Disability Rights

Bernard Bragg, Who Showed the Way for Deaf Actors, Dies at 90

Bernard Bragg, Who Showed the Way for Deaf Actors, Dies at 90

Bernard Bragg, founder of the world-renowned National Theater of the Deaf, actor extraordinaire, author and educator, died Monday, October 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. He was 90. Bragg singlehandedly transformed the Deaf community in the United States and overseas with his revolutionary work as a mime, stage actor, sign master and all-around Renaissance man of the theater.

Beyond Access: The Need to Focus on Improving Literacy Skills for Students with Disabilities

Beyond Access: The Need to Focus on Improving Literacy Skills for  Students with Disabilities

Literacy skills are a fundamental component of most daily living skills. Literacy skills are needed to break out of the poverty cycle, to access health services, and gain employment. Literacy skills for children with disabilities can also help support future independent living and improve the ability to be self-advocates and enable self-determination. However, most international education programs that focus on early grade reading do not or only minimally address the needs of students with different types of disabilities.

RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

TANGATA GROUP, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the proposition that disability rights are human rights and founded by two School of Education graduates, has received a $200,000 grant through the United Kingdom’s Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) to further its work on deaf access to justice in Northern Ireland. The DRILL grant comes from the world’s first major research program led by people with disabilities and is financed with money from the United Kingdom’s National Lottery.

World Down Syndrome Day 2018

World Down Syndrome Day 2018

I am not much of a writer but writing this piece was surprisingly a breeze. With World Down Syndrome Day approaching, I get the privilege to share our little world with you and give you a first hand understanding of what it means to include someone with an intellectual disability in the real world.

Going to school for the first time: inclusion committee members increasing the number of students with disabilities in primary schools in Kenya

Going to school for the first time: inclusion committee members increasing the number of students with disabilities in primary schools in Kenya

This expansion of teacher training on inclusive education and critical disability studies promoted sustained school- and community-based discussions on inclusive education and sensitisation on issues related to disability. These practices also led to the development of inclusion committees, co-teaching practices, and stimulated the partial dissolution of the physical boundaries and categorical distinctions between ‘primary’ and ‘special’ schools. In conjunction, all of these factors ultimately led to an increase in the number of students with disabilities accessing any form of education for the first time. 

Michael A. Schwartz Awarded Grant to Study Access to Justice for Deaf People in Northern Ireland

Michael A. Schwartz Awarded Grant to Study Access to Justice for Deaf People in Northern Ireland

Associate Professor of Law Michael A. Schwartz has been awarded a grant of more than $200,000 to explore access to justice for deaf people, working in collaboration with the British Deaf Association, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Rowan University, NJ. This grant is part of approximately $1.5 million awarded to 10 research and pilot projects across the United Kingdom. The funding has been granted as part of the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) program, led by disabled people and funded by the UK's Big Lottery Fund.

Delivering on DEI: December 3 and International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Delivering on DEI: December 3 and International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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.

Protecting civilians with disabilities in conflicts

Protecting civilians with disabilities in conflicts

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.

Disability and Disasters

Disability and Disasters

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)

Access to Military Justice: A Set of Recommendations for Improvement

Access to Military Justice: A Set of Recommendations for Improvement

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.

1984 in 2017

By Brent C. Elder, Ph.D., Rowan University

“Big Brother is Watching You.” — George Orwell, 1984

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/

Endrew v. Douglas County School District

 Endrew v. Douglas County School District

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.”

An Argument For The Prosecution Of Crimes Against Persons With Disabilities

An Argument For The Prosecution Of Crimes Against Persons With Disabilities

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.”

Education in the Age of DeVos

Education in the Age of DeVos

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. 

Here’s why Disability Rights must be on the Forefront of the Human Rights Movement

Here’s why Disability Rights must be on the Forefront of the Human Rights Movement

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).