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Signs of world protests

Volume 22, Number 11

www.accesspress.org

Access Press has found a new nest

Federal survey standards will better measure health care disparities Federal efforts to collect health care data, including data on people with disabilities, are changing. These changes could ultimately bring improvements in how health care is delivered. The federal Department of Health and Human Services released final standards Oct. 31 to measure race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status more consistently. This will improve the department’s ability to highlight disparities in health status and target interventions to reduce these disparities. “It is our job to get a better understanding of why disparities occur and how to eliminate them. Improving the breadth and quality of our data collection and analysis on key areas, like race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, is critical to better understanding who we are serving,” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Through these new standards, we are providing a new set of powerful tools to help us achieve our vision of a nation free of disparities in health and health care.” Survey - p. 7

We will be located in the Kelly Inn building. Several floors of the facility are office suites. We will be overlooking the capitol, the State Office Building and the Department of Transportation. It will give our colleagues more access to Access Press during the legislative session. All will be welcome and we’ll be planning an open house in 2012. See the cartoon about the move on page 3

20 percent cut

Relatives who provide care are focus of state lawsuit by Access Press staff

Cuts to medical assistance reimbursement rates, made behind closed doors during the 2011 Minnesota Legislature’s July special session are at the center of a lawsuit against the State of Minnesota. The lawsuit was filed Oct. 25 in Ramsey County District Court on behalf of eight home health care agencies, employees and their clients with various disabilities. The lawsuit alleges that the new law is unconstitutional because it arbitrarily singles out those who provide home health care to relatives for different treatment, and discriminates against women and minorities. The change by Cari Mhyra and Joe state lawmakers is seen as hitting outstate Haines speaking at the Minnesota residents hard, because many capitol about the rate people with disabilities in rural areas must cuts and its impact rely on relatives for care. The lawsuit affects on their family. Photos by Jane McClure about 6,950 people. The advocates won a small victory Oct. 26 have relatives devastating effects on families when Ramsey County District Court Judge of the mentally and physically disabled, Dale Lindman agreed to their request for a women, people of color and immigrants whose temporary restraining order that prohibits Gov. first language is not English, and personal care Mark Dayton and Human Services Commisprovider organizations that serve communities sioner Commissioner Lucinda Jesson from of color. These groups make up a disproporimplementing or enforcing a new law that retionate number of those who provide care to duces medical assistance reimbursement by 20 family members. percent only for caregivers who provide serThey also noted, at an Oct. 25 press confervices to relatives. ence at the state capitol, that the change is disA hearing on a permanent injunction is excriminatory because it arbitrarily classifies pected sometime in November. relative and non-relative home health care proAdvocates contend that the cut to care by viders for different treatment. Both relatives violates the federal Civil Rights Act classications are required to meet the same and the state constitution. They contend it will Family care providers- p. 7

She’s a Shining Star

Courage Center’s Mundl is honored for achievements Jennifer Mundl was 17 when a 1982 gymnastics accident resulted in a severe spinal cord injury. She was paralyzed from the neck down and was left a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. Despite a lengthy hospitalization and recovery, Mundl completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She went on to help develop the assistive technology practice at Courage Center. Although many have known her as a shining star, Mundl now has the title to prove it. She is the 2011 recipient of the Shining Star of

Perseverance Award, given by Asurant Employee Benefits. Mundl earned the distinction because of the fortitude and determination she has demonstrated since her 1982 accident. The award also recognizes her work at Courage Center where she helps others who are disabled realize their full potential, her ongoing efforts in assistive technology and her unique attitude. “There are no disabilities, but rather varying abilities,” Mundl said. “I have always Star - p. 15

November 10, 2011 Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Twin Cities. MN Permit No. 4766 Address Service Requested

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” Ronald Reagan, 1911 –2004

NEWS DIGEST

A beautiful mural, created by people with disabilities, can be seen in Duluth. Pages 8-9

A little girl made a big difference for many people with disabilities. And she’s still an activist. Page 2

Advocates for sidewalk access in St. Paul are honored by the City Council, with a special day declared. Page 3

VSA Minnesota honored several people for their varied efforts to promote the arts. Page 5

Theater, dance and holiday music are featured in this month’s Accessible Fun. Page 12

INSIDE Regional News, pg 6 People & Places, pg 10 Events, pg 11 Accessible Fun, pg 12 Dick Mundl, Doris Mundl, Robert Rasmussen and Jennifer Mundl

Radio Talking Book, pg 13


Pg 2 Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

EDITOR’S DESK

Tim Benjamin By the time you read this, Access Press’s annual banquet will once again have taken place, but we’ll have gone to press a couple days before. I’m very excited to share all that happened with you, but it will have to wait until next month. At last count, we were looking forward to about 200 of our readers, advertisers and colleagues joining to honor this year’s award winner, Jeff Bangsberg. The Access Press Charlie Smith award banquet is really growing and becoming a tradition for many. I want to thank our sponsors, our terrific staff, the Board of Directors and all of you for making this the successful event it has become. Some of you may not know who Charlie Smith was. Charlie was a staunch advocate for disability rights, and he was the founder of Access Press. As an advocate, there is no one single famous thing that Charlie did, but his fingerprints are on much of Minnesota’s disability legislation from the early 1980s to his death in 2001. Charlie was a very lowkey kind of guy who never wanted to take the limelight, and he would most often give the credit due him to someone else. He was a kind, loyal friend to all of us who knew him. As founder of Access Press he worked hard along with his parents and many others

who contributed time and resources to make the paper a success. Access Press’s first issue was in 1991 (it proudly shares its birthday with the Americans with Disabilities Act). It was a struggle in the early 1990s building the foundation for a newspaper for our community. But Charlie made sure that the paper successfully documented many great strides in the Minnesota disability rights movement. On the current legislative front, the 2011 session mandated that people with disabilities under age 65 who have Medical Assistance fee-for-service coverage will, on January 1, 2012, be enrolled in a Special Needs BasicCare (SNBC) health plan for their health care. However, anyone who wants fee-for-service can opt out of an SNBC and can stay in fee-for-service. We have learned that the SNBC plans are for health services only and they do not contract with personal care attendant (PCA) agencies. Anyone who is worried about losing their PCA by enrolling in a health plan should be reassured that is not the case. One of the services that will be available in the SNBC is care coordination, and if you don’t need that, there is no obligation to go with an SNBC. There are many pros and cons and we plan to weed those out and report on them before you are required to make this decision. At the close of this year’s special session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that reduced medical

assistance reimbursement to home care agencies by 20% for services their employees provide to people who have mental and physical disabilities if the employees are related to the clients. The law went into effect on Oct. 1, but a Ramsey County District Court judge has put a hold on the 20% reduction in pay. This is a step in the right direction, but certainly not a real fix. The Department of Human Services has data from a provider survey early in 2011 indicating that 31% of Personal Care Provider Program recipients received care from a PCA who was a relative. I hope that Gov. Dayton will follow through on his comment earlier this summer at the state fair about this piece of legislation, when he said he didn’t think the 20% reduction was a good idea. If a special session is held this month for the Vikings stadium, I think it would be the perfect time to change this legislation. I continue to believe that it must be against employment law to pay one person 20% less for doing the same job as others. Haven’t women’s and other civil rights movements been concerned about equal pay for equal work? Isn’t it one of our basic goals in the disability rights movement to achieve equal employment opportunities, equal work and equal pay in all areas of our community? I don’t have a relative working as a PCA, but if I did I wouldn’t expect them to provide care for me at a discount. Oh, by the way. The snow’s coming. Stay warm and safe. ■

HISTORY NOTE

The little girl and the Great Communicator, years later by Luther Granquist

Thirty years ago, on Nov. 10, 1981, President Ronald Reagan told a story about an Iowa girl story at a press conference. “We just recently received word of a little girl who has spent most of her life in a hospital. The doctors are of the opinion that if she could be sent home and receive her care at home, it would be better for her; this spending most of her life there and away from the home atmosphere is detrimental to

Volume 22, Number 11 • Periodicals Imprint: Pending ISSN Co-Founder/Publisher (1990-1996) Wm. A. Smith, Jr. Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief (1990-2001) Charles F. Smith Board of Directors Brigid Alseth Steve Anderson Kristin Jorenby Anita Schermer Carrie Salberg Kay Willshire Cartoonist Scott Adams

Advertising Sales 651-644-2133 Executive Director Tim Benjamin Assistant Editor Jane McClure Business Manager/Webmaster Dawn Frederick Production Ellen Houghton with Presentation Images Distribution S. C. Distribution

Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material does not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. Paid advertising is available at rates ranging from $12 to $28 per column inch, depending on size and frequency of run. Classified ads are $14, plus 65 cents per word over 12 words. Advertising and editorial deadlines are the last day of the month preceding publication, except for employment ads, which are due by the 25th. Access Press is a monthly tabloid newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. Circulation is 11,000, distributed the 10th of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 450 copies are mailed directly to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. Subscriptions are available for $30/yr. Low-income, student and bulk subscriptions are available at discounted rates. Inquiries and address changes should be directed to: Access Press %The Kelly Inn Offices; 161 St. Anthony Ave; Suite 910; St. Paul, MN 55103; 651-644-2133 Fax: 651-644-2136 email: access@accesspress.org www.accesspress.org

her. Now, it would cost $1,000 a month for her particular ailment to send her home. Her parents have no way that they can afford that, and the regulations are such that Medicaid now cannot pay for that if she goes home. The alternative is Medicaid continues to pay $6,000 a month to keep her in a hospital, when the doctors say she would receive better treatment and be better off at home. But her parents can’t afford to have her taken off Medicaid.” “Now, by what sense do we have a regulation in government that says we’ll pay $6,000 a month to keep someone in a hospital that we believe would be better off at home, but the family cannot afford onesixth of that amount to keep them at home?” Reagan, who was the 40th President of the United States, was known as the “great communicator.” He often used personal anecdotes to make his point. The statement drew widespread media coverage and ignited nationwide debate over home care. Earlier that year Reagan had proposed that states should be able to seek Medicaid home and community-based waivers so that persons with disabilities in institutions could receive medical assistance services in a community setting. Bob Gettings, the Washington

Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, 1981-1989

guru for state mental retardation directors, wrote at the time that the Reagan administration viewed this waiver proposal “as a mechanism to help states curb future increases in Medicaid costs,” and not as a means to provide more humane and effective services. Congress included the waiver provision in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 approved that summer. Katie Beckett, the threeyear old child from Cedar Rapids whom Reagan spoke of, could not benefit from a waiver program. Those hadn’t been implemented yet. As a child with a disability, she was eligible for Social Security History Note - p. 15


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

Access Press is moving on up, but our phone number and email will stay the same.

