ABILITY 33 ABILITY
MANAGING EDITORPamela K. Johnson
MANAGING HEALTH EDITORE. Thomas Chappell, MD
HEALTH EDITORSGillian Friedman, MDLarry Goldstein, MDNatalia
CONTRIBUTING SENATORU.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
EDITORSDahvi FischerRenne GardnerSonnie GutierrezEve Hill,
JDGlenn LockhartJosh PateDenise Riccobon, RNMaya Sabatello, PhD, JD
Romney Snyder Jane Wollman Rusoff
CONTRIBUTING WRITERSCourtney GaleLinda Boone HuntGale Kamen,
PhDLaurance Johnston, PhDAndrea KardonskyDeborah Max Myles Mellor -
Crossword PuzzlePaula Pearlman, JDRichard PimentelAllen
RuckerKristen McCarthy ThomasBetsy Valnes
HUMOR WRITERSGeorge Covington, JDJeff CharleboisGene Feldman,
WEB EDITORJoy Cortes
GRAPHIC ART/ILLUSTRATIONScott JohnsonPaul KimMelissa Murphy -
PHOTOGRAPHYSki UtahChris Apedaile
The views expressed in this issue maynot be those of ABILITY
Library of Congress Washington D.C. ISSN 1062-5321
Copyright 2008 ABILITY Magazine
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS AFFAIRSJohn Noble, JD
MARKETING/PROMOTIONSJo-Anne BirdwellJacqueline MigellAndrew
NEWSSTAND CIRCULATIONJohn Cappello
NON-PROFITSABILITY AwarenessHabitat for Humanity
7 HEADLINES NYs New Gov, Dancing with Marlee, Errata CVS
10 GREEN PAGES Living With Ed, Fair Trade Goodies
13 BEST PRACTICES Companies Doing It Right
14 STARBUCKS A New Perspective on Diversity
18 PEPSICO Effervescent Corporate Culture
22 SKIING UTAH Everyone Gets to the Mountaintop
28 ACCESSIBLE ALASKA Cruising the Wilderness
30 DRLC Removing Barriers to Education
32 OUCH! The First in a Series on Managing Pain
34 SENATOR HARKIN Voting Access for All
36 BIG BRAIN Does Size Matter?
40 SANDRA LEE How to Cook with Rheumatoid Arthritis
48 ALLEN RUCKER Ahhh! A Trip to the Spa
52 ROHAN MURPHY Paralympic Powerhouse
58 WALTER REED Performing for the Troops
60 CROSSWORD PUZZLE Guess Your Best
62 GEORGE COVINGTON A Great Judge of Black Eye Peas
64 EVENTS & CONFERENCES
74 SUBSCRIBE TO ABILITY MAGAZINE
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ABILITY 55 ABILITY ABILITY 55 ABILITY
n the wake of Elliot Spitzers resignation, NewYork inaugurated
its first black head of state,David Paterson. Hes the countrys
first governorwho is legally blind and the third black governor
of any state since the Reconstruction era. Born inBrooklyn in
1954, he is the son of Basil, a former StateSenator who later
served as Deputy Mayor and NewYorks Secretary of State.
An early childhood infection left David Paterson withlimited
vision. He went on to graduate from ColumbiaUniversity and Hofstra
Law School, has completed aNew York Marathon and is an adjunct
professor atColumbia. He and wife, Michelle, have a son, Alex,13,
and a daughter, Ashley, 19, from her previous mar-riage. Here is an
excerpt from his recent inaugurationspeech:
The last time I was in this chamber I was gaveling infor the
State of the State, and Speaker Silverbrought me in here to
practice so I didnt destroy any-thing in our first year. But in our
second year, I said,Dont bother, I know how to do this.
Apparently, I was about to bring the gavel down on aglass, like
The speaker at the last second grabbed the gavel awayfrom me and
told me in his own inimitable way, I willnot allow you to turn the
State of the State into a Jewishwedding.
In so many ways, we woke this morning to a not-so-ordinary day.
But in one way, we woke this morning toa New York dawn that is like
every other one thatcame before it. For today, like we always do,
Of course, I never expected to have the honor of servingas
governor of New York State. This transition is an his-toric message
to the world that we live among the samevalues that we profess, and
that we are a government of
laws and not individuals. Today we can be proud of
There is work to be done. Theres trust that needs to berestored.
There are issues that need to be addressed. Ifwe are going to build
a viable future for New York, weare going to have to help single
mothers who have twojobs. We are going to have to give children
betterschools, and families who dont have health care
I learned about government right here in this Legisla-ture. I
studied the same issues and had the same expe-riences, hopes and
frustrations as so many other NewYorkers. I am chagrined at the
high cost of educationfor my family. And the prohibitive price of
I have talked to New Yorkers for decades about thecrumbling
upstate economy, the crush of property taxesand the lack of
affordable housing. These are issuesthat we will continue to focus
on and address, but wecan do more.
I have a vision for New York. Its a New York whereachievement is
developed only from hard work, wheredoors are always open and where
anyone can achieveno matter where they live.
Let us, right here and now, grab the unusual opportu-nities that
circumstance has handed us today, and putpersonal politics, party
advantage and power strugglesaside in favor of service in the
interests of the people.
I have worked most of my life for New Yorkers andfought for New
Yorkers. I believe that if we standtogether, our collective talent
will bring us to a bet-ter period.
We dont know the path yet. But thats because wehavent blazed the
trail. And I think you all know thatI know a little bit about
finding ones way throughthe dark.
Let me tell you a little about myself.
I was born in the borough of Brooklyn. I was educatedon Long
Island. Harlem is my home. This is where Ilearned love for family
and appreciation for community.
I have confronted the prejudice of race and challengedthe issues
of my own disability. I have served in govern-ment for over two
decades. I stand willing and able tolead this state to a brighter
future and a better tomor-row. Let me reintroduce myself. I am
David Patersonand I am the governor of New York State.
CALL HIM GOVERNOR:David Paterson Steps Up
he Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) Sum-mer Youth Camp marks
its ninth year with amove to Clarksville, OH. The new
locationaccommodates even more children who have
limb loss or limb difference than was possible in its pre-vious,
Warm Springs, GA, home.
The camp will be held July 20-24 with kids from 10 to16 enjoying
horseback riding, swimming, dancing, fish-ing and more. Theyll also
participate in team-buildingactivities, which will provide an
opportunity to learnfrom peers and junior counselors who are
alsoamputees. The Joy Outdoor Education Center ofClarksville serves
as the host of this years event.
There are an estimated 70,000 children living with limbloss in
the US, according to ACA, a non-profit organi-zation that works for
men and women who have experi-enced an amputation or are born with
This will be the second summer that we have a JuniorCounselor
Program, said Paddy Rossbach, ACA presi-dent and CEO. The six
counselors are former campers;they are now 17 and 18 and have come
back to volunteer.
The camp fee is $500 per child. However, no one willbe excluded
because of a familys inability to pay, Ross-bach said. Fee waiver
forms are available.
For an application go
For more information on ACA
o launch her Dancing With the Stars career, con-testant Marlee
Matlin had been training severalhours a day at this writing. Though
none of thisyears batch of hopefuls had ever danced in the
pro ranks, she had the additional challenge of beingdeaf. But
shes said that has not been a problem.
Though shes never heard a single music note, shesexpected to
step, twirl, dip, smile, clap, spin and jumpin time with the
rhythm. For that, she relies on profes-sional partner, Fabian
Hes my music, she says.
Some of the dances Sanchez modifies a bit so that heand Matlin
are in more physical and/or visual contact.But he maintains that
shes got a natural rhythm and ison time every single time.
Sanchez, a dance instructor from Birmingham, AL, sug-gests that
Matlin might be even easier to train thanmany who can hear because
shes not trying to followthe rhythm on her own.
Matlin is an Emmy-nominated TV vet who won theAcademy Award for
best actress in 1986s Children of aLesser God. She is also a mother
of four, including herinspiration, 12-year-old daughter, Sara, a
hip-hop dancerand fan of the show.
I just want to be the cool mom, Matlin says aboutcompeting.
Her co-stars this season include radio host Adam Carol-la,
magician Penn Jillette, pro football player Jason Tay-lor, tennis
champ Monica Seles, Olympic skater KristiYamaguchi, R&B singer
Mario and actors Steve Gutten-berg, Shannon Elizabeth, Christian de
la Fuente, Priscil-la Presley and Marissa Jaret Winokur. (Each
week,someone gets voted off the show, until they winnowdown to a
Executive producer Conrad Green says assembling adiverse cast
contributes to the shows success. His teamlooks for contestants of
various ages, sizes, abilities andprofessional pursuits. Heather
Mills, who uses a pros-thetic leg, lasted seven weeks last
Its incumbent on everyone in television to try to openup
television to people with disabilities,says Green.
oodwill Industries International and LearningCurve Brands have
joined forces to create a 12-room dollhouse that promotes caring
and sharing,good manners, responsibility around the house
and more. Coming this summer to a store near you, theCaring
Corners Mrs. Goodbee Interactive Dollhousewill cost about $80.
As part of the experience, children are encouraged to fillMrs.
Goodbees Carton of Caring (the box that thedollhouse comes in) with
gently-used clothing and toysthey no longer need and donate them to
Goodwill, a net-work of 184 independent, community-based
organiza-tions in the U.S., Canada and 14 other countries.
Theclothing and toys will be sold in its stores, and the pro-ceeds
will help fund the organizations job training pro-grams in the
various communities it serves.
Donating the things you no longer need is a form ofcharity in
which anyone, regardless of age, can partici-pate, says George W.
Kessinger, president and CEO ofGoodwill Industries International.
GTOY TEACHES KIDS:
Do the Right Thing
NEW ACA CAMP Bigger and Better
THE MUSIC WITHINMatlins Got the Moves
new free web-based service from Sprint Web-CapTel(r) allows a
person who can speak but haschallenges hearing over the phone to
read word-for-word captions of their calls on a web brows-
er. This new service is expected to help an estimated 23million
Americans with hearing loss, who may facechallenges hearing over
We are always looking for ways to offer unique andeasy user
experiences for our customers. This new solu-tion from Sprint will
offer the hard-of-hearing commu-nity the ability to enjoy the
benefits of a natural phoneconversation by accessing real-time
web-based cap-tions, says Mike Ligas, director of Sprint Relay.
With the new service, users can make and receive callson their
own telephone, cell phone, land-line or even anamplified phone.
During the call, if they have difficultyhearing what is being said,
they can log into a dedicatedwebsite and read written captions of
everything theircaller says. Captions appear virtually at the same
time asthe person speaks, allowing users to enjoy a natural
This new service is available almost anywhere with aphone and
internet access on a computer. Even usingamplified phones, the
WebCapTel(r) will capture theaudio of the person speaking to the
user and will changespoken sounds into words that can be read. When
dis-played on a web browser, the user can change the fontsize,
color and even background. When a call is com-pleted, the user can
save the captioned conversation forlater review, allowing the user
to concentrate on beinginvolved in the conversation.
WebCapTel puts people with hearing loss back in con-trol of
their own telephone conversationsany time,anywhereby capitalizing
on the convenience andprevalence of the Internet, states Robert
Engelke, pres-ident of Ultratec, Inc., the company that developed
It gives people with hearing loss the confidence to relyon their
telephones again, leveling the playing field forprofessional
opportunities, in social situations, and inmatters of personal
The service is free to Sprint customers anywhere in theUnited
States and within the US territories. However,calls to or from
international locations, such as Canadaor Mexico, are not
To learn more visit:www.sprintcaptel.com
ost Baby Boomers underestimate their risk ofacquiring a
disability that would cause them tomiss work for an extended period
of time,according to a new survey conducted by Harris
Interactive on behalf of Americas Health InsurancePlans (AHIP).
The study also found that Baby Boomersare unaware of the most
common causes of disabilityand dont seem to be too concerned about
This lack of awareness presents a significant threat totheir
continued financial security, said Karen Ignagni,president and CEO
of AHIP. When individuals under-estimate their risk of disability,
they are less likely toprotect their income and are more vulnerable
to thefinancial hardship that a disability can cause.
More than a third of Baby Boomers think the chances ofbecoming
disabled due to illness or injury is five per-cent or less, a
slight majority think the chances are 10percent or less, and
two-thirds think the chances are 20percent or less. In reality, a
worker has a 30 percentchance of acquiring a disabling injury or
illness causinghim or her to miss three or more months of work
beforereaching retirement, according to the Social
The survey also found that nearly half (47 percent) ofBaby
Boomers say they are not too concerned about theprospect of a
disabling injury or illness.
One of the reasons Boomers underestimate their risk isthe
mistaken belief that injuries cause more disabilitiesthan
illnesses. According to the survey, Boomers believethe most common
causes of disability are back, muscle orjoint problems (26
percent), injuries on the job (18 per-cent) and injuries off the
job (16 percent). However,research shows that the most common
causes of disabilityare illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and
The survey found that most Baby Boomers accuratelybelieve they
are more likely to acquire a disability thanpremature death and
that most disabilities occur outsideof the workplace.
For more on the survey findings go
and children can explore how their donations go towardputting
people to work and building stronger communities.
Children can feel good because their donations willhelp people
earn a paycheck, which helps them supportthemselves and their
families, says Kessinger.
Goodwill, which has 2,100 retail stores nationwide, alsoprovides
employment services, job placement opportu-nities and
Correction: In our last issue, we misquoted CVSs EileenHoward
Dunn. We wrote that her programs aim to help childrenlearn, play
and feed, when she actually said that they aredesigned to help them
learn, play and succeed. The erroroccurred in transcription.
CAPTIONED CONVERSATIONSSprint Adds New Bells & Whistles
BOOMERS VULNERABLEGroup Underestimates Risk
YOU, TOO, CAN LIVE WITH ED
Sometimes I wonder how my husband puts up with some of my
greenie antics (likepouring a hundred pounds of concrete into the
middle of the backyard lawn so I canhave an outdoor clothesline),
but when we sit back and watch Living With Ed, I feeltotally
vindicated and give him a good punch in the arm, saying, See??? I
doing all this stuff to the house!
If you havent caught an episode of this HGTV show, youre missing
out on someserious eco-cool, not to mention quite a few laughs).
Hosted by long-time envi-ronmentalist/uber-greenie Ed Begley, Jr.
and his wife of 13 years, Rachelle Car-son, Living With Ed is sort
of The Odd Couple meets Green Acres meetsLifestyles of the Rich Yet
Responsible. The show follows Begley and Carsonaround as he works
to save the world and she, while also concerned aboutglobal warming
and the like, craves a really, really long shower once in
Their show, now in its second season, is full of great
information and quickgreen tips. Even better, Living With Ed:
Season 1 is now out on DVD. SoIum, youcan kick it with the Begleys
anytime youd like!
Its more a matter of habit than anything. We clear the table,
rinse thedishes and plop them into the dishwasher. Isnt that akin
to hosing our-selves down before we get into the shower? Fact is,
unless your dish-washer is ancient, rinsing dishes, glasses and
utensils is unnecessary,not to mention wasteful. Simply scrape off
any particles with a wetsponge and load away!
Next best: If you must rinse your dishes (either because you had
a par-ticularly messy meal or you run your washer infrequently),
you can fill
the sink with water once and give your dishes a quick dip,
rather thanrunning the faucet.
Also, you know that sprayer do-hickey that tends to sit idly by
while yourinse your dishes with water from the faucet? Give it a
go! Like a shower-
head, kitchen sprayers break the water stream into tiny
droplets. According tothe Environmental Protection Agency, spray
taps use 50 percent to 90 percentless water to rinse than when you
use the faucet.
The other thing to consider is that the hours following dinner
tend to behigh-demand energy usage times. You can cut energy costs
by running the
dishwasher later in the evening, perhaps before you turn in at
night.Also, half-full dish loads are a huge waste of water and
energy, as yourdishwasher uses the same amount no matter how much
is in it. So be sureto load it up before you hit start and dont
forget to put the dry settingto energy-saver. Every penny
Spring has sprung, and the summer months are edging closer. If
yourelucky enough to have an air conditioner (I, unfortunately, am
not), you need
to remember thatjust like your furnaceit needssome yearly
Be sure to check out your units air filters once a monthand
clean or replace filters, as necessary. Keeping filtersclean can
cut energy consumption by 5 percent to 15percent. Also, make sure
that the drain channels andcoils on outdoor units are not
To keep cooling costs down, run the forced-air systemsfannot the
air conditionerto maintain a comfortabletemperature. Simply flip
the thermostat to fan only torecycle air throughout the house.
Also, while I can only guess (pout) how tempting itmust be to
crank the A/C when its 90-plus degrees out-side, keep the
thermostat at 78 degrees when yourehome. When no one will be there,
set the thermostat at85 degrees. That way, you reduce the need for
air condi-tioning, save energy and have extra cash on hand foryour
Labor Day barbecue.
Lastly, if you have ceiling or other fans, turn them on.The
blowing air can make you feel five degrees cooler.Fans also use a
lot less electricity than air conditioners!
Want to show your true love that your intentions arepure and
make up for whatever you have or haventdone lately? While youre at
it, why not be a littleyou knowresponsible while kissing your
Organic chocolate is produced without most syntheticpesticides
and fertilizers or genetic modification. Grow-ers also emphasize
the use of renewable resources andconserving soil and water to
enhance environmentalquality. Search for organic chocolate online
or look foroptions at natural and gourmet grocery stores.
Fair Trade chocolate is produced by farmers and work-ers in
developing nations who receive a fair price fortheir product. Trade
is done directly between farmer-owned cooperatives and buyers.
Crops are grown usingsoil and water conservation measures that
restrict theuse of harmful pesticides.
