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Taylor’d For You Fashion Show: Fashion-ABILITY

The annual Taylor’d For You Fashion Show celebrates a range of boutiques and designers while empowering people of all ages to embrace style trends tailored to their body types.

This year, the show was virtual. One of the designers presenting her collection is Kay Simpson, owner/designer of Fashion-ABILILTY. Her stylish clothing is individually adapted to the needs of women with mobility challenges.

Fashion-ABILITY models include several people from the ConnectAbility community!

Shelia Brown, Support Group Coordinator/Peer Mentoring Coordinator

Amber Gorman, Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida support group

Mona Patel, Executive Director, San Antonio Amputee Foundation

Proceeds from the show benefitted Meals on Wheels San Antonio.

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Making Safer Connections

Contributor Andre Greene

At this time, all ConnectAbility support groups and events are virtual. We look forward to meeting in person again once it is safer to do so. 

Prior to the COVID pandemic, ConnectAbility hosted over 20 support groups in our space. We provided a meeting place for several local organizations to facilitate groups that serve the disability community. In addition, we hosted our own events geared to support the disability community, which ranged from social groups to educational speaker presentations.

As we plan for individuals to physically return to groups and events in our space, ConnectAbility will be limiting the number of attendees to accommodate for social distancing and requiring all attendees to wear masks. Every group and event will require a registration or RSVP for those who wish to attend in person.

Those who wish to continue to access the groups and events virtually can simply join as they have during the pandemic. Executive director, Dawn Dixon, says, “This will allow people to attend however they feel most comfortable and will continue to provide the connections we have established with many during the pandemic.”

The virtual home meetings have allowed those from the disability community, who perhaps couldn’t attend group discussions previously, to become more involved, creating a sense of virtual community.  Joseph Saucedo is a regular attendee of the various virtual groups that ConnectAbility facilitated during the pandemic. His mother Mary, stated, “At first, we were worried about not having access to resources because of the pandemic, but he has been involved in many different programs on a regular basis.”  To ensure that continues, “the ConnectAbility strategy will be to offer groups both in person and virtually,” Dixon said. 

The team at ConnectAbility will adhere to the recommended Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance so that attendees’ safety remains a priority. Tables will be sanitized between each group, all food and beverages will be individually prepackaged, and masks will be worn at all times. “Since we are housed in a rehabilitation hospital, we are following the protocols put in place by the hospital, which are somewhat more stringent than other types of businesses,” says Dixon.

Staff members of ConnectAbility will begin visiting people again in hospitals for care coordination, as hospitals allow visitors.  Home visits will return as well if the client feels comfortable.  Care Coordinators will conduct a COVID-19 screening prior to the going into any home and will be wearing masks at all times. 

Lockdowns over the past 17 months have forced many from the ConnectAbility community to “home experiment,” as in person meetings came to a standstill. ConnectAbility will continue serving the entire San Antonio community by linking people with life-altering disabilities to the resources they need.  Saucedo believes being able to make virtual meetings has allowed him to become more involved with the “virtual” community. Saucedo’s mother said it may be a bit of a physical challenge, but looks forward to joining in person ConnectAbility events as well.

Now as many places continue to open, while COVID-19 cases also increase, many organizations and institutions that serve the disability community are considering a “hybrid” model for the ability to continue making connections. This would allow for those who are ready and able to return to groups in person to physically attend, while also providing those who are unable or uncomfortable to attend in person the ability to still join virtually. 

 
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Exercising at Home

Contributor Andre Greene

Social distancing, self-quarantining, and the closure of many gyms made it more difficult to exercise over the past year. Even as more people get vaccinated and opportunities open up, there is great value in exercising at home. The heat of summer is already starting here in San Antonio, with temperatures too hot to safely exercise outside. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can incorporate exercise into your everyday routine at home.

How often do you exercise?

Daily exercise can improve your strength and mobility, decrease pain, and even improve independence according to Alejandra Garcia, physical therapist for Results Physiotherapy.

It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. As yoga teacher Adriene Mishler says, a little goes a long way. 

According to helpguide.com exercise and physical therapy can help ease depression, stress, anxiety, and aid in the management of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

By finding new ways to get moving and stay motivated, you can take charge of your mood and well-being and regain a sense of control during this time of great uncertainty.

Garcia suggests the infographic below for some general chair exercises to help stay active and strong. 

Garcia recommends consulting your physician before starting any new exercise program. According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients who need assistance to move, are at risk for falls, have a movement disorder, or have a neurological injury with a functional deficit should continue in-person physical therapy, if possible. 

Exercise can be a form of Self Care

If you use exercise to keep up your energy and spirits in trying times such as these, you might be less inclined to turn to unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking too much, which can wear down your immune system.

Each week in our Events emails, we share yoga and meditation videos from the free Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene. There are over 500 videos with varying lengths and focuses. Many of them focus on taking care of yourself, however you are today. Even a few minutes of mindful movement will benefit your overall wellbeing. 

The playlist below has seated yoga practices. 

Exercise outdoors

Scripps Health promotes getting fresh air while you exercise, by going out for a walk near your home, or at a park or trail near you. Just make sure its a location where you can keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and others. Wear a mask if social distancing is difficult.

It is not safe to exercise outside when the weather is very hot or humid, so as summer approaches, you may need to schedule your outside exercise for early mornings or evenings.  Be sure to bring water with you!

Exercise with others

Daily exercise, even just a few minutes, is good for your mind and body. But sometimes it’s hard to get yourself motivated. You can find support and accountability by working out with others!

Whether in-person, through Zoom, FaceTime, or even just in spirit, knowing that someone else is exercising with you can be very motivational and fun!

ConnectAbility offers several exercise groups via Zoom each week that are free to join.

