Archive for September 30, 2011

The Disabled Are Fair Game For Killing

The disabled are fair game for killing both inside and outside the womb.  I know raising a child with a disability can be hard.  I have one.  I have many friends who have children with disabilities.

No matter how frustrating.  No matter how hard.  No matter how bad things have gotten.  I have never had one of my friends say they wish their child was dead.

How could any mother want their child dead?  How could any father want their child dead?

Recently a jury in South Florida – West Palm Beach – awarded $4.5 million to parents because they were not given the chance to kill (abort) their son.  The child was born with no arms and one leg.

Wow – these parents are saying they wished their son was dead.  They are saying that they (the couple) would prefer not to have their son.  Even worse a jury decided the child would be better off dead and awarded the parents money as compensation.

Now the award is for money to care for their son.  However, the message is clear – The Disabled Are Expendable.

What does this tell the rest of society?  Yes it is OK to abuse or neglect the disabled; after all they are better off dead.  Those parents and society by extension would be better served if the disabled had never been allowed to be born.

This does not allow that anyone with a disability can have a good quality life.  This does not allow that anyone with a disability can contribute to society.  This does not allow that anyone with a disability can have a family or people who love and care for them.

The Disabled Are Expendable

In the early years of Hitler’s rise to power he was a proponent of euthanasia.  That is the killing off of the weak, unwanted and burdensome.  He was in favor of killing them in and out of the womb.  That is a horrible thought.

However, do you what he modeled his euthanasia legislation after?  He modeled his euthanasia laws after the laws of Virginia and other states here in the US.

Our disregard for the disabled is not new.  We are seeing it raising its ugly head again.  Budgets are tight so now we can kill off the disabled; in fact we should not even let them be born.

Keep squeaking those wheels.

This was originally posted on The View From The Dark Side Of The Moon Blog.

Fun At BFE In Ocala

CDT The Heatwave

I was at BFE with Joel Weissner of and Clifford Nembhard, Manager of the group Casual, Dot, Truda (CDT).  BFE is located in the heart of downtown Ocala and features great entertainment. A group of local talented musicians and fans packed their building.

Thursday night, generally reserved for 80’s night, was a bit different. A photo set, live music, and a large group of local fans came to show their support for CDT’s CD release party.

I got to BFE early around 6 pm and order some food and get on my laptop to spread the last minute word on Facebook. BFE treated me like any other customer and helped me when I asked for it. The show was scheduled to start at 9 pm so I sat back relaxed and listened to music playing in the background.

I got to meet the group CDT and we hit it off right away. The party started at 9 pm and DJ Don Mecca provided us with some awesome entertainment. He got everyone up and dancing.  I was even out there busting a move in my wheelchair!

CDT “Heatwave” got on around 10:30 and put on a fantastic show until 11 and then the awesome DJ took back over while the group took a break. I danced and partied some more.  I had my picture taken with a tipsy young man in the photo booth.  This was provided by the skilled Map City Designs. I was having a blast!

The group was back on about 11:30 and took us into the night until 1 am. The group packed up and we all said our good byes.

This group is great even though I not usually into Hip Hop/Rap I did enjoy the show. You can check out one of their songs, I Work Hard online.

I had a blast and felt like one of the crowd. You can read more about this event on Whats Up Ocala.

Get out there and live your life, even if you have to squeak your wheels!

More Abuse of Students With Disabilities In Florida Schools

Child In Florida School Being Restrained

From St Lucie County in Florida comes another story of inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint.  Children with disabilities can be secluded and physically restrained in Florida public schools.  This abuse of our children needs to stop.

A First grader was handcuffed and taken to a mental health facility.  This is a First grader a child who is 7 or maybe 8 years old.

His hands were handcuffed behind him by the Sherriff and he was taken to the local mental health facility where he was baker acted.

The child was restrained after and incident with another student.

Realize that restraints can only be used if the child is a threat to self or others.  The child has to pose a serious threat of bodily harm.  How does a 7 or 8 year old who weighs less than 60 pounds create a life threatening incident?

The facts are still unclear.  The parents are having a hard time finding what exactly happened.  This despite the fact that new Florida legislation requires the school to file a detailed report with the State for all restraint incidents.  Parents are also required to be notified.
A representative for the school district declined issued this statement: “The school district and school staff are continuing to work with the family for the best educational opportunity for the child and in his best interest.”

Translate that into – the school does not want to be sued but will really not do anything to help educate this child.

We need to stop abusing our children in our public schools.  School is not supposed to hurt.

Keep squeaking those wheels. Do not put up with abuse of our children.

