• People with 'intellectual disabilities' not welcomed in Paralympics
  • More apply for in-home $$ than expected
  • Women illegally sterilized, says lawsuit
  • Both sides comment on Latimer imprisonment
  • Latimer to stay in prison for murdering disabled daughter, says Canada high court
  • DC Activists stage sit in over nursing homes
  • Statue shows 'whole' FDR
  • SSA issues new rules on work and disability
  • Oklahoma slated to execute two with mental retardation
  • Prosecutors say father stomped daughter to death
  • Man sues to go home
    People with 'intellectual disabilities' not welcomed in Paralympics
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 29, 2001

    BONN, GERMANY--Two months after it was discovered that some Paralympic gold medal athletes faked having "mental disabilities", the International Paralympic Committee announced today that it will no longer include people with such disabilities in its activities. The decision from the International Paralympic Committee came after a magazine article, written by a member of Spain's championship basketball team, disclosed that as many as 15 of the country's Paralympic team members had no disability. Journalist Carlos Ribagorda wrote that the Spanish Paralympic Committee allowed him and the other athletes to join the team two years ago without providing any testing or documentation that they had a disability. He claimed that Spanish Paralympic officials were mostly concerned with winning. The entire Spanish basketball team was ordered last month to turn in the gold medals it had received during the Sydney Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The IPC also removed Fernando Martin Vicente, president of the International Sports Organization for Athletes with an Intellectual Disability, from the IPC's executive committee. During the Paralympic Games in October, Spain's Paralympic team had finished third in medals with 107, including 37 gold medals.

    More apply for in-home $$ than expected
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 24, 2001

    Last year, Virginia's state government decided to allocate $1 million in new money to help families of people with disabilities in their homes. But more than 4,000 applied. More

    Women illegally sterilized, says lawsuit
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 22, 2001

    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--Last Friday, a civil suit was filed against the province on behalf of 13 women described as having "mental disabilities", claiming they were illegally sterilized while living in a provincial institution between 1940 and 1968. The women, who were not identified in the suit, say the provincial government ignored its own law by allowing irreversible tubal ligations to be performed on them without their consent, with no valid medical reason, and without the required reviews. More

    Both sides comment on Latimer imprisonment
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 19, 2001

    As one would expect, public reaction has been mixed following yesterday's Supreme Court ruling which sent Robert Latimer to prison to serve at least 10 years of a life sentence.

    The rural Saskatchewan farmer surrendered to authorities yesterday, after the Supreme Court of Canada announced their unanimous decision to have him serve at least 10 years of a life sentence. Latimer was convicted twice of second degree murder for killing his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy. He confessed to the crime, but said he did it to end "suffering" related to her cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other disabilities..

    Much of the general public sees Latimer's decision to end his daughter's life as one of compassion and mercy. Disability rights advocates, on the other hand, see the act as wrong, and that he did so to end his own emotional pain..

    Both sides of the debate are summed up rather well in this item from today's Edmonton Sun: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonNews/es.es-01-19-0008.html.

    Latimer to stay in prison for murdering disabled daughter, says Canada high court
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 18, 2001

    WILKIE, SASKATCHEWAN--The Supreme Court of Canada this morning ruled that Robert Latimer, who confessed to killing his 12-year-old daughter Tracy, will have to spend at least ten years of a life sentence in prison. The decision ends seven years of trials and appeals. More

    DC Activists Hold Health Dept.
    Washington, D.C., Jan. 16 -- Today shortly after noon, Capital Area ADAPT activists moved to occupy the offices of the D.C. Department of Health at 825 North Capitol Street. The group, whose members in the action included wheelchair users and nursing home residents, said they had to "resort to civil disobedience because the DC government is all talk and no action." More

    Statue shows 'whole FDR'
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 9, 2001

    WASHINGTON, DC--During a ceremony tomorrow morning, President Clinton will unveil what is being called "a shrine for people with disabilities" -- a life-size bronze statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sitting in his wheelchair. The sculpture at the FDR National Memorial in West Potomac Park, is the result of years of efforts by people with disabilities, advocates, and Roosevelt family members.

