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A medium-sized brown dog with black nose and floppy ears lays at the feet of three unseen people seated on a bench.

Dear NCDE: What About Emotional Support Animals and Exchange?

More and more students with mental health disabilities are bringing emotional support animals (ESAs) on overseas programs. Conflicts between cross-border definitions of assistance animals and peers who have severe allergies to pet dander have left professionals scrambling to respond. Here are some of our suggestions for one professional who contacted us through our Inquiry and Referral service:

A group of people with and without disabilities hold up signs with words in Vietnamese and English while posing for a photo at the ACDC office

Identifying the Gaps to Deaf Inclusion, and Taking Action

By Lydia Shula, Program Manager

My eyes dart around the room, while my fingers jump between laptop keys, camera clicks and my translation headset. There are papers with words posted all over the walls, visually shouting in both Vietnamese and English: ‘access’, ‘justice’, ‘ dignity’, ‘enforcement’, ‘autonomy’. Up on a screen, paused mid-play, is a video of Linh, a leading force in the Deaf rights movement, signing in front of a blue backdrop with text displayed to his right.

Four women seated and talking and taking notes around a round table with a sign labeled "Loud Proud and Passionate, disabled women as leaders in inclusive development"

Full Circle Access at Gender 360 Summit

By Ashley Holben, Program Specialist

How do you get people with disabilities to the table? And is simply getting them to that proverbial table enough? What's the next step?

These are some of the questions we were thinking about when, for the first time (hopefully the first of many!), MIUSA had the opportunity to attend the Gender 360 Summit hosted by FHI 360, a member of MIUSA's EDDI initiative.

Three young women stand on a high ledge facing out towards the view

Re-Defining the “Success” Story

International exchange is one of those experiences that can have high stakes for someone with a disability.

A disabled exchange participant might invest so much energy convincing others that nothing bad will happen if they go abroad, that it stings that much worse if an accident does occur. Worse still, even a minor incident might result in a program to question the participant’s abilities or to project doubts on future participants with disabilities.

Wheelchair user with pigeons and small child in background

Finding the Bright Spots

In the next decades, I hope we look at students who experienced these barriers and found ways to go abroad anyways. These alumni hold the solutions, which may be replicable for others. They showed barriers can be negligible when we focus on the how.

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