Annie Muñoz Parkinson’s Exercise Group

11 – 11:30 AM on Wednesday and 12 – 12:30 PM on Saturday

This exercise group was created in memory of Annie Muñoz.
 
You do not need to have Parkinson’s to participate.
 
To register, email Shelia at sbrown@myconnectability.org.
Hatha Yoga
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM on Wednesday (Except the 3rd Wednesday of the month)
 
Reduce stress and increase strength by joining the breath, mind, and body.
 
This practice is for all levels and will include standing, balance, and seated postures.
 
Meeting ID: 962 1932 6157
One tap mobile +13462487799,,96219326157# 
Dial-in: +1 (346) 248-7799
Meeting ID: 962 1932 6157
Chair Yoga
3 – 4 PM on Thursday
 
All are welcome to join this seated yoga practice. No experience needed!
 
Meeting ID: 929 7029 4308
One tap mobile +13462487799,,92970294308#
Dial-in: +1 (346) 248 7799
Meeting ID: 929 7029 4308
 
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Winter Storm Resources February 2021

Food Delivery to Vulnerable Residents, Transportation, Staying Warm, Water Distribution Centers, and Other Helpful Resources

Click here to download this list of resources as a clickable PDF

How did the Texas winter storm impact you?
Disability Rights Texas wants to know. They are asking people with disabilities to complete a brief survey. They will use this information to advocate for much needed change in Texas. Take the survey at: https://tinyurl.com/DRTxStormSurvey

Food Delivery to Vulnerable Residents

The San Antonio Police Department worked with the San Antonio Food Bank to deliver food to elderly, disabled and vulnerable residents who lack transportation options to leave their homes. Visit safoodbank.org to learn more.

Transportation

VIA

For help planning a trip, visit VIAinfo.net or call Customer Information Line at (210) 362-2020.

To schedule VIAtrans trip, visit VIAinfo.net/VOS to log on to your VIAtrans online account or call (210) 362-5050.

Download the VIA Link app to schedule a VIA Link trip.

COVID-19 health and safety precautions remain in place, including face coverings at all times while in a VIA vehicle or at a VIA facility for non-exempt persons, age 2 and older.

Uber

Visit the Uber app for updates on drivers in your area.

Yellow Cab

Contact Yellow Cab at 210-222-2222.

Staying Warm

Warming centers have closed due to electricity being restored across the city. 

Water Distribution Centers

SAWS closed their distribution stations on March 4 at 5PM. Click here for more information.

Other Helpful Resources

SanAntonio.gov

News and information from the City’s Office of Emergency Management.

BEXARflood.org

Bexar County flood information and emergency road closures.

CPSEnergy.com

Outage Center Report or view current outages.

Ready South Texas app

Download app for evacuation maps, safe routes, shelter info, and alerts.

COSAGOV Texts

Receive City of San Antonio text messages: text COSAGOV to 55000.

Should you require emergency assistance, call 911.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Your breath is a powerful tool to manage stress and anxiety.
 
Each week we offer virtual yoga classes where you can focus on your breath and find gentle movement in your body.
 
Thursday 3 PM – 4 PM
Friday 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
 
There are also many free online practices that you can try!
Reunite with Your Breath
Lay or sit down in this 19-minute session as you learn to develop breathing techniques for stress relief, anxiety relief, and improved overall wellbeing.
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Are your kids in school?

How a local family with disabilities is coping with COVID-19 and the new school year.

Contributor Andre Greene

Since the start of the pandemic, San Antonio officials have warned that COVID-19 would pose the greatest threat to people with existing medical conditions. Those individuals with disabilities in the San Antonio community understand the COVID-19 precautions that local schools and universities have instituted.

For those with disabilities, having children in school can have its challenges. Marci Steinle, a spinal cord injury survivor has a son in his first year at Southwest University. “He wanted to live on campus and is required to have a roommate, but my son has been very careful and responsible since the very beginning of the pandemic,” Marci said. “If anything happens during this period, my husband will get him to recover back at home and would have to self isolate during his recovery. Because I’m considered to be a risk as a person with disabilities, my husband and I will have to wear a mask,” she added.

According to university policy, students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate at home or off-campus for a period of at least 10 days and show no fever for 24 hours before returning to school.

Public school students in Bexar County were allowed to return in phases for in-class instruction on Sept. 8, but some have not started to bring students back on campus yet.

According to the San Antonio Independent School District, students will either attend their assigned campus or participate in teacher-led remote learning from home. In either case, each child will receive a high-quality education. Parents can make a change to the model they want at the end of each nine-week grading period.

“Some of the positives are that some students who would skip school or constantly not turn in assignments are now more active because they have opted to stay home where they are more comfortable and complete their assignments on their own time.” said Jennifer Love, a San Antonio High School teacher. The staff at Thomas Jefferson High School has come together to identify “at-risk” students such as students with learning disabilities, or failure to focus, to be a part of the 10% of students allowed back first so that we can tend to their needs, Love added.

Having strategies to ensure your students are healthy and get quality education on all levels is critical for all parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Steinle said she regularly checks the university website for updates and/or changes to any policies. People with COVID-19 who are cared for at home should stay in isolation until they are no longer able to transmit the virus to others. People without symptoms should stay isolated for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive.

According to the World Health Organization’s website, those with symptoms should stay isolated for a minimum of 10 days after the first day they developed symptoms, plus another 3 days after the end of symptoms – when they are without fever and without respiratory symptoms.

Monitor and ensure plans are in place for a continued provision of support and assistance for people with disabilities where caregivers and service providers may not be able to visit their homes due to hospitalization, quarantine, or social distancing practices. Local public health officials will monitor progress and warning indicators to determine whether further delays will be needed to protect the health and safety of students, teachers, and school staff.