Sidewalk access ordinance is celebrated by Jane McClure

With one outdoor dining season on the books and new penalties in place for any violations, an ordinance meant to keep sidewalks accessible was celebrated Oct. 19 in St. Paul. The St. Paul City Council declared the date to be Full Mobility Day in Members of the Mayor’s Council on Disability and Ward Two Council St. Paul. Member Dave Thune celebrated Full Mobility Day. Ward Two Council Submitted photo Member Dave Thune, who authored the ordinance, honored the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities and other volunteers for their work on the ordinance. Council members and city staff Alyssa Wetzel-Moore, Barritt Lovelace, Scott Coleman, Jim Thayer, Kerry Sheldon and Mark Hughes were on hand for the proclamation. Thune noted that work to bring sidewalk cafes into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) began in 2008. The effort was spurred along in 2010 when St. Paul resident Mike Samuelson asked the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities to get involved in the effort. The council voted in January 2010 supports an ordinance change from a 36-inch sidewalk right-of-way to the 48-inch right-of-way recommended by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation. Samuelson and Hughes then became a steady presence at City Council meetings, to push the ordinance changes along. Acting as representatives of the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities, the two men met consistently with St. Paul Public Works, the Department of Safety & Inspections, the Business Review Council, and Capitol River Council over the summer and fall of 2010 to work on details of the sidewalk cafe ordinance. The ordinance was drafted by October 2010 and introduced by Thune. Two public hearings were held on the ordinance, in November and December 2010. At the second hearing the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities organized a group of six ADA advocates, many in wheelchairs, to testify. They shared personal stories of the dangers they face in having to move into a busy street when there is not enough room to navigate around sidewalk obstructions. The restaurant owners who testified against the ordinance said they agreed with the concept of improved access. But some raised concerns about the widths of some city sidewalks. Others said they had ordered railings and other fixtures with the narrower passageway in mind. Because the ordinance was still controversial, Hughes and Rick Cardenas met with city staff to iron out differences in the sidewalk cafe ordinance language. It was finally adopted in April 2011. The resolution passed Oct. 19 stated, “None of this would have been possible without the mutual aide and assistance provided by the cavalry at the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities who rode into the (City) Council to petition their government for a redress of their wrongs; Now therefore, be it resolved, that Wednesday, October 19, 2011 is declared Full Mobility Day in the City of Saint Paul as we strive to reach that goal.” After the presentation Thune said that passage of the ordinance wouldn’t have been possible without the work of the advisory council and community volunteers. Advisory council members also took time to thank the City Council for their help. This past spring, summer and fall were considered to be a first run for the ordinance, with city officials warning violators rather than imposing fines. That is likely to change in the future as the council adopted penalties for sidewalk café ordinance violations October 12. The penalties for violation are similar to those for other license violations. The first violation is a $200 fine. The matrix goes to $400 for the second violation and $800 for a third violation. If there are four violations revocation of licenses is a possibility. ■

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Commentary

Lawmakers must support Medicare Part D as it is

Disability is missing from the debate

by Robert Albee

by Lennard J. Davis

AARP recently collected more than 48 pages of signatures from Minnesotans worried that debt concerns and budget cuts will jeopardize Medicare. The petition, urging Congress “to leave Medicare and social security alone,” has now been signed by 1.6 million Americans nationwide. The signatories are right to be concerned. Consider Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, known as Part D. Nearly 780,000 residents of Minnesota—15 percent of the state’s population—rely on the program to keep essential medications affordable and accessible. There are currently 30 different Part D plans available in Minnesota, some running as little as $15 per month and nearly 40 percent offering a $0 deductible. These low-cost options will cease to be available, however, if the government follows through with the cost-cutting strategies currently under consideration. Congressmen of both parties and members of President Barak Obama’s administration

have expressed support for imposing mandatory “rebates” on manufacturers of prescription drugs for certain Part D enrollees. Drug companies will be required to sell their products at artificially low rates, eliminating the unique market-based approach of Part D that has made it such a standout among other government programs. In reality, these would be nothing more than price controls. Part D has been remarkably successful because it does not impose a one-size-fits all plan on enrollees. Instead, Medicare recipients can choose their own private insurance plan, forcing insurers to negotiate low drug prices and offer reasonable premium rates in order to attract consumers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates average monthly premiums for beneficiaries in 2012 will be just $30, slightly less than average rates in 2011 and significantly less than the CBO’s original projection of $53. Taxpayers are also reaping the rewards of Part D’s competitive structure. According to the CBO, Part D is costing 41

percent less than originally estimated—equating to savings of $112 billion over the decade. With affordable premiums and increased access to medications, it’s no surprise that beneficiaries are pleased with their coverage. In fact, 84 percent of seniors reported to Medicare Today that they are satisfied with the Part D program. What’s more, according to a new study by Harvard Medical School, improved access and adherence to drugs through Part D reduces healthcare spending per patient by approximately 10 percent. Costly in-patient care, often the result of non-adherence to a drug regimen, was reduced the most dramatically. With Part D, seniors are more likely to stay healthy, and that 10 percent savings from reduced inpatient care means annual savings of $12 billion. If lawmakers choose to impose rebates and ignore the overwhelming evidence of Part D’s efficiency, these savings will quickly vanish. Today in Part D, private insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical firms, and pass cost savings along to consumers in an effort to make their plans attractive. Part D - p. 6

It has been more than 20 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect, but while the law has changed some things in higher education, it hasn’t changed the way academic culture regards people with disabilities. While our current interest in diversity is laudable, colleges rarely think of disability when they tout diversity. College brochures and Web sites depict people of various races and ethnicities, but how often do they include, say, blind people or those with Parkinson’s disease? When disability does appear, it is generally cloistered on the pages devoted to accommodations and services. It’s not that disability is simply excluded from visual and narrative representations of diversity in college materials; it is rarely even integrated into courses devoted to diversity. Anthologies in all fields now include theoretical perspectives devoted to race, gender, and sometimes social class, but disability is almost never included. Indeed, in my field, literary theory and cultural studies, The Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism had only one essay on disability in its thousands of pages, and that was removed in the second edition. (Full disclosure: I wrote the essay.) I recently gave a talk about disability and diversity at a major university, and a scholar of African-American history seemed nonplused that I would

consider disability as on a par with the oppression of people of color. Indeed, one famous disability-studies scholar who taught at a historically black college was denied tenure (subsequently reversed) for having made the analogy between race and disability. I would argue that disability isn’t just missing from a diversity consciousness, but that disability is antithetical to diversity as it now stands. It seems clear, as the literary theorist (and my colleague) Walter Benn Michaels points out in his book The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality (Metropolitan Books, 2006), that diversity nicely suits neoliberal capitalism. Michaels argues that the idea of diversity functions to conceal financial inequality. I would add that diversity also represses difference that isn’t included under the betterknown categories of race, ethnicity, and gender. In other words, diversity can exist only as long as we discount physical, cognitive, and affective impairments. These need to be repressed because they are a collective memento mori of human frailty; but more than that, they are narcissistic wounds to the neoliberal belief in the free and autonomous subject. The post-Enlightenment citizen’s main characteristic is individuality and the ability to craft one’s destiny and choose one’s fate. But disability seems a lot less like choice and a whole lot more like fate and powerlessness. Colleges are not exempt from this way of thinking. Courses on diversity are intended to celebrate and empower underrepresented identities. But disability seems harder for people without disabilities to celebrate and see as empowering. The idea presented by diversity is that any identity is one we all could imagine having, and that all identities are worthy of choosing. But the single identity one cannot (and, given the ethos of celebrating diversity, should not) choose is to be disabled. No one should make the choice that his or her partner be disabled, or that their child be born with a disability. So how could disability legitimately be part of the diversity paradigm, since it speaks so bluntly against the idea of choice Commentary - to p. 15


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

VSA’s Arts Access Awards are presented

VSA Arts Access Award winners are, left to right, Linda Guidera, Wilbur Neushwander, Brian Jon Foster (the award designer), Mark Franko (Minnesota Fringe Festival) and Carei Thomas.

