How Hiring a Qualified Person with a Disability Serves Everyone

October is National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM). Here’s what everyone should know about the value differently abled people bring to the workplace. I recently returned to the field of education after an eight-year stay-at-home-mom hiatus. In addition to the typical reentry jitters and pondering over whether my favorite coral blazer is still in style, some more significant questions surfaced as I signed my contract: How will I travel to trainings and meetings after the closest bus routes to my house were just cut? What if one of my students or parents is allergic to my guide dog? And how many sessions with my accessibility specialist will it take for me to confidently use all the technology required to do my job? As a person who is legally blind, these are legitimate questions to ask, but they’re also relatively straightforward to solve, especially when compared to the invisible barriers people with        …read more

Super or Shady: A Closer Look at 6 So-Called Superfoods

superfoods, healthy eating

While healthy eating is key, what’s the cost? We looked at 6 popular superfoods and their impact on health and the environment. Someday in the future, instead of the 99th Marvel remake of Spider-Man, Quinoa Kid will have swept the nation, wowing critics and inspiring a generation of kids and superfood comic book fanatics alike. Its message will be clear: think outside the bubble of our everyday drudgery, imagine different possible diets, throw out fast food and defend their communities against threats to healthy eating, mindfulness and exercise. The Awesome Avocado Woman will follow in its footsteps, paving the way for a host of superfood franchises, complete with LEGO sets, lunch boxes and Lululemon collaborative prints. It will be glorious. Gone will be the days of patriarchal, jingoistic, external-underwear-wearing vigilantes. In will roll an era of winged wheatgrass heroes and kale-caped creatures, the evil clowns and corrupt colonels banished to        …read more

Madeline Stuart Rocks Down Syndrome Awareness, Launches Fashion Line

Madeline Stuart continues to storm the runway with a smile, inspiring diversity and Down syndrome awareness in the fashion world. When Australia-based model Madeline Stuart walks down the runway at New York Fashion Week, she doesn’t don a serious expression with a tailored walk. Instead, she celebrates. As she makes her way back up the runway, she holds out a hand for high fives. As a model and designer, Madeline Stuart promotes Down syndrome awareness by doing something she loves. How the Journey Started In 2015, Madeline Stuart recognized that Down syndrome predisposed her to a slower metabolism, which caused her to gain weight. She turned this fact on its head with her famous May 12 Facebook post, which announced her choice to live a healthy lifestyle and documented her physical transformation over an 18-month period. Her mother created social media profiles on multiple platforms and posted her before-and-after pictures,        …read more

Storm Chasers: A Close-Up View of the High-Stakes Job

storm chasers

We talked with pro storm chasers about one of the most exhilarating and dangerous jobs in the world. Storm chasers. They don’t curl up on the couch and wait for a storm to pass or head for the basement when a twister’s coming; they jump up and get outside, excited to witness what Mother Nature has cooked up. Storm chasing isn’t a modern-day phenomenon. In 1755 Benjamin Franklin chased a tornado on horseback, according to the American Meteorological Society. Storm chasers may seek out hurricanes, lightning and hail, but the main objective appears to be witnessing tornadoes. They can happen anywhere if the conditions are right, but living in or near Tornado Alley, which encompasses eastern South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas and eastern Colorado, is ideal to catch supercell thunderstorms, which often produce violent (EF-2 or greater) tornadoes. Even with the destructive nature of severe weather storms, they’re        …read more

What ‘Mr. Robot’ Gets Right about Cybersecurity and Hacking Attacks

With Rami Malek, Christian Slater and the cast back for season three of ‘Mr. Robot,’ we spoke to cybersecurity specialists about what makes this show so impressively realistic in its portrayal of hacking culture. It’s sadly too easy to rattle off the many ways Hollywood has watered down cybersecurity and hacking scenes in films and shows over the past two decades: Swordfish, Live Free and Die Hard, CSI: Cyber, The Net… I could go on and on. But it’s been difficult to name films or shows that accurately depicted cybersecurity threats, the defense against those attacks and the programming languages used by the pros…until Mr. Robot came along in 2015. The series follows Elliot (Rami Malek), a hacker and programmer whose gang of fellow counterculture misfits aim to attack the online defenses of E Corp, a massive conglomerate resembling Google or Microsoft. Rami and his hacking crew, fsociety, aim to        …read more

How to Come Out for National Coming Out Day? It’s Complicated

National Coming Out Day is October 11, 2017. For many LGBTQIA people, the issue of coming out is both loaded and complex. But on one day in October, we often attempt to make it more straight(pun intended)-forward. I’m referring, of course, to National Coming Out Day, which occurs on (or near) October 11 each year. Armed with the truth that closets can be extremely harmful and painful, National Coming Out Day (or NCOD) encourages us to live our lives out in the open. What if we all came out, each year, on the same day? It’s a beautiful idea, but the way that queer folks interact with the day, and the very concept of coming out in the first place, is of course more complicated than the surface veneer would make it seem. Please note that in this piece I use the acronym “LGBTQIA” rather than “LGBT” whenever I’m not        …read more

Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism: What Are Meltdowns?

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Is understanding SPD the key to helping someone experiencing a meltdown or shutdown? Whether it’s due to increased awareness of sensory processing disorder and autism spectrum disorders, I can’t say, but there’s no denying that the words “meltdown” and “shutdown” have been absorbed into our modern vernacular. But what do they really mean? We use “meltdown” colloquially to describe someone in a bit of a bad mood, but this belies the true meaning and experience of a meltdown. “Shutdown” is often used when we feel ignored or if someone hasn’t responded to us, but it, too, belies the actuality of the experience. So what are meltdowns and shutdowns? In simple terms, they are two sides of the same coin. According to Alis Rowe, author of Asperger’s Syndrome: Meltdowns and Shutdowns, they are an involuntary physiological reaction to “overload.” This can be from too        …read more

7 Little-Known Mental Disorders

mental disorders

These 7 lesser-known mental disorders affect more people than you may realize. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences a mental disorder each year. While the most common mental disorders include anxiety and occasional bouts of depression, many individuals face lesser-known challenges, including the following seven conditions. 1. Trichotillomania Trichotillomania is a disorder that causes an irresistible urge to pull out one’s hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. There is some evidence that the disorder may be genetic, that hair-pulling episodes may be triggered by anxiety, and that it often occurs more frequently in people diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In rare cases, people with trichotillomania eat the hair, which often results in the development of hairballs in the intestinal tract. One such hairball is on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC. The hairball, removed        …read more