    More on the statue from Gary Presley at about.com

    By most accounts, young Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been a vain and insincere man, born into a family of wealth and luxury. A likable, charming relative of president Teddy Roosevelt, it seemed certain Franklin would have a successful political life.

    One morning in 1921, when Roosevelt was 39 years of age, things changed for him and for the world. He had contracted polio, a disease that was rather common in those days. Because of the resulting condition, called "poliomyelitis", FDR couldn't get out of bed. In fact, his legs didn't work at all.

    Many people who knew FDR say something changed within the man at that point. Not only did his determination to succeed grow tremendously, but so did a certain compassion for others.

    And in the days when people with physical disabilities, known then as "invalids", were hidden from public view, FDR decided to move ahead with his career while hiding his disability from the public. Roosevelt built a wheelchair using bicycle and tricycle parts and a kitchen chair, then rolled forward to eventually be elected to four presidencies and lead the U.S. through the end of the Great Depression and World War Two.

    Even though FDR wheeled around the White House from 1933 to 1945, he and his advisors were worried that the American people, not to mention his enemies, would think his disability made him weak. For this reason, the fact that he could not walk was hidden from the public. Politicians and the news media helped keep this secret. Today, there are very few known photographs available showing the president in his wheelchair.

    The life-sized statue presented tomorrow reportedly does little to hide the president's disability. The sculpture sits at ground level, rather than on a pedestal or platform, and is positioned in front of the memorial itself. Visitors can go right up to and touch the seated figure. People who use wheelchairs can park alongside the president. Children can sit in his lap.

    In a letter to the New York Times, sixteen of FDR's grandchildren wrote, "The goal of the FDR Memorial must be to enable future generations to understand the whole man and the events and experiences that helped to shape his character. We believe that this cannot be accomplished without a commitment to a permanent, meaningful portrayal in the Memorial of FDR's disability and how the process of adjusting to living with his disability made him a better and more able man and President."

    About a year ago, the National Park Service asked a group of scholars to recommend a quote to accompany the sculpture. This is one quote, from FDR himself, that the committee suggested: "We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought."

    That statement was eventually rejected in favor of the following quote from FDR's wife Eleanor Roosevelt: "Franklin's illness . . . gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons -- infinite patience and never-ending persistence."

    When asked by the committee to endorse Eleanor's quote, advocates Paul Longmore and Simi Linton refused, saying the quotation (and two others) "reinforce the typical view that disability is mainly a private issue of physical struggle, psychological adjustment, and personal character".

    Nevertheless, it is Eleanor's quote which now accompanies the sculpture. Several FDR quotes line a wall behind the statue.

    The National Organization on Disability (NOD) has been instrumental in gathering support for the exhibit and sculpture. Because of their efforts, and those of countless others, no public funds were used. Here is more information on the exhibit from the NOD website: http://www.nod.org/fdr.html

    NOD has posted one of the few pictures of FDR sitting his home-made wheelchair: http://www.nod.org/fdressay1.html

    Above article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    SSA issues new rules on work and disability
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 9, 2001

    WASHINGTON, DC--The Social Security Administration announced new rules that went into effect on January 1, 2001, that will allow more Americans with disabilities to work without having to worry about losing Social Security benefits.

    One of those rules has to do with what is called the trial work period or "TWP". During the TWP, Social Security disability beneficiaries can earn as much as they want and still receive full benefits, for up to nine months. In the past, every month they earned over $200 would be considered part of that TWP. Under the new rules which began January 1, that amount changed to $530 a month.

    The second has to do with what is known as Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA. Before January 1, a person receiving Social Security Disability benefits could keep their benefits if they earned $700 or less a month from a job. Last week, that amount increased to $740. Under new rules, the SGA and the TWP will be adjusted every year, based on average wages around the country.

    The third rule affects students under the age of 22 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It increases the amount they can earn while maintaining their benefits.

