The Arizona Daily Star and ProPublica want to hear about your experiences with intellectual and developmental disabilities services. Join storytelling coaches, journalists and the Detour Company Theatre on July 8 to get involved.
By Dan Barry, The New York Times
Willie Levi died at the age of 73 on April 23 after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Levi, who lived with an intellectual disability, was part of a successful Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that fought for proper pay and working conditions for people with disabilities.
Levi was sent from his hometown of Orange, Texas to Iowa, where he worked alongside other men at a turkey-processing plant for decades. According to The New York Times, the men worked “in virtual servitude” for Henry’s Turkey Service.
Although Levi never made it back to Orange while he was alive, after his passing he was set to be buried in the same historic African-American cemetery that holds the remains of his mother, according to The New York Times.
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.”
Read the full article here: https://www.propublica.org/article/people-with-intellectual-disabilities-may-be-denied-lifesaving-care-under-these-plans-as-coronavirus-spreads?fbclid=IwAR3p48098GDg_d5LwkvCEblZoPBfrFMcScTYVceoqRDy_Zh_RxnqA27gLg8
By “The Morning Blend” show on TMJ-4 Milwaukee
NCDJ board member Becky Curran Kekula appeared on this morning talk show to discuss tips for treating people with disabilities fairly and respectfully. Part of the discussion focused on the fact that since 70% of disabilities are invisible, many people are nervous to either admit they have a disability, or to speak about someone who may have a disability that isn’t immediately apparent.
Also featured are some of Becky’s favorite tips for working remotely — a particularly relevant topic in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the full segment here: https://www.tmj4.com/shows/the-morning-blend/facing-the-fear-of-inclusivity
By Amy Silverman, Here & Now
Amy Silverman‘s daughter Sophie wants to be a dance teacher. But Sophie has Down syndrome and the opportunities for meaningful employment for people with intellectual disabilities are minimal.
This segment aired on January 1, 2020.
Listen to the radio piece here: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/01/01/employment-prospects-intellectual-disabilities
Read Amy Silverman’s full piece for The Washington Post, Apple’s new emoji include disability-related symbols. I’m not thrilled.
For the first time in its 91-year history the Gerber Baby Photo Contest chose a baby with Down syndrome. The winner is Lucas Warren of Dalton, GA and his prize includes a $50,000 paycheck and Gerber advertising contract. Click here to see more photos of adorable Lucas and watch an interview on The Today Show with him and his parents.
Check out the National Down Syndrome Society’s “Preferred Language Guide” for a quick and helpful tutorial on communicating about DS.
Starting January 8th National Public Radio (NPR) began broadcasting a multi-part investigative series about an “epidemic of sexual assault” experienced by people with intellectual disabilities. Titled “Abused and Betrayed” (#AbusedandBetrayed), the investigation examines over 150 cases of assault and relies on previously unpublished data collected by the Justice Department. NPR’s team of reporters, led by Joe Shapiro, discovered the rate of assault is seven times higher than for people without disabilities. Each chapter in the 5-part series features a print story, photographs and a radio broadcast. Below is an excerpt from the first story in the excellent report.
“NPR reviewed hundreds of cases of sexual assault against people with intellectual disabilities. We looked at state and federal data, including those new numbers we obtained from the Justice Department. We read court records. We followed media accounts and put together a database of 150 assaults so serious that they garnered rare local and national media attention. We talked to victims, their guardians, family, staff and friends.
We found that there is an epidemic of sexual abuse against people with intellectual disabilities. These crimes go mostly unrecognized, unprosecuted and unpunished. A frequent result was that the abuser was free to abuse again. The survivor is often re-victimized multiple times.”
An Australian rental property company has created a business model that caters to young adults with intellectual disabilities and their family caregivers helping them learn independence. ” An article on Australian news outlet ABC.net.au explores why the arrangement appeals to certain tenants. “The Kemira model is so new it’s not easy to categorise. It straddles three categories: aged care, independent living, and disability accommodation,” writes journalist Norman Hermant.
The Supreme Court rules that the state of Texas cannot rely on a dated definition of intellectual disability in deciding who receives the death penalty. In the opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “Adjudications of intellectual disability should be ‘informed by the views of medical experts.” Read more