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  • Invisible Barriers: Inclusivity for People With Disabilities

    Image by freepik Inclusivity for people with disabilities doesn’t stop at environmental adjustments to help them gain physical access. Instead, society should take steps to ensure its citizens understand the world from multiple perspectives. Empathy is hardwired in people. Almost everyone has a natural predisposition to empathize, except sometimes it seems with those who are physically different. Imagining life in their shoes may cause cognitive dissonance or imbalance, given that people’s perception of the world is already heavily molded by their experiences. But if they were to try it would still be easy to understand how differently people function with their conditions. Yet, comprehension is separate from action. Regardless of how sympathetic society is, there is still space to improve when it comes to its inclusivity for people with disabilities. Perhaps the difference is between sympathy and empathy. We can usually sympathize without a lot of effort; empathy requires truly getting into the other person’s shoes. The Importance of Inclusivity for People With Disabilities Stand Up or Sit Out by Anthony Candela  is written from the author’s divergent perspective of the world. As an athlete and author dealing with blindness, Anthony explores how he had to work out his routines more carefully than other people. He details the adjustments he had to make to go about his life; his condition often prompting him to veer from life’s typical course. In his memoir, readers get a glimpse of his experiences. They are shown a side of the world they’ve never experienced. While it’s important to acknowledge that life is imperfect for everyone, Anthony hopes that through his memoir, people will understand how much faultier it gets for people like him. He writes not to incite pity from others but to let them know the challenges people with disabilities go through to live in the same society as everyone else. This is the value of exposing the notion of inclusivity for people with disabilities. It’s not only about knowing how to bring them comfort but genuinely stepping into their shoes. It’s not just about ticking boxes and meeting requirements but seeing people’s value for who they are beyond their conditions.   It’s About Social Inclusion Everyone wants to be included. It’s fundamental to human nature to want to belong. Inclusivity for people with disabilities ensures these individuals feel so regardless of their differences. It ensures they encounter equal opportunities to maximize every aspect of their lives. Empathy increases and so does inclusion as society recognizes that the desires of people with disabilities are the same as everyone’s. Inclusion cultivates an environment where disabilities aren’t a source of shame , nor do individuals feel ashamed of their differences. Embracing them leads to their thriving despite their disabilities. Acknowledging that disabilities shouldn’t hinder how they can contribute to the world is the greatest sign of empathy and inclusivity... Image by freepik Inclusivity for people with disabilities ensures that people belong in spite of their differences. It makes them feel a part of the whole, helping to ease the psycho-social burden that may come with their conditions. Such initiatives shouldn’t only enhance their quality of life but also their self-images, changing the world from the inside out. How Can the World Be Made More Inclusive for People With Disabilities Despite society’s positive progression and best intentions, it may still lack proper initiatives toward the best means of inclusivity for people with disabilities. Everyone understands that such inclusion means ensuring these individuals are given the same opportunities. But to what extent should they receive them? There may still be bits of confusion surrounding the intention, mishaps that would occur because of misinterpretations. Hence, in a way, regardless of intentions, there may still be inadequacy in how society includes these groups. Inclusivity for people with disabilities is beyond understanding what diversity is and how it looks in public. Instead, it’s about turning these good intentions into better and proactive behaviors. Putting on Their Shoes but Not Assuming What They Feel There’s a difference between stepping into these individuals’ shoes and assuming how they perceive the world. A thin line separates empathy from imposing one’s perception on another, and people should avoid the latter. It’s important to note that disabilities impact people differently . They represent a diverse group of individuals who may share conditions but not the same experience of life. To foster a better sense of inclusivity for people with disabilities, people should never assume what is possible or impossible for them. This prompts hindrances that may limit their potential. When people assume these details about people with disabilities, they ignore the differences and short-circuit the possibilities of what they could share with the group. What one can endure and adjust to isn’t identical across all people.   With all of this in mind, to presume what people with disabilities are capable of without getting to know them is potentially offensive. It can be associated with stereotyping, which puts everyone in the crowd to similar standards, an unfair way of looking at them.   Of course, it is respectful to be considerate of them, but people must stay away from thinking they know everything about the conditions and lives these individuals live.   If you’re interested to read more about Anthony Candela’s life and how his condition has affected it and how he accomplished his goals, grab a copy of his book  now!