Rainforest Alliance chocolate is grown using
integratedpest-management systems that limit the use of pesti-cides
and fertilizers. Crops are grown using water-, soil-and
wildlife-habitat conservation measures. Farm labor-ers are paid
salaries and benefits equal to or greater thanthe legal minimum
wage of their countries.
Organic flowers are grown without most synthetic pesti-cides and
fertilizers or genetic modification. Growersalso emphasize the use
of renewable resources and con-serving soil and water to enhance
Veriflora flowers are grown using water-, soil-,
andhabitat-conservation measures. The use of pesticidesand
fertilizers is also restricted. Farm laborers are com-pensated and
protected according to international,national or local
As with the chocolates, Fair Trade flowers are producedby
farmers and workers in developing nations whoreceive a fair price
for their product, and trade is direct.Soil and water conservation
measures restrict the use ofpesticides.
Biodynamic flowers are grown without the use of syn-thetic
pesticides, fertilizers, genetic engineering or ani-mal
by-products. Additionally, flowers may not begrown in areas subject
to strong electromagnetic fields.
If you live in a temperate area, buying local flowers,which may
or may not be certified, is another option. Tofind out if theres a
seller near you, check Local Harvest,a searchable database of local
by Kristen McCarthy Thomas
To learn more about these labels, visit the eco
Kristen McCarthy Thomas is a public relations specialist with an
integrat-ed marketing communications company in Southern
California. Sheleads the companys Environmental and Sustainability
Task Forces, andhelps the companys 70-plus associates green up.
Kristen writes the www.just2hands.blogspot.com, which well
occasional-ly excerpt here. She is writing a book on how parents
can reduce theirfamilys environmental footprint through inexpensive
(if not money-sav-ing), easy-to-understand steps, as well as how to
pass the torch of envi-ronmentalism to the next generation, not
only by action, but example.
Asense of humor opens doors and welcomes peo-ple into your life.
It breaks down barriers andcan even lead to a date. When I see
someone Imattracted to, I go up to her, bang my wheelchair into
hershin and then run over her feet. I roll away quickly, butthe
back of my chair reads, HOW AM I DRIVING?CALL (626) 446-77... If
she calls, I know she has asense of humor.
Laughter puts people at ease, especially those who maybe
uncomfortable interacting with a person who has adisability. (And
weve all met those types!) When Imake fun of myself, others realize
that I am comfortablein my own skin, and theyre more likely to
loosen up. Imight lead off with something like: Every time I go
outwith my friends, they put my wheelchair in the frontseat and me
in the trunk. Whats up with that? Then Imight follow up with, A lot
of people ask me if sex isstill the same as it was before my
injury. I say, Hell no,prices have skyrocketed!
I have been a professional sit down comedian formore than 20
years, and part of my routine deals withdisability-related issues.
When people come up to meafter a show and want to tell me a joke
rather than askwhat happened to me, I know theyve looked past
mydisability and focused on my humor.
Humor also helps get me through the day, which ismore
challenging for those of us who are disabled.Some unforeseen
headache often arises: I fall out ofmy wheelchair; I get a flat
tire; my seat cushion getspunctured Its not pretty, but then again
neither isTori Spelling, and somehow weve managed to put upwith her
all these years
Humor is important in a relationship, too. Its funny tolook at
the other persons face when youre makingloveor in the mirror if
youre doing it solo. Humor isthe backbone of a relationship, and if
you dont have abackbone then youre going to run into trouble.
Goahead have some fun. If your wife gets mad at you, cuther hair
while shes sleeping. That stuff cracks me up.Really, its good,
clean fun for the whole family.
Sometimes I make fun of something Ive read in thenews. For
instance, a quadriplegic was recently thrownout of his wheelchair
by a Florida cop. This is anexcerpt from my humor blog about
Cops and Drops
I guess by now weve all seen the video of the copdumping the
quad out of the wheelchair. This broughtback fond memories of my
Yes dear, Ill wash your car. Just please, dont do
thatwheelbarrow thing to me again.
Anyway, what was that police officer clown thinking?This
particular clown was a woman, FYI. Thats right, apolicewoman. So
this witch-in-blue tosses this fellow onthe ground. What for? It
wasnt like he banged her inthe shin and asked her for a date.
The video was, to say the least, disturbing. I thought Iwas
watching an old Andy Griffith episode whereDeputy Fife pulls up his
pants and says in his highpitched voice, Ange, you cant trust these
gimps inwheelchairs; theyre mighty sneaky. What we got here isa
faker! Next thing you know, old Barney dumps himon the floor, next
to Otis, while Goober stands wide-eyed at the door singing out,
That policewoman was an animal. Where did this pigget the idea
to act like a jackass? I havent read theAmericans With Disabilities
Act from cover to coverthough Im sure its a page-turnerbut Ive got
acrazy suspicion that chucking people out of theirwheelchairs is a
no-no. Maybe theres some newwacky law that says you can only read
someone theirrights if theyre floundering on the floor with
threebroken ribs. Come on, you cant treat human beingslike thatonly
Im curious to hear her defense. Did she recently switchto decaf?
Did she need an extra set of wheels. I canhear her now: Well a call
came in for a 402 inprogress, and we were out of squad cars, so I
figured Icould borrow the wheelchair and make a siren soundwith my
mouth while I pursued the robber. I figured thegimp could chill on
the filthy station floor til I got backin a couple of hours.
Hey Dirty Rotten Copper, weve got murderers, rapistsand drug
dealers ruining our neighborhoods. Chaseafter them! You should beat
down the Crips instead ofthe cripples. Starsky and Hutch would both
be ashamedof you.
Thats all for now folks. Please dont forget to tip yourwaitress
on the way out.
by Jeff CharleboisHam on a Roll
COOL BEANSDiversity Brews at Starbucks
On the retail side, Starbucks is known for making atasty cup of
joe, teaching us a sprinkling of Ital-ian and retailing everything
from mugs to musicto books. On the far side of the counter, they
get kudosfor working in harmony with the worlds coffee growers,as
well as for being an employee-friendly corporation.(How bout that
health insurance for part-timers!)
Recently we caught up with the Seattle-based compa-nys Laura
Swapp and Marthalee Galeota. Swapp is theglobal director of
Diversity and Inclusion, while Galeotais the program manager of
Accessibility. We spoke withthem about Starbucks expansive concept
Chet Cooper: Lets talk about what you might considerbest
practices for Starbucks.
Marthalee Galeota: For us, the key thing is not to look
atdisability or accessibility as a stand-alone, but to look atit
more broadly throughout the entire company. If wedesign a product,
a program, a DVD or a service, thenwe use universal design
(barrier-free) approaches andthink through the different aspects of
disability early inthe game. That way we can bump up the
companysability to engage a broader scope of people, whether
itscustomers or employees. Weve also set the stage forsomeone who
might be aging or in an accident or other-wise become
disabled-temporarily or permanently-tohave a place that is
comfortable and accessible.
Laura Swapp: One of our guiding principles is toembrace
diversity as an essential component in the waywe do business. We
define diversity as encompassing allthe things that would touch
equal opportunity, inclusionor accessibility. And so we build
accessibility into theplatform of our larger diversity efforts.
Cooper: So youre tapping a model similar to whatsbeing used in
the housing market, where they talk aboutpeople being able to age
in place. But youre using uni-versal design in an even broader
context for bothemployees and customers, right?
Galeota: Yes. Its a more holistic approach. Id also addthat for
many people who are deaf or identify with thedeaf community, were
exploring a deaf-friendly workenvironment, and how we might promote
that. So whenwe have multicultural marketing or a multicultural
ini-tiative, we want to make sure that we also include deafpeople
Cooper: Thats interesting. I was recently invited on a tripon
the largest cruise ship in the world. The voyage waschartered, and
nearly everyone on the ship was deaf.
Galeota: I had friends who went on that cruise. Theyloved it.
You know, when youre in a place where every-
thing is totally accessible, and in your own language, itmakes a
Cooper: Thats true. Royal Caribbean even taught theirstaff some
sign language. There were a lot of challengesbecause there were
many languages on that ship. As youknow, theres American Sign
Language, Universal SignLanguage and several others. It was
fascinating towatch and try to communicate, across the different
Down the line, do you think of having your partnerstake sign
language classes internally, so they canrespond and communicate to
partners or customerswho sign?
Galeota: At a lot of our stores where there are deafbaristas or
deaf store managers, some partners do getintrigued and take classes
on their own. Sometimes alocal group will teach sign language. In
Canada, weconnected with the Canadian Helen Keller Center, andthey
actually provided classes for our people.
On occasion customers have come in, and when theyrealized that
their barista was deaf, theyve gone home,gone online and learned
how to sign the name of theirdrink. Then theyve come back and
signed it to theirbarista. So definitely, the culture and language
is onethat we support and encourage people to understand ona deeper
level. I do some of the interpreting here at Star-bucks and
coordinate our interpreters.
Cooper: Im not sure if you are aware of this, but withCanadian
Sign Language, they have to add an Eh? tothe end of everything.
