Soccer Players Beware – New Research Links Heading to Significant Decline in Brain Function

By RADIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA: Complete Post through this link…

New findings recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) links soccer heading, a technique where players strike the ball with their heads, and a notable decrease in both the microstructure and functionality of the brain over a span of two years.

“There is enormous worldwide concern for brain injury in general and in the potential for soccer heading to cause long-term adverse brain effects in particular,” said senior author Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and affiliate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University. “A large part of this concern relates to the potential for changes in young adulthood to confer risk for neurodegeneration and dementia later in life.”

Arizona first state to stop seizing social security, disability benefits of foster children

By Bridget Dowd: Complete Post through this link…

The Arizona Department of Child Safety has adopted a new program that creates savings accounts for children in foster care.

Kids who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits will have those funds placed in a Personal Needs Account.

For decades, child welfare agencies have seized those benefits to pay for the child’s foster care. DCS head David Lujan said Arizona is the first state in the country to stop that practice.

“Also, we are looking at other services that we can provide while children are in the foster care system, like financial literacy, financial planning, education, so that they can make good choices with those dollars as well,” he said. 

Lujan said creating the new savings accounts will create a $4 million hole in the DCS budget. He’s hoping the Legislature will make up for that deficit with money from the state’s general fund.

“I think it helps in terms of [foster children] going into adulthood, I think it helps them be able to plan more long term, and I think it just helps put all of these youth that are coming out of the foster care system on a much sounder footing,” he said.

Michigan lawmakers vote to end most juvenile court fees, citing harms

By Lauren Gibbons: Complete Post through this link…

  • Michigan lawmakers approved bills ending most court fines and fees levied in juvenile courts 
  • It was part of a larger overhaul of the state’s juvenile justice system
  • The bills’ passage follows Bridge reporting on how some counties pass the costs of juvenile detentions onto families, leaving many in debt

Michigan lawmakers gave final approval to a series of bills overhauling the state’s juvenile justice system late Wednesday evening, including legislation that would eliminate most court fines and fees currently levied on youth and their families. 

The legislation, which will now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature, would keep mandatory crime victim payments and restitution, but eliminate most other references to fines, costs and assessments. They were passed with little debate as lawmakers rushed to finalize a slew of Democratic priorities before the Legislature adjourns for the year. The bills’ passage follows recent Bridge Michigan reporting on the financial burden fines and fees impose on juvenile offenders and their families.

Selma Blair Celebrates 7 Female Disability Advocates In The Chicest Way

By Kelby Vera: Complete Post through this link…

Blair graced the Glamour Women of the Year Awards wearing a custom cardigan that sent a message.

Selma Blair put the spotlight on leading disability activists during the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Tuesday.

While the actor was there to be honored for her own advocacy, she used her red carpet moment to recognize other women fighting for a more fair and accessible world.

Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, paid tribute to seven female disability activists by wearing a one-of-a-kind cardigan over her lacy dark blue Isaac Mizrahi gown.

The sweater’s designer, cashmere couturier Lingua Franca, noted on Instagram that the piece was hand-embroidered with the names of Alice Wong, founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project; Sinéad Burke, an Irish writer and activist; Keely Cat-Wells, disability rights activist and CEO of Making Space; Maria Town, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities; Andraéa LaVant, founder of LaVant Consulting, a disability-focused strategy and communications firm; and KR Liu, head of brand accessibility at Google.

Cellphones Are a Lifeline for Unhoused People—But Barriers Abound

By Moe Clark: Complete Post through this link…

A lack of internet access and charging stations makes it challenging for unhoused folks to maintain a working cellphone, posing a threat to their safety and ability to follow up with service providers or connect with employers.

As the sun started to set one early October day in Denver, nearly 100 people gathered by the side of Denver’s City Hall for Mutual Aid Monday, a weekly event for unhoused people to get hot food, camping gear, haircuts, and clothes. People sprawled on the grass to eat and chat as ’90s R&B music played from speakers on a table labeled the “Dork Energy Station,” which included a portable cellphone charging station—the latest addition to the weekly outreach event.

“We are out here to raise awareness for a permanent fix,” says Susan Law, a 37-year-old lawyer and volunteer at the event. “People need their phones.”

The idea for the charging station had been sparked a few weeks prior by Law’s friend, Kevin Campbell, at a mental health awareness meet-up in a park, called Dork Dancing. “He said, you know, the music is great, but it would be even better if folks could charge up at the same time,” Law recalled. Now, volunteers have around 30 chargers for people to use during Mutual Aid Monday as part of their pilot program, and they hope to one day install permanent charging stations around the city.

Cellphones can be a lifeline for unhoused people to be able to access critical services, stay connected to support systems, remain up to date on current events, and find upward mobility. But locating outlets to charge them, especially throughout the pandemic, has been a challenge. Many also struggle to pay their monthly phone bill, and phones can easily be lost, broken, or stolen while living on the streets—which can set people back by making it more challenging for them to follow up with service providers or potential employers.

