Inclusion Daily Express
Saturday, October 10, 2009
  Age limit for guide dogs?
The BBC reported that the 16-year age limit for those using guide dogs has been lifted.

Should there be a minimum age for users of guide dogs or other service animals?

What do you think?

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express

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Saturday, March 07, 2009
  Am I making too much of this?
I can't be the only one who has noticed a striking similarity between the character "Phil" on the new Jack-In-The-Box commercials and Michael Schiavo.

For those who haven't seen the latest, acting company CEO Phil is telling Jack -- who is in a coma after getting hit by a bus -- "I know you can't hear me, but . . " and then tells Jack the changes he plans to make to the company, including changing the name to Phil-In-The-Box.

Of course, Jack can hear everything . . .

I'm assuming the producers didn't plan on making Phil look like Schiavo, but it did send shivers up my spine.

Here's the video:

Here's Schiavo on Larry King:

You tell me. Am I making too much of this?

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express / Inclusion Weekly Review
International Disability Rights News Service


Tuesday, March 27, 2007
  Should "Ashley X' Be At Center Of Community Living Debate?

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 23, 2007

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON & ISTANBUL, TURKEY--As most of you know, I am a strong advocate for community living. I believe that
the only way people with disabilities have any chance of experiencing freedom and a decent quality of life is to live in their own homes, outside of institutions.

That's why I started Inclusion Daily Express in the first place.

Having said that, I've been a bit worried about our movement's use of 9-year-old "Ashley X" to further our cause.

During the first week of this year, an anonymous Seattle couple launched a website to promote the fact that they had doctors give their daughter massive doses of estrogen while surgeons removed her uterus and breast tissue -- to keep her from growing.

They said they did not want the girl, who has developmental disabilities, to go through the discomfort associated with puberty, and that they wanted to have her at home -- to carry and to cuddle -- for as long as possible.

Many US and UK disability rights advocates condemned the parents of "Ashley X", saying the procedure amounted to mutilation and violated her human rights.

I agree.

Some added that an increase in funding for community residential programs would keep other parents of children with disabilities from turning to the "Ashley Treatment".

This might indeed be true.

Frankly, however, I haven't been able to make that link between community supports and Ashley's parents. I don't think one has much to do with the other.

For one thing, I found nothing in statements by Ashley's parents to suggest that an increase in community supports would have kept them from surgically changing their daughter to fit what they wanted her to be, an eternal "Pillow Angel". To the contrary, they said that they had tried in-home services but were not happy with them. Not that their satisfaction with the services would have mattered; even if they had the best in-home supports for Ashley, they still would have chosen their radical procedure.

"We would never turn the care of Ashley over to strangers even if she had grown tall and heavy," they wrote.

For another thing, the parents have said over and over that they chose the 'attenuation treatment' because they did not want Ashley to go to an institution. So, as strange as this may sound, these parents consider themselves to be community advocates.

Yes, we do need to push, at every opportunity, for more and better in-home supports for people with disabilities of all ages.

But using this case to justify our position puts us on rather shaky ground.

One reason is that the same young girl can be -- and is being -- used to justify the opposite position.

On Friday, Turkey's Zaman newspaper reported that a Turkish family is considering the same treatment for a 13-year-old by who has cerebral palsy.

Füsun Evren said she was looking for a doctor to stunt the growth of her 42-pound son, Umut Mert, by having him castrated.

"I want him to stay as my little Mert," she said.

Sound familiar?

While one university professor pointed out that castration violates all religions, including Islam, the head of the Turkish Association for the
Disabled, Zülfikar Akar, said: "These situations happen because care centers don't offer long-term care for people with disabilities."

In other words, there needs to be more funding for institutions.

"Parents of disabled children support ‘Ashley’s treatment’" (Today's Zaman)

"Disability Advocates Respond To 'Ashley Treatment' Designed To Keep Girl Small" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express / Inclusion Weekly Review
International Disability Rights News Service

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
  Dutch TV Producers Aren't Fooling Anyone, Are They?
Inclusion Daily Express

Dutch broadcaster SBS 6 is creating quite a stir with the announced February 20 launch of "Love at Second Sight", which news sources are describing as a television dating show for "the visibly disfigured".

"Do you have a visible serious handicap and are you looking for a partner?" the producers reportedly ask on the program's website.

It remains to be seen how many people will answer the producers' call to appear on the so-called 'reality' program.

A recent poll would suggest that most prospective viewers -- 85 percent -- don't like the idea.

That's interesting, considering that the Netherlands was the birthplace of "Big Brother" and other famous 'reality' shows.

It's also interesting, coming from a country where much of the population seems to support euthanizing babies with disabilities, along with allowing doctors to assist adults with disabilities to commit suicide.

Reuters news service noted that SBS 6 says the program is designed to "remove prejudice about these people, to create more acceptance and respect, and, of course, to find the love of their lives" and would allow such people to "share experiences and feelings in a positive way with the rest of the Netherlands and to show that they are absolutely not pitiful."