Galeota: We also have a service-animal policy andclasses on
accessibility and disability here at our build-ing, including
accommodating members of the deafcommunity. Weve made sure that our
video and Inter-net news broadcasts both have closed captioning.
Wedid a pilot in one of the stores using Braille and largeprint
menus, so were looking at a variety of things wecan do.
The other thing that we have here in this building is a net-work
of partners who have identified themselves as hav-ing a disability
or who want to be an ally for accessibility.Theyve gotten together
and identified themselves as theStarbucks Access Alliance to help
guide the companyaround issues relating to disability and
Cooper: Starbucks appears to be doing more than manyother
companies that weve spoken with. How are youso effective?
Swapp: Marthalee has brought us a lot of expertise andserved as
the architect of our plan. I think were also a
bit different, because, aswe mentioned earlier,we consider
accessibilitya part of diversity.
Cooper: Right. Foryears theres been apush by advocates toremind
companies thatdisability should beincluded in diversity.
Sometimes they think only in terms of certain accommo-dations
when a person is hired, but not much beyondthat. So was that
actually a part of the charter of thecompany when it was
Swapp: No, diversity became one of the guiding princi-ples after
the company had been in existence for a while.But we now see it as
a critical component to our work.
Chet Cooper: Are you involved with the Business Lead-ership
Networks (BLNs) in your area?
Marthalee Galeota: Yes, were new board members withthe U.S.
Cooper: Do you know what your role will be?
Laura Swapp: Were still figuring that out. Were pri-oritizing
the national relationship and figuring outwhat were doing locally.
Our strategic partnership ini-tiative defines what organizations we
engage with, andhow we bring them into partnership with the
Starbucksfamily at multiple touch points. So this is one of
therelationships within that program.
We will continue to look at how we partner with
variouscommunities: African-American, Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgender,
Latino, disability There are other orga-nizations that weve worked
with or will work with todetermine how we move forward in this
phase.Marthalee will identify what the multiple touch pointswill
be, and how we will roll those out. Obviously,headquarters is just
one small piece of our world, andits really more about how we
engage our field opera-tions in these partnerships.
Cooper: Given what youve learned, what is Starbucksdoing that
you would like to see other companies do,and how can one expand
these concepts from the localto the global?
Swapp: Again, a holistic approach is very important. Sowere
always focused on the policies, standards andguidelines inside our
company that support a disability-friendly environment.
Were inquiring about education and awareness oppor-tunities. For
us that could be offering specific coursessuch as disability
etiquette, deaf-friendly culture or inte-gration into other core
areas that we believe wouldenhance awareness. Marthalee reviews all
the marketingthat leaves the building from an accessibility
standpoint.So, what we would say to other companies is to
recog-nize that increasing accessibility and diversity
requirepulling multiple triggers.
Cooper: You just had a shift in leadership at the top.How does
that affect your division?
Swapp: We feel really optimistic about the support fordiversity
work with this leadership team.
Cooper: Is there anything else that you wanted to talkabout or
Galeota: Just this year, (chairman and CEO) HowardShultz
participated in Great Hires, a video that show-cases the benefit of
employing individuals with signifi-cant disabilities. The project
was produced by the KingCounty developmental disabilities group,
King 5 TVand the Washington (State) Initiative for
SupportiveEmployment. The video highlighted three
differentcompanies, including Starbucks, which are reaching outto
people with disabilities in employment. Its been seennationwide, in
Europe and in Australia. Its even onYouTube, and encapsulates our
In our stores, in particular, we strive to make
everythingaccessible to all of our customers. Usually they order
abeverage, wait while it is being made and then pick itup. But each
of our stores has a sign at the register thatoffers customers
assistance if they would like us to carrytheir order to their
table. Customers using wheelchairshave let us know how much they
appreciate this. Oneletter of thanks came all the way from a
customer inEngland, who wrote: I am very restricted in mobilitydue
to severe arthritis. The service received was excel-lent without a
Closer to home, one of our baristas was searching foran avenue
to reach out to the community. Since Star-bucks is an avid promoter
and supporter of literacy, thebarista came up with the idea of
holding a monthlyChildrens Story Hour and partnering with the
NationalBraille Press by using their selections from the Chil-drens
Braille Book of the Month Club. The barista is
Universal Design by Tony Gale
legally blind and wanted to take our support of literacyto a
different level. Children and parents gather eachmonth to enjoy the
stories that the barista reads to themin Braille.
Cooper: Can you talk a little bit about how youapproach
accessibility for both consumer and partnerwhen you build out a new
Galeota: In the US, we follow Americans With Disabili-ty Act
guidelines. The aisles in the stores are sometimesan issue because
things get moved and baskets of coffeebeans are here and there,
which makes it a little bit diffi-cult for people to come through
who might be usingwheelchairs or canes. So in training baristas, we
high-light accessibility so that people realize they need tokeep
Theres also a table thats a bit oversized for peoplewho use
wheelchairs. It used to be a bit taller with adecal on it that
said: For our disabled customers. But itstuck out like a sore
thumb, so now its the same heightas the rest of the furniture and
blends in. The verbiageon it now reads, For customers with
Cooper: Anything else?
Galeota: Also, the hand-off plane-where customersbeverages and
foods are placed-has been lowered innew stores. When it was higher,
people of short statureor people in wheelchairs would have
difficultly gettingtheir drinks. Our drive-throughs are still a
place whereyou order by talking into a little machine, and
thebarista inside hears you. But for people who are deaf,we put
language on the drive-through menu board thatwelcomes them to go
right up to the first window andorder from there. They can write
out what they want orcommunicate however they choose.
One of our corporate architects is very involved with the
Leed model. Hes on the board with the national groupand is
working to get more of a universal design, ratherthan just the
(less stringent) ADA features that you haveto follow. The Leed
model is about building in a waythat is environmentally
Cooper: Then youre also looking at the products usedand the
Galeota: Right. Its all of that: the energy, the lighting,how
you take advantage of the sun or the way the storeis oriented on
the land that you have-all of that. Thathas already been built into
the Leed model. What has-nt been there is the more holistic,
universal accessibil-ity features.
Cooper: In our Green Pages section, we write abouthow a
healthier planet leads to healthier people,because a lot of whats
going on in the environment con-tributes to disabilities. Regarding
recycling, have youlooked at a program where people bring their
cups backin and you recycle them?
Swapp: Thats something thats handled on a market-by-market
basis. A lot of municipalities dont have the abil-ity to recycle on
a commercial level. But we do back-of-the-house recycling in a
majority of our stores, wherespace and facilities permit.
Galeota: Any other questions?
Cooper: Yes. Can I get a nonfat soy....
For more information about the company go
To watch the Great Hires video,
Partner Network with Deb Dagit
During the recent Super Bowl, millions of viewerscaught a Pepsi
commercial, one that some sayrepresents an historic first. The
unusual ad fea-tured a silent, 60-second joke: Two guys drive to
theirfriend Bobs house to watch the big game. Once theyget to his
street, neither remembers his address. So theysit in the car
arguing in sign language until one of themgets a clever idea and
lays on the horn. One by one, thehouses light up-except for
Clay Broussard, who plays Bob, also developed thecommercial and
has worked for PepsiCo in Dallas for27 years. Though he is not
deaf, the two actors who playhis friends, Brian Dowling and Darren
Therriault, are.Theyre also Broussards coworkers and members
ofPepsiCos EnAble, an employee network for associateswith different
abilities and for caregivers. The three-year-old organization was
founded to influence and pro-vide guidance to the company, which
also owns FritoLay, Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker, so that
peoplewith different abilities were included at all levels. Nowmore
than 300 PepsiCo associates strong, EnAble haschapters in New York,
California, Ohio, Washington,Arizona, Florida and Texas.
Chet Cooper: How did you get involved with EnAble?
Clay Broussard: I have some familiarity with deaf cul-ture, so
EnAble interested me; I joined to see what Icould contribute. We
have a real culture of diversityand inclusion among our various
employee networks at Pepsi.
Cooper: How did you get familiar with the deaf culture?
Broussard: My wife and I attended a church whereeverything was
entirely in sign language for seven oreight years. There was no
voicing of anything at all. Sothat was a real immersion.
Cooper: How did you choose that particular church?
Broussard: In the congregation that we were part of atthe time,
there were a couple of deaf people and therewas some interpreting.
The deaf people became ourfriends and taught some of us sign
language. As thatgroup grew, there was enough people to form a
newcongregation where sermons could be held completelyin sign
language, and where the topics would beaddressed directly in the
native language rather thaninterpreted. Sign language interpreting
is not a directway of communicating with deaf people.
Cooper: In the new congregation, what was the percent-age of
people who were deaf, and what was the percent-age of people, such
as yourself and your wife?
Broussard: We talked about keeping track, but con-sciously
decided not to because we figured were notcounting how many black
people or white people are
here, so why would we count the number of deaf vs.hearing? Im
one of Jehovahs Witnesses, and we sup-port all kinds of languages.
