Wednesday, September 30, 2015

One Year Later, a Return to Rhode Island

A year ago, Rhode Island agreed to find better opportunities for at least 2,000 people with developmental and learning disabilities. It was part of a settlement after a federal investigation uncovered programs that funneled people with disabilities into sweat shops, where they toiled for very little pay.

One year later, journalist Casey Nilsson looks at what progress the state is making to address the problem.

Minn. Olmstead Plan Approved

After nearly four years, several revisions and numerous court filings, a federal judge approved the Minnesota Olmstead Plan Tuesday, giving people with disabilities a clearer vision for how the state would integrate them within the community.U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said the latest version of the Olmstead plan submitted in August emphasizes key changes including concrete data, specific timelines to establish measurable goals and added commitments that make the plan an "evolving document."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Health Care Can and Should Look Like for Individuals with IDD

The world came together in Los Angeles last month at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in an amazing international celebration of abilities and possibilities.
It was the ideal place and time for the Golisano Foundation to announce that our founder, Tom Golisano would commit $25 million to expand Special Olympics Healthy Communities, a successful initiative we helped launch three years ago to enhance global access to healthcare and improve health outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Agencies Wary of $15/Hour Minimum

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage faces hurdles in the human services sector. Agencies serving mentally challenged or physically disabled populations are concerned in part about the competition they would face in the labor market
“I know my colleagues statewide are going crazy; how do we do this?” said Patrick Dollard, CEO of Center for Discovery in Harris. “The field is concerned because it’s tough to get people in the door now to work with very complex people … A lot of people might rather flip burgers at McDonald’s. The work we demand from people is so much more intense.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

Autism ID Cards Proposed for New York

ALBANY — Cases of autism can vary in severity, and in more pronounced cases, communication is difficult if not impossible.

To help autistic people who may find themselves in situations where an inability to communicate could jeopardize health and safety, Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, of District 111, is proposing autism identification cards for New York residents that would help them interact with law enforcement and rescue personnel.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inclusion Movement Impacts Everyone

Twenty-five years ago, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), ushered in a new era of opportunity and expectation for people with disabilities. But this landmark legislation paved just the start of the civil rights struggle for those with disabilities, particularly developmental disabilities. The next phase of the battle is changing hearts and minds

Sixty million Americans live with some form of disability, including disability acquired by aging. That's 20% of the U.S. population, with virtually every American family able to point to a child, sibling, neighbor, or friend with a disability. As disability advocate Jay Ruderman puts it, it's the only minority group almost all of us are guaranteed of joining at some point in our lives.

Friday, September 18, 2015

States Focus on Job Opportunities

Michael Bethke, 19, works part time at a grocery store in Clark, South Dakota. He started out as an intern through the state’s Project Skills program for high school students with disabilities, and now performs tasks like unloading vans. “I like it a lot,” he says of his job.It’s been 25 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibited employment discrimination against people with disabilities. Yet as the nation celebrates the law’s anniversary, a stark divide remains: men and women like Bethke are still less likely to have jobs than people who don’t have a disability.About a third of the more than 20 million working-age Americans who have a sensory, mental or physical disability are employed, according to an analysis of 2013 U.S. Census data by the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. At the same time, other surveysshow people with disabilities want to work.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

All-Autism Wedding Nears

Anita Lesko and Abraham Nieslon call their love story an "epic romance." 
On Saturday, September 26, Lesko and Nelson are getting married, and the wedding itself will be "epic" too – they'll be celebrating the first all-autism weddingThe bride and groom, who are both on the autistic spectrum, will be joined by an entire wedding party (ring bearer, harpist, wedding cake baker, groomsman, usher and more) that identify as autistic. The nuptials will take place at San Diego's Love & Autism: A Conference with a Heart, a conference organized by Dr. Jenny Palmiotto to bring awareness to the fact that every individual, even those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, deserves to be loved. 

NYS to Decide on Group Home

EDEN, N.Y. — Eden residents do not want to see another group home built there. One woman said the push-back isn't against the developmentally disabled."It's the saturation levels. We have one group home for, roughly, every 1,100 people," said Susan Wilhelm, who said the proposed facility would be just 300 feet away from her own house.A hearing officer from the OPWDD listened to arguments from the town and from Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, the group that wants to build the home. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

California Programs Still Struggling

After almost nine months of pressuring lawmakers to find a way to increase money for programs and services for Californians with developmental disabilities, organizations, parents and those who support people with special needs were left Monday with no answers.
Both the regular and special sessions that ended Friday would have allowed legislators to vote on several proposed bills that would have drawn on new taxes to boost funds for programs for the developmentally disabled.

Madeline Stuart Hits the Runway

Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old Australian model who has Down syndrome, walked the runway at New York Fashion Week on Sunday.
Stuart opened South African designer Hendrik Vermeulen's spring 2016 collection for the group FTL Moda in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and Models of Diversity. She follows Jamie Brewer, an actress who became the first person with Down syndrome to walk in NYFW earlier this year. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Town Says It Will Go to Court to Block Proposed Group Residence

This is so disturbing in some many ways, especially the official suggesting that they place people in a closed hospital. Anyone hear of Olmstead?
BOSTON, N.Y. -- A controversy over a group home in the Town of Boston continues to grow after New York State has given approval for the project to move ahead. The proposed group home, located at Cole and Omphalius Roads, will house four developmentally disabled adults who need 24/7 supervision. The project is being done by Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. (CSDD).

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Study Questions Overuse of Medication

New research suggests that many drugs are vasty overprescribed to people with intellectual disabilities despite scant evidence that they provide any benefit.
An analysis of medical records for more than 33,000 adults with intellectual disabilities in the United Kingdom between 1999 and 2013 finds one in four were prescribed antipsychotic medication.

In Canada, Agencies Urge Delaying New Residential Safety Rules

Interesting story from Canada. Definitely see why providers have concerns.

With inspectors throughout Alberta poised to start auditing homes, social service agencies that help people with developmental disabilities are urging the provincial government to delay the implementation of new safety regulations.
The beefed-up rules are aimed at creating a safer environment for clients of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) who live in the community, but agencies in the sector say the new standards will prompt landlords who rent to PDD recipients to evict those tenants rather than undertake costly renovations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Researchers Find Mix of Tools Needed to Help Diagnose Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disorder, and diagnosing it properly usually involves a combination of different tests. In the latest issue of JAMA, scientists provide the most up-to-date assessment yet of which tests work best for detecting genetic mutations associated with certain kinds of autism. Categorizing the various forms of autism will be important to guide parents to the proper care, the researchers say.Traditionally, autism is diagnosed with behavioral tests that assess whether kids are meeting developmental milestones, such as talking, interacting with their parents and siblings, and learning to give and take in social situations. In recent years, researchers have been working on other ways to detect and potentially diagnose autism. Scientists have identified more than 100 genes connected with a higher risk of developing autism.

Californians Protest for More Funding

LOS ANGELES -- In what they called a last desperate plea, more than 100 protesters gathered in front of state Sen. Kevin de Leon’s district office Tuesday to press him and other lawmakers to boost funding for programs for those with developmental disabilities.
Demonstrators, including those with special needs, were joined by supporters from the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena and all over East Los Angeles. The protesters lined West Sunset Boulevard holding signs that said: “Fair Funding!” and “Save our Services!”