It’s no longer “Unfinished Business” for one of the most engaging race teams in the history of the show. Undone by the samba and bikinis, Zev Glassenberg made TV history as the first contestant with Asperger Syndrome to take on the always grueling yet fantastically adventurous race around the world. The team challenge is replete with trials, chores, roadblocks and puzzles that test the mettle of the mightiest and bring some of the smartest to tears. Yet friends Justin Kanew and Zev cheerfully stuck out each leg of the race determined to make good on a second chance to win a million dollars — and avoid the mistakes of last season that torpedoed their earlier efforts. Zev deserves special recognition for shining a positive light on Asperger’s and helping the world grow in its understanding of it..
The debate over the safety of the MMR vaccine won’t likely be quieted by this latest news. The British medical journal BMJ today is calling the 1998 Lancet paper that implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism “an elaborate fraud.” The mumps, measles and rubella vaccine has long been suspected by some to play a role in the childhood development of autism. But BMJ editor-in-chief Dr. Fiona Godlee says the “scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud” and that such “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.” Last year, Lancet retracted the study linking MMR to autism, citing faulty scientific research by Andrew Wakefield. BMJ is publishing a three-part investigative series this week to get to the heart of the scare.
I learned a new word today: coulrophobia. The abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns, according to Wikipedia. This particularly phobia was the subject of a segment by Mo Rocca on CBS’ popular Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood. But it made me think about all the other fears – rational or not – that we encounter in life. For young adults, the fear of not making one’s mark on the world ranks right up there. The fear of not finding the right mate, the right career, the right spiritual and social connections are all part of that larger fear. Psychologists say that underlying the fear of clowns is concern about what lies beyond the painted face. There are many unknowns as we enter new interpersonal relationships, new jobs and new social environs. If we let our phobias rule, paralysis can set in. But if we are willing to take a risk and put ourselves out there, we might find a great adventure beyond the painted surface.
Before you get behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to know that you’re up to the task. Headlines abound of drivers distracted by other passengers, cellphones, texting, and even shaving. Even a dog in the car can be a major distraction. But your mental state can affect your driving skills, too. I couldn’t find hard numbers, but AAA says driving while mad or upset is a factor in many accidents. Wait until you calm down before buckling that seat belt. The life you save might just be your own. Remember: Driving really is a privilege, not a right.
Thinking about signing up for courses at your local community college or pursuing a degree at a four-year university? If you have a learning disability, opportunities abound to get help before classes start and even once they’ve begun. Institutions of higher education are reaching out to students with disabilities like never before. And those students are benefiting from an array of colleges offering specialized support programs geared to their special needs. USA TODAY writes about Maryland’s Project Access Summer Institute, a program for high school students with learning disabilities at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md. But there are programs across the country.
Barnes & Noble is expanding its college textbook rental program. It joined Chegg.com and other in renting books online last January. What’s cool about B&N is that you can also rent books from a slew of campus bookstores that it operates. Books rent for at least half off the purchase price. And rental books can be returned either online or in stores within 10 days of your last final exams. B&N won’t say exactly how many colleges and universities are offering the rental program, but hundreds of school are participating, the company says. Borders has a similar rental program, offering 1.4 million textbooks for sale online, including used textbooks for up to 90% off. Why rent? It might not be for everyone but increasingly, that’s the option of choice for college students trying to whittle down the nearly $667 a year they each have to ante up for required course materials, according to an estimate from the National Association of College Stores. Cengage Learning and Follett also offer textbook rentals.
This week (July 26) marks an auspicious occasion: The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While it’s a moment for reflection on the changes the law has wrought, it’s also an opportunity for supporters to push harder for greater inclusion in the workforce of people with disabilities. The numbers have barely budged since this historic legislation was passed two decades ago, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the
Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability. There’s a huge disparity between working-age people with disabilities who say they are employed (21%) vs. the 59% of people without disabilities who are working.
People with disabilities are part of the fabric of American society, notes Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor. In a recent blog post, she urges “friends and colleagues (to) look for ways to support the younger people with disabilities who are beginning their adult and work lives. Young folks – seek out mentors and role models in the multiple communities of which you’re a part, because disability is not our only source of identity.”
When a dog has to go, it has to go. But until recently, there were few “pet relief areas” at the nation’s major airports for service dogs traveling with fliers with disabilities. That’s changing big time, according to USA TODAY. Add Baltimore, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Chicago and Phoenix to the growing list of airports providing doggie bathrooms for four-legged fliers. The Department of Transportation began requiring airports to offer pet relief areas as part of changes made to the Air Carrier Access Act, which spells out travel rights for people with disabilities.