Today we're back at the news buffet. Our main course is assistive technology, and I relate the tech I got — and didn't get — after my hospital stay last year to how a new report shows big gaps on provision around the world. Even the Queen of England doesn't seem able to use the devices that she needs.
We also have some news from Ukraine, and I won't lie, it's a difficult update on children left behind in institutions that were already bad enough before the war. On the other side we have highlights from protests to culture.
1 billion people aren't getting the tech they need
A new United Nations report estimates that 2.5 billion people would benefit from an assistive product for their day-to-day lives. I'm one of them.
“Assistive products can enhance performance in all key functional domains such as cognition, communication, hearing, mobility, self-care and vision. They may be physical products such as wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids, prostheses, orthoses, walking devices or continence pads; or they may be digital and come in the form of software and apps that support communication, time management, monitoring, etc. They may also be adaptations to the physical environment, for example portable ramps or grab-rails.”
Last year, when I came home from hospital after my hip fracture, I got a whole range of devices. The hospital occupational therapy team were brilliant about setting up my home: the bed was raised, a grab-handle was put on the side, and I got a a toilet-chair that could be wheeled about, and a gutter frame — a walking frame with arm-rests. I also got a couple that I didn't use: a hoist to help with lifting me about, and a rota stand — a plate that you can stand on and be rotated to sit on something else.
In many ways, this was the best practice that the Global Report on Assistive Technology advocates for. The support was integrated into my health care and they would only discharge me home when things were set-up. They did careful assessments of my needs and my home space and told me about a bunch of the devices I didn't know about before my accident. I paid for none of it.
One thing the hospital didn't talk about, though, was using an electric wheelchair. They did, allegedly, refer me to “wheelchair services”, but I needed one immediately, so I researched, rented, and bought one myself. This also speaks to trends the report explores: the health care system maybe not having the knowledge on wheelchairs, and the provision of that service being separate. Like the majority of people who use assistive tech, I got it from the private sector, often with financial support from families and friends (my Mother insisted).
The report is the first of its kind, and sets an overview on assistive technology around the world. It estimates that almost one billion people don't have access to the products they need to live full lives, with huge gaps in service provision and trained workforce. As the research presents convincingly, provision of assistive technology is not something “only” for health-care settings like my hospital stay, but also needs to be integrated in education, employment and training, and wider social care.
What the broader view means for our work
Taking this broader view on assistive technology was useful for me to see the range of technology that exists. I hadn't thought about seizure-detection monitors, for example, or indeed, about how assistive tech fits into broader policy questions. I've worked on disability and employment issues for many years now, but never tackled the question of how assistive tech fits into enabling disabled folk to work. This is a challenge that the report sets for me, and, I feel, work on disability policy more broadly. Many of us need to do more to integrate these perspectives in the different sectors we work in.
One thing that the label “assistive” makes me think about is when assistive tech isn't actually assistive, and I think this is under-explored. As many other users of assistive tech I am suspicious of both the products and the systems. Are we being charged too much because things are disability-aids? And is the tech as effective as the people selling it say it is? (We’ll save the ethical questions that emerge from assistive tech for another time.)
Digital technology is a particularly busy area for dodgy solutions. The report, for example, mentions some digital tech to support with mental health such as mood-tracking apps, or computer-mediated therapy. And these might or might not be helpful; they could be awful intrusions of privacy, digital means to take advantage of the vulnerable, or just plain and simple technology snake-oil.
Technology snake-oil deserves a deeper exploration because it is all too common that someone wants to invent some supposed “solution” to disability issues that really misses the point. A term invented to describe these fake solutions, and their popularity, is “disability dongle”.
A broader take on “assistive technology” sees it blend into simple “technology”. Solutions made originally as assistive tech might go onto become very mainstream (text messaging is used as an example of this, but I would love to see a fact-check on the details). Likewise mainstream tech, like a smartphone, solves a lot of disability-related issues. One of the links I share below explores the Mobile Disability Gap in low- and middle-income countries, where disabled people are less likely to own a smartphone or use mobile internet.
What technology do we need in our lives to be able to flourish, and what systems need to be in place to make that happen? The report’s deep look at assistive tech raises those questions, along with urgent reminders that many people around the world don't have the tech they need, and the systems aren't there to provide it.
This month the Pope was out in public in a wheelchair for the first time. And in the United Kingdom, the Queen has been spotted using a walking stick and the rumours are flying about whether she doesn't want to be out in public using a wheelchair. Many of the discussions implied that using a wheelchair was a bad thing, which wound us up in the disability community.
Why, one wit asked, couldn't she use a nobility scooter? Royal assistive tech is indeed on another level, and the Queen came out with a golf-buggy that goes 60km/hour and can do 80km on one charge. The conversation quickly went from “why can't she be a role model for more wheelchair use” to “why don't I have one of those”.
Not everyone has been using wheelchairs with such good intentions. One man's flourishing life was dressing up as an older lady using a wheelchair and then jumping out of it in order to throw a pastry at the Mona Lisa. For more on using society's low expectations about disability to pursue a life a crime, see Rosie Jone's short film Disability Benefits.
While we’re talking tech
A couple of updates since I wrote about the risks artificial intelligence poses for disabled people:
- In the US, Detailed guidance has come out in describing the care employers need to take to avoid breaking the law on disability discrimination when using artificial intelligence in recruiting.
- A new report on how surveillance systems, and the algorithms that power them discriminate against disabled people in education, policing, health, and employment.
Left behind by War
In late April, a team from Disability Rights International visited Ukraine to report on the situation of children with disabilities in orphanages and institutions. Their report is the most devastating I've read in my career.
“Children with the greatest support needs are receiving the least amount of international assistance and support and have the greatest immediate needs.”
In heartbreaking detail, the team document the awful situation of children in institutions, already pretty bad before the war. Some were evacuated, but that seems to have left those with more profound impairments as well as children uprooted and shifted between institutions, with those receiving them totally unprepared.
“DRI investigators observed children tied down, left in beds in near total inactivity, and held in dark, poorly ventilated rooms that are so understaffed that they are enveloped in smells of urine and feces. Children rock back and forth or self-abuse as a result of years of emotional neglect. Staff have no resources or knowledge about how to respond to this behaviour other than to restrain them for much of the day.”
As well as the present-day, the report explores the years of neglect of children, compounded by the covid crisis and pre-war budget cuts. While some of the facilities are called “orphanages”, often the children have one or both parents alive. The disability classification system that I've been writing about also applies to children and sees some of them dismissed by the systems as “uneducable”. In one institution the investigators found that:
“Most of the men at this facility do not even seem to have an intellectual disability. They are incorrectly diagnosed.”
Targeted support is needed to support and protect children in these awful circumstances. The report cautions against replication segregation if the children are evacuated and calls for an end to the practice of institutionalization. Investments need to be made in family protection and community inclusion.
More on the situation in Ukraine:
- A short BBC video feature on the report. (It has distressing images of children.)
