Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Caregivers arrested for abusing a couple with developmental disabilities

Portland, Oregon - The Seattle Times reports that a Portland couple have been arrested in connection with the robbery, coercion and abuse of a couple with developmental disabilities for over three years. After a two month investigation, Taryn Anderson, 51, and Daniel Anderson, 51, have been accused of defrauding Charles and Tammy Whitworth of St. Louis of more than $50,000 in pension and Social Security payments. They are also accused of psychological and physical abuse, including strangulation, assaults, and dog bites. According to a KPTV report, Mr and Mrs Whitworth

were forced to perform chores. If they didn't they were choked and beaten, police said.

Officials said the Andersons also allowed their dogs to bite the couple.

The Andersons would also force Mr Whitworth to bite his wife, it is reported.

According to The Seattle Times, the couples first met in Missouri in 2006.

The Whitworths were living in a house on their own when the Andersons offered to care for them. The couples left town about six months later.

Although their relatives knew they were in Oregon, they didn't know where. They hired an investigator to find them, but without success.

Daniel Anderson faces 31 counts of criminal mistreatment, 22 counts of theft, three counts of strangulation, seven counts of assault, seven accounts of harassment and four counts of coercion.

Taryn Anderson faces 26 counts of criminal mistreatment, 22 counts of theft, three counts of assault, two counts of criminal mischief, and two counts of harassment and coercion.

Mr and Mrs Whitworth have sinced returned home to Missouri.

There is a KPTV video of the investigation, which includes interviews with neighbours, here .....

Other recent reports about the abuse of adults with disabilities by their caregivers

Paso Robles, California - KSBY reported on September 25 that a Paso Robles caregiver was arrested and charged with elder abuse for illegally obtaining prescription drugs from adults with developmental disabilities. According to investigators, 57-year-old Larry Ulam was either enticing his clients into making false claims of medical problems in order to get the prescriptions, or he was paying them for the drugs. Mr Ulam is now unemployed, it is reported. An agency that he used to work for is helping detectives with their investigation.

Burlington, Vermont - The Burlington Times reported on September 28 that a 46-year-old woman had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in relation to the assault with injuries of an elderly person with a disability at a home in Burlington on August 5. In addition to being banned from working with elderly people, the woman received a suspended sentence of 75 days in exchange for her plea, and has been put on probation for three years.

Los Angeles, California - On September 18, the Los Angeles Times reported that a lawsuit alleging elder abuse and negligence was filed against the City of Angels Medical Center in relation to the disappearance of 76-year-old Lawrence Garcia, who is developmentally disabled. In the lawsuit, Mr Garcia's family said that Lawrence Garcia, who is described as being unable to care for himself, was visiting his doctor on September 11 and undergoing lab tests at the medical center as part of his treatment for cancer. When the lab work was completed, he was taken by employees to the hospital lobby and left alone to wait for his driver to pick him up. He has been missing ever since. The suit claims that the hospital is negligent for leaving him alone rather than assigning someone to stay with him until his ride arrived. The suit also alleges that in the week following his disappearance, the hospital has not tried to find him. FRIDA hasn't sighted any updates about Mr Garcia's whereabouts or the lawsuit since this September 20 press release by Justice News. Mr Garcia is reported to be 5' 7" tall and 150 pounds. He has grey hair that is thinning, and has trouble walking. He was last seen wearing a grey t-shirt, jeans, and sandles with no socks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Human rights violations against people with albinism

This post comes via emails from Penny L. Richards and Sandy Sufian and includes a letter from Rick Guidotti of Positive Exposure, a link to a petition that Guidotti will take to Tanzania when he meets with the president there, and a link to a NY Times article (June 2008) about the escalating killings of people with albinism in Tanzania.

We write to advise you of disturbing human rights violations against people with albinism in Tanzania that call out for action by the genetic community and ask for a few minutes of your time to make a difference.

Recent reports from Tanzania published by BBC News, New York Times and the Washington Post tell of the murders of persons with albinism, including children, on the orders of witchdoctors peddling the belief that potions made from the legs, hair, hands, and blood of people with albinism can make a person rich.

In mid-October, Positive Exposure's Rick Guidotti (http://www.positiveexposure.org/) will be traveling to Tanzania in partnership with Under the Same Sun (http://www.underthesamesun.com/) to
collaborate with national and local government officials, authorities and interests groups to develop effective strategies to end these crimes against humanity.

Please sign the online petition which the team will present to the government of Tanzania. We need 10,000 signatures for this to be effective.


This petition will also let the albinism community in Tanzania know that they are NOT ALONE and that many throughout the world are standing with them in defense of their fundamental human right to safety, security and freedom.

Positive Exposure is a non-profit organization that challenges stigma associated with difference by celebrating the richness and beauty of human diversity.

Here is a link to the NY Times Story... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/world/africa/08albino.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Four children with special needs have been killed in an Indiana bus crash

Logansport, Indianopolis, Indiana - The Associated Press reports that four children aboard a special-needs school bus were killed on Friday when their bus was struck by two dump trucks near Logansport, Indiana. The driver of the bus, 46-year-old Debbie Duvall, was also injured in the crash. She was flown to Fort Wayne hospital, where she was in a serious condition on Friday night, according to Indiana State Police. All of the children, ages 5 through 10, lived in nearby Monticello, and were returning home from elementary schools in Logansport at the time of the accident. All four students and Ms Duval were wearing seatbelts or were sitting in a child saftety seat, it is reported, and no other passengers were aboard the bus. The accident apparently occurred when a dump truck swerved to avoid another vehicle, clipping the bus, which then collided with a second dump truck. Investigators were still gathering information from the drivers of the trucks, who were not injured. There was no indication that either of the drivers were speeding; both would undergo routine tests for drugs and alcohol.

Our deepest sympathies to the families of the children, and to those who loved them.

see also: 4 children are killed in Indiana bus crash.

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Do or Not to Do: That is the Question...

What does it take to ramp up the feminist disability rights movement? Starting this Sunday, I'd like to invite you to every-so-often visit my new blog over at http://ambertracker.blogspot.com. This fall, I'm working on a project to find out what women with disabilities think we need to know to take action...to make CHANGE. Thanks to a really cool grant from the Chicago Foundation for Women (and yes, I had to go through a big old application process for it), I am traveling to about twelve cities to talk with women with disabilities. If I am coming to your town, I would love to hear from you and can be contacted through the blog.

Here are the cities I will visit: Seoul, South Korea; Austin, TX; Houston, TX; Missoula, MT; Washington, DC; New York City; Melbourne, Australia; Sydney, Australia; San Francisco, CA; Atlanta, GA; Tucson, AZ.

I want to express my deep appreciation however for Linda's posting to this blog. Without people like Linda, so many of us would know so little about the crimes visited against women and men with disabilities. I really hope that those who visit this blog take away new knowledge from what Linda posts. And I really hope that we can somehow reach out, connect, and fight ways to fight our oppression.

Will my trip actually help bui.d the feminist disability rights movement? Maybe, maybe not. If some action happens as a result, that would be fabulous. If it does not, then we know we need to try something different. In the spring, I will coordinate feminist disability rights oranizing trainings in a few different cities, so check back for more info on those as well.

