Recommended Reading for December 10

Note that a number of blog links, media reports, and the comments therein may contain questionable language and/or clear description of abuse.

Upstart Magazine: Social media – a barrier or tool for inclusion?

Alex Varley, CEO of Media Access Australia, a not-for-profit devoted to promoting access to media for people with disabilities, says: ‘Social media are the cornerstones of modern communication and it is essential that people with disabilities, who can become socially isolated, are able to use these tools and stay connected with the world.’

Before the arrival of social media technology, Glenda Watson Hyatt, who lives with severe cerebral palsy, was unable to converse with most people, unless, as she says, they could understand ‘Glenda-ish’. Glenda now runs an eloquent blog, allowing her voice to be heard clearly and highlighting the difference between the way people with disabilities are perceived in the real world and through social media.

Glenda Watson Hyatt: 8 Simple Ways to Better Serve Customers with Disabilities During the Holiday Shopping Rush

3. Minimize extra products and displays in aisles. Cluttered aisles make navigating difficult for customers using wheelchairs, walkers and service dogs.[…]

[scooter-riding editor’s note: Quoted For Truth!]

BBC UK: ‘Fiasco’ of student loan failures

[…] a report into university loan delays in England found “conspicuous failures”. There have been widespread complaints about the Student Loans Company – with the problems still unresolved as the end of the university term approaches. […]

“The government were told about the problems with the system more than a year ago but they failed to act as it fell apart. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of students – and particularly those that are disabled – are facing hardship or having to drop out of university because they cannot afford to keep themselves,” said Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, David Willetts.

Shots (NPR’s Health Blog): Lawmakers Seek Halt To Abuses Of Disabled Kids In School

Two investigatory reports earlier this year told disturbing stories of the harsh, and on occasion fatal, methods sometimes used to discipline disabled children in school. Now members of Congress are trying to stop the practice of relying on what’s known as restraint and seclusion.

Sydney Morning Herald: In education, one size does not always fit all

Federal Educationn Minister Julia Gillard announced in April that the Education Department would be delivering grants totalling $277.5 million to be spent on “maintenance and minor building works” in NSW. The list includes a host of NSW’s elite schools receiving money for car parks, music rooms and so on. A spokeswoman for Gillard said “in the education revolution, we are not discriminating against school sectors. Our aim is to ensure that every school is a great school”. Meanwhile, Kingsdene Special School is closing due to lack of funds.

Repeated pleas to the Federal Government for financial assistance are met with the stubborn reply that “Kingsdene is receiving the maximum funding according to the formula”. […] We don’t dispute that Kingsdene is receiving the maximum funding according to existing formulas. What we do dispute is the validity of existing funding formulas. In March 2009, a survey of public school principals across NSW, in mainstream and special schools, reported 100 per cent agreement that special education was underfunded and should be linked to students’ level of function, not the irrelevant, antiquated funding formulas currently used. We need new, innovative solutions that address reality.

Herald Sun: School bully makes Tyler Fishlock’s life hell

“I can’t dodge it. I can’t see him coming and I think ‘Oh God, here comes the monster again’,” said Tyler, 7. “I am terrified of him.”

[College director Patrick Waring said] “These are six-year-olds who are having a bit of trouble getting on with each other. We are not talking about high-end bullying, it is just spasmodic bad behaviour.”

By 10 December, 2009.    recommended reading   



6 Comments

  1. Also from the second link:

    Keep sidewalks, curbcuts and ramps clear. Even a bit of snow can impede customers using wheelchairs, walkers and crutches.

    It isn’t just snow. I’ve seen quite a few shops that actively put display items in the sidewalk leading from the bus stop to the store entrance, blocking the path even for those of us who can walk (and of course, making it completely impossible to get from the bus stop to the entrance via any other means).

  2. From the NPR link:

    “The law would outlaw some current practices, such as strapping kids to chairs or the use of restraints that restrict breathing. ”

    Zuh? I just… how is that even legal in the first place? Isn’t CUTTING OFF SOMEONE’S AIR a bad thing? Wtf?
    .-= Shiyiya´s last blog ..I hurt. =-.

  3. It’s legal because those of us who supposedly “need(ed)” restraint aren’t human enough.

  4. Re: strapping kids to chairs – my mom works in the AFS class, where they babysit for 7 hours and make sure the kids don’t die. Some of the kids need restraints, because they have no control over their muscles. Though they’d never cut off someone’s air!

    My mom is a underpaid, overworked assistant. She’s a good one, always has been. But some are not – the autistic elementary aged kid who doesn’t want to be touched, well, he’s just being difficult!

    I can see underpaid overworked undervalued workers doing this – not excusing it at all. Something that would raise my mother’s pay and help the children/adults is what Amanda said – they have to be considered human, as valuable as every other person in that school. If they’re working with other human beings, maybe their pay would go up and maybe they would get better people working with them, people not likely to use a flyswatter on “unruly” “special ed” kids. (Hint, don’t do it around the kids that can talk and are actually listened to…)

    My main issue with holiday shopping is something they can’t control – crowds. But something that can be controlled is the temperature? Do I need to feel faint to shop at your store?

  5. Point well taken, codeman38! Thank you.

  6. I find myself wondering what the good Mr Waring would refer to as “high-end bullying”, to be honest. Hitting someone with a stick, and kicking them in the kneecaps doesn’t exactly sound like anyone’s definition of acceptable behaviour, whether the person being hit is sighted or not. Neither does aggressive and assaulting behaviour carried out presumably within sight of the teaching staff. Yes, I’ll accept the kid doing the bullying probably has issues of his own, but when a school is bringing in an additional teacher to act as a bodyguard for the rest of the kids in a class, it’s time to admit maybe things have got even a little out of hand.

    Then again, I do have a dog in this particular fight, since I spent twelve years as a target for school bullying, and didn’t receive much support from either teachers or peers in dealing with the problem.