Judy Owen A Great Friend Starts A New Business

Judy Owen – Entrepreneur, Advocate and Friend

Judy Owen has bee a good friend for a number of years now.  Her dedication and passion for helping the disabled is without limit.  She goes well beyond what you would expect from a parent advocate.  Judy truly believes in helping all disabled not just her child.

She has taken a giant leap of faith and started her own business. You can find information on Opportunity Works, Inc. a staffing company that focuses on placing people with disabilities.  She is located in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Judy also is a contributor to the Forbes blog.  Check her out.

I hope she inspires others to take a chance.  Remember we need to keep squeaking those wheels.

My Train Adventure Continues – Sunday

Amtrak Wheel Chair Lift

It has been a couple weeks since I last talked about my train trip to North Carolina.  Don’t worry, I didn’t get lost – LOL. If you remember the trip had been great up to the point where I left off.

I woke up Sunday morning thinking to myself, “What is today going to be like?” I got dressed and went to have breakfast before we got on the road for church.  At church I got a great feeling inside. I thought of something while at church.

You know how people of color have become part of society.  They are integrated (mostly) and do things with white people? Wile sitting in church I was watching the priest who was white and the deacon who was black standing side by side leading the assembly.

That is great, but my question is, where are people with disabilities? They are probably behind or across the room. Shouldn’t we ALL be side by side leading and doing things? No one should be behind or across the room!

After church we went back to the house to get my grandpa for brunch. We went to an Irish Pub in Downtown Raleigh where we had all you can eat brunch. Surprisingly I ate 3 or 4 omelets as well as other food. To my surprise the restaurant was setup well so that I could get my wheelchair around to everything. What a great experience and I sure was full afterwards.

We went back to the house where I watched TV and relaxed until my Aunt came back from her trip. We talked until about 8 pm and then we had to head to the train station so we could head back to Ocala. We chatted until the train showed up and ready to board us. I was again boarded on the train with a nifty lift. I got on train and settled in my seat and relaxed all the way to Jacksonville.

Stay tuned to hear about the final part of my train trip. Just like the train wheels squeaked as we motored along; keep squeaking because one day we will all stand side by side!!!

Is Love Just A Game?

Why is it so hard to find love?

I believe there is someone out there for all of us. You may be out there searching yourself and having trouble. Do people just not want to love and be together or has this crazy society screwed up everyone’s thinking/feelings?

You are going to have a tough time out there trying to find your significant other but you just have to keep your faith and hope up. They will come to you or you find them but don’t give up. There are reasons for everything!

Maybe the reason that you are not together yet is because you have more in your life to accomplish before it is the right time. People with disabilities really are having trouble because people still look at us as not being able to do and succeed in life. This way of thinking has to end and we all need to be equal and treated like it!

Lets all get out there and continue to search for that person because one day to your surprise, they will come along and you will be happy together. Enough sitting on your butt and making excuses because that’s all they are. You may not even realize it but that person could be a close friend or someone right under your nose.

This person could also been having feelings about you but you don’t realize or say no it won’t work. Don’t put anyone out because that could be the one you were meant to be with. You may blow it up and never have another chance with that person.

Get out there and lets all find that someone!

Squeak your wheels and people will listen.

Yet More Cuts and Reductions to the APD Budget In Florida

Our friend Aaron Nangle of has provided information on the Draft Plan for APD’s HCBS Waiver – Home and Community Based Services Waiver Expenditure Reductions.

These will impact all persons with disabilities in Florida.

Publish Standardized IB Rates for future with lower rates retained, expected savings $1,549,764 standardizing rates based on individual Rate Rule needs rather than negotiated contracts required. This Rate Matrix is in development. Savings dependent on effective date.

  Eliminate Res Hab quarter hour as other options available for in home supports. $917,290 Eliminates the quarter hour unit, as it is usually used in their own home, Would need Rate rule change. This may increase IHSS use, reducing service array.

Fee Collection by Residential providers, estimate $8,401,147 Form would be created to calculate recipient responsibility to be deducted from Waiver service bills, monthly surplus frozen or swept by service, Would need method developed and procedures to monitor, would be late in year before implementation.

 12.5% required match as State share, savings not determined, This would leverage current spending to decrease GR effort and would need long term research with AHCA and CMMS and unknown if local effort applicable.

Core Service models– savings not determined, would limit waiver services to only those services considered core to prevent institutionalization, Would need Waiver amendment.

 Service Limits-not determined, would reduce service limits for each Waiver service and would be limited to only essential elements within the budget.

 Limit individual cost plan to not greater than average ICF/DD estimate of $3,300,000 savings and some thought it could be up to as much as a possible 17 million realized if limited, Alternative supports would be necessary for adversely impacted clients. Would need Waiver Amendment.