In solidarity,
Angelene Plummer homicide

Maricopa County, Arizona - The East Valley Tribune reports that a 34-year-old man, Christopher Langen, was convicted of murder on Wednesday for the beating death of 3-year-old Angelene Plummer, who was developmentally disabled, in February 2005.

According to court records, Angelene's body was found covered in bruises, dried blood and bite marks, and with signs of burning, sexual assault and stab wounds.

Angelene's body was found by her father in Langen's trailer behind her family's home. According to authorities, Langen was baby-sitting Angelene on February 7, 2005. Langen was found guilty of first-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated assault. His sentence is pending.
Man accused of raping disabled woman during Special Olympics practice

Somerset, Pa. - A 36-year old man has been accused of raping a woman with developmental disabilities during practice for the Special Olympics, WPXI.com reports. According to police, Michael Allan Miller is charged with raping the woman, who was part of a group holding basketball practice for the Special Olympics, two times in a church on April 29. Miller has served a prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2000 to charges in relation to the death of his 4-year-old son.
Bush's father joins president at ADA Amendents Act bill-signing

via The Associated Press (h/t JFA)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With his father looking on, President Bush on Thursday signed legislation expanding the protections afforded by the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act to those who can use medication or other devices to treat impairments.

The original law was enacted in 1990, when former President George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, was in office. The act is widely regarded as one of the major features of civil rights legislation in the 20th century because it ensured that the disabled have access to public buildings and accommodations, thus giving them better access to the workforce.

But since its passage, the Supreme Court has generally exempted from the law's anti-discrimination protections those with partial physical disabilities or impairments that can be treated with medication or devices such as hearing aids.

The bill Bush signed on Thursday in the Oval Office directs the courts to a more generous application of the ADA's definition of disability, making it clear that Congress intended the law's coverage to be broad and to cover anyone facing discrimination because of a disability. It took months of difficult negotiations with the business community to arrive at a compromise.

Bush signed the bill without public comment or fanfare.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another case of abuse

Update: A third teenager has been charged in relation to the beating, ABC reports. The 13-year-old girl was charged as a juvenile on Wednesday with aggravated battery of a disabled person after turning herself in.

East St. Louis, Illinois - Two male teenagers have been charged with aggravated battery in connection with the violent beatings of a 34-year-old woman with developmental and physical disabilities, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. The beatings are alleged to have taken place over a period of three years, and were reportedly carried out under the direction of the teenager's aunt (also the woman's sister) who is now deceased, and who lived in the same household. According to the report:

The abuse was reported by the staff of a St. Louis Hospital on Sunday. The woman had suffered broken bones, was covered with sores and multiple bruises, and her right leg had to be amputated because it had turned gangrenous. She weighed less than 100 pounds.

The beatings are reported to have taken place on a regular basis with "poles from a swing set, a broom, switches and an extension cord." According to the teenagers, their aunt, who had a heart condition, ordered the beatings because she couldn't carry out the beatings on her own. According to one of the detectives assigned to the case:

She didn't do a good job washing the dishes or cleaning up the kitchen. Additionally [she] believed the woman was poisoning her foof and drink, and mixing her medicines.
Police are also looking for the teenagers 13-year-old sister so as to question her in connection with the case. They are also expecting to seek charges against other adults who lived at the house and who knew the beatings were taking place but did nothing to stop them.

Although the woman's health reamins poor, she is reported to be getting better every day, it is reported.
Baltimore Sun editorial criticizes Sarah Palin's pledge to families of children with disabilities: "Friendship isn't enough"

Excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:

For anyone raising a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, the promise made by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention that, if elected, she would be a "friend and advocate" for them has not gone unnoticed. Few constituencies are more in need of such a friend, but they've heard similar promises of help before and have reason to be doubtful.

The Republican vice presidential nominee, whose infant son Trig has Down syndrome, didn't specify what such a friend might provide. But families of special-needs kids know all too well what's needed. What they need, first and foremost, is for politicians to put money where their mouth is - starting with support services and related community-based programs. Advocates estimate there are about 600,000 people nationwide on waiting lists for such benefits as job coaching, vocational rehabilitation, personnel assistants and respite care for exhausted caregivers.

read full text here ....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Joanna Hill sentenced to life in prison

London, UK - On September 9, FRIDA reported on the death by drowning of 4-year-old Naomi Hill, who had cerebral palsy, by her mother, Joanna Hill. Yesterday, Reuters reported that Joanna Hill, 32, has been convicted of murdering her daughter and sentenced to life in prison. Ms Hill admitted drowning her daughter in the bath last November because she was ashamed of her disability, but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. However, this plea was rejected by the jury, who found her guilty of murder. She will not be eligible for parole for at least 15 years. Addressing the court after it handed down its verdict, Judge Elgan Edwards told Ms Hill :

You could not cope with the child’s disability such as it was. You had other pressures upon you such as a disintegrating marriage and you decided to kill your own daughter by drowning.

There can be no excuse for what you did. I’m afraid you must now pay the penalty.

Following the sentence, the disability rights organization Scope, which focuses on people with cerebral palsy, warned that negative portrayals of disability were creating "shame and stigma." Chair Alice Maynard said:

"Naomi's death is a tragedy."

"However, this case raises the wider issue of how many disabled parents still don't get the support they need in bringing up children and how society continues to portray disability in a negative light, creating shame and stigma around impairment.

Tragically, in this instance, this combination of factors proved lethal."

Community Care.co.uk reports that the case prompted North Wales NHS Trust to carry out an interim review of the care and treatment Joanne Hill received prior to the incident. A spokesperson for the trust said that a “number of recommendations” had already been implemented to improve operational policies, adding that a full review of the case would be carried out by the Flintshire Safeguarding Children Board.

Related stories:
Mother drowned disabled daughter in bath

British mom sentenced for drowning disabled daughter out of shame

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Debrya Lynn Glumm homicide

Boise, Idaho - KTVB News reports that an Idaho man has been sentenced to life in prison for the beating death of his girlfried last summer. Mark Peacock, 39, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Debrya Lynn Glumm in August 2007. Ms Glumm, who used a wheelchair, died after she was hit in the face, head and stomach by Peacock. According to USA Today, Peacock is an alcoholic and had been drinking heavily at the time. Peacock, who has been arrested many times in the past for violence against women, was originally charged with first degree murder but made a plea-deal with prosecutors for a lesser charge. He must spend at least 15 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sexual assault charges

Margate, Florida - NBC6 reports that police have arrested two men for sexually assaulting a girl with autism.
Police said Stanley Gregoire, Albins Jean-Baptiste and another man approached the girlk, according to the girl's report. Police said the girl was under the impression that the men were there to pick her up and take her to a friend's house. Police said the mean instead took the girl to another location.

