vody/> RCM - Revitalizing Community Membership: Empowering Independence: July 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

‘We Are Worried’: Those Who Work With Disabled D.C. Residents Fear A City Cut Will Hurt Those Who Need Help Most

For a moment, imagine that you couldn’t talk and were in pain.

Imagine that pain grew so intense that you ended up in a hospital, but because of a disability you couldn’t tell anyone whether your feet or your chest or your whole body ached.

Imagine you had a doctor who wanted to get you healthy and home but wasn’t quite sure what healthy looked like for you and whether your home was equipped to handle your needs.

Right now, as the result of a long-standing partnership between the D.C. government and Georgetown University, a physician who understands intellectual and developmental disabilities would show up and speak on your behalf. A nurse, trained in those same areas, would then work to get you home as soon as you were well enough. Once home, you would receive another visit to make sure that you were okay and that your caretaker understood your needs.

These are some of the services Georgetown University provides through its DDA Health Initiative. These are also some of the services that — unless something is done soon — will disappear on Aug. 31, because the D.C. Department on Disability Services (DDS) has decided not to renew Georgetown’s contract.

The decision was made quietly and has unnerved those who work closest with the city’s most vulnerable residents.

They fear that it will hurt men and women who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and set the city agency in charge of serving that population back on all the progress it made under 40 years of court supervision.

[After 40 years, U.S. court ends supervision of D.C.’s care for mentally disabled citizens]

“We are worried,” said Precious Myers-Brown, the local director of St. John’s Community Services, one of the oldest organizations to serve people with disabilities in the District. “My concern is for the people we support and how easily they can get lost in the system.”

To read more on this story, click here: ‘We Are Worried’: Those Who Work With Disabled D.C. Residents Fear A City Cut Will Hurt Those Who Need Help Most


Monday, July 15, 2019

Surviving Education Trauma: Teacher Abuse of Disabled Students

Unfortunately this is the story of many people with disabilities. Time to break the silence.

Content Warning: discussion of abuse (mainly emotional abuse)

By Eryn Star, NCIL Summer Policy Intern

In Spring 2018, the first known survey on the prevalence of k-12 teachers abusing students (all kinds of students, not just disabled) was released. It was an online survey from Northern Michigan University directed at a little over 1,000 teachers who were asked about the kinds of abusive behavior they have observed from the teachers around them. The results are important for everyone to see and validate what many education trauma survivors have been saying for years.

When asked how often they have seen teachers yelling at a student and embarrassing them publicly, most of the teachers responded 1-2 times with some responding 3-4 times or even 10 or more times. Never seeing those acts from teachers was rare. When the teachers were asked how many teachers in their school emotionally abuse students, only 14% said none. Furthermore, one in five teachers said that more than 10% of the teachers in their schools regularly target students. As much as we want to believe that educators would never do this to children and teens, teacher abuse of students happens much more often than society is ready to acknowledge and address. What resonated with me and confirmed what I’ve suspected for a long time is that the students targeted most by teachers were those with cognitive impairments with “other” a close second. When “other” respondents were asked to expand on who they witnessed being targeted, 1/3 said students of color, queer students, and English language learners. As an autistic queer student, it reminds me of my own experiences with education trauma.

To read more on this story, click here: Surviving Education Trauma: Teacher Abuse of Disabled Students


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

7 Cool Aspects of Autistic Culture

When you are autistic, you spend much of your life feeling very alone.

No one can understand why you are melting down because someone bought Old Dutch brand chips instead of Ruffles.  People get impatient with you when you refuse to touch your shoelaces to tie them.

No one else in the room seems to be bothered by the two clocks ticking out of sync with each other.  No one else you know cares about cats quite as much as you do.  Everyone says you are wrong.  Things aren’t the way you interpret them.  Your feelings are ridiculous.  Your priorities are incomprehensible to people.

“Stop it,” “get over it,” and “why can’t you…”  are refrains that will follow you your whole life.

To read more on this story, click here: 7 Cool Aspects of Autistic Culture


ABLE Accounts Slow To Catch On

We need to provide more guidance and education on the benefits of an ABLE Account!

New data is prompting questions about the sustainability of a recently-established program that allows people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing their government benefits.

Far fewer people have opened ABLE accounts than are needed to ensure the viability of the program, according to an analysis from the National Association of State Treasurers, a group representing state officials who run ABLE programs.

Created under a 2014 federal law, ABLE accounts enable people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. Medicaid can be retained no matter how much money is in the accounts.

To read more on this story, click here: ABLE Accounts Slow To Catch On


Lawmakers Look To Jump-Start Employment For Transition-Age Youth

With a bipartisan proposal, members of Congress are pushing a new plan to increase competitive, integrated employment for young people with developmental disabilities.

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this month would establish a demonstration program aimed at improving the transition from school to work.

The legislation known as the Customized Approaches to Providing and Building Independent Lives of Inclusion for Transition-aged Youth, or CAPABILITY, Act, H.R.3070, would establish six grants to states to support pre-employment transition services for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.

To read more on this story, click here: Lawmakers Look To Jump-Start Employment For Transition-Age Youth


Autism, Adult Special Needs, Amy Brooks, Danielle Darby, Intellectual Disabilities, RCM of Washington, Susan Brooks, 


The Complexity of Choice

Balancing Choice

Connie Lyle-O’Brien and John O'Brien explore the complexity of choice for people with developmental disabilities in the absence of a breadth of experience, and a strong network of relationships.


Ali Stroker Makes History As First Wheelchair User To Win Tony Award

“For every kid at home watching with a disability waiting to be represented. . . You are!”

Ali Stroker made history at the 73rd annual Tony Awards on Sunday night in a major milestone for representation on stage.

The “Glee Project” alum took home the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her performance as Ado Annie in the critically acclaimed “Oklahoma!” revival.

Stroker is the first wheelchair user to ever win or even be nominated for a Tony Award.

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation, who has a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena. You are,” the actress said on stage to major applause from the audience.

To read more on this story, click here: Ali Stroker Makes History As First Wheelchair User To Win Tony Award


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