Random Thoughts From Uncle Dale: The ADA 29 Years and Counting.

A couple of weeks ago Shelby Hintze, a television producer and the daughter of my cousin, asked me to review the script of a segment she was planning for a local Sunday talk show discussing the ADA’s 29th anniversary.

See if you can spot the part that I helped write, Grin.

https://youtu.be/FtMyIQU35r0

(The prepared video transcript. I am working on a transcript for the live portion.)

Voice of Shelby Hintze

According to the 2010 Census—nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of disability. That’s one in five people in this country. As the Baby Boomer generation ages—that number is expected to grow a lot.

Despite the sheer numbers, the unemployment rate for disabled Americans is nearly twice the rate of their able-bodied peers. But historically, that’s an improvement. 29 years ago—our country took a big step in the civil rights of disabled Americans when President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act—also known as the ADA.

Activists argued that people with disabilities were not as disabled by their bodies as they were by their environment. They had a right to access all the services of their able-bodied peers. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, said, “We’re not asking for any favors. … We’re simply asking the same rights and equality any other American has.” In what is described as the biggest catalyst to the bill’s signing 60 activists left their wheelchairs and dragged themselves up the 83 steps to the U-S Capitol, in what’s called The Capitol Crawl. The bill was signed four months later. Since 2000, 181 countries have signed disability civil rights laws inspired by the ADA.

When we think of the ADA, we often think of improving access for wheelchair users. But it’s more than that. It offers protections for the deaf community, people who are blind, people with chronic illnesses.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the ADA is how it is enforced. The law is mostly complaint based. For example, while new buildings are required to have things like ramps, accessible restrooms, and Braille on signs—there is no one who checks these regulations and must be solved through mediation or court.  

For example–Under Title III of the ADA, Deaf people are promised “effective communication” but that really isn’t defined by the law. So if a Deaf person goes to a doctor for example, the doctor gets to decide what “effective communication” means. In this case, it could mean the doctor decides writing notes back and forth is enough–instead of using a certified sign language interpreter, which the Deaf patient may want. The Deaf person cannot do anything legally unless they can prove the communication was ineffective. That can be very hard to prove. If they do win the case, the Deaf person is then only entitled to another appointment with that same doctor, this time with an interpreter. Title III does not allow someone monetary damages beyond legal fees.

Just recently—a Utah family made national headlines after they were denied service at an Ogden restaurant because one of the children used a service animal. That was illegal. But outside of court, there is no way to actually make people follow the law.

The ADA did a lot to change the world for disabled people. But for many activists, it is just the beginning.

Note from Uncle Dale: Mother’s Day Two

My lovely bride, Aunt SuperTam, gave a talk on Mother’s Day a few years ago in our church. I would like to believe the leadership knew what they were in for when they asked her to speak, and she gave them exactly what they expected.

It is still talked about today.

She spoke about how very much many women dread Mother’s Day. For some, Mother’s Day is a reminder of all the possible ways they feel that they may have failed in that role.

For others it is a reminder that they do not have children of their bodies and so it is a day where they feel singled out by “real” Mothers for what they “lack”-while burning inside for want.

For some women it appears to be an indictment of their choice not to have children, a scornful reproach of that choice.

As the world has turned there are so many ways that Mother’s Day could be seen as a rejection of their family as it is.

She asked the congregation to remember that many sat in worship that day understanding everything the world “expected,” but that was not their reality, and Mother’s Day illuminated that in sharp relief.

But, she continued, Mother is not that small box with borders defined by the greeting card section in your local drug store.

“Mother” is not defined by living up to others expectations of what it should be or how mothers should act.

“Mother” exists outside of genetics or gender or genealogy.

“Mother” is about loving and nurturing. It’s a calling.

Not everyone who has given birth is called.

Many who have not actually given birth are called.

Mother is not about perfection. It’s about loving hard but imperfectly.