The two men were later identified from a six-person lineup. The identification of the third man involved in the assault has not been provided.
Another murder of a child with autism

Grand Junction, Colorado - KRDO News Radio reports that a Grand Junction man has been charged with first degree murder and fatal child abuse of his 13-year-old son, who had Aspergers Syndrome. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Allen Lee Grabe, 51, shot and killed Jacob Allen Grabe on September 11, 2008. His father is reported to have shot him multiple times and is quoted as telling his wife, Jacquette Grabe, that "I had to kill him because you were ruining him.” Jacob Grabe was an eighth-grade at Grand Mesa Middle School. Allen Grabe is being held under a $1 million bond.
Shirley Meade update

Burnett County, Minnesota - In early September FRIDA reported on the death of 49-year-old Shirley Meade, a Minnesota woman with developmental disabilities, after a Trade Lake Camp worker had given her the wrong medication and allowed her to die. According to WEAU News, the camp worker, Marjorie Ann Hjelseth, is now charged with second degree reckless homicide and recklessly subjecting an individual at risk to abuse causing death. The criminal complaint shows that Ms Hjelseth gave Shirley Meade the wrong medication, and when she realized it, she allowed Meade to "sleep it off." It also shows that Ms Hjelseth then tried to cover up the mistake to investigators. If convicted on all charges, Ms Hjelseth faces up to 65 years in prison. Trade Lake Camp voluntarily shut down, and the state recently revoked its license.
Brandon Williams update

Tuscon, Arizona - Diane Marsh, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted last month of negligent homicide and child abuse in the killing of her 5-year-old son Brandon Williams in March 2007, the Arizona Daily Star reports. Although Ms Marsh could have received probation, Pima County Superior Judge Hector Campoy told her that it clearly wasn't appropriate in this case, indicating that Ms Marsh had totally abdicated her parental responsibilities during the last months of Brandon's life. The fact that Brandon had autism made her abdication that much worse, he said.

For me to think probation is appropriate would be to totally overlook the loss of your son's life and to pretend you didn't have an active role in what I describe as the torture of your child.
full story here ....

see also:
Mom gets prison term in son's death
Tuscon mom found guilty in son's death gets 10 years

Friday, September 19, 2008

Research: Two babies are miscarried for every three Down syndrome babies detected by amniocentesis and cvs

That's according to this report in the Telegraph (UK) that cites the findings of research recently published in the journal Down Syndrome Research and Practice. Here is an excerpt:

The losses are down to the invasive methods used to test for the condition, which affects approximately one in every 1,000 babies conceived, the researchers claim.

They also cast doubt on the advice and risk assessment given to the 6,000 women each year who are offered screening and subsequent testing to assess the health of their unborn baby.

If an expectant mother is deemed to be at risk of carrying a Down's baby following a blood test, she will then go on to undergo an amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test, which involves inserting a fine needle through the abdomen to either withdraw amniotic fluid or take a tissue sample.

The NHS cites a miscarriage rate of between one and two per cent following the tests, but the researchers, from the charity Down's Syndrome Education International, point out that only the number of Down's babies terminated, miscarried or born are recorded, not the number of healthy babies lost.

Full story here ...
House Passes Final Version of Bill to Update Disabilities Law

via Justice for All: The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill to clarify who qualifies for protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act and it now awaits President Bush's signature.

More here ...
New master's degree in Disability Studies

A new MA degreee in Disability Studies will be offered at the City University of New York (CUNY) beginning in the Spring of 2009.

Here is some information about the degree from the program's web site:

This 30-credit Master of Arts in Disability Studies is offered by the School of Professional Studies and the John F. Kennedy Jr. Institute for Worker Education. It is designed to prepare a new generation of service providers, researchers, advocates, and policy makers to be leaders in community-based or governmental agencies as they evolve in the 21st century, as well as to become more skilled and insightful administrators, advocates, educators, scholars or social service professionals.

The National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research defines Disability Studies as “the holistic study of the phenomenon of disability through a multidisciplinary approach.” Disability Studies takes as its fundamental principle the definition of disability as a “social construction,” as distinct from the prevailing medical model of disability, asserting that disability is not inherent in the individual as a deficit, but rather, is a set of physical and social barriers that often constrain people. This strength-based approach supports a paradigm in which disability is regarded as a basic aspect of human experience.

Another fundamental premise of the Disability Studies approach is that the direct experience of individuals with disabilities is primary. Thus, disability scholars are re-writing history from the perspective of people with disabilities, and people with disabilities and their families are actively participating in the design, implementation and evaluation of services and supports. Disability Studies, accordingly, furthers empirical research and academic scholarship that reflects the priorities of people with disabilities.

Recent years have seen a surge in interest in Disability Studies, including the publication of several journals and the growth of the Society for Disability Studies, a national association of scholars, artists and activists interested in the phenomenon of disability, which is based at CUNY. The M. A. in Disability Studies provides a rigorous, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary curriculum that utilizes a "person-centered” approach to the study of disability, incorporating overlapping perspectives from the social sciences, humanities, science, social policy and the law. The degree prepares students to further or begin a career working with and for people with a wide range of disabilities and their families. It is expected that graduates will be able to assume leadership roles in systems change advocacy, service provision, or government. They will also be equipped to protect and further the rights of people with disabilities and will have the knowledge and the tools to impact broader society.Students in the Master of Arts in Disability Studies will study with renowned faculty from across The City University of New York as well as with expert practitioners in the field.

More information and the application package can be downloaded at http://sps.cuny.edu/programs/mads/index.html. The application deadline is November 14, 2008, for the Spring 2009 semester.

Any questions about the new program can be directed to: Mariette Bates at mariette.bates@mail.cuny.edu.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rape charges

Chicago, Il - The Chicago Tribune reports that a convicted sex offender has been charged wth raping two developmentally disabled women. According to authorities, 24-year-old Kevin Robinson sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman in her home in July 25. On Sept. 6, he raped a 25-year-old woman, who is also partially blind, in an abandoned Chicago building. Robinson is being held on $400,000 bail.
Brandon Williams update

Tucson, Arizona - Earlier this year FRIDA posted on the homicide of Brandon Williams, a five-year-old boy with autism. Yesterday, Flower Tompson, 28, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on one count of felony child abuse for failing to intervene in the abuse of Brandon, KSWT News reports. Ms Flower's had been living with the boy, his mother and another man. Diane Marsh, Brandon's mother, has already been convicted of negligent manslaughter and four counts of child abuse, and is due to be sentenced today. Brandon died as a result of multiple skull fractures.

See also:

Housemate gets 10 years in fatal abuse of autistic boy

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

50 Arrested as ADAPT Takes Affordable, Accessible Housing Crisis to Congress

For Information Contact;
Randy Alexander (901) 359-4982
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504

Washington, D.C.--- ADAPT activists fanned out on the Hill today to hit congressional leaders who can help solve the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities. Visits to the offices of Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA), a longtime leader on housing issues, and Senators Chris Dodd (D, CT) and Richard Shelby (R, AL), the Chair and ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs resulted in a total of 50 arrests.

