Archive for August 23, 2011

Autism and Employment Webinar – Sept. 7, 2011

The Autism and Employment Webinar Learning Series: “Real Lives, Real Stories” September 7, 2011 * Noon-1:00 p.m.  Register Here.

Euthanizing The Disabled

A new report from England shows one of the largest groups being euthanized are the disabled.  This is being accomplished through the systematic aborting of fetuses that may have a disability.

In England there has been a marked increase in abortions of babies who were suffering from cleft palates, club feet and Down syndrome.  This is in fact the practice of euthanizing the disabled.  Prevent them from being born and they will all go away.

This also amounts to discrimination against the disabled.  Not allowing them to be born to live – that is definitely discrimination.

According to reports the rate of abortion for disabled babies rose 33% between 2001 and 2010.  This is 10 the rise in abortions for the general population in Britain.

This trend is not just limited to England.  In 2000 a study showed that 25% of doctors counseled expectant mothers with babies at risk for Downs syndrome to terminate their pregnancy.  Of course terminate a pregnancy is just a euphemism for eugenics, the selective breeding of just those babies who will be born without a disability.

The trend of killing the disabled before they are born is dangerous.  It goes to the very heart of who is worthy of life.  If the disabled can be killed in the womb then why not do it when they are 1 or 2 hours old?  Why not do it when they are under the age of 5 years?  Why not euthanize them when they are no longer useful to society.

Euthanizing the disabled has to stop – it is unacceptable under any circumstances.

Related Story from Britain.    Related Story from the US.

Remember the squeaky wheelchair gets attention.






Adventure to the Land of the Unknown

The adventure all started at an Ocala Business Leaders networking event where I had some great food and did some networking. I spent an hour at the networking event and then went to the downtown bus station where we got on the Amtrak shuttle bus.

This was so cool because I went to get on the bus but the bus driver said to hold on.  He then went and lowered the bus. That was so awesome and the first time I ever seen that. I got on the bus and settled in my seat ready to travel to Jacksonville.

This was the start of my first train ride.  Odd that it started on a bus.

On the bus I looked up and saw at the front of the bus, it said Free Wifi. This blew me away so on the way my dad was using the wifi to do work on his droid phone.

We made a few stops along the way and finally made it to the Jacksonville train station.   My legs and butt hurt like crazy from sitting.

We checked in and at this point everything was going very well. The train rolled up and they led us out to it and used a lift to get me on the train. This lift was so cool!

The bus driver and people at the train station were very nice and treated me wonderful. They really didn’t look at my disability and think I was just going to be a pain. Thank you and I am glad to see that I was treated well.

This is it for now, but keep an eye open and I will be blogging more on this awesome adventure.

Until next time keep those wheels a squeaking!

Taking Down Employment Barriers

Governor Rick Scott can be full of surprises. He cuts the budget for the disabled. He reduces respite care. He signs an executive order earlier this year that drastically reduced, if only for a short time, reimbursement rates for the disabled.

Now he has signed a bill and issued an executive order that should help to remove employment barriers for Floridians with developmental disabilities.

The bill will protect employers from lawsuits that could result from acts or omissions by employee’s who have developmental disabilities.

There are conditions attached, but the legislation is a step in the right direction. It should help eliminate one of the barriers to employing the disabled.

The Governor, who has not been overly friendly to the disable community, issued Executive Order 11-161. This creates a new commission. Of course commissions can ofter just become window dressing.

However, maybe we should give this commission a chance. The Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities will study unemployment trends among the disabled. Of course anyone involved with the disabled can answer that easily. Employment for the disabled is abysmal. It is too high.

The commission will investigate and recommend ways to get more persons with disabilities into jobs. Let us hope it is more than just window dressing. Unemployment among the disabled is over 60% and even higher depending on the statistics used.

The disabled want to work. They want to be productive. They want to contribute and above all they like to have income just like everyone else.

Laws and Executive Orders sound great. We can only wait and see if they really make a difference. We can hope this commission creates more jobs than Governor Scott has created for the general sector of the economy.

Remember the squeaky wheelchair attracts attention.

People First

There is a push among the disabled to use “People First Language”.  Simply put people are not defined by their disability or ability; they are defined as people first.

An example would be using the phrase John has autism rather than John is autistic. You see John is not defined by his autism; he is a person who happens to have autism.  John is not autistic, John is John.

You should not say Sally is wheelchair bound.  Rather Sally uses a wheelchair.

I know there are many who will say this is simply political correctness and does not impact or really affect people.  I would guess that those who take that position are not on the receiving end of these statements.

Words matter.  They define who we are.  They stay with us long after they are spoken.

If we being to speak as if the person with a disability is a person first, eventually we will see them as a person first.  We will see beyond the disability, we will see beyond the wheelchair or cane and see the person.

They and only then will people with disabilities begin to gain respect and equity in our society.  After all that is what they want, respect and equity.

People First Language Chart.

Remember the squeaky wheelchair attracts attention.

The World Turns

What if things were reversed?  What if the people with disabilities where the norm and the able bodied were the “different ones”?

