of white noise machines on loan, power scooters the same, gluten-free morning snacks, that have values consistent with ours who would like a presence at NN13? or more likely, 14/15?

      probably fairy dust ideas, but still- I like to dream big.

      Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

      by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:33:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the link! and the other ideas. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        postmodernista, FloridaSNMOM

        Actually, all of this could be pretty fun to bring to fruition. You just keep on dreaming big, and maybe the rest of us will join you. :)

        Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

        by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:35:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a wonderful idea, pk! Thanks for doing (6+ / 0-)

    this, and to all who are participating.

    Some, like me, will have invisible disabilities. I often don't sleep well away from home, because I often don't sleep very well at home either. I can be fine and reasonably rested one day, then crash the next from no sleep.

    So I never know from one day to the next how full my energy bank will be. I had even thought of signing up for a motorized transport of some sort or another to make it easier to get from session to session if I'm tired.

    This will be my fifth NN, and I have missed much of the other NNs because of lack of sleep, and the resulting lack of energy to walk the distances to the sessions.

    I don't know how to resolve this for myself, and I know there are other kossians with sleep issues, some of whom may be attending. Any suggestions or ideas, however 'imaginative', will be appreciated.

    •  I think it is not too late to ask for such help, (6+ / 0-)

      if you're still mulling it over. Please Kosmail TheFatLadySings for more details.

      Otherwise.... I'm not at all sure what to suggest re: coping with sleep deprivation away from home. Last year it really helped me to have some down time in my own hotel room, but I don't have extraordinary issues with sleep (I don't think), only with fatigue and rest, which seem a little different to me. But maybe I should be paying more attention to what's really going on with my sleep lately, since I am not making it through a day successfully without a serious nap.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:21:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the first time in my life, I'm finally (6+ / 0-)

        starting to be able to nap once in awhile. Maybe it's the years catching up with us.

        Being super-busy at the store and working more and longer hours seems to have helped. More activity seems to be leading to more energy, which I'm hoping helps this year at NN because I really want to catch more panels and spend more time with the great group that will be attending.

        There is too much going on to be tired and draggy. I'm hoping my physiology cuts me a break and lets me get enough rest to get the maximum benefit from NN.

  •  Haven't been, can't afford it (6+ / 0-)

    But something to think on are Speech-to-Text devices (even a laptop with Dragon projecting would be something).

    Frankly, right now I wouldn't even bother going, because I'd have no ability to know what's going on. Lip reading only works when you can clearly see the speaker's face.

    ASL translators don't help people who didn't grow up Deaf. I can't even get into an ASL class. I've asked. :(

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:54:55 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I think the biggest barrier, really, is $$ (5+ / 0-)

      and the lack of it. Some people with disabilities have it, or access to it. I suspect that's not the case for most, though I don't have the stats or cites.
      Thanks for the idea. I know that NN organizers are going to be reading this diary, and we can also see if this has been included in the options.
      I'm not sure I understand why you aren't able to get into an ASL class. I've had several hearing friends/students take it as a language. Is is also a problem of access & funds?

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:01:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Access and funds, and (3+ / 0-)

        the fact that those classes are only available in a college or community college setting... Not even the 'big' Deaf org is my state offers them. I've asked. And when you don't have housing, or a vehicle, and your only income is SNAP, you really can't afford to pay for a CC class out-of-pocket.

        Big is relative, though. They are short on funding. They were in March. But with the ASL classes, they say that there's not much interest. For those of us that hearing aids won't help, that's hard. (Brain injury here, most of the time I only 'hear' tinnitus.)

        Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

        by LoreleiHI on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:13:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can see that better now, thanks for explaining (3+ / 0-)

          the particulars to me.
          In a word, that sucks. Makes no sense. There should be a work-around. Like--having the state agency pay for your tuition....
          When you have some of this basic funding stuff sorted out, maybe it is something that you can tackle again. I suspect that there might be some ways you could get funding, unofficially, if you were close enough and had enough stability to do the classes. That might be a catch-22, however, which also really sucks.
          I realize that is a lot easier for me to say in my position than it would be for you to do, given all that you have going on, so I apologize if I come across as presumptuous.

          Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:33:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not at all (3+ / 0-)

            I do plan on trying if I ever get SSI.

            And it's funny. There's funding available for hearing evaluations and aids, but none for ASL classes. If I had more than a few signs, not only would I be able to get translators (state agencies provide ASL translators, and hearing aid loops, but no speech-to-text devices), but people would believe I'm HH. It's quite frustrating. As it is, I'm constantly having to remind even state workers to please face me, because I can't understand otherwise.

            /headdesk

            Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

            by LoreleiHI on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:58:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to everyone who's been here and (4+ / 0-)

    made comments/suggestions. I'm going to turn my attention to other matters for a while now, but I'm not gone for good yet tonight. I hope you'll continue to contribute here; I'll make sure to check in and follow up.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:18:55 PM PDT

  •  for those of you looking in late, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrine kate, FloridaSNMOM

    we're still here, we're still checking comments. This is a big topic, but every big topic got started as a small discussion. Every idea and comment counts - say what you think. If you know of someone else who has relevant thoughts, tell them to drop in and let us know. You just never can tell what little seed of an idea will turn into something great, right?

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:37:30 PM PDT

    •  Hugggs again to you, postmodernista, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      postmodernista, FloridaSNMOM

      for your series hosting. I completely agree--every idea counts. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:48:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is a pleasure to work with you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peregrine kate, FloridaSNMOM

        What we come up with may not look like the Egyptian pyramids at first, but then again, neither did the Egyptian pyramids.

        I was petrified when Kelley actually let me do this, but I really needed to find a way, however small, to give back, when y'all had saved my mental health when almost nothing else helped. You all are some of the finest people I have ever "met".

        Stone soup- everybody brings a bit, and when all those bits are put together and simmered for a while, we've got something that nourishes us all.

        Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

        by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:34:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hi peregrine Kate! (3+ / 0-)

    This will be my third NN. I am really hard of hearing and I'm glad some of the plenary sessions will be captioned. I use hearing aids and lip read.

    Most conventions can't use a sign language translator with ease because of the size of the center. You have to be able to see the translator. I usually get up as close as possible. But in general people with hearing problems need to notify the hotel that it's a problem. If their hearing aid is compatible with infrared signals or what is known as a Tcoil.

    here's a link with a lot of the info for various personal amplifiers with or without hearing aids Assistive devices

    I use bluetooth amplification jabra headsets because I can't use earbuds.

    You also need to tell the hotel so that they can make sure you have a caption device remote and a bell for your door.

    Jabra headsets are great if you can use bluetooth Jabra

    These are just a few of the things that I use but I actually have a lot of info on aids for tinnitus when it's not an acoustic hearing loss and re-training programs but I don't want to bog your diary down with it. Obviously there are other accessibility issues beyond hearing.

    Thanks!

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:02:16 PM PDT

    •  Thank you so much for these specific (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, vcmvo2, FloridaSNMOM

      suggestions. I think that we may need to incorporate the resources you've listed into some kind of master list. whatever shape that it may take. Even outside of the NN13 conference, these resources may help many someones in their everyday life.

      Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

      by postmodernista on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:13:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for these details. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      postmodernista, vcmvo2, FloridaSNMOM

      I hope we have a chance to meet there.
      I should clarify, though: I'm not positive yet that we will have captioned sessions. It was on our wish list, but I don't know of the current status. I will return here to let people know as soon as I do have more info.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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