"Last year Rep. Barney Frank told us that he could get 500 housing vouchers from HUD that would be targeted to free people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other institutions," said Diane Coleman of ADAPT in Rochester, New York. "He repeated that promise for months, and then one day he suddenly says he can't help us. We were also working with him to have funding that pays for segregated housing redirected to support integrated housing. Sen. Frank arranged a hearing on this funding, and not only did he not invite any people with disabilities to testify, he didn't even notify us about the hearing. So, today, we decided to confront him on his broken promises and bad faith."

"Last year Rep. Barney Frank told us that he could get 500 housing vouchers from HUD that would be targeted to free people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other institutions," said Diane Coleman of ADAPT in Rochester, New York. He repeated that promise for months, and then one day he suddenly says he can't help us. We were also working with him to have funding that pays for segregated housing redirected to support integrated housing. Sen. Frank arranged a hearing on this funding, and not only did he not invite any people with disabilities to testify, he didn't even notify us about the hearing. So, today, we decided to confront him on his broken promises and bad faith."

Shortly after 13 ADAPT members entered Frank's office, he ordered staff to have them arrested, refusing to even discuss the ADAPT concerns, or strategies to address the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities trapped in institutions for lack of affordable, accessible, integrated housing.

ADAPT went to the offices of Dodd and Shelby because HUD and housing fall under the purview of their committee. Sen. Shelby told ADAPT, "I don't help people who can't help themselves." There were 19 arrests made in Shelby's office. An aide to Sen. Dodd spoke with ADAPT, then declined to put her remarks on paper after indicating she might be willing to do so. ADAPT continued to wait for the written statement, and eventually nearly 25 people were arrested.

The TV is full of news about the bank crisis, and the mortgage crisis, and the need for candidates to appeal to middle income people," said Cassie James, Philadelphia ADAPT organizer. Meanwhile, people who live on disability benefits, and people who are trapped in nursing homes because of no housing are being held hostage while the government bails everyone else out. Rent has gone up so much, it's higher than many monthly disability benefits. Not only do us younger people with disabilities need affordable, accessible housing, older people need it, too. This is a crisis, and we need help to solve it."

# # #
FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at http://www.adapt.org/
Mother and daughter murder-suicide

Stamford, Conn. - The deaths over the weekend of a 62-year-old woman and her 41-year-old daughter were a murder-suicide, Newsday.com reports. According to Stamford police, Angela Labbadia fatally shot her daughter, Christina, and herself in her daughter's apartment on Sunday. Police also report that Angela Labbadia, who suffered from depression, was about to be evicted from her home and believed her daughter, who had developmental and physical disabilities, could not live without her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ADAPT Challenges HUD, Dems, McCain on Disability/Housing Economic Crisis

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2008

For information Contact: Randy Alexander (901) 359-4982
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504

ADAPT Challenges HUD, Dems, McCain on Disability/Housing Economic Crisis

Washington, D.C.---ADAPT wasted no time challenging multiple policymakers on the housing crisis for persons with disabilities who have low and extremely low incomes. After setting up a tent city at HUD headquarters just after 4 a.m., ADAPT sent 100 activists to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices in Washington, D.C., and another hundred to a Sen. John McCain campaign office in Arlington, VA. All three entities were presented with the ADAPT platform for affordable, accessible housing.

"The DNC was cordial, and they accepted our housing platform, as well as our invitation to visit 'DUH City,' which is HUD spelled backwards," said octonagerian Barb Toomer, ADAPT organizer from Utah. The career HUD staff that met with ADAPT told our people they had no authority to make decisions and had to wait for the administration or administrative appointees to make any decisions, so the meeting felt like a waste of time. Sen. John McCain's campaign staff not only refused to even look at our housing platform, they had eleven of us arrested by police who caused injuries to at least one arrestee."

ADAPT's housing platform points to America's longstanding and still growing crisis in the availability of affordable, accessible integrated housing. Many people with disabilities live on benefits that are only 18% of the median income, a full 25% below the poverty level, and an amount that is less than the national average rent for a studio/efficiency apartment.

"The federal government is sending stimulus payments to middle class workers, and is providing economic relief for the mortgage crisis, and maybe even the bank crisis," said Dawn Russell, Denver ADAPT. "What about all of us who live on fixed incomes? If we can't afford the cost of housing, we'll end up on the street or being forced into nursing homes and institutions. What are the federal government, Congress, and the presidential candidates going to do to help us with our housing crisis?"

In its platform, ADAPT is asking for:

* 5000 new housing vouchers per year for 10 years, targeted to people transitioning out of nursing homes and other institutions;
* Twice as much funding for the construction of new housing stock that is affordable, accessible and integrated;
* Policies and procedures to track the new vouchers to assure they remain targeted to people with disabilities when the original user becomes ineligible or no longer needs the voucher;
* People with disabilities who reside in institutional settings to be recognized as "homeless."

ADAPT's DUH City will remain in operation twenty four hours a day until Thursday, September 18. The DUH City Times will be delivered daily to every member of Congress, and there will be daily DUH TV coverage on You Tube. Background information, real stories of real people and photos can all be accessed at http://www.duhcity.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at http://www.adapt.org/
Paul Longmore: An open letter to the disability rights constituency

Via Patricia E Bauer:

Guest commentary:
What Kind of Advocacy Do Americans with Disabilities Really Need?
By Paul K. Longmore

Ever since Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech, the “needs” of children with disabilities have gotten a lot of press. Palin pledged to be a “friend and advocate” for those children. News stories have reported the excitement of parents and other people in the disability rights constituency that disability issues are finally getting some attention. Some of them have decided to support the election of Palin and John McCain. But do the Republican candidates offer the kind of advocacy Americans with disabilities really need? I don’t believe they do, and I want to explain why I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden instead.

Before that, I should probably explain a bit about myself. I know what it is like to grow up as a child with a significant disability. And I’ve certainly known how hard it can be as an adult. I had polio as a boy. I’ve used a ventilator for many decades now and driven a power wheelchair for the last seven years. I have no use of my arms. I employ personal assistants to do housekeeping and aid me with basic personal needs. I struggled for years with oppressive bureaucracies and unfair public policies such as work disincentives.

I recounted those battles in Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability (2003). Because of the disability rights movement and despite most government policies, I finally achieved my main goal and became a professor of American history at San Francisco State University. Because of what I’ve had to deal with, I also became a disability rights activist and a disability studies scholar.

Looking back, I can see how difficult it all was for my parents and what little support they got. It is understandable that parents of children with disabilities would clutch at Sarah Palin’s promise to be an “advocate.” Many ofthem are increasingly desperate. Last month a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study documented the “chilling” rates of “hardship” among middle class as well as poor families with disabled children. They “are struggling to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and to pay for needed health and dental care.” (1) Large numbers of adults with disabilities face the same economic hardships.

We’ve made a lot of progress in disability rights, but in some ways it’s even harder financially for people with disabilities and their families than it was when I was a child, a youth, and a young adult. From both my personal experience and professional work, I understand what it’s like for a lot of us. And I think I have some grasp on what sort of advocacy we need.

Would Palin provide that kind of advocacy? Would a President John McCain support the needs, interests, and rights of Americans with disabilities? What about Barack Obama and Joe Biden?

