News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

UMaine Welcomes New Advisor of Adult Learners & Students with Disabilities

The Penobscot Bay Pilot recently reported on the University of Maine Hutchinson Center's new appointment of Patricia Libby to the position of coordinator of instruction and student services. According to the article:
Libby will serve as academic advisor, scholarship coordinator, tutor coordinator, Maine Disability Support Services liaison and facilitator to career center resources. She will also serve the UMaine faculty in instructional technology support for instruction and as a key member of the Lifelong Learning Advising Center team, based in UMaine’s Division of Lifelong Learning in Orono.
According to Associate Dean Virginia Nees-Hatlen, "Libby’s background as a veteran advisor and her strong grounding in social work and instructional technology gives the team — now engaged in recruiting adults who want to finish college degrees — great depth and breadth."
For more information, read the complete article.

York Mom with Dyslexia Advocates for Children with Learning Disabilities

Yesterday's Seacoast Online included the article, "New group aims to lift learning disability stigma." The article focuses on Anne Donnell's role as an advocate and activist who seeks to make public education more welcoming, supportive, and accessible to students with learning disabilities.

Donnell was a student in the York school system herself and was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. When she saw her child struggling in familiar ways, she sought out diagnosis and support for her daughter.

From the article:
Donnell is on a mission to reach out to children and adults who struggle with dyslexia or other learning challenges to reduce the stigma, through in-class support and presentations, and monthly forums at the York Public Library.
"It's difficult to change the system itself," Donnell said. "But we can change the environment we learn in. Learning institutions shape our confidence as we grow up. We have the option to make kids walk into school every day and not feel ashamed."
By promoting conversations with students and parents, Donnell said she hopes to create a system where students advocate for one another, and parents aren't ashamed to admit their own struggles.
"Giving parents, students and schools a platform to speak from empowers them," Donnell said.
The article ends with this information: "Donnell will host her next meeting at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. For information, e-mail Donnell at"

To read about other learning disability resources in Maine, see our post on Project DEBUNK.

Morrison Ctr in Scarborough Sells Poinsettias Grown by People with Developmental Disabilities

NECN in southern Maine recently aired the story, "Developmentally disabled Maine Adults growing poinsettias for holidays." The web version, which launches an autoplay video of the news story, can be found here.

Quoting Seedling program director, Kevin Kearns, the story says, in part:

Consumers who buy their plants from the non-profit are getting a good value. For under $20, they take home locally grown, pesticide-free poinsettias.
And these symbols of Christmas carry a powerful message.
"We get so hung up with the shopping and purchasing this time of year," reflects Kearns. "The real wealth in my mind is the ability to touch people's lives and to connect with the community. What I see here at the center every day is just that."
In this greenhouse, both plants and people and nurtured.
Read or watch the story at

Disability Employment PSA Discussion Guide Available in English, Spanish, & DVD

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) recently announced the availability of a discussion guide to accompany the “Because” public service announcement (PSA) distributed earlier this year.

The “Because” PSA has a simple but significant message—that youth with disabilities, like all youth, should grow up expecting to work and succeed, and parents, educators and other adults of influence in their lives should reinforce this expectation at every turn.  The new discussion guide—which comes with a DVD containing the PSA—can be used to facilitate a conversation about this important topic among adults or youth in a variety of settings.  Free of charge, it is available in both English and Spanish.

The "What Can You Do -- Because" PSA can also be viewed on youtube with open captions.

The CDE is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  To order a “Because” discussion guide, as well as associated posters and other materials, visit ODEP’s publications order webpage.  To learn more about the CDE, visit the CDE website