Tags: special needs

Firefly - River - mental/Firefly

Disabled Americans fighting for the right to save more money

By Blake Ellis

Americans with disabilities are fighting for the right to save money without getting their government benefits cut off.

In order to qualify for government benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicaid payments, recipients typically must have no more than $2,000 in assets and earn less than approximately $700 a month. Anything more than those amounts and the benefits stop.

Sara Wolff, a 31-year-old from Pennsylvania who has Down syndrome, argues that the savings limits make it next to impossible for disabled Americans to save for needs like health care, housing and education without losing their benefits.

Through a petition she launched on Change.org, she is calling on Congress to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act which would prevent disabled savers from losing their benefits and allow them to open special tax advantaged savings accounts.
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http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/12/pf/disabled-benefits/index.html <-- Link if the above one doesn't work.
chimera cat

Disabled workers paid just pennies an hour – and it's legal

Some Disabled Goodwill Workers Earn As Little As 22 Cents An Hour As Execs Earn Six Figures: Report

Goodwill is paying some of its disabled workers just 22 cents an hour, while the charity’s executives make six figure salaries. A labor law loophole enables the practice.

Some Pennsylvania Goodwill workers who are disabled made as little as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011, according to Labor Department documents reviewed by NBC News. That’s because a 1938 law, called the Special Wage Certificate Program, aimed at encouraging employers to hire disabled workers, allows charities and companies to get special certificates from the Department of Labor that permits them to pay disabled workers based on their abilities, with no minimum.

Though other employers take advantage of the same loophole, a recent investigation by Watchdog.org brought attention to Goodwill's use of the certificate.

As some workers were making as little as 22 cents per hour in 2011, Goodwill International CEO Jim Gibbons made $729,000 in salary and deferred compensation. The CEOs of Goodwill franchises across the country collectively earned about $30 million, according to NBC.

Brad Turner-Little, Goodwill's director of mission strategy, told The Huffington Post that compensation of Goodwill executives and the wages earned by workers with disabilities aren't "connected." He explained that local Goodwill organizations make independent determinations about what to pay their executives based on what they need to recruit "good talent."

As for the workers with disabilities, their pay is determined through a "rigorous" review process in line with Department of Labor regulations that assess their productivity and other factors, Turner-Little said. Goodwill performs the reviews at least every six months to make sure employees are being paid properly.

"It's not a connected issue, it’s a different kind of job," Turner-Little said.

Still, the provision allows for a stark contrast between the executives' pay and that of some of their workers, an issue more commonly associated with for-profit companies than non-profit charities. S&P 500 CEOs make 204 times what their workers make on average, according to April data from Bloomberg.

In a HuffPost blog post published earlier this year, Gibbons defended the wage program, arguing that Goodwill has been “unfairly singled out” in the debate.

“While it is quite easy to look at this provision quickly and ask why people with disabilities should be paid less than other workers, the truth is the certificate allows Goodwill and many other employers to provide opportunities for people with severe disabilities who otherwise might not be a part of the workforce,” he wrote.

He added in a blog posted Friday, that “for young people with the most significant disabilities, the Special Minimum Wage Certificate means the difference between reaching their personal employment potential and having no job at all.”

Indeed, the employment rate for Americans with disabilities between 20 and 24 years-old is just 32 percent. And Goodwill's program provides workers with disabilities with more than just pay, Turner-Little said. They get services like transportation and community socialization activities.

"The wage earned is only part of the benefit of Goodwill’s use of the certificate," he said. "We welcome conversation that creates more opportunity for people with disabilities."

Source has video as well as links to more info that I'm too lazy tired to copypasta them all in here.

OP: I am so gobsmacked I can't even think what to say. Thoughts/comments?
Quark and the tribbles [DS9 annoyed]
  • sio

[TW: CHILD ABUSE] 8 year old girl w Down Syndrome duct taped at school

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana family is demanding answers after their 8-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome, came home from school with her feet duct taped.

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source here

"if warranted", my ass. man up to the fact that you have a fucking abuser on your staff and turn them in! i'm so SICK of schools trying to play the denial game when teachers abuse students.
king rad

Undefeated Arizona high school football team lends bullied special-needs teen girl some tactical def

They’re an undefeated team used to throwing touchdowns, and now they’re making high school better for a girl used to bullies throwing trash at her.

A group of kindhearted seniors on Arizona’s Queen Creek High School football team have lent Chy Johnson some tactical defense, helping a girl whose brain disorder once made her an easy target for bullies.

The new friendship started when Elizabeth Johnson, whose daughter said girls threw trash on her at school, contacted starting quarterback Carson Jones.

“I emailed Carson, told him that Chy was having some issues, was just wanting some names,” she told a local television station.

“He took it a step further and went and gathered Chy up at lunch and she’s been eating lunch with them ever since,” Johnson said.

Jones, fellow teammate Tucker Workman and many other Queen Creek Bulldogs have also started looking after Chy throughout the day, a move that has stopped people from bothering her.

“I guess they’ve seen her with us or something,” Jones said.

Teammate Workman said it feels good to know that the players are helping someone who needs a little help.

“We’re doing good and everything for us is going well but someone else needs to feel good, too,” he said.

This is a big change for Chy, who suffers from a brain disorder called microcephaly. It’s a condition which makes her head smaller than normal and usually renders life expectancy down to only 25 or 30 years.

But for now, the 16-year-old sophomore calls the players “her team.”

“They save me because I won’t get hurt again,” she said. “They’re not mean to me because all my boys love me,” she said, just recently named a Queen Creek High School “Fan of the Week.”

As for the Bulldogs, they have been nominated for the Americas Team award for their big-hearted actions.

They also won their football game Friday night, 49-6.

i know it's been a really rotten week.
however, there are always not-rotten things too...
buffy spike black&amp;violet by gilkurtisctx
  • tabaqui

Pat Robertson: Don’t adopt sexually abused children that could grow up ‘weird’

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Thursday cautioned his viewers to think twice before adopting disadvantaged children that had been sexually abused or deprived of food because they could grow up “weird.”

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Source: The Raw Story. Video at source.

Dear gods. Fuck him so hard. At least his co-host was in the right. And wait - this just registered - on the video, the woman writing in says the guys would be okay with the kids if they came with 'child support'. God's teeth.
  • rkt

Dark side of Bain success

****trigger warnings: bullying, abuse/s (child, physical, sexual, mental-emotional), violence

Dark side of a Bain success

A for-profit health company bought by Bain -- that Romney profits from -- has exploded in size and tales of neglect


It seemed a world away from the executive suites of Bain Capital when Dana Blum, a recent widow living in Portland, Ore., made the fateful decision to send her son Brendan to Youth Care, a residential program for troubled teens located in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.

Brendan, a 14-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, had been extremely aggressive for years; he was even arrested a few times after attacking members of his family. Local therapists hadn’t helped, and six months after her husband died, Dana was frantically casting about for solutions. A consultation with UCLA’s neuropsychiatric unit convinced her that Youth Care's therapeutic and educational program would finally make a difference.

Four months into his stay there, Brendan had earned a reputation as a temper-prone student who tried to shirk his obligations. So on the afternoon of June 27, when he complained to medical staff that he felt very sick, as if something were “crawling around” in his stomach, his concerns were dismissed. After 11 p.m., he woke up, complaining of stomach pain, and defecated in his pants. The on-duty monitors took him to the Purple Room, a makeshift isolation room used to segregate misbehaving students. There, he suffered a long night of agony, howling in pain and repeatedly vomiting and soiling himself. According to court transcripts and police reports, the two poorly paid monitors on duty did little more than offer him water, Sprite and Pepto-Bismol. They never telephoned the on-call nurse and waited until nearly 2 a.m. to contact the on-call supervisor, only to leave a voicemail. There was little else they felt they could do — Youth Care’s protocol on emergency services meant they were too low on the totem pole to call 911 themselves.

“They didn’t trust our judgment in emergency situations,” explains Josh Randall, a former Youth Care residential monitor, who wasn’t on duty that night. “If you’re working for $9.50 an hour on the graveyard shift, you don’t want to buck the system.” At any rate, the monitors had little expertise in how to respond — it was an entry-level job requiring only a GED, plus a CPR and safety course overseen by Youth Care itself.

