Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gov Quinn Signs State of Illinois budget hours before deadline : article June 30, 2011

Chicago Tribune : Clout Street By Monique Garcia and Ray Long :June 30 2011

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state budget into law tonight, saying he cut $376 million from what lawmakers sent him.

The signing came hours before a midnight deadline to get a new spending plan in place. The state's new budget year begins Friday and without Quinn's action state government would not have been able to spend money.

In a news release, Quinn said he cut $376 million from the state's main checking account.

The governor said he cut $276 million in Medicaid spending, $89 million in school transportation spending and more than $11 million earmarked for regional school superintendent offices.

The Medicaid trims are billed as rate cuts to what the state pays hospitals to care for low-income patients. But "safety net" hospitals that have a high proportion of poor patients would be exempted, the Quinn administration said.

Quinn said lawmakers wanted to spend much more on school transportation but he cut it back to this year's level.

The governor also said he vetoed another $336 million in other state funds that his budget office found were double appropriations by lawmakers, most of it for interest payments on statewide construction loans.

Lawmakers approved the budget at the end of May, slashing $171 million in public school funding, erasing financial support for everything from teacher and principal mentoring to state writing tests for high school students.

The budget lawmakers sent to Quinn also cut money for college scholarships, to deliver meals to seniors and provide job training to people on food stamps.

The blueprint largely was a joint effort between House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego. The two teamed up for a $33.2 billion budget that is $2 billion less than what Quinn wanted and $1 billion less than the Illinois Senate put forth.

Senate Democrats tried to tack on $430 million in additional spending, but the House didn't go along with it.

Quinn expressed concern from the start that the budget cuts would hurt the state's most vulnerable citizens during a down economy.

The budget cuts came despite a 67 percent increase in the income-tax rate Democrats pushed through in January. A large part of the tax hike was billed as temporary and some lawmakers called for spending cuts to ensure that they could live up to in four years.

Modernize Medicaid to better support people with disabilities : U S Sen Harkin & Rep McMorris Rodgers June 30 2011

Modernize Medicaid to better support people with disabilities

By Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) - 06/30/11 01:09 PM ET


This month marks the 12th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead V. L.C., ruling that the needless institutionalization of people with disabilities is illegal discrimination. Despite that decision, misguided Medicaid rules continue to force millions of people with disabilities to remain in nursing homes, against their wishes and at a much greater cost to taxpayers than many home and community-based alternatives.

Today, as we seek ways to reduce budget deficits, we must seize on the opportunity to make our Medicaid dollars go farther while finally giving millions of individuals with disabilities one of the most fundamental of rights: the choice to live independently.

The Olmstead decision is sometimes called the Brown v. Board of Education for people with disabilities. It questioned the widespread practice of forcing people with disabilities to live in segregated settings in order to receive services, and it opened the door for people with disabilities to live full lives and participate in their communities.

Adhering to the ADA’s “integration mandate” not only allows people to live the same kinds of lives that the rest of us do, but actually saves money.

For example, the average national Medicaid cost to serve a person with an intellectual disability in an institution in 2009 was approximately $137,000, compared to an average of $44,000 to serve the same person in the community. Yet states have continued to spend a large portion of Medicaid dollars on unnecessary and expensive institutional settings.

In 2009, 17.4 percent of all national Medicaid expenditures went to serve people in institutions. Our continued heavy reliance on outdated and expensive institutions to serve people with disabilities reflects inertia and politics rather than the needs of people with disabilities.

The overreliance on institutions has led to a significant number of Olmstead lawsuits. In a case settled just last week that was brought by thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities against the state of Illinois, that state agreed to offer community services to all residents of private institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. Illinois and the federal government were spending approximately $192,000 per year in Medicaid dollars to serve these individuals in institutions, compared to an average of $32,000 to serve similar individuals in community settings.

A case that San Francisco settled several years ago involved federal, state and local payments of over $180,000 per year for each resident of a large, county-run nursing home; under the settlement, hundreds of residents of this nursing home have been successfully served in their own homes at a fraction of that cost Olmstead is now more important now than ever, as states tighten their belts and cut essential community services that help thousands of people with disabilities stay out of institutions.

These cuts have typically been short-sighted. Rather than taking steps to reduce wasteful spending on institutional settings, many states have cut the services that keep people with disabilities in their own homes and communities. Courts have found that many of these service cuts violate Olmstead, because they are likely to force people with disabilities into nursing homes and other institutions, at greater expense to the state and federal government. Federal judges in California have issued preliminary injunctions stopping cuts to in-home support services and adult day health services designed to keep people with disabilities out of institutions. Other courts have stopped similar cuts, including federal courts in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida.

Modernizing Medicaid's approach to supporting people with disabilities can save money and bring a people a better quality of life. It would also promote compliance with the ADA and the Olmstead decision. If Medicaid cuts are not done in a thoughtful manner, however, they will have disastrous consequences and will lead to systemic civil rights violations.

On this 12th anniversary of Olmstead, let’s redouble our bipartisan efforts to give people with significant disabilities an opportunity to experience the same freedom and dignity as other Americans. Providing this option is good for the federal budget, it’s good for people with disabilities, and it helps America live up to its highest ideals.

* Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and led the Americans with Disabilities Act. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicaid program, and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional disabilities caucus. Both authors have family members with disabilities.

" Higher Education Project" 2011 : American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

AAPD Launches Higher Education Project

This year, AAPD has launched the AAPD Higher Education Project, which will organize students with disabilities to create a powerful and influential network to connect, share resources and address the challenges that students encounter at various levels of higher education.

AAPD will kick off the project with a survey of undergraduates and law students. As AAPD continues to develop this project, it will host focus groups and create a website devoted to providing resources to students who are pursuing or hoping to pursue post-secondary education. A Higher Education Disability Network will be established to enable students to connect and support one another.

“Thirty-five years after the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guaranteed access to a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment to every child with a disability, students with disabilities are graduating from high school in ever higher numbers. Yet students with disabilities are still enrolling in and completing college and graduate and professional programs at a significantly lower rate than their non-disabled peers. Many students with disabilities, even if they graduate, report challenges to us,” said AAPD’s Acting President and CEO, Helena Berger.

As the nation’s largest cross-disability membership organization, AAPD is committed to increasing the success of students in higher education. Through the Higher Education Project, AAPD will identify and address barriers students with disabilities face in all aspects of higher education. Additionally, AAPD will work with students and professionals to foster peer networks and create access to resources targeted at removing barriers and enhancing educational experiences for students with disabilities.

“We want to look more closely at what these challenges are – whether they are in the admissions process, in the classrooms, in the dorms, or in other aspects of the college experience,” Berger said.

AAPD thanks the Verizon Foundation and Time Warner Inc. for their financial support of this project.

# For more info click headline or visit: http://www.aapd.com/site/c.pvI1IkNWJqE/b.5406299/k.FBCC/Spotlight.htm

The Social Challenge: The "R" Word Challenge - Help achieve over 20,000 Actions Over the 4th of July 2011 Weekend

Take the Social Challenge Today!

The Social Challenge is a project of LifeMyWay, in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Did you know the word “retard” is used more than 24,000 times each day on Twitter? The folks at LifeMyWay are monitoring Twitter and have launched a new campaign called The Social Challenge to target R-word users and raise awareness about the developmental disability community.

The Social Challenge is about creating a dialogue – watch a live stream of Tweets containing the R-word and then respond directly to the Tweeter. The Social Challenge is also a forum for people to share their stories and connect with one another. Our message is simple: people with developmental disabilities and their families face enough challenges as it is and words can hurt. They deserve the same rights and respect as anyone else.

Visit http://www.TheSocialChallenge.org and challenge yourself, challenge others and join us in creating a community rooted in equality.

200,000 people in Illinois have a developmental disability and we have countless family members and loved ones. Together we can make a difference!

## For The Social Challenge click headline or visit:
http://www.thesocialchallenge.org/


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## For The Social Challenge click headline or visit:
http://www.thesocialchallenge.org/

Federal appeals court rules "health care reform bill" is constitutional : June 29, 2011

CNN : From Bill Mears, CNN

Washington (CNN) -- The political and legal future of the sweeping health care reform bill received a big boost Wednesday after a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled in favor of the Obama administration and Congress, concluding a key provision in the landmark legislation was constitutional.

The "individual mandate" requiring nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties -- was challenged in federal courts by a large number of individuals and groups, who said people should not be forced to purchase a product like medical coverage. A partially divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit disagreed.

"We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause," said the three-judge panel on Wednesday, in a 64-page opinion.

Federal court expresses concern over health care reform law

The opinion is the first of three rulings that will emerge from federal appeals courts around the country in the coming weeks over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The issue is almost certain to eventually reach the Supreme Court, perhaps by year's end. More than two dozen other legal challenges to the law are floating in lower federal courts.