In their convention speeches, Palin, John, and even Cindy McCain focused only on children. The media have talked almost exclusively about children too. What so many people seem to forget is that children with disabilities grow up to become adults. Ninety percent of the 54 million Americans with disabilities are adults. Most acquired their disabilities after childhood.

In addition, the media talk has mostly been about “compassion” not about “issues.” There has been little discussion about issues that matter to people with disabilities of all ages, issues such as health insurance, community-based personal assistance services, education, employment, and civil rights. Research has repeatedly found that voters in the disability constituency — adults with disabilities, parents, and many professionals — decide how they will vote based on candidates’ positions on disability issues. But they are often frustrated in trying to get that information.

In what follows, I summarize and critically examine the information I have gathered about the candidates’ stands. I have gleaned it from online and printed sources as well as contacting some of the leading experts in the various communities that compose the disability rights constituency. Some of the information out there in the blogosphere is wrong. I’ve tried to get accurate and reliable information instead. Sometimes those experts I mentioned set me straight about things I had thought were true that they said were incorrect. It strikes me as significant that as far as I can tell the vast majority of those experts and other disability rights leaders are supporting the Obama-Biden ticket.

The full text of Professor Longmore's commentary is here ...

Paul K. Longmore is a professor of history and director, Institute on Disability, at San Francisco State University.
Rud and Ann Turnbull: To the disability community in America: Be cautious

via Patricia E Bauer:

Guest Commentary:
by Rud and Ann Turnbull

To the disability community in America: Be cautious.

Governor Palin’s comments at her party’s convention bring to mind a famous line from Virgil’s Aeneid: “Timeo Danaos et donas ferentes”: I fear the Greeks even when bearing gifts.

On the one hand, Gov. Palin appealed to the hopes and fears of people with disabilities and their families by proclaiming she will be their friend and advocate in Washington.

On the other, she dismissed Sen. Obama’s experience as a community organizer. She asserted he bore no responsibility for his activities; she contrasted her roles as mayor and governor as freighted with responsibility.

Gov. Palin’s promise has understandable allure for the disability community. But words take on authentic meaning when buttressed by biography.

When a young man declines the pursuit of wealth to work with the far-from-wealthy, calling on them and their governments to be better, that man gives us reason to believe he means what he says and says what he means.

When a young governor line-item vetoes six appropriations for community disability services or for accessibility modifications to public accommodations, that governor gives us reason to be skeptical about promises and prospective performance. When the appropriations totaled $749,000 in a state that has a huge budget surplus, and when the governor apparently knew at the time that her nephew has autism, that governor gives us special reason to doubt her commitment to people with special needs.

Yes, state funding for “intensive special needs children” in Alaska increased for Fiscal Year 2010. But it is not yet clear exactly who those children are, how many of them are the intended beneficiaries of the appropriation, and precisely what role the governor had in proposing the appropriation or influencing the legislature to appropriate the funds.

In a word, Gov. Palin’s record on disability leaves us with our doubts about her promise.It also prompts us to concentrate on the governor’s dismissive mockery of community organizing and its portent for the disability community.

The truth is that community organizing benefits people with disabilities.

That is so historically. Like every other parent of an infant, child, or adult with a disability, Sarah Palin should recognize that the benefits she, her son, and her family can claim as theirs flow directly from the community organizing that parents have been carrying out for more than 50 years.

And it will be so in the future. It is inconceivable that parents and people with disabilities will ever find respite from creating new or better services and from advocating for progressive policies and practices. We are certain of that fact. It’s part of our history as parents of a man who is 41 and has intellectual disability, autism, and bi-polar disorder.

Community organizing has always been our lot. It always will be.

To discount that fact and prospect is to disrespect, in the most profound of ways, the valor of the parents of the past, the parents of the present, and the parents of the future. One wonders what Gov. Palin could possibly mean when she proclaims herself an advocate for people with disabilities in one breath and in another denigrates the organizing efforts of countless advocates who preceded her.

When Sen. Obama immersed himself in the communities on Chicago’s south side, he contributed to people with disabilities and their families. That is so because disability powerfully correlates with poverty, single-parent status, and ethnic minority status.

Whatever he did to counter poverty, make lives safer, and improve public services, his action –- and that of those who followed him then and believe in him now –- enhanced the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families.

When Sarah Palin invokes her own biography, she invites us to say it is a shame -– as in “sadness” -– that she does not know her history.

She also invites us -– we tired community organizers and national advocates -– to say, “Shame on you for devaluing our contributions to your and your son’s future.”

The ultimate shame would be for the disability community and those with whom its cause resonates to vote on the basis of group membership only.

Words and consistent action have meaning; words that are inconsistent with action do not.

Palin pales in comparison to Obama.

Rud and Ann Turnbull are Distinguished Professors in special education and life span studies at The University of Kansas. They are former officers and directors of The Arc of the United States, former presidents of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and recipients of an award from seven professional and parent associations recognizing them as two of the 36 people who "changed the course of history" in the 20th Century for people with intellectual and related disabilities.

Monday, September 15, 2008

8 ADAPT activists arrested at McCain campaign headquarters

via JFA

This update from Bob Kafka, National Organizer of ADAPT (3:58 PM, ET):

Civil Rights done in a different way. 500 ADAPT activists have set up DUH City on the HUD Plaza in DC. WITHOUT A PLACE TO LIVE IT IS HARD TO GET A JOB. Low income people with disabilities are about 15 percent of medium income. ADAPT has developed a housing platform that they want Obama and McCain to endorse.

As I write this ADAPT activists are being arrested in Sen McCain's office as he refused to accept the platform. Earlier in the day DNC officials accepted the ADAPT Platform.

8 arrested in McCain Presidential Campaign Headquarters, 3 outside the Headquarters.


Community First!

The ADAPT Community

Caregiver murder convinction

Smyrna, Ga. - A former live-in caregiver, Madonna Whitus, 43, has been convicted on two counts of murder for the killing in December 2007 of 63-year-old Kathie Durant, a disabled Smyra woman, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. According to prosecutors, Ms Durant died on the floor of her bedroom after Ms Whitus fed her only Slimfast and Coke as well as giving her anti-depressant medication that had been prescribed to Ms Whitus. During the week that Ms Durant lay dying, Ms Whitus went on a shopping spree with money that she had stolen from Ms Whitus. Ms Durant, who lived in Ms Durant's townhouse, faces life in prison and will be sentenced on September 19.

See also: Jury convicts Cobb Co. caregiver in woman's death

Rape verdict

St. Paul, Mn. - TwinCities.com reports that a 30-year-old St. Paul man, Laird Brando Keeton Jr. has pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl with developmental disabilities while she was staying in his home. According to the criminal complaint, the girl had been staying in Keeton's home, along with his partner and his partner's 7-year-old daughter. Keeton, who also allegedly blew methamphetamine smoke into the girl's mouth and forced her to take Ecstasty, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will be sentenced on October 22 and faces up to 6 1/2 years in prison. It is the second time that Keeton has been convicted of a felony.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ADAPT Is Going To DC!