When the morning staff arrived at 7 a.m., they discovered Brendan facedown on the floor of the Purple Room, his body already stiff with rigor mortis. The state’s chief medical examiner later determined that Blum had died of a twisted-bowel infarction, which requires emergency surgical intervention.

trigger warnings for physical/sexual/emotional-psychological abuse/s, particularly of people with disabilities.

continued at salon/source

Not only can I not take it anymore with Romney's feigned cluelessness, I am greatly frightened by Ms. Romney's expressed desire to be the next Nancy Reagan and work with "troubled teens". I am not looking to debate anyone's positive experiences in any treatment facility, including potentially those mentioned here. The reality is, however, too many people who have left these programs suffer from PTSD decades later. There is no reason for a person to die while in therapeutic treatment. This is not acceptable. Romney has the power to intervene with regard to the Bain-controlled programs, but maybe that would cost too much money.

disclosure: while i did not participate in the making of this story, i am the chair of the board dedicated to stopping such abuses. more than one member of this organization (cafety) did assist with research/interviews.

Levine additionally revised this article for HuffPo with additional information.

mods, please be gentle as this is my first attempt at even trying to post...

Samantha Spellthorne

Looking into the past for a deeper understanding of autism

Autism hidden in plain sight

As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.

When autism researchers arrived at Norristown State Hospital near Philadelphia a few years ago, they found a 63-year-old man who rambled on about Elvis Presley, compulsively rocked in his chair and patted the corridor walls.

Discovering Autism

Ben Perrick, a resident of the psychiatric institution for most of his life, displayed what the University of Pennsylvania researchers considered classic symptoms of autism. Collapse )

This is the fourth in a four-part series in the LA Times talking about autism. There are some sections or comments over the whole series (especially the third one on treatment and "beating" autism) that I side-eye or don't agree with, but on the whole it's worth reading through all of them if you have the time.

The series at a glance:
An epidemic of disease or of discovery?
Services go to those who fight hardest
Families chase the dream of recovery
Finding traces of autism in earlier eras (source for this post)

Couple bug Ohio student to hear teacher bullying

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A couple raising a 14-year-old developmentally disabled student say they hid a recording device on the girl to prove a teacher and school aide were bullying her, and the audio and subsequent investigations have led to a lawsuit, the aide's resignation and disciplinary action for the teacher.

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You know, it's bad enough that kids are doing this to each other, but to hear someone who could have SUCH an impact on a childs future say things like this, enrages me.
  • yeats

Dog Helps Young Rape Victim Testify

Dog Helps Young Rape Victim Testify

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Rosie, the first judicially approved courtroom dog in New York, was in the witness box here nuzzling a 15-year-old girl who was testifying that her father had raped and impregnated her. Rosie sat by the teenager’s feet. At particularly bad moments, she leaned in.

When the trial ended in June with the father’s conviction, the teenager “was most grateful to Rosie above all,” said David A. Crenshaw, a psychologist who works with the teenager. “She just kept hugging Rosie.”

Now an appeal planned by the defense lawyers is placing Rosie at the heart of a legal debate that will test whether there will be more Rosies in courtrooms in New York and, possibly, other states.

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P;New world order, Mutate the world leaders

School lobbied to stop electric shock ban

One of two video monitoring rooms at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton. Live camera feeds throughout the facility can be viewed, including activity in restrooms. (John Tlumacki/ Globe Staff/ File)

WASHINGTON — The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, a special-needs school in Canton that disciplines students with electric shocks, used a sophisticated lobbying campaign in Congress last year to help defeat a ban of its controversial techniques, according to recently released public documents.

Although the center declined to discuss its strategy for 2011, the legislative battle is expected to be rekindled this year.

The center, the only school in the country that uses electric shocks to modify behavior, launched its Capitol Hill campaign after the House approved a measure last year outlawing the use of restraints and some other devices to control students. The bill did not explicitly reference shock devices, but lawmakers said the ban would have applied to the Judge Rotenberg Center’s practices.

Critics say the electric shocks — which are the subject of ongoing state and federal investigations — are inhumane. But school officials and parents say they are necessary, a last resort to prevent severely disabled children and teens from harming themselves or others.

The center paid $100,000 last year to a law firm headed by former GOP presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani in a successful effort to help stifle the measure in the Senate, according to 2010 lobbying disclosure records released in January. The bill died in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

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Note: Sadly, the JRC has been around and pulling this shit for some time – even after the UN ruled their practices torture – but at least this is getting mainstream coverage again.