- European Disability Forum recommended response on children in institutions.
- A summary of the first 100 days of war from the coalition of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Disabled people in other crises:
- Unshielded, Unseen, on the situation in Yemen.
- A rapid review of support for disabled refugees in Ethiopia.
Disability protest: A great feature on protest in South Korea complete with chains, ladders, shaved heads, disturbing rush hour trains, and political backlash. “Our society’s immediate response to any problem of disability rights has been to segregate and quarantine disabled citizens. But we are here.”
Getting over institutions (or not). From Australia, analysis on how sites of conscience “can be part of how we collectively recognise and ‘set right’ disability institutional violence.” In the European Union, however, “a decade of inertia” means there's “little progress on the deinstitutionalisation of disabled people.”
- Huge “technical note” on accessibility from the World Bank. The technical references part might be useful if someone asks you for accessibility standards in the built environment.
- An interactive web experience on inaccessible cities exploring the Aljazeera profiles of Lagos, Mumbai, New York.
- On Global Accessibility Awareness Day I particularly enjoyed the twitter bot pointing out those who posted about the day using inaccessible images.
Masculinity and violence: In-depth interviews with men with disabilities in Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa quotes important voices, many challenging or hard to read.
Voice of dissent: a great podcast episode on Sheikh Imam, a blind oud player from Egypt whose political songs from the 60s-80s speak to history's shifts and still resonate in the Middle East today. This is from the essential Kerning Cultures, whose previous podcasts on #MeToo in Egypt aren't disability related but are a great portrait of social change and reminded me how that country filled and broke my heart (especially part 2). The podcasts have transcripts.
More for the culture vultures,
- I enjoyed catching up with “I'm a woman with juice”, the late Cheryl Marie Wade's 1993 spoken-word performance going from “deformity” to “hey baby”. If you don’t know it, start with her Disability Culture Rap.
- Netflix now has a category of shows celebrating disability and Amazon has added a coding for disability fiction.
Quotes of the month:
- “Conceptualizing access as magic can help us put creativity and relationality at the heart of accessibility” (Kevin on Crip News)
- “Reform is more difficult than a revolution”. From a podcast exploring the collapse of the Soviet Union: ideology is easier to sell than policy.
My new favourite meme account: Chronically Candid Memes, sardonic “chronic illness humour” illustrated through classic art, and with good image descriptions too.
About the newsletter
I'm Peter, and I make Disability Debrief to keep track of how the world is changing for persons with disabilities. You can see all the issues online or search the archive of disability news since 2020. Disability Debrief is made with support from readers and from Sightsavers. This edition has support from Center for Inclusive Policy.
All-you-can-eat news buffet
We have 255 news items from 48 countries and regions, organized by these topics:
- Accessibility and Design
- Assistive Technology
- Black Lives Matter and Racial justice
- Civil Society and Community
- Climate Crisis
- Communication and Language
- Community Based Rehabilitation
- Conflict and Peace
- Culture, Entertainment and Media
- Data and Research
- Digital Accessibility and Technology
- Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response
- Education and Childhood
- Employment, Business and Work
- Financial Inclusion
- Gender Equality and Women and Girls with Disabilities
- Global Disability Summit
- Higher Education
- History and Memorial
- Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
- Institutions and Deinstitutionalization
- International Cooperation
- Justice Systems and Legal Capacity
- Lived Experience and Opinion
- Mental Health
- Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism
- Policy and Rights
- Politics and Elections
- Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
- Social Protection, Poverty and Costs of Disability
- Sport and Paralympics
- Violence and Harassment
- War in Ukraine
Accessibility and Design
An interactive feature on Inaccessible Cities featuring disabled people, their lives, and the urban infrastructure that gets in their way, in New York, Lagos and Mumbai. (Mar, Aljazeera)
The World Bank Technical Note on Accessibility a big resource providing strategic directions, guidance for the project cycle, thematic briefs and technical references. Thematic areas include WASH, ICT, Transportation, Urban Sector and Operations. Further, if you need accessibility standards for built environments, the technical references part of the guide looks like a good reference. (Apr, World Bank) The primary audience for this is World Bank teams. Given the range and significance of the projects they fund, this is a useful resource that is trying to leverage the Bank's role to help countries take more substantial accessibility actions within those projects.
In Europe, The European Accessibility Act: came into effect in 2019 and “Member states must pass the necessary implementation laws by June 28, 2022” (May, Forbes)
In India, Mumbai: Living with a disability in the megacity (Mar, Aljazeera)
In Latin America, The Zero Project Latin America conference on Accessibility and ICT was held on 25th/26th May and sessions can be watched online. (May, Zero Project)
In South Africa, Brief audio on How accessible is South Africa? (May, EWN)
In the United States, New York: What is the megacity like for people with disabilities? “New York City, one of the world’s largest and most diverse cities, is considered by some to be one of the least accessible in the United States when it comes to public transportation.” (Mar, Aljazeera)
Low Income Puts Older People’s Rights at Risk. Brief recap on ageing issues, and international discussions to start a drafting a treaty protecting older people's rights. (May, Human Rights Watch)
A policy brief on Better protecting the human rights in older age and the work of the UN group exploring this issue. (BAGSO)
What do you call technology that's meant to be assistive but isn't? This essay explores the term Disability Dongle coined by Liz Jackson to refer to well intended but useless “solutions“. The essay explores experience of what happens when the authors call out these technologies and how their idea has spread. (Apr, Platypus)
Interesting discussion on Center for Inclusive Policy on Why is access to assistive technology not a global priority? (May, CIP)
“A new report published today by WHO and UNICEF reveals that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition. Yet nearly one billion of them are denied access, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where access can be as low as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.” (May, WHO and UNICEF)
A scoping review of Technologies Measuring Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Metrics (May, Assistive Technology)
In Malawi, Age related increase in impairment across the life course: the use of Zomba curves to estimate assistive technology needs.
In Vatican City, Pope Francis uses wheelchair in public for the first time (May, the Guardian)
Black Lives Matter and Racial justice
In the United States, Racial disparities persist for disabled youth in spending on services for California children and teens with developmental disabilities. (May, Los Angeles Times)
Millions of older people have died without being counted. WHO estimates 83% of excess mortality was among older people. (May, HelpAge)
In New Zealand, Reporting on an inquiry into how government response to the Omicron wave impacted disabled people: they "do not appear to have been given prominence in government policy and decision making," (May, RNZ)
In the United Kingdom, Disabled people are being left out of COVID recovery. “Here are five ways to change that” (Apr, the Conversation)
Living with COVID
Many Long COVID Patients Identify as Disabled and Feelings Are Complicated (May, Verywell Mind)
In the United Kingdom, Alarm after EHRC says long Covid should not be treated as disability (May, the Guardian)
Civil Society and Community
In Kenya, A new book: Disability and Social Justice in Kenya Scholars, Policymakers, and Activists in Conversation. “Kenya has been on the forefront of disability activism and disability rights since the middle of the twentieth century.” (Michigan Publishing)
In the Philippines, On the Debrief: “I'm not rebellious” an interview with Abner Manlapaz, lifelong activist. (May)
In South Korea, Disabled advocacy group to resume rush-hour subway protests. “Demanding measures to improve mobility rights and budget for disability rights, SADD has been leading subway protests since late last year and often caused delays in metro services during rush hour as some of its members used their wheelchairs to prevent trains from departing.” (Apr, Yonhap News) See a detailed feature on the protests and how the movement goes back to 2001 in the Nation.