So it was an outgrowth ofour work in that community in terms of
education, and Iwould say theres probably now a hundred or so
congre-gations across the U.S. that are conducted entirely insign
Cooper: You say now. Do you think you were one ofthe first?
Broussard: I think we were among the first 40.
Cooper: So did that experience draw you into what wasgoing on
within your work?
Broussard: What happened was a local chapter ofEnAble formed
here in Dallas, and I thought: Thissounds pretty cool. As I have
some experience with thisaspect of diversity, why dont I see what I
can con-tribute? I joined and started listening to the goals
andmissions that EnAble had locally. You may not haveheard this,
but EnAble wants PepsiCo to be the brand ofchoice and the employer
of choice among people withdifferent abilities. And so we talked
about objectives,such as accommodation and acceptability, which
fosterthe conditions for being an employer of choice.
Becoming the brand of choice is more esoteric for peo-ple. How
do you get to that? You can do it through tra-ditional means, such
as participating in Multiple Sclero-sis walks and activities such
as that, but I thought: Howcan we bring it into marketing and
advertising and real-ly demonstrate to the outside world what our
culture isall about at PepsiCo? Because Im familiar with the
deafculture, I thought: Lets borrow a joke from it and tell itthe
PepsiCo way, featuring our products and our peopleand do it in a
language that the rest of the world can getand find humorous.
Cooper: Did you run into any bottlenecks within thecompany?
Broussard: (laughs) As a soft drink company, we try toavoid
bottlenecks. Fortunately, everybody from the top tothe bottom of
this organization who heard about the con-cept was intrigued by it.
For some, it was a little esoteric,so we had to make a demo
version. But once we got thedemo finished, people could see it, and
they got excited.
Cooper: It became tangible. So how did you make thedemo?
Broussard: First I hired an artist to do a storyboard ofthe ad
concept. We then took the storyboard and floatedit past deaf
employees inside PepsiCo to say, What doyou think of this? Is it
right? Does it match the culture?How would it be received by both
the deaf communityand the hearing community? This group remained
onthe project throughout as consultants.
Once we had their input, I went to marketing and said,Heres an
idea that the employee network EnAble isexploring. Tell me what
your advice and counsel wouldbe. And they gave us some great advice
about focus-groups studies and achieving authenticity and
thingslike that. So we did focus groups and asked maybe 10 or12
questions to get feedback. Nearly all the surveyresponses we got
were incredibly positive, with lessthan three percent coming back
with anything negative.
Cooper: Those were probably the people who fell asleepduring the
Broussard: (laughs) So then my senior executiveallowed me to go
forward with the demo. I hired a localvideo production company to
do it, and we used all Pep-siCo employees. The hardest part was
convincing mywife to let me use our house.
Cooper: Was that your house in the commercial?
Broussard: No, we only used it in the demo, which wasa bit
different. In that version, we started inside a houseand showed
them watching a game. After we shot thedemo, my senior executive
presented it to the seniorexecutive level team, and there was
immediate enthusi-asm. They green-lighted the project and said, We
wantto fast-track this to the Super Bowl and give it as broadan
audience as we can.
Cooper: And the rest is history So whats next for you?
Broussard: Ive been asked, Are there follow-up con-cepts? There
are a couple of concepts were consider-ing. Im still a little new
to the mysteries of marketing. I
dont know how those things get determined. But wevegot ideas to
Cooper: So those ideas will be sent up the flagpole theway you
Broussard: Yeah, and I think marketing will determineif its
something we want to pursue. But in the mean-time, the Super Bowl
ad is getting distributed over theInternet, which has really been
huge. While the SuperBowl attracted 90 million households, whats
interest-ing is that when content on the Internet goes
viral-millions upon millions of people forwarding it along
tofriends and coworkers-it can potentially reach evenmore
The reception the ad received on the Internet wastremendous,
beyond anything I would have conceivedof, and it quickly went to,
like, number three onYouTube. Ive been told that of the 90 million
viewerswho watched in on TV, one in 10 households had some-body
deaf or hard of hearing in the household.
Cooper: I think there are roughly 28 million people thatare deaf
Broussard: It struck me what a large percentage of thecommunity
would identify with the ad. We wanted totell a story that featured
diversity and inclusion in a waythat would appeal to a broad
audience and in a way thatwas humorous.
Cooper: I think humor is a common denominator.
Broussard: On the business end, we figured: This has aclassic
element of typical PepsiCo advertising: fun,humor and a good
Cooper: What other activities are you working on?
Broussard: There are some things that Im working on.We had a
large company reach out to us after the adwas shown, saying, Were
interested in talking aboutaccessibility awareness, would PepsiCo
considerworking with us on that? So thats something werediscussing
Cooper: Thats interesting, that you might provideawareness
training to other companies.
Broussard: Im currently working with the Dallas May-ors
Committee for the Employment of Persons withDisabilities-a forum of
businesses in the Dallas metro-plex - to determine how to create
awareness of this topicinside our community. Last year we sponsored
a break-fast for local area HR people on the topic of onboard-ing
persons of different abilities. There are other thingsIm working
on, but cant talk about yet.
The chapter of EnAble that Im with had a kickoff
meeting for 2008 recently, and we talked about what we want to
accomplish thisyear. Different people volunteered for various
Cooper: I noticed youre not saying people with disabilities,
youre saying peo-ple with different abilities.
Broussard: Thats very conscious on our part.
Cooper: Theres been a lot of talk within the disability movement
about language,such as people first language, the word disability.
Even though the wordhandicappedhas been dropped, its still a
struggle to use the word, disability.
Broussard: I dont know if its offensive to people, necessarily,
but you know, wereall-what is the common expression? Were all
temporarily able-bodied. What Ithink Bobs House did is give the
outside world a glimpse, not just into deaf cul-ture, but a glimpse
into PepsiCo culture. Senior leaderships advocacy of the con-cept
of Bobs House and their willingness to get behind it all the way to
SuperBowl, I dont think could happen in just any organization. I
think PepsiCo is lead-ing the way in the 21st century for how other
organizations will become over time.
Cooper: Would you say your chapter is more active than other
Broussard: I wouldnt say that. Everybody brings something
different to the table.
Cooper: Do you have meetings where all of the EnAble chapters
Broussard: We have some national meetings where representatives
from each chap-ter assemble.
Cooper: In person?
Broussard: I believe so, yes. Ive not attended one yet. There
are other employeenetworks, such as the Womens Initiative Network
(WIN), the Black ProfessionalsAssociation (BPA), and a Latino-based
organization called Adelante.
Cooper: Of course EnAble cuts across all those groups.
Broussard: We believe that EnAble is the most diverse of any
network, because theissues that were dealing with are so
Cooper: Its not gender-specific, its not race-specific, its
across the board.
Broussard: Yes. And its not dealing just with individuals who
represent that com-munity, but caregivers who support those
individuals in that community. The NewYork chapter is doing a lot
around autism. I know one of the gentlemen involvedwith it there,
and he shared some incredible statistics-that one in 10 boys is
some-where on the autism spectrum, and in the New York area its
even higher than that.So its about creating awareness around this
One person who is very active in that group is a parent of
children with autism.What ends up happening is that other parents
who are employed with PepsiCo,who are also parents of children with
autism, come together in a support group andsay, Heres how you
handle and resolve this. It also fosters awareness andunderstanding
in the rest of us about what our fellow employees are dealing
with.So theres an expression that weve got in PepsiCo about, Bring
your whole selfto work. People who are caregivers either of an
aging parent or of children withspecial needs have got some
challenges that we can accommodate when wereaware of what they
need. Like our CEO said, We do better by doing better.
At first, a recent press trip to Utah seemed to beall about
hitting the slopes. Each morning Jessi-ca Taskmaster Kunzer got us
up, out and ontothe mountain. We skied all three days of our
journey.We also changed resorts all three days.
Did you enjoy the ski lodge? shed ask. Great, thenyoull love the
next one! Get your things. Were leaving.
Of course, Jessica said it all in a nice way. Besides, shehad to
keep us moving, as there was a lot to see duringthis Ability
Awareness tour, sponsored by Ski Utah. Thepoint of the tour was to
promote accessibility on theslopes. Skiing is available to
everyone, the NationalAbility Center in Park City is there to
Day one, Park City Mountain. I met Danelle DAquan-ni, a skier
who is legally blind and training for the Para-lympics, along with
Sally Tauber, her ski guide. At arecent retreat DAquanni learned
that we each have99,999 voices in our heads. These inner chatter
boxesinclude the voices of kindness, anger, mourning, loveand
She said she tried to ski while focusing on her lovingvoice,
which was helpful. But when she engaged hershow-off voice, she
found she skied faster. So with myshow-off voice egging me on, I
tried to keep up with theduo, but they flew ahead. Show offs!
