Accessible StoryWalks for National StoryWalk® Week

November 12-18, 2023 is National StoryWalk® Week, sponsored by Let’s Move in Libraries and the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services! This is the third annual week-long event that, as noted in the Let’s Move in Libraries blog, celebrates “the inspiring work of libraries who spearhead StoryWalk® programs—promoting literacy, reading, health, exercise, and movement in communities and neighborhoods across the United States and the world.”

What even is a StoryWalk®? A StoryWalk® is a permanent installation incorporating a children’s story that has been deconstructed, with each page displayed separately along a path for participants to read and enjoy. It is a wonderful way to promote literacy and movement. Libraries are increasingly working to make these StoryWalks® more accessible to individuals of all abilities. Let’s Move in Libraries includes some tips for making StoryWalks® more accessible in their blog post about National StoryWalk® Week. Here are some things to consider when creating a StoryWalk®:

  • Use braille overlays on top of the book displays.
  • Incorporate an audio reading of the story into the StoryWalk®.
  • Provide audio or braille descriptions of the story’s pictures. Depending on the style of your StoryWalk®, you could even outline the pictures with puffy paint for a tactile design that can be felt!
  • Consider the location of your StoryWalk®. Places that are wheelchair accessible with a wide, paved walkway are preferable to uneven, narrow ground.

If you are in Austin, you can visit a braille enhanced StoryWalk® presented through a partnership between the Texas Talking Book Program and Austin Public Library (APL), located at APL’s Windsor Park Branch (833 Westminster Drive). Currently the APL Windsor Park StoryWalk® tells The Three Billy Goats Buenos story by Susan Middleton Elya. You can read more about this braille enhanced accessible StoryWalk® at the Talking Book Program’s June 6, 2023, press release about the launch of this partnership.

Learn more about accessible design and allyship with these books available through the Talking Book Program, and don’t forget to celebrate National StoryWalk® Week!

ACCESSIBLE AMERICA: A HISTORY OF DISABILITY AND DESIGN by Bess Williamson (DB 94027; BR 22552)

WHAT CAN A BODY DO?: HOW WE MEET THE BUILT WORLD by Sara Hendren (DB 100228; BR 23245)

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY: WHAT TO KNOW, WHAT TO SAY, AND HOW TO BE AN ALLY by Emily Ladau (DB 105481; BR 23987)

Remembering Disability Rights Pioneer: Judith Heumann

Judith “Judy” Heumann died on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at the age of 75.

Judy was an American disability rights activist. She was recognized internationally as a leader in the disability community. Heumann was a lifelong civil rights advocate for people with disabilities.

Judy wrote two books that are in our National Library Service Collection.

BEING HEUMANN: AN UNREPENTANT MEMOIR OF A DISABILITY RIGHTS ACTIVIST (DB 100399)

ROLLING WARRIOR: THE INCREDIBLE, SOMETIMES AWKWARD, TRUE STORY OF A REBEL GIRL ON WHEELS WHO HELPED SPARK A REVOLUTION (DB 105457)

She also starred in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Crip Camp” and had a podcast called “The Heumann Perspective.”

Her funeral will be on Wednesday, March 8, at 10 a.m. (EST) in Washington, DC. It will be livestreamed here: www.adaisisrael.org/shiva

To read about her life and numerous accomplishments the field of disability rights, click on this link: www.cbsnews.com/news/judy-heumann-dies-age-75-disability-rights-activist

NOVEMBER 2021 BOOK CLUB TITLE ANNOUNCED!

Please join us on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our Book Club discussion of HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING, by Katherine Schneider, PhD.

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call. All you need to participate is a telephone!

To register, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605; or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.

Dr. Schneider will be joining our discussion. Because author discussions are so popular, we are inviting participants so submit questions beforehand. The deadline for submitting questions is Friday, November 5.

What questions would you like to ask Dr. Schneider? Please send your questions to tpb.ral@tsl.texas.gov, or call the Talking Book Program at 800-252-9605; 512-463-5458 in Austin.

HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING is available by mail as a digital cartridge.  It is also available to download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge, or if you will download it from BARD.

We ask that everyone remember the following:

  • Be courteous and respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.
  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.

HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING

Katherine Schneider, PhD

The author reflects on life with disabilities and aging through seven years of vignettes of her life. She describes her work as a grass-roots activist, her personal life, and her beliefs.  2020. DB 101220; BR 23482

We look forward to having you join us on November 16!

