Karen testified: “When I was getting discharged from Connecticut Valley Hospital, there were money and staffing problems that delayed me from getting out. Hospital staff were worried that there wasn’t enough money to get me the staffing that would keep me safe.... On the Thursday I was supposed to be discharged, staff were telling me I would be back by the next Monday.”
Anderson Cooper would be the first to call out Donald Trump’s ridicule of a reporter with a disability with righteous indignation. Yet, on December 4, 2016 Cooper used the 60 Minutes broadcast to throw people with disabilities under the bus in the name of journalism. He used his power and prestige to denigrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the honorable lawyers that enforce it. Cooper could not have been more successful, if his intent was to lead the parade of horribles against the ADA. I suggest that presenting a skewed piece of journalism which serves only to undermine the first national law providing civil rights protections for people with disabilities is at least as harmful as mocking a reporter with a disability.
“The last time I was shut off, I panicked,” says Penny Medeiros, who has a condition that requires 24-hour electric powered oxygen. “I tried to pay what I could and got help from charities to pay National Grid, but they wanted more and then they shut me off. I had to use my emergency supply of battery-powered oxygen and was getting ready for the ambulance. Then Senator Reed’s office called them and I got my service back on.”
I have discovered the key to inclusion of people with autism in school and the community. You see, it is all a matter of perception. Instead of trying to explain my son through the confines of autism, I have discovered a much more enlightening explanation. I now tell people that he’s French. After all, the signs are there: He speaks an incomprehensible language; has a unique style of personal grooming, demonstrates a disdain verging on revulsion of American cuisine, and is maddeningly aloof.
Imagine living in a cramped and segregated hospital-style ward, with no privacy, no personal control over your daily life, no chance to form intimate relationships, and no ability to leave. Overcrowding, under-funding, a lack of qualified supervision, as well as a lack of residents’ abilities to advocate for themselves, led to these toxic environments being a daily reality for widespread alleged abuse for thousands labeled with cognitive and developmental disabilities in Canada as recently as 2009.