  • A Simple Guide to Treating Blind People with Respect

    Photo by Eren Li Living in a very diverse world requires us to respect people from all walks of life, regardless of their physical appearance and capabilities. Treating [blind] people with respect is an important part of being inclusive. Moreover, respectful behavior helps create a loving environment where people with visual impairments can fully live a normal life and thrive. If you read the heartfelt memoir  by Anthony Candela,] a blind person, it won’t be hard to remember that treating blind people with respect is a must. They are regular people just like us, despite their sometimes unfathomable impairment. Furthermore, it should be a basic aspect of life to treat persons with disabilities equally and to recognize their worth as human beings. They deserve to be treated with fairness in all ways. Respectful treatment forms the foundation of love and acceptance the world needs. Treating blind people with respect breaks the barriers that once held us back from living harmoniously. By respectfully interacting with blind people, we understand their point of view and encourage others to do the same. Here’s How You Can Treat Blind People with Respect: Use First-Person Language When talking to a blind person, it’s best to refer to them as “people who are blind” or “individuals with visual impairments” rather than defining them solely by their disability. We should be aware of how we address them because that can be a first impression lasting for a long time. It’s always a good idea to follow the lead of the blind person you’re talking to. If they introduce themselves using a specific term, including their preferred pronouns, take it as a sign of how they want to be called. Respecting an individual’s choice of language empowers them to carve out their own identity. Introduce yourself by stating your name when meeting a blind person. This helps them know who they are interacting with, establishing a clear ground for communication. When approaching a blind person, always start with “Hello” or “Excuse me” in a friendly but clear manner. We also need to be patient and attentive as we talk with them. Give them time to process information and respond accordingly. Moreover, don’t forget to provide verbal cues indicating you’re still engaged in the conversation. Communicate Clearly When speaking to a blind person, use a normal tone. Avoid talking loudly or speaking to someone else in the vicinity as if the blind person is not present. When in a group setting or in a conversation involving a blind person, address them directly rather than talking through a third party. This way, they can fully participate and engage in the conversation. Remember to provide information or describe visual elements by using vocabulary that’s easy to understand. Be specific and avoid vague statements to avoid confusion. Ask Before Assisting If you believe a blind person may need assistance, always ask before jumping in. Say, “May I help you?” Treating blind people with respect includes respecting their autonomy and allowing them to accept or decline your assistance. Moreover, if a blind person requests assistance, offer your elbow for them to hold onto or ask how you can best assist them. Avoid grabbing or pulling them without their consent. Describe Your Surroundings If you're guiding a blind person, provide relevant information about the environment. Don’t overdo it, but describe obstacles, changes in terrain, or other important details that may affect their mobility. Be specific and detailed when describing the key elements of your surroundings, especially when there are potential potholes, bumps, and other risky parts of the place where you’re at. Ensure all furniture and obstacles are accounted for, primarily if they affect the blind person’s movements. If the environment changes, let them know. More importantly, if there are stairs, ramps, or uneven surfaces, inform the blind person about them. Specify the location, number of steps, or direction of incline so they can tread safely. Respect Personal Boundaries Obtaining consent and asking for permission is always the general rule when treating people with respect. Blind people rely heavily on their sense of touch and spatial awareness. Be mindful of their personal space and avoid touching them without permission. Furthermore, understand that blind people may require more time to process information because of lack of visual input, navigate their surroundings, or complete tasks. Be patient and respectful, and allow them the necessary time they need. Furthermore, blind people use tools or personal belongings to navigate their surroundings. If you need to handle their things, ask for their guidance or explain why you need to do so. Moreover, adapt accordingly when they can move around. For example, if they use a cane or a guide dog, give them space and do not interfere with their mobility aids. Treating Blind People with Respect is a Decent thing to do. All human beings should do likewise with each other. These guidelines for treating blind people with respect are general rules that apply in most situations. However, each person is unique, and preferences may vary for each blind person. If in doubt, it’s always best to politely their talents, skills, and aspirations.