Photo by VSA Minnesota

The arts in Minnesota are more accessible to people with disabilities today—thanks in part to three individuals and one organization that value the arts. The 14th annual Arts Access Awards are nominated by the public and presented by VSA Minnesota, to recognize outstanding accomplishments by artists, arts organizations, advocates and educators that help create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts. This year’s award, created by Brian Jon Foster of Minneapolis, is called the “Jaehny” in honor of Jaehn Clare, a co-founder of VSA Minnesota. The 2011 awards were presented Sept. 26 at the new Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 516 Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Attendees also participated in a tour of the new facility. Most Active & Visible MN Artist with a Disability Carei Thomas, Minneapolis It was the mid-20th century in the culturally diverse Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Carei Thomas took his first piano lessons. After his family moved to Chicago during his teenage years, he formed a doo-wop group and began exploring spontaneous vocal composition. At Chicago’s Roosevelt University and Chicago Musical College, he was introduced to elemental jazz piano voicings and fourpart modern vocal harmony as used by the Hi Lo’s and Four Freshmen. In the late 1960s, Thomas played with Dexter Gordon and Art Taylor in Paris, Ari Brown of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, and Archie Shepp in “Old Town” Chicago. He began an alliance with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians; and he continued playing piano as a means to realize or hear “outside” the compositions going on “inside” his head, his soul, and his self. Thomas moved to Minneapolis in 1972 and began developing several controlled improvisational concepts he called “Brief Realities”—which were how he wanted to use composition in fresh ways (going back and forth chronologically in pendulum fashion). In 1993, Thomas became seriously ill with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. He was hospitalized and in physical rehabilitation for two years. But he continued to create and was able to adapt his hands to produce chords much like the ones he created before he was paralyzed. He has founded and co-founded musical ensembles that play diverse works. He has produced a variety of interdisciplinary events for the community, held residencies from kindergarten through college, and been recognized through awards and commissions. Outstanding Educator involving Students with Disabilities in the Arts Linda Guidera, Next Step, North St. Paul Linda Guidera, of Next Step Transition Program in North St. Paul writes the following: “My mother taught me how to see the world through an artist’s eyes, and it’s added such joy to my entire life. Having received my BA in art at UC Davis, I went on to get my teacher certificates and started teaching in special education. It didn’t take long to discover the many talents in the areas of the arts of those children in speVSA - p. 14

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REGIONAL NEWS Caregivers stage protests Caregivers from Dellwood Place and Bethesda Care Center, two Cerenity nursing homes slated for closure in November, rallied Oct. 12 at Dellwood Place with community supporters from across the Twin Cities to stand up for seniors, the disabled, and long-term care workers. During a week that the Congressional “Super Committee” was expected to discuss proposals to make

drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and public services, those at the rally demanded that major banks and “the top 1%” pay their fair share of taxes to protect public services like quality care for our disabled and elderly. “These closures will force our residents, who have lived in the community for decades, to move away from their neighborhood and family members,” said Calvin Cooper, a janitor at Dellwood Place. “The big banks crashed our economy and foreclosed on our homes. Now, the continued refusal of the top 1% to pay their fair share of taxes is causing budget cuts and closures of our state’s nursing homes. It’s time to stop being bullied by the big banks and Wall St. and start standing up for dignity for seniors and workers.”

Medicaid demonstration to start Hennepin County is proposing a Medicaid demonstration project—Hennepin Health—to test an innovative approach to delivering medical, behavioral health and human services to clients in the county’s “safety net,” who tend to have poor health outcomes and be high users of county services. Hennepin will be negotiating with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to develop the plan and a new payment model. All members of Hennepin Health will be adults without children enrolled in Medicaid who earn annually less than $8,172 for a single person or $11,040 for a married couple. Hennepin Health will develop new protocols and eliminate barriers for people on Medicaid who use the county’s systems, primarily Hennepin County Medical Center, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Human Services and Public Health Department and Metropolitan Health Plan Hennepin is in a unique position, said Jennifer DeCubellis, area director for Human Services and Public Health Department and director of the project. “The county has a cooperative network, which includes a hospital, a health care center, a system of social workers and behavioral health experts, and a managed care organization. By blending medical, behavioral health and social services in a patient-cen-

tered care model—and managing the dollars—we should reduce costs and impacts on other systems such as law enforcement, corrections, the courts and community agencies.” If successful, Hennepin Health could be replicated in other parts of the country. The four core partners have collaborated extensively over the development of this model and have initiated similar collaborations and planning sessions with extended partnerships, including community agencies and other health centers. Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat said, “We know that medical problems need to be addressed alongside social, behavioral and human services needs. Coordinating those services reduces costly, unsatisfactory results—for the client, for providers and for the county, which ends up paying for care.” By addressing all the issues and creating a coordinated, comprehensive care plan, costs should be reduced and health outcomes and client satisfaction improved. “We need to end the cycle of costly crisis care,” Opat said. “Hennepin Health is innovative because it truly blends social, behavioral and medical services.” ■ [Source: Hennepin County]

Health care workers protest the closing.

Photo courtesy of SEIU

At the rally caregivers and community supporters signed goodbye cards to residents at Dellwood Place Care Center, which is one of two Cerenity care centers slated to be shut down in the coming months. The Cerenity closures follow in a string of nursing home closures caused by callous budget cuts that were required after the state’s richest residents refused to pay their fair share of taxes. ■ [Source: SEIU]

Part D - from p. 4 If the government forces drug companies to sell their medicines at steep, artificial discounts, private insurers and pharmacy benefit managers could find themselves unable to negotiate the same steep discounts. So premiums could jump in price. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that imposing rebates in Part D could increase premium prices by 20 percent! My organization works to provide information and services to Minnesotans with diabetes. Changes to Medicare Part D would be particularly devastating to these patients. Minnesotans have declared their support for Part D. Now our elected representatives need to listen. Medicare Part D has more than proven its worth. We must not jeopardize the access and affordability the program provides seniors. ■ Robert Albee is the CEO of A Partnership Of Diabetics (A-POD), headquartered in Minneapolis.


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

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Family care providers - from p. 1 qualifications to be licensed, are authorized by the state to provide the same array of health care services and are otherwise similarly status in every respect. “On its face, the law is unconstitutional,” said David Bradley Olsen, the attorney who is representing the plaintiffs. “The state determines who is in need of in-home services, and what services are authorized for reimbursement. And the state requires that all PCAs have the same training, and pass the same tests. There is simply no rational reason for paying equally qualified people less for the same work, just because they happen to be related to the person in need of care.” Deonte Franklin, a family caregiver, is affected by the pay cut. “I went through PCA training, passed the test, and got my license so that I could take care of my sister,” she said. “She has cerebral palsy. We barely get by now. If my pay is cut by 20%, I will either have to get a different job, or I will have to go on some kind of public assistance. It just seems crazy to

me that the state is willing to pay some stranger more than they will pay me to take care of my sister.” HealthStar Home Health, et al vs. Dayton et al may be just one of several actions triggered by the special legislative session held in July. One complaint by news media, advocates and lobbyists is that much of the state budget balancing went on behind closed doors, not giving the public their right to speak to proposed changes meant to balance the state’s $5 billion budget deficit. Some changes have been delayed. One of these, postponed until Nov. 1, is a 10 percent cut in payment for care of 2,750 people with physical and developmental disabilities. The fallout from this cut could be the closing of small group homes that serve residents with disabilities who are considered “low need.” Others, such as a funding cut that affected the voicemail service Open Access Twin Cities, have had the effect of slashing down some services. The change affecting rela-

tive caregivers took place Oct. 1 but has been set aside due to Lindman’s action. The Minnesota Department of Human Services hasn’t commented on the lawsuit. But Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, has defended the cut. Abeler, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said that the law was passed because “many people care for their disabled child and don’t get paid anything . . . I talked to the Department about it and they thought if we reduced the rate, that most people will still do it.” But that has met a vehement response from community members. Elin Ohlsson, owner of Care Planners Inc., had a different take on it. “We understand that the legislature has an obligation to balance the budget, but we don’t understand why they thought it was appropriate to do it by targeting mentally and physically disabled people who receive needed in-home care from relatives. The fact is, personal care assistants who chose to care for their relatives are already working for wages that barely

allow them to meet family needs, and they simply can’t afford to work for less.” “These cuts will hit the Asian American community especially hard,” said Neng Yang of United Home Health Care. “Most of my clients are Asian, and almost all of my personal care assistants care for their relatives. State policies encourage culture care. Why is the State willing to reimburse PCA’s who don’t even speak the Hmong language at 100%, but not relatives who can provide the best care for their loved ones?” “The Hispanic and Latin American communities are also very family oriented,” said Life Fountain representative Wilmar DelGado. “Half of the PCA’s that work for me take care of relatives, and nearly all of them are women. That is our way.” “After careful consideration of the effects that a 20% cut in medical assistance reimbursement for the services provided by our personal care assistants to their relatives would have on our employees, disabled clients and their families, we felt

it was our moral obligation to challenge the law,” said Tim Lively, President of HealthStar Home Health. “Our agency mostly serves the Native American community, and a disproportionately high percentage of our PCAs are Native American women who care for their relatives.” “PCA care recipients are low income citizens with disabilities who require trusted and trained caregivers to help them function safely and independently in the community,” said Tim Plant, HealthStar Executive Director. “These are not middle or upper income families who might comfortably choose to stay at home and care for a relative without full pay. If this new law continues to be implemented, many people with disabilities will lose a trusted, qualified caregiver, and will likely be replaced by a stranger at a higher cost to the state or, worse, will be unnecessarily institutionalized. Tragically, most of the impact will be felt by minority communities.” ■