The health care reform act was passed by the Democratic Congress last year, and championed by President Barack Obama.

A key part of the ruling was written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a President George W. Bush appointee and considered a conservative on the court. He said the health care field is different from other streams of "commerce."

"Regulating how citizens pay for what they already receive (health care), never quite know when they will need, and in the case of severe illnesses or emergencies generally will not be able to afford, has few (if any) parallels in modern life. Not every intrusive law is an unconstitutionally intrusive law," he said. "Time assuredly will bring to light the policy strengths and weaknesses of using the individual mandate as part of this national legislation, allowing the peoples' political representatives, rather than their judges, to have the primary say over its utility."

Sutton added, "The government has the better of the arguments." He was supported by Judge Boyce Martin -- who is considered a liberal and was named to the bench by President Jimmy Carter. He turned aside the argument by opponents of the law that economic "inactivity" cannot be regulated by the national legislature.

"Congress had a rational basis for concluding that the minimum coverage provision is essential to the Affordable Care Act's larger reforms to the national markets in health care delivery and health insurance," he said. "The provision regulates active participation in the health care market, and in any case, the Constitution imposes no categorical bar on regulating inactivity."

Judge James Graham -- a Reagan appointee -- agreed with most of the opinion but expressed some concern that Congress could go too far in other economic arenas, under limits imposed by the Constitution's commerce and spending clauses.

"If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress's Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power?" he asked. "Such a power feels very much like the general police power that the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States and the people. A structural shift of that magnitude can be accomplished legitimately only through constitutional amendment."

Various state and private challenges to the law are also before federal appeals courts in Atlanta and Richmond, Virginia.

Another challenged provision mandates expansion of Medicaid, the low-income health program administered by the states.

The high court could be asked this fall to take formal jurisdiction over one or more health care appeals, and it could decide the matter perhaps by 2012, a presidential election year.

The issue could ultimately turn on whether forgoing medical insurance or coverage represents economic "activity," an area long considered proper for congressional oversight in interstate commerce. Opponents, including more than two dozen states, argue it is not.

The Justice Department countered that since every American will need medical care at some point in their lives, individuals do not "choose" to participate in the health care market. Federal officials cite 2008 figures of $43 billion in uncompensated costs from the millions of uninsured people who receive health services, costs that are shifted to insurance companies and passed on to consumers.

In the case before the 6th Circuit, four individual plaintiffs from Michigan say the government has no business interfering with their individual health care decisions.

The court's ruling would technically affect only those states covered by the 6th Circuit: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. But it would help set the tone for other courts considering similar issues.

The Obama administration applauded the ruling.

"We will continue to vigorously defend the health care reform statute in any litigation challenging it," said a Justice Department statement. "Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed. We believe these challenges to health reform will also fail."

One pressing concern is whether parts of the law already in effect can continue to be enforced. Those sections currently being administered include small business tax credits, federal grants and consumer protection measures. The federal government wants to know whether these provisions can continue while the issue is under appeal, particularly in the 28 states that have filed suit.

Other questions that could prompt a high court review include:

-- If one provision of the law is found unconstitutional, does the entire act become invalidated?

-- Should employers be forced to provide some level of health insurance to their workers?

-- Can religious, moral, and other objections to the law be considered?

-- Do states and private groups have "standing," or legal authority to bring their claims, or is congressional taxing authority ultimately exempt from such lawsuits?

Oklahoma and a range of private groups have also filed separate legal challenges that are concurrently working their way through federal courts around the country.

The Affordable Care Act has about 450 components, placing a number of new or revised regulations on states, private insurance companies, employers and individuals.

Federal judges in Florida and Virginia in recent months found parts of the law unconstitutional, while colleagues in Michigan and Virginia upheld the provisions.

Health care reform, a top Democratic priority since the Truman administration, was passed by the last Congress in a series of virtually party-line votes. Obama signed the act into law in March 2010. The law is widely considered to be the signature legislative accomplishment of the president's first two years in office.

Among other things, the measure was designed to help millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans receive adequate and affordable health care through a series of government-imposed mandates and subsidies. The federal government stated in court briefs that 45 million Americans last year were without health insurance, roughly 15 percent of the country's population.

Analysis: Health care repeal will cost $230 billion

Critics have equated the measure to socialized medicine, fearing a bloated government bureaucracy will result in higher taxes and diminished health care services. About two dozen challenges have been filed in federal courts nationwide.

Opponents derisively labeled the measure "Obamacare." Republican leaders, who captured the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, have vowed to overturn or severely trim the law.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tracy Morgan under fire for mocking the disabled in return to stand-up "retarded kids" and "cripples." : June 29 2011


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E! Entertainment Television : By Marianne Garvey

Tracy Morgan may want to invest in a bus, because his apology tour may not be over just yet.

The Arc, a nonprofit advocacy group serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is the latest organization demanding an apology from the comedian for remarks he made during his stand-up routine Saturday — his first performance since his infamous antigay rant.

Uh-oh.

What'd he say now?

This time Tracy ranted about "retarded kids" and "cripples." Oh boy.

The "30 Rock" actor put his foot in his mouth this time while performing two hourlong shows on Saturday night at Caroline's comedy club in New York, where he once again denied he was homophobic and claimed his father was the lead singer of the Village People.

But during his routine, things once again went south for the comic when he began telling the crowd not to "mess with women who have retarded kids."

"Them young retarded males is strong," he said. "They're strong like chimps."

He then segued into a bit about hooking up with a girl he called "a cripple" with a dialysis machine and a prosthetic arm, while groans could reportedly be heard from the crowd.

"Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately," The Arc's CEO, Peter Berns, told E! News. "This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

"Mr. Morgan has an incredibly powerful platform from which to fix this, and if he's learned anything in the last few weeks, he can't bomb this apology," Berns added.

It was the comic's first time onstage since his June 3 show, in which he said he'd "stab" his son if he came out as gay.

He had argued that homosexuality is a choice because "God don't make mistakes."

He quickly issued an apology, saying he went too far and "was not funny in any context."

Then Tracy kept apologizing. And apologizing some more. He met with young gay teens and visited Nashville again to say sorry to anyone he offended with his rant.

That resulted in GLAAD officials saying Tracy actually ended up drawing much-needed attention to issues that gays face.

Time will tell whether people with developmental disabilities will feel the same way about Morgan's publicized onstage antics.

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We at Ability Chicago would like to encourage all to leave a message of there feelings of Mr Morgan's comments on the following social media sites, and NBC.com ; please share this story with friends and family:

# NBC link: http://www.nbc.com/

# The Social Challenge: http://www.thesocialchallenge.org/

A Chicago Home health-care operator charged with a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme : June 29, 2011

Chicago Tribune : Staff report

A Chicago man who operated two now-defunct home health-care businesses has been indicted in connection with a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme, federal officials said today.

Jacinto "John" Gabriel Jr., 43, submitted millions of dollars in false claims for reimbursement by Medicare for services that were never provided, medically unnecessary or substantially price-inflated, prosecutors said.

The businesses were Perpetual Home Health Inc., based in Oak Forest, and Legacy Home Healthcare Services on Chicago's North Side. Both have ceased operations and no longer receive Medicare payments, according to prosecutors.

But between May 2006 and January of this year, Pepetual alone submitted more than 14,000 Medicare claims and received more than $38 million in Medicare payments, making it one of the largest recipients of Medicare payments for home health-care services in Illinois, the government said.

Gabriel and unnamed co-schemers used the Medicare proceeds to gamble at casinos in the Chicago area and Las Vegas, and for automobiles, jewelry and real estate in the United States and the Philippines, prosecutors said.

They also bribed physicians with gifts and cash and paid kickbacks to others for patient referrals, the indictment charged.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com

Reforms to safeguard disabled kids in Illinois become law on June 28, 2011

Chicago Tribune : June 28, 2011

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed into law sweeping reforms designed to safeguard thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities who live in nursing facilities.

The new laws, sparked by a Tribune investigation, call for stiffer fines for poor care, fewer roadblocks to closing facilities, stricter rules on the use of psychotropic medications and increased reporting requirements in cases of death.

State officials and some advocates described the legislation, passed by the General Assembly in May, as the most significant effort in a generation to help the developmentally disabled in Illinois nursing homes.

In October, a Tribune series (available at chicagotribune.com/neglect) documented a 10-year pattern of death and neglect at a North Side nursing facility now called Alden Village North. The newspaper found that 13 children and young adults had died in cases that resulted in state citations for neglect or failure to investigate.

