Jarrod Musano and his company, Convo, have invented a new piece of technology developed to support the communication of Deaf people. Unlike older technology such as TTY, this video conference partitioned between the speakers and the interpreter allows for quicker and more natural conversation.
A new study by Siperstein, Parker, and Drascher (2013) details very high unemployment rates for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). After completing a random sample of over 1,000 parents and guardians of adults with ID, Siperstein et al. found a “troublingly low employment rate for adults with ID;” only about 1 in 3 people with ID were employed.
It is important to not only examine how many people with ID have access to the workforce but also if that access is at all meaningful. According to Diament (2014) only about half of those one-third are in competitive employment and about 9% self-employed. Meanwhile, 38% work in sheltered workshops (Diament, 2014). Although sheltered employment was a cutting-edge concept when it was created in 1870; unfortunately the practices have changed very little since then (National Disability Rights Network, 2011). Workshops are viewed from an educational or therapeutic perspective but rarely if ever prepare employees for supported employment; “instead they provide subcontract work usually oversimplified, boring and repetitious” (Schuster, 1990, p. 233) such as “assembling, packing, woodworking, manufacturing, [and] sewing” (Migliore et al., 2007, p. 6).
Not only are people with ID segregated in these settings and not typically learning new skills they also tend to be paid sub-minimum wage (which can be only $1-$2 a day!). All of which restricts future movement to meaningful integrated employment leading many advocates to call for repeal of sub-minimum wage and promotion of integrated employment opportunities.
Diament, M. (2014). Survey finds just 1 In 3 with intellectual disabilities employed. Disability Scoop, retrieved from http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/02/18/survey-intellectual-employed/19114/
Migliore, A., Mank, D., Grossi, T., & Rogan, P. (2007). Integrated employment or sheltered workshops: Preferences of adults with intellectual disabilities, their families, and staff. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 26(5), 5-19.
National Disability Rights Network (2011). Segregated and exploited: The failure of the disability system to provide quality work (pp. 1-60). Washington, D.C.: National Disability Rights Network.
Schuster, J. W. (1990). Sheltered workshops: Financial and philosophical liabilities. Mental Retardation, 28(4), 233-239.
Siperstein, G., Parker, R., & Drascher, M. (2013) National snapshot of adults with intellectual disabilities in the labor force. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 39(3), 157-165.
Schroeder et al. (2014) recently completed an extensive literature review of research related to autism and bullying. Their research revealed more than 50% of children with disabilities are bullied (Schroeder et al., 2014). In fact, roughly one-tenth reported chronic victimization. According to Schroeder et al. (2014), “several characteristics of ASD may increase the likelihood of involvement in bullying perpetration and victimization”.
In terms of reducing bullying, they found that an important theme is school climate; “at the classroom level, an anti-bullying environment and teacher training appear to be critical” (Schroeder et al., 2014). To read more see their article Shedding Light on a Pervasive Problem: A Review of Research on Bullying Experiences Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Schroeder, J. Cappadocia, C., Bebko, J., Pepler, D. & Weiss, J. (2014, January) Shedding Light on a Pervasive Problem: A Review of Research on Bullying Experiences Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,
DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV — the most common tool to label disabilities) prohibits dual diagnosis of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder; Rao and Landa, 2013). Some research now suggests that there is some comorbidity — they can occur together. Yet, little is known about how often this may occur. Recent examination by Rao and Landa found that about one-third of their sample of young school aged children with ASD showed significant signs of ADHD. This indicates that young children with ASD should also be examined for ADHD. This is especially true because the ADHD can contribute to impairments when unnoticed.
Rao, P. A., and Landa, R. J. (2013). Association between severity of behavioral phenotype and comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism. doi: 10.1177/1362361312470494
Recent LEND graduate Gissel Escobedo as well as LEND faculty Sandy Magana and Matie Ovalle have been featured in an article about the intersections between autism and Latino families. To read this article visit “Latinos as Autism Caregivers.”
New York City has started replacing the figures on disability signs. The old images are being replaced because people with disabilities appear “passive [and] even helpless” (Basken, 2013). Instead the new logo, which is featured below, “shows the stick figure with active arms, leaning forward, a participant rather than a dependent.”
