Youth lead anti-corruption talks on disability

From EDYN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The 1st episode of the Youth Lead Anti-corruption Talks series named “Inclusion and leadership of youth with disabilities to contribute to the achievement of SDG16″ took place virtually, on December the 9th 2022, and was dedicated to the Human Rights Week and the International Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities celebrated on December the 3rd. These talks are being organized by the Youth Lead Board of the UNODC’s GRACE initiative. Each of these talks is dedicated to a certain UN observance day and thus focuses on a given topic. For instance, the first edition was focused on disability inclusion and was prepared by Esma Gumberidze and Sylvain Obedi from the Youth Lead Board.

‘Widow’s Tax’ on Survivors Will Be Completely Gone as of Feb. 1 Benefit Checks

By Amanda Miller: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Feb. 1 benefits checks won’t have the so-called “widow’s tax” reducing income for the surviving spouses of military retirees who participate in two programs.

Until 2020, survivors couldn’t receive the full amount of two survivor benefits at the same time. Under the rule known as the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) “offset,” the government reduced payments that were part of that program by the amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) that beneficiaries received from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

DIC is generally for the families of veterans who died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-connected injury or illness. With the Defense Department’s SBP, by contrast, veterans elect whether to pay premiums that will guarantee their spouses or other beneficiaries a percentage of their retirement pay after they die. That choice is typically made upon retirement.

The monthly DIC payment for a veteran who died on or after Jan. 1, 1993, is $1,562.74 for 2023. Without the change in law, the government would have reduced SBP beneficiaries’ payments by that much.

The decision to eliminate the “widow’s tax” was a “huge win” and “the right thing to do,” Mark Belinsky, director of currently serving/retired affairs for the Military Officers Association of America and an Army retiree, said in a phone interview. The SBP is a “very good plan,” he added.

‘God of War: Ragnarök’ Wins Big In Accessibility

By Frankie Negron: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Game Awards have recognized accommodations in the gaming industry since 2020 and on Thursday night that award went to “God of War: Ragnarök.”

The Innovation in Accessibility Award was developed to honor games that ensure as many people as possible can play. This means adding in as many accessibility options to address any kind of need that could come up. The selection panel for this award is made up solely of disabled gamers.

Four other games were considered: “The Last of Us: Part 1,” “Return to Monkey Island,” “The Quarry” and “As Dusk Falls.”

“Ragnarök” had a groundbreaking list of features, more than 70 options designed to suit whatever need a player encountered. This ranged from color-coding subtitles so players would know who was saying what line, changing the size of text and color-coding enemies and allies when it came to combat. The features weren’t solely designed for visual needs, but a variety of needs.

Santa Monica Studio sought consultation from disabled gamers and advocates in order to focus on what would really help to make it accessible, not just adding subtitles and giving options to change game brightness.

Mila Pavlin, a team leader at the studio, had spoken to BBC News and explained that “it was the biggest thing that we looked out for at the beginning of the process of making the game – how to make it more accessible to more people” and pointed out to how “there were many gamers who wanted to play in 2018 but were unable to because of things like low vision, motor issues and cognitive or hearing disabilities.”

Healthcare-Related Injury Found in Nearly One-Fourth of Hospitalizations

by Crystal Phend: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Study suggests “disturbing” rate of potentially preventable errors.

Nearly a quarter of hospital stays involve adverse events from healthcare errors, and nearly one in 10 cause serious harm, according to a study replicating the landmark 1991 Harvard Medical Practice Studyopens in a new tab or window (HMPS).

In a random sample of 2,809 admissions at 11 Massachusetts hospitals, 23.6% had at least one adverse event, 32.3% of which required substantial intervention or prolonged recovery, David W. Bates, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicineopens in a new tab or window.

Young Chimpanzees and Human Teens Share Risk-Taking Behaviors

From Neuroscience News: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-What’s the Matter with Kids Today? (Bye Bye Birdie, 1960)…

Summary: While adolescent chimpanzees may share similar risk-taking behaviors as human teens, they tend to be less impulsive than their human counterparts.

Source: APA

Adolescent chimpanzees share some of the same risk-taking behaviors as human teens, but they may be less impulsive than their human counterparts, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

The study gets at age-old nature/nurture questions about why adolescents take more risks: because of environment or because of biological predispositions?

“Adolescent chimpanzees are in some sense facing the same psychological tempest that human teens are,” said lead researcher Alexandra Rosati, PhD, an associate professor of psychology and anthropology at the University of Michigan. “Our findings show that several key features of human adolescent psychology are also seen in our closest primate relatives.”

“Prior research indicates that chimpanzees are quite patient compared with other animals, and our study shows that their ability to delay gratification is already mature at a fairly young age, unlike in humans,” Rosati said.

However, adolescent chimpanzees weren’t happy about waiting for the extra banana slices and they threw more tantrums during the one-minute delay than adult chimpanzees.

Risk-taking behavior in both adolescent chimpanzees and humans appears to be deeply biologically ingrained, but increases in impulsive behavior may be specific to human teens, Rosati said.

Ann Arbor community discusses expansion of Narcan vending machines

by Maleny Crespo: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd- In an era of fentanyl and other adultrants, this seems sensible…

The Ann Arbor District Library first became home to a Narcan vending machine in April 2022. The vending machine, which dispenses overdose treatment kits free of charge, was installed by  Home of New Vision, a local rehabilitation center aiming to provide more easily accessible lifesaving support for those with substance abuse issues.

Eli Neiburger, director of the Ann Arbor District Library, told The Michigan Daily he believes Home of New Vision’s harm reduction resources are essential for the Ann Arbor community. Neiburger said he feels the vending machine was a critical first step in reducing overdose-related deaths.