State of Illinois : Emergency Preparedness Tips for People with Disabilities : deverse resources and info

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs
State of Illinois

Functional Needs:
While being prepared for disasters and emergencies is important for all individuals, it is even more critical for those with functional needs who may need assistance during an emergency. The following information provides emergency preparedness tips for individuals with functional needs and their caregivers.

Emergency Kit:
Refer to this Disaster Supplies Kit checklist when assembling the items you need to stay safe during and after a disaster. Consider keeping additional kits at work and in your vehicle(s).

Health Card:
Print and cut out this convenient Emergency Health Information Card. Fill in your information and your emergency contact information. Carry it with you at all times near your drivers license or ID card so it is readily available in the event of an emergency.

Download a complete copy of Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs at: http://www.ready.illinois.gov/pdf/PreparednessTips_FunctionalNeeds.pdf

Also Download for a specific Need:
*Cognitive Impairments
*Deaf or Hard of Hearing
*Life Support Systems
*Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems
*Mobility Impairments
*Seniors
*Service Animals and Pets
*Visual Impairments
*Parents or Caregivers of Children

# Visit State of Illinois Ready Illinois at: http://www.ready.illinois.gov/before/specialneeds.htm

Weird body symptoms, explained or a hypochondriac's guide

Real Simple Magazine : June 30 2011

Foot cramps? Shivers? They're usually just a nuisance, but here's what these strange symptoms may be trying to tell you (and how to get rid of them). By Stacey Colino

You Get Light-Headed When You Stand Up Quickly
The explanation: You could be mildly dehydrated. Or you might have orthostatic hypotension (a.k.a. postural hypotension), which occurs when blood rushes to your feet and away from your head as you stand up suddenly. (People with low blood pressure can be especially prone to this phenomenon.)
The fix: Drink plenty of fluids and be sure that when you stand up, you do it slowly, says Donnica Moore, a physician in Far Hills, New Jersey. If you see stars anyway, grab a table or a chair to stabilize yourself or sit back down.
When to see a doctor: If the light-headedness persists or if you actually faint.

You Sometimes Get a Painful Swelling Under Your Arm
The explanation: It could be due to a plugged hair follicle or an ingrown hair in your armpit (from shaving, for example) or a swollen lymph node (from an infection).
The fix: Try putting a warm compress on it several times a day and see if it goes away within a week, says Teng.
When to see a doctor: If it lasts longer or if it worsens (and gets red or irritated). "It could be a sign of a breast infection, a cyst, or a tumor," says Teng.

Your Hands Get Sweaty in Certain Situations
The explanation: Sweaty palms happen to everyone now and then, and they're a normal response to stress or a case of the jitters.
The fix: Taking a few minutes to try to relax—by breathing deeply, meditating, or visualizing a tranquil place—may help prevent or relieve the sweatiness, says Teng.
When to see a doctor: If your hands are constantly sweaty. You could have hyperhidrosis, a disorder involving excessive sweating of the hands, feet, or underarms. Applying an antiperspirant on the palms can treat the condition, says Roshini Raj, an assistant professor of medicine at New York University and the author of What the Yuck?! The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body ($20; amazon.com). So can a medication prescribed by your doctor. In very serious cases, surgery can remove the part of the nerve that's stimulating the sweat glands to become overactive.

You Get Foot Cramps at Night
The explanation: A subtle electrolyte imbalance (involving potassium, magnesium, or calcium) or mild dehydration may be triggering these cramps, says Teng.
The fix: Get up and walk around, then massage the muscle to help it relax.
When to see a doctor: If you get them nightly or during the day when you walk. A condition such as a blood-clotting disorder or nerve damage could be to blame.

Your Foot Goes Numb When You're on the Stair Master
The explanation: When you move your feet in a repetitive way during a workout, or if your shoes or laces are too tight, the "tiny nerves between your toes can get pinched as you put pressure on your foot," says Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City, and that can make it feel uncomfortably numb.
The fix: During your workout, wiggle your toes in your shoes a few times—and loosen your laces if they're too tight.
When to see a doctor: If numbness happens during other activities or you can't make it go away. You could have a nerve problem in your foot.

Your Body Jerks as You Fall Asleep
The explanation: These hypnic jerks, or sleep starts, probably stem from nerves misfiring as your brain and body downshift into sleep mode. "An interruption in your brain's signal to your body to relax can cause the limbs and head to jerk," says Clete A. Kushida, M.D., the medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, in Redwood City, California.
The fix: There's nothing you can do to prevent these harmless jerks. Fortunately, they last only a few seconds.
When to see a doctor: If they happen frequently or disturb your sleep, as they might be a sign of sleep apnea or periodic limb movement disorder.

You Hear Ringing in Your Ears
The explanation: It's probably tinnitus, a perceived buzzing or whooshing sound commonly caused by partial hearing loss, says Cristina Cabrera-Muffly, an otolaryngologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Medications, including aspirin and some antibiotics; allergies; and earwax buildup can be to blame.
The fix: There's no cure for tinnitus caused by hearing loss, but "stress-reduction techniques, such as biofeedback, may be useful to decrease your brain's perception of the sound," says Cabrera-Muffly.
When to see a doctor: If the ringing is only in one ear or is accompanied by vertigo, balance problems, or facial weakness. These symptoms could indicate an acoustic-nerve tumor.

Your Jaw Cracks
The explanation: The temporomandibular (jaw) joint that's in front of your ear is most likely to blame. "It cracks when the joint isn't moving correctly or fitting back into the socket properly," says Raj.
The fix: It should self-correct.
When to see a doctor: If it's accompanied by pain, headaches, or locking of the jaw. These symptoms could point to temporomandibular joint disorder, arthritis, or some other kind of joint damage that requires treatment (like wearing a mouth guard at night).

You Have Floaters in Your Eyes
The explanation: Those little white specks that drift across your field of vision are probably just tiny pieces of tissue that stray into the vitreous, the jelly-filled chamber of each eye, says Ruth D. Williams, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The fix: Your eye will probably reabsorb them (or you'll just stop noticing them).
When to see a doctor: If the floaters are black or are accompanied by flashing lights, which can signal a retinal tear.

You Always Sneeze in Threes
The explanation: "Sneezing is a protective reflex," says Nathanael Horne, a physician in New York City. "There's something irritating in the nasal passages, and your nose wants to get rid of it." So you'll sneeze until the job gets done.
The fix: Sneeze! Once, twice, or four or more times—all are perfectly normal.

Your Heart Races When You Wake Up Suddenly
The explanation: "When you're startled, adrenaline kicks in, and your body's fight-or-flight response is suddenly turned on," says Moore. And, says Teng, if you wake up abruptly from REM sleep, when vivid dreams occur, your heart rate may be naturally elevated.
The fix: In either case, your heart rate should return to normal within a few minutes.
When to see a doctor: If you also have chest pain or dizziness.

You Get Full-Body Shivers
The explanation: "It's probably a momentary glitch in the body's ability to regulate its temperature," says Raj, especially if it lasts mere seconds. (This happens more during the menopausal transition, since "hormonal changes can make body-temperature regulation go haywire," says Raj.)
The fix: A shiver should go away on its own in a minute or two.
When to see a doctor: If a shiver lingers for days, which could signal an infection. "Just like a fever occurs with some illnesses," says Raj, "you can get chills when your immune cells release chemicals to fight off bugs." Treating the underlying infection should stop the shivers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Coffee Klatch Guests: video : Autism Research: Dr. Valerie Hu, George Washington University


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From: ModelMeKids | Oct 26, 2010

Model Me Kids® presents a documentary video about Dr. Valerie Hu, a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Professor at George Washington. Motivated by the diagnosis of her son with PDD-NOS, Dr. Hu used a sabbatical leave to transform her lab into a cutting edge hub for Autism research. In this video, Dr. Hu talks about the inspiration for her research, some of her seminal work in the area of Autism research, and her hopes as a parent and scientist for the future.

# For The Coffee Klatch click headline or visit: http://thecoffeeklatch.com/

Especially important to people with disabilities : Smart911 now active in DuPage County Illinois June 2011

Chicago Sun Times/Naperville Sun : By Louise Brass : June 28, 2011

Members of the public can now have all the critical personal information that they care to give, listed in a Smart911 system database, newly installed by the Emergency Telephone System Board of DuPage County.

The data, which can be easily updated including photos, medical information, allergies, pets and even caregiver contact information, is made available to any 911 system in the nation that utilizes the same program, when a person listed calls 911 in a participating area.

Joining the program is free. Whole families can be listed in the database.

In an emergency, their information will come up on the screen for the 911 operators to pass on to police, fire or ambulance crews. Some squad cars are already equipped to have immediate access to the online information, when a 911 call comes in from a victim.