Here are the goals of the aspects of the design according to The Accessible Icon Project (2013):
- Head – “Forward to indicate the forward motion of the person through space. Here the person is the ‘driver’ or decision maker about her mobility”
- Arm – “Backward to suggest the dynamic mobility of a chair user, regardless of whether or not she uses her arms. Depicting the body in motion represents the symbolically active status of navigating the world”
- Wheel – “White angled knockouts the symbol presents the wheel as being in motion”
Although this may seem like just a logo, it has internationally become known as the image for people with disabilities. This change from a stagnant logo that implies “people seem like they don’t do much with their lives” is actually pretty revolutionary and will certainly have a large impact. Hopefully other cities will take note.
To read more about the logo, visit The Accessible Icon Project.
Basken, P. (2013, May 20). A Team of Academics Redesigns an Icon. The Chronicle of Higher Education, retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/New-York-City-Embraces-a/139355/?key=TGxwJQUwYHNAMS1rY2tIZj4GanRsNhp0YXVMOCl7blpSEw%3D%3D
The Accessible Icon Project (2013). The Icon Graphic Elements. Retrieved from http://www.accessibleicon.org/icon.html
Congratulations to our clinical director, Dr. Ann Cutler, for winning AAIDD’s (American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) 2013 Leadership award! This award is given each year to someone who has guided or directed others in improving the quality of programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Cutler was honored last week at AAIDD’s conference in Pittsburgh.
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) just released their 2013 report The Case for Inclusion, which ranks how well state Medicaid programs serve people with I/DD. The Case for Inclusion 2013 revealed interesting findings. Waiting lists for services have doubled to more than 268,000 people. Employment rates of people with I/DD were at 33% or above in only 10 states.
Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, Illinois rated 48 out of 51, with just Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi ranking below it. Broken down by particular categories, Illinois ranked 50th for promoting independence and 42nd in promoting productivity — promoting people with disabilities to have satisfying lives and valued social roles. Illinois has consistently ranked at the bottom since before 2007.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 1893) aimed at significantly limiting restraint and seclusion of school children has been re-introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to these restrictions the bill requires staff to be properly trained as well as parents to be notified about use of restraint and seclusion.
In 2009, a Government Accountability Office study found that states lacked consistent training policies about the use of restraint and seclusion and often failed to collect data about these techniques use. In March 2012, the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that nearly 40,000 students were physically restrained during the 2009-10 school year. This data also showed that restraint and seclusion are disproportionately used upon students with disabilities and minority students. (Council for Exceptional Children, 2013, n.p.)
The Autism Society of Washington has some helpful suggestions and talking points for contacting your representative in regard to this bill.
To read more see:
Butler, J. (2013). Restraint/Seclusion Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives. Autism Society of Washington, retrieved from: http://www.autismsocietyofwa.org/2013/05/restraintseclusion-bill-introduced-in-u-s-house-of-representatives/
Council for Exceptional Children. (2013). Restraint and Seclusion Bill Introduced in the House! Council for Exceptional Children, retrieved from: http://www.policyinsider.org/2013/05/restraint-and-seclusion-bill-introduced-in-the-house.html
Diament, M. (2013). School Restraint, Seclusion Bill Introduced In Congress. Disability Scoop, retrieved from http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/05/10/school-restraint-introduced/17919/
LEND faculty member Carrie Sandahl has helped to coordinate the Bodies of Work disability arts and culture festival taking place from May 15 – 25. The festival includes many different performances and shows taking place at various venues across Chicago. In a recent profile by the Chicago Tribune Sandahl explains that the purpose of the festival is to “‘illuminate disability experience in new and unexpected ways’” (Ise, 2013).
Sandahl says popular culture typically portrays characters who are disabled or ill ‘as an inspiration, or a villain, or a charity case,’ and that the roles they play are ‘largely symbolic … to teach nondisabled people lessons about themselves.’…Instead of seeing disability as a flaw, advocates like Sandahl argue that we should instead consider it ‘part of natural human variation.’ Through art, says Sandahl…’we are expressing our perspectives on the world gained by having a unique body, a unique mind, sensory differences, mental health differences. We don’t see these as obstacles to overcome, but as experiences to be explored.’ (Ise, 2013).