Disability Issues

Groups serving the disabled change their names

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Over the past two years, several organizations serving people with disabilities have changed their names something relatively unrelated to the population they serve. Organizations want to be creative and inclusive as their population and services change.

However, changing a name is not easy, especially for organizations that have been around for more than a half-century.

Two years ago, CARC became Envision Unlimited. Raymond Janutis is the president and CEO.

"We were trying to be respectful of the people that we serve. The word "retarded" tends to diminish their capabilities, and by using the name Envision, we can help them have more esteem for themselves," Janutis said.

After two years, "It has made it easier to relate to some of the younger clients that we serve, and it has complicated the fundraising in some instances," he said.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic is now Learning Ally. This happened a year ago, says Production Director Andrew Horton.

"We found that the old name recording for the blind and dyslexic already didn't describe what were doing. It didn't capture the full aspect of creating digital audio textbooks. We were serving people far beyond just the blind and dyslexic population," Horton said.

"The good thing about the new name, even though it doesn't describe what we do, it actually gives us a nice opening to talk to people about the expanded mission about all of the different new services that we provide," said Horton.

In July, Guild for the Blind became Second Sense. Executive Dir. David Tabak says it was a year-long process.

"Second Sense really means we want to help people as much as we can," Tabak said.

"When you lose your sight, we have found that people lose a sense of themselves, a sense of confidence ,and what we're trying to do is give them a second sense of their possibilities and their talent by using proven rehabilitation therapy, empathic support and just a sense of community," said Tabak.

Even if you Google or type the groups' former names, you will be linked to their new ones.

For more information: www.envisionchicago.org, www.learningally.org, www.second-sense.org.

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