“Narcan is something that’s important for people to have access to carry around, not just if they have someone who has an opiate addiction in their lives, but also just in case they encounter someone,” Neiburger said. “ … And (the vending machine has) been a very easy way for people to get access to life-saving medication that has very big advantages.” 

Following the positive response from the community on the first machine, Neiburger said they expanded the program to other Ann Arbor District Library branches. 

California’s power outages are a life-and-death issue

By Alice Wong: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-This is a critical issue in Michigan as well. Great problems that laste dfor days to weeks happened in the 2013 ice storm…

A perspective on the impacts of storms for people with disabilities.

The terms atmospheric river and bomb cyclone were not in my vocabulary until recently. During the first two weeks of 2023, however, the San Francisco Bay Area was deluged with a series of storms. I am a disabled person who depends on power to live. When I came home after four weeks in the ICU last summer, I was tethered to a feeding machine that pumps food into my stomach, as well as to a ventilator that’s attached to a hole in my throat, among numerous other devices. The stakes for potential harm during a power outage have exponentially increased. My anxiety, vulnerability and fear are real.

Jan. 3, 2023, 10:44 p.m.: Texted my caregivers on what to do if a power outage happens while I am in bed tomorrow night. Air mattress will deflate, and I will immediately need to be transferred into my wheelchair. I will need to use my backup electric batteries for medical devices such as my suction machine, since I need to suction hourly every day.

Jan. 4, 10 a.m.: Mentally calculating how much battery life some of my machines need before needing to use my backup electric battery. My other devices do not have a built-in battery.

1 p.m.: Bookmarked the link to Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) Outage Center, so I can look up all the outages by location and report one if it happens in my neighborhood.

1:30 p.m.: Asked my father to make sure my backup electric batteries are fully charged.

2 p.m.: Let my morning caregiver leave her shift early so that she can get home safely before the brunt of the storm arrives. Did not hydrate today, because my nighttime caregiver will not arrive until 9 p.m. Worried for her, and worried for me. I hope I don’t get a full bladder.

3:02 p.m.: Tweeting information about the storm. Noticing that many weather-related Tweets do not have alt text in graphics and captions in videos that contain vital information about the storm, evacuations and road closures.

3:30 p.m.: Watching the news and scrolling Twitter. My father, who thinks I’m being an alarmist, said, “The news always exaggerates the dangers.” After living with me for decades, he still doesn’t understand.

6:01 p.m.: Pre-emptively charging some of my devices, topping them up with power tonight, just in case.

6:19 p.m.Uh-oh. My bladder feels a little full. Let’s see if I can hold on until 9-ish when my caregiver arrives. I hope she makes it.

And Much More…

Celebrating Ed Roberts Day With A Special Message From WID Co-Founder, Judy Heumann

Bu Judy Heumann: For Complete Post, Click Here…

My name is Judy Heumann, and I’m a proud co-founder of the World Institute on Disability (WID). It’s hard to believe that WID is 40 years old. As I think about WID’s future, I harken back to the early days when so many activists were pushing for broader representation of disabled people. At the time, there
were no public policy think tanks for disabled people. Ed Roberts, Joan Leon, and I wanted to change that and thus WID was born.

It is fitting that on Ed’s birthday today, we also celebrate WID’s founding and 40th anniversary, for they are forever linked in a global movement for the rights, opportunities, equity, and justice for all people with disabilities.

Ed is known by many as the “Father of the Independent Living Movement” and I’m often called the “Mother of the Independent Living Movement.” Together, we were instrumental in advancing Centers for Independent Living across the United States. We were able to influence and develop policy at federal, state, and local levels with a mission to achieve the full inclusion of people with disabilities throughout all facets of our society.

As we look at the next 40 years of WID and beyond, I believe we can all carry with us Ed’s fighting spirit that enabled him to make an ever-lasting change, in our community and the entire world. Ed is an example of the power of one, but he is also an example of what community engagement looks like.

Dyspraxia And Apraxia

By Jillian Enright: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd- This has been an issue with me over the years and seems to be worsening as I get older…

Motor and coordination issues in Autism and ADHD.

Communication is a basic human right

Humans place an unreasonable level of importance on communicating verbally, but that’s an ableist belief of superiority based on speech being the method of communication preferred by the majority of the population.

Building on my previous article, I do acknowledge the potential flaws in the rapid prompting method of communication (RPM) and Facilitated Communication (FC).

Despite some drawbacks to certain types of assisted communication methods, I’d still much prefer to support avenues which increase autonomy and options for effective communication for everyone.

Acknowledging the weaknesses of some methods will hopefully lead to improvements and thus, even better options coming about in the future.

This article isn’t about that, specifically, but it is related. Many Autistics who have unreliable speech or are non-speaking use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), RPM, FC, and Spelling to Communicate (S2C).

Many Autistics and people with ADHD have co-occurring conditions called dyspraxia and apraxia, which can significantly impact one’s speech, but do not impact a person’s intelligence. People seem to understand this in principle, but not in practice.

A Deaf Student Says His School District Failed Him. The Supreme Court Will Decide

By Mark Walsh: For Complete Post, Click Here…

When the U.S. Supreme Court takes up his special education and disability discrimination case on Wednesday, Miguel Luna Perez will in the courtroom. Perez, now 27, is deaf, and he will be aided in trying to understand the complex legal arguments by both a certified deaf interpreter and an American Sign Language translator.

“My case at the U.S. Supreme Court is hard for me to understand,” Luna Perez said in a statement released by his lawyers. “Part of it is about having no interpreter at Sturgis [Public Schools]. Part of it is that some judges said I can’t tell my story in court.”

The young deaf immigrant’s statement hints at a personal narrative of dashed dreams allegedly caused largely by the failures of a Michigan school district to ensure that he was being provided the educational assistance he needed to learn to communicate.