In the United Kingdom, Radio play Pride and Protest offers a window into the current struggle for disability rights. (May, Disability Arts Online)
In the United States, 5 Reasons Why Disability Activism Is Still Hard One is that “Like the rest of society, disabled people are divided and polarized” (May, Forbes)
Resource Page on Connections Between Climate Change and Disability (Disability & Philanthropy Forum)
A discussion exploring Climate Change, Environmental Activism, and Disability (SSIR)
In the United Kingdom, Glasgow disabled facing hostility for car use “Disabled people are facing "climate-change themed" hostility and aggression for using cars, according to a charity.” (May, The Herald)
In the United States, Ensuring the Safety of People With Disabilities During Climate Change (Apr, Santa Clara University)
Communication and Language
In the United States, DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch. “Protactile began as a movement for autonomy and a system of tactile communication. Now, some linguists argue, it is becoming a language of its own” (May, New Yorker)
Evidence for superior encoding of detailed visual memories in deaf signers. “Our findings add to evidence showing that deaf signers are at an advantage [... in the] retention of detailed visual memories over the longer term.” (May, Scientific Reports)
In Nepal, Nepal’s first PhD candidate from the deaf community campaigns to promote Sign language (May, Nepali Times)
Community Based Rehabilitation
In Afghanistan, Access to Services from Persons with Disabilities: Is Community Based Rehabilitation Making a Difference? “Our study indicates that a CBR program may be an effective way to provide services for persons with disabilities even in a conflict context such as Afghanistan.” (May, Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Conflict and Peace
Lifting the cloak of invisibility: civilians with disabilities in armed conflict. Discussion of how humanitarian law would relate to disability issues and bringing together conversations between people with disabilities and military representatives. “Steps must be taken to ensure that people living with disabilities and their representative organizations can and do shape the interpretation and implementation of International Humanitarian Law norms relevant to them.” (Apr, ICRC)
Peace, Disability, and the Violence of the Built Environment Reflections on how disability relates to studies of peace. (May, Peace Review)
In the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, Last to flee: Older people’s experience of war crimes and displacement:
“The renewed fighting in 2020 underscored the unique risks of a particular group: older people. More than half of the ethnic Armenian civilians who were killed were over 60 years old. The oldest was 89. Many faced torture or other ill-treatment in detention. Others are still missing.” (May, Amnesty)
Culture, Entertainment and Media
‘Deaf Utopia’ review – Nyle DiMarco’s memoir is enlightening, depending on how (and if) you read it (Apr, Limping Chicken)
Changing the narrative on disability: is representation in books getting better? Article sees increasing representation in children's literature but not “the same commitment to representation in the adult literature sector, where they say disability is still seen as a niche topic.” (May, the Guardian)
In Australia, Adaptive fashion for people with disability showcased (May, SBS News)
In Canada, Acting the part: A thematic analysis of the experiences of actors with disabilities. “Many actors experience inadequate accommodations, inaccessible work sites, stigma, and being limited to disability specific roles. As a result, actors with disabilities have implemented strategies to improve their success when faced with social and physical barriers in the industry.” (Mar, Canadian Journal of Disability Studies)
In New Zealand,
- Stay home club “Making remote portraits of New Zealanders in isolation—using only their phone cameras.” (May, New Zealand Geographic)
- Blind Scrabble master takes on the country's best (Apr, Stuff)
In the United States,
- Disability in Theatre: Strategies for Combating Ableism by Meeting Actors’ Access Needs. (Apr, On Stage Blog)
- Why Music Videos Present A Unique Opportunity For Disability Inclusion (Apr, Forbes)
- Barbie unveils its first-ever doll with hearing aids (May, CNN)
TV and Film
A detailed look at Inevitable Foundation's Cost of Accommodations Report “features line budget research outlining the actual (not presumed) financial impact accommodations can have on TV and film budgets of various sizes as well as a survey of disabled talent on their experiences requesting accommodations”. For example, “30% of disabled talent have had to pay out-of-pocket for their accommodations.” (Apr, Hollywood Reporter) See analysis and critique of the report from Crip News:
‘“Accommodation” as a framework assumes that we ought not to threaten a status quo. It assumes the benefits of inclusion, where disabled people have access to a process but don’t shape or lead its values. The report is a great example of what we might call inclusionism, accommodationism, incrementalism, or reformism.’
What Season 6 of 'This Is Us' Gets Right About Disability Representation (Apr, The Mighty)
Netflix is beefing up its its audio description and subtitling accessibility features and has a collection of its shows celebrating disability. (May, The Verge)
In the United Kingdom, Starring Rosie Jones Disability Benefits is a comedy take on getting disability benefits from the government, and if that doesn't work, getting the disability benefit in a life of crime. (May, Channel 4)
In the United Kingdom, BBC Unveils Latest Statistics on Disability, Ethnicity Representation. “53% of teams monitored achieving their targets for disability representation, an increase of 35 percentage points over the last year and a half.” (Apr, Variety)
Data and Research
Short video to understand the prevalence of disability (May, Center for Inclusive Policy)
In South Africa, Monitoring disability inclusion: Setting a baseline for South Africa (May, African Journal of Disability)
In the United States, An Online Resource For Understanding Disability ‘By The Numbers’ (Apr, Forbes)
Divergent Ethnography: Conducting Fieldwork as an Autistic Anthropologist “Doing fieldwork as an autistic person means to see, hear, and process information in different ways, and this difference has an impact on our theoretical approach. In this sense, neurodivergence can be an epistemological position that shapes and informs our way of looking at reality.”
Digital Accessibility and Technology
The Mobile Disability Gap Report 2021. A report on 7 low- and middle-income countries finds that persons with disabilities are significantly less likely to own a smartphone or use mobile internet. “The disability gap typically widens at each stage of the mobile internet journey” (Dec, GSMA)
May 19th was Global Accessibility Awareness Day focusing on digital accessibility. (May, GAAD)
In the United States, Anticipate and Adjust: Cultivating Access in Human-Centered Methods. (Summary of a research paper on approaches to accessibility in human-computer interaction research communities., Apr, Kelly Mack)
Humanity should get the best from AI, not the worst Statement from Gerard Quinn, whose report we explored previously. (May, OHCHR)
In the United States,
- The Biden Administration warns that Hiring algorithms, and artificial intelligence risk violating Americans with Disabilities Act (May, NBC News) See the detailed guidance, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a summary from ADA.gov. Also on Forbes and Bloomberg Law.
