Volume 08 | August 2018
Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
When I went to Brooklyn Law School in ‘90s, there was no mention of Disability Rights or Disability Law. In 1998, as a young lawyer in Florida, I met Edward S. Resnick and Phyllis Resnick who founded an organization called Access Now. Access Now pioneered the fight to use the ADA to remove physical access. Edward was a successful real estate lawyer who survived polio and became quadriplegic. When the ADA was enacted, he sent out letters to many businesses in his neighborhood in Miami Beach and offered to help them. He was ignored. He sued and created access. Twenty-eight years later, the struggle continues. However, Edward, Phyllis and Access Now left a legacy of one of the most accessible cities in the United States, and many of the advocates today rely on Access Now’s work.

Matt and Carlos Martinez with the DIG summer interns at court
2018- Deaf Rights Update
By: Matthew Dietz
On August 2, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided a major decision in a Deaf person’s right to get an interpreter at a hospital and the penalties for not doing so. In this decision, Crane v. Lifemark Hospitals , the court found that Mr. Crane had a right to have effective communication when he wanted help from a psychiatric Hospital. 

As a person who communicates in ASL, Mr. Crane arrived at the hospital and requested a sign language interpreter. He was evaluated by the psychiatrist who communicated with Mr. Crane by writing notes and using basic sign language that she learned when communicating with her developmentally disabled daughter. At that time, Dr. Caro determined that Mr. Crane was not
a threat to himself or others. Mr. Crane remained in the hospital and could not discuss his medical or psychological issues and depression for another two days. At the end of his hospitalization, he was provided with an interpreter to advise him that he was being discharged.

My Summer at DIG
By: Kelly Hawk
Everyone who has met me since I made my decision to go to law school has heard the same story: I came to law school because I was tired of seeing kids get pushed around by a flawed education system. I came to law school to make a difference. So, when the application for the Florida Bar Foundation Legal Services Summer Fellowship came out, four different people emailed about it, saying it was the perfect fit for me. Getting the opportunity to work at DIG for the summer thrilled me. I approached this summer ready to work and to help people. In so many ways, my experience this summer has been just what I expected, but it has also been much more.

I expected that I would work on interesting projects. I did not expect that I would get to be a part of the conference call at which Florida established its own chapter of REV UP to show the importance and strength of the disability vote. Neither did I expect that I would be able to help develop trainings to teach social justice organizations how to become more accessible and to better serve people with disabilities. 

Kelly at Key Clubhouse for voter registration week
Kelly and Sharon standing next to the sign for Miami Lighthouse for the blink
My Life with Autism
By: Ben Kolster
My name is Ben Kolster, I’m 18 years old and live in Jacksonville, FL with my parents and my older brother Ethan, who will be 20 next month. I attend the North Florida School of Special Education ( NFSSE), located in Jacksonville, FL. Ethan and I are on the Autistic Spectrum. Ethan was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. By the time I reached my 1 st birthday, my parents noticed some speech and language delays. They had me tested and I was diagnosed with developmental delays. I began speech and occupational therapy when I was 18 months old. When I was 2 years old, I was formally diagnosed with Autism, and at the age of 5, I was diagnosed with ADHD. My parents worked diligently to prepare for a new chapter in their lives raising two sons with special needs. My mother, Lisa, chose to devote her time advocating for us and seeking out services to provide us with the numerous educational and developmental support services. My father, David, works in the banking industry and is active in various community organizations. My parents have together worked as a team for nearly 20 years to provide my brother and I with a solid foundation.

Mrs Atkins Ethan and Ben in Tallahassee.
Ben holding a mixed media painting that he created the painting is a landscape with a big sun in the top left corner
Ben standing at a microphone speaking and holding papers in his left hand
A Friend and Mentor
Phyllis F. Resnick
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Phyllis Resnick came to live in Miami Beach, Florida in 1950, as the bride of long time resident, Edward S. Resnick. Having recently graduated from law school at the University of Florida at Gainesville, Edward began the practice of law in Miami Beach. Phyllis did secretarial work, until the birth of their daughter, Patricia, in 1953. Life was good, but they hit a curve in the road in 1954, when Edward contracted polio, which left him technically a quadriplegic, with no use of his legs and only partial use of his arms. After a year of rehab, a strong, determined Edward, now a full-time wheelchair user, returned to the practice of law and, despite the physical challenges he faced, with brilliance of mind and an unquenchable spirit, eventually became one of the most highly respected, prominent real estate attorneys in South Florida. The first to draft a condominium document, he became known as an "attorney's attorney" in the real estate field and a mentor to many young attorneys.

REV UP Florida

Next REV UP Florida telephonic planning meeting is on August 31, 2018

election season poster with important election dates for the primary election and the general election in florida
concentric circles in different shades of blue that show the ripple effect of the disability vote from families to friends to advocates to educators to professionals to providers to bureaucrats with a person in a wheelchair in the center
Out and About with DIG

August 23-25, 2018
San Antonio, TX

Advocate Training: The Intersection of Civic Engagement & Disability
August 23, 2018
Miami, FL

REV UP Florida - Planning Meeting
August 31, 2018
Telephonic Meeting

Supper Social Club
September 10, 2018

Advocate Training & Applying for SSDI 101
September 27, 2018
Miami, FL

Attorney Training: SSDI Appeals: Everything You Need to Know
Ocotber 3, 2018
Miami, FL

Supper Social Club
October 8, 2018

Supper Social Club
November 5, 2018

Supper Social Club
December 3, 2018

Sam blowing out the candle on a plate of cupcakes
[ Happy Birthday Sam]
DIG staff and lucy having bagel breakfast to say goodbye to intern Kelly
[ Goodbye Kelly]
Sharon at the Miami Dade School Board candidate forum
[ Sharon at School Board Candidate Forum]
Kids Crusaders Corner
By: Lisa Anne Kolster
I was recently asked what I do for a living. It’s difficult to sum it up “on the fly”, but it got me to thinking about what I would say if I were talking to someone who has not been exposed to the world of special needs. Keep in mind that this is simply the “business” side of things.

In my nearly 20 years as a special needs parent, I have spent the bulk of my day-to-day tasks managing the world of their social, educational, psychological, and medical services.

Based upon my own experiences, what has proven time and time again to offer the most positive outcomes for my boys has typically involved/required the following:

  1. Research and develop a plan of action.
  2. Verify your sources.
  3. Reach out to advocacy groups and professionals as needed.
  4. Put your action plan into place.
  5. Follow up and confirm.
  6. Meet desired goal(s).
  7. Remain flexible and have a backup plan.
  8. THANK those who help you along the way.
  9. When you get stuck, frustrated, or just absolutely fed up, remember WHO and WHAT you are fighting for!
  10. Lastly (and the most important, in my opinion): TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
Kids Crusaders Logo
Ethan and Ben smiling
Miami Inclusion Alliance
Most people have friends, family and community. These informal networks help support us in good times and bad. There is little research on the importance of these networks for a victim of abuse. These networks can be powerful either as supporting a victim and even identifying abuse or just the opposite, by enabling abuse or offering only criticism and judgement. Our Domestic Violence systems have many trained specialist that provide services and support for victims from shelters, to social service providers and law enforcement. The reality is that most victims never engage with these trained specialists. A survey completed in 2014, ( Refuge.org.uk/2014 ) found that 70% of victims never reached out to a professional but only looked to family or friends for help. Since family and friends are usually the first to be told about abuse, how they respond can affect the chance of the victim disclosing further and leaving the abusive relationship or staying where they are. This support includes emotional and practical support such as bolstering confidence, self-esteem, to a safe place to stay, money and child care. I believe we need to begin to consider this valuable network in a victim’s life. We need to better equip these informal family or community networks to recognize warning signs of abuse, have confidence to ask, offer appropriate support and be able to refer to the professionals and experts. The question is: what is the best way to make friends, family and the wider community more aware of the role they could have in facilitating a victim seeking help. It may be increased focus on broad community education and media outreach, I don’t have the answer, but just opening the dialogue may lead to empowerment and ultimately greater safety for victims of abuse. 
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
Lucille's Wall
By: Lucy
Good Luck!

Its that time of the year again -Back to School. “School Started Summer Never Ended”- who am I kidding summer definitely ended, have you sat in morning traffic yet?

Anyways, DIG wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone Good Luck! We hope you have a great year!

You have probably seen from all of our newsletters and social media we have had summer at DIG. I miss all of our interns from this summer; mainly, because they would always have cookies for me but don’t tell my vet but also because of their great contributions to DIG!

Also, don’t forget we have internships/externships at DIG that you can apply for! I hope to meet more of you this year!
Matt sitting at his desk with Lucy the dog.
Like our Facebook Pages
DIG Facebook Page - General DIG information
Deaf Alice Facebook Page - Issues related to the Deaf Community

Kids Crusaders Facebook Page - Issues related to medically fragile and medically complex children and their families

Animal Partners Facebook Page - Issues related to service animals and emotional support animals
Benefits Information
Lesly will be back next month
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The View from Here
Justine will be back next month
Head shot of Justine
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool for young adults or adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either a a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Wheels & Heels
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware. 
- Martin Buber
Vacations are the highlights of the year – time off from one’s day to day grind, and something many of us hard workers plan and look forward to. As a person with a disability, vacationing takes more planning and preparation than what is typical. While popping online and finding the best package on Expedia is a common approach for most people, when you have a wheelchair or other medical device, these quick vaca hubs can be more of a disaster than a savings. I’ve had my owner personal situations of vacas gone right and those few gone wrong. One of the most interesting vacations was this past May on MSC Cruise lines. While a bit challenging to setup, it turned out to be one of the more smooth sailing trips ever.

Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
Education Information
It’s back to school time again. While you are buying uniforms and supplies, parents of students with disabilities are also worried about new teachers, new students and new schedules. Will the teacher like my child, will they be patient and kind and take the time to get to know my child’s ticks and impulses; how will the other student’s treat my child – while they make fun of his yellow socks or his excessive focus on roller coasters. These are just a few of the concerns that parents who have special children worry about this time of the year. It can be hard for these students and their families to go back to school. To the families, we salute you and all that you do to ensure that your children make a smooth transition into this school year. To the students, we send you hugs and high fives and words of encouragement. To the teachers, students and strangers who are about to have a huge impact on these student’s lives and their families we encourage you to be patient and kind and embrace any differences as interesting and wonderful rather than scary and strange.  

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Follow us on Twitter @dislaw
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Follow us on Twitter @justdigit
Shop Amazon Smile
When you shop Amazon Smile, you can support our organization.
Supper Social Club
Join us for dinner and conversation at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables.

September 10, 2018
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Supper Social Club - September 2018
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

09/10/18 6:30pm - 09/10/18 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Dragonfly Training
Watch out for our new training program called Dragonfly.

Coming Soon.
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Follow us on Instagram
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Your Upward Journey
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such a mugs, journals, etc.

Disability Independence Group | Phone: 305-669-2822 | Fax: 304-441-4181