Forced sterilization and disability in Australia

From a “better babies” competition, 1913


A Senate committee was recently established in Australia to review existing law and social policy concerning the sterilization of people with disabilities.

It seems that the inquiry is a response to public response (surprise? outrage?) to finding out that this practice continues in Australia under state and territorial legislation, and beyond it.

I suspect that the commission will find that Continue reading

Woogle Works

The Os in Woogle are little stick people in wheelchairs.

Woogle Works Logo: The O's in "Woogle" are little stick people in wheelchairs.

Woogle Works is a very cool blog by designer Wai Lam Wong that focuses heavily on design ideas for people who are either permanently or temporarily disabled.  Some of the niftier gadgets include a device for opening bottles with a single hand and a computer mouse that is dual-purpose in the sense that it fits both the hand of a man with a differently shaped right hand and the right hands of his family.  If you’d like to see what another blogger has to say about this blog, look here.

What Sort of Death for Annie?

The Canadian Paediatric Society published Barbara Farlow’s commentary, “The decision to accept disability: One family’s perspective” in its May June issue of its journal, Paediatrics and Child Health. The commentary begins:

At 21 weeks’ gestation, we were informed that our daughter, Annie, had a genetic condition association with profound disabilities. Thus began the most difficult and, ultimately, most enriching journey of our lives. We realized it was highly likely that Annie would require life-saving interventions in her infancy. From the outset, we wrestled with an agonizing, moral question: Would these interventions and the preservation of her life be in the best interest of our daughter and our family?

Farlow’s infant daughter Annie died in a Toronto hospital after doctors placed a Do Not Resuscitate order in the baby’s chart with no consultation with family members. The case raises serious issues about physicians’ role in overriding parental decisions to keep their children with significant disabilities alive. You can download (for free) Farlow’s short commentary from the Journal website; it’s the second item “Commentary” in the table of contents that you find at either link.