- Ableism And Disability Discrimination In New Surveillance Technologies. How new surveillance technologies in education, policing, health care, and the workplace disproportionately harm disabled people (May, CDT)
Does Your Website Have Have Any of These 10 Most-Cited Accessibility Issues? (Apr, Equal Entry)
WordPress 6.0 Features Numerous Accessibility Improvements (Apr)
Rich Screen Reader Experiences for Accessible Data Visualization
“Although our design dimensions highlight a diverse landscape of screen reader experiences for data visualizations, our study participants attested to the value of following existing best practices. Namely, alt text and data tables provide a good baseline for making visualizations accessible. Thus, visualization authors should consider adopting our design dimensions to enable more granular information access patterns only after these initial pieces are in place.” (MIT Visualization Group)
In Europe, The Digital Services Act must ensure accessible digital services for persons with disabilities (Apr, Brussels Morning)
In the United States, LGBTQ+ artists and those with disabilities see Etsy as a lifeline “Many sellers who live at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities were already struggling before the e-commerce site’s latest fee increase.” (Apr, 19th News)
Accessibility Virtual Reality Meetup: What Is It Like in Spatial? See also an interview on how a blind person can use virtual reality. (May, Equal Entry)
A new TikTok feature changed the game for deaf users. Now, 'DeafTok' is a thriving, inclusive community. (Apr, Business Insider)
Older people using TikTok to defy ageist stereotypes, research finds (May, the Guardian)
Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response
Including Persons with Disabilities in Disaster Risk Reduction: A Research Study from Eight Countries around the world:
“The study revealed that most disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction initiatives come from non-governmental stakeholders, rather than government agendas aimed at prioritizing and institutionalizing disability inclusion. These initiatives are often reactive (following disaster responses by governments and I/NGOs) or project-based (externally funded instead of being included in the annual budget planning), which raises concerns about the sustainability of these actions and the DiDRR itself.” (May, Relief Web)
Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) Critical Insights and Good Practices from the Field (link to pdf, CBM)
Short video on The Importance of Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness (Mar, CBM Australia)
Education and Childhood
Dismantling barriers and advancing disability-inclusive education: an examination of national laws and policies across 193 countries:
“While strong guarantees exist across diverse countries, we find that notable gaps remain. Forty-six percent of countries do not broadly prohibit disability-based discrimination through the completion of secondary education. Legislation in 35% of countries does not guarantee persons with disabilities access to integrated education in mainstream education environments along with necessary individualized accommodations through the completion of secondary school. Thirty-one percent of countries that make primary education compulsory do not pair compulsory education with guarantees to integration in mainstream education environments and individualized supports for students with disabilities.” (Apr, International Journal of Inclusive Education)
World Vision's child protection work A visual journey of disability inclusion (April, World Vision)
In Australia, Push for special schools to be phased out under inclusive education plan (May, SMH)
In Nigeria, Inclusive Education celebrating an amazing partnership & lasting impact (May, CBM UK)
In South Africa, Too many disabled children still fall through schooling gaps. Article points to a wild range of estimates of children with disabilities out of school: from 40,000 to 600,000. (Apr, Mail and Guardian)
In Uganda, Understanding child disability: Factors associated with child disability at the Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (Apr, Plos One)
In the United Kingdom, Children with Disabilities forced to travel hundreds of miles for school. (Apr, The Bureau)
In Vietnam, Efforts made to ensure best care for children with disabilities (Apr, Vietnam Plus)
Employment, Business and Work
LinkedIn Adds ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ To Skills List In Effort To Destigmatize. Dyslexic thinking being seen as ‘strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills’. (Mar, The Drum)
The Valuable 500 taking action: Inclusive moments from companies in the Valuable 500 network (May, Valuable 500)
What is the future of work for people with disabilities? (May, World Economic Forum)
In the Asia-Pacific, Why Hiring Individuals With Disabilities Can Benefit Asia’s Workforce (Apr, Verve Times)
In Australia, Low staff turnover, high loyalty and productivity gains: the business benefits of hiring people with intellectual disability (May, the Conversation)
In Canada, Up to $270 million is available to fund projects to connect persons with disabilities with good jobs. (May, Government of Canada)
In Europe, Working at EU institutions not easy for ethnic minority staff “Working for the EU institutions is no walk in the park for people of colour or with disability, with almost 60 percent of respondents from both categories saying they have observed or experienced discrimination.” (May, EU Observer)
In India, The Supreme Court bats for disabled people in police force. “Experiment it for a while and if it does not work then you may not continue with it.” (May, Times of India)
In Nepal, Lived Employment Experiences of Persons with Physical Disabilities: “over-protective behaviour from family members, discrimination by employers in recruitment, and continuance in employment were barriers.” (Apr, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)
In Pakistan, The Human Rights Ministry wants disability quota filled “The ministry for human rights on Saturday wrote official letters to 29 government departments to implement two percent disability employment quota.” (May, Dawn)
In Russia, Barriers and Opportunities to Employment for Persons with Disabilities (Nov, World Bank)
In South Africa, How education, training and development support the wellness of employees with disabilities. (Apr, African Journal of Disability)
In the United Kingdom,
- Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2021 “The disability pay gap, the gap between median pay for disabled employees and non-disabled employees, was 13.8% in 2021”. There is a slightly wider pay-gap for men with disabilities, and considerably wider for those with more activity limitations, or with autism listed as their main impairment. (Apr, ONS)
- The blind farmer: ‘It’s all I ever wanted to do. Now I can help others do it’ (May, the Guardian)
In the United States,
- Detailed report on how Economic Justice Is Disability Justice “Achieving the as-yet unrealized promises of the ADA—and finally breaking the persistent link between disability and poverty in the United States—will require applying a disability lens across the nation’s economic policymaking.” (TCF) See also 7 Facts About the Economic Crisis Facing People with Disabilities in the United States.
