Week in Review: 06/29 – 07/06

Sports, National Heroes, and Recognition of Difference

Disability issues loomed large in the news this past week, thanks in part to the incredible performance and surge in popularity of USMNT goalie Tim Howard at the World Cup.  I wrote about this in my recent post, Let’s Talk About Tim Howard, which includes a collection of links to recent media attention to this brilliant athlete who also happens to have Tourette’s syndrome.

The State of Special Education

DisabilityScoop published an important piece for anyone interested in the educational realities of children with disabilities, “Most States Deficient in Special Education.”  The U.S. Department of Education has announced new measures for assessing special education performance at the state level.  Based on data from the 2012-13 school year, a mere 15 states meet the current requirements.  California, Delaware, Texas, and the District of Columbia received a “Needs Intervention” classification.  These data were released in conjunction with Arne Duncan’s announcement of significant changes to come in the oversight of special education, which you can read about here and also in a more nuanced piece here.  The Huffington Post also published a piece on topic here.

Does Disability Make Somebody Homicidal?  Answer: No!

A key witness in the murder trial of South African runner Oscar Pistorius testified that the defendant was driven to murder because of – you guessed it! – his disability.  This resulted in some interesting media coverage, most notably the response of the U.S.-based National Organization of Disability.  No, folks, just as having a disability doesn’t make someone a superhero or an angel, it also fails to turn an otherwise friendly person into a murderer.  Let’s clear this up, once and for all.

Kinship, Globalization, & Reproduction: International Surrogacy in the Spotlight

A Sunday NYT piece, “Coming to U.S. for Baby, and Womb to Carry It,” offered a fascinating window into questions of kinship, reproduction, and ideal (or simply viable) bodies in the contemporary U.S.  The United States has relatively flexible laws regarding surrogacy, making it a destination for international couples who (presumably) cannot have their own children and whose countries forbid the practice.  There is so much to unpack in this article.  “Selective reduction” of fetuses in the event of twins or triplets, for instance, or disagreements between biological and adoptive parents regarding how to proceed if the fetus appears to have a disability or potential problem.  This is a must-read.

More Readings

NPR put out a story on parents, caregiving, and adult children with disabilities, “Faith Strengthens Aging Parents as they Care for Their Son.”  I have not been able to read it yet, since my mind has been elsewhere and I am not in a mental space to handle the pressing questions of care, aging, and the life course, as they impact other people and also my own family.

Kim Conte’s piece for the NYT Motherlode blog, “The Battle over Vaccinating Grandparents,” offers an important – and personal – reminder that vaccinations are not simply an issue for babies.

Reader interested in disability and employment law should check out this resource page from the National Federation of the Blind, “Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities.”  Disability and wage inequality have been in the news a good bit over the last few months, and this resource page has some excellent – and perhaps shocking – information.


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