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

Thursday, December 11, 2003
Year V, Edition 841

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.

"If we are serious about human rights in our society, we have to get beyond seeing disability as an issue for disabled people only. In reality, disability is an issue for us all - at the heart of all our wishes for an inclusive society for everybody."

--Leslie Swartz, disabilities studies professor in Cape Town, South Africa (Third story)

"And this is the little girl they said would never do anything."
--Keith Gustafson, talking about Nancy Henn, who was named this year's "Outstanding Individual With Autism" by the National Autism Society (Fourth story)



People With Disabilities At Higher Risk of HIV/AIDS

December 11, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC--People with disabilities are more vulnerable to HIV infection than the general population according to a global survey for the World Bank and Yale University.

The researchers found that there are common themes around the world related to HIV/AIDS among people with disabilities, a brief story in reported last week.

For example, people with disabilities are up to three times more likely to become victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse or rape because they are more often viewed as easy targets by potential perpetrators. Such victims not only are less able to physically defend themselves, but they also find it more difficult to seek justice through the courts which often are not accessible to them.

Also, a common myth that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS, along with the assumption that most women with disabilities do not have sex and therefore are virgins, has led to systematic rapes by people who are desperate to get rid of their infection.

"We need to be putting a disability lens on all the projects at the World Bank and external to the Bank," said Judith Heumann, World Bank Advisor on Disability and Development.

Related article:
Disabled People 'at Significantly Increased Risk' of HIV Infection (



Missile Plant Could Refuse To Rehire Recovering Addicts, Supreme Court Rules

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC--On December 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that a Tucson, Arizona missile plant could legitimately refuse to rehire a former employee who claimed to have overcome his drug addiction.

But the high court sent the case of Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if the company discriminated against the worker because of his disability.

The appeals court will have to decide whether Raytheon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it refused to rehire Joel Hernandez, a 25-year employee who quit his job in 1991 to avoid being fired when a drug test showed he had used cocaine. More than two years later, after completing a drug treatment program, Hernandez was turned down when he applied for a different job. The plant, then known as Hughes Missile Systems, cited an unwritten policy of refusing to rehire all employees fired for breaking company rules, including drug abuse.

The ADA protects former addicts from discrimination if they no longer use drugs and have been treated for their addiction.

The Supreme Court said that Hernandez failed to show that the company specifically refused to rehire him because of his disability. The appeals court will now have to re-examine the facts to determine whether Hernandez' disability was the real reason the company did not rehire him.

The case is Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez, 02-749.

Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez (U.S. Supreme Court) Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
"National Council on Disability says partial victory in Supreme Court's Hernandez V. Raytheon Decision" (NCD news release)



"Disability Is An Issue For All Of Us"

December 11, 2003

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--On December 3, the Independent Online published an article by Leslie Swartz, a disabilities studies professor at the University of Stellenbosch.

"The biggest myth about disability is that it is something that an individual 'suffers from' and that it is unchanging," Swartz wrote.

"The reality is that the experience of disability is the product of an interaction between the person and the environment. Two people with exactly the same impairment (for example, a mobility impairment leading to wheelchair use) and work-related potential will lead completely different lives because of the situations they live in."

"One may be an active member of society, contributing to the economy. The other may have been excluded from mainstream education because people feel that disabled children may 'upset' others, may not be able to get to work because public transport cannot accommodate a wheelchair, and may in any event not be skilled enough to find appropriate fulfilling work."

"Disability, centrally, is not about 'them'. It is about all of us, and not only about the fact that we may all move into and out of experiences of disability through illness, accidents, and changes in the environment."

"More importantly, disability is about the extent to which we are prepared to make our society accessible to everyone, an environment in which everyone reaches full potential. Taking on disability is part of taking on building a democratic society which does not, apartheid-style, confine people to certain roles based on physical characteristics."

Entire column:
'Disability is an issue for all of us' (The Cape Argus via Independent Online)



County Worker Is "Outstanding Individual"

December 11, 2003

AKRON, OHIO--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a Knight-Ridder article featured in the December 5 Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:

For eight years, except holidays and a smattering of vacation days, Nancy Henn, who is severely autistic, carefully has tended the paperwork that fuels the inner workings of Summit County. The 30-year-old woman lifts sacks of mail, transports them to cartons, loads a car and hand delivers her packages to various county departments, among other jobs.

She makes a union wage, carries medical insurance, pays taxes, and pays for her job coach with her earnings. Her most recent tests show she has an IQ of 20, yet she pulls her weight at work and is expected to produce as much as her non-disabled colleagues.

In July, the National Autism Society named Nancy as the year's "Outstanding Individual With Autism."

Entire article:
"Working hard at life: Woman lives productively with autism" (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)



Guardian Recommends Swallowing Tests For Terri Schiavo

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--As Terri Schiavo turned 40 last week, the controversy continued over her husband's wish to see her die of starvation, and her family's wish -- backed by Governor Jeb Bush -- for her to stay alive.

Court-appointed guardian Jay Wolfson told the governor on December 2 that Terri cannot recover from her disability, but that more tests need to be done before he would recommend removing the feeding tube that provides her food and water.

In his 38-page report, Wolfson, a University of South Florida professor and lawyer, concluded that all existing medical evidence shows Terri's cerebral cortex is "practically liquid," she cannot swallow on her own and "cannot consciously interact with her environment."

Wolfson recommended a new round of tests to see if Terri can swallow. If the tests show she can do so, she should be allowed to stay alive, Wolfson wrote.

Terri's parents and their supporters found hope in Wolfson's report.

"Clearly Dr. Wolfson has come to the same conclusion that we have had for some time," explained Pat Anderson, an attorney for Bob and Mary Schindler. "Further medical testing is required for Terri before any further decisions can be made."

Disability rights advocates have been watching Terri's legal battle for several years. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from an apparent heart attack in February 1990 and was without oxygen for several minutes. The courts have supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve with rehabilitative therapies which Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They claim that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry another woman with whom he has fathered two children, and so he can benefit from what's left of an insurance settlement that now pays for her treatment. They want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their allegations that he abused, neglected and financially exploited her.

The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging and that of right-to-life advocates, the governor championed "Terri's Law". The measure allowed the legislature to give Bush permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, six days after it had been removed under a court order. The law also called for appointing the independent guardian to review her situation and provide the governor with recommendations.

In related news, a poll of Florida voters found that nearly two-thirds disagree with the new law and the stance Bush has taken in Terri's case.

"Fla. lawyer recommends additional testing for Schiavo" (Orlando Sentinel)
"Poll: Voters Not Backing Schiavo Law" (St. Petersburg Times via Lakeland Ledger)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



Women with Disabilities - Abuse of People with Disabilities (National Women's Health Information Center)

Women with disabilities appear to be at the same risk for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse as women without physical disabilities. However, they are more likely to experience a longer duration of abuse than women who do not have disabilities. The following resources offer information and advice on this difficult issue.


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


Surgeon General Says People With Mental Retardation Receive Poorer Medical Care

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 6, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC--At a two-day conference on Health Disparities and Mental Retardation, U.S. Attorney General David Satcher said that doctors and dentists often provide poorer treatment for people who have mental retardation or refuse to provide any treatment at all.

"People with mental retardation are stigmatized," said Dr. Satcher. "Sometimes they are stigmatized by the professionals charged to serve them. This stigma is real, it is painful, it is pervasive and it is unfair."

Satcher announced that in the next few weeks he would be issuing a Surgeon General's report that would outline the agenda for people with mental retardation to receive the same type of health services that everybody else receives, including dental care and eyeglasses.

USA Today ran this story:


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