The additional data provided is far more extensive than what is typically available to 911 dispatchers, and helps to improve results when rendering aid to 911 callers, according to ETSB Chairman Patrick O’Shea.

A mobile caller’s location can typically only be pinpointed within 200-300 meters (two or three football fields). With Smart911 their exact location is made instantly available.

Usually, Amber Alerts can’t be issued until a photo is received by first responders. That wastes valuable minutes. Smart911 quickens Amber Alert delivery by instantly providing photos.

“Smart911 strengthens and expands our current 911 service by providing us with critical information about callers, while enhancing our ability to locate and communicate with them. This will help us provide more information to 911 call-takers, as well as first responders before they arrive on the scene,” O’Shea said.

The communities of Naperville and Burr Ridge have their own 911 programs, said Linda Zerwin, executive director of ETSB. However, participants do not even have to be living in DuPage to add their information into the Smart911 system.

A little or a lot of details can be given. The system will be especially important to people with disabilities, the elderly in poor health, and children with autism, she said.

Since beginning the program a month ago, 95 persons have entered vital details, and some even have given details of their house layouts, their vehicles and their medical information in case of an emergency or disaster. Emergency responders can then have the important details right at their fingertips.

“It’s an enhancement to the enhanced 911. But you have to remember, even in Illinois, not everyone has enhanced 911,” Zerwin said.

DuPage County, with a population of almost 1 million, is the first in Illinois to use the system, she said. “We are very proud to be first in the state to do this and we are very proud to be really in compliance with what the funding will allow.”

Funding for 911 services already is being collected on cell phone and landline bills. Landline phone owners are charged 50 cents per month. Cell/wireless phone users are charged 75 cents monthly for all 911 services.

The computerized system costs $145,000 annually, and is managed by Rave Mobile Safety. The software provider is based in Boston, and the data is stored in three different locations. More information on the project, which is advertised as 100 percent secure, can be accessed at www.ravemobilesafety.com.

The system is expected to be vital to rescuers in cases of kidnapping, traffic or other vehicular accident, or a natural disaster such as a tornado.

It is estimated that the DuPage 911 center receives about 960,000 emergency calls annually. Approximately 650,000 of these calls come from wireless devices.

Often, dozens of calls come in to report just one accident. Persons injured can be helped much faster if their vital information is stored in the Smart911, said Zerwin, during a press tour of the facility Tuesday.

She said, when the program was first announced, some members of the public expressed concerns about privacy. However, the board had the program reviewed by the Illinois Attorney General’s office for compliance with privacy laws, she said.

No increase in employee numbers were needed to staff the program, which stays basically in the background until an emergency happens to a listed participant. When that participant calls 911, their information is made immediately available.

This is a big improvement to the old I-Search paper method of listing, and updating photos of children, and other details of families and individuals for police to use in case of emergencies, Zerwin said. “This is an updated version of that,” she said.

The number of emergency communication centers across the nation is rapidly growing, according to Todd Piett, chief product officer at Rave Mobile Safety.

“The DuPage ETSB team is exceptional, and we look forward to working with them,” Piett said.

O’Shea strongly encourages those who live, work or visit DuPage County to register cell phones or landline phones for the free service, by visiting the website, www.smart911.com.

Flipswitch Podcast » "In Other Words" Part 4: What's wrong with "Retard"?; Cerebral Palsy, Autism, ADHD thru Eyes of a Doctor & Special O Athlete : June 2011

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation : Flipswitch

Wrapping up the "In Other Words" series, this podcast (Part 4) looks at the R Word, retard. We see the stigma people with disabilities face through the eyes of Jimmy, a 27-year old doctor whose 19-year old brother has Cerebral Palsy and Jerry, a 23-year old Special Olympics athlete who has both ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger's Syndrome. Jerry tells us why "retard" is hurtful and what word he prefers we use. Jimmy helps us brainstorm Other Words we can use besides the R Word to vent about frustrating people or situations.

Food for Thought/Suggestions for Comments:

•Were you encouraged by Jimmy's selfless love for his brother?
•Were you encouraged by Jerry's success despite his obstacles?
•Do you ever get tired of hearing people use "retard" to describe all things stupid?
•Do you see the similar stigma people with disabilites and mental illness face?

# For Parts 1,2,3, and much more please click headline or visit: http://www.bpkids.org/flipswitch

Mr. Loverdos, Greek Minister of Health : Regarding Children with Developmental Disabilities living and care conditions : June 2011 Human Rights Watch and European Disability Forum

Open Letter to Mr. Loverdos, Greek Minister of Health :
Regarding the living and care conditions at the Children’s Care Center of Lechaina

June 14, 2011

Dear Minister Loverdos,

The European Disability Forum (EDF) and Human Rights Watch are writing to you to express our deep concern about reports of inhumane and degrading conditions at the Children's Care Center of Lechaina ("the care center") in Ilias Prefecture. EDF's national member in Greece, the National Confederation of Disabled People, has intervened a number of times to the government, to the Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child, Mr. Giorgios Moschos, and in the media. Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the center during a meeting with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Giorgos Katrivanos, in February 2011.

According to reports by the Greek Deputy Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child[i], Mr. Giorgos Moschos; the Inspection Body for Health Services and Welfare; and volunteers for the Youth in Action Program[ii], the residents in this center are living in dire conditions that violate their human rights and breach Greece's obligations under international law. We therefore urge you to investigate and take all necessary measures to improve the living and care conditions of the patients at the care center as a matter of priority.

The Deputy Ombudsman's report, the result of ongoing investigations that began in 2009, noted an insufficient number of doctors and nurses; systematic sedation; and practices such as tying children and adults with developmental disabilities to their beds to reduce self-harm and the use of wooden cage beds. In addition, the report observed that the care center hosts persons with different chronic diseases and disabilities (physical, intellectual and multiple disabilities, autism, etc.). A lack of available places in other institutions means that residents remain in the care center when they become adults and in some cases remain there all their lives. The housing of adults in a center meant for children violates Greek law.[iii] The report concludes that these children and adults are living in exceptionally difficult circumstances despite the considerable efforts of administration and staff.

According to the Deputy Ombudsman's Report, the Inspection Body for Health Services and Welfare has repeatedly visited the care center. Following the visits, the Inspection Body issued audit reports and recommendations, in 2007 and 2009 (which have not been made public), to the Administration of the care center, to the 6th Regional Health Authority (of Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Epirus and Western Greece), and to the Ministry of Health, which, according to the Deputy Ombudsman, have not yet been implemented. In its reports, reproduced by the Deputy Ombudsman, the Inspection Body found that the care center does not have the required qualified personnel, despite the need for continued surveillance of the patients.[iv] The Inspection Body found deprivation of care, psychological support and physiotherapy and that the residents appear not to be given regular medical or rehabilitation services.

We are also deeply concerned about reported deaths and allegations of abuse in the care center, including news reports of beatings and two deaths in the span of a few days: a 35-year old woman with intellectual disabilities who died of pneumonia and a 28-year-old man who died after taking his medication and feeling discomfort. Media reports assert that there was no doctor at the care center at the time of his death.[v]

According to the report of the Deputy Ombudsman and the facts contained in the reports of the Inspection Body for Health Services and Welfare and the volunteers for the Youth in Action Program, the care and living conditions in the center violate the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment in the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), all to which Greece is a State Party, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Greece has signed but not yet ratified.

Both the CAT and the CRPD explicitly require States to take all necessary steps to prevent persons, including persons with disabilities, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Additionally, the conditions appear to violate their human dignity, the right to physical and mental integrity and the prohibition of violence against persons with disabilities, all enshrined in the CRPD and inextricably linked to the rights in the CAT.

During the meeting between Human Rights Watch staff and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Giorgos Katrivanos, in February 2011, we were pleased to learn that two investigations are underway: (1) an investigation of the Youth in Action volunteers' report by the Prosecutor's office; and (2) an inquiry by the Ministry's own investigative body. But we are unaware of the timeframe for those investigations, or what consequences could flow from them.

We recognize that Greece has limited financial resources to remedy the problems in the center identified above. Nevertheless, the lack of financial resources does not relieve Greece of its obligation to do its utmost to protect vulnerable groups and to ensure that persons with disabilities are treated in a humane way.

While we acknowledge that the Ministry of Health has initiated an investigation, we urge you to undertake the following further steps to address the above-described concerns:

•Ensure that the investigation is conducted promptly and its findings made public. It should seek to identify those responsible and any steps necessary to correct the problems identified.
•Ensure that the staff of the care center cooperates fully with the Prosecutor's office.
•Immediately improve the living and care conditions of all residents in the center, including ending the use of cage beds, systematic sedation and tying of patients to their beds.
•Ensure regular monitoring and supervision of the care center by the Inspection Body for Health Services and Welfare.
•Prioritize in Ministry budgets the following longer-term steps:
•o Recruit sufficient qualified staff to fill permanent positions, including permanent doctors and child psychiatrists; and,
•o Separate children and adults by adapting the premises and living environment depending on the age requirements.
Furthermore, we call on the Greek government to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol without delay and to fully implement them to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy their rights and have a greater voice about their own lives and treatment.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters. We look forward to a continued dialogue.