ADAPT is going to DC! Stay informed up to the minute
no matter where you are!

ADAPT is going to be in Washington, DC, September 13th -18th!

Have you always wanted to know what ADAPT was doing? Do you want real time quick updates instead of waiting for the full-story press release after the dust has settled? Do you want to know when vital new info has been posted on the web regarding ADAPT’s actions?

Well, have we got the thing for you!

NationalADAPT has established an account on “Twitter”. Twitter is a free service that will allow us to communicate instantly with activists across the nation through the web and through text messages to cell phones.

Get All the latest info and even more importantly, share it with your friends, family, coworkers, activists and even your enemies!

Here’s how:

Sign up for Twitter and to follow NationalADAPT by using this link:


You will need to create a username and a password and enter the code that appears on the screen. If you are blind, or have low vision, you may need someone enter the code for you because your screen reader will not be able to read the code, and the audio is of poor quality (sorry, beyond our control).

Spread the message to your friends:
After you have clicked on I Accept, you’ll be asked to invite friends to use Twitter. You can suggest they follow NationalADAPT, or skip this for now.

Turn on your mobile:
You can always check NationalADAPT’s updates on the web version of Twitter, but we are really encouraging activists across the country to get our text messages on their phone to know when anything important happens with ADAPT actions between September 13th and 18th.

Click on option 3-turn on your mobile phone. Enter your info and give it permission to send text messages to your phone. After you enter your information, you will be taken to a page where you’ll need to verify that your phone is on. Twitter will ask you to send a specific code to 40404.

To do this, you can create a new contact in your phone address book (you can call it Twitter) and enter the number that they provide. It’s a 5-digit number. There are also some letters on the page. Send a text to the number, entering the letters exactly as you see them. You will receive a confirmation that your phone is on.

Get NationalADAPT updates on your phone:
After that, click on the link that says Home. It’s near the top right on the screen. It will take you back to the National ADAPT Twitter page, and give you the option to turn on your device (phone) to receive updates. Please click on the on button so that you can receive updates.

You should now be all set to get updates on your mobile phone! Stay in touch AND LET OTHERS KNOW what ADAPT is doing as it happens!

Naomi Hill: Death by Embarrassment

Via ICAD: A Chester (England) woman has drowned her four-year-old daughter because she was "embarrassed' by her disablity, the Sun newspaper reports. The trial of advertising salesperson Joanne Hill, 32, for the murder of her daughter, Naomi, is currently underway in Chester Crown Court. Mrs Hill denies she murdered Naomi but admits to manslaughter. Naomi had mild cerebral palsy and wore bracers; she also had a hearing impairment.

See also:

Disability behind girl's death
Mother drowned disabled baby because she was embarrassed, court hears

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Senate Passes ADA Amendments Act

Via JFA:


At approximately 3:00 PM, ET today, Senate bill S.3406, the ADA Amendments Act, was brought to the Senate floor for a voice vote. Shortly before 5:00 PM, it passed by unanimous consent!

At approximately 5:30 PM, ET, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will hold a press event at the Senate Swamp (the grassy area across the drive from the east Senate steps) to mark the momentous event. Anyone interested from the D.C. area is encouraged to attend.

After the impressive 402:17 vote in the House on June 25, the next stop for restoration of the ADA is the White House for signature.

Before it can head to the White House, the Senate bill must first be sent back to the House. If the House accepts the Senate version of the bill, it could arrive on the President's desk with a veto-proof majority!

Congratulations, advocates! Your persistent push got us here today!

JFA is a free service of the American Association of People with Disabilities
Man and woman charged with sexual assault

Butler County (PA): The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that a man and a woman have been charged with 20 counts of rape and other charges for the alleged sexual assault, between March and August, of the woman's 17-year-old daughter. The girl, according to the report, is intellectually disabled. Mr Richard Hulings, 49, is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children and conspiracy. Ms Jane McConnell, 54, faces charges of corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy. The pair are presently in Butler County Prison on $25,000 bond. According to police, they began their investigation after it was alleged that Mr Hulings was sexually assaulting the girl . Their investigation revealed that Ms MConnell was conspiring with Mr Hulings and permitting him to commit the assaults.
Review of Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking

Metapsychology Online has published this interesting review of Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking (ed. K-Dirksen L. Bauman, University of Minnesota Press, 2008) by Jackie Leach Scully. Here is an excerpt:

Every now and again, something happens that creates a flurry of media interest in deafness. These days it's often to do with biomedical technology and the response to it of the "culturally Deaf" -- people with audiological deafness who consider themselves members of a cultural grouping rather than disabled. So we have the rejection (by some Deaf people but not all) of cochlear implants, or the use (by some Deaf people, but not all) of reproductive technologies to "select for" deafness. The resulting discussions might be described as dialogues of the deaf, if the pun were not so obvious and so bad, and in fact so wrong (most deaf people can dialogue with each other perfectly well. It's dialogue between Deaf and hearing that can get problematic).

Open Your Eyes goes some way towards explaining why deafness may be considered a more-or- less normal form of human variation. Less ambitiously, it also aims to "open eyes" to the value of Deaf Studies as something other than an academic freak show. The collection originated in a 3-day "Think Tank" held in 2002 at Gallaudet University, Washington DC, the world's only university for Deaf people, and reflects the interests and concerns of the assembled scholars.

There's lot's more. Read the whole review here ...

(h/t to Shelley Tremain over at What Sorts of People)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Israel police investigate possible rape of two disabled women who been diagnosed with with HIV

From Haaretz.com (via media Dis&dat):

Two people suffering from severe mental and physical disabilities have been infected with HIV virus in the residential facility where they live, and police are investigating the possibility that they were raped.

Parents of some of the facility's other residents are demanding that the two be removed, but both the facility's management and the Health and Social Affairs ministries have refused the request, saying they pose no danger to other residents.

The parents' demand will be discussed in court today. At the police's request, however, a gag order has been imposed on most details of the affair, lest publication impede their investigation.

The virus was discovered when a fungal lung infection typical of AIDS showed up on the chest X-ray of a female resident whose repeated illnesses had previously mystified doctors. A blood test confirmed the diagnosis.

The doctors believe that she was infected with the HIV virus around two years ago and came down with AIDS at least a year ago. When the facility reported the news to the Health Ministry, it initially suggested transferring all the residents to a health maintenance organization for testing.

"Imagine transporting 25 developmentally disabled people, some of whom cannot walk on their own, to an HMO," commented one person involved in the case.

However, one parent took his son to the Israel AIDS Task Force for testing, and that organization swiftly agreed to test all the residents. These tests revealed that another resident was carrying the virus, but had not yet come down with AIDS. The task force then convened all the parents to explain that the virus did not endanger their children.

However, not all the parents were convinced: Eight of them applied for a court order that would prevent the AIDS patient from returning to the facility and require the carrier to leave it. The parents of the former, however, wanted her returned to the facility once the hospital released her, and that wish was honored.

"Today, when AIDS is a treatable chronic disease, there is no reason why any of the residents should be infected via chance contact," explained Dr. Gideon Hirsch, the task force's executive director.