Survey - from p. 1 “Many racial and ethnic minorities, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and other populations face unique health challenges, often have reduced access to health care and often pay the price with poorer health,” said Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, HHS deputy assistant secretary for minority health. “Today we are implementing an important provision of the Affordable Care Act that reinforces our commitment to reducing these health disparities. These new standards will help us carry forward the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and our work to address disparities in people with disabilities as well.” The Affordable Care Act requires new standards for the collection and reporting of health care information based on race, ethnicity, sex, and primary language. Making data standards consistent will help identify the significant health differences that often exist between and within ethnic groups, particularly among Asian, Hispanic/Latino and Pacific Islander populations. For example, a study showed that the diabetes-related mortality rate for Mexican Americans (251 per 100 000) and Puerto Ricans (204 deaths per 100 000) was twice as high as the diabetes-related mortality rate for Cuban Americans (101 deaths per 100 000). However, this informa-

tion would have remained unknown if only the umbrella terms of “Hispanic” or “Latino” had been used. By adding Mexican American and Chicano/a, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Other Hispanic Latino/a or Spanish origin as explicit categories required on all HHS-sponsored health surveys, officials can better capture the individual ethnic group challenges that are often found within minority populations. This specificity allows for better measurements and better ways to track health differences in these populations and target interventions appropriately. The new data collection requirements also will improve researchers’ ability to consistently monitor more dimensions of health disparities among people with disabilities. Collection of all data will take place under HHS’ longstanding, strict commitment to protecting privacy. The standards, effective upon publication after accepting comments on proposed standards, apply to health surveys sponsored by HHS, where respondents either self-report information or a knowledgeable person responds for all members of a household. The standards will be used in all new surveys and at the time of major revisions to current surveys. For more information on the final data standards, visit minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302 ■

Diamond Hill Townhomes Diamond Hill Townhomes is a great property located near the Minneapolis International Airport. Our waiting list is currently closed. Call for updated openings as this can change from time to time. We have two and three bedroom townhomes that are HUD subsidized and rent is 30% of the total household's adjusted gross income. We have a large number of mobility impaired accessible units.

To check for future waiting list openings please call (612) 726-9341.


Pg 8 Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

Duluth mural project celebrated; work Colorful tiles were created and lined up in sections for the mural, below. At left, a tile is displayed. Many, like this one, had slogans and photos as well as art.

Creation of the mural tiles was a joint effort as many people helped paint them.

Many volunteers helped line up the tiles, at top left. At top right, one of the artists takes time out from her work.

Your home, your independence . . . 763-546-1000 At In Home Personal Care, we pride ourselves not only on the help we provide, but also on our ability to listen. We understand that each of our clients has different needs at different times. Our quality home care services are formed around a plan that works for you and your individual situation. Serving Adults and Children with Long-Term Needs since 1991

8441 Wayzata Blvd; Suite 130 Golden Valley, MN 55426

“ I have been an In Home client for at least 20 years. During that time I have received excellent, reliable, consistent care from PCAs and HHA’s trained and supervised by In Home.” - Jean T (Client)


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

created by and for people with disabilities

The Disability Mural Project was led by the Arrowhead Alliance of Artists with Disabilities, which held 24 workshops to produce the mural. Above, some of the plus-300 mural tiles are spread out. At right, artists work on tiles.

PEOPLE & PLACES Johnson named to MS Society post

Daniel S. Johnson has joined the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Upper Midwest Chapter as Vice President of Public Policy and Mission Advancement. In this role, he leads advocacy and political engagement, client programs and services, and professional outreach and education. The chapter represents more than 17,000 people living with MS

in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and several counties in western Nebraska and Wisconsin. Johnson’s background is in health policy and program leadership experience. Previously, he worked as an independent nonprofit consultant, as Vice President of Social Responsibility for UnitedHealth Group where he led the transformation of the social responsibility culture to focus on chronic disease, and as Executive Director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. Early in his career, he supervised and provided direct care to people with chronic illnesses, including MS. Johnson serves on the boards of ClearWay Minnesota and the Charities Review Council. He is past chair of the Minnesota Council of Foundations. He has a Master of Education with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin— LaCrosse. He and his wife, Rev. Sally Howell Johnson, have two sons and live in West St. Paul. ■

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Pg 10 Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

PEOPLE & PLACES

Awards given at statewide conference The Arc Minnesota annually honors outstanding individuals and agencies for their work to create a better world for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Recipients are selected from nominations submitted from across Minnesota. The 2011 award winners were recognized Nov. 5 at The Arc Minnesota Awards Banquet, during the organization’s state conference at Breezy Point. One new award honors the late Tim Nelson, leader of Hammer and former chair of The Arc Minnesota Board of Directors. The Tim Nelson Unity Award was given to posthumously recognize Nelson for his passion and commitment to strengthening The Arc movement and increasing the unity among chapters of The Arc in Minnesota. Nelson died this summer. This

Jean Bender

Photos courtesy of the Arc of Minnesota

will become an annual award. Allie Henley, Abby Hirsch, and Tim Strom of Plymouth won the Andrew R. Richardson Advocacy Award. As high school students, these three self-advocates led a successful campaign to get their classmates to sign pledges to stop using defamatory language to describe people with disabilities. Chet and Gladys Tollefson of Anoka were presented the Betty Hubbard Family Advocacy Award for their leadership and vision in creating Rise, Inc., which has helped expand employment opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities. Rise, Inc. just celebrated its 40th anniversary. David Spragg of Golden Valley was given the Bill Sackter Citizenship Award. This self-advocate works and lives independently in the community. Spragg donates his time to organizations working with people in poverty or who have disabilities, to his church, and to political activities involving elections and legislation. Coach Tom Sohrweide and the White Bear Lake Youth Football Association received the Boggs Mitchell Award for Inclusive Recreation. He and the team were honored for fully including a White Bear Lake student with Down syndrome in their youth football league. Nancy Carlson of Bloomington and Joanne Miller of Apple Valley were given the Community Innovator Award. These women donated generously of their time and talent to The Arc Greater Twin Cities. They were instrumental in creating an online learning program for families to gain crucial information in a means convenient and accessible to them. The Community Media Excellence Award was given to Bill Hanley and Steve Spenser of TPT-TV, for their production of the documentary Institutions to Independence, which was broadcast on TPT stations across Minnesota. The Resource Center, West Central Industries in Willmar, was given the Distinguished Community Service Award. The Center has several programs to increase acceptance of and decrease stigmas about people with disabilities, provide connections and information to parents and siblings, and fund activities and services to increase community inclusion. Paulbeck’s County Market

Les Bauer

in Aitkin won the Employer of the Year Award for its long-time commitment of providing inclusive, competitive employment for people with disabilities. The Frances Klas Johnson Spirit of Giving Award went to Hammer in Wayzata, for its generous and long-standing support for The Arc Minnesota’s programs and activities. The Government Partner Award was given to the Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, State of Minnesota, for exposing the abuse of people with developmental disabilities occurring at the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options Program (METO) through the report Just Plain Wrong. Lisa Willey from Carefree Cottages of Maplewood was given the Inclusive Housing Award for her assistance in finding accessible and affordable housing for women with disabilities who moved from a nursing home to the community. Maureen Rosacker of Partnership Resources, Inc. in St. Louis Park and Jan Hopper of Hammer in Wayzata shared the Irving Martin Professional of the Year. The outstanding service of these women in community-based services has increased the independence of people with developmental disabilities and helped them develop their capabilities and gifts. The Luther Granquist Systems Change Award was given to Judge Donovan Frank, a federal district court judge in St. Paul who has educated his colleagues about the rights of people with disabilities and disability law. He also personally intervened to protect the jobs of custodial workers with disabilities working in his building when their positions were in jeopardy. The Outstanding Achievement by a Local Chapter Award was given to The Arc Greater Twin Cities, for creating its GetSet! for Work Program. This innovative program is a partnership with Opportunity Partners and Dunwoody Institute and combines formal education with a chance for people with developmental disabilities to be employed in retail businesses. Arc - p. 13

BDC Management Co. is now accepting applications for our waiting lists at the following affordable communities Albright Townhomes Buffalo Court Apartments Elliot Park Apartments Evergreen Apartments Franklin Lane Apartments Hanover Townhomes Lincoln Place Apartments Olson Towne Homes Prairie Meadows Talmage Green Trinity Apartments Unity Place Vadnais Highlands Willow Apartments Woodland Court Apartments

Minneapolis Buffalo Minneapolis Hutchinson Anoka St. Paul Mahtomedi Minneapolis Eden Prairie Minneapolis Minneapolis Brooklyn Center Vadnais Heights Little Falls Park Rapids

(612) 824-6665 (763) 684-1907 (612) 338-3106 1-800-661-2501 (763) 427-7650 (651) 292-8497 (651) 653-0640 (612) 377-9015 (952) 941-5544 (612) 623-0247 (612) 721-2252 (763) 560-7563 (651) 653-0640 (320) 632-0980 1-888-332-9312

We are accepting applications for our large number of mobility impaired accessible units. Please call us for more information.