Sincerely,

Ioannis Vardakastanis
President of European Disability Forum

Benjamin Ward
Deputy Director
Europe and Central Asia Division
Human Rights Watch

Shantha Rau Barriga
Disability Rights
Researcher and Advocate
Human Rights Watch

Cc: Mr. Timosidis, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health
Mr. Katrivanos, Secretary General for Welfare, Ministry of Health
Mrs. Manthopoulou, Head of Directorate for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Health
Mr. Giorgos Moschos, Deputy Ombudsman for Children's Rights
Mrs. Mazaraki, Director, Children's Care Center of Lechaina
Mr. Goumas, Director, 6th Regional Health Authority

[i] Greek Ombudsman - Cycle for Children's Rights, Operating Conditions of the Unit for Social Care for children with disabilities "Children's Care Center of Lechaina", March 2011.

[ii] The volunteers asked not to publish their name (the report was made available to Human Rights Watch).

[iii] Presidential Decree 332/1987.

[iv] According to the Inspection Body, there are 87 vacant permanent positions, which include positions for doctors, child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, special educators, speech therapists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists.

[v] Makis Nodaros, "Second Death in Lechaina", (2ος θάνατος στα Λεχαινά), Eleftherotypia, March 8, 2011.

# For the Human Rights Watch click headline or visit: http://www.hrw.org/

Don't Default on the American Dream: Children and people with disabilities will go without needed care : article June 28 2011

The Huffington Post : June 28 2011
Ethan Rome : Executive Director, Health Care for America Now

Don't Default on the American Dream: Democrats Should Hold the Line in Debt Limit Talks

The President and Democratic Leaders obviously have a huge responsibility in the debt limit talks. But if there's ever been a time to drive a hard bargain, this is it. There's nothing irresponsible about staring down the Republicans and making them blink. These negotiations boil down to fundamental choices and priorities, and the differences between the sides could not be more stark. Democrats are for working and middle-class families. The Republicans are for rich people and big corporations. Seniors and middle-class families need to win this time.

That's why it was encouraging to hear White House spokesman Jay Carney sum it up so well on Monday: "Do we perpetuate a system that allows for subsidies in revenues for oil and gas, for example, or owners of corporate private jets, and then call for cuts in things like food safety or weather services?"

Carney's question was spot on, and Democrats should forcefully answer it with a resounding "no." Democrats should insist on cutting spending on things like tax breaks for Big Oil and owners of corporate jets before agreeing to any other cuts (as Drew Westen has suggested). There's no basis for whacking seniors and middle-class families by cutting vital programs before ending outrageous tax loopholes for people and companies that don't need them. When it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, there's no rationale for taking a meat ax to these programs at all.

Deep Medicaid cuts, for example, will cause serious, irreparable harm to people. Millions of seniors would be thrown out of nursing homes. Middle-class families would be slammed with crushing health care costs for their parents while struggling to make ends meet, save for retirement and send kids to college. Children and people with disabilities will go without needed care. Huge costs will be shifted to state governments, jobs will be lost and the economy will be hurt.

Democrats have to resist the Republican plan to destroy Medicaid as fiercely as they are fighting the Republican proposal to end Medicare as we know it. They shouldn't cave in on this issue. That would be devastating for people and for the political fortunes of Democrats.

As for tax loopholes for the corporate jet set and others, Democrats should never agree that eliminating tax breaks is the same as increasing taxes. It's not. It's a cut of wasteful, obscene and unaffordable government spending on people and corporations that are awash in money and don't need more - especially in the form of handouts paid for by middle-class taxpayers. It's worth shouting this every minute of every day.

These tax breaks are as pointless and unconscionable as they are extravagant. Can we really afford to spend $21 billion of our tax dollars giving a break to Big Oil, the most profitable companies in the history of the world? Or spend $3.7 trillion continuing the Bush tax cuts for the rich? The Bush tax cuts are responsible for about a third of the national debt. And there are obviously more important things to spend tax dollars on - like a real jobs program that puts people back to work.

America can't afford useless tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. It's been shown repeatedly that cutting taxes for the super rich does nothing to create jobs and grow the economy. Tax cuts for high-income people and companies only make rich people richer at a time when middle-class families are struggling to hang on. Instead, we should be raising revenue by increasing taxes on folks in the highest income brackets, as Rep.Jan Schakowsky of Illinois has sensibly proposed. Asking America's wealthiest people to pitch in and pay their fair share is good policy and politics.

The Republicans aren't interested in deficit reduction or the budget. They are mounting a frontal assault on the middle class. It's about shrinking government and remaking our society so millionaires and corporations get even richer while the rest of us are left with crumbs.

People are hurting and understandably angry. Some Republicans don't know this, and most don't care. But Democrats do. That's why it's worth fighting so hard for seniors and the middle class in the debt limit talks. The stakes are high. The federal government can't default on its debt obligations. We also can't tear apart the programs that preserve and expand the middle class. We can't default on the American Dream. Democrats must keep alive the promise of economic security and opportunity for the people who built this country and make it work.

Follow Ethan Rome on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@HCAN

I Live with a Disability.com : a social network for People with Disabilities : info, resources, networking

TO CHANGE THE WORLD,
ONE MEMBER AT A TIME!
We are looking for you to be a part of our family and take your passion and spread it around the world. This is a call for volunteer contributors to join the ILWAD family. There are several ways you can help. ILWAD can only function with the generosity and responsibility of our supporters and members. We are looking for volunteers for a number of positions to help make ILWAD the best disability-related social networking website with the most relevant information. Interested individuals, organizations or companies please contact us. Meet our Core ILWAD Army Team Click here.

There are many ways you can contribute:
Become a Member
Register and create your FREE account and profile. Participle and create group discussions, stand for the happiness of others, providing them with confidence, love, fun and the ability to be to be a powerful leader. ( Free Registration )

Join the ILWAD Core Team
We are looking for you to be a part of our family and take your passion and spread it around the world. Various Core Team Positions are available


# For more info, click headline or visit: http://ilivewithadisability.com/

Monday, June 27, 2011

All Kids Can! Triathlon Training Program Helps youth of all Abilities in the Chicago Kids Triathlon : June 2011

All Kids Can! Triathlon Training ProgramHelps kids prepare for the Chicago Kids Triathlon
Get ready! Get set! GO!

These are the words of over 700 youth from all over the country are awaiting as they prepare for the Chicago Kids Triathlon on the last Saturday in August at 8:30 am. The Chicago Kids Triathlon event is the largest kids triathlon in the country.

The ALL KIDS CAN! Program offers a training program to prepare youth of all abilities to compete in the Chicago Kids Triathlon or the Fleet Fee Super Sprint. In the process, youth gain mental and physical strength to compete in this event. The ALL KIDS CAN! Program has proven to be extremely successful in the past 11 years for youth of different backgrounds and fitness levels. This program teaches youth to set goals, work towards those goals and then complete the goals. While learning goal setting and work ethics, they also learn how to work cooperatively with others as a team.

The ALL KIDS CAN! is a 6 week training program training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-5:30 pm., which is limited to the first 40 youth who register. The ALL KIDS CAN! Training program is open to all youth ages 7-18; beginning mid July and ending at the end of August. The training, which involves swimming, biking and running, takes place through River and Legion Park.

At the conclusion of the ALL KIDS CAN! Program, the children will take a group field trip to the triathlon expo downtown, where they will pick up their race numbers, t-shirts and other goodies, while checking out a variety of vendor booths. As a finale, a pool party is held for all participants for fun and recognition.

For more information contact program director: Maria Elipas, (773) 728-3456, melipas@neiu.edu

Registration begins in mid-April and is limited to first 40 children who register.

Program fee for the 6 week program is $150.

# For All Kids Can, click headline or go to: http://www.allkidscantri.com/

Employers Still Excluding Large Groups of People from Jobs Based on Race, Sex, Age & Disability : June 22 2011 EEOC

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

PRESS RELEASE
6-22-11


Disparate Treatment in Hiring Remains Major Problem, Experts Tell EEOC
Employers Still Barring Large Groups of People from Jobs Based on Race, Sex, Age, Other Prohibited Bases

WASHINGTON – Deliberate discrimination against job seekers based on their race, sex, age, national origin or other prohibited basis remains a major national problem, a battery of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a Commission meeting today.