REACH of Plano online meetings

REACH of Plano will be having two Zoom meetings, one this week and one next week.

The first meeting will be a discussion of the book Being Heumann, an autobiography by disability rights activist Judy Heumann. The discussion will take place on Friday, April 24th, from 11 am – noon.

The second meeting will be about COVID-19 resources for Texas residents and individuals who reside in Collin County. Representatives from REACH of Plano, the Talking Book Program, and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities will each present information on a variety of topics of interest to people with disabilities and health conditions during the current pandemic. This meeting will take place on Thursday, April 30th, at 1 pm.

Please send an e-mail to Julie Espinoza at jespinoza@reachcils.org if you are interested in one or both of these meetings.

Lyft Offers Free and Discounted Rides on Election Day

The ride source service Lyft is partnering with national voting and non-profit organizations to provide low cost or free rides to individuals on election day. Many voters admit that transportation is their biggest obstacle to voting in local and national elections.

Lyft is available in all fifty states, but may not be available in local areas. Click here for a list of cities that offer Lyft service: https://www.lyft.com/rider/cities
The Lyft app is available on iOS and Android platforms.

The last day to register in vote in Texas for the November election is October 9th. You can pick up a voter registration application at various places like high schools and public libraries. You can also print a voter registration application here: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp
You must register at least 30 days before the election in order to be eligible to vote.

In many cities the Democratic Party will also provide free rides to polling places. Persons with disabilities may also vote by mail.

For more information on Lyft’s #TheRidetoVote initiative, visit https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2018/8/22/get-out-the-vote
More details will be available closer to Election Day, which is Tuesday, November 6th.

Disability Focus Group Opportunity in the Austin Area

Travis and Williamson counties, which include the cities of Austin, Pflugerville, and Round Rock, are collaborating on a regional housing and economic opportunity study. They’ve hired BBC Research & Consulting to do the assessment. Disability Rights Texas has been asked to host a focus group session specifically for people with disabilities.

Event Information:
Location: Disability Rights Texas, 2222 W Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78758
Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2018
Time 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM (1.5 hours)
Lunch will be provided.

If you’d like to participate, click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeslzsQ8lFceS9ZRH8Etrhak4GM_T53ss4y8ZX2MNtJ33SUEQ/viewform

ABLE Accounts Now Available

Individuals with developmental disabilities in Texas can now set up ABLE financial accounts. These accounts allow people with disabilities to save money for disability-related financial expenses without fear of losing state or federal benefits such as Medicaid and SSDI. In order to be eligible for an ABLE account you have to have a developmental disability that was diagnosed before the age of 26.

For more information about ABLE accounts:
• read the FAQ: https://www.texasable.org/faqs/
• visit the website: TexasABLE.org
• call for information at 844-489-2253; or
• send an email to: customerservice@TexasABLE.org

ABLE Act

The ABLE Act is a piece of legislation, recently passed by Congress and awaiting approval by President Obama, that will allow individuals with disabilities to set up tax free savings accounts.

Historically, being eligible for social service programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other services has meant that persons with disabilities have been mired in poverty because they were not allowed to have more than $2000 in savings. With this legislation, individuals will be able to deposit a maximum of $14,000 per year to use for education, housing, transportation, medical care, and other expenses.

The main limitations of this bill are that each person can only have one ABLE account, and the person must have acquired the disability before the age of 26.

For more information about the ABLE Act, please visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/News.aspx?id=460

Video about Voting Rights

Disability Rights Texas has produced a video called “Your Vote Matters: The Voting Rights of People with Disabilities” You can watch the video, with captioning, by clicking on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOL7VKIwtcE&list=UUdsDDTBu0zKjNiiKfCEoXkQ

To learn more about the voting rights of people with disabilities, call the Voting Rights Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683). You can also access information here: http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/resources/voting/

Service Animals and the Law

“Veterans and Bootz’s Law: Service Animals and Persons with Disabilities in Texas,” was a 19-minute panel discussion produced by the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee and Disability Rights Texas.

The discussion was filmed, and is now available on YouTube. Bootz’s Law, officially known as Texas House Bill 489, outlines the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities regarding the use of service animals.

You can view the video by clicking on this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMHlf7Mc7g0

For more information, you can contact the State Law Library at (512) 463-1722, or go to www.sll.texas.gov. You can also visit this link, through the Texas Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities: governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/resources/assistance_animals/