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NYT op-ed provides wise advice from a young author

Melissa Shang is only in 8th grade but she’s already written a highly-rated novel and led an online petition that went viral. The young, talented writer and wheelchair user recently wrote an opinion essay for the New York Times that defends her preference for a positive perspective while writing about characters with disabilities. Check out her essay ‘Stories About Disability Don’t Have to Be Sad’ by clicking here.

Applicants for disability benefits facing multi-year delays

The Social Security Administration faces a growing backlog of applications for disability benefits. Budget cuts have left the agency understaffed and slow to hold hearings with administrative judges responsible for reviewing cases.

Graphic shows number of people awaiting disability hearings and average wait times.
Graphic shows number of people awaiting disability hearings and average wait times.

“The average wait for a hearing is 602 days. Five years ago, it was less than a year,” writes reporter Stephen Ohlemacher for the Associated Press/Denver Post. Click here to read his full article.

Social Security disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on waitlist

 

Univ of Illinois students with disabilities creating ‘culture house’ to build community

A group of students with disabilities at the University of Illinois are working to found a ‘cultural house’ where they can build community. The process is in its beginning stages but the founders are hopeful the new community space would create a needed space for students with disabilities to appreciate their culture and organize for more awareness of disability topics. Click here to read the full article by Karen Liu in the student paper The Daily Illini.

Students with disabilities call for social community

Power outages in Florida led to 8 deaths at same nursing home

Officials in Hollywood, Florida have opened multiple criminal investigations into the deaths of 8 nursing home residents who died Wednesday morning from heat exhaustion during an ongoing power outage caused by Hurricane Irma. The New York Times is reporting that “More than three million customers in Florida still lacked power Wednesday, including roughly 160 nursing homes, according to the state’s tracking system.” Hollywood local paper The Sun-Sentinel is reporting 115 other senior residents at the home were evacuated from the overheated facility, but their relatives remain confused about their health status.

Little People group says wrestling event in Chandler hurts, discriminates

Cronkite News, a student-produced news agency based at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, reported on a wrestling festival called “extreme midget wrestling” that is attracting condemnation from the Phoenix chapter of Little People of America. Click here to read the article and watch a web video about the story.

Chance the Rapper interprets his “Blessings” song into ASL

The hip-hop community wants to make their products accessible to the Deaf community. Superstar singer and songwriter Chance the Rapper partnered with DEAFinitely Dope’s Matt Maxey and Kelly Kurdi to interpret the first verse of Chance’s song “Blessings” into American Sign Language. Learn more about their partnership by reading this Billboard Magazine article, and by watching the full video here on Pigeon and Planes YouTube channel.

Mental health therapists helping Harvey survivors cope with ongoing psychological trauma

Anticipating, escaping and recovering from a natural disaster takes a heavy psychological toll on survivors. As they rebuild their lives economically they frequently need emotional support from their community. This article by Tony Plohetski, Andrea Ball and Melissa B. Taboada in the Austin American-Statesman (and reprinted in Chicago Tribune) describes how Texas social workers and psychologists are treating patients with psychological trauma after the storm.