CAN'T SOLVE SOME PROBLEMS
. . . which physically challenged men and women face every day
Prominent 'celebrity' advocate
Christopher Reeve is helping sensitize today's society to the urgency of spinal cord research, but meantime working to assure
today's disabled full access to opportunities for work and play.
Resources are everywhere, and in a wide variety of forms:
Rahman Davoodi of the
University of Southern California maintains an extensive set of links
to web-based information on spinal cord research and related
issues. . .
And Canadian John Wellings, who masquerades as
Hillbilly Hank, provides a down-to-earth look at
one man's life in a wheelchair, in his website Paraplegic
for today's wheelchair users, there's more to it than a
miracle 'cure' in the medical sense, as
profoundly welcome as that would be:
they wait for a scientific breakthrough, the physically
challenged bear a disproportionately large share of the
burden of unemployment, even in a time of general
The problem is complex:
it's a devilish mix of
uninformed public attitudes
('the disabled can't do the job')
and legal disincentives
which have punished those who work by
removing their medical safety net -- until the new work
incentives improvement act,signed into law by President Clinton in late 1999.
A Louis Harris poll, released by the
National Organization on Disability, provides statistical
insights into the gaps that divide so-called
"able-bodied" America and people with
disabilities who share their same dreams and talents.
WITH DISABILITIES ACT
is now more than 10 years old
. . . but
the job isn't finished. Access comes a day at a time, one
issue at a time.
'The Working Disabled'
December 18, 1999 (AP) -- President
Clinton today signed a law letting
millions of disabled Americans retain their government- funded health coverage when they take
a job. Fear of losing Medicare and
Medicaid benefits is a major barrier keeping
disabled people from seeking employment. About
9 million disabled adults receive Medicare and
Income above a certain level disqualifies people
from the federal programs. The new law provides $150
million in grants to encourage
states to let disabled workers buy into Medicaid,
the federal-state health program for the poor. It
also creates a $250 million Medicaid
buy-in demonstration for people who are
not so severely disabled that they cannot work.
It extends, for 4 1/2 years, Medicare
coverage for those in the disability insurance
system who return to work. Disability
beneficiaries returning to the work force would
get a voucher for purchasing health care
services--either private or government.
23, 1999 (AP) Department store aisles
packed with merchandise are supposed to increase
sales, but disabled people who say the
crowding keeps them from shopping at some
Macys stores have filed a lawsuit.
It follows an October decision by a
federal judge in San Francisco who ordered a
Macys store there to improve accessibility.Among other accessibility requirements, the
Americans with Disability Act requires main store
aisles to be 36 inches wide.
Disabled Bias Suit
NEW YORK, December
13, 1999 (Reuters) - The New York Yankees agreed
on Monday to settle a federal discrimination suit
by vastly increasing the amount of
seating for wheelchair-bound fans and
providing a choice of ticket prices
to the disabled. Prior to the settlement, 44
pairs of wheelchair and companion seating
locations were provided at Yankee Stadium, which
seats more than 50,000.
Under the accord, the number of these
locations will be increased to 400 pairs and will
be dispersed throughout the lower levels of the
is a valuable collection of timely news and opinion on a wide variety of
disability issues, and links to dozens of websites.
is an enterprising websource
of info about disability research, advocacy, and activism in the field
of spinal cord injury.
is an Atlanta site devoted to home design, to making private residences
'visitable' by the disabled. Lots of good ideas, and political
and its companion webzine, wemedia.com,
cover the entire spectrum of disabilities, from mobility to hearing to
sight . . . and sometimes gets exercised about disability
Hand controls, curb cuts, and lightweight chairs don't
help much when employers won't consider hiring a disabled
but fully able worker.
visibility of wheelchair sportsmen like John Davis of
above, aided by the work of competitive wheelchair
designer John Castellano, will help erase many
misconceptions about people with disabilities. But often
it takes legislation and active advocacy to make wider
is a disability activist group
that opposes assisted suicide for the disabled, and takes
'dead' aim at Dr. Kervorkian. Read
about their movement, founded by Chicago's Diane
Coleman, and see what you think.