Though I was relatively slow compared to them, Izoomed pretty
fast by my own standards, so maybe thevoice was working to an
extent. But Im not that experi-enced. Although I skied a little
during college and atevents connected to this magazine, its
probably beenonly a little over a dozen times altogether.
The next day, Snowbasin. Jessica paired me with ChrisWaddell a
paralympian and five-time gold medalist.(People named him one of
The Fifty Most BeautifulPeople in the World, and Skiing called him
one ofThe 25 Greatest Skiers in North America) I skiedbehind him as
well, trying in vain to pick up tricks ofthe trade.
Building on my shaky confidence from the first day, Itried the
mid-lift for the newly marked slalom course. Ihad a blast carving
turns and hitting gates for the first
time. After a couple of runs, Chris and Jessica, anexcellent
skier herself, wanted to go to the start of thewomens Olympic
Hey, its the womens run, they said, by way of talkingme into it.
It was a challenge, but I got through it. Next,they wanted to ski
the mens Olympic downhill run.
Hey, sure, I said, as if it were no sweat.
Getting there required a separate gondola to the top ofthe
mountain. Until that point, Chris had no problemwith accessibility:
He would ski to the chairlift and geton while remaining in his
sit-ski. But accessing the gon-dola, however, was a slightly
different story. We had tounhook the ski portion of his gear, and
needed severalpeople to help us carry him up the metal stair
In the gondola I sat backwards, looking down as weclimbed ever
higher, struggling with my fear of heightsby pretending to study my
ski boots. Thats when I wasouted: The gondola operator asked if
there was anyonewho hadnt been to the top before? I raised my hand
andlooked around. I was the only virgin.
I could only stare up the slop to see how high we weregoing, as
the gondola operator continued on about thelevel of risk and how,
at this elevation on the mountain,Id have to pay for my own rescue.
Then he asked ifanyone wanted to go back down.
Thats when somebodycould it have been, um, Jessi-ca?said,
Nobodys going down in the gondola.
As the door opened, I gulped, trying to keep my eyesdirectly in
front of me. The beautiful view includedparts of four states, but I
hardly noticed because I wasdizzy and nauseous. Sensing my panic,
Chris and Jessi-ca said, You can do it. Youre a good skier.
Chris, reattached to his sit-ski, was the first down the
cat-walk, a narrow strip that leads to the start of the mensrun.
Swoosh! He was down the mountain in a flash.
Before Jessica took off, she turned to me briefly andsaid,
Follow my lines. I knew she was going to flydown the mountain. At
that moment, my showoff voiceretreated behind my fear voice. And
the latter was loud.Fear, it turns out, has 99,999 voices of its
fear of heights, fear of dying, fear of throwing up
I did a half slide down the catwalk to the beginning ofthe run.
It seemed impossibly steep. My strategy was toski side to side. Off
I went. Down I went. Down I wentagain. Falling and falling. Sliding
on my back. At onepoint, I wondered Will it ever stop?
I finally stopped, but by then one of my skis had gonemissing.
Thats when Jessica kindly swooped down andreunited me with it. I
was happy to be saved, but feelingembarrassed to look like a scary
klutz in front of my host.
Food is always a good salve for the wounds of theslopes.
Fortunately for me, Snowbasin has two five-starrestaurants,
accessible ony by chairlifts. The best part ofthe hour or so of
great company and dining was the timesitting still so that my calm
voice could return.
After lunch, Chris wanted to go back to the top again.Suddenly,
I was in the mood to take pictures. Hey! Youcant ignore your
Chris flew down the mountain again as I snapped away.
That night we went to dinner with a number of peoplefrom Ogden,
UT, where we had a great discussion abouthow the city is
rejuvenating itself. Downtown Ogden iswhere the Union Pacific met
the Central Pacific Rail-road, thus completing the
trans-continental railroad. Ofcourse, back in the day, that came
with a price: prostitu-tion, opium dens, a fair number of
Ultimately, the town had to clean up its act to become a
legitimate city. Its done a great job. These days therestalk
about the first indoor ice climbing facility. Worldrenowned
climber, Jeff Lowe, supports the facility andplans to teach the
sport there to people with MS.
On our last day we skied Snowbird, and met up withtwo families
who were taking a class through theWasatch Adaptive Sports program.
One family hadtriplets, and two of the three had cerebral palsy.
Whenthey first entered the program, the instructor said to
theirparents, Tell your sons to raise their right hands to goright,
and their left hands to go left. But the parentssaid, They cant
raise their arms.
Peter Mandler, executive director of the program, con-tinued to
work with them, putting the children on amono ski and tethering
them. Another instructor stayedin front to keep an eye out. As they
skied, the kids actu-ally started to move their arms for the first
time. Whenthey wanted to turn, they indicated it with their
arms.They skiied right on down the bunny slope with wideand
wonderful grins on their faces.
We then met up with Gael Yonnet, a young Frenchphysician whod
been in a snowboarding accident, bro-ken his back and become
paraplegic. His experience ledhim to change his focus to treating
those with spinalcord injury. He was just getting back in the game
andwas inspired by the sit ski experience.
On the way home I slept and, lucky for me, my 99,999voices liked
nap-voice as well.
by Chet Cooper
Jessica Taskmaster and Chris
Laura Schaffer, Snowbird
John Paul Lodge, Snowbasin
Enroute to our seven-day Alaskan cruise, we flewfrom L.A. to
Seattle a day early to enjoy a stay atthe legendary Fairmont Hotel.
Its an historic,five-star affair where anybody who was anybody
hasbedded down at one time or another. We journalists hada great
dinner, got to know each other and wanderedthrough the streets of
Seattle. The next morning, weboarded the ms Noordam cruise ship,
part of HollandAmericas fleet, blew the horn and eased out into
theharbor with the Seattle skyline and its signature SpaceNeedle at
The ship was elegant, gleaming and quite accessible,from its
wide-lane decks and halls, to its easy-to-navi-gate elevators,
state rooms and dining areas. As allcruises do, they spoiled us
with incredible food andgave us plenty of healthful seafood
offerings, so wecould feel a bit better about it all when we were
piggingout at the midnight buffet. They also have a cookingschool,
an eco-conscious spa and a Walk for the Cureevent, which allows you
to do 12 laps around the ship toraise money for breast cancer
First stop: Glacier Bay National Park, where thepanoramic sweep
of mountainous ice encircled us. Itseemed touchably close, and yet
an hour later we werestill moving towards it thinking, Were almost
there,were almost there. Then we looked across the bay andspied
another cruise ship that was as small as a dot, andrealized that
our whole sense of size and proportion wascompletely distorted. The
glacier was so much morevast and more imposing than we could
One of the most incredible things about watching aglacier is
that it changes before your eyes. The localscall it calving when a
big hunk of the whitish blue icesnaps off and crashes into the
water. As the glacierslowly moves into the sea it emits an echo
that they callwhite thunder, and gives you an even deeper
Next stop: Juneau, a woodsy-looking town that putsyou in the
mind of the western frontier. Because acces-sibility was never a
problem, our group put a gooddeal of wear and tear on our credit
cards at variousstores and restaurants. We bought indigenous
crafts,smoked salmon and bowls made out of a single piecewood. But
for those who like adventure, Juneaus alsogreat for scenic
bicycling and treks through its thick,lush rain forests.
From Juneau we flew in a small biplane to Sitka, wherewe got in
a few more gawks at glaciers and then came infor a landing directly
on the water. Then we headed to anearby cabin for a tasty salmon
cook out. As a finishingtouch, the cooks slathered on sweet glaze,
which wasthe next best thing to honey according to the bears
thatcame out of the woodwork in hopes of having dinnerwith us.
Stay back, stay back, the proprietors implored us.Thats when I
grabbed my camera and rushed forward.How many opportunities do you
get to meet and greet abunch of furry friends the likes of dem
bears? Not oftenenough, Im afraid.
In Ketchikan, we hiked to a sanctuary for birds of prey,where I
got some great shots of bald eagles, as well aspictures of salmon
swimming to spawn. It was andincredible experience to witness the
punishing upstreamjourney that would cost them everything.
Thoughout our trip, we saw elements of indigenous peo-ples rich
culture, including carvings of beautiful soap-stone as well as tall
wooden totem poles that depict clanstories and histories.
We also saw whales threading their vast bodies in andout of the
water. Everything was so picturesque that thecruise felt like
slipping into another world-a world Iwouldnt mind slipping into
again and again. HollandAmerica, call me.
by Chet Cooper
Holland America Line has more than 150 cruises that set sail to
Alaskafrom Seattle and Vancouver between May and September. Whether
itsviewing wildlife, historic treks, fly fishing, kayaking or
mountain climbing,there are plenty of shore excursions to suit your
Fares start at about $850.
OPENING DOORS AND MINDS
In todays competitive society, a college degree is crucial for
success. Notonly does a degree symbolize knowledge attained, it
also opens doors forgreater financial and social opportunities.
Over an adult's working life, highschool graduates earn an average
of $1.2 million, associate's degree holders earnabout $1.6 million,
and bachelor's degree holders earn about $2.1 million,according to
the US Census Bureau.