Imagine one day you woke up and suddenly things changed. You went out in the community, work, etc. and people with disabilities stared at you saying, “The nerve of them being out like this. They should be put somewhere so we do not have to see them.”  Or “They will never amount to anything, they should be institutionalized.”

Try to apply for a job and everyone stares at you when you walk in the door.  Even before you apply for the job they have made up their mind about you.  They may even tell you, they do not hire people like you.  They may show you the door.

What are you going to do? People with disabilities (The norm) won’t accept you and give you an opportunity.

Now back to reality.  Think of the way it is today. Are people with disabilities treated just like you were in the flipped world? I will answer that for you and say, “Heck yes!”

You need to stop this way.  We need to accept everyone and give them the same opportunities. We are all people and deserve to be treated right.

I (with a disability) have one question for you. Can you people have sex? LOL (Question from a British video on youtube called “Talk”)

Keep squeaking those wheels.


Who is TJ Moon?

Guest Blog by Gene Belden.

One of my new friends here in town (Ocala) is a businessman named TJ Moon. He not only has the ability to create dynamic web sites, he also has the personality to make me smile and enjoy his company when we meet.

You may think that this is nothing exceptional or unusual. But I think that it is. You see TJ is confined to a wheelchair and has a tough time negotiating stairs and streets with hills.

Sometimes when we are out and about town, I gladly help him up and down the stairs that everyone else negotiates with ease. Once TJ said to me that he was “disabled”. I didn’t respond at the time, but as I began to know TJ better, I think that he is very “abled”.

The stairways of life or the city are not holding him back. His drive and will are what keep him moving forward both in his personal life and his business.

It has been my pleasure and humor to meet TJ and become his friend. He has inspired me to become a better person, and strive for excellence in my own business. Thanks, TJ.

Boggie Down

Have you ever wondered if someone in a wheelchair can dance?

The answer is yes they can. Their legs or muscles may not exactly function the same as anyone else but the body moves and has energy to move. Dancing starts in the mind. What I mean is that you have to tell your body to dance.  You have to tell your body what kind of dance to do.

Have you ever seen someone in a wheelchair dance? They can do the waltz, salsa, hip hop and more. Don’t believe me? Well check out the below link where the first ever wheelchair Hip Hop dancer, Auti Angel, moves it to the beat.

Auti Angel

People think that having a disability makes it impossible for you to do things. This is just no so.  Just look around, people with disabilities are doing. I been sailing, water skiing, swimming, took first scuba diving session, and much more.

I also work out at the gym and probably look buffer than most of you reading this blog. Next time you think that a person with a disability can’t do something, think of me lifting weights at the gym.

It is time to open the world’s eyes.  It is time to show people that no matter if someone is disabled,  no matter what the color, race, sex, age, etc.; people can do.

Squeak that wheel right in peoples ears and make them listen!


Online Dating For The Disabled

They typically sit at home either with family or by themselves. If they do go out into the community, they have difficulty forming relationships. Many have limited or no transportation. Many have limited communication skills. Almost all have no experience in how to form a relationship.

These are the millions of disabled adults across America. Now someone is trying to help them them meet that someone special.

The online dating site for those with disabilities is called eDatability. It advertises friendship, dating, romance and more. It helps those with disabilities to hook up, find their match or just make some friends.

Currently it advertises that it helps those with physical disabilities. In the future we can hope there will be something for those with cognitive, emotional or mental health issues. This looks like a good start.

After all, there are a number of online dating sites for the general population and if you believe their advertisements, they have created many thousands of lasting relationships.

Online dating does appear to be here to stay and it does appear to be successful. The disabled population can use a forum that allows them to investigate relationships and pursue them if they seem appropriate.

Lets hope this works. Everyone deserves a chance at a special lasting relationship.

Another Adult With A Disability Is Killed

So an adult with autism is dead. Killed in a New York facility for the disabled. Jawara Henry died of asphyxiation. He was just 27.

One of the staff is accused of killing this young man as well as endangering a patient’s welfare. The justice process will now take over and Erik Stanley will be tried to determine his guilt or innocence.

The death was a result of a restraint incident. Erik Stanley is alleged to have used excessive pressure on the patient’s neck and torso.

It does matter if the accused is found guilty or innocent. It matters to the family and it is important as a matter of justice.

However, convicting one person of improperly using restraint techniques will not solve the problem that plagues our institutions, group homes and schools. The barbaric techniques of seclusion and restraint will still be used. Children and adults with disabilities will still be at risk.

It is time to re-evaluate the use of physical restraints. It is time to re-evaluate the use of seclusion. Restraint and seclusion have resulted in the death of children and adults with disabilities over and over again. Jawara is just one of the latest victims.

Justice needs to be done for Jawara. But justice also needs to be done for all those who will be restrained and secluded in the future. It is time to put a stop to the abuse of the disabled. It is time to put restrictions on restraint and seclusion.

Let us make as much noise as we can. Keep squeaking someone will listen.

Wall Street Journal Story