  • Vision of the Future: Heading Toward a Dystopian Society

    Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash Is it possible that we will fall into a dystopian society? Based on our current situation, we may already be in a dystopia. Does the future of our society cross your mind at times? Do you ponder whether there even is a future? Oh, and has there ever been a time when you imagined a dystopia? What would the future look like, especially with regard to our current situation? We are already experiencing distress in some areas in our society, but the thought that it could be far worse is frightening. What Is a Dystopian Society? To begin with, the term dystopia holds a much more profound meaning. Dystopia, a term derived from the Greek language, is a concept that revolves around the idea of an imaginary society, community, or world that is the antithesis of a utopia. In Greek, ' dys' means 'bad' or 'difficult', while 'utopia' refers to an ideal or perfect world. Hence, dystopia paints a vivid picture of a world that is far from perfect, where an oppressive and dehumanizing environment leads to a bleak future. A dystopian society is a world where human rights are violated, individualism is suppressed, and human dignity is trampled upon. This results in a society that is often characterized by chaos, suffering, and despair. Does it sound familiar? The Impact of Technology Technology has advanced throughout the years and continues to pave the way in our society significantly. However, the curiosity of some people if technological advancements may impact the bridge toward a dystopian society is springing up. Whether technology destroys or flattens the bridge toward dystopia is ultimately up to how society utilizes it for the good or the bad. The future is unknown and sounds daunting, but there is always a chance to alter it through our decisions and actions in the present. If we continue to ignore our current situations and let chaos prevail, then dystopia is the endgame for all of us; however, if we do go against it and start journeying in pursuit of peace, perhaps we can prevent dystopia and even succeed in utopia. Technology has a significant impact on our society, and we are highly clinging to it. Simply, nowadays, humanity is dependent on technology. We are unaware of the impact and significance it holds in shaping the future of our society. Are We Currently Living in a Dystopian Society? From the looks of it, it appears to be that we are currently living in a dystopia. But the thing is, if you think this is as bad as it gets, then I'm afraid you might be wrong. Dystopia is far worse than you expect and goes beyond the crisis and distress we face today. It circles frightening injustices, dehumanization, inequality, dangerous levels of waste, inhumane crimes, and any awful human destruction and transgression. In the present, we are not living in dystopia, but we are experiencing human problems and facing societal issues that may worsen if we let the unjustness prevail. Today may not be what we imagined as the future, but the future is now our present reality. Dystopian Novels: An Early Warning System Dystopian fiction, including a dystopian novel about technology, is crucial in enlightening and cautioning individuals about the potential dangers of existing social and political systems. This opens a new door to a dystopian novel about technology that delves into how far people are willing to go when they are frightened, especially in a world where science and technology have the potential to enable extreme actions. Anthony Candela's dystopian novel about technology, Vision Dreams, A Parable, provides a thought-provoking perspective on the nature of a society that values the well-being and humanity of its people above all else. It challenges our perceptions of what it truly means to live in a society that supports our daily happiness and dignity. Are We Ready for the Future? Now that we have gone over some points concerning dystopia, are we prepared for it to happen? Because dystopia is possible if we continue to lean on the wrong. The future of dystopia is also obscure, so we still have a chance to improve our future. It starts with you. If you find dystopian concepts interesting, we highly recommend reading the book Vision Dreams, A Parable. Grab your own copy now and click here.