In addition to financial advantages, other benefits of higher
education includesuch intangibles as a tendency for postsecondary
students to become more open-minded, more cultured, more rational,
more consistent and less authoritarian
benefits that get passed down to succeeding generations. These
are qualities that societyvalues and a chance to develop them
should be available to all students, including thosewith
Universities are legally required to provide students who need
them with reasonableaccommodations for course examinations,
provision of equipment and auxiliary aids,including sign language
interpreters. They must make certain that students know aboutthese
services. They are also required to ensure that students with
disabilities are notdenied educational opportunities because of
While these laws are in place, it often takes advocacy to put
teeth into them. Thats whythe Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC)
recently represented undergraduate and gradu-ate level students
with disabilities at California State University, San Bernardino
(CSUSB),a sprawling campus of 17,000 students.
In the case, plaintiffs alleged that despite persistent efforts
by the students with disabilitiesto obtain accommodations for
classes and classroomsspread out over 67 buildings acrossmore than
400 acresthey were unable to achieve the access required to
complete theireducations. The students had advocated on numerous
levels, including filing a complaintwith the US Department of
Educations Office for Civil Rights. Nevertheless, the
studentsalleged that they continued to experience myriad
One masters degree student with a spinal injury needed
accommodations such as a stand-ing podium in class because she was
significantly limited in her ability to sit at a typicaldesk.
However, the podium was sometimes unavailable or had been moved to
a placewhere she could not get to it easily, which negatively
affected her studies.
Another student with a vision disability needed his textbooks
and other written materialtranslated into alternative formats, such
as audiotapes or Braille, and also required note-takers and testing
accommodations. He received the accommodations after weeks of
delayor not at all, and could not participate fully in his
These students experiences were echoed by the allegations of
other plaintiffs and classmembers. Some students were made to wait
for weeks after classes had begun to receivemodified equipment and
alternate format materials. When instructional media was
finallyprovided, it was often inadequate. Books on tape were
inaudible, or the wrong chapterswere recorded. At times,
accommodations were modified or eliminated without notice inthe
middle of an academic term. Many students experienced architectural
barriers through-out the campus.
Now, thanks to a recent settlement, these doors of opportunity
have swung wide for theseindividuals and other students with
The DRLC and the Law Offices of David G. Geffen secured the
rights of CSUSB studentswith disabilities in a recent federal class
action settlement (Jackson, et al. v. CaliforniaState University
San Bernardino, et al). The settlement resolves a challenge to what
plain-tiffs alleged was CSUSBs systemic failure to provide
consistent accommodations and
physical access for students with disabilities. The classaction
suit alleged violations of federal and state disabil-ity rights
laws, including the ADA and Section 504 ofthe Rehabilitation Act of
As part of the settlement, the University has also agreedto
spend approximately $11.7 million to remove archi-tectural barriers
and enact substantial, campus-widechanges. This will ensure that
the more than 300 stu-dents with disabilities who seek services
from CSUSBare fully accommodated and well-served. This
includesalternative and accessible furniture, accessible softwarein
computer labs, campus transportation, staff and facul-ty training
as well as student grievance procedures. Theagreement also mandates
the creation of an emergencyevacuation plan for students with
Addressing barriers to education is critical to ensuringthat
people with disabilities are independent and inte-grated members of
society, says Shawna L. Parks,director of litigation for the DRLC
and lead counsel onthe case. The scope and depth of the
commitmentsmade by the university in this settlement will usher in
anew era at CSUSB.
In fact, it already has. The masters student was awardedher
degree in 2007, shortly after the court approved thesettlement.
Likewise, the plaintiff with a vision disabili-ty was able to
receive his alternative reading materialsand testing accommodations
and is back in school.
This agreement will serve as a model for how campusesacross the
nation can appropriately serve students withdisabilities. This is
especially significant in light of theincoming influx of student
veterans, many returningfrom Iraq and Afghanistan, who are expected
to begincollege in the near future.
by Paula Pearlman & Debra Patkin
For more information,
The Mission of the Disability Rights Legal Center, formerly the
WesternLaw Center for Disability Rights, is to promote the rights
of people withdisabilities and the public interest in and awareness
of those rights byproviding legal and related services. We are
located on the campus ofLoyola Law School in Downtown Los Angeles
and work with Loyola Lawstudents in all of our programs.
By most accounts, low back pain is the leadingcause of lost work
time in the US, and perhaps inmuch of the developed world. In the
early daysof the Industrial Revolution, at least one
physicianassociated the malady with the back-breaking workof
railroad construction, and described the condition asRailway
Although back pain is somewhat better understood thesedays, it
is still the most common complaint heard in adoctors office. Most
of these complaints are attribut-able to degenerative arthritis of
the spine, which alladults have as a natural part of the aging
process. Theword arthritis actually means inflammation in the
joints,and the spine is one long series of joints.
Virtually everyone will experience back pain at somepoint in
life. In addition to occasional excruciating backpain, symptoms can
include numbness and weakness inone or both legs, difficulty
walking, bowel and bladderproblems as well as sexual
Fortunately, most people will only have a few minorepisodes,
which will respond to home remedies suchas rest and
over-the-counter medications. Others,however, may require
additional measures, includingaltering work habits or replacing an
old mattress witha new, more supportive one. Still others who
experi-ence ongoing chronic back pain will get partial relieffrom
more advanced treatments and go on to live rela-tively normal
Those with the most severe cases may continue to findthemselves
in declining health and be referred by theirgeneral practitioners
to see a neurosurgeon. These spe-cialists are trained to operate on
the brain and spine.Some orthopedic surgeons also perform spine
surgerya procedure which should always be a last resort.
Traditional therapies include medication, physical thera-py,
chiropractics, pain management and sometimessurgery.
Non-traditional treatments include acupunctureand acupressure.
Unfortunately, no treatment is com-pletely effective in every
Use of non-traditional potions and herbs not regulatedby the FDA
should be approached with caution. Mostare ineffective, while
others, if used improperly, cancause liver damage and other
Often, there is a psychosocial component to back pain.Life
stressors or depression, for example, may requirespecific
therapies. When the stress or depression isaddressed, the pain may
Those on a quest to ease chronic back pain shouldbeware. While
many therapies are touted, success ratesare disappointingly low.
This can be as frustrating forcare providers as it is for patients.
In general, doctorstend to believe that the best treatments for a
disease arethose that can be scientifically proven. Even the
treat-ments for back pain that have been studied the mosthave not
produced impressive results.
A person who has exhausted most available remediesand seeks the
advice of a physician can expect a some-what regimented approach.
The primary care physicianmay prescribe a slightly stronger pain
medication orsimple exercise regimen. This is an appropriate
stalltactic, as back pain often resolves on its own or withsimple
If symptoms persist despite initial treatments, a primarycare
physician may then refer the patient to a physicaltherapist. A
trial of physical therapy frequently involvesmoist heating pads,
massage and range-of-motion exer-cises applied during a series of
several visits per week.Strength training or more rigorous
therapies arereserved for periods when pain is absent or
Frequently, an MRI scan is obtained to better assess theexact
nature of any degenerative changes in the spine. Inthe case of low
back pain, the MRI will show the lowerpart of the spine, called the
lumbar spine. Aside fromexcluding the rare, more serious diagnosis,
this con-tributes little to the initial management of low backpain.
Most of the time, an MRI only shows the degener-ative changes in
the spine that all adults have. Most ofus are not aware that we
have these age-related changesin our spines because we are not
having severe enoughsymptoms to warrant an MRI scan.
When physical therapy is no longer effective, the nextstep may
be a referral to a pain management specialist,who usually has
expertise in anesthesia or physicalmedicine. This person may invoke
a number of treat-ments from careful administration of potent
narcotics toinjections of anesthetics and steroids directly into
All too often in this country, the next step is referral toa
spinal surgeon (neurosurgeon or specially-trainedorthopedic
surgeon). In many instances, spine surgeryis relatively effective.
However in others, there is littleor no improvement or the relief
is temporary and symp-toms return in a few years. Though most
operations arecompleted successfully and many patients
recoverwithout a hitch, never lose sight of the fact that suchback
operations are considered major surgery andtherefore involve
For those who suffer pain in their cervical spine (neck),the
story is nearly the same. However, degenerativearthritis in the
neck can cause symptoms in the arms aswell. Cervical spine disease
is fraught with an additionalconcern in that the spinal cord itself
can be involved.Pressure on the spinal cord causes a greater array
ofsymptoms, some of which may not recover even if thepressure is
relieved surgically. This lowers the thresholdfor surgical
treatment in the case of cervical spine dis-ease, but does not
change the scrutiny with which thedecision to have surgery should
In the next installment of our special series on painmanagement,
well discuss fibromyalgia.
by E. Thomas Chappell, MD
vote. State and local governments may comply withADA
accessibility requirements in a variety of ways,including
redesigning equipment, reassigning servicesto accessible locations,
altering existing facilities orconstructing new ones. In choosing
the manner inwhich to comply with these ADA regulations, stateand
local governments must give priority to thosealternatives that
provide the most appropriate, integrat-ed setting.