1 BR 2 BR 2 BR 1 BR 1 & 2 BR 1 BR 2 BR 1 BR 2 & 3 BR 2 BR 1 BR (sr) 2 BR 3 BR 1 & 2 BR 1 BR


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

ACCESSIBLE FUN Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings. Get further information on things to do around Minnesota at www.accessminnesota.org and click on the calendar. For information on galleries and theater performances around the state, visit www.vsamn.org or call 612-3323888 or 1-800-801-3883 (voice/tty). Or check c2 (caption coalition) inc., which does most of the captioned shows in Minnesota, also captions shows across the country: http://c2net.org\

Interact celebrates the season Interact has holiday events planned. JOY: A Holiday Cabaret, will be staged at The Lab Theater, 700 N. First St., Minneapolis. This all-original production filled with music and dance, bows to the JOY of the season and then some! Set as a retrospective of a TV show from the 50s called The JOY Hour, the play explores the many different aspects of JOY: remembering JOY, experiencing JOY! The Interact ensemble of actors with and without disabilities and features Kevin Kling, Eriq Nelson and director Tod Petersen (A Christmas Carole Petersen), as well as some Interact favorites from the past 15 years and a dance spectacular guided by choreographer Collette Illarde. The preview is Nov. 18, with performances November 19 - Dec. 17. The AD and ASL performances are 7:30 p.m. Wed, Nov. 23 on a “pay what you can” basis and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Tickets are reduced to $5 for patrons with disabilities, plus one companion at $5 ($22 regular, $18 student/senior, $15 under age 16 and groups of 10+); Ask for Dis/Cover Tickets. Any patrons who use Metro Mobility or another transportation provider, ask for a $2.50 ride rebate when tickets are picked up. Tickets based on availability. FFI: 612-333-7977; www.interactcenter.com or www.thelabtheater.org. Interact also has two other holiday events. The Interact Party is 6-9 p.m. Wed, Nov. 30 at The Lab Theater This event, described as more party than arty, will celebrate and support Interact, with a live auction featuring unique items and experiences from our artists, staff and friends. The $25 tickets include giant pizza and beer to brag about, with entertainment by Interact artists with and without disabilities, including stories from Minnesota’s favorite storyteller, Kevin Kling! FFI: www.thelabtheater.org. And anyone wanting more Interact holiday cheer can go to The Great Big Holiday Art Sale, Dec. 2-22 at the Interact Gallery. Interact Studio’s eclectic, no-holdsbarred chance to see and purchase affordable work by over 75 artists from the Interact Studio. It features oneof-a-kind gifts at affordable prices for holiday giving including jewelry, paintings, ceramics and more with prices ranging from $5 to almost everything under $100. The opening party is 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. FFI: www.interacttheater.com

National park passes by mail Lifetime passes to America’s national parks for senior citizens and Americans with disabilities are now available through the mail. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said the Senior Pass and the Access Pass will still be available at national parks, “But the option of receiving a pass by mail may better suit some people and any change that makes it more convenient to prepare to come to the parks is a change for the better. We want everyone to experience the amazing places in our care. “National parks have a lot to offer,” continued Jarvis. “They are places to share with children, grandchildren, and other family members. They facilitate recreation and healthy living. Many parks, including Yellowstone, Shenandoah, and Denali, have trails that are accessible to people with limited mobility and to wheelchair users. We also have many accessible camping and picnic areas.” The Senior and Access passes provide admission to, and use of, federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees. Pass users also receive a 50% discount on some amenity fees for activities like camping and launching a boat. They are available to citi-

zens and permanent residents of the United States age 62 or more or who have permanent disabilities regardless of age. The “Senior” and “Access” versions of the America the Beautiful Pass—the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass—are good for a lifetime. The Access pass is free and the Senior pass is just $10. There is a $10 processing fee to receive either pass by the mail. To get your Senior pass through the mail just submit a completed application, proof of residency and age, and $20. The fee covers the cost of the pass and a document processing fee. You can print out an application at this web site: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html. Once the application package is received and the documentation verified, the pass will be mailed to you. The application for the Access pass is also available at http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html.

Music of Difference The Wayzata Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Marlene Pauley present Music of Difference, a concert that illuminates the positive effects of disability. The concert is 3 p.m. Sun, Nov. 13 at Wayzata Community Church, 125 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata. The concert features the World Premiere of Concerto No. 2 “for Catherine”, by composer Robert J. Bradshaw. The piece is written for Catherine Branch, an exceptional flutist whose life mission is to raise awareness of disability in American in a positive and enlightening way through music. Branch has diplegic cerebral palsy. Prior to and following the concert, Pauley, Bradshaw and Branch will host repertoire/concert discussions with audience members. They will dive into the formation of the concert, the concerto and Branch’s work promoting a positive view of the disabled. Bradshaw will use a screen and projector to show digital footage of Branch, thereby providing the “rhythms” that inspired his music. The concert is free. The church building is accessible. FFI: www.thewso.org

Tellabration 2011 Tellabration 2011 will be performed by Northstar Storytelling League, 7:30 p.m. Fri & Sat, Nov. 25-26, at Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis. This 11th annual event caps two days of storytelling activities. Deaf storyteller Peter Cook will perform Friday evening. Saturday includes a morning Children’s Concert, performances in the auditorium and open stage in the cafe (free with a Tellabration button: pay-what-youcan, $5-15 suggested) and workshops, including one by Cook on Character and Narration in ASL for persons who use American Sign Language. This workshop is $25; partial and full scholarships available as needed. The evening Story Slam, hosted by Nancy Donoval, is open to all. Tickets are $15 ($12 Northstar member, senior, student, Fringe or Tellabration button; free for children under 12), at the door. FFI: 612-782-7121 or 612217-1027; info@northstar storytelling.org, www.North starStorytelling.org

Inner Voice, Inner Strength The Inner Voice, Inner Strength Creative Arts Program is offered at Patrick’s Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls, 2-5 p.m. Sun, Nov. 13. The event is free and sponsored by Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. The program includes a local celebrity recognizing artists affected by seizures, art from the BRAINSTORMS Art Collection, EPILOGUES and BRAINSTORMS artists and writers speaking on their work, CADENZAS performance art—music, dance, acting and reading. Snacks will be provided. FFI: 651-287-2312; email Stephanie Kolari at skolari@efmn.org; www.efmn.org

Help kids with disabilities Nettie & Friends are at it again with their irresistible, locally handcrafted goods. Come to the annual sale’s opening reception on 4-7 p.m. Sat, Dec. 3 at the Egg and I East, 2550 University Avenue, St. Paul. Shop for

Pg 11

your holiday gifts. Continue shopping at Egg and I throughout December. (Be sure to plan time for breakfast or lunch while you’re shopping.) When you buy fabulous gifts from Nettie & Friends, you’re also benefiting the students at the Maxfield School in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood. Maxfield serves many studies with disabilities. (Nettie & Friends is a registered 501(C3) nonprofit organization).

Gallery tour Take a gallery tour at the Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls at 2 p.m. Sat, Dec. 3. The tour is free and open to the public. The ASL-interpreted public gallery tours are offered at 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Tours gather in the Bazinet Garden Lobby. No registration is required. Assistive Listening Devices are also available and DeafBlind ASL can be arranged with two weeks’ advance notice FFI: 612-375-7564; access@walkerart.org

Bridges dance program Minnesota Chorale announces its 17th annual Bridges program, a partnership with Courage Center, and the Dance Exchange. Join the Dance! focuses on Minnesotans with physical disabilities. Clients of the Courage Center will be paired with singers in the creation and performance of choreographed works, set to music. Dancers from the Dance Exchange of Takoma Park, Md., will lead singers and dancers in the creation of these works, using the Dance Exchange’s nationally acclaimed methods in developing community-based art. Following a performance at the Courage Center’s Golden Valley location on Fri, Nov. 18, two public performances are scheduled, 7:30 p.m. Sat, Nov. 19, Music Room of the SPCO Center, Hamm Building, 408 St. Peter St., St. Paul and Sun, Nov. 20, 4:00 p.m. at St. Richard’s Catholic Church, 7540 Penn Ave., S., Richfield. Tickets available at the door.

Winterlights Enjoy the Winterlights program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S. The first ASL date is Sun, Dec 4 with Celebrating the Season at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m. meet at the Purcell-Cutts House. Or have ASL interpretation at 7 p.m. Thu, Dec. 8. A free ASL-interpreted public tour is normally offered on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m., beginning by the Information Desk in the museum lobby. Interpreted tours are also scheduled on other days. On the second weekend of each month, free tours are offered for visitors with memory loss, Alzheimer’s and their friends or care partners. The events are free. FFI: 612-870-3131 or TTY 612-8703132; dhegstro@artsmia.org; www.artsmia.org ■


Pg 12 Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11 Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council seeks new members

