Peer Counseling is a Core Service that RCIL offers to people with disabilities.  RCIL helps them connect with other people who have, or have experienced, a disability by hosting an online RCIL Friends group once a month.  The group meets virtually via Zoom on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 2:00pm – 3:00pm.  They discuss disability related topics such as health and wellness, safety, transportation, housing, and direct support worker concerns.  Individuals can participate in the meeting using their computer, tablet, smartphone, or their phone.  Are you interested to join?  Contact RCIL at 785-528-3105 to sign up and to attend the next online RCIL Friends group meeting on February 23, 2021 at 2:00pm.  We will be discussing about the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) and utility resources.

Access to Independence

Categorized: Independent Living

James and Sandy Garner were thrilled to have their ramp built at their home.  For several years, James spent numerous days inside their home because it was difficult for him to walk and to use steps.  When he had to go to the hospital, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) had to use their back door and cut some of the handrails on their porch to make it easier for them to carry James out of the house to the ambulance.  Sandy reached out to RCIL for assistance.

The Independent Living Specialist, Beth Burnett, assisted them to achieve their goal to get a ramp built.  James and Sandy received a power chair covered by their health insurance for James to use.  They found two contractors to submit bids to build the ramp.  They also applied and received funding assistance from the Build a Ramp Program and the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation.

After the ramp was built to their front door, James was happy to use his power chair to get in and out of their home independently.  Sandy said, “Having a ramp has made our life a little easier.”  They like sitting on their deck outside of their front door to enjoy the fresh air.  James often times goes to their mailbox to check the mail.  He also enjoys going through his things in their garage.  He uses public transportation to attend his medical appointments.  Sandy explained, “It was so much easier for James to utilize transportation that has a wheelchair lift instead of him trying to transfer into their vehicle and leaving his power chair behind.”  Sandy also stated, “The ramp was user friendly for the EMS crew.”  She explained, “James was admitted to the hospital after the ramp was built.  The EMS used our front door and the ramp to carry James out of the house with no issues.”

James and Sandy thanked Beth for their assistance to get a ramp built.  Sandy told Beth, “The one thing I learned from the process is to be patient.  It took a lot longer than I expected to get a ramp but it was well worth the wait.”

ADA 30: Nothing About Us Without Us

Categorized: Advocacy, Consumer Education, Independent Living

A Virtual Celebration with Judith Heumann

Judith Heumann, internationally recognized disability rights leader and activist, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month virtually with the University of Kansas and the Lawrence communities and guests worldwide on October 28-29, 2020.

Heumann’s visit is organized by the KU ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility. All events are free, and the majority are open to the public. See the full schedule here 

The ECKAN Weatherization Assistance Program is accepting applications for individuals in Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chase, Coffey, Douglas, Franklin, Greenwood, Johnson, Linn, Lyon, Miami, Morris, Osage, Woodson and Wyandotte counties.

Eligible individuals include home owners and renters that meet household income levels. If anyone in the household receives one or more of the following sources of income they will be automatically qualified for the program.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Utility assistance from the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

To apply or learn more information about the program, contact ECKAN at 785-242-6413 or visit their website at http://www.eckan.org/weatherization/.

The Kansas Disability and Health Program with The University of Kansas Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies developed a fact sheet called “Kansans with Disabilities: Transportation Barriers = Health Barriers.” The fact sheet identified the transportation barriers along with possible solutions to remove those barriers for people with disabilities. They also listed several personal experiences that they received from people with disabilities. Here are a few experiences from the fact sheet:

  • “A van with a wheelchair lift costs $30,000 to $40,000 more than a typical van, way over the budget of most people with disabilities.”
  • “When the paratransit is late then people miss their appointments, or they are late and this does not sit well with medical providers.”
  • “Transportation outside of the area where people live is not available. If someone needs to see a specialist in another town/city, it is difficult if not close to impossible to get there.”

Click on the fact sheet here for details about the transportation barriers. This fact sheet is also on the Kansas Disability and Health Program website at https://ihdps.ku.edu/dhp-resources.

For more information, contact Kim Bruns, Disabilities and Health Program Coordinator, at 785-864-1561 or kbruns@ku.edu.