Dec. 3 marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. For me this day prompts some questions (and suggests some answers) on how organizations focused on advancing human rights globally, including AI, can and ought to be thinking about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). It should include, of course, consideration of diversity as to disability, whether physical, sensory, psycho-social or intellectual, and also diversity in respect of other characteristics.
People with disabilities rank high among those badly affected by conflict. For one thing, conflicts degrade whatever support systems are in existence. The lucky ones can flee – but many are forced by their circumstances to remain in the conflict zone after others have been evacuated, and are particularly vulnerable as a result.
Central African Republic: Floods; 1,750 people affected (August, 2017)
Sierra Leone: Mudslides; 500 dead; 810 people missing; 5,900 lost homes (August, 2017)
Nigeria: Floods; 43,000 people displaced (August, 2017)
Belize Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico: Tropical Cyclone Franklin (August, 2017)
Cameroon: Flash Floods; 12,890 people affected (August, 2017)
Tunisia: Forest Fires; 500 people displaced (August, 2017)
Walking into the frenetic international terminal at New York’s JFK Airport, I find a familiar face voraciously reading the day’s edition of the New York Times. Michael Schwartz and I hug with the embrace of brothers, and sign excitedly about our next Tangata Group adventure. Next stop: Belfast, Northern Ireland, the land of “a terrible beauty.”Professor Brent Elder and I recently conducted a series of interviews of Deaf people and their hearing allies in Northern Ireland, exploring the theme of access to justice under Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Walking into the frenetic international terminal at New York’s JFK Airport, I find a familiar face voraciously reading the day’s edition of the New York Times. Michael Schwartz and I hug with the embrace of brothers, and sign excitedly about our next Tangata Group adventure. Next stop: Belfast, Northern Ireland, the land of “a terrible beauty.”
As a non-speaking, autistic, honor-society, college student, I am living the dream. To be certain, the sentence I just wrote must seem like an oxymoron to the average listener's ears. Yes, I am a non-speaking, non-writing, autistic, young man that attends a California State University and entered as a freshman. As far as I understand, I am one of a few such individuals attending a university across the nation---sort of like a unicorn!
Christopher was born in Bridgeport Connecticut where he was diagnosed and falsely diagnosed with an intellectual disability, he spent the first 10 years of his life in Foster Care. It was only after being adopted that Christopher began to be able to tap into his talents, as an artist, writer, on chair philosopher, and community organizer. Christopher lives and works in St. Louis Missouri.
Access to military justice is a broad concept, encompassing service members’ effective access to the systems, procedures, information, and locations used in the administration of military justice. Service members who have transgressed the laws of military justice are brought to the bar to answer for their offenses.
By Brent C. Elder, Ph.D., Rowan University
I have recently noticed a certain accessory appearing on my colleagues’ computer screens. Some choose a sticker with a cartoon character on it, while others cut up a small piece of the sticky part of a post-it. Regardless of the design, these decals end up in the same place— covering the camera on their computers.
Perhaps it is the tech paranoia induced by Edward Snowden. Or maybe it’s the flood of Kellyanne Conway microwave camera memes online. Either way, I now have sliced up post-it notes protecting me from the uninvited gaze of Internet hackers.
While I have taken to minimize the intrusion of cameras in my world, a mother in Milwaukee has taken modern surveillance in a completely different direction. She has designed a drone to help “track” her daughter who has a label of autism. Christine Carr calls her creation “Nonni,” a blend of the words “nanny” and “mommy.” Nonni uses facial recognition technology, and can be programed to turn on if the targeted individual wanders out of a specified parameter (e.g., backyard, living room). It can also be individualized to provide a pre-programmed verbal prompt to redirect a wayward person. This calls to mind the omnipresence of the telescreen of Orwell’s 1984 by which Big Brother kept everyone under surveillance.
Proponents say Nonni could add another pair of eyes on vulnerable people (e.g., children and adults with disability labels). While this sounds like a wonderful tool to help keep certain people safe, what about the implications of this overreliance on technology for hyper-surveillance? What do we give up when we invite drones like this into our lives? People with visible disabilities already live in a world where their every move is scrutinized and judged by the able-bodied masses. How can the safety of the person be assured without resorting to the ever present eye in Nonni? What does Nonni say about paternalistic attitudes towards people with disability labels? Where is the line between invasion of privacy and safety?
We often hear calls for increased camera surveillance when police wrongfully shoot a person of color. We look to place cameras in every classroom to hold teachers more accountable for the outcomes of their students. We all live in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket or handbag. Does this technology actually create a safer society? Does it hold some people more accountable for their actions? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I for one would feel a bit creeped out if I had a drone following my every move. For now, I’m sticking with my post-its.
For more on Christine Carr and her Nonni drone, check out this link: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/05/17/mom-designs-drone-track-wander/23719/
On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Endrew v. Douglas County School District, holding that in order to meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a school must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child with a disability by offering an Individualized Education Program (IEP) “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”
With “[m]ore than one billion [or 15% of] people in the world living with some form of disability,” as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is little doubt that they are especially affected by armed conflicts. Indeed, it is estimated that the prevalence of disability “is likely to increase to 18-20% in conflict-affected populations.”
And so it begins. With a barrage of controversial and polarizing Cabinet nominations, Trump further polarized the country and ignited national debates on everything from “pay to play” politics, to environmental pseudoscience, and the need for political experience in DC. During Senate confirmation hearings, educators and families of children with disabilities were shocked as they watch the confused, now confirmed, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provide her testimony.
Celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities should be accompanied by reflection for the global human rights movement. Honest reflection compels a consideration as to whether and how Amnesty International – and the human rights movement as a whole – is accommodating persons with disabilities and the disability rights agenda in its human rights work. This is especially germane in the light of the 10 year anniversary of the 2006 adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The purpose of this blog series, prepared under the auspices of USAID’s Office of Education, is to address some potential challenges and solutions to increase student literacy rates as they relate to a variety of disabilities in diverse global contexts. This first blog in the series will provide an overview of issues related to disability and literacy around the world. Though not all students with disabilities will require reading interventions to become literate, we encourage you to use these strategies to help support all students to attain literacy, not just students with disabilities.
Over the years and around the world, especially in low-income countries, I’ve heard my sisters and brothers with disabilities express incredible frustration with the lack of employment among people with disabilities. Their aggravation is warranted: on average, across the globe, 44% of disabled persons are working, while 75% of people without a disability are employed.
An aging woman, hands rough from a post-polio life spent pulling herself around on the earthen floor of her roadside store in western Kenya, has no government assistance by which to achieve an education or gainful employment. She and her family live at the intersection of disability, gender, poverty, and Western capitalism.