“People tend to be able to access cellphones,” says Benjamin Henwood, a professor at the University of Southern California who directs the Center for Homelessness, Housing and Health Equity Research. “The problem is keeping the phones active.”

It’s estimated that over half of unsheltered people own cell phones, according to research by Henwood and others. But turnover—meaning the phones were lost or stolen within three months—was high.

Social Security Backlogs Have Left Over 1 Million Americans Awaiting Benefits

By Vance Cariaga: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-The fundemental difficulty is that initial application consideration uses a set of rules for decisions that aren’t consistent with the intent of the statutory definition of disability under SSA. This results in a doubling of the number of people who are denied, with half of the denials being bogus…

The Social Security Administration has become so overwhelmed by customer service problems that even officials with the agency admit that their performance is “not acceptable.” That was how Linda Kerr-Davis, the SSA’s acting deputy commissioner of operations, described things during a recent Congressional hearing.

Kerr-Davis was there to explain why more than 1 million Americans are still waiting for initial decisions on disability benefits that currently take an average of 220 days to process.

“Pending levels and wait times for determinations on initial disability claims and disability reconsiderations are at all-time highs,” Kerr-Davis told the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee last month. “For the first time since the programs began, pending initial disability claims have exceeded 1 million. Applicants are waiting on average seven months for a decision. This is simply not acceptable — to the public, to you, or to us.”

Members of Congress — from both political parties — did not dispute that assessment. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Social Security panel of the Ways and Means Committee, said the consequences of SSA’s various service failures “are devastating.”

The question now is what the SSA plans to do about it. Kerr-Davis told the committee that her agency has worked to identify issues that led to the backlog and plans to take “immediate steps” to address and resolve them.

Questions and Answers on the Application of the ADA’s Integration Mandate and Olmstead v. L.C. to Employment and Day Services for People with Disabilities

From Complete Post through this link…

Nationally, a significant number of individuals with disabilities spend the majority of their daytime hours receiving public services in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. These settings segregate individuals from the community and provide little or no opportunity to interact with people without disabilities, other than paid staff.

 Guidance & Resources

Read this to get specific guidance about this topic.

The work of individuals with disabilities in segregated settings is often highly regimented and typically offers no opportunity for advancement. In many sheltered workshops, for example, people with disabilities perform highly repetitive, manual tasks, such as folding, sorting, and bagging, in shared spaces occupied only by other people with disabilities. They also often earn extremely low wages when compared to people with disabilities in integrated employment, resulting in stigmatization and a lack of economic independence. As long as individuals with disabilities who can and want to work remain in segregated work or day settings, they will be deprived of an important opportunity to interact with the community and the community will be deprived of their talents, skills, and contributions.

When people with disabilities are instead given access to supported employment services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, they have the opportunity to live fuller lives, be more integrated into the community, and gain financial independence to “move proudly into the economic mainstream of American life.” 1 These opportunities fulfill the core promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self- sufficiency.” 2

State and local governments that fail to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs may be failing to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The U.S. Department of Justice (the Department) has created this guidance to discuss and explain the requirements of the ADA’s integration mandate and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999), as applied to segregated employment settings and facility-based day programs.

And much more…

Down syndrome families’ fight for access to Alzheimer’s trials, treatments

By Julie Steenhuysen: Click through for the full post…

When Lianor da Cunha Hillerstrom of Lexington, Massachusetts, learned her now 9-year-old son Oskar had Down syndrome, she was concerned but not panicked.

As a child, Lianor lived for a time in Santo Amaro de Oeiras, Portugal, near her aunt Teresa who had Down syndrome, which causes intellectual disability. Had Lianor, who is 47, stayed in Portugal, she would have witnessed her aunt decline and then die at age 60 of Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of death for people with Down syndrome.

Now, Lianor’s husband and Oskar’s father, former biotech executive Hampus Hillerstrom, 46, is leading an effort to gain parity with neurotypical adults for his son and others with Down syndrome.

That means being able to get them promising new drugs like Eisai (4523.T) and Biogen’s (BIIB.O) recently approved Leqembi and Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N) experimental donanemab, as well as inclusion of people with Down syndrome in clinical trials of treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Michigan makes history, requires filtered water in all schools, daycares

By Jonathan Oosting: Complete Post through this link…

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs filtered water laws for schools, childcare centers
  • Laws will require a filter bottle filling station or faucet for every 100 kids
  • Move comes seven years after Flint water contamination crisis

LANSING — Michigan will be the first state in the nation to require filtered drinking water at all schools and daycare centers under new laws signed Thursday by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Facilities will have until the end of the 2025-26 school year to install at least one bottle-filling station or faucet filter for every 100 children under the laws, which aim to prevent lead exposure that, at high levels, can cause brain damage and developmental delays.