Archive | August 2016

An Odyssey Article

Here is my second Odyssey article.  I wrote about my aide.  I hope that you enjoy it.

Losing An Aide I Really Liked


So I am on a community hab program and that is a state program where my agency gives me an aide to help me learn how to organize my stuff or help me socialize in the community. I have been on it for a year and I had a terrific aide.

We were roughly the same age and she was in grad school to be a special education teacher. And she was, in many ways, my teacher because she knew a lot about how stuff works. For example, we started going to the movies and she introduced me to sensory-friendly screening because I never went to the movies due to the noise. At these movies, the volume is turned down. Just the other day, she taught me how to return merchandise. I mean, it’s the little things that I learned from her.

We would go to fairs and outings and I would get to bump into people that I knew and socialize with them. I could talk to them and catch up. I remember running into a security guard that I knew at the Renaissance faire and I could associate with them. Little things like that made me happy.

She helped me organize my schoolwork, but in doing that, she taught me a few things. She taught me study habits by helping me create flash cards, recording audios of my notes and even quizzing me on the material. I remember struggling with American Music, which was an online class and I had no idea how I was doing.   I e-mailed the professor and got no response from him. That was so annoying! So I did assignment after assignment and no grades. I finally got feedback at the end of the semester and I had a really low grade. I had the option of doing everything over for a better grade plus the last few assignments and the final exam. My aide said that this was a load of busywork and I was in a fog as to how I was going to get all of this done plus my other work. But she supported me through it.

Another example that I can give is her teaching me to think of circumstances. By that, I mean, thinking about what is involved in planning an activity. For example, I would go with her to the movies and she would ask how much is the movie, what time is the movie and is the theater handicapped accessible?

We were both shopaholics. We would go to the mall and go from store to store. We would basically shop til we dropped. We loved to spend money. Our money would go to clothes or food. That must have been our favorite pastime. She would introduce me to new stores like Rue21 or H&M.

I’m really going to miss her. I really had a lot of fun with her and I really enjoyed her company. I hope I get a good aide, but nobody will ever replace her.


Catching Up

I’m sorry for not blogging in a week.  August is a quiet month for me.  I’m getting ready for school and it feels like I have not been in a classroom in a year.  I did a lot of editing on my Accent because I couldn’t get to it during the school months.

Nevertheless, I went to a Met game two weeks ago at Citi Field.  And it was a really good game.  They were playing the San Diego Padres and the Mets won.  It was a brutally hot game and we left at the halftime but we had a really good time.  I had fun just being in a different environment.  My grandfather’s favorite singer was one of the guys that sang the National anthem so that was nice.

I am working on a story that I will be posting so that has been taking up my time.  Please be looking for that.

A Sigh of Relief

I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging.  It has been a really busy week writing for the magazines.  But I had a sigh of relief yesterday in my education world.  I met with my ACCES-VR counselor about going for my paralegal certificate  and she said she would extend services as long as I got a job and didn’t keep going to school, which I totally understood.  So this semester is critical to get a good GPA because I really want this certificate.  This is my dream job and I am committed to this career choice.

I want to thank everyone for their support in this fight.  The war has been won and now it’s time to celebrate.  I am really excited to be going into the legal system and I am really grateful for the support.  Thank you everyone for your support.

An Odyssey Piece

I wrote my first piece for The Odyssey and I thought that I would share it with you.  Enjoy!

A Story Of My Life

Donna Heather Klippel

I have Choreathetoid Cerebral Palsy, which is a movement disorder caused by a lack of oxygen at birth. My mother died during childbirth from an aneurism. I was without oxygen for a half hour. I went through years of intense therapy… Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, which was the hardest. But I wanted to walk and I did.

I’m in a wheelchair and I communicate with an augmentative communication device. I walk at home but I use a wheelchair for long distances. In school I use a motorized wheelchair. I have been on the dean’s list a few times. I graduated Rockland Community College with honors and I will obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from St. Thomas Aquinas College in December.


But here’s the problem…


I was going to do my Master’s in social work at St. Thomas Aquinas College’s NYU program, but then, last semester I took Physiological Psychology and I said to myself, “Psychology isn’t for me and grad school is going to kick my butt”. I had the grad school talk twice in St. Thomas Aquinas College and it seemed intimidating for a person whose has very bad hand coordination. I really wanted to do social work because I wanted to help people with disabilities access services that would be beneficial to them such as getting them a personal care aide or organizing housing situations for them. But that would be too much traveling for me. OK. So I thought that I would stay with the psychology path and do school psychology. That didn’t work for me because I can’t communicate fast enough to keep a conversation between the student and me. I would love to work with kids, but I fear that they wouldn’t understand my method of communication. I was going along with the flow with my psychology degree and not with my heart.

So, I know I couldn’t just sit home and do nothing. I don’t like summer breaks because it’s like isolation to me. Everyone is working and I don’t see them. It’s like being on a deserted island and I am waiting for the ship to take me back to reality. I want to go back to Rockland Community College and get my paralegal certificate because I’m very interested in law. I watch Court TV everyday with my grandmother and I know some legal aspects from watching the shows.

I now have to organize transportation and an aide for myself because New York State won’t provide services after the Bachelor’s degree. So here I find my dream job and I’m told that I can’t pursue it.

I am writing a letter to the state, literally begging for extended services. My family is backing me in this fight, but I’m wondering what will I do if this doesn’t work out? I want to socialize, form relationships with other cohorts and be responsible for my own life. I really hope that this works out.

Let’s see where this goes…

Catching Up

I apologize for not writing in a week.  I was asked to do a few writing projects for school and everything piled up.

The first one came from my Creative Writing professor.  There was a flier for people with disabilities to share rite of passage stories and she asked if I had anything.  I looked and I had stories that I could expand so I said yes.  So I started doing that and another writing request came.  One of my classmates from Creative Writing asked me to be on the Odyssey team, which is a national college magazine.  So I said yes.

Now I am scrambling to get two stories done.  One is due Saturday and the other September 1.  So I’m under a little bit of pressure.  I hope that this leads into me bettering my writing and expanding my horizon.

Wish me luck