The Health and Social Affairs ministries, which have instructed the facility's staff about the necessary precautions, concur with this conclusion. So does the facility's director - who noted that even people with highly infectious diseases like hepatitis are not expelled from such institutions.

Danieal Kelly Update

A Philadelphia judge has ruled that the mother of Danieal Kelly is entitled to a preliminary hearing on the murder charges she faces for the starvation-and-neglect death of her daughter two years ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Julius Murray, a social worker who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to visit Danieal on a regular basis, has also been granted a preliminary hearing. A date for the preliminary hearings will be set at a Sept. 15 status hearing on the case. The other defendants in the case will go directly to trial. The body of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly, who had cerebral palsy, was found covered with bedsores in her mother's Parkside home on August 4, 2006.

For earlier reports, see:

Parents charged in starvation death sue Philly

A Timeline of Neglect

9 charged in starvation death of teen

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Todder found in the trunk of his mother's car

The body of a 2-year-old boy with autism was found Friday in the trunk of his mother’s car, some six weeks after the car had been towed to a wrecking yard. As reported by the Associated Press, the body of the boy, James, may have been there for months as his mother, Summer ManyWhiteHorses, drove around town.

Deputy County Attorney Joel Thompson said authorities have yet to determine how or when the boy died. An autopsy is being conducted. According to court records, ManyWhiteHorses told police the boy’s death was an accident, and that she placed his body in the car’s trunk on May 29.
Ms ManyWhiteHorses has been charged with deliberate homicide and is being held on $250,000 bail. She was first arrested on July 21 after authorities attempted to pull her over for driving through several stoplights and crashing into a parked car. Her 11-year-old daughter was in the car with her and the two-year-old’s body was apparently in the trunk, but police did not search it. The car was towed away. ManyWhiteHorses was arrested, given a misdemeanor citation and released. She did not retrieve her car, and told authorities different stories about her toddler son’s whereabouts.

Police were brought into the case last week after child welfare agents could not verify the toddler's location. A short time later, ManyWhiteHorses told officers the toddler, who had autism, had died in late May, according to court records. ManyWhiteHorses told police she put the body in the trunk, wrapped in a blanket inside a garbage bag, the affidavit said.

China: murder for corpse trade

Via ICAD: Reuters is reporting that approximately seven members of a Chinese gang in Puning, Guangdon province, have been arrested in connection with the murder of at least 100 people with disabilities so as to sell their corpses on the black market. Other sources suggest that the total number of people murdered is around 400. According to the report, the scheme has been allegedly selling the bodies of victims to wealthy families with deceased relatives who then cremate the victim in place of the relative. The family will bury the relative later, according to traditional customs.

According to a Reuters Africa report:

The killers would trail their victims, usually mentally disabled or elderly people, “drag them into vehicles in remote areas and either strangle or poison them”, the newspaper said.

An unnamed police officer from Puning, in southern Guangdong province, said about seven suspects were arrested three weeks ago when police discovered the gang while investigating a homicide, the Post said.

'Corpses would sell for 10,000 yuan (818 pounds) each, it said, without specifying the charges against those being held.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily reports that the number of victims is around 400:

As many as 400 people may have been killed, according to Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper which conducted an investigation into the practice.

The victims were usually followed and then strangled in the rural areas of Yangmei, Nanxi, Puning and Jieyang and then sold in the Chaoshan Region, a rich urbanised part of the province.

According to one villager, Liu Shiduo, a young couple had been attacked with a rope on the evening of August 11 but had got away from their attackers and reported them to the police. During the subsequent raids, one suspect revealed the operation. The rest of the group was rounded up on the basis of his confession.

ICAD's entire post can be read here...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Assault verdict

Hamilton County, Ohio: Cheyenne Blanton, 17, was sentenced to 44 years in prison last Friday for terrorizing 19-year-old Ashley Clark for six to eight hours in her Hanover Township home earlier this year. As reported in The Oxford Press, Ms Clark suffered serious injuries requiring hospital treatment after Blanton and her partner, Joseph Nagle, 17, bound and gagged her, shaved her head, kicked her and beat her so severely with a baseball bat and their fists that she vomitted. She was also forced to stand outside in the cold without her shoes. The attack apparently happened after a plan to steal Ms Clark's mother's car failed. Cheyenne Blanton pleaded in July to aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, complicity to aggravated robbery, felonious assault, two counts of kidnapping and vandalism. Joseph Nagle, who pleaded guilty to the same charges on August 29, will be sentenced on October 14. He faces 59 years in prison.

See earlier report here.
Aide charged with assault

Myrtle Beach, SC: Myrtle Beach Online reports that Rudell Moultrie, 52, has been charged with assaulting a 15-year-old student with disabilities on three separate occasions. The student, who is paralyzed, told police that she was hit in her face, thigh and knee by Moultrie, beginning on the first day of the school year. Moultrie also swore at her, it is alleged. Moultrie, who is employed as a high school student aide, has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of an investigation. She was released from jail after posting ten percent of her $5,000 bond.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Woman dies at summer camp after being given wrong medication

The Wisconsin camp for people with disabilities, Trade Lake, from which a 25-year-old man with autism went missing in June, now faces permanent closure after 49-year-old Shirley Meade died there in July after being given the wrong drug. As reported here by TwinCities.com, Ms Meade, who has been a resident of a group home in St. Paul Park for 20 to 30 years, and is described by the sheriff as “severely mentally challenged” and a ward of the state of Minnesota, died from a dosage of the anti-psychotic drug clozapine that "was too much for what her body could tolerate." Peggy Hjelseth, the camp founder’s daughter, who gave Ms Meade the wrong medication and allegedly "chose" not to seek medical assistance, told investigators during an interview afterwards:

“I screwed up.”

Hjelseth realized her mistake within 30 minutes of administering the drug, [Burnett County Sheriff Dean] Roland said. Hjelseth told investigators she did not seek medical assistance and chose to have Meade “sleep it off.”

Meade slept most of the day and fell at one point. The injuries from the fall were not reported to medical personnel, the sheriff said.

Meade’s condition continued to deteriorate throughout the day until she was found dead by staff about 12:30 a.m. Camp workers called the sheriff’s office right away, Roland said.

Ms Hjelseth faces charges of first-degree reckless homicide.

(h/t to Autism Vox).
Wheelchair theft case

The Cumberland Times-News reports that William White, 23, has been charged with theft under $500 for allegedly being involved in the theft of a motorized wheelchair from a 33-year-old woman with cerebral palsy. According to the story, two girls, ages 13 and 11, have also been charged with felony larceny for allegedly stealing the wheelchair and abandoning it after a joy ride. The wheelchair, which was later found in a ditch and reclaimed by its owner, has a broken frame and is operable due to water damage. It is unclear at this stage if it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced. Although the wheelchair is valued at more than $5,000, White was charged with theft under $500 because, according to court records, he allegedly sold it for $165.

