Hello and happy new year to all of my buddies! I hope everyone had a terrific holiday and is looking ahead to a prosperous year full of growth and opportunity. In this month’s issue of the newsletter I want to introduce my newest service offering. This service will help you avoid lawsuits and become compliant in your online counseling practice and product offerings.
If you have read my previous newsletters you understand online accessibility provides important independence and access to counseling services in an ethical manner.
Furthermore, you also understand that having ADA compliant web sites will help you avoid costly lawsuits.
Lawsuits are on the rise
With the rise of online commerce and virtual service offerings, we see a corresponding rise in law suits targeting those who conduct business virtually. A study of lawsuits pertaining to accessibility in 2021 found that accessibility lawsuits are filed at the rate of 10 per day, with an increase of 15% in 2021 . The highest rates of these suits are found in those with ecommerce web sites.
Additionally, data on these lawsuits excludes the practice of demand letters, which occurs when the individual or company demands money to stop a lawsuit. Consensus exists that the practice of demand letters occurs much more frequently than the filing of lawsuits.
What about online healthcare and counseling practices? In the past 3 years, there has been a 300% increase in lawsuits targeting online accessibility for healthcare practices with 1 in 5 lawsuits relating to these medical companies.
Thus, online compliance continues to be an important way to avoid costly lawsuits for the healthcare practice.
I know that many of you are confused about how to implement a compliant solution in your practice. That’s why I am excited to help you with my newest offering of website auditing. Website auditing includes reporting to give you the actionable steps you need to take to make your online content accessible. If you are interested in this service please contact me for a quote.
My passion continues to be helping persons with mental health issues through therapy and counseling. Additionally, I currently have openings for those seeking therapy. If interested fill out the contact form at my web site at www.kimberlyduff.com I specialize in disability and chronic illness, military and their family members and Christian counseling.
This month I want to highlight why making your private practice web site or online platform accessible is simply the right thing to do even if you haven’t been given a legal challenge at this point. I want to give credit to disability rights attorney Lainie Feingold. Much of this current content comes from her webinar from 12/10/2021. You can learn more about her practice and the current state of the law with regard to accessibility by going to her web site at www.lfl-egal.com.
How should we view the concept of access and accessibility? First, therapists should recognize that accessibility is a civil right of the person with a disability. Digital accessibility means that the person who is blind or visually impaired can utilize the digital information independently without asking for help. This right of the individual grants them privacy, independence, and security. A web site that cannot be accessed independently creates a barrier for the person, thereby breaking the person’s right to privacy, independence, and security. Privacy is broken when I need to ask a sighted person to assist me with completing a task. Of course, this means I am not able to be independent when I must ask for this assistance. Security is broken because I must typically give the person access to user names or passwords in this process.
We know that the law solidifies these civil rights through Title II and Title III of the ADA. Title II mandates that federal, state, and local governments make their web sites accessible to the public. Private practices that accept federal funds through Medicaid, Medicare, or other federal or state programs are expected to make their online services accessible to the public.
Title III applies to the business that offers a service or a product to the public. Last month we highlighted how this act easily applies to the brick and mortar business and any architectural barriers. We recognized that the guidelines for the online business or practice may not be as clear-cut as technology and the law are rapidly evolving.
I agree with accessibility attorney Lainey Feingold who states that it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive in these circumstances. Therapists who practice online or who have a web site should make a good faith effort to promote accessibility to avoid future legal conflicts and to promote the dignity and civil rights of persons with disabilities. Therapists should recognize that accessibility is about people and about promoting an individual’s dignity and sense of independence. As therapists, we are bound by an ethical code that requires that we promote the ethical concepts of autonomy, beneficence, and non-malfeasance. Providing information in an accessible manner promotes these concepts as it enables the person who is blind to be independent and to be empowered to accomplish a task.
The following entry contains 3 resources to help you establish a sense of organization and control in your life. Planning and making priorities in life allows you to gain a clear picture of what is important. This planning helps us stay focused so we can reach our goals. Here, I present 3 strategies to gaining control and becoming organized through the use of a calendar, planner or other list, expressing yourself through a journal or diary, and approaching chores or other family responsibilities by the use of a systematic method.
In 2010-2011, my husband and I faced a huge decision about the future of our family. As I turned 35, I became aware that my biological clock was ticking and I had very little time to decide if I was to have children. Because we were both blind, the decision of having children was something we put off due to the sheer logistics of the endeavor. The concerns that had to be faced included health concerns, financial, and practical issues. Yet, despite the many factors that made this undertaking seem impossible, my husband and I could not let go of the yearning for something more and the desire to go for the dream I had dreamed since I was a little girl. We decided to face our fears and we stepped off the cliff of life and entered this crazy phase of life we call “parenthood.” The rewards of parenting have far outweighed the challenges, and it all began with us deciding to act even though we were afraid.
For persons who are newly blind and visually impaired, there is often an inner struggle and overwhelming sense of boredom as they come to a belief that their active lifestyle has grinded to a halt after the vision loss. With the thoughtful application of some simple principles and activities, however, it is possible for a newly blind person to once again realize the many benefits of an active lifestyle.
In this entry, we examine the role of fun and vitality in the rehabilitation of persons with vision loss including social and psychological benefits of fun and recreation, how to discover what is fun for each individual, and examples of recreation for persons who are blind and visually impaired. Nancy Parkin Bashizi, director at Vision Rehabilitation Services (VRS) in Smyrna, Georgia, provides useful information about the impact of these types of activities on social and psychological well-being and presents a variety of adaptive activities and a list of resources for the blind and visually impaired. Continue reading “Fun and Vitality for the Newly Blind and Visually Impaired”
The following blog was written by guest blogger and friend Kimberleigh S Daniels. I asked her to write about the role of spirituality in facing problems. As I read, I found similarities to techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Ms. Daniels uses a combination of Christian counseling techniques that include prayer, Bible reading, speaking her faith out loud and reciting scriptures to overcome her problems. This is similar to the guidance and support I provide during a counseling session. Ms. Daniels does a fabulous job of being her “own therapist” and illustrating how one can use his or her own spirituality to overcome the challenges of life.
How Does My Faith Help Me Overcome My Problems?
I have experienced my share of problems, some brought on by my own poor choices and others brought on by various factors that I had no control over. Some have lasted for but a brief time and others have long ago worn out their welcome. I have made it through the darkest seasons of my life because the truth I know is greater than what I feel. Continue reading “How Does My Faith Help Me Overcome My Problems?”
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it,” Helen Keller
What is the meaning of our suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the difference in the person who encounters disability or illness and accomplishes great things versus the one who becomes angry and despondent after adversity?
10 fears about asking for help
Having a disability or illness or a chronic illness probably means you need to ask for help more than you would like. We live in a society where independence is encouraged and personal accomplishments are praised. However, having a disability such as blindness or an illness that limits your ability to stand means you need to ask for help from time to time. When I start feeling defeated about this need, I find it helpful to remind myself that I did all of these things when I didn’t have limitations or I remind myself that I truly want to be independent and am not lazy. Our fears often stem from a sense of guilt or own anger turned inwards. This may manifest as 1 or more of the following fears about our situation
I am too much trouble
They will resent me
People will think I’m lazy
People won’t want to be my friend
My request is an inconvenience
I don’t deserve help
They will complain
I should do it myself
I will loose my independence
I am less of a person if I need help
Contact Kimberly to schedule an appointment for counseling at her office in Acworth or Cartersville. Call 678-936-6113