NCDJ board member Amy Silverman worked with KJZZ in Arizona to produce a segment for their program, The Show, last week. In the segment Matt Hoie, a person on the autism spectrum, shared why he is eager to get his first vaccine. Hoie described his hopes for life after the vaccine and discussed how COVID-19 has impacted his life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of inequalities in our society related to race, gender, class, legal status and age. However, conspicuously missing from much of the media coverage on these issues are the stories of how the crisis is affecting the disabled community.
By NCDJ board member Amy Silverman, for ProPublica/Arizona Daily Star
Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.
As Silverman reports, several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.
Some state plans — including Alabama’s — make clear that people with cognitive issues are a lower priority for lifesaving treatment. Alabama’s plan reads that “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.”
The primetime ABC drama “The Good Doctor” follows the career and personal life of a young surgeon with autism. The title character, Dr. Shaun Murphy, is played by Freddie Highmore who does not have autism. However, Monday night’s episode (Nov 13th) was unique in that a guest role featuring a character with autism was played by Coby Bird, an experienced actor with autism. This article on The Mighty by Elizabeth Cassidy describes Bird’s work and perspective on his character.
A new documentary, “Deej,” available for purchase and set to air on PBS October 17th. The film follows the life of DJ “Deej” Savarese who is a nonspeaking autistic student who communicates through text-to-talk tablets. He is a talented writer and uses his unique perspective to spread awareness about disability rights. Check out the film’s poetic trailer on YouTube and catch the full film on PBS’s America Reframed next Tuesday, Oct 17th.
Cronkite News podcast “In Focus” explores what it’s like to be the parent of a child with autism far away from big-city resources. The podcasts follows one family with a four-year-old son who has autism. Read more
In the pilot episode of a new podcast from Cronkite News, a reporter examines the relationship between a woman with autism and her service dog. The service animal is trained to help reduce anxiety in a person. Read more
People with intellectual disabilities are fighting bias at U.S. organ transplant programs, The Washington Post reports. Now, advocates are fighting for federal and state laws to clarify that this bias should not be allowed when considering a patient’s transplant eligibility. Read more
A new “smart toy” is helping children with autism learn and communicate. The device can be controlled by the child or a caregiver, and can act as an intermediary for children with barriers in communication. Read more