On this Mother’s Day I salute you all, the Mothers of children born of their bodies and those who give a Mother’s love to anyone who needs that huge heart.

As many of you know we are missing one of our babies this Mother’s Day. I also salute the Mother’s reaching out across the world or across the universe for the one far away physically but always always home in the heart.

To all mothers of all kinds happy Mother’s Day.

UD

Random Thoughts from Uncle Dale: CPAs and Financial Planners

If you do mainly freelance or educational interpreting during the school year and freelance in the summer or VRS and have an Etsy store or…

You should really consider sitting down with a financial planner and a CPA.

It costs money.

Its also worth it. Specifically with all the changes in the tax code that are dropping on folks like like an apartment would if revisions in the building codes happen the same way the Trump tax cuts did (the very wealth would be fine. The rest of us would get crushed).

Anyway.

The amount you can save usually more than makes up for the up-front costs.

But you have to remember finding the right CPA or financial planner is like finding the right counselor or doctor or lawyer.

You have to play the field. One date is not a relationship.

If you have a CPA and you don’t feel they are working hard enough in your best interest then break-up and find someone new. See other people and don’t settle for less than you deserve.

When you find the one you really like, the one that works for you, then swipe right.

Random Thoughts By Uncle Dale: Decisions

Actual conversation with my boss in 1998, when I asked to adjust my work schedule to take classes to complete my BA:

Boss: Why?

Uncle Dale: Because i’m going to law school.

B: Why? You are a great interpreter, you have a good job and do you realize that when you graduate you will be 33-years-old?

UD: I will be 33-years-old anyway. I might as well be 33-years-old and a lawyer.

B: But you should have done that a long time ago. You’ve made your decisions in life.

UD: Know what? I can still make decisions. In fact here is a decision, I quit.

One of the best decisions I ever made.

It’s A New Year!

Hello family! First of all I want to thank everyone for their concern about my absence. The outpouring of love this year continues and I am overwhelmed by the many and specific acts of kindness and thoughtful notes I have received.

I am fine.

I am better than I have been in a long while.

I took a little break to work on the book but then this happened…

This beautiful gift is the daughter of my son who we lost to suicide in July.

She arrived and everything else kind of went away for a while.

As I have said in my Rules in various ways no job or task is important enough to require you to abandon your family and the love and support of friends.

Truth be told, the book is only slightly more complete than it was. But my heart has undergone a healing miracle. I have the peace that can only come from looking into the eyes of my granddaughter (not used to that one yet) and realize I need my heart to be whole so she can break it for herself each time she leaves my arms.

She is not my son. She is who she is and who she will be.

She is all attitude and smiles like he was as a baby, but she is also herself.

But I can feel him. Wanting to hold her so I do it for him. It’s been my job for a minute-it took me a minute to overcome my fear, it went away the moment she looked at me-I could make this a full time job.

I am back though. I have a whole crop of new Rules and Notes and Random Thoughts on what you Probably Should Know.

I am starting out with a hard one for me. It makes me a bit nervous because it’s self reflective in a way I am not used to.

But that is for tomorrow. Today I am Grandpa Uncle Dale. Gruncle (Yes I know that is Gravity Falls but I’m retasking it for my own purposes).

Today is for this:

See you tomorrow.

Gruncle Dale.

Random Thoughts From Aunt SuperTam: If You Are Asked To Interpret “A Christmas Carol” Last Minute!

Aunt SuperTam, who doesn’t sign, offers this advice…

How hard could it be?

Here, let me help. It just goes:

Grumpy Scrooge

Marley in Chains

Ghost

Ghost

Ghost

Redemption with a big turkey

God bless us everyone!

Jazz hands.

There. That should do it.

They can Venmo me the payment.

Random Thoughts From Uncle Dale: Let Me Give You An In Class Example…

Dear ASL to Spoken-English Students:

Don’t be so easily impressed:

I’ve taught this principle for thirteen years; and,

I picked the video!