UPCOMING EVENTS Advocacy DSPAM seeks board, committee members Direct Support Professional Association of Minnesota (DSPAM) seeks nominations and applications for both volunteer board members and volunteer committee members. DSPAM is a non-profit membership organization working to improve the quality of human services provided to persons with disabilities. It does this by strengthening the Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce. DSPAM strives to help reduce turnover rates; increase social status, improve training opportunities and programs, increase educational and career opportunities, plus enhance wages paid and benefits offered for DSPs. Members of DSPAM generally fall into categories; DSPs and front-line supervisors, self-advocates and family members and other professionals who work in Minnesota’s chronic illness and disability communities. The board of directors has operating and oversight responsibility for the Minnesota chapter and meets quarterly in St. Paul. Each board member is responsible for preparing for, then attending, quarterly board meetings. Board members are encouraged to stay up-to-date with issues impacting DSPs, asking questions, or otherwise gathering needed information. Board members also represent the organization at community events, as well as those events hosted by DSPAM. The committees also need community members. The three main committees are legislative policy, internet communication and membership development. Deadline to apply is Fri, Dec. 2; please send a brief biography. FFI: Don Krutsinger, donkrutsinger@comcast.net Workshops, conferences Mental health training course The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota hosts a free Mental Health First Aid interactive training course designed to teach basic first aid skills needed to help a person who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. This free, 12-hour course is aimed at improving mental health literacy. It is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 28-29, St. Cecilia Church, 2357 Bayless Place, St. Paul. Understanding and recognizing the sign that someone needs help is the first step in getting that person appropriate care and treatment. FFI: NAMI, 651-645-2948 or www.namihelps.org Free technology classes Free adaptive technology classes are offered by Hennepin County Library, at the downtown Mpls library, 300 Nicollet Mall. Classes are free but you must pre-register for these classes for persons who are blind or have low vision. In addition to classes there are often volunteers available to introduce patrons to the equipment and software available. Volunteer hours vary, so it’s best to call ahead. Funding for Adaptive Technology classes is provided by a generous grant from the Hudson Family Foundation. FFI: 612-630-6469, www.hclib.org

The Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council is a citizen advisory council, appointed by the governor, to provide guidance to the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The VR program serves thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities every year, helping to place them in jobs and educational opportunities. For anyone interested in the issue of disability employment policy, the council offers an excellent opportunity. Its members help to shape policy, engage in strategic planning, and provide guidance to government and nonprofit agencies working collaboratively to promote increased employment for people with disabilities. The council includes people with disabilities, community rehabilitation program employees, vocational rehabilitation counselors, advocates, parents, VR customers and business leaders. Members serve a three-year term. Council members advise the state on the performance of Minnesota’s VR programs and assist in the agency’s planning. Council members also report to the

governor and the U.S. Department of Education on the status of VR programs, coordinate activities with other state councils and participate in public hearings and forums that guide the state’s VR programs and services. Council members also help an underrepresented and important demographic—people with disabilities – to obtain employment, education, community integration, and the chance to live independently. Application forms, including applications in alternative formats, are available from: Secretary of State, Open Appointments: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/ index.aspx?page=5 For more information contact Gail Lundeen, Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 332 Minnesota Street Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101 Phone is 651-259-7364 or 1-800-328-9095; TTY is 651296-3900 or 1-800-657-3973. Or email Gail.Lundeen@state.mn.us

Youth and families

of Human Services (DHS) website. Members of the public can subscribe to email alerts when new documents are posted. Consumers now have quick access to important health and safety information about child care centers, group homes for people with disabilities, and a range of other services for children and vulnerable adults. Six types of public documents—including compliance reports and public summaries of maltreatment investigations—are now available through the DHS Licensing Information Lookup: FFI: http://licensing lookup.dhs.state.mn.us.

Sibshop Super Saturday Kids ages 6-12 in the east metro who have a brother or sister with an intellectual or developmental disability can have fun and make friends at Sibshop Super Saturday from The Arc Greater Twin Cities 10 a.m.-noon Sat, Nov. 12. at White Bear Area YMCA Teen Center, 2100 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake. Games, activities and discussion help participants express their thoughts and feelings about having a sibling with a disability. It’s a great option for families who don’t have a monthly Sibshop in their area or who can’t attend a Sibshop on a monthly basis. Sibshop Super Saturday is free for members of The Arc Greater Twin Cities and $15 per child for non-members. FFI: 952-920-0855 The Arc Great Twin Cities also offers monthly Sibshops in Anoka, Apple Valley, Hastings, Hopkins, St. Paul and Stillwater. FFI: 952-920-0855, www.arcgreatertwincities.org PACER offers workshops PACER Center offers useful free and low-cost workshops for families of children with disabilities. Register in advance. All workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Is Your Child the Target of Bullying? Is a free workshop for parents of children with disabilities and for professionals, 7-9 p.m. Thu, Nov. 17 at the Jewish Community Center Room 107, 1375 St. Paul Ave., St. Paul. Advance registration requested. Learn how to identify types of bullying, develop strategies to prevent bullying, talk to children about bullying and more. Understanding the Individualized Education Program (IEP) with a Focus on Autism is a free workshop for parents of children with autism and for professionals, 6:309:30 p.m. Tue, Nov. at Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul. Advance registration requested. Children with autism have unique issues to be covered in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). This workshop will be co-presented by PACER advocates and the education director of the Autism Society of Minnesota, who is a parent of children with autism. This event is co-sponsored by the Autism Society of Minnesota. FFI: 952-838-9000, 800537-2237 (toll free), PACER.org. Program focuses on diversity A new PACER Center program offers free help for families of children and young adults with disabilities. The Families Accessing Communities Together (FACT) Project is primarily for culturally and racially diverse families who live in the Twin Cities area and have children from birth to age 25. FACT staff will work one-on-one with a limited number of families to create plans that will meet their specific needs. This individual help will be available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. FFI: 952-838-9000 and ask for Shauna McDonald or a specific staff person: Bonnie Jean Smith (African American), Hassan Samantar (Somalian), Dao Xiong (Hmong) or Jesús Villaseñor (Spanish speaker). DHS Licensing Information Lookup Parents searching for child care for their baby, a son concerned about his mother’s adult day care program, family members evaluating services for their sibling with developmental disabilities—all of these consumers now have 24/ 7 access to important information about licensed programs with the expansion of information available on the Minnesota Department

Support groups, meetings UCare meetings UCare hosts informational meetings about its UCare for Seniors Medicare Advantage plan. Meetings are held all over the region. UCare for Seniors has more than 75,000 members across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. UCare is an independent, nonprofit health plan providing health care and administrative services to more than 185,000 members. UCare serves Medicare-eligible individuals throughout Minnesota and in western Wisconsin. FFI: 1-877-523-1518 (toll free), www.ucare.org Mental Illness support groups The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota (NAMI-MN) sponsors free support groups for families who have a relative with a mental illness. NAMI has 23 family support groups, over 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, and other groups. Led by trained facilitators who also have a family member with mental illness, the support groups help families develop better coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. A family support group meets in St. Paul from 5:45-7p.m., on the second Tuesday of the month, at Snelling Office Park, 1625 Energy Park Drive, Suite 100, St. Paul. FFI: Sonja, 651-357-2077. NAMI Minnesota has a support group for those living in the GLBTQ community and their allies. The group meets 1-2:30 p.m. Saturdays, Minnehaha Spirit of the Lakes Church, 4001 38th Avenue S., Mpls. The support group will be a safe place to confront the challenges that many members of the GLBTQ communities face including low self-esteem, social isolation, stigma, discrimination, anxiety and depression. FFI: Kim 763-267-5881, Gabi 314-800-4134. An Open Door Anxiety and Panic support group meets in St. Paul at 6:30 p.m., on the first and third Thursday of the month, at Gloria Dei Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S. St. Paul. FFI: NAMI, 651-645-2948, www.namihelps.org Fraser offers groups Fraser offers a wide variety of classes and programs for families dealing with disabilities. Classes, which typically cost $30 per person or $50 for couple, are held throughout the region. Preregistration required. Using the ‘Nurtured Heart Approach’ for Children with Challenging Behaviors is 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wed., Nov. 16 at Fraser Penn—Richfield. Children with high intensity temperaments are often labeled as “challenging” in school or child care settings. This course combines four effective strategies for helping caregivers transform the way they see children who have high energy and high intensity from a challenge to a “gift.” Autism Spectrum Disorders 101 is 1-3 p.m. Wed, Dec. 7 at Fraser Hennepin Square—Mpls. This workshop is an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) for professionals and support staff to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of ASD, the diagnostic process, and the many intervention opportunities FFI: 612-798-8331 or workshops@fraser.org ■


Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

In Memoriam

Radio Talking Book November sampling Enjoy weekend program books Your Personal World (Saturday at 1 p.m.) is airing The Mindfulness Code, by Donald Altman and The Voice, by Dr. Brian Alman; For the Younger Set (Sunday at 11 a.m.) is airing The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman and Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos; Poetic Reflections (Sunday at noon) is airing Bringing the Shovel Down, by Ross Gay, and Red Clay Weather, by Reginald Shepherd; The U.S. and Us (Sunday 4 p.m.) is airing The Nearly Departed, by Michael Norman and In Cod We Trust, by Eric Dregni.