“Intentional discrimination in hiring remains a significant problem,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The EEOC will continue to address this problem through enhanced education and outreach and through vigorous enforcement of the law.”

At the start of the meeting, EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez recounted a hiring case he litigated against WalMart when he was an EEOC trial attorney in Phoenix. The case arose out of a charge by two deaf applicants who were expressly denied by the company because they were deaf. As part of a negotiated settlement, the company aired a commercial on Arizona television stations featuring the two, telling viewers in sign language, with a voiceover, their story and educating the public about the nation’s equal employment laws. A video of that commercial was shown at the meeting.

“Unfortunately, discriminatory hiring practices such as conformity to discriminatory customer preferences, employing prohibited stereotypes about jobs, and targeted recruitment procedures aimed at only attracting certain racial or national origin group member applicants, continue to exist,” Lopez said. “Where necessary, the EEOC will use litigation to stamp out these practices and provide relief to the victims of discrimination.”

Bill Lann Lee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, called on the EEOC to combat hiring discrimination as part of its systemic initiative. “Systemic discrimination in hiring today is particularly disheartening to communities where joblessness has put the American Dream on hold,” he said. “Hiring discrimination is a fundamental problem; it often denies more than one employment opportunity, cutting off future opportunities as well. It is impossible to climb the rungs of a ladder if an individual cannot get a foot on the first rung.”

Katherine Kores, the EEOC’s Memphis district director, told the Commission that “hiring cases can be extraordinarily difficult to identify and investigate.” Because applicants often have no information about who was hired, or the composition of the employer’s workforce, she said, they do not realize that they have been the victims of hiring discrimination.

Other EEOC officials cited recent agency lawsuits. Kate Boehringer, a supervisory trial attorney in the Baltimore Field Office, detailed the EEOC’s suit against Area Temps, a northeast Ohio temporary labor agency, which agreed to pay $650,000 in July 2010 for its systematic practice of considering and assigning (or rejecting) job applicants by race, sex, Hispanic national origin and age. The EEOC said that Area Temps used code words to describe its clients and applicants for discriminatory purposes, such as “chocolate cupcake” for young African American women, “hockey player” for young white males, “figure skater” for white females, “basketball player” for black males, and “small hands” for women in general.

Ana Lopez-Rodriguez, who worked for Area Temps, told the Commission that the company fired her for refusing to help it conceal evidence from the EEOC. Lopez-Rodriguez said she had left demographically coded cards, which the company used to discriminate, in her Rolodex, instead of cooperating with the company’s request to destroy them prior to the EEOC investigator’s visit.

In November 2010, Scrub, Inc., which provides janitorial services to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, agreed to pay $3 million after the EEOC sued the company for failing to recruit and hire African-Americans. Diane Smason, an EEOC supervisory trial attorney in Chicago who handled the Scrub case, said an economist’s report showed that “the statistical disparity in hiring rates between African-American applicants and non-African-American applicants was so high that there is effectively zero probability that Scrub’s failure to hire African-Americans occurred by chance.”

Jeanette Wilkins, one of the African-American discrimination victims in the Scrub case, told the panel how she tried to apply for a job at Scrub. Despite janitorial experience and 15 advertised openings, she said she was told she would be contacted if the company was interested. By contrast, a Hispanic woman who applied at the same time was asked to stay for an interview. Ms. Wilkins said an African-American friend “went to Scrub’s office later that same day. She told me that she had a similar experience. The receptionist took her application and told her that someone would call her if Scrub was interested in her. While she was there, there were four Hispanic women and one Hispanic man filling out applications. All five of the other applicants were asked to stay for an interview,” but she was not.

Rae T. Vann, general counsel of the Equal Employment Advisory Council, an organization of major employers, stressed the need to train staff involved in the hiring process. She urged the EEOC to update a 1998 “Best Practices” manual for employers to give more real-life examples from private companies. But she also cautioned the EEOC to allow flexibility in requiring employer training, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach on a range of employers, to prevent hiring discrimination.

The Commission will hold open the June 22 Commission meeting record for 15 days, and invites audience members, as well as other members of the public, to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at the meeting. Public comments may be mailed to Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507, or emailed to Commissionmeetingcomments@eeoc.gov. All comments received will be made available to members of the Commission and to Commission staff working on the matters discussed at the meeting. Comments will also be placed in the EEOC library for public review.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Information about this meeting, including witness statements and biographies, is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/6-22-11/index.cfm.

# For EEOC website visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/

in California Mental health spending creating haves and have-nots : June 27 2011

By Karen de Sá kdesa@mercurynews.com : June 27 2011

Prop. 63 money can't be used to offset cuts in established programs

Seven years after voters approved a new tax to fund services for people with mental illness, California has slashed so much money from mental health departments that it now leads the nation in such cuts.

Counties have laid off psychiatrists, reduced hospital bed space and shut down mental health clinics.

And the $7.4 billion generated by the mental health tax?

Much of it has gone to a cottage industry of consultants earning up to $200 an hour, as well as a host of new programs that in many cases are only loosely linked to prevention, treatment and recovery.

The Bay Area News Group examined spending to date under the Mental Health Services Act of 2004, after reporting in May concerns expressed by the chairman and former chairwoman of a Santa Clara County watchdog group. They charged that local spending under the act has resulted in frivolous programs and enriched private contractors at the expense of people desperately in need of care.

The newspaper group found problems are evident statewide, despite years of warnings from a high-level whistle-blower and other mental health authorities.

"The state of California clearly did not comply with the law and they did not keep and honor the contract with the voters," said Rose King, co-author of the Mental Health Services Act, which appeared on the November 2004 ballot as Proposition 63. "It's a corruption of purpose, and it's a boondoggle for consultants and entrepreneurs at the expense of core services."

Designed to create new county programs and expand existing ones, the act veered off course after the state Department of Mental Health piled on burdensome and unnecessary guidelines, according to county directors who oversee the spending. Going beyond the language of Proposition 63, the funds were restricted so they could not be used to enhance state and county-funded services that were later gutted by the economic downturn. That created an odd predicament: County mental health budgets were devastated on one side of the ledger, while on the other they were flush with money for use only on new clients in new programs.

State mental health officials did not respond to repeated requests to explain the regulations. But in a 2007 letter to King, the state's former mental health director, Stephen Mayberg, explained that the department sought to first serve mentally ill people who were homeless and cycling through jails and emergency rooms -- essentially those who were outside the system.

Two-tier system:

When California's crippling recession and accompanying budget cuts hit, the result was two tiers of care -- "a Cadillac system for selected new clients, and a dysfunctional, deteriorating system for those already inappropriately served," said King, a former legislative staffer and adviser to the state attorney general. "Why do counties need to recruit new clients when they need to look no further than their clinic waiting rooms?"

In the past two years, $587.4 million has been cut from state mental health spending -- a 16.3 percent reduction, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported in March. The number of people served by that spending in California dropped from 658,314 in 2007 to 442,691 last year. The additional Proposition 63 money generated by a tax on incomes above $1 million -- an annual average of $1 billion -- has gone to county-specific plans.

But the flourishing-on-one-side, broke-on-the-other condition of county mental health departments has created some curious scenarios:

In Santa Clara County, patients released from acute-care hospital beds wait a month for follow-up appointments because of budget cuts. Meanwhile, so much time was spent planning how to use Proposition 63 prevention funds that a three-year deadline arrived with no programs launched. As a result, the county nearly had to return $8.2 million to the state.

Contra Costa County shut two residential centers for disturbed juveniles, an adult outpatient clinic and a hospital psychiatric unit. But the county managed to launch a "Hip-Hop Car Wash" for juvenile offenders in need of independent living skills.

San Francisco has laid off psychiatrists in its general hospital and cut acute psychiatric beds from 87 to 21. Yet it spent $294,000 on peer-led support teams for people who hoard and clutter.

In a whistle-blower complaint submitted to the state auditor in November 2009 -- and five months later to the Legislature -- King called Proposition 63 a noble cause gone awry.

The concerns of King and others about "two-tier" spending were echoed in a 2008 Department of Finance report, and just last year by the California Mental Health Directors Association, which called for a moratorium on the "unnecessary" state regulations that "significantly deviated" from what voters enacted in 2004.

Prop. 63's promise

Defenders of Proposition 63 acknowledge the problems to date. But they point instead to the act's promise of overhauling traditional approaches to mental health care.

"Proposition 63 is helping thousands of people who would otherwise have nothing in a grossly underfunded system," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the architect of the Mental Health Services Act.

Steinberg agreed that "the core system is falling apart," but added, "That's not Proposition 63's fault. What would the mental health system look like without Proposition 63? There would be nothing, virtually nothing."

