Friday, August 29, 2014

Opinion: Truth About Down Syndrome

Oped piece from today's edition of The New York Times by Jamie Edgin, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, and Fabian Fernandez, a research associate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Last week the biologist Richard Dawkins sparked controversy when, in response to a woman’s hypothetical question about whether to carry to term a child with Down syndrome, he wrote on Twitter: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”In further statements, Mr. Dawkins suggested that his view was rooted in the moral principle of reducing overall suffering whenever possible — in this case, that of individuals born with Down syndrome and their families.But Mr. Dawkins’s argument is flawed

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Overcoming Adversity a Stride at a Time

Three to four times a week, Alex Schneider, 24, laces up his running shoes and goes for a run to train for his next marathon.
Always, his longtime coach, Kevin McDermott, runs with him. It’s a partnership that has been going on since Schneider and his twin brother, Jamie, were teenagers. With McDermott, Alex Schneider has run marathons in under 3:20, one-mile races in under 6:30, 10Ks, 5Ks and whatever else he can. Jamie, also a runner, runs mostly for fun.Without McDermott, Alex Schenider would be lost – literally and perhaps figuratively.

More Families Join Disney Lawsuit

 Walt Disney Parks and Resorts could be facing a lot more angry families of children with developmental disorders if the plaintiffs in the ongoing American With Disabilities Act lawsuit get their way. In fact, the discrimination suitImage (2) Disneyland__130426203418-200x150.jpg for post 512535 over access at Disneyland and other theme parks filed back in April against the media giant could nearly triple. “After the initial Complaint was filed, undersigned counsel received an outpouring of phone calls and emails from victims and their families, similarly situated to the 26 existing Plaintiffs,” said lawyers Andy Dogali and Eugene Feldman in one of several filings today in federal court. “Most of the victims wanted to offer cheers of support and witness assistance; some were in search of counsel. Ultimately, the undersigned counsel agreed to represent many of them.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Study Links Fracking to Health Risks

NEW YORK — The first research into the effects of oil and gas development on babies born near wells has found potential health risks. Government officials, industry advocates and the researchers themselves say more studies are needed before drawing conclusions.
While the findings are still preliminary, any documented hazards threaten to cast a shadow over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — the process of blasting chemicals, sand and water deep underground to extract fuel from rock that has helped push the United States closer to energy self-sufficiency than at any time since 1985.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sheltered Workshops, DOJ & Olmstead

Leslie Winkler stacks nozzle mechanisms for spray bottles in a box. Six per box, just so, over and over again. At other times she might be putting labels on bags of coffee. All day.
Winkler does this three days a week in a warehouse in an industrial park in eastern Independence.Barb Winkler of Lee’s Summit is grateful that her 33-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome, has a place to go and be productive, even if she earns only $1.85 an hour at the JobOne sheltered workshop.“You want them to optimize their potential and do everything they’re capable of doing,” Winkler said of people with disabilities.The question is whether this warehouse is the best way to do that.The future of such places — sheltered workshops that pay subminimum wage to workers with various disabilities — is uncertain in light of a new Medicaid rule and a new law signed last month. Based on a 1999 Supreme Court decision, the two actions confirm the government’s commitment to integrate people with disabilities into the larger community as much as possible.

Read more here:

Friday, August 22, 2014

NYC Schools Lose $356 Million in Special Ed Funding Due to Poor Accounting

NEW YORK — City public schools lost $356 million during the past three years in federal Medicaid payments for special education services because city and state officials failed to properly apply for reimbursement, the Daily News has learned.
“Red tape and bureaucracy should not stand in the way of (the city) being reimbursed for the vast array of services provided,” city Controller Scott Stringer said in a report obtained by The News.
As a result, between 2012 and this year, the city Department of Education kept shifting funds originally slated for books, supplies and other general costs to pay for those special education services, Stringer said.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Developmental Disabilities in Children on the Rise, Study Finds

 Disabilities among U.S. children have increased slightly, with a bigger rise in mental and developmental problems in those from wealthier families, a 10-year analysis has found.Disadvantaged kids still bear a disproportionate burden.