Despite these laws, many people continue to
experienceaccessibility problems at their local polling place. As
aresult, I requested that the U.S. Government Account-ability
Office (GAO) survey people with disabilitiesabout their perception
of their access to polling placesand to alternative voting
The GAO visited nearly 500 polling places nationwideduring the
2000 election and reported that 84 percent ofthem had one or more
barriers to accessibility. In addi-tion, the GAO found that none of
the places surveyedoffered ballots in an alternative format or
voting equip-ment adapted for voters who are blind. While the
resultswere discouraging, their exposure did add support
forstronger provisions for voters with disabilities in 2001sHelp
America Vote Act (HAVA).
This act contained a number of provisions designed toincrease
accessibility for voters with disabilities. Forexample, state and
local governments are eligible toreceive federal funds to make
paths of travel, entrances,exits and voting areas at polling places
more accessible.Additionally, each polling place is now required to
havevoting equipment that accommodates everyone, includ-ing the
blind and those with low vision, so that theyenjoy the same privacy
and independence that is accord-ed to others.
Following the passage of HAVA and the 2004 election,the GAO has
reported improvements in state provisionsand local practices.
However, we do not know the extentto which these advances have
resulted in improvedaccessibility of polling places and voting
systems onelection days. Thats why I have requested that
GAOreexamine the issue during the 2008 election.
I know that many of you disability advocates continueto work
with state and local officials to ensure that localpolling places
are accessible, and I commend you onyour efforts. Together, we can
ensure that voters withdisabilities can fully participate in the
Senator Tom Harkin, D-IA
Senator Tom Harkin
A VOTE FOR ACCESSIBILITY!
Dear ABILITY Magazine Readers,
Voting is the foundation of our American democraticsystem, yet
until recently many voters with disabilitiesfaced physical barriers
at the local polling place. Thisoften discouraged them from
participating in elections.When they did, it was often by absentee
I believe that people with disabilities should have achoice
about how they wish to vote. If they want to goin person, they
should be able to do so. Consequently, Ihave worked to ensure that
they have the option to votein a full, equal and integrated
Historically, accessibility issues facing voters with
dis-abilities on election day generally fall into two cate-gories:
physical access to the polling place and ballotaccessibility. There
are a number of federal laws that,together, are intended to afford
voters with disabilitiesaccommodations in both of these areas.
Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, voters who areblind,
disabled or unable to read or write are entitled toassistance by a
person of the voters choice. This personis permitted to accompany
the voter into the booth.
The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handi-capped Act of
1984 requires that all polling places forfederal elections (with a
few exceptions) be physicallyaccessible to voters with
disabilities. Additionally, statesare required to make available
voting aids for those whoare disabled, including instructions
printed in large typeat each polling place and information about
telecommu-nications devices for those who are deaf.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)requires
that people with disabilities have access to pub-lic services,
programs or activities, including the right to
In their new book, Big Brain: The Origins and Futureof Human
Intelligence, authors Gary Lynch, PhD,and Richard Granger, PhD,
ask, Does size matter?Here are some clues:
1: Based on physical size alone, mens brains are biggerthan
womens. (But if women are right, men think withanother part of
their anatomy anyway.)
2: There were pre-human primates, now extinct, whosebrains were
relatively larger than ours.
3: Chimpanzees perform better on certain memory tasksthan
To knock some sense into their own skulls, Chet Cooper,
editor-in-chief, and E. Thomas Chappell, MD,managing medical editor
of ABILITY Magazine andneurosurgeon, recently spoke with Granger,
who is aprofessor at Dartmouth College in Massachusetts,about the
book he co-authored with Lynch, a professorat the University of
California, Irvine. The two scien-tific researchers undertook a
groundbreaking study ofthe human brains evolution. Both prominent
neurosci-entists, they trace human intelligence back at least
tensof thousands of years to before the Boskops, pre-humans with
brains 30 percent larger than ours. Grangerand Lynch endeavor to
understand Alzheimers via acomputer model, to comment on the limits
of the humanbrain, and to examine such stellar thinkers as
Chet Cooper: Gary is in California and youre in Mass-achusetts
how did the two of you get together to writethis book?
Richard Granger: We both used to be at UCI. I came toDartmouth
to take an interdisciplinary position. Dart-mouth College founded
the Neukom Institute, which isaimed precisely at the questions that
interest me most.
Namely, how can we understand brain cell connectionsas circuits?
How can we understand the complex sys-tems of the brain so
thoroughly that we can actuallybuild simulacra or computer models
of them? Theinstitute is in the building stages now at Dartmouth,
andits an exciting and challenging prospect.
Cooper: When you think about building a computermodel of the
brain, given the complexities of what goeson with memory and the
organs other functions, canyou say how youre going to pull that
Granger: Sure. There are a few key ideas. One is to consider the
connections between brain cells and treatthem like electrical
circuits. We can actually build brain-like circuits and study
Another notion to consider is that much of what webecome as
humans is learned. Some things are hard-wired, so to speak, based
on evolution and genetics orDNA. Other things are acquired from our
various lifeexperiences. That combination is the one-two punch
sci-entists are striving to understand.
We are trying to build circuits with an architecture simi-lar to
that of the brain. Computers have what is called anarchitecture,
which is a set of circuit designs that can dosuch tasks as
calculations. Though computers are nowquite sophisticated, they
cant think, recognize, orexecute many of the tasks that humans can
do with theirbrains. How well we understand the brain is
anothermatter entirely, but our knowledge base continues
We can already teach the circuits weve built. Weliterally hold
up a cup in front of a robot and say,Heres the cup. Then we move it
and say, Now thecup is over here, and then we ask it, where did
thecup go? We teach it the relationships between objectsin the real
world, what it perceives, what it hears.
The computer can respond to simple language, such asyou might
use with a child, to format its own internalsoftware models for
what its seeing and hearing.
This sounds a bit like magic, but existing computer tech-nology
allows machines to change their output based oncertain input. This
is analogous, in a rudimentary way, toa child never touching a hot
Tom Chappell: How does this relate to Artificial Intelligence
Granger: Attempts at AI have had a goal related to oursfor a
long time. Much of the early study in this area wasnot focused on
the brain. It was focused on studyinghuman behavior, and trying to
see if we could imitatethat behavior with a computer. In all
fairness, this is a bitlike trying to understand a carwithout
looking under thehood. More recent endeavorspay attention to what
theactual mechanisms or theengines of the brain areand how they
actually work.Our idea is to better under-stand the intricacies of
brainfunction to give us a realistic shot at building
Cooper: I guess one of my concerns is the concept ofignorance
and how we might replace a persons igno-rance with a certain idea.
Thats the good thing aboutignoranceits curable. If you introduce
the person toinformation in a specific way, you may get them
tounderstand it. Often it seems the only way for a personto
understand something is by experiencing it. Im talk-ing about
temperament theory, specifically a tempera-ment that is rigid. The
only way a person with a rigidtemperament is going to change their
thinking is by hav-ing an experience that is different from what
they per-ceive to be the truth.
So, Im wondering how thats ever going to be possible.If you look
at extremists, for instance, they truly believewhat they believe.
There seems to be no way to changetheir views, no matter how
inaccurate they are. So thequestion is, if you could understand the
brain mecha-nisms that support this kind of thinking, could
youchange it for the better? And, if you could, would it beethical
to do so?
Granger: Thats a tough issue, and one thats on all ofour minds
these days. Picture a teenager who just does-nt realize that a car
really is dangerous until he gets inhis first accident. At that
point, his whole conception ofwhat hes doing while hes driving
changes. The abilityto simulate experiences is already happening in
what wenow call virtual reality. Many kids these days areexposed to
this in video games with uncertain results, tobe sure. If we can
train people by simulating reality so
that they perceive realistic experiences, it may be asuperior
way to learn.
If, however, you are talking about a person unwilling tolearn
new ideas, thats a different story entirely. One cer-tainly doesnt
want to turn to thoughts of brainwashing.
Chappell: Im curious about the scientific approach youuse. Are
you studying the circuitry of the brain andthen trying to emulate
it with electrical circuits, or areyou learning more about
electrical circuits and then try-ing to see if they apply to the
brain, or both?
Granger: Its the former, much more than the latter.Were trying
to take the computational and engineeringknowledge that we have and
apply it to brain function,to help us see if we can understand what
machine a brain really is.
However, working in the otherdirection is quite interesting,
aswell. If we can understand braincircuits, we can build artificial
cir-cuits that might be able to plug
into brains. Circuits that might beable to act as prosthetics
or repair brain function.
Chappell: The quantum leap is the connectionbetween the brain
and the mind. Eric Kandels work onthis problem won the Nobel Prize.
As you know, he wasable to show chemical changes in the rudimentary
ner-vous system of a simple inverte