  • A Regular Guy’s Guide to Loving Your Flaws and All

    Photo by Izzy Park on Unsplash Loving your true self will be challenging in a society that values image, superficiality, and bravado. Still, it will often lead to greater rewards. What does it mean to be just a “regular guy”? Is it someone who doesn’t fit in the mold of societal expectations? Or is it a person who chooses to live authentically and still loves their flaws? Anyone can work towards living life as just a regular guy; however, self-acceptance is not limited to a few people only. As a regular guy, how will you embrace who you are, flaws and all, and find contentment in a world that imposes a narrow definition of success? Defying Social Expectations as A “Regular Guy”’ Expectations from other people are often the ones that weigh us down. It could be from our family, friends, peers, coworkers, etc. Even strangers now have a say on how we should live our lives, especially now that we’re all out in the open in this digital age. To tread the first step towards loving yourself, challenging these expectations is a great way to start the sprint. Moreover, it’s time to redefine our own success and how we want to feel about it once we reach that peak. Remember, the only one who can determine success and fulfillment is ourselves; no one can dictate or take that away. Another essential thing to note is that there is no universal standard of what it means to be successful or happy. Being a regular guy means taking control of your own life, embracing your uniqueness, and believing that your worth is not determined by what society made it out to be. Authenticity Over Image – Which Is Which? It’s not wrong to keep up appearances when we’re in front of other people. After all, it’s all about first impressions, ultimately affecting how we’re treated wherever we go. However, placing importance on authenticity over image can be difficult, especially with how the digital world is obsessed with image. Those not gifted in that aspect might be left out or unknowingly omitted because they don’t fit in with the rest. But true self-acceptance is rooted in being comfortable in your skin and not being afraid to show genuine interest in anything. Moreover, authenticity should not be confused with outright rudeness or unwarranted blunt behavior. When being our true selves, we must still approach others tactfully. After all, we’re regular guys trying to get through a typical day. It won’t hurt to be kind to each other and not lie to ourselves. Staying Humble and On the Ground Life will always humble us, and it’s up to us however we react. Humility plays a significant role in loving our true selves, hopefully picking up that trait. We can’t always be above our own heads, and we forget how to understand and empathize with others. Moreover, being open to growth and self-improvement are vital things that make a person humble. Not to mention that how we receive feedback or criticism tells much more about who we are and our humility. Self-awareness might also play a part, but in the end, the willingness to grow and learn from those flaws is much more than what we choose to show. Moreover, we need to be more open to vulnerability and not be seen as a weakness because it never was. We can harness this trait as a strength to remain humble when life doesn’t go our way. And regular as we are, it’s a superpower we can be proud of. We can stay soft in a world that pressures us to go hard. Embracing Who You Are, Flaws and All While this may be a regular guy’s guide to loving ourselves and embracing our flaws, doing so takes more than practice. It’s a matter of trying every day, down to the most minor things like how we look at ourselves in the mirror, how we choose to start our mornings, and any unexpected situation that may strike. Rather than perpetuating or entertaining the thought of not being enough, being kinder to ourselves is more than enough. Embracing who you are takes a lot of accepting the hideous parts of yourself unconditionally. If we ever feel like we can’t live up to our expectations. In that case, we need to remind ourselves to let go of the desire to conform to everyone else at the expense of becoming someone we’re not proud of. Moreover, we can’t give what we don’t have, so treating ourselves with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness will help us connect with others better. We can even learn more about them in the book “Stand Up or Sit Out” by Anthony R. Candela. As regular guys, we can never keep up with society’s fast-paced standards and the unrealistic means to achieve them. However, embracing our flaws and being comfortable in our own skin will eventually allow us to love ourselves without inhibitions.