- 7 Resources for People With Disabilities to Break Into Software Engineering Careers (Apr, ContainIQ)
Fintech can help improve lives of people with disabilities (May, China Daily)
Gender Equality and Women and Girls with Disabilities
A Compass to Steer Our Work in Gender Transformation and Inclusion - on steps to put gender equity into practice. (May, DRF)
In Cameroon, Pascaline Mekati Matoko, the founder of Deaf Rights Cameroon Association, is passionate about promoting the rights and education of girls and women with disabilities. (Sightsavers)
In Colombia, Cultivating Autonomy Colectiva Polimorfas: ‘Donors should listen. That’s the number one thing,’ says Yoli. ‘That’s what we do ourselves – we listen to the voices of people with disabilities that may be different from ours.’ (link to pdf, May, Mama Cash)
In Europe, Addressing the invisibility of women and girls with disabilities (Apr, Council of Europe)
In Nepal, Disability and Gender: Lived Experiences of Economic Hardships Faced by Women with Disabilities from Sudurpaschim Province (Apr, International Journal of Social Sciences and Management)
In Pakistan, Tanzila Khan: disability rights campaigner tells young women ‘the world is yours’ (May, the Guardian)
Global Disability Summit
Series of videos featuring youth with disabilities. (Mar, IDA)
In Australia, Hospitals only note a person's intellectual disability 20% of the time – so they don't adjust their care. “Potentially avoidable deaths (from conditions that could have been prevented through individualised care or treatment, like viral pneumonia, asthma, or diabetes) are more than twice as likely in people with intellectual disability.” (May, the Conversation)
In Nigeria, Albinism group calls for reinstatement of free skin cancer treatment. (May, Radio Nigeria)
In the United States,
- Severe maternal morbidity and other perinatal complications among women with disabilities. (Apr, Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology)
- Committing to Health Equity for All, Including People with Disability (Apr, Mathematica)
- Key groups overlooked in bias training for doctors (May, The Boston Globe)
- The autistic community is having a reckoning with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy. Includes interesting reflections on the privatization of autism services and how ‘ABA has become “the single most reliable way to make money in the human services field beyond being a physician.”’ (May, Fortune)
In South Africa, 3 ways in which universities can be more inclusive to disabled individuals during an emergency.
In the United States, College students with disabilities deserve accessible spaces “Student journalists at the University of Maryland spent months scrutinizing their campus and talking to people with disabilities. More college newspapers should.” (May, Washington Post)
History and Memorial
Review of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History “a spell-binding book of research and stories” (May, H-Disability)
In Brazil, In Brazil, the Museum of Inclusion's exhibition on Fights, Rights and Conquests of persons with disabilities. (in Portuguese, Museum of Inclusion)
In Egypt, Sheikh Imam: Voice of Dissent Profile on a blind oud player his music and politics from the 60s-80s and how they resonate through history and the Middle East today. (May, KC Network)
In Ireland, Maeve McCormack Nolan obituary: Celebrated artist and disability advocate. (May, Irish Times)
In the United Kingdom,
- The Jewish Deaf Association launch new website: Jewish Deaf History (London) discussion of the history and website. (May, Limping Chicken)
- ‘The lady without legs or arms’: how an artist shattered Victorian ideas about disability. (May, the Guardian)
In the United States,
- Inside the Pentagon’s shameful effort to draft mentally disabled men to fight in Vietnam (May, Task & Purpose)
- Google Doodle Honors Disability Rights Activist Stacey Park Milbern (May, CNET)
In Australia, One-size-fits-all model of accessible housing ‘a disaster’ for Australians with disability. “There should be an option for us to stay together as a family and not be forced to relinquish care just because we don’t have the funds to build an accessible house.” (May, the Guardian)
- This Ontario family has spent years looking for wheelchair accessible housing. “These parents carry their eight-year-old son up and down stairs everyday with no end in sight.” (May, Toronto Star)
- Woman with disabilities nears medically assisted death after a fruitless bid to secure an affordable apartment that doesn't worsen her chronic illnesses. (May, CTV News)
In the United Kingdom, Outrage as ministers reject post-Grenfell safety plans for disabled people “Personal fire evacuation plans were in public inquiry’s proposals, which ministers had said they would ‘accept in full’” (May, the Guardian) See further detail on inside housing.
Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
Introductory video to the IASC Guidelines on inclusive humanitarian has been translated into Arabic, Bangla, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian and Russian. (Apr, EDF)
UNHCR's Approach to Forcibly Displaced and Stateless Persons with Disabilities. Most of this brief describes the organization's approach to disability inclusion in general. (UNHCR)
Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week Resources about Inclusion (May, HNPW)
IDMC 2022 Global Report on Internal Displacement includes a spotlight on displaced children with disabilities and promising practices. (May)
More disasters, less inclusion: will transformation start in Bali? Calls from IDA for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to empower persons with disabilities. (May, PR Web)
Statement Adopted by the Thematic Group on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Action for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. (May, IDA)
People with disabilities face 10-40% higher costs does Cash and Voucher Assistance account for this? “The way transfer values are calculated for people with disabilities must change” (May, Calp Network)
Report on the role of Cash and Voucher Assistance in Increasing Equity and Inclusion for Girls and Children with Disabilities in Education in Emergencies. Report speaks to how this assistance “primarily addresses” the demand-side barriers to education in emergencies. (SDC and others)
In the Asia-Pacific, New report on OPD engagement in Humanitarian Action reflections from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal. (May, CBM Global)
- Migrants with disability are discriminated against with 'impossible' health requirements, advocacy groups say. “We're working with a young man who came to Australia as an asylum seeker and had a stroke. The federal government supports him to live in a nursing home, but they won’t allow him access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme to receive the support he needs to live a good life in the community.” (Apr, SBS News)
- The association between chronic pain and pre-and-post migration experiences in resettled humanitarian refugee women residing in Australia. “Chronic pain was reported in 45% (n = 139) of women, and among these a further 66% (n = 120) also reported having a long-term disability or health condition that had lasted 12 months.” (May, BMC Public Health)
In Ethiopia, A rapid review of Disability inclusion for refugees in Ethiopia: an urgent need. One refugee from Jewi Camp, Gambella, said:
“The refugee camp is in rural area with harsh weather condition…It is extremely humid…. sitting on wheelchair for long time burned my back. It is very difficult to move around using wheelchair. In addition, the physical environment is not straight and flat to easily move round using wheelchair. I am sometimes trapped in ditches.” (May, Research and Evidence Facility)
In Europe, Refugees in Europe Need Mental Health Support (Apr, Human Rights Watch)
In Kenya, A fundraising appeal to support people in Kenya paying the devastating price for a climate crisis they have done nothing to create. (CBM UK)
In New Zealand,
- Time to scrap ableist migration rules down under Áine, contributor to the Debrief, arguing for fair migration rules. (Apr, Overland)
- New Zealand denies entry to autistic daughter of immigrant couple. “Rules do not allow people to move to New Zealand if they would impose a high cost to the health system”. (Apr, the Guardian)
- Girl, 12, denied residency because her autism does not meet 'acceptable standards of health'. (Apr, Sky)
In Syria, Saeed’s smile: ‘Disability should never be a reason for exclusion’, and a description of a partnership with Sesame Street. (May, IRC)
In the United Kingdom,
- Non-verbal black teenager who has never left UK detained at immigration centre. “Boy who went missing from hospital arrested and held at Gatwick facility after being wrongly recorded as Nigerian” (Apr, the Guardian)
- Jamaicans with disabilities facing ‘unjust’ deportation from UK. “Most of the Jamaicans facing deportation next week on a government flight live with a disability or health problem and came to Britain as children” (May, Independent)
In Yemen, Alarming new report on the dire situation for people with disabilities. 81% of those surveyed could not reach or use humanitarian services. Of the 300 local organizations providing disability services before the war, “only a fraction remain, with extremely limited capacity and resources”. One person interviewed said that:
“we simply cannot escape when explosions or armed clashes take place. This is a fear of every Yemeni, yet our limitations prevent us from being able to quickly get away from such hostile situations. It is a constant fear persons with disabilities in Yemen live with, and it’s holding us back from being able to do many things such as looking for sources of income.” (May, Humanity & Inclusion)
Institutions and Deinstitutionalization
Feeding practices of children within institution-based care: A retrospective analysis of surveillance data. “Feeding difficulties are common among children living in institution-based care (IBC), particularly but not exclusively among those children with disabilities.” (Mar, Maternal & Child Nutrition)
Call for submissions: Draft Guidelines on Deinstitutionalization, including in emergencies (deadline 30 June, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)
In Australia, Sites of conscience redressing disability institutional violence (May, Incarceration)
In Europe, Deinstitutionalisation, disability and delay “After a decade of inertia, the EU has made little progress on the deinstitutionalisation of disabled people.” (May, Social Europe)
In Ireland, Concern over future safeguarding incidents at disability services raised in Donegal review (Apr, The Irish Times)
In South Korea, A column reflecting on deinstitutionalization and the leading politician from the government party who said that “deinstitutionalization is a matter of choice.” (Apr, Hankyoreh)
In the United States, Profit, Pain and Private Equity: ‘BrightSpring Health Services, which KKR bought in 2019, says it helps thousands of people with disabilities “live their best lives.”’:
‘But a yearlong BuzzFeed News investigation found that KKR focused on expanding the business even as a crisis mounted in its group home division, where conditions grew so dire that nurses and caretakers quit in droves, a state prohibited the company from accepting new residents, and some of the most vulnerable people in its care suffered and died.’ (May, Buzzfeed News)
In-depth conversation with World Bank Global Disability Advisor Charlotte Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapo. “It is clear to me that my early exposure to racism and inequality influenced my life’s work for social justice and equality for all.” (Apr, Allfie)
UN Women experience with Disability Inclusion Markers. (Jan, UN Women)
The Zero Project 2023 Call for Nominations is open, on the theme of Independent Living & Political Participation, and ICT. (deadline June 19)
Lessons from our partnerships with local organisations of persons with disabilities. Featuring CBM Global's experiences and reactions from partners. “You are supporting with resources. We are getting job done. We should be paid in the same way, with same remuneration – that’s what equal partnership is!” (May, Bond)
In Africa, How a project seeks to solve the north-south power imbalance in leprosy and development work. (Apr, The Leprosy News)
In Bangladesh, Workshop on building Donor Investment in OPDs at the Country Level (Mar, IDA)
In Ghana, How inclusion ambassadors are reducing disability stigma and discrimination (Apr, Sightsavers)
In the United Kingdom,
- UK Government's Strategy for International Development must include older people “we are disappointed that the Strategy did not refer explicitly to the impact of global ageing, did not consider needs throughout the life course, or address the specific needs and rights of older people.” (May, Age International)
- On the new International Development Strategy, People with Disabilities don’t have the luxury of time “there is no observable strategy to focus concerted efforts on eradicating poverty and improving the lives of the most marginalised.” (May, CBM UK)
Justice Systems and Legal Capacity
In Brazil, Outrage as mentally ill Black man dies in police car ‘gas chamber’ (May, the Guardian) See also on Human Rights Watch.
In Europe, Recommendations on disability rights in pre-trial detention (Apr, EDF)
In Ghana, Criminal justice in Ghana as experienced by people with disabilities: “we found that the criminal justice system was unfriendly toward persons with disabilities due to factors such as lack of funds, inaccessible physical environments, language and communication barriers, and negative attitudes toward persons with disabilities” (Apr, Journal of Human Rights)
In Palestine, Soldiers handcuff and arrest intellectually disabled teen (13) for two hours, and then arrest two of his relatives and abuse them. (May, B'Tselem)
In South Africa, Thirteen years after a disabled child spent a night in a filthy cell, court slashes damages payout. (Apr, Ground Up)
In the United Kingdom, Pushing at the Boundaries of Legal Personhood. “Could we then imagine a framework of legal personhood that recognises persons with removeable parts?” (Jun, Frontiers of Sociolegal Studies)
In the United States, Lawsuit argues the Americans with Disabilities Act should apply to transgender rights (May, Washington Post)
Lived Experience and Opinion
In Australia, Special Issue on Writing Disability in Australia (May, Australian Literary Studies)
In Kenya, Open letter to Kenyan Disability league leaders: “When will you rise to the occasion?” Argues that so far progress has been “low-hanging fruit” and ”having a few of persons with disabilities in to the system but not yet more robust gains for the Kenyans with disabilities.” (Apr, Mugami Paul)
In Middle East and North Africa, Toxic positivity harms the disabled community (Apr, The National News)
In New Zealand, Human not machine: how autistic writers are writing new space for themselves:
“Why are autistic people so attracted to these magical or other-worldly connections? Most of us experience loneliness and isolation – and if we are repeatedly rejected by humans then the idea of friendship with ghosts or aliens may almost seem less far-fetched.
“It’s also the fantasy we might be able to meet someone else on equal terms; both of us having to adapt to and learn each other’s way of communicating, rather than always having to be the ones who make the effort, exhausting ourselves to the point of burnout.” (Apr, The Spinoff)
In Sudan, A moment that changed me: after losing my hearing, newspapers helped me find a way to cope (Apr, the Guardian) By Saleh Addonia, a refugee from Eritrea, who later moved to the UK and whose short story collection the Feeling House has just come out.
In the United States,
- Is There A Healthy Place For ‘Inspirational’ In Disability Culture? (Apr, Forbes)
- Short documentary film, My Disability Roadmap “The path to adulthood is a precarious one for those with disabilities. So Samuel Habib, 21, seeks out guidance from America’s most rebellious disability activists.” (May, NYT) The NYT page doesn't load properly for me; you can also see the film at Like Right Films.
Hope, empowerment, action: a new series dedicated to suicide prevention:
“To begin with, we need to abandon the myth that every suicide is the outcome of 'mental illness'. And we must reckon with the deep socioeconomic factors that make suicide one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.” (May, Sanity by Tanmoy)
In Ghana, Mental Health Quarters is a youtube channel on mental health advocacy.
In India, The Long-Run Effects of Psychotherapy on Depression, Beliefs and Economic Outcomes:
“We revisit two clinical trials that randomized depressed adults in India (n=775) to a brief course of psychotherapy or a control condition. Four to five years later, the treatment group was 11 percentage points less likely to be depressed than the control group. The more effective intervention averted 9 months of depression on average over five years and cost only $66 per recipient.” (link to pdf, May, Bhat et al)
In the United Kingdom, The Guardian view on mental health privatisation: unsafe spaces. “Businesses that fail patients while making profit margins of 15%-20% are no substitute for investment in the NHS” (Apr, the Guardian)
In the United States,
- Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live With Her Voices: “A new movement wants to shift mainstream thinking away from medication and toward greater acceptance.” (May, New York Times)
- This Teen Shared Her Troubles With a Robot. Could AI ‘Chatbots’ Solve the Youth Mental Health Crisis? “The pandemic hit and this technology basically skyrocketed. Everywhere I turn now there’s a new chatbot promising to deliver new things,” (Apr, 74 Million)
Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism
How airline Apps let down blind passengers “Only one major UK airline’s App works with screenreaders for the blind” (May, Which)
In Australia, ‘We’re not a priority’: people with disabilities wait up to three hours for transport in regional Queensland. (Apr, the Guardian)
In India, Anger after India airline IndiGo removes disabled teenager “India's aviation minister has said he is investigating a domestic airline after it allegedly refused to let a disabled teenager board its flight.” (May, BBC)
In Nigeria, Calls Mount For Nigerian Airports To Be Made More Accessible (May, Inclusive News Network)
In Portugal, For Diogo, There's a new Metro station in Lisbon. (in Portuguese, May, #Lisboa Para Pessoas)
In the United Kingdom,
- Death of blind man hit by train ruled accident. ‘Matt Stringer, chief executive of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said the death "was not an isolated incident".’ (May, BBC) See also other experiences and reflections on access issues at train stations.
- Disabled campaigners are to thank for accessibility on the Elizabeth Line “A decade ago, Transport for All campaigned hard for the Line to be accessible, and were successful in securing £33 million additional investment to make this happen” (May, Transport for All) The Elizabeth Line will make a big difference for me in getting across London. Can't wait to try it out.
Policy and Rights
Report on disability legislation and how it works for people with Facial Disfigurements “While the UNCRPD provides a strong theoretical foundation for protecting the rights of people with facial disfigurements through its wide definition of disability, in reality, it has had more limited practical success, owing to the limited accountability measures in place” (link to pdf, May, Face Equality)
“Historically, legal recognition of disfigurement has been limited to disability laws and spaces. But is facial difference always classed as a disability? While it is true that there is often an overlap between the two characteristics, many members of the facial difference community indicate that facial difference is an identity in itself.” (link to pdf, May, Face Equality International)
‘the use of public resources can help to tackle centuries of exclusion towards certain groups (like women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ communities, and more) who have been systematically denied their rights. In fact, any group fighting for social justice is going to face, at some point, the question of “how to pay” to fix the problem.’ (Apr, CESR)
Why tax justice is critical to the rights of persons with disabilities. Injustices that persons with disabilities face “cannot be properly tackled without dedicated public resources. ” (Apr, CESR)
Open letter to the UN to protect gender parity and diversity of representation on the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities. (Sightsavers and 80 other signatories)
We cannot keep leaving women with disabilities behind in leadership (May, African Arguments)
CIP Question of the month is on the gap between policy and practice in disability rights in low and middle-income countries, and what can be done to close it. (Jun, CIP)
In Israel, Editorial on a government bill that allocates funding for disability inclusion: A major achievement for Israel (May, Jerusalem Post)
In South Africa, Cabinet approves Framework on Disability Rights Awareness Campaigns (May, SA News)
In the United States, What’s Next For Disability Policy? (Apr, Forbes)
In West Africa, ECOWAS hosts regional experts’ meeting on disability inclusion to validate a regional plan of action. (Apr, ECOWAS)
Politics and Elections
- Scott Morrison: Australia PM faces backlash over 'blessed' disability remark (Apr, BBC)
- This Election, We Need to Vote for Disability Rights — Here’s How (Apr, The Latch)
- The EU Parliament proposes a new electoral law ensuring the political rights of persons with disabilities. (May, EDF)
- Human Rights Report 2022: political participation of persons with disabilities. Exploring the right to vote and the right to be a candidate in elections, the report finds some emerging good practices against a concerning backdrop:
“In the 2019 European Parliament elections, approximately 400,000 persons with disabilities in 14 countries were deprived from their right to vote on the basis of their disability.” (May, EDF)
In France, Pressure mounts on French disabilities minister accused of rape “In an earlier statement denying the allegations, Abad said his own disability meant he was incapable of sexually assaulting anyone.” (May, France 24) I don't know more than what's in this article, but I don't buy the disability excuse.
In Mexico, Statements Urging Stronger Political Representation for People with Intellectual Disabilities (May, Human Rights Watch)
In Thailand, Thai royalists “outraged” over Lazada campaign “mocking disabled people” (May, Thaiger)
In the United States,
- in Louisiana Disabled people face GOP pushback in bid to study voting access (Apr, Louisiana Illuminator)
- Voters with disabilities find barriers in new voting and election laws.
“2020 was probably the most accessible election we’ve seen,” said Michelle Bishop, the voter access and engagement manager at National Disability Rights Network. “We made a lot of changes in response to Covid, which also happened to be best practices for making voting more accessible for people with disabilities. But we are still in the period of pushback to all of those positive changes.” (Apr, Vox)
- Wisconsin voters with disabilities say their right to vote is at risk (May, NPR)
The World Rehabilitation Alliance is open to membership applications. (May, WHO)
Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
In Chile, Government apologizes to woman for forced sterilization. “Doctors performed procedure in 2002 without consent while Francisca was under anesthesia because she was HIV positive” (May, the Guardian)
- Interventions around Menstrual Health and Hygiene Must Be Inclusive of Women and Girls with Disabilities:
“The most rarely spoken about is how menstrual product manufacturers overlook consumers with disabilities. Most sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cups are not a better fit for women and girls who use assistive devices or have no limbs (hands and/or legs).
For women and girls who use prosthesis legs, wheelchairs, calipers, or crutches, the sanitary pad cannot be properly kept in place, which in the process causes leakage or even worse falls off during movement. Those without hands or fingers also find it difficult to tear the packet and insert the sanitary pad into their panty or insert the tampon or menstrual cup correctly.
Availability and high cost of menstrual products pauses a challenge to women and girls with disabilities in the rural areas causing them to opt for alternative solutions such as using rags, leaves, animal skins, and even cow dung that exposes them to multiple infections.” (May, Kenya Network of Women and Girls with Disabilities)
- Experiences of Women and Girls with Disabilities around Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. Surveys show women and girls with disabilities having faced a form of violence and that “the perpetrators of these heinous acts are mostly people known to the victims.” (Jun, Kenya Network of Women and Girls with Disabilities)
In South Africa, Sexual abuse of children with intellectual disabilities stems from poor education, false beliefs and poor safety structures. Article gives distressing examples of violence, incest, rape and abduction. (Apr, Sunday Times)
In the United States, How do people with disabilities feel about abortion? Ives-Rublee, one of the co-authors, says “I think it’s extremely important for us to expand the way we talk about the impact of having a bodily autonomy, to include abortion access, but to include all of these other issues that particularly affect the disability community.” (May, 19th News)
Social Protection, Poverty and Costs of Disability
ILO and UNICEF report on the role of social protection in the elimination of child labour. “Studies from Bangladesh, Nepal and Gansu Province, China, have found that children in households where adults are sick or disabled or have missed work are more likely to be in child labour within or outside the household.” (May, ILO)
In Australia, Concern millions of Australians with disability not on the NDIS have been 'forgotten' (May, ABC News)
- What happened to the Canada Disability Benefit? “It is 2022, the election has been won and done, and as the cynics predicted, the Canada Disability Benefit is still nowhere to be seen.” (Apr, Canada's National Observer)
- This woman with disabilities gets only $1,169 a month. She hopes the Ontario election changes that. (Apr, CBC)
- The time to care about care: Responding to changing attitudes, expectations and preferences on long-term care in Europe.:
“Since 2007, the ability of care systems to adequately address evolving care needs has declined: residential care is unaffordable for many, and the supply of community-based services is falling considerably behind a rising demand. Rural communities and poorer individuals bear the brunt of growing capacity gaps, while women are disproportionately affected by the burden of frequent, intensive and undesired informal caregiving spells. ” (link to pdf, Apr, InCare)
- Rebuilding for sustainability and resilience: strengthening the integrated delivery of long-term care. “ European countries must reorient care models to emphasize person-centredness, user involvement, prevention, healthy ageing and enablement. ” (WHO)
- Social Protection and the Welfare State: What the EU can do to support persons with disabilities (Mar, EDF)
In New Zealand, Disabled people missing out on 'essential' support over relationship status (May, Stuff)
In the United Kingdom,
- Government spent £440m fighting disability claimants as whistleblowers claim system broken. (Apr, ITV)
- Energy prices: Fears and cutbacks as hike hits disabled families (Apr, BBC)
- In a survey of 1,200 disabled people, more than half feel “anxious, depressed or hopeless” about financial worries and problems (Apr, Yahoo! News)
- Great video on how support workers can enable a social life (Apr, Open Future Learning)
In the United States, Ending the Two-Tier System of Disability Benefits. If you're not already familiar with how Supplemental Security Income (SSI) works, this article has the gruesome lowdown: benefits below the federal poverty line, and you are ineligible to receive them if you don't have other earnings or assets over $2000. (Apr, Brown Political Review) See more on how policy punishes disabled people who save more than $2,000 from Full Stack Economics.
Sport and Paralympics
Special Olympics Unified with Refugees brings inclusion to the world's most marginalized (Apr, Fansided)
In the Ukraine, Disability sport in Ukraine has 'died' thanks to the Russian invasion the country's Paralympic boss says. Ukraine came second in the overall medal table in this year's Winter Paralympics. (May, Business Insider)
Violence and Harassment
In Africa, Intersections between disability, masculinities, and violence: experiences and insights from men with physical disabilities from Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa. The article shares many fascinating quotes, and concludes, comparing with the situation of women with disabilities:
“men with disabilities report threats, verbal and physical abuse by people outside their household and emotional abuse within their households and not the same level of sexual and intimate partner violence as women with disabilities have reported in similar studies”. (Apr, BMC Public Health)
War in Ukraine
A summary of the first 100 days: Ukrainians with intellectual disabilities and their families surviving the war (Jun, Inclusion Europe)
Appeals and Statements
UN Human Rights experts on the Millions of displaced traumatised and urgently need help (May, OHCHR)
A rescue was organized from Russian occupied territory for a Ukrainian mother and disabled daughter (Apr, Info Migrants)
Here’s what Ukrainians with disabilities face as we cope with war A first-hand account of the first days of invasion and leaving Kharkiv to Western Ukraine by a blind woman with other disabled family members. (Apr, The New Humanitarian)
How Misha, a 19-Year-Old With Down Syndrome, Escaped Ukraine (May, WSJ)
- Ukrainian families with disabilities get new chance “Ukrainian families are finding better opportunities for their children with disabilities in Poland. Local volunteer organizations help them on their journey to adapt to their new life.” (DW)
- Interview with Autism-Poland Association on the situation on the border with Ukraine (Apr, EDF)
In Turkey, 'My heart is torn': As war rages on at home, these young disabled Ukrainian swimmers are stranded in Turkey. (Apr, CNN)
Situation in Ukraine
‘We have to go’: nursing home residents await evacuation in Donbas (Apr, the Guardian)
In April a team from Disability Rights International visited Ukraine's institutions to report on those Left Behind in the War: “DRI finds that Ukraine’s children with disabilities with the greatest support needs are living in atrocious conditions – entirely overlooked by major international relief agencies and receiving little support from abroad.”:
“In two of four facilities DRI visited. However, we found that children and adults with greater support needs were left behind in the institutions of western Ukraine while less impaired or non-disabled children from the same institution were moved to Poland, Italy, and Germany. Directors we interviewed report that children with greater impairments are being left behind in institutions in the east.
“Children with greater impairments face the largest brunt of increased dangers. DRI investigators observed children tied down, left in beds in near total inactivity, and held in dark, poorly ventilated rooms that are so understaffed that they are enveloped in smells of urine and feces. Children rock back and forth or self-abuse as a result of years of emotional neglect. Staff have no resources or knowledge about how to respond to this behavior other than to restrain them for much of the day.” (May, DRI)
Alone under siege: how older women are being left behind in Ukraine. “I wonder why some young people evacuate their cats and hamsters, but leave their parents behind,” says Roman Vodyanyk, head doctor at Severodonetsk hospital in Luhansk (May, the Guardian)
Interview with Child With Future on the situation of children with autism (Apr, EDF)
Older People No Longer Invisible Casualties of War in Ukraine (May, Human Rights Watch)
In Russia, Russian Soldiers Dream Of Being Injured In Ukraine, 'Getting Rich' From Disability Pay (Apr, International Business Times) I am sceptical of this dubiously sourced news. The publicly announced figures are in the region of €40,000 for families of soldiers who die, and almost €25,000 for those wounded. I question whether all those injured actually get that.
People with intellectual disabilities, families in Ukraine April Updates (Apr, Inclusion Europe)
Short video montage on Off-The-Grid Missions supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Ukraine. (Apr, Off-The-Grid Missions)
Support for the remaining disabled people in Ukraine as Nippon Foundation launches new initiative for those who are ‘trapped or abandoned’ (May, Valuable 500)
EDF Position Paper, the Recommended response to children from institutions in Ukraine. (Apr, EDF)
Facebook group helps Ukrainian refugees with autistic children (Apr, InfoMigrants)
People with disabilities in Ukraine are being left behind. “It's time for concerted humanitarian action” (May, World Economic Forum)
- European Commission allocates €9 million for mental health assistance of Ukrainian refugees (Apr, EC)
- Solidarity platform for people with disabilities (May, Inclusion Europe)
The source for news here is all of you sharing disability news, especially those sharing on twitter. Thanks to everyone for spreading the word about what's going on.
Many thanks to Sightsavers and the Center for Inclusive Policy for support. These newsletters are produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Opinions or mistakes are mine.