February 2014 
Vol. 2
Table of Contents

noteA note from Matt....
 By: Matthew Dietz   


A core individual freedom is a one's natural right to make decisions affecting his or her health or body. This freedom is an integral part of the dignity and control for persons with disabilities as well. One of the major goals of the Disability Rights movement is that each person with a disability has the right to self-determination - free from the patriarchal attitudes of the "able-bodied". This right to make medical decisions extends not only to traditional forms of medicine, but also to alternative treatments that assists a person with daily life activities -- (read more)

spyI Spy Books with photographs by Walter Wick
Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Wick for your generous donation of I Spy books that we donated to the Broward Children's Center.






By Samantha Belabin
This month, Disability Independence Group was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the University of Miami's PhilADthropy event. Run through the School of Communication, PhilADthropy is a 25 hour event where undergraduate students work together in groups under the direction of a team leader from the community in order to provide 16 local nonprofit organizations with free advertising and creative services.  (read more)

kidssKids Crusaders Corner 


Welcome back to the Kids Crusaders corner. This year has been off to a wild and crazy start. Depending on where you live, if you are anything like me, you are probably already contemplating 1001 ways to (humanely) terminate the groundhog for seeing his shadow. Another 6 weeks of winter. I am SO over it. Nick and I donned our new Kids Crusaders t-shirts (in protest of all of the snow we are buried in) and immediately felt warmer.  (read more)




Ask Julie a question. 


artArt and More

The Disability of Relativity


I'm often asked what it's like to be disabled. At first, what appeared to be a very complex question is actually quite simple.  Asking me what it's like to live in a chair is no different than asking me what it's like to live period. It's easy; it's difficult.  It's happy; it's sad. It's loving; it's hateful. Being in a chair does not preclude me from the same quality of life of those who are not. (read more)





Do I need to file for a Guardianship for my 18 year old child who suffers from a disability??? That is an important question and one that troubles many parents and caregivers. A GUARDIANSHIP is a legal proceeding where a guardian is appointed by a COURT to exercise some or all the legal rights of the incapacitated person. The guardianship can be plenary where the incapacitated person loses all their legal rights or a limited guardianship where they can retain some rights such as the right to marry or vote or travel yet not be able to enter contracts, decide where they live or consent to medical treatment. (read more) 



If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at Sharon@justdigit.org

bestBest Buddies Seminar 


In January I was invited to speak at Best Buddies Florida about lobbying and the importance of self-advocacy. I met with teams of Best Buddies Ambassadors to discuss current disability rights issues that they could talk about with their representatives in the Florida Legislature. Since each team of Ambassadors had one person with an intellectual disability and one nondisabled person, I talked to them about the roles of self-advocates and allies and how they can work together to be effective.(read more)


    Thank you Randee Breiter for inviting us to participate in the FIU Public Interest and Government Resource Fair on February 11, 2014 .

Visit our website


Eliminating barriers and promoting inclusion at Miami-Dade County Parks

By: Rachel Goldstein


As a fellow for the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development's 2013-2014 Emerging Transformational Leadership Program ("ETLP"), I am working with other professionals in the Disability Rights Community to transform systems of care for individuals with disabilities. Our goal this year is to promote the integration and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Miami-Dade County parks by ensuring the parks, playgrounds, and recreational programs and services offered are accessible and inclusive. (read more)

Litigation:  Service Animals in Schools 

Disability Independence Group filed a federal lawsuit against the Broward School Board, alleging the district discriminated against Anthony Merchante, a first grader, for imposing too many barriers to bringing his service dog to his elementary school.

Anthony Marchante lives with cerebral palsy and is highly prone to seizures. His medium-sized terrier service dog, Stevie, alerts others to oncoming convulsions and helps calm the boy by licking his face.  (read more)
homeLitigation: Service Animals in the Home
By: Matt Dietz      

Deborah Fisher lives with her husband Larry at Sabal Palm Condominiums in Broward County, Florida. Deb has lived at Sabal Palms for the past twelve years. She lives with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Deb's multiple sclerosis affects her ability to walk and her fine motor skills. It progressed from walking with a limp, then a walker, then a scooter, then a wheelchair and accessible van. She is now non-ambulatory and has been for about six years. (read more)




Thank you to everyone that donated to help Stephanie get to the Ms. Wheelchair FL competition.  Next month we will have an update on the competition.
For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or debbie@justdigit.org.

Disability Independence Group, Inc.
Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

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