Three days of blogging just listing the cuts.  And who knows if they are done.

Keep squeaking those wheels on your wheelchairs.  We need to draw attention to the cuts and to those who receive no services and are left behind.

Shrine Rodeo Ocala

Joel Wiesner from What’s UP Ocala ( and I were at The 29th Annual Ocala Shrine Rodeo competition which was played to a sold out crowd at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion.

Opening the festivities, Commissioner Kathy Bryant sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem while the local Ocala Shrine Club members performed a flag presentation for the spectators.

The Ocala Shrine Club has been able to donate over one million dollars to hospitals over the past 29 years from the proceeds they have made from the rodeos. 100% of the proceeds go to the Shriners hospitals specializing in orthopedic, burn, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate treatment for children under the age of 18.

Before the rodeo started while sitting in our awesome front row seats, I got to meet Joel’s mom and the photographer for What’s Up Ocala. I went down to one of the venders to get some food and water, right before the rodeo started.

The rodeo was awesome and I was treated like anyone else in the stands. There was bareback and saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The crowd was also in for a treat with the special features of trick roping and dare-devil acrobatic horseback riding. There was also a funny clown to be more entertainment.

People with disabilities need to get out and do more things in the community like a rodeo and other events. Be sure to check out the great article and video here.

We should all be equal.  Keep squeaking your wheels until we are.

More APD Cuts and Reductions in Florida

Our friend Aaron Nangle of has provided information on the Draft Plan for APD’s HCBS Waiver – Home and Community Based Services Waiver Expenditure Reductions.

These will impact all persons with disabilities in Florida.

Collapse Behavior Analyst rate from level 1-2, estimate of $2,580,874 Rate for level 2 is $50 per hour for solo and agency is 20% above on an average, this would need a Handbook and Rate Rule change. Currently behavior analyst rates are based solely on years of experience not client need or outcomes.

Rate reductions to Medicaid State Plan nursing and therapies assessments. savings with an estimate of $ 1,530,476 Would need a Rate rule change that is currently being sought.

  Res Hab reduction of rate levels from 9-4 with savings expected of  $21,113,087 This would need redefinition of level of supports and associated rates as well as revision of staffing levels in the handbook, Would need Handbook and Rate Rule change- APD is seeking provider input for alternative savings.

Collapse IHSS quarter hour above live in rate, expected savings $2,714,937 Would delete use of quarter hour above the day rate and use QSI 1,2,3 and eliminate IHSS 1/4 hr. above day rate. Rationale is that Individuals with level of need 1,2,3, do not require additional supports beyond a daily rate for IHSS.

Utilization management of behavioral services possible ? $3,000,000  6 month increment with reapplication and approval required after each increment: declining hours based on matrix scores and the Implementing of on site reviews for continued stay in intensive behavioral programs. Additional utilization reviews ongoing to match services to level of need of client.

More reductions on our next blog.  Remember to keep squeaking those wheelchairs.

APD Proposed Cuts and Changes to Budget In Florida


Our friend Aaron Nangle of has provided information on the Draft Plan for APD’s HCBS Waiver – Home and Community Based Services Waiver Expenditure Reductions.

These will impact all persons with disabilities in Florida.

Consideration to Move Specialized Mental Health Therapy to Medicaid State Plan (adults) Detail: remove expenditure from waiver through

amendment for the long term because service is provided by DCF/AHCA Savings Expected would be about $1,395,703 This would need Handbook change, Rate Rule change, Waiver Amendment. While waiting for waiver amendment, case by case transition of services to Medicaid State Plan. Waiver would be amended this Fiscal Year

 Moving Skilled nursing to Medicaid State Plan(adults) Savings expected would be $1,615,650Remove expenditure from waiver and do waiver amendment for the long term because skilled nursing is provided by MSP Would need Handbook change, Rate Rule change, Waiver Amendment. While waiting for waiver amendment, case by  case transition of services to MSP. Waiver will be amended this FY.

 Rate adjustment for all ADT recipients and reduce burdensome regulations. Savings TBD Would need Handbook change, Rate Rule change with reduced paperwork and regulation, looking for alternative savings in this category.

Eliminate Behavior Assistant services with ResHab and ADT ? $5,000,000. savings, Would need Handbook change for clarifying policy, Rationale: Behavior Assistance services are duplicative of the services and training provided in Res Hab and ADT.

Agency Rate premium set to a maximum of 20% above solo rates for all services with agency rates, Savings expected $3,712,169 Currently there is a range of 5% to 45% over solo rates as agency premium. This would need a Rate rule change. currently rate premiums vary fro 5% to 42% depending on the service category.

More proposed reductions in our next blog.  Remember the squeaky wheelchair gets noticed.