A family from France, who were told they could not remain in Canada because their eight-yearold handicapped daughter would be an “excessive burden” on social services, has won a reprieve after the intervention of Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil.
The family was facing expulsion in July after Canadian immigration officials rejected Barlagne’s application for permanent residency status, saying his daughter, Rachel, was deemed “medically inadmissible” because she has cerebral palsy. Her “excessive burden” on social services would have been $5,259 a year in special educational costs.
In yet another example of alleged abuse of vulnerable populations in residential schools, this Chronicle-Journal article describes a class-action law suit filed against the Ontario government on the grounds of negligence and breaches of fiduciary duties by the school staff.
Robert Seed, 64, is the representative plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, which claims the staff at the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind, in Brantford, Ont., bullied, humiliated and abused — mentally and physically — the plaintiffs in the 1950s and 1960s. The lawsuit is still in its early stages. The claim was filed at Superior Court in Toronto last month.
Of course I don’t hate so called people with “special needs”; I hate the label “special needs”. I’m no fan of other forms of “politically correct” language (for example, visually impaired, partially sighted, or people with disabilities). But at least I can understand the motivations behind employing these terms. The word blind (to the uninformed) connotes the complete absence of sight. I would rather expand the widely-accepted meaning of the word blind, but I get the motivation behind introducing a term that suggests an inability to see very well without being completely blind. Similarly, I understand the desire to want to emphasize that the physical variation isn’t the entire person. I don’t like the way the phrase “people with disabilities” implies that the person possesses the disability rather than it being imposed by social factors, but we do wrong if we fail to acknowledge anything more about a person than the physical variation that results in disability, and “people first language” is trying to address that wrong.
That said, I can’t find worthwhile motivations behind the use of the term “special needs”, and I strongly reject the sentiment expressed by the term. What it implies is that there is a group of people who possess a set of needs that differ from… differ from whom? From those who are normal I suppose. What is overlooked by this attitude is the ways in which social factors (e.g., power and status) can shape needs and determine which ones get marked off as “special”.
From the Special Education Law Blog, from about three years ago, Lori Miller Fox’s list of disorders and disabilities that parents of special needs children often suffer from. Self-diagnoses welcome!
h/t to the Aussie blog that takes its name from the first entry below:
Terrible Palsy– A condition in which onlookers and people in the community tell parents how terrible life must be raising a physically challenged child. This condition manifests itself through pity and audible sighing of those around you. Terrible Palsy can be deceiving because you can be asymptomatic for weeks, months, or even years, and then just when you and your family are feeling really good about your child, it can present itself in the form of a condescending pat on the head or a blessing from an anonymous busybody. Best known treatment is to carry a list of snappy comebacks in your pocket or a large bag of peanut M & Ms.
Shlepilepsy – A compulsive condition in which parents feel the need to shlep from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist in order to seek help and find answers for their child with special needs. The only known effective drug for this illness is caffeine, primarily given to parents to keep them awake while driving to and from appointments.
MURRAYVILLE, Georgia (CNN) — A few weeks before 13-year-old Jonathan King killed himself, he told his parents that his teachers had put him in “time-out.”
[Two photos taken after Jonathan King’s death show the interior and exterior of the steel door to the cell where he hanged himself . In the photo on the right, which shows the inside of the cell, we can see the cord Jonathan used to hang himself tied to the metal cage-like window of the door. A school official has said that the room is no longer used.]
“We thought that meant go sit in the corner and be quiet for a few minutes,” Tina King said, tears washing her face as she remembered the child she called “our baby … a good kid.”
But time-out in the boy’s north Georgia special education school was spent in something akin to a prison cell — a concrete room latched from the outside, its tiny window obscured by a piece of paper. Called a seclusion room, it’s where in November 2004, Jonathan hanged himself with a cord a teacher gave him to hold up his pants. An attorney representing the school has denied any wrongdoing.
Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that along with the death of Jonathan, many mentally disabled and autistic children have been injured or traumatized. Few states have laws on using seclusion rooms, though 24 states have written guidelines, according to a 2007 study conducted by a Clemson University researcher.