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Bulletin Board| Stop the “R” word, Wolfensberger dies

READING THE NEWS in OLD CHINA --  Hats and Hairstyles of All Descriptions
Creative Commons License photo credit: Okinawa Soba

Bulletin Board

Today and Everyday is “Stop the ‘R’ word” Day.

Parents, Advocates and Schools around the country are joining in.

Many people are always complaining that the world is too complex –there is nothing they can do.

Stop the “R” word Challenge

YOU can make a difference by choosing respectful language in your own conversations. Doable, Yea!

If you have a story, please share it in the comments.

Here are the articles I have posted on this topic as well as some information on Rosa’s Law which was passed last year to take the words “retarded” out of all public documents. This is more than just being politically correct, it is a step toward seeing people with intellectual disabilities as being “human.”

Love-not labels| Rosa’s Law

Retarded No More

The “R” word| A Challenge to Bloggers

Definitions of the word “Retarded”

Building Community| Using People First Language

Wolf Wolfensberger

Father of Normalization and Citizen Advocacy

Wolf

Wolfensberger

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On February 27, 2011 Wolf Wolfensberger died.

Since 1973, Dr. Wolfensberger had been a professor in the School of Education at Syracuse University. His enormous contributions to the disability community will be felt for generations to come.  
 
Dr. Wolfensberger was the originator of Social Role Valorization, the Normalization Principle as well as Citizen Advocacy: major concepts that strongly influenced disability policy and practice in the US and Canada.
 
He was widely recognized as a major contributor to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 20th century had a reputation for being a stirring and controversial speaker.
 
He was the author and co-author of more than 40 books and monographs, and more than 250 chapters and articles. His writing has been translated into 11 languages.
 
His best known books were: Changing Patterns in Residential Services for the Mentally Retarded, The Principle of Normalization, PASS, and PASSING (Evaluation tools for programs to meet the principles of Normalization). 

 

Bulletin Board| Autism, Wretches & Jabberers May 12, Lapointe, Medicaid Cuts, ADA

READING THE NEWS in OLD CHINA --  Hats and Hairstyles of All Descriptions
Creative Commons License photo credit: Okinawa Soba

Bulletin Board #4

Wretches and Jabberers 100 cities tour on May 12th

Find a city near you and don’t miss this exciting movie about two men who are changing the world for people with autism. Click for cities and ticket information

For related posts on autism, communication and Wretches and Jabberers:

Wretches and Jabberers Review: A jab to the heart.

I’ve spent a lifetime trying to get in touch| Wretches and Jabberers (2)

I love Aaron| I hate Autism

Autism Awareness Day| Direct Action is Better

The Right to Communicate (2)| We are the experts

What if? | Bob Williams

Disability Advocates Arrested over Budget Cuts in Medicaid

For those of us who care about people having the choice to live in the community and not in nursing homes, ADAPT members are marching and being arrested for all of us. See related story

Disability Law Handbook – Available in English and Spanish

The Disability Law Handbook is written in FAQ format and answers questions about the ADA, the ADA Amendments Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Social Security, the Air Carrier Access Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Fair Housing Act Amendments.

Free copies may be downloaded or viewed ADA for the Spanish version and ADA for the English version.

To locate your local ADA Center go to www.adata.org

Does the life of one man with an intellectual disability matter?

Our friend Bob Perske sends this update to the story about Richard Lapointe. See previous articles here:

Unequal Justice

Hope for the Families

At Least Investigate Other Suspect In Lapointe Case
Lapointe Case With DNA findings, state should revisit an earlier suspect

April 19, 2011 Editorial (click here for original story)

If the term “reasonable doubt” means anything, Richard Lapointe should get a new trial. The meek, uncoordinated, mentally handicapped Manchester man was convicted of a violent crime he may not even have been able to commit, based on confessions of highly dubious merit.

But his efforts to have his case retried suffered another setback Friday when Superior Court Judge John J. Nazzaro rejected arguments that prosecutors had withheld important evidence, that Lapointe’s trial and appellate lawyers were incompetent and that new evidence proved Mr. Lapointe was innocent.

It can’t end here. The Lapointe case has seriously shaken confidence in the state’s criminal justice system. Officials should take a step to restore that trust, and that is to run tests on the other major suspect in the case.

Coerced Confession?

Mr. Lapointe was convicted in 1992 of the brutal rape and murder of his wife’s grandmother, 88-year-old Bernice Martin, in 1987. He wasn’t arrested until 1989; police were first interested in another suspect, a grisly career criminal named Frederick Rodney Merrill. But Merrill was eventually dropped as a suspect, at least in part because his blood type didn’t match a blood and a semen stain at the scene.

Mr. Lapointe, a dishwasher with no history of violent behavior, had been asking Manchester police officers about the case, and eventually drew their suspicion. On the Fourth of July in 1989, the police asked Mr. Lapointe to come down to headquarters and kept him there for more than nine hours. He didn’t have a lawyer and the session was not electronically recorded. Over the course of the evening Mr. Lapointe gave three confessions that were either nonsensical or didn’t jibe in major detail — how Mrs. Martin was dressed, how she was sexually assaulted, how she was strangled — with how experts later said the crime was actually committed.

Yet jury members said after the 1992 trial that it was the confessions that convinced them of Mr. Lapointe’s guilt. Since 1992, much has been learned about false or induced confessions; they happen with alarming frequency. Mr. Lapointe, alone and tired, said he told police what they wanted to hear so he could go to the bathroom and go home.