    More information on the new rules is available at the Social Security Administration's website: http://www.ssa.gov/enews/enewspress010501.htm

    Above article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    Oklahoma slated to execute two with mental retardation
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    January 2, 2001

    OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA--If all goes as scheduled over the next nine days, two convicted murderers thought to have mental retardation will be executed in Oklahoma. One would become the first woman in the state's history to face the death penalty. She would also become the first African-American woman in the United States to be executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

    Robert William "Eagle" Clayton, 39, is scheduled to die Thursday, January 4. Clayton confessed on two separate occasions to murdering a Tulsa woman in 1985. He later withdrew both confessions and now says he is innocent. His first confession was thrown out by a court which decided Clayton did not understand his rights. The second confession was used to convict him of the crime.

    Clayton's defense attorneys say he has mental retardation and scored 68 on IQ tests. Most experts consider an IQ score below 70 to suggest mental retardation. During a hearing after Clayton's conviction, however, an appeals court found him to be competent and upheld his death sentence.

    Wanda Jean Allen, 41, is scheduled to die by lethal injection a week later, on January 11. She was convicted of shooting to death her former lover in front of a police station in 1988. Allen claimed she killed the woman in self-defense. Before the murder, Allen had served four years in prison for manslaughter in the shooting death of another woman.

    Allen's supporters say she has had mental retardation ever since she was hit by a truck at age 12, and was stabbed in the head as a teenager. They also claim Allen is being targeted because she is a lesbian. Her defense attorney, who had never handled a death penalty case, has said he defended her for $800 dollars because that was all Allen's family could afford.

    Both Clayton and Allen have been denied clemency.

    Only 13 of the 50 United States have laws forbidding execution of people found to have mental retardation. The Death Penalty Information Center keeps track of these executions on this webpage: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/dpicmr.html

    Above article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    Prosecutors say father stomped daughter to death
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    December 27, 2000

    UNIONTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA--When Helen Gillin, 25, disappeared from her adoptive parents' home in July 1992, family members said they believed the woman, who had mental retardation, ran away with a boyfriend. Her parents continued to collect her disability benefit checks, telling authorities they were saving the money for when Helen returned.

    But last year, the Gillins' biological daughter came forward and reported that she had witnessed her parents, James and Roberta Gillin, kill Helen. The daughter told authorities that Roberta, believing Helen and James were having a sexual relationship, forced Helen to drink a mixture of liquid laundry detergent and heart medication. When Helen vomited the mixture, James beat and stomped her to death. Then the couple dumped her body into a fire pit, covered it with gasoline, and burned it.

    An anthropologist recently identified some of the over 2,000 bone fragments found near the Gillin home as belonging to a white female.

    According to today's Associated Press, the couple now face charges of criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and criminal conspiracy. Roberta Gillin will testify against her husband as a part of a plea agreement when the case goes to trial next month.

    Above article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    Man Sues to Go Home
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    December 28, 2000

    HUNTINGTON, NEW YORK--If you think there is no chance you could be institutionalized against your will, think again.

    Thomas Bayon, 44, lived on his own with some in-home care for most of his life since becoming paralyzed at age 18 -- that is, until a brief illness put him into a hospital in April.

    And even though doctors gave him the "green light" to go back home several months ago, and county officials have approved funds for him to have an aide at home, Bayon remains at the hospital (at the cost to taxpayers of $300,000) because the county has not yet hired the aide.

    So, Bayon has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and the state, claiming they have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing services to him in "the least restrictive environment". Bayon's suit joined a similar one filed earlier this month on behalf of a teenager with cerebral palsy who was approved for 50 hours a week of in-home nursing services two years ago, but still has no nurse.

    The Dec. 28 Newsday ran this excellent article on the situation faced by Bayon and the other plaintiff, 16-year-old Jeanette Leon: http://www.newsday.com/news/daily/suit1228.htm

    A quote from one bureaucrat in this story reminded me of a certain Charles Dickens character. Click here for my comments: http://www.InclusionDaily.com/news/scrooge.htm

    Above article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.


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