Books available through Faribault Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault. Phone is 1-800722-0550 and hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The catalog is online and can be accessed by going to the main website, http://education.state. mn.us, and then clicking on the link. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books by contacting their home state’s Network Library for the National Library Service. Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived programs from the last week, on the Internet at www.mnssb.org/rtb. Call the staff for your password to the site. See more information about events on the Facebook site for the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network. Access Press is one of the publications featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program It Makes a Difference. Chautauqua • Tuesday – Saturday 4 a.m. Care of the Soul in Medicine, Nonfiction by Thomas Moore, 2010. The future of medicine is not only in new technical developments and research discoveries. It is also in appreciating the state of the soul and spirit in illness and redefining the way in which the patient is cared for. Read by Sherri Afryl. Nine broadcasts. Begins Nov. 16. Past is Prologue • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, Nonfiction by Jack Weatherford, 2010. Genghis Khan’s daughters ruled the greatest empire the world has known. They fostered trade, education, and religion, and created an economic system stretching from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. Read by Lannois Neely. 12 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 21. Bookworm • Monday – Friday 11 a.m. Being Polite to Hitler, Fiction by Robb Forman Dew, 2011. After being a teacher and raising her family for most of her life,

Agnes Scofield realizes she is weary of the routine. But at age fifty-four, how can she establish an identity apart from what has so long defined her? Read by Lynda Kayser. 10 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 14. Choice Reading • Monday – Friday 4 p.m. Everything, Fiction by Kevin Canty, 2010. RL is caught between the experiences of two women: Betsy who is undergoing chemotherapy, and June who has decided to move on past her widowhood. RL realizes he’s never had the kind of love that knocks you down. L - Read by Don Lee. Seven broadcasts. Begins Nov. 24. PM Report • Monday – Friday 8 p.m. Death by Liberalism, Nonfiction by J.R. Dunn, 2011. Liberalism seeks to use the power of government to improve our safety, health, and general welfare. But the results can be disastrous, even deadly. Read by Dan Kuechenmeister. 12 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 21. Night Journey • Monday – Friday 9 p.m. A Lonely Death, Fiction by Charles Todd, 2011. Three men who have been murdered were soldiers who survived the horrors of World War I only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside two years later. Read by Nancy Felknor. 13 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 16. Potpourri • Monday-Friday 11 p.m. The Only Game in Town, Nonfiction edited by David Remnick, 2010. From Lance Armstrong to bullfighter Sidney Franklin, The New Yorker has covered the greatest plays and players, past and present. At The New Yorker, it’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you write about the game. L - Read by Jim Gregorich. 21 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 16. Good Night Owl Monday – Friday midnight Ghost Light, Fiction by Joseph O’Connor, 2011. In 1907, the talented but aging playwright John Synge has an interest in a young teenaged actress named Molly. She comes from the inner city and a background very different from his. Years later, Molly remembers her youth. L,S Read by Michele Potts. Nine broadcasts. Begins Nov. 22. After Midnight • Tuesday – Saturday 1 a.m. Sins of the Mother, Fiction by Victoria Christopher Murray, 2010. Jasmine Larson Bush has left her stripper days and drama behind and is married to the pastor of a large New York church. Then her daughter is kidnapped and she turns to the daughter’s biological father for solace. S - Read by Edy Elliott. 12 broadcasts. Begins Nov. 23. ■

Abbreviations: V—violence, L—offensive language, S—sexual situations.

Arc - from p. 10 Deb Williamson of the Metro Educational Cooperative Service Unit in St. Anthony was honored with the Teacher of the Year Award. As a statewide specialist, Williamson is the primary provider of supports to Minnesota teachers working with students who have physical disabilities and/or brain injury. Carl, Connie, and Jennifer Deobald of Rochester shared the The Arc Fam-

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ily Award, for more than 20 years of volunteer service and leadership with The Arc Southeastern Minnesota. Volunteers of the Year honors went to two longtime activists. Jean Bender of St. Paul and Les Bauer of Richfield, volunteer coordinators of The Arc Minnesota’s efforts to train, engage, and activate its members for public policy campaigns and activities, were saluted for their work. ■

Desktop Publishing Advertisements; Brochures; Flyers; Logos; Newsletters & More! Ellen Houghton • 9 5 2 - 4 0 4 - 9 9 8 1 presentationimages@comcast.net

Susan Daniels

Tom Lijewski

According to people who know Susan Daniels and had worked with,her, said everything that Daniels has done throughout her life has been with the goal of improving the lives of people with disabilities. That life ended Oct. 28 at age 62. An extraordinary longtime national and international disability rights advocate, Daniels’ many accomplishments on behalf of people with disabilities include, while as Deputy Commissioner for Disability and Income Security Programs of the Social Security Administration (SSA), laying the foundation for the landmark Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act. She was also one of the three founding members of the National Association for Benefits and Work Incentives Practitioners. Daniels was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and contracted polio at six months of age. Her parents insisted she be mainstreamed as a student. She went on to graduate summa cum laude from Marquette University, before campuses were accessible. Daniels then received her Masters of Psychology from Mississippi State University and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina. As Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling at the Louisiana State University Medical Center, early in her career, Daniels developed a program to train individuals working with people with intellectual disabilities in community-based settings, which subsequently was a core element in that state’s deinstitutionalization efforts. During this same period, she coauthored Who Cares: A Handbook on Sexuality and People with Disabilities, the first book ever published in the U.S. on disability and sexuality. But perhaps her greatest accomplishment is the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act (TWWIIA). As Deputy Commissioner for Disability and Income Security Programs of SSA, where she directed programs that serve more than 11 million people with disabilities, she laid the groundwork for TWWIIA. This legislation creates employment incentives for people with disabilities and removes the systemic barriers that have placed too many of this country’s citizens with disabilities in the position of having to choose between health coverage and work. ■

Just days after receiving the Minnesota State Council on Disability’s highest honors, activist Tom Lijewski passed away at age 60. The Minneapolis resident had ALS. Lijewski was honored earlier this fall with the Minnesota Award, MSCOD’s highest honor to a Minnesotan with a disability who has worked to enhance the empowerment and employment of individuals with disabilities. Lijewski was honored for outstanding achievements in the world of work and for his significant contributions that increase public awareness of Minnesotans with disabilities. Among Lijewski’s many accomplishments are as a radio and television personality, politician, business owner, disability rights and access visionary, shaper of public policy and transportation pioneer. And all of these incarnations of his life have been fueled by his desire to enhance the lives of those with disabilities, to the end that they might chart their own destinies. Even when he was in the final stages of ALS, he was teaching others to use assistive technology. Lijewski was preceded in death by parents, Edward and Lorraine, and one sister, Adrienne. He is survived by wife, Cheryl; brothers, Ed (Linda), Mike (Rita), Tim (Kathy), and Terry (Susan); sisters, Cookie (Bill), Anne (Rodney), and Lolly (Brook); sister- inlaw, Sandra White (Lynn) and many other nieces, nephews and friends. Services were held Oct. 8 at the Cremation Society of Minnesota—Edina Chapel. Memorials preferred to “jthomaslijewski” family in c/o Cheryl Pfeifer. Anyone wanting to read more about his life can go to the Tom Lijewski site on CaringBridge, to follow his journey with ALS for the past 2 years. www. caringbridge.org/visit/jthomaslijewski

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VSA - from p. 5 cial education and how important it is to encourage their areas of strengths while trying to help them with their areas of disability. “I have taught kindergarten through college level, special ed and regular ed, in the parochial setting as well as public schools. This is my fifth year at Next Step Transition Program working with students who are ages 18-21. They’ve been working on their most difficult areas of learning for over 12 years now, and many are “sick of school.” Helping students, even at this stage in their lives, to see the world through an artist’s eye, to learn the skills needed to enhance their innate talents, as well as investigating careers that could be available to them through the discovery of these skills is not only rewarding to me, but can have a lasting impact on our students’ futures.” Participating students at Next Step had the opportunity to explore casting methods with Gita Ghei, a public artist. They designed ten different sculptures inspired by their dream careers, then worked collaboratively to cast 60 table centerpieces using wax casts from clay and plaster molds. Some were displayed at the awards ceremony. Outstanding Producing Group Involving People with Disabilities Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minneapolis The Minnesota Fringe Festival is a performing arts “event” that takes over Minneapolis-St. Paul for 11 days every August. More than a thousand artists present works in every discipline and genre—musicals, comedies, dramas, storytelling, dance, opera, multi-media and every kind of experimental show. The 168 productions in the Fringe’s 18th annual Festival in 2011 were selected by lottery from nearly 400 applicants. They performed in 18 venues, all of which were checked for wheelchair accessibility. The Fringe has continually endeavored to increase accessibility to Fringe events. They select patrons with vision or hearing loss to preview a list of Fringe shows in order to help an audio description coordinator and an ASL interpreting coordinator determine the best shows for those accommodations. Over the years they have increased the number of these shows—this year there were 27 audio described and 16 ASL interpreted. They have occasionally offered captioned shows and a fragrance-free venue. Performers with disabilities have produced their own Fringe shows: Michael Price, Michael Merriam and Amy Salloway this year, and James Livingston, FRIEND SPONSOR ($50 and above) Leo & Susan Bulger Bernie Hernandez Chavez Teresa Dock Dawn Doering Skip Finn Thomas & Mimi Fogarty Kent Fordyce Claudia Fuglie Lael Gatewood Patty Hoy Marjorie Huebner Barb Kane William & Joen Overby Annette Pantel Linda Paulson Kelly Rathcke Virginia Schwartzbauer Anni Simons Patty Woodey John Sherman

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Tony Wentersdorf, Dan Reiva, Joybubbles, Eric Peterson and Carol Hough in the past. Other artists with disabilities have been involved as performers, artistic staff and volunteers. By training box office staffs in good customer service, the Fringe has created a culture that is welcoming to all. The increased participation of seniors and people with disabilities, both as patrons and performers, is evidence of their continuing success in that regard. They continue to make efforts to make their website accessible and provide other forms of access when the site is not completely accessible. They continue to provide resources to staff and volunteers on disability and accessibility issues.

was performed at Mankato West High School in July for 600 attendees. 2011 Jaehny Award Creator Brian Jon Foster, Minneapolis This year’s Jaehny awards were created by Brian Jon Foster, a vinyl inlay artist from Minneapolis who used some of the same materials he uses in his flooring, sculpture and other art projects — vinyl composition tile. Foster has a colorful website at www.brianjon foster.com, where he shows a sampling of flooring projects that indeed turn an ordinary space into a show place—as he says, “fully functional works of art that will last for years and years.” Not only are the designs of rooms, tables, lamps and wall-mounted artworks full of intriguing three-dimensional shapes and color combinations, but his titles are spunky – Blue Lozengers, Big Kiss, Dream Stream, Olive Shaker, and Either the Table Is Stacked or the Hand Is. . . For the past several years, Foster has been a regular attendee at monthly meetings of the Artists With Disabilities Alliance, especially since it meets at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design near his home and studio. ■