  • Copy of Damar Would Demur: Football Will Live On

    by Tony Candela January 10, 2023 Millions of fans, myself included, were tuned into Monday Night Football on January 2, 2023 when about 10 minutes into the first quarter, a routine pass reception ended with a routine tackle. Both players quickly got to their feet. Then, shockingly, the defender, 24-year-old Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin, fell backward, hitting the ground with a thud. The remaining 21 players on the field, no doubt worrying they had just seen someone die, waved frantically to the sidelines for help. They gathered around the fallen player and in various clusters, consoling each other and praying. Medical teams from both sides converged on Mr. Hamlin. Immediately discerning that Damar was in cardiac arrest, they administered CPR and began providing respiratory assistance. Although cardiac arrest is an extremely rare occurrence on a football field, the medical teams, well-trained and well-practiced, acted with amazing quickness and probably saved Mr. Hamlin’s life. The level one trauma teams at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center have done likewise and a week later as I write, Mr. Hamlin is awake, declared “neurologically intact, off the ventilator and Facetiming with his teammates, and making the kind of recovery-progress we all hoped an extremely well-conditioned young man might make. The best-guess even a few days after the accident, is that a one in a billion blow to the heart area at the exact milli-second between cardiac nerve impulses, caused the heart to go still. Indeed, no one can recall it ever happening in professional football. There have been more instances in baseball and hockey over the years. Immediately the drumbeat resounded. “Football is a dangerous sport.” “It should cease to exist in its present form.” Reminders of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a long-standing but only recently acknowledged problem of football’s contribution to brain damage caused by repeated head trauma, continue to ring out. Several cases of death by heart failure in retired players not having reached middle age yet have also been reported. Descriptions of the sport as intrinsically destructive in its most fundamental form rose up as the clarion call for its elimination from the American scene emerged yet again from just under the surface. Comparisons to other beloved sports proved mostly unfavorable to football. Even hockey, perhaps overly stereotyped as a violent sport, pales in comparison. “You can play hockey with only minor (compared to football) body-smashing,” the pundits might say. Only boxing is more directly destructive as a sport; its only goal, even at the amateur level, is to directly inflict enough punishment to the body and head of an opponent to render the opponent either unconscious (knockout), nearly unconscious and disabled (technical knockout), or simply damaged (winner by points). Is rugby, a close relative to football, similarly destructive? After all, players with less protective padding line up and in the ensuing scrum, smash into each other a great deal. An article in Pub Med reported on a comparison of the two sports at the collegiate level over three autumn seasons. Injury-rates were reported per 1000athlete-exposures (AEs). As it turns out, rugby is far more injurious with 4.9/1000 AEs in football versus 15.2/1000 AEs in rugby, including Injuries for the shoulder, wrist/hand, and lower leg and for sprains, fractures, and contusions (4 times higher in rugby). Concussion rates were 1.0/1000 AEs in football versus 2.5/1000 AEs in rugby). Even though we don’t hear about rugby as much in the U.S. as say in the U.K., should not rugby also be in the sports-elimination conversation? The fact is that none of these sports is going to fundamentally change in the near-term. This being the case, the only thing to do until either the sports do change or more powerful protective technology emerges is to continue the drumbeat and force modification of the rules to both preserve the bodies and brains of the athletes as well as the excitement and competitiveness of the sports. These are the things everyone wants, so let’s get them. In the fog of the first few days, we received a dose of healthcare insurance news. Apparently, NFL players are not provided coverage until they have been in the League for 3 years. They are covered for five years after they stop playing. I am concerned that Damar Hamlin lies outside the window. Given the nature of his hospitalization and recovery costs, donors to his go-fund-me account probably have a similar concern. The “wokeness” drumbeat is also resounding. We are reminded of the heavily unbalanced prevalence of black players in football who willingly sacrifice their bodies in order to achieve their dream of playing football at a high level. Damar Hamlin is one such player. We have been asked to search our souls to determine whether each of us is complicit, not only in enjoying the sport despite its destructive aspect, but also at least indirectly fostering systemic racism. I will cop to the former and promise to do more soul-searching about the latter. It is a complicated issue. Black athletes are more like white athletes than we think. They play for the love of the game and hope they are successful enough to earn sufficient remuneration to lift themselves to the vaunted income levels popularized by the hype. Damar Hamlin found himself in a starting role as next man up after an injury to his teammate. In recent interviews, he stated that he was ‘living the dream’ and that he was ‘cherishing every moment’. So was Hamlin’s family. At last Monday’s game, he was spotted hugging his mother just before game time. In fact, family members were permitted to ride with him in the ambulance. If you listen to Damar’s voice when he speaks, you hear a very young man talking. He was just getting started in his professional career, not having earned a whole lot of money yet but still having started a go-fund-me account to raise a mere $2500 for Christmas presents for needy kids. Contributions topped $1 million within 24 hours of his injury. He and his family will unfortunately need a bunch of that money, but I am sure as Damar regains his senses, he will push to buy presents for the kids. If asked, I am equally sure he will demur on the question ‘should football be demolished’. There is one thing to look forward to. This year’s Pro Bowl, football’s all-star game held a week before the Super Bowl, will for the first time eliminate tackling the ball carrier. Instead, they will play Flag Football. The goal is to stop the ball carrier by pulling a colorful flag from his flag-belt, thus stopping play. Ball-kicking, running, and pass-deflection rules are similar to regular football. There are fewer players, typically eight per team) and the field is shorter and narrower than a standard football field. Punting on fourth down is permitted, but the defense is not allowed to rush the punter, but only jump straight up to attempt to block a punt. Blocking is limited for the most part to “screen blocking”; simply put, placing your body in someone’s way but no hitting. The NFL players seem excited about the upcoming Pro Bowl. The great quarterback, Paton Manning is leading the charge, so let’s see how everyone likes it after the game concludes and if any aspect of the competition sparks ideas for fundamental change to the game of football. Anthony R. Candela, Author Saying aloud what should not remain silent.

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