Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 National Forum on Disability Issues

2012 National Forum on Disability Issues

Tomorrow, September 28, 2012, the 2012 National Forum on Disability Issues will take place in Columbus, Ohio from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. This event will focus on the disability positions of the presidential candidates for the upcoming November election. Topics to be addressed include issues that directly impact many people with disabilities, such as employment, health care, education, and transportation.

As there are only 500 available seats for this event, this forum will be streamed online for free. Register here to view the forum online.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My thoughts on doing "nothing"...

Liesl K. Becker

A study I read on Wednesday claims that adults with disabilities “do nothing all day” (see reference at bottom of post to read article). I can attest to this. When I came home from the rehabilitation center in Dallas as a then 23 year-old, I really did do nothing. I was not involved any activity. I could very easily have become more involved in functions at my church, I could have actively pursued becoming a member of the alumna association in my sorority, I could have joined a disability support group. But nope: I did nothing of the sort. My lack of activity was a detriment to me in forming relationships with the people in my community, especially with those whom I already had a natural connection with: people of my same faith, people in my same social circle, people who already possessed a disability like I did.

Now, this article indeed discusses how people who lack any activity tend to be more emotional, have increased behavioral and health issues, and possess lower functioning abilities. However, it also mentions that it does not include everyone. Instead, it clearly states that in a survey of nine-hundred, it was just thirteen percent of cases reporting not being routinely involved in vocational or educational activities. Thirteen!

So, this is good news: this particular article does not place everyone with a disability into the same ‘box’! Just because I happened to go through a temporary ‘recluse’ phase, and despite thirteen percent of others having the same lack of motivation that I once had, this clearly does not warrant a generalization of all (or as this article title states: most) people with disabilities doing “nothing”.

Of course, the article clearly states that more work needs to be done to understand the effects of people with disabilities who do ‘nothing’. But perhaps a parent, caregiver, mentor, or even friend can combat this “doing nothing” problem by providing good opportunities that will prevent an individual with a disability from doing just that: nothing. What activities, programs or services can you think of that one might find enjoyable?

(Article referenced: Diament, Michelle (February 15, 2012). “Study: Many Adults With Disabilities Do Nothing All Day”.

New information about developmental delay in the Hispanic community

Developmental Delay Often Overlooked In Hispanic Kids

Hispanic children may be more than twice as likely as other kids to have developmental delay, new research suggests, but in many cases the condition is going unnoticed.
In what’s believed to be the largest study yet to compare the development of Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, researchers found that more than 6 percent of Latino kids had developmental delay. That compares to a rate of just 2.4 percent among other children in the study of over 1,000 California kids ages 2 to 5.
The high rate of developmental issues among Hispanic kids suggests that many children may not be receiving needed services, researchers said of the findings reported in the journal Autism.
“Our study raises concerns about access to accurate, culturally relevant information regarding developmental milestones and the importance of early detection and treatment,” said Virginia Chaidez who led the study at the University of California, Davis. “Autism and developmental delay tend to go undiagnosed when parents are not aware of the signs to look for, and the conditions are often misdiagnosed when parents don’t have access to adequate developmental surveillance and screening.”
In addition to the high rate of developmental delay identified among Hispanic children, researchers also found that about 1 in 5 kids of all ethnic backgrounds diagnosed with developmental delay before participating in the study actually qualified for an autism diagnosis. The finding raises concerns about access to reliable assessments, researchers said.
“That so many children are slipping through the cracks is disheartening,” said Robin Hansen of the UC Davis MIND Institute who co-authored the study. “We need to make sure that all children are getting routine developmental screening, early diagnosis and intervention so they can achieve their fullest potential.”


Monday, September 10, 2012

Autism Thought from This Weekend

by Liesl K. Becker

What can I say: I classify myself as a "boring" 26 year-old who derives her excitement from engaging in somewhat boring activities… such as watching the Fox News Channel (However, as this is what my father enjoys in the evenings, then perhaps I still am a “daddy’s little girl”). Anyway, this is typically how I unwind in the evenings; unfortunately, this may seem peculiar to some because who uses news as a method to ‘unwind’?

Despite this, as I was re-watching an earlier broadcast of “Fox News Sunday” last night, a commercial came on television. Typically, I tend to tune commercials out, but then I heard the words, “1 in 88 children are born with Autism”. Gosh, that sure brought me back down from the clouds! I immediately grabbed a pen and a pad of paper from the other room and wrote down those words.

Now, what commercial was this? I honestly cannot recall, since as I previously stated, I tend to tune commercials out. However, this number really grabbed my attention. But why? Curiosity… perhaps. Astonishment… maybe. Or is it because being completely altruistic is becoming a way of life for me? I cannot be positive of my intentions. I just know that this small fact impacted me in some way.

While I know that ‘1 in 88” may seem like a small number to some, I am sure it matters to that person who just had a child born with Autism.