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Nov 08
2010

The Icarus Project

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , Science , rights , research , medicine , media , lifestyle , Ideas , healthcare , Health , drugs , disability , current events , chemicals , author , art , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Icarus Project has become an outspoken advocacy organization for the idea of "radical mental health. Co-founder Jacks McNamara explains how they define that concept.

Radical mental health asks if being "different" is something that requires treatment, or can sometimes be recognized as just a different way of being. need not be seen or treated as a mental illness, argues Artist and poet Jacks McNamara argues that her bi-polar disorder should be seen as a "dangerous gift," something to cherish and to be wary of.

The art and poetry of Jacks McNamara, as well as her personal history as told in her own words, forms the subject matter for the short film, Crooked Beauty, by  Ken Rosenthal. Here is a trailer for the film.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgAaIBlq-cs 360x240]

Now that the Icarus Project is eight years old, and well established across the country and beyond, McNamara says she is now turning more of her energies toward nurturing a new class of leaders and advocates to take the organization on to its next level.

Aug 23
2010

Early Interventions for Deaf Kids

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , state government , protest , politics , news , literacy , legislation , government , families , education , disability , California , activism

Bruce Robinson

When a child is born or diagnosed with deafness or hearing impairment, both medical responses and educational interventions are available. But how are parents to make informed choices? That’s the subject of a bitter debate right now in Sacramento.

All of this debate is focused on a bill that mainly sets out to create an informational brochure intended to give parents of hearing-impaired infants a roster of resources they can explore. The brochure is to be created by a panel of 15 people knowledgeable about this issue, but even that has become a point of contention. Jim Brune, Executive Director  of the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency, Director of charges that the panel will not be representative, but Assemblyman Tony Mendoza says that's not accurate, as the most recent changes in the panel will make it more inclusive.

Perhaps the most vehement opponents of AB 2072 is the The California Deaf Newborn Identification & Advocacy Stakeholder Coalition, a lengthy list of organizations who have mounted a web-based campaign against the bill that includes this list of arguments against it.

They also strongly support early access to American Sign Language.  Sheri Farinha, CEO of Deaf Newborn Intervention and Advocacy, says that past failures to do this are now being reflected in the academic performance of students whose exposure to language was delayed past their earliest formative years.

You can read the full text of Assemblyman Mendoza's AB 2072, including the most recent amendments made last Aug. 2o, here.

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 02
2010

20 years of ADA

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wheelchair , transportation , rights , public safety , policy , lifestyle , legislation , jobs , Ideas , history , Health , government , environment , employment , education , disability , design , Congress , California , activism

Bruce Robinson

Since the Americans With Disabilities Act was enacted by Congress 20 years ago, it has changed much more than building codes.

When the ADA passed, it took some time for the law’s new requirements to have a visible effect. But Anthony Tusler (left), founder of About Disability, a Penngrove-based advocacy office, observes that there were some notable changes in the public media landscape almost immediately.

 Most adult Americans with disabilities were cheered and empowered by the passage of the ADA in 1990, but Tusler acknowledges there were a few who felt threatened by the changes the bill would bring, and opposed it.

Despite their gains in other areas, most disabled Americans continue to struggle to find meaningful employment. Tusler suspects some employers manipulate the hiring process to avoid dealing with the ADA.

 

 

This is one of a series of photos taken in April, 1977 by Anthony Tusler at the demonstration and picketing at the U.N. Plaza in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco. The group then entered the offices of HEW and refused to leave. It was the longest occupation of a Federal Building by any group. Demonstrations were also held at other Federal Buildings across the country. Because of the political pressure of these actions Secretary Califano signed the regulations in May. A more complete history can be read at 504 Sit-in: Historical Articles and Eyewitness Accounts.

May 13
2010

"Traveling Blind"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in recreation , nonprofit orgs , lifestyle , Health , environment , disability , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

The gradual loss of her vision changed Susan Kreiger’s way of being in the world. So, she discovered, did the guide dog who is now her constant companion.

Susan Kreiger’s degenerating vision has forced her to gradually adjust to the absence of abilities she once took for granted, a profound self-redefinition that forms the foundation of her memoir, Traveling Blind, Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side.

Blindness is not an all-or-nothing condition, Kreiger explains, and in her case, the vision losses have been especially irregular.

Having lived and worked with her dog for some time now, Kreiger says they have formed a bond unlike any she has had with other dogs in her life.

Susan Kreiger  will read from her book, Traveling Blind, at Book Passage  in Corte Madera on Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. You can read excerpts here. Further information about guide dog schools can be found by visiting Guide Dogs for the Blind and the guide dog schools page of the American Council of the Blind.

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