Steinberg pointed to roughly 25,000 Californians who have received an array of services tailored to their needs, as reliance on forced hospitalizations and institutional care gives way to more long-lasting, community-based options. In Los Angeles and San Diego, according to regional studies, clients in these "full-service partnerships" have spent less time hospitalized, homeless and in jail.

But many mental health experts -- and Steinberg himself -- agree that the act got off to a bad start.

That's due in large part to the state's interpretation of the law -- and the requirement that counties create six plans, with six sets of guidelines and six lengthy processes for each county to gather comments from concerned parties.

"You're in a situation where you're losing revenue and other resources, and you can't use the other money to bail it out," said Stephen Kaplan, interim director for San Mateo County's Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. "It's a challenging balancing act to do both at the same time."

Services shuttered:

San Mateo County just eliminated in-home crisis services for 30 children and cut six beds from an inpatient psychiatric unit. It stopped serving 425 students as part of a school-based service and reduced a psychiatric residency program, cutting the future patient load by 925 clients.

Similar scenarios unfolded statewide.

In recent years, Fresno County closed an inpatient psychiatric crisis center, flooding far more costly emergency rooms with psychotic and suicidal patients brought in by police. In Riverside County, budget cuts have eliminated screening and timely treatment for the nearly one-fourth of jail inmates suffering from mental illnesses. Sacramento County officials face a lawsuit over cost-saving measures that would upend treatment for about 5,000 patients.

Despite its facility closures, Contra Costa County has been approved for $124.3 million in Proposition 63 funds to date. The county paid two consulting teams, the Results Group and Grace Boda of the Center for Vital Partnership, as much as $200 an hour to gather public comments and develop plans to satisfy state requirements.

That spending is an additional task for acting Mental Health Director Suzanne Tavano, who is now overseeing $1.6 million in county cuts to her budget. But Tavano said without the Proposition 63 funds, her system would be "devastated." Although some core services have shrunk, she noted, there are now 45 new initiatives for overlooked populations, including Pacific Islanders and lesbian, gay and transgender youths.

Those efforts are well-intentioned, said Teresa Pasquini, who serves on the Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission, a local oversight board. But she is personally outraged by the spending priorities. Pasquini said the Hip-Hop Car Wash, for example, "is a great program, but it's not about anybody with psychotic disorders going out and washing cars and getting better."

And the Results Group's work? "It was a dog and pony show," she added. "We have done a superb job of painting the pony pink."

Pasquini, who has a son and a sibling with severe mental illness, said she walked her neighborhood getting signatures for Proposition 63. But after six years on oversight boards and committees she now questions the 61/2-year-old law that taxes millionaires.

"If I were a millionaire," she said, "I'd be screaming from the rooftop."

Santa Clara County paid the MIG consulting firm rates as high as $195 an hour. Another consultant who wrote the county's plans, Jean McCorquodale, received an increasingly large hourly salary, which grew from $95 in 2005 to $150 an hour this year.

In contrast, county psychiatrists receive from $64 to $86 per hour.

Contractors' rates are approved by county mental health directors, but spending plans have been reviewed by state authorities -- until recent state budget cuts eliminated that oversight.

Public input:

County mental health directors say they needed to hire consultants to coordinate public input collected at hundreds of committee meetings, conferences, trainings and round-table sessions -- in Contra Costa County for example, as many as 1,800 people provided comments -- and to write up the final spending plans.

Steinberg, the Senate leader, said he agreed that in some cases the consultant-coordinated efforts led to "overkill." But, he added, the intention was good -- to allow previously unheard voices such as family members and patients themselves help design a new mental health system. "And it was incredibly empowering to advocates who for decades had felt unheard," Steinberg said.

But others are angered by the spending, including many who have suffered from the years of declining core mental health services.

Roberta and Sid Bernstein, of Sunnyvale, are among them. They have spent 18 years battling to get their now-51-year-old son to stay on anti-psychotic medications and in treatment. The Bernsteins' son had earned an MBA and a law degree when he became paranoid and delusional, attempting suicide several times.

Yet recently, the Santa Clara County mental health system afforded him psychiatrist visits that lasted only 20 minutes -- little time for anything but a painful injection of Risperdal. Earlier this year, he was denied access to a locked psychiatric ward during a bad spell -- and has since gone missing.

"Patients are not getting the care they need," said Sid Bernstein, a retired Lockheed engineer who had eagerly supported Proposition 63. "And hearing about billions of dollars that are available to improve the situation and are not being used appropriately makes us pretty angry."

Nonetheless, state officials have continued to tout the Mental Health Services Act with little critical evaluation. Most often cited is a 2010 report by UC Berkeley's Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare -- a $1 million report that made the claim that the "full-service partnerships" reduced homelessness by 100 percent.

"You have to question some of that -- 100 percent reduction in homelessness?" said Sandra Naylor Goodwin, executive director of the California Institute for Mental Health. "It's kind of mind-blowing. It looked great, but how did they get there?"

King's complaint called the coziness of the Proposition 63-created consulting industry into question. It's no small wonder, Pasquini said, that there are so few outspoken critics of Proposition 63.

"It's like a pot of gold,'' she said, "and they don't want it to go away."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Illinois’ Data Website: Lots of numbers, few answers : June 23, 2011 Illinois Statehouse News

By Benjamin Yount : Illinois Statehouse News

SPRINGFIELD — On Illinois’ new data website, people can learn that the beach at the Conservation Club 100 in Marion County is a private beach on a lake.
Or that in the second quarter of 2010, Rock Island County saw $449 million in retail sales.
Or that two neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side and one on the west side lead the state in lottery ticket sales, each topping $20 million this year.

But users of Data.Illinois.gov cannot find out Gov. Pat Quinn’s salary, companies to which the state owes money or the business resurfacing Interstate 39.
Data.Illinois.gov, launched this week, gives people access to raw data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, state Department of Revenue, state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and state Environmental Protection Agency.
“As the summer rolls on, we plan to add data from a number of state agencies, with the goal of having this be a comprehensive, one-stop shop for everything that people want to know about information that comes from the state,” said Kayce Ataiyero, a spokeswoman for Quinn’s office.
Ataiyero said that if anyone wants information on state salaries and contracts, they can file a Freedom of Information Act request.
Quinn’s Innovation Council, which has been tasked with new ways to create jobs and spur economic growth, came up with the idea for the new website. Ataiyero said IDOT, which already was planning a data website, paid Sorcata, a Seattle-based web company, $33,395 to develop the site. Sorcata was given the contract, in part, because it had created similar data websites for the federal government and City of Chicago. The state’s threshold for bids begins at $33,500.
David Morrison, associate director of the nonprofit watchdog group, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said the new website has potential despite the minimal information currently posted.
“The file cabinets that the government maintains are massive, and the more of that stuff that becomes public, the better,” said Morrison.
Although Morrison said open government is good, he worries about too much data being made public.
“Dumping raw data on the public can be tricky,” Morrison said.
He said taxpayers don’t often know the questions to which they are seeking answers, or which pieces of information are worthwhile.
Ataiyero said the state is hoping smartphone application developers will pick up the information and run with it.
“We would love if people trolled the site, and get creative with ways they can suggest for us to use the data,” said Ataiyero.

She said an app that highlights the amenities at rest stops on Illinois’ interstates is one example.
Morrison said it’s not a bad idea for the state to reach-out to “smart people outside of government.”
“The more you make this stuff public, the more you’re going to find people who say, ‘Well I find these two data sets intriguing,’” Morrison said. “And that’s where the value comes from.”

# For State of Illinois Data Website visit: http://data.illinois.gov/

# For more Illinois Statehouse News visit: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/

Special Olympics 2011 World Summer Athens Games : report & video replay info

ATHENS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Greek President Karolos Papoulias officially declared open the Athens 2011 World Summer Special Olympics on Saturday evening in a spectacular ceremony staged at the Panathinaikon Stadium, the venue of the first modern 1896 Olympic Games.

Approximately 7,500 Special Olympics athletes from 183 countries, including 137 Chinese, participate in the Games that will run to July 4 in a string of 30 venues across Athens.

From Sunday they will compete in 22 sports, sending the world the message that persons with mental disabilities can become valuable members of the international community.

The three-hour ceremony won high remarks for a spectacular display of fireworks and the simplicity of music and dance performances inspired by ancient Greek mythology and culture.

They were matched with moving performances by internationally famed artists such as American singer, songwriter, musician and producer Stevie Wonder.

The ceremony started with a music performance of volunteers and Special Olympic athletes using ancient Greek type clay urns as musical instruments.

At the end of the performance they threw them down to the ground "back inside the arms of mother earth" in a symbolic representation of breaking down the walls of prejudice against intellectually disabled people.

