The Importance of People First Language

For too long, people with disabilities have been subject to devaluation, marginalization, prejudice, and much more. The first way to devalue someone is through language. By using words or labels that identify a person/group as less than or consider them the others, we begin to devalue them. When a person or group has been identified in this way, it is easier to justify prejudice and discrimination. Just as our language shapes our attitudes, our attitudes shape our language. These two things are intertwined and together they control our actions.

People first language is when you put the person before the disability. This can help to eliminate old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptions. This isn’t about being politically correct, but instead, is about being polite and respecting others. Not only does the way we speak about a person change how we view them, but it also changes how he/she sees him/herself. When we use a diagnosis as a defining characteristic of a person, we create prejudice, and rob the person of the opportunity to define him/ herself.

Too often, we forget just how our words affect our attitudes, drive social policies and laws, influence our feelings and decisions, and affect people’s daily lives and more.

Here are some easy ways to begin using People First Language:

Instead of referring to someone as disabled, refer to them as a person with a disability.

Instead of referring to someone as slow, simple, moronic, etc. refer to them as a person with an intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disability.

Instead of referring to someone as wheelchair bound, refer to them as a person who uses a wheelchair

Dakota Center for Independent Living Hosts Visitability: Making Homes Beautiful and Accessible

Dakota Center for Independent Living is hosting an event on visitability on August 26, 2015 at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library. There will be two sessions: 3:30-5:00 pm and 6:30-8:00 pm. Visitability is an international movement to change home construction practices so that all new homes, whether or not designated for residents who currently have mobility impairments, offer three specific accessibility features. These features include one zero step entrance, a bathroom that is usable by a wheelchair user, and wider interior doors.

Visitability features make homes easier for people with mobility issues to visit friends and families. These features also provide basic access that allows someone who does not have a disability, but develops one, to remain in their home. Currently, eighty percent of Americans over the age of fifty want to remain in their current home. Building a home with visitable features allows them to achieve that.

When asked about the costs of building a visitable home, Royce Schultze, the executive director at Dakota Center for Independent Living, said, “I think people would be surprised at the low cost of building a visitable home.” She went on to say, “Visitability makes a home easier for everyone. For example, a zero step entrance is much easier for a mother with a young child. It is much easier to just be able to roll a stroller into the house instead of struggling to get it up the stairs.” This event is free and open to the public. There will be time after each session for questions.

Project Service Connect to Take Place on August 20th

Project Service Connect is a one day event that provides individuals and their families who are currently experiencing homelessness, and those who are at risk of homelessness access to vital services in our community. It is a one-stop shop of service providers and community members offering resources regarding housing, employment, transportation, medical/dental care, haircuts and more. This year the event is scheduled for August 20th at the Bismarck Library. The hours are from 3:00-7pm. A light meal will also be served. We have 38 vendors registered for the event. Some of those agencies are; Great Plains Food Bank, Dakota Center for Independent Living,  Youth works, Supportive Services for Vet Families, Social Security Administration, Labor Ready, Command Center, Custer Health, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health and more.

Dakota Center for Independent Living Hosted Open House for 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

11742831_1022017597839068_612007671991386853_nOn July 23, 2015, Dakota Center for Independent Living (DCIL) held an open house to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DCIL had a wonderful turnout for the event with a total of 50 people in attendance.

The celebration included lots of door prizes and activities that simulated what someone might encounter should they acquire a traumatic brain injury.  These activities included sensory and visual. Other activities included barriers that individuals with physical disabilities face in their everyday lives. People were invited to partake in the wheelchair obstacle course. Those who tried these activities said it really opened their eyes and allowed them to see just how difficult it can be to live with a disability.

Everyone enjoyed the open house and it gave DCIL a chance to talk more about the ADA and what it means to them. The ADA was signed on July 26, 1990. This bill really pushed for the inclusion of people with disabilities and made it illegal to discriminate against them. Although DCIL celebrates the ADA, the staff still sees there is work to be done. The ADA was the first step and while we celebrate all it has to offer, we look to the future and see what else can be done so this world is accessible to everyone.








Cooling Assistance Available to Low Income Individuals with Medical Needs

Cooling assistance is available for seniors or people with certain medical conditions who qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The heat of summer can really create problems for people with health issues. The cooling assistance program makes funds available to low income households to prevent heat-related illnesses.

The program funds can be used to assist qualifying households to purchase and install an air conditioning unit, repair an air conditioning unit, or to purchase oscillating or window fans. Community Action, an agency located in the state’s eight largest cities, will complete the work.

To qualify, current energy assistance clients under 60 years of age need a signed statement from a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or public health nurse verifying their medical condition and the need for a cooled living space. This information must be provided to the county social service office. Clients over 60 years of age are not required to obtain documentation of a medical need.

People who are not currently energy assistance program clients may also qualify. A three-person household earning up to $43,430 per year may qualify if their assets meet program limits. For information on qualifying incomes, visit

Individuals should contact their county social service office to apply for the program before September 30, 2015. Contac t information is available online at

Burleigh County: 701-222-6622

Morton County: 701-667-3395

25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act to be Celebrated Next Week

ADA 25th Anniversary Flyer

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. The ADA is considered to be one of the most significant civil rights laws passed since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from which it draws heavily.

The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA also assures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.

Dakota Center for Independent Living invites the community to come learn more about the ADA at their open house being held on July 23, 2015. The open house includes several activities to help the community understand the ADA, the impact it has had on the community and much more. The open house will be taking place at Dakota Center for Independent Living’s office at 3111 E Broadway Ave in Bismarck from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Current Popular Medicare Scams

There are several different Medicare scams out there. As soon as one scam is squashed, another one emerges. Here are a few examples of Medicare scams to watch out for:

  • Bait-and-switch scam: An “arthritis kit” draws the attention of many Medicare recipients through telemarketing, TV commercials, and door-to-door sales. This kit promises relief from chronic joint discomfort using a lightweight, high-tech osteoarthritis brace designed for knees, backs, ankles, hands, and elbows. The person receives a bunch of Velcro braces and assorted knee and ankle wraps. Meanwhile, the kit supplier bills Medicare $3,000 for state-of-the-art braces and splints.
  • Home health care scams: Home healthcare fraudsters are offering clients services that range from physical therapy to cooking and cleaning assistance. These companies charge Medicare for professional services, but actually provide low-level care or nothing at all.
  • Topical pain cream scam: Telemarketers are calling to offer beneficiaries a chance to meet a doctor who would be willing to prescribe topical pain cream. They ask for the beneficiaries Medicare number during the phone call.
  • New Medicare card scam: Scammers are calling people and asking for Medicare numbers so the person they are calling can receive their new Medicare card. They are stealing the Medicare information.

If you get one of these calls, what should you do?

  • Hang up
  • Never give out your Medicare number or personal information
  • Call the North Dakota Senior Medical Patrol Office at (701)858-3580

Information provided by the Senior Medical Patrol