Woman with Down syndrome prevails over parents in guardianship case

[from the Washington Post (August 3, 2013)]
NEWPORT NEWS, VA. — In a victory for the rights of adults with disabilities, a judge declared Friday that a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome can live the life she wants, rejecting a guardianship request from her parents that would have allowed them to keep her in a group home against her will.

The ruling thrilled Jenny Hatch and her supporters, who included some of the country’s most prominent disability advocates.

“Oh my God,” Hatch said over and over again, shedding tears. “I’m so happy to go home today. I deserve it. It’s over. My God, it’s over.” Continue reading Woman with Down syndrome prevails over parents in guardianship case

FBI: Disabled Army veteran can be readmitted to training academy

[from the Washington Post (August 15, 2013)] “U.S. attorneys said Wednesday that the FBI is now willing to train a disabled U.S. Army veteran who successfully sued the agency over his removal from the academy. They just can’t do it anytime soon.

At a hearing in federal district court in Alexandria, the attorneys and a high-ranking FBI human resources official said for the first time that Justin Slaby could be reinstated to the special agent training program — an important development, even though a jury had awarded the veteran with a prosthetic left hand $75,000 in damages and determined that he was qualified to return to the academy.

But the attorneys and the official said that they would prefer that Slaby, 30, enroll in the next regular academy class, which, because of federal sequestration, is not likely to kick off before April 2015.

“I would say no, we’re not unwilling,” said Special Agent James Turgal, responding to a question about whether the FBI would resume Slaby’s training. “I think the impediments that exist right now are monetary, are financial based on the sequester.”

Federal District Judge Anthony Trenga eventually asked both sides for more legal briefs on the matter, though he seemed inclined to order Slaby’s reinstatement sooner rather than later. Slaby’s attorneys argued that Trenga should force the FBI to reinstate Slaby immediately — even if it meant creating a special training program for him. Continue reading FBI: Disabled Army veteran can be readmitted to training academy

ArtStream: perform your art out

ArtStream is a regional organization based in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area whose mission is to create artistic opportunities for individuals in communities traditionally under-served by the arts. From their site:

“We are a consortium of compassionate, professional, experienced artists who wish to serve the needs of our clients. Our goal is to reach out to members in various groups such as persons with disabilities, seniors, people with short or long term illnesses and their families or caregivers, immigrants, veterans, people who are grieving, and students and teachers.

Our purpose is to inspire and help heal through various art forms such as theatre, puppetry, visual arts, multimedia, music, and dance. This is accomplished through interactive workshops and productions, on-going classes, seminars, performances, and training.”

visit the site

Montgomery hockey team, the Cheetahs, is a therapeutic win for special-needs families

Recently in the Washington Post:
Bundled in coats and clutching cups of hot coffee, parents chatter while their kids glide across the ice rink in Rockville.

But the Montgomery County parents aren’t talking much about playing time or stick-handling skills, instead using the opportunity as a sort of weekend therapy session. They talk about their children’s medical problems. They fret over the embarrassing emotional tantrums their children have in public. And they complain to one another about how hard it is find the right classroom for their children, who may have autism, can’t speak or will never know how to read.

It’s hockey season for the Montgomery Cheetahs, a team for children with special needs, which is now in its eighth season as it returns to Cabin John Ice Rink for practice this month. Continue reading Montgomery hockey team, the Cheetahs, is a therapeutic win for special-needs families

Autopsy report gives details in death of man with Down syndrome at Md. theater

Robert Ethan Saylor didn’t like to be touched, and suddenly an off-duty deputy had his hands on him. Within moments, two more deputies would grab him, the four men would fall in a heap on the floor, and Saylor, who had been shouting and resisting their attempts to restrain him, would grow quiet and still.

More than two months after a man with Down syndrome died at the hands of three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies, these details about his death emerged in an autopsy report released this week. The 11-page report, which offers the most comprehensive account yet on how the 26-year-old who went to see a movie ended up dead, was made available Tuesday, the same day local and national advocacy groups met with the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss the need for better police training. Continue reading Autopsy report gives details in death of man with Down syndrome at Md. theater