See also Md. Man Charged in Theft of Woman's Wheelchair

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Music therapist indicted for sexual abuse

The Arizona Republic reports that a music therapist has been indicted for sexually abusing two autistic children and a patient with cerebral palsy while providing music lessons to them in their homes. Corey Brown, 30, was arrested on August 15, four days after the mother of a 10-year-old girl with autism reported her daughter had been abused. An investigation has shown that Brown had also abused a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy and a 10-year-old autistic boy. Brown has been charged with four counts of attempted molestation, kidnapping, sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation. According to police reports, Brown has also worked at several elementary schools over the years.
Indecent assault by caregiver in Australia

A 50-year-old Tasmanian man, who pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault of a 10-year-old girl with autism while she was in his care, has been sentenced to two year's jail with a one year non-parole period. As reported here, the girl, who was eight years old at the time she was assaulted, was being looked after by the man while her primary care giver was at work. In sentencing the man, the Judge described the assaults as "serious breaches of trust." He said that because the offender had been abused as a child, had pleaded guilty to the charges early in the case, and had been in counselling, he would received the shortest possible sentence.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Harriet McBryde Johnson’s 18th Annual Telethon Protest

John Polito from Crip Commentary has put together this report, along with photos, of Charleston's (SC) 18th annual protest against the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Here is an excerpt:

While Charleston lost Harriet on June 4, it did not lose the causes she championed. Today, thirteen protesters braved intermittent rain and the absence of their field general to remind Charleston why the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon causes vastly more harm than good. In Harriet’s words, “Lewis and the MDA have built an empire represented by the telethon tote board. The empire is based on pity. Pity sets people apart, makes one group feel superior to another. Pity makes people feel good - because they’re not like us. And when they feel that way, they are inspired to send money - to make us more like them, to ‘cure’ us of our differences, or even to prevent our very lives.”

Pity breeds stigma. Stigma breeds disability discrimination. Jerry and the MDA continue to exploit, work and worry young children by teaching them that their lives cannot rich, full and rewarding unless people send the MDA money for research, so the MDA can discover a way to cure them. Jerry, what’s the cure for stigma? What has been the collective psychological damage inflicted upon young children with muscular dystrophy, after 42 years of MDA “cure” telethons and still no cure?

h/t to media dis&dat.

Call for papers


Vol. 3, no. 2, Fall, 2010

From the Margins to the Center:
Feminist Disability Studies and/in Feminist Bioethics

Guest Editor, Shelley Tremain

In recent years, work done in mainstream bioethics has been challenged by the emerging field of disability studies.

A growing number of disability theorists and activists point out that the views about disability and disabled people that mainstream bioethicists have articulated on matters such as prenatal testing, stem cell research, and physician-assisted suicide incorporate significant misunderstandings about them and amount to an institutionalized form of their oppression.

While some feminist bioethicists have paid greater attention to the perspectives and arguments of disabled people than other bioethicists, these perspectives and arguments are rarely made central. Feminist disability theory remains marginalized even within feminist bioethics.

This issue of IJFAB will go some distance to move feminist disability studies from the margins to the center of feminist bioethics by highlighting the contributions to and interventions in bioethics that feminist disability studies is uniquely situated to make.

The guest editor seeks contributions to the issue on any topic related to feminist disability studies and bioethics, including (but not limited to):

Critiques of bioethics by feminist disability theorists from within feminist bioethics

The relevance of feminist disability studies in developing countries

- What is still missing from feminist arguments in the debates about stem cell research and other forms of biotechnology

- The importance of perspectives of disabled embodiment in feminist bioethics

- How the critiques of bioethics advanced in disability studies are gendered

- The integration of political analyses of disability into feminist bioethics

- The critique of notions of normalcy embedded in (feminist) bioethics

- The reevaluation of feminist approaches to care from a feminist disability studies perspective

Articles should be 3,000 - 8,000 words in length. Shorter pieces written for the Commentaries section of the issue should be 2,000-3,000 words in length.

All submissions should be double-spaced, prepared for anonymous review (no identifying references in the body of the text or bibliography), accompanied by an abstract of 150 words, and prepared in accordance with the journal's style guidelines which are posted on the IJFAB website (http://www.blogger.com/ .).

Contact information – email address, street address, and affiliation (if applicable) – should appear on a separate page which also includes a statement verifying that the work has not been previously published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Submissions should be sent as email attachments in Microsoft Word or rtf to Shelley Tremain at http://www.blogger.com/

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2009. The guest editor strongly encourages authors to contact her before completing their submissions.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ms. Cripchick is guest blogger at Feministe

Ms. Cripchick, who usually blogs here, will be guest blogging over at Feministe for the next two weeks. Her first post is here, and begins this way:

I identify as a queer, disabled, radical woman of color interested in an intersectional approach to ending oppression. I recently started blogging in the last year and am amazed at how much it has changed my life (very interested in using the internet for community-building). Even though I sometimes struggle with the disability community, the Disability Rights Movement is home for me and is where I came to understand why it’s important to organize. Most of my writing here will centralize disability as a feminist issue.

Missing woman has been found

Good news - Anastasia Hulke, the 22-year-old autistic woman who was reported missing on Thursday has been found. She has been staying with a couple in Appleton, who had taken her in and cared for her upon learning she did not want to return home. Ms Hulke appears to be fine, it is reported.

Full story here ....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Missing woman

22-year-old Anastasia Hulke, who is autistic and also has bipolar disorder, has been missing from her home in Appleton, Wisconsin, since Thursday, WFRV reports.
She is described as a 5’0’’ tall and weighs about 125 pounds. She has brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans, tennis shoes or flip flops. She was also reportedly carrying a gold purse with red hearts on it.

Ms Hulke has been without her medications for three days. Go here to see a photo of Ms Hulke and hope she is found soon.

Caregiver sentenced for sex abuse

A 63-year-old man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for sexually abusing a 56-year-old woman with special needs. John McCain, a former volunteer at the Ray Graham Center in Lombard, IL., pleaded guilty to criminal sex abuse. He was teaching the woman how to play the guitar. McCain has also been placed on 2 year's probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Full story here....
Bus driver charged with child abuse

CBS4 reports:

HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) ― A Broward County school bus driver was arrested earlier this year on child abuse charges after being videotaped on Sept. 26th, striking two severely disabled children with a metal pipe, records showed, and in court on Thursday, he entered into a plea agreement.

Michael Clough told the court, "I was wrong, and I accept responsibility for my actions".

Joel Malkin, a father of one of the victims, told CBS4 Reporter Joan Murray outside the courtroom, "I feel the punishment is fitting the crime".

Clough, 65, agreed to surrender on Nov 3rd, at which time he will spend one year in jail, then one year of house arrest followed by five years probation. In addition, he offered a public apology to families whose children he hit. The incident, which had been under investigation since September, is one of at least three that schools employees failed to report to the state's child abuse hot line in a timely manner, causing a rift between school officials and local child welfare administrators.

In the aftermath of the these incidents, Broward Superintendent Jim Notter sent a memo to all principals and other administrators reminding them that they are required under state law to report all suspicions of child abuse. All drivers went to a child abuse training seminar.

The court ruled that if Clough should fail to surrender, a warrant will be issued and he could spend ten years in jail.