I wonder how genuine those intentions are, considering that the producers originally wanted to call the program "Monster Love".

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express / Inclusion Weekly Review
International Disability Rights News Service
Sunday, December 31, 2006
  There But For The Grace Of God . . . Go So Many Of Us (Reprise from Dec. 20, 2005)
Inclusion Daily Express

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON-- When I learned that the "suspected terrorist" killed by federal air marshals in Miami was actually an American with bipolar disorder, my first thought was that this could easily happen to a number of people I know, including myself, under the right set of circumstances.

But then I wondered if any of us have believed that this kind of thing would not happen at some point. Perhaps it was a matter of not "if", but "when".

Historically speaking, it's always been dangerous -- or fatal -- to act in "unusual" or "puzzling" ways. Every week, it seems, we see another example of someone's life being extinguished, either by law enforcement or caregivers, because they did not -- or could not -- follow someone else's instructions.

The difference now is that this is in the national spotlight, and homeland security appears to be a justification for "shoot first and ask questions later" on jetliners.

Air travel by itself makes many people anxious. The events of 9/11 made that worse, as we realized the actions of those flying with us can literally determine whether we live or die.

Passengers aboard Flight 924 said that, after Rigoberto Alpizar ran through the plane toward first class, his wife of 20 years, Anne Buechner, followed, yelling that he had a mental illness and had not taken his medication.

It did no good. Federal marshals have been trained to deal with people behaving like Alpizar as a threat.

Many experts and others claim that the officers would have been criticized worse had Alpizar been a true bomber, and had his wife been a co-conspirator attempting to identify and distract the air marshals.

After her husband's death, she said she blamed herself for allowing him on the aircraft in his agitated state.

Now, air travel with someone who seems anxious, or "out of control", will no doubt appear more dangerous, and in fact will likely be more dangerous because of the reaction of passengers, including federal air marshals.

Unfortunately, anyone acting "suspiciously" may be feared nearly as much as would-be hijackers.

This may be the best time to redouble our efforts to explain to others that the vast majority of people who experience mental illness or psychiatric crises are not a threat to anyone, but that they are more likely to be victimized by others.

May Peace be with you and yours this season.

-- Dave Reynolds, Editor
September 11, 2001 and Beyond: The Impact of the Terror Attacks on People With Disabilities
Sunday, November 12, 2006
  MH Tsar Proves Advocates' Point
Inclusion Daily Express

Okay, I swear I'm not making this up:

When told that a review of British health service data showed at least 300 sexual assaults have taken place against women in psychiatric wards over the past 3 years, mental health groups responded that the actual number is probably much higher. They said that victims of such crimes often decide not report them because they do not trust that their allegations will be taken serious.

As if to prove that very point, the government's national mental health tsar, Louis Appleby, responded that -- while he is determined to address the sexual safety of women in mental health wards -- "In my opinion, there is significant doubt in the majority of cases as to whether any incident occurred."

What? Did he or did he not just prove their point?

Hey, I'll give Appleby the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just tongue-tied after seeing the enormity of the problem that he didn't know what to say.

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express
Monday, November 06, 2006
  Shame On Rush
Inclusion Daily Express

While Inclusion Daily Express does not usually cover politics or finding "cures" to disabilities, a story involving both of those has taken a very public detour right into our disability rights consciousness.

Last Monday, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the airwaves to condemn Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, for appearing on television commercials supporting candidates who favor stem cell research.

This is an important issue for the television and movie actor, who, like the late actor Christopher Reeve, lobbied for federal funding for such research that is believed to hold promise for treating or preventing conditions associated with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and others.

What deserves attention, here, is how Limbaugh, who opposes stem cell research, characterized Fox's appearance on the ads: "He was either acting or off his medication . . . He is using his illness as a tactic to secure the election of another Democratic senator."

Fox later said that the irony is that he was too medicated; that the medication he uses to treat Parkinson's can actually increase the shaking and swaying seen on the ads.

Another irony is that Fox also supports Republican Senator Arlen Specter, from Pennsylvania, and other Republicans that support stem cell research.

Still a third irony is that Limbaugh is accusing Fox of using his disability for personal gain. This from a man who made a big deal out of receiving a cochlear implant in 2003 after losing his hearing as a result of Auto-Immune Inner Ear Disease, and publicly stated three years ago that he was seeking treatment for addiction to pain killing medication that was initially prescribed to treat his pain after spinal surgery.

While I won't climb onto the "research for a cure" bandwagon, I respect Fox's right to have his cause. I also respect how Fox, whose autobiography is titled "Lucky Man", has refused to portray himself and others with Parkinson's disease as "victims".

Shame on you, Rush.

If you truly abhor the exploitation of disabilities, why not go and pick on someone else, like, say, Jerry Lewis?

Limbaugh, Not Fox, Has His Priorities Wrong by Lennard Davis (National Public Radio)

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Commentary on disability rights issues and stories posted on Inclusion Daily Express, the international disability rights news service found at

Location: Spokane, Washington, United States
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