Following the delegations' parade applauded by thousands of spectators, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi in the role of a presenter, welcomed the audience to the historic stadium at the home of one of the most ancient civilizations of the world, beyond China.

"History continues today," she stressed, urging all citizens across the globe to be part of the celebration of an international family, as it happened during the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympics, watching brave athletes compete and show their special talents.

Twelve Special Olympics messengers, including a 20-year-old Chinese girl, briefly narrated their major wins in everyday life activities, such as learning how to cook tasty Chinese dishes or passing a driving license test in the first attempt.

After a video tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver who founded the Games in 1968, her son and current Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver and Greek Special Olympics Organizing Committee President Joanna Despotopoulou addressed the event, welcoming the world to "a celebration of human strength at the birthplace of the Olympic Games."

Despite a difficult time in Greek history, debt-ridden "Greece has not failed the Special Olympics athletes and our athletes will not fail Greece," chanted Shriver.

He called on all citizens across the globe to unite and support a revolution of dignity under way by courageous people who were depicted as modern Ulysses -- sailors on a ship who overcome harsh adventures in one of the theatre performances of the show.

Following the raising of the Special Olympics flag which was transferred by Olympic medallists such as figure skating veteran athlete Michelle Kwan, and the performance of the anthem of the Games, the stadium's cauldron was ignited with the Flame of the Hope which will burn to the end of the Games.

The flame, which was lit under the Acropolis hill on June 9 and travelled Greece and neighbour countries, was transferred inside the arena on a "Chariot of the Sun" led by seven torch bearers who represented regions of the globe, children holding balloons and olive tree branches, as well as artists in Greek traditional costumes. The ceremony ended with the performance of the song of the Games by Greek singer Alkistis Protopsalti and Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, paving the way for the major show the Special Olympic athletes will give in the coming hours during the largest international multi-sport event of the year.

The Games also represents the most significant event to be hosted in Athens after the 2004 Olympic Games.

Approximately 40,000 family members, over 2,300 coaches and 25, 000 volunteers stand by their side, while around 3,000 journalists from across the world record the feats of the athletes who represent four million people with intellectual disabilities across the globe.

# For ESPN3 video replay,(4hrs,56min) click headline, or visit: http://espn.go.com/espn3/player?id=197172

Chicago's Navy Pier : accessibility : 2011

Navy Pier consists of 50 acres of parks and promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions. Visitors not only experience breathtaking views of the skyline, they can ride on the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel; spin on an old-fashioned musical carousel, the Wave Swinger, or catch a 3D movie at the IMAX Theater, featuring a six-story-high, 80-foot-wide screen.

Location:
600 E. Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Hours:
Current Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm; Friday & Saturday: 10 am -10 pm

Security & First Aid
Navy Pier security is available at all times and can be reached by calling(312) 595-5060. Visitors requiring first aid or medical attention should contact Navy Pier security. Security personnel are on duty 24 hours a day, and are trained to assist in most medical emergencies

Admission: FREE

Public Transportation:

El: Red Line to Grand. Bus: 29, 66, 120, 121, 124. FREE Trolley service from Grand Red Line to and from Navy Pier along Grand Avenue and Illinois Street. For more information, visit www.transitchicago.com.

Paratransit: Book your drop-offs and pick-ups to 600 E. Grand (Navy Pier)
For more information, visit http://www.pacebus.com or call 1-800-606-1282
(TTY 888-847-0093).

Accessibility:

•Accessible wheelchair entrance(s)
•Accessible washroom(s)
•Accessible seating area available (if auditorium/stadium venue)
•Courtesy wheelchairs are available on a first come, first served basis.
•For more information, call 312.595.5282

# For Navy Pier website: http://navypier.com/

“It’s Our Story” Project : disability rights advocate Paul Marchand : video Interview


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Interview with disability rights advocate Paul Marchand at the National Arc Convention.

“It’s Our Story” is an inside view of the reality of life with a disability. It speaks directly from the voices of those who know what it’s like, and directly to those who want to know how it is. The content contained within the archives has the power to change the way the world sees disability, and the way the disability community sees itself.

# For more from It's Our Story, click headline, or go to: http://dmi-us.blogspot.com/

Sleep Disorders Learn about diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders : info, resources, treatment...

Sleep Disorders : Mayo Clinic

Overview:

Sleep disorders are changes in sleeping patterns or habits. Excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing or increased movement during sleep, difficulty sleeping and abnormal sleep behaviors are signs of sleep disorders. A sleep disorder can affect your overall health, safety and quality of life. With accurate diagnosis, doctors can treat most sleep disorders effectively.

Diagnosis:

With accurate diagnosis, most sleep disorders can be effectively treated. All three Mayo Clinic locations operate sleep centers staffed by experienced specialists.

Diagnosis of your sleep disorder begins with a complete medical history and focused physical exam as well as use of standard questionnaires that identify your symptoms and document your sleep history. You may be asked to keep a sleep diary, and doctors may interview your sleep partner.

During the diagnostic period your doctor may order one or more of several tests to further identify the type of sleep disorder you have. These tests help doctors determine which treatment will be most effective for your condition:

Actigraphy :

Actigraphy tracks your sleep-wake cycles at home using a small device you wear on your wrist.
Sleep study (polysomnogram). A polysomnogram is an overnight evaluation that measures your brain wave activity, eye movements, breathing function, oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity.
Multiple sleep latency test. Doctors observe you while you nap throughout the day to measure the time it takes you to fall asleep and enter rapid eye movement sleep. Often, you take this test the day after a polysomnogram

Treatment:

There are many effective sleep disorder treatments. Your doctor will prescribe treatment based on the type of disorder you have (circadian rhythm disorder, hypersomnia, parasomnia, insomnia, sleep-related breathing disorder or sleep-related movement disorder).

Your treatment may include:

Risk factor modification. Weight loss, reduction of alcohol use or other medications, change in sleep position and treatment of nasal congestion may reduce the likelihood that you'll experience sleep disorders.
Lifestyle modification. Common lifestyle modifications include establishing a regular sleep schedule, not driving while drowsy, reducing caffeine consumption, physical exercise and carefully timing exposure to bright light.
Counseling or psychotherapy. Use of stress management techniques and treatment of underlying emotional conditions may improve your quality of sleep.

Medications. Your doctor may prescribe sedatives to improve the quality of your sleep or stimulants to improve wakefulness.
Medical devices. Various devices can improve your sleep by keeping your airways open during sleep.
Surgery. Your doctor may recommend throat surgery and related ear, nose and throat procedures to address the causes of your airway obstruction during sleep.


Doctors trained in psychiatry and psychology, neurology, pulmonary medicine, pediatrics, otorhinolaryngology, dental specialties and oral and maxillofacial surgery work together to diagnose and treat several types of sleep disorders.

Read more about sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, narcolepsy, jet lag, sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares, restless legs syndrome, bruxism and night leg cramps at MayoClinic.com.

# For Mayo Clinic, click headline or go to: http://www.mayoclinic.org/sleep-disorders/

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Coffee Klatch : Interview with Temple Grandin : enjoy...

The Coffee Klatch is an interactive forum on Blog Talk Radio and Twitter bringing you expert guests from around the world.



Temple Grandin (born Aug. 29, 1947, Boston, Mass., U.S.) American scientist and industrial designer whose own experience with autism funded her professional work in creating systems to counter stress in certain human and animal populations.

Grandin was unable to talk at age three and exhibited many behavioral problems; she was diagnosed as autistic. Her parents, rejecting a doctor’s advice to place her in an institution, instead sent their daughter to a series of private schools where her high IQ was nurtured. A 1970 graduate of Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire, where she majored in experimental psychology, she went on to earn a master’s degree at Arizona State University in Tempe and a doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in animal science. Since 1990 she has taught that subject at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where she also runs Grandin Livestock Systems.

Diagram of Temple Grandin’s conveyor system for humane animal processing. Among Grandin’s …Aware that intense fear, born of a hypersensitivity to sound and touch, is common both to autistic people and to animals, Grandin has devoted her life to devising systems to alleviate the anxiety of both groups. While still in high school she designed a “squeeze machine” to relieve her own nervous tension, modeling it on a chute fashioned to hold animals in place during branding and other procedures. Improved versions of her machine are widely used not only in schools for autistic children but also by autistic adults. The main focus of Grandin’s career has been the design of humane livestock facilities that eliminate pain and fear from the slaughtering process. Her designs enable workers to move animals without frightening them. Grandin is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals (1999), Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism (1995), and Emergence: Labeled Autistic (1986).

# For The Coffee Klatch Interview with Temple Grandin, go to: http://thecoffeeklatch.com/group/temple-grandin/