Most Britons think others view disabled people “as inferior”

& June 2009
In an online survey of more than 2,000 adults by leading pollster ComRes for disability charity Scope, 53 per cent say they think most people in British society see disabled people as inferior.

In addition more than half (56 per cent) said they think disabled people are generally viewed as “victims” or “figures of pity” and 38 per cent say they are even seen as a “drain on resources”.
see here press release

and here the survey


Modern Pursuit: Discussion

The final captioned videos from The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: questions from audience members, and responses from the panel. Questions from Rob Wilson, Michael Shaw, Anna Macquarrie, and Bruce Uditsky on vulnerability and trust in medicine, the disconnect with disability in medicine, ways in which parenthood is denied in contemporary society, the absence of true choice in many medical situations, and the systematic devaluation of people with disabilities are all discussed. And all with closed captioning. Enjoy

Connecting with others

Vulnerability, trust, and confrontation

Good people in medicine and the disconnect

The denial of parenthood and selective abortion

Going underground and true choice

Disability, individual autonomy, and systematic devaluation

For the full story, see this previous post.

Support Hannah Gunderson

Alberta Association for Community Living

Press Release Edmonton June 23, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

School District Discriminates Against Child with Disabilities

The Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL) is appalled to find that Elk Island Public Schools is discriminating against Hannah Gunderson, a young girl with disabilities, by forcing her to be segregated from her friends, against the wishes of her parents and her school community, when she travels to school. In effect Elk Island School District is punishing a child with disabilities and separating her from her friends because she is unable to walk. At a time when Alberta Education has just completed a review of special education that calls for every student with special needs to belong and be included, Elk Island is instituting regressive practices that deny Hannah the right to be included. As a student with disabilities who cannot easily defend herself Hannah needs her friends to ensure her safety and protection. The research evidence is unequivocal in that segregation increases the risk of abuse and violence against children with disabilities. Elk Island Public Schools is increasing Hannah’s risk of harm by forcing her to be involuntarily segregated from her friends and classmates. Until this forthcoming school year Hannah was included on the same bus as her friends, traveling to school together and sharing in all the experiences of her peers as she grows up with them. This coming school year, without consultation with her parents, the Elk Island District unilaterally altered Hannah’s busing to her detriment. The School District and its Trustees have refused to reconsider this decision ruining a young child’s summer and that of her family as they anxiously consider a future where Hannah is deprived of the ordinary relationships most other families take for granted. Wendy McDonald, AACL President and a parent of a student with disabilities who is fully included, stated, “As a parent of a child with disabilities I know how hurtful this must be to Hannah and her family. As an Association representing many thousands of families with children with disabilities I call upon the Elk Island School District to demonstrate its capacity to listen, change and respond to the cries of a young child with disabilities.”

ACTION: Continue reading

a tool

this is about a tool I use and find works fine
free ways to video conference
like Skype but one can do more than one on one

and no software download needed

I tried it so far one on one. Quality was good. Not sure the more than one on one need some people to try with me
but if that also works that should be useful I think


Parents in Hospital Lawsuit Offer Deal

from the National Post, by Joseph Brean, June 23rd, 2009. [NB: this doesn’t fit completely with my own understanding of the case]

TORONTO – The small claims court lawsuit over the controversial 2005 death in infancy of Annie Farlow at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was thrown into confusion yesterday when her parents, citing a “change of position,” dropped their opposition to a full-fledged Superior Court trial, but requested to be immune from any future order to pay the hospital’s costs, and offered to drop the case in exchange for a meeting with top hospital administrators.

Timothy Farlow told Judge Thea Herman that a number of recent events have convinced him and his wife, Barbara, that the systemic problems they believe led to Annie’s death at age three months, after complications from the genetic disorder Trisomy 13, have been largely resolved, and their goal of effecting change has been achieved.

The Farlows are suing Sick Kids and two doctors for $10,000, the maximum small claim, over alleged negligence and malpractice. Sick Kids and the two defendant doctors, pediatrician Dr. Michael Weinstein and critical care specialist Dr. Christopher Parshuram, are not seeking costs from the Farlows over their current motion to elevate the case into Superior Court. But Judge Herman said she is likely powerless to prohibit some future trial judge from ordering the Farlows to pay costs.

Read the full story here. For more on the broader context of the story, see the Justice for Annie Facebook group or search the What Sorts Blog.

A child’s death, a legal odyssey

from the National Post, by Joseph Brean, June 22nd, 2009:

When Barbara Farlow stands, self-represented, in a Toronto courtroom this morning to hear a judge’s decision in her $10,000 Small Claims Court action against Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children over the controversial 2005 death of her baby Annie, there are two equally dramatic possibilities.

Judge Thea Herman is to decide on a request by Sick Kids and two defendant doctors to elevate the case to Ontario Superior Court, with its stricter procedural safeguards and rules of evidence. If Mrs. Farlow wins, the case will proceed as a “small claim,” and two doctors at Canada’s top pediatric hospital will not only have to defend against allegations they deliberately killed a baby because she had a fatal genetic abnormality, but they will do so in a forum designed for minor disputes over unpaid bills, encroaching fences and overhanging trees.

Read the full story here.  For more on the broader context of the story, see the Justice for Annie Facebook group or search the What Sorts Blog.

Vehmas and Sobsey commentaries: now captioned

Below are the short commentaries–now closed captioned–delivered by Professors Simo Vehmas and Dick Sobsey as part of a panel discussion on the theme The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of  Life.

Bioethical Reflections on Disability, Medicine, and Family Life (Simo Vehmas)

Decisions and Dishonesty in Medicine (Dick Sobsey)

Simo is one of Finland’s leading bioethicists who joined us for the panel discussion, while Dick is one of the world’s authorities on violence and disability and runs the ICAD blog.  The short panel presentations that are the basis for these commentaries–by Wendy Macdonald, Sam Sansalone, and Colleen Campbell–can be heard and viewed (now that they are also closed captioned)–in this post, which also contains more information about the event as a whole.  These should be useful to some of you for teaching, for community discussion, or just for private reflection on the ways in which eugenic or newgenic thinking can be found immersed in ongoing medical practices and cultures surrounding the treatment of people with disabilities.

Next up: the audience-panel interactions, which I’ll post in the next week.