Monday, May 13, 2013

Disability News

picture of a newspaper
Disabled Couple Seek Life Together in Group Home
Frank Eltman, Associated Press - May 7, 2013

Is this one of those stories of injustice that are as outrageous as they seem, or are there circumstances underneath that we don't know about? My guess is that it's a little of both. The agency involved may be dealing with some real dilemmas. For instance, how would the other residents of the group home react when the couple starts sleeping together? On the other hand, a problem like that is only a problem if you severely underestimate the common sense of people with cognitive impairments. Marriage isn't some mysterious thing in our society … even small children have a basic idea of what it is. It might even be a good opportunity to help other residents better understand marriage and sexual relationships.

The fact is that there's little legal debate about cognitively impaired people marrying, and there are plenty of developmental disability service providers that have no problem with it, either. This one just seems to be behind in its thinking. It's also possible that one or two key staff have some kind of hangup about it and are exercising undo influence in this situation.

One other entirely subjective thought … They seem like a massively cute couple, and I really hope they win this dispute. Better yet, why bother with the group home. Help them get an apartment and give them support services there.

Benjamin Weiser, New York Times - May 10, 2013

This was a big issue in the disability community for about ten minutes after 9/11, then after Katrina. It seems like one of those things where perfection is impossible, but should be pursued in order to bring about badly needed improvement. Also, the stakes are higher. If a restaurant isn't accessible, it's annoying. If a shelter is inaccessible, it can be fatal.

Associated Press - May 13, 2013

I think this is the first time I've seen a disability funding situation where one disability sub-group is pitted against another. It looks like the Missouri Legislature may find a way to avoid it, but seeing it set up at all really scares me. I see a real danger that in coming years, retirees and younger disabled people may fall to fighting over Social Security and health care resources in what would be the ultimate death match of the downtrodden.

Note: This weekly feature isn't anything like a "complete" listing or even a summary of all disability-related news. It's just articles I choose for whatever reason. My comments on each article are my own opinion, but I will try to ask as many questions as I claim to answer.