Tantalizing Evidence

Whoever killed Mrs. Martin was physically strong. He violently assaulted, tied up, raped and stabbed a woman who was short and weighed at least 160 pounds. Mr. Lapointe can barely tie his shoes, and has trouble lifting heavy objects. He has to keep checking and adjusting a shunt tube that extends from his skull through his neck and into his stomach that drains fluid from his cranial cavity, a result of his mental condition, called Dandy-Walker syndrome. But if he didn’t commit the crime, who did?

There is tantalizing evidence that Manchester police had the right man the first time.

A Manchester woman testified she saw a man much taller than Mr. Lapointe — about Mr. Merrill’s size and build — running madly from the housing complex where Mr. Martin lived at about the time of the crime. Mr. Merrill was seen in the neighborhood that weekend, and three days later committed an eerily similar crime, a violent sexual assault on a woman in her home in South Windsor, just a few miles away.

In the most recent appeal, lawyers for Mr. Lapointe presented DNA evidence that a pubic hair found in Mrs. Martin’s bedroom belonged neither to Mrs. Martin nor Mr. Lapointe, and that a pair of gloves found at the scene could not be tied by DNA to Mr. Lapointe. Although Judge Nazzaro didn’t find this evidence strong enough to grant Mr. Lapointe a new trial, for a number of reasons, he did allow that the pubic hair “may have come from the perpetrator.”

Well, let’s at least find out if the hair and other items found in the apartment are a DNA match with Mr. Merrill. Such action would not be unprecedented. In recent years state’s attorneys have voluntarily reanalyzed evidence in at least three cases in which convictions were reversed. The questions surrounding Mr. Lapointe’s case argue for a similar review.

Copyright © 2011, The Hartford Courant

Comments:

Please share your thoughts in the comments and social media of Twitter and Facebook. There are some amazing stories here.

The success of a movie about two men with autism who are telling their stories and inspiring all of us.

The Richard Lapointe issues of justice and freedom.

The story about self-advocates fighting for Medicaid and their rights to live in the community.

What are your issues? What would you be willing to go to jail for?

Favorite Quotes:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Bulletin Board #3| Siberia, Oprah, March Madness

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Okinawa Soba

Bulletin Board #3

“Too many defective people…”

This week we were shocked when GOP Senator Harty said people with disabilities: including mental illness, mental retardation… and other defective people should be shipped to Siberia to die (click here). He thought this would free up scarce resources and give more room on the planet for valuable people.

Today we celebrate that people all over the world rejected his beliefs, were outraged, signed petitions, and made calls for a retraction. He refused.

Thankfully, he resigned (click here) though he did not take back his comments. He truly believed the world would be a better place without defective people.

Scarcity vs. Capacity

As the recession continues and more people suffer from lack of work, forclosures, and fear of the future–look for increased attacks on the vulnerable people in our society.

“The measure of society is how it treats its most vulnerable people.”

History is full of societies who abused and killed the weak, sick, young, old…. Go to Parallels in Time I if you want evidence from the history of people with disabilities.

As advocates and parents we need to be vigilant. Already, the wealthy and powerful are trying to create additional stigma against people who are “different.” They will continue to create an “us vs. them” mentality. They will attack those least able to defend themselves, contribute large contributions to vote, “buy tribute” and protection.

This is not being emotional or irrational–this is just the history of scarcity, the history of the people we love.

Predictable as flies at a summer picnic.

We are the difference in the survival of the fittest.

Also predictable is that good news helps build capacity, friends, allies and community. Here are a couple capacity building stories:

Oprah and Zach Anner

Zach Anner, a young man with cerebral palsy–“the sexiest of the palsies,” was chosen to host his own TV travel show for Oprah’s network. (click here)

I’m not sure how I feel about Zach’s joke about “the sexiest of the palsies.” Because he is saying it about himself makes a difference, but I still wish he would use People First language and be more sensitive. I can see others using this as an excuse to make “palsy” jokes.

Mom of Zach Anner

It was interesting to see interviews with Zach’s mom (click here). I’m sure her support and encouragement are why Zach is so successful.
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March Madness: Villanova’s Student Managers

Inclusion at its best–this is enough to make me want to root for Villanova. AWESOME!

YOUR TURN

Do you have any comments about any of the above articles? Do you want to suggest any other news stories or links? How could you include people with disabilities in your life, in your clubs, organizations so that we can create powerful stories about the value of all human lives? Any ideas on how we can build capacity and inclusion?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,

All my best, Mary

Bulletin Board|The Climb and Wrightslaw

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Okinawa Soba

BULLETIN BOARD

 The Climb: New Theme Song for our blog

Attention all music lovers:  Pastor Snoopi Botten and Blake Roberts have added their magic digitalized effects to The Climb, (click on link).

Blake suggested this song become the Theme Song for the Climbing Every Mountain blog.

It’s PERFECT and their effects are pure magic.

You might remember both Snoopi and Blake shared their version of the  classic  Do You Hear What I Hear (click on the link) on Christmas Day. 

Check out their earlier post for their amazing personal stories and the details of their method for helping us all hear and see things in different ways.

Thanks to both Snoopi and Blake for being part of this community.

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Pete Wright, Esq. of wrightslaw.com

Two Workshops in Cincinnati, OH to discuss the educational implications of chronic illnesses/disabilities. These workshops should be great for anyone interested in recent changes in IDEA, 504 et al… and children with chronic health needs.

 APHOES National Conference:  May 5-6 

Special Education Law and Advocacy Program:  May 7

For conference agenda and registration click on links.

If you have any questions, please contact the School Intervention Program at 513-803-0513 or by email (SIP@cchmc.org).