Thursday, December 3, 2009

Great event this Saturday

Hi, I know I haven't checked in for a long time, but I wanted to let everyone know about a great event happening in Toronto.

On Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10am to 4pm the 1st Forum For Hispanic People with Disabilities is happening at the North York Civic Center, 5100 Yonge Street. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and the opening ceremony will have the Honorable David C. Onley (Ontario's Lieutenant-Governor) as a keynote speaker.

This forum will address the reality, needs and contributions of people with disabilities, and everyone is welcome. It will be conducted in both Spanish and English, and it's the first event of its kind in Toronto's Latino community. Disability is definitely part of diversity, and I'm really happy that this event is happening. I'll try to be there, and I hope some of you will be too. Peace.

P.S. The forum is put on by San Lorenzo, a community center dedicated to the empowerment and development of the Hispanic community, supporting newcomers from all over Latin America and helping them transition to life in Toronto. San Lorenzo is also dedicated to working towards creating harmonious relationships with diverse communities. Albeit Latino in flavor, San Lorenzo also welcomes many non-Latinos into its heart.

San Lorenzo also has its own Spanish-language radio station, Radio Voces Latinas on 1610AM. ¡Qué bueno!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The State of Assistive Technology – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

If you read my last blog post you know that in June the Tetra Society of North America held a forum to address the issues surrounding assistive technology, especially in the province of Ontario. For everyone who’s unfamiliar with this term, "assistive technology" or AT refers to any device including software or hardware – high-tech or low-tech – that helps people with disabilities to live life as fully as possible. Assistive technology can include mobility aids, devices to help with other basic daily activities, or software and hardware that helps people to access their computer.

At the forum Tetra heard from a variety of people who use assistive technology, as well as family members of AT users, people working in the disability field, and AT manufacturers. After the forum, Tetra put together a report on the major issues that were discussed that day, and it’s been sent to a wide range of people, including journalists and government officials. If you’re interested in reading this report here are two links where you can check it out. – this is the original report in PDF format. – this is a large-print, sans-serif version the same report in PDF format.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2 Great Upcoming Events In Toronto

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and you have a disability or know someone with a disability, here are 2 great events you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

People In Motion - June 5 and June 6, 10am-5pm:
People In Motion is Canada's premier exhibit for people with disabilities, seniors with special needs, and professionals working in related fields. People in Motion features 63,000 square feet of exhibits including adapted vehicles, mobility aids, barrier-free design, rehabilitation services, home health care products, accessible travel, leisure activities, technical aids, employment info, corporate services and government programs. Everything for a wide range of needs is displayed under one roof, making it easy for consumers and professionals to see and compare products and services. People in Motion is for you!

Date: Friday, June 5 and Saturday June 6, 2009
Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm (both days)
Location: Queen Elizabeth Building, Canadian Exhibition Place
Admission: Free
For more info please visit

Tetra Society’s Assistive Technology Forum - June 18, 9am-1:30pm:
The Tetra Society of North America is a volunteer organization dedicated to designing and building assistive devices and adaptations for people with disabilities. As a Tetra volunteer I’m really happy to tell you that on June 18 we’re holding an Assistive Technology Forum that will bring together Tetra volunteers, people with disabilities, clinicians and others working in the disability field to discuss issues, gaps and challenges with assistive technology, and share ideas on how we can collaborate to make a difference. At this forum:
• there will be an opening presentation by Rick Ball, who just set the world record for single-leg amputee runners at the Boston Marathon
• I’ll be one of the 4 members on an interactive panel discussing gaps and other issues with assistive technology
• we’ll have talks and small-group discussions where people can discuss their experiences with assistive devices, and where we can hopefully brainstorm about possible solutions to existing problems
• during lunch we'll hear from the Honorable David C. Onley, Ontario's first Lieutenant-Governor with a disability.

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Time: 9:00am to 1:30pm
Location: CNIB at 1929 Bayview Avenue, Room 124/126
Admission is free but you must register.
To register or to get more info please visit

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions? Bah Humbug!

Well, it’s the start of a new year, and let’s hope that in 2009 we’ll see some positive stuff happening – in our own lives, our communities, or in the world at large. Yeah, I know this last one sounds pretty grandiose and naive, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Every year we all hope for the same stuff, and a lot of us make resolutions to improve ourselves. This is great – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to be the best person you can be. The problem is that some of us, or maybe a lot of us, fall off the wagon within a couple of months after making our New Year’s Resolutions. If this is you, don’t guilt-trip yourself yet.

I think part of the problem is that some of us make resolutions we can’t possibly stick to. If you’re a couch potato don’t resolve to lose 50 pounds or get yourself fit for the next marathon, and don’t fork over big bucks for a fitness club membership you may only use for a few months. Start small, maybe try to walk a little every day and then work your way up from there. I’m no fitness expert by any means, but why give yourself a heart attack or a financial headache when you don’t need to?

I’m not saying we should be lazy and quit trying to better ourselves, just that people should know their limits. And maybe once we reach our limits we can try to push them a little further. I’m sure we all have stuff we can improve, like our physical and mental fitness, the way we treat each other, or even our level of happiness. But no one has to make a New Year’s Resolution to do this. Why do we need the start of a new year to improve ourselves? Wouldn’t it be better if we all tried to do this every day? Anyway, enough of Maria’s Bitch Session – I resolve to keep my bitching more compact (or at least try to).