Outstanding Advocate for Arts Opportunities for People with Disabilities Wilbur Neushwander-Frink, Mankato Wilbur Neushwander-Frink is the Office Manager for ARC Southwest Minnesota in Mankato, where she has worked for six years. She works with many arts groups. One is the Different Drummer Dance Club, which has met twice a month for the past four years in a Mankato pub. It’s a place where people without disabilities can see for themselves that the people with disabilities in the dance club are not scary or someone to shy away from. She is also an organizer for Self-AdvoKent’s Accounting cates of Minnesota (SAM), where she is an Service, LLC advocate and ally for people with disabilities. She has also been the director of The United We Stand Players of New Ulm for more than 17 years. The group performs a Kent full-length show every couple of years, as Fordyce well as skits on request and being involved in ceremonies for the “Remembering with Certified QuickBooks Dignity” project of Advocating Change ToProAdvisor 2010 gether (ACT), for which she is a grassroots 2005-2009 organizer. Years ago many people with disabilities were put into institutions, and when they died, they were buried with a number instead of their name. Wilbur has taken her actors groups to the ACT ceremonies and had them perform and give each person, who 6371 Bartlett Blvd was formerly only a number, a name. Mound, MN 55364 In Mankato she has directed the Aktion Club Theater, sponsored by Kiwanis as part Fax: 952-472-1458 of its mission to help people with disabilities experience inclusion in the world of theatre. 612-889-2959 They have been going strong for four years. fordyce6@aol.com Their first full-length play, which she wrote,

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Nov. 10, 2011 Volume 22, Number 11

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Star- from p. 1 looked beyond a disability and focused on what a person can do. Everyone is unique and everyone is a gift. Through creativity and knowledge we all can impact the world today.” “Shining Star is a reflection of Assurant Employee Benefit’s culture and our commitments to help those facing disabilities continue leading productive, meaningful lives,” Assurant Employee Benefits president and CEO John Roberts said. “Mundl exemplifies a true Shining Star. Thanks to her unwavering perseverance, she overcome countless obstacles and continues to inspire those she interacts with every day. We can all learn from her example.” Assurant Employee Benefits presented the award during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Octobe, which Congress enacted in 1945 to raise awareness about disability employment issues, and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Now in its ninth year, the Shining Star of Perseverance award was developed to recognize the challenges that come with disability. A disability insurance provider, Assurant Employee Benefits is committed to helping claimants return to work, and consistently earns high marks in industry studies on claimant satisfaction. Mundl is quick to share credit for her award. “It takes a village for anyone with or without a disability,” she said. “We all have our personal issues, mine was medical, but other employees have life events – like divorce, child illness, injuries, financial problems and other responsibilities—that impair their capability to work. It is about what we do with our life and how we react to roadblocks in front of us.”In addition to receiving this year’s Shining Star of Perseverance award, which was designed by Donna Smith of Colchester, Conn., herself a quadriplegic, Roberts also presented a donation to Mundl’s employer Courage Center.

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MN. A Section 8 building now accepting applications for our waiting list. Call 9 am to 4 pm, Mon – Fri 763-546-4988 for an application. Equal Opportunity Housing. Holmes-Greenway Housing: One- and twobedroom wheelchair-accessible apartments. Section 8 subsidized. Convenient SE Minneapolis location. Call 612-378-0331 for availability information. Equal Opportunity Housing. Greenwood Apartments in Wadena, MN is always accepting applications for our section 8 waiting list. Please call (218) 6312575 or Email: green wood@metesbounds. com Equal Opportunity Housing FOR SALE PERMOBIL Power Chair. C300 Corpus, 45% tilt, with Front and rear controls. Is only 1 year old and in Excellent condition. $1400 or BO. Contact: cherylpfeifer@comcast.net

Assurant Employee Benefits is part of Assurant, a premier provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. Assurant is a Fortune 500 company. The award also casts a spotlight on the issues of those with disabilities who work or are seeking work. The national unemployment rate in August for those with disabilities was 16.1 percent, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that same period, the labor force included 21 percent of people with disabilities as compared to 69.9 percent without disabilities. Though disabled workers represent a highly skilled talent pool that can help employers compete in

today’s global economy, employment barriers still exist and must be addressed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. In various industry studies, more than 90 percent of individuals out on disability indicated they would return to work if they could. That’s why Assurant Employee Benefits developed its return-to-work program, a critical part of its disability business, to provide the support that customers and their employers need to get back to work and to life after injury or illness. ■ See a video of Mundl at http://yout.be/p6_E61qbsDg

History note - from p. 2 Insurance (SSI) and Medicaid but Medicaid only while in a hospital. At home, her middle-class parents’ income would disqualify her for Medicaid. Two days after Reagan’s press conference, his Secretary of Health and Human Services authorized an exception for Katie’s parents’ income, making Katie eligible for Medicaid. She could then go home and did so, shortly before Christmas. Press reports indicated that the Reagans sent her a rag doll. Reports differ whether the Reagan administration authorized exceptions for other children in Katie’s circumstances. But his administration did propose and the Congress did adopt the policy that in determining Medicaid eligibility for children who met SSI disability standards and needed an institutional level of care parental assets would not be considered and parental income would not be deemed available. The premise for this so-called TEFRA eligibility option was that the state would spend less for medical assistance for these children outside of an institution. Whether Reagan wanted to do right or just sought another way to cut Medicaid expenditures, the waiver and the TEFRA eligibility option created three decades ago have greatly enriched the lives of children

and adults with disabilities and provided essential support for their families. As for Katie Beckett, she continues to live in Cedar Rapids, where she and her mother Julie are advocates for disabled children. Although she typically shuns the limelight, she has spoken at national gatherings of children’s advocates. “Just because you reach a certain age does not mean that you are miraculously cured of all the things you have endured,” she told one group in Washington, D.C. in 2010. At that time, she was advocating for an expansion of home and community-based care so that people with disabilities have more options to live outside of nursing homes and institutions. She still lives with her family and relies upon nurses who give her in-home treatments. She uses a ventilator to breathe, up to 15 hours a day. She has taken classes in counseling but pursues a goal of writing children’s books and has taken writing classes to reach that goal. Katie Beckett told National Public Radio last year that her goal is to have as normal of a life as possible. “Living at home,” she told her audience in Washington, “is where we learn to be a part of the larger picture of life.” ■

Commentary - from p. 4 and seems so obviously to be about helplessness and powerlessness? If diversity celebrates empowerment, disability seems to be the poster student for disempowerment. The rather limited underlying concept behind the idea of diversity in the university is laid out in the philosophy: “We are all different—therefore we are all the same.” But if difference is being equated with sameness, then how can being different mean anything? That contradiction is resolved by finding some “other” to repress (an other whose existence is barely acknowledged). That other is disability. What diversity is really saying, if we read between the lines, is, “We are different and yet all the same precisely because there is a deeper difference that we, the diverse, are not.” One of those deeper differences might be thought of as medical difference. Medicine defines a norm of human existence, while diversity superficially seems to reject norms. There is no “normal” human being anymore, as there was in the period of eugenics. Diversity seems to say that there is no race, gender, or ethnicity that defines the norm, as, for example, the white, European male used to. Indeed, that is a tenet of diversity studies. But in the realm of medicine, the norm still holds powerful sway. No one wants to celebrate abnormality in the medical sense—no one is calling for valuing high blood pressure or low blood sugar. There is no attempt to celebrate birth defects or cancer (although we celebrate those fighting cancer). The word that people most want to hear from the obstetrician is that the child is “normal.” If diversity rejects the idea of a normal ethnicity, it has no problem with the notion of the normal in a medical sense, which means, of course, it has no problem with branding some bodies and minds normal and some abnormal. As long as disability is seen in this medical sense, it will therefore be considered

abnormal and outside the healthy, energetic bodies routinely depicted in celebrations of diversity. And let us remember that students of color are referred to as African-Americans, Asian- Americans, and so on, but on the medical side of campus, students with disabilities may often be referred to as . . . patients. For a long time, in disability studies, there has been a cherished belief that if we work long and hard enough in the academic arena, we will end up convincing other identities that disability is a real identity, on a par with the more recognized ones. That position still remains a hope, but I am beginning to think that this opening up of the inner sanctum of diversity to admit the abject may well never happen—not because scholars or administrators are mean or ignorant, but because diversity as an ideological paradigm and a course of study is structurally related to the goals of neoliberalism. As such, diversity must never be allowed to undermine the basic tenets of free choice and the screen of empowerment that conceals the lack of choice and the powerlessness of most people. Why should professors and students who want to cherish and celebrate diversity be forced to realize that in so doing, they are excluding from their consciousness the nearly 20 percent of people in the nation who have a disability? Although higher education has improved in providing accommodations and services to students with disabilities since the Americans With Disability Act, it has lagged very far behind in recognizing and incorporating disability across the curriculum. The question remains: Is this simply neglect, or is there something inherent in the way diversity is considered that makes it impossible to recognize disability as a valid human identity? ■ Lennard J. Davis is a professor in the departments of disability and human development, medical education, and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


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November 2011  

November 2011 Issue

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