Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Monday, October 13, 2003
Year IV, Edition 158

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for the rest of today's news.

"We want to draw attention to the fact that there is a woman in that building who is living on her own. She is not on a respirator or any life support system. She is just being given food and water. And they're going to starve her to death."

--Randall Terry, founder of right-to-life group Operation Rescue, who is leading a vigil protesting the Wednesday afternoon scheduled removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube (First story)

"It kind of defeats the whole purpose of integrating into the community if they're clustered."
--Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt, of Ramsey County, Minnesota, which is encouraging providers of community residential services for people with developmental disabilities to stop placing new group homes and foster homes close together (Third story)



Vigil Begins For Terri Schiavo

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 13, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living began an around-the clock vigil Monday in front of the hospice where she has lived for the last several years. According to media reports, the vigil has been organized primarily by the right-to-life group Operation Rescue.

Unless there is a last-minute intervention by the 2nd District Court of Appeal or Governor Jeb Bush, the feeding tube that provides Terri with food and water will be removed Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. She is expected to die within 10 to 14 days after that.

An attorney for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, filed an emergency motion Monday with the appeals court, arguing that Terri deserves therapy to help her to swallow once the feeding tube is removed. The court has refused to overturn past rulings by Circuit Judge George Greer, who originally approved the removal of Terri's feeding tube according to the wishes of her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo.

Also on Monday, Bob Schindler called on the governor to intervene again on Terri's behalf by ordering the Florida Department of Children and Families to investigate claims that Mr. Schiavo mistreated Terri and has withheld rehabilitative therapies from her, in violation of her rights to treatment.

A spokesman for the governor explained that Bush does not have the authority to overrule the courts. During the last few weeks, Bush wrote a letter to Greer supporting the Schindlers' position in the circuit court, and had his office file an amicus ("friend-of-the-court") brief to support their lawsuit in federal court. Neither of his gestures had any impact on the courts.

Terri collapsed from a heart attack and was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990 when she was 26 years old. Since then she has been in what some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state" from which they believe she cannot recover. Since 1998, Michael Schiavo has said that Terri told him prior to her collapse that she would not want to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents have fought in the courts to keep their daughter alive, and have produced documents from medical professionals that argue that Terri is alert, responsive and could benefit from rehabilitative therapies, including spoon-feeding. The Schindlers claim that Michael wants Terri to die, in part, so he will be able to take advantage of what is left of a $700,000 insurance settlement and so he can marry another woman.

Disability rights advocates have been closely watching Terri's case for years. Many view her situation as one that people with certain disabilities are at risk at being in at any time. Allowing Terri to starve to death would send to the public the message that people in her situation are better off not being alive.

"Round-the-clock vigil planned for Terri Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



How To Form A Circle Of Support

October 13, 2003

TORONTO, ONTARIO--In her Saturday column, Toronto Star's Helen Henderson looked at "Circles of Support" and how to create them.

"The aim," Henderson explained, "is to help individuals and families have more control over their lives by learning how to define and articulate their needs, make informed decisions, find the right support workers and increase links to communities."

"Forming circles of support" (Toronto Star)
Inclusion Press



County Wants Group Homes To Be Less Clustered

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 13, 2003

MAPLEWOOD, MINNESOTA--Cities in Ramsey County will soon be encouraging residential service providers to put more distance between new sites and current ones for people with developmental disabilities.

County commissioners want group home and adult foster care providers to avoid establishing any new sites within 1,700 feet -- about 1/3 mile -- from existing sites.

Officials admit that they have no legal grounds to enforce any restrictions on housing. Federal law does not allow local governments to tell people with disabilities where they can or cannot live.

Still, many hope that service providers will voluntarily follow the guidelines to keep from creating "clusters" of such homes. Maplewood, with a population of just under 35,000 has 78 group homes. One neighborhood has three group homes on a single block.

"It kind of defeats the whole purpose of integrating into the community if they're clustered," said Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt.

Related article:
"City Debates Group Homes" (Pioneer Press)



Inmates Wait Weeks Behind Bars For Mental Health Evaluations

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 13, 2003

HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA--Virginians with mental illnesses are often stranded for weeks behind bars waiting to be evaluated for competency before standing trial, according to a story in Sunday's Hampton Roads Daily Press.

A recent report to the Joint Commission on Health Care found that inmates with mental illnesses wait in local jails an average of 26 days for a mental health evaluation, and that the average wait to be restored to competency to stand trial is 50 days.

While advocates are encouraging the state to move toward more community-based supports, many do not understand why Governor Warner's administration is looking at downsizing Eastern State Hospital by 43 beds.

Supporters explain that the state isn't simply cutting beds, it's diverting people with mental illness away from the state hospital and into less restrictive community settings.

In Northern Virginia, advocates are developing a pilot program that would enlist volunteers to work as mentors to help people with mental illness who are charged with crimes and awaiting trial.

Related article:
"Sick and stranded in jail" (Hampton Roads Daily Press)



"Here's A Silent Midsummer's Night"

October 13, 2003

MUMBAI, INDIA--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a brief item in Monday's Express India:

All through the performance, they counted their steps to time their actions. Their only other assets, a powerful memory and loads of enthusiasm.

Students of the National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped and the Andhra Mahila Sabha School for the Deaf, both based in Hyderabad, wowed the audience when they enacted a mute musical rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Held at the auditorium of the Hotel Rang Sharda, Bandra, the event was organised by the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, in commemoration of the World Day of the Deaf, 2003.

Entire article:
"Here’s a silent midsummer’s night" (Express News Service)




Support for Parents and Caregivers of Teens and Adults with Disabilities


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- Three years ago:

On The Road, Again, Thanks To His Buddy
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 11, 2000

CASHTON, WISCONSIN--Since he injured his spinal cord six years ago, Mike Mitby gave up on the idea that he would ever ride a motorcycle again.

His boyhood friend Jeff Larson thought differently.

Larson, vice president of All American Cycle Works of Arizona, set out to find the perfect set of wheels for his buddy. Finally he found it -- a 1962 Harley-Davidson trike, a discontinued three-wheel model once used by police and now prized by collectors.

Larson custom-fitted the trike with hand-operated controls and an electric starter, and installed a rebuilt engine. He also lowered it so Mitby can easily get on and off, and built a flatbed behind the driver's seat so his friend can take his wheelchair or his two children along for a ride.

"I enjoy it a lot already," Mitby told the Associated Press. "It's a lot of fun, and I feel really safe on it."

Related resource: - Sidecars, Trikes & Trailers


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