Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for May, 2008

It’s tough out there

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Police: Teacher’s aide attacks autistic student. A Coconut Creek, Florida, teacher’s aide is under investigation after an autistic student was attacked with a metal chair at school earlier this month, police said. From NBC6-TV in South Florida.

Phila. mom angered over treatment of son with autism. A mother says her son’s school did not properly care for him when it took the rest of his classmates on a field trip and left him in the care of an untrained bus assistant. From CBS3-TV in Philadelphia.

Autistic man labelled ‘mental retard’. The UK’s Boots pharmacy chain apologized to a man after one of its store clerks said he didn’t deserve service because he was a “mental retard.” From the Bath Chronicle.

‘Lorenzo’s Oil’ subject dead at age 30

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

From the BBC:

Lorenzo Odone, whose parents’ battle to save him from a rare nerve disorder was depicted in the 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil, has died from pneumonia aged 30.

… Lorenzo was given less than two years to live when he was diagnosed at age 6, but his parents refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis. With no scientific training, they took on the medical establishment and set about finding a cure.


Psychologist on Alex Barton case: Teachers need training

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

From CBS News, a followup on the case of Alex Barton, the Florida 5-year-old with behavior problems whose teacher led fellow students in voting to eject him from class.

In an interview that also included Alex and his mother, Melissa Barton, clinical psychologist Jed Baker said teachers need training on including children with special needs in regular classrooms. In the absence of such training, he said, he worries that children are being taught intolerance.

The video (below) shows Alex as a boy who is constantly in motion. Watch the closing moments as Baker and interviewer Harry Smith give him positive reinforcement for staying silent during the interview. “Alex, thank you buddy,” Smith says. Baker offers a high-five. “You did a good job, man.”

Partial transcript follows.

Partial (and unofficial) transcript:


What happened to Ricky

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

In the ’50s, disabled children often disappeared into state institutions. Now, one family seeks its lost son.

Richard West, in blue shirt, is reunited with family. Brother Jeff is third from left; parents Tom and Betty are at right.

By Clare Ansberry in the Wall Street Journal, an extended feature on a couple who re-established contact with their son almost 50 years after committing him to a state institution at the recommendation of their family doctor.

Richard West, then 3 and diagnosed as an “idiot,” was housed in an institution far from his Oregon home and then relocated. Parents Tom and Betty West were not told where he was being sent, and state officials turned down their subsequent requests for information on grounds of privacy.

Four decades went by before his brother Jeff found Richard again, living in a group home. The search was inspired and assisted by Jeff Daly, whose search for his sister was chronicled in the documentary “Where’s Molly.” The family went to visit Richard and found him to be healthy and content, with a job and a girlfriend.

The Wests belong to a generation of parents who decades ago relinquished their disabled children, usually at the urging of physicians or other authorities. From the 1930s into the 1960s, tens of thousands of these children entered state facilities, which offered services that local communities lacked. Many never saw their families again.


Beijing withdraws advice on disabilities

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Associated Press report in the International Herald Tribune:

Olympic organizers said Thursday that they had withdrawn parts of an English translation of a guide for volunteers because of “inappropriate language” used to describe disabled athletes.

Zhang Qiuping, director of the Paralympic Games in Beijing, did not offer an apology and attributed the problems to poor translation. “Probably it’s cultural difference and mistranslation,” Zhang said.

The Chinese-language version of the text remained online and was nearly identical to the English, using essentially the same stereotypes to refer to the disabled.

The guide described people with disabilities as unsocial, stubborn, controlling, defensive and possessing a strong sense of inferiority. See earlier post: Disabled groups outraged by Beijing snub.

Hospital to pay $1 million in case of man dumped in gutter

Friday, May 30th, 2008

From the Los Angeles Times:

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center on Friday settled charges that it left a paraplegic man crawling around downtown Los Angeles’ skid row in a hospital gown and colostomy bag by agreeing to pay $1 million and be monitored by a former U.S. attorney for up to five years.

The resolution marks the biggest settlement so far in the city’s efforts to crack down on hospitals and other institutions that “dump” patients along skid row.

Witnesses who came to the man’s aid said they saw him dragging himself on the ground with hospital papers and documents clenched in his teeth while the driver sat in her van and applied makeup before driving off.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office said it is investigating more than a dozen other hospital and medical offices suspected of dumping patients.

See earlier post here.

Columnist: How we really help Ted

Friday, May 30th, 2008

We’ll find out if the senators who were crying in the moment will be ready to get serious about cancer

Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:

It’s too bad that Hamilton Jordan isn’t still alive to remind the media that Ted Kennedy isn’t already dead. Jordan, who died last week after surviving four different cancers for 22 years, would have loathed those funereal and, in the case of the New York Post (TED IS DYING), offensive headlines about Kennedy. So does Kennedy, no doubt …

We’ll soon find out if the senators who were choked up last week at the prospect of losing their beloved colleague will be ready to get serious about cancer. Think we’re already spending enough? Jordan sent me an e-mail toting up how we spend more in six months in Iraq ($54 billion) than we’ve spent in 30 years on the National Cancer Institute, which funds most cancer research. Today, only two in 10 grant proposals from qualified researchers are funded by the NCI, which means that plenty of possible cures die for lack of funding.

Newsweek site carries video of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia) apparently weeping as he delivers a statement about Sen. Kennedy.

See earlier post.

See also: Networks join forces to fight cancer.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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