Happy new year! I hope 2022 is starting well for you. I started this year with work deadlines so didn't get much time to catch breath. What are you looking forward to this year?
Picking up from December, we've got lots in store today: we check in on how our friend the covid crisis is doing, go back to school and then watch some teen drama. After that it's the all-you-can-eat disability news buffet, with a curation of over 200 links from 50 countries. Thanks to Áine, a great source of disability news herself, for suggesting “all-you-can-eat”.
My Favourite News
No, don't worry, it's not COVID anymore. My favourite news is now people giving me money so I can keep giving you disability news. More about this below, but I've been thrilled by the response which is a real support and huge motivation to keep going.
Second place: the plague
Demoted to my second favourite, the virus started 2022 with spread of the even-more-contagious Omicron variant among a largely fed up human species, observed by governments that are increasingly letting it spread. Yes, letting it spread is not great for disabled people.
This month the news is coming from disabled people in richer countries. We have been “completely overlooked” (Australia), “feel left for dead” (USA): our “lockdown won't end” (New Zealand). When you talk about "those who are going to die from something anyway" then you are talking about me. (Norway). Mia Mingus, one of the internet's most important writers on disability issues, wrote a searing critique of “abled supremacy”: “My people are dying and terrified. And you don’t seem to care.”
Sorry for such a happy start. For a more balanced view see this discussion on what COVID-19 means for us and in face of the uncertainty, the potential positive outcomes too. Another piece of good news is the court decision in Germany where the Federal Court found that government had not done enough to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability in access to health care.
Stipulate but don't support: inclusive education in India
I went back to school in a great seminar discussing research on children with disabilities in schools in rural India. (I guess this was done before the pandemic.) Things have come on a long way from even, say, 10 years ago: I pay more attention in a seminar, and in India children with disabilities are markedly more likely to be in mainstream schools and there's a huge change in the acceptance of that.
Change is influenced by a big shift in the policy environment and partially by the example of successful adults with disabilities. As the research shows, teachers are now seeing inclusion as a good thing, but the how of inclusion is unclear: teachers didn't know what to do next.
They had some good (albeit superficial) ideas like giving more attention or allowing kids to sit nearer the front. In practice, though, they weren't doing these things. And the preparation they'd had on disability might have stretched to a day or two in how to identify disabled kids, not any detail on how they should teach.
These are education systems that lack resources and face quite severe challenges. So the role of teachers is quite complex as they can't necessarily do more. Policies have stipulated inclusion but are not necessarily supporting it.
This context gives a richer understanding to teachers’ comments that the kids might do better in “special schools”. To some extent they were being realistic about their own limitations. And as a speaker reminded us, the binary of special versus inclusive schools doesn't necessary apply so well in the Global South, where there aren't such established systems of segregated education.
This is the CaNDER research seminar on the long road to inclusion. They have a couple more events coming up in March and April: highly recommended.
Big events on the disability calendar
This month both the Global Disability Summit and the Zero Project are coming up. I’ll be honest, I struggle a bit with these jamborees. While I absolutely love meeting people at them, I often find the tone of the events jarring. And they trigger the questions I already have about the distance of my policy work from the situation of persons with disabilities.
That said, they are both important. The commitments made at the Global Disability Summit are a chance that organizations and governments upgrade their ambitions a bit, and make statements we can remind them of in the next years. And the awards that the Zero Project gives for policies and practices (this year on Accessibility) help share and motivate work all over the world.
I've been watching: Stormy weather and Teen Drama
I just binge-watched Metro Veinte (“Four Feet High”) an Argentine mini-series starring a wheelchair-using protagonist finding herself and others in the world. It brings a great lead, banging soundtrack and a charming take on the teen drama genre. It's about the nuances, sexy times, joys and pains of growing up, and explores a snapshot of today's youth finding themselves in their identities, politics and systems they struggle against. (In Spanish, but subtitles in English and other languages).
I mentioned his passing last time, but as the NYT obituary of Neil Marcus came out it reminded me to watch his play Storm Reading. It's a brilliant portrayal of how the disability experience interrupts the world and the world interrupts us. Strangers project their own character onto Marcus’, and if they're not careful, he handcuffs himself to them. “When people see me… too few of them know how to read a storm”.
There's plenty more to the piece and do watch it so we can talk about it more. Here were some other highlights for me:
- “Disability is an art, an ingenious way to live […] Who would think of living that way if they weren't already disabled?”
- “I have flourishing dystonia […] it rides me like a rollercoaster at times".
- “When [a disabled person] mystifies you, you are on the cutting edge of liberation.”
- “See a disabled person clearly, and chances are, you’ll see yourself clearly.”
Spreading the good word of disability
I've been a fan of the India-based Newzhook for a while, and often share their articles. This month I caught up with the team, Shilpi and Ramya, to talk shop about disability news. Great to know more about the space they've made for content that gets past the disability cliches.
I was thrilled to find some more news sites this month:
- Crip News is a great newsletter with weekly updates on arts, culture and politics. Largely US/UK.
- The Squeaky Wheel is from the US, and well… you're just going to have to click on it because the headlines make me laugh but I don't want to repeat them. It's a satire site: imagine the Onion but for disability.
Better than a ted talk: Nidhi Goyal in India on Disability, Gender, Violence, Home and the City.
“My wheels travel the world, and they dance,” Unbound is an animation reacting to the phrase “wheelchair bound”.
Seriously? Oxfam's report on the Inequality Virus only mentions “disability” once in its 80 pages.
Clean up your own back yard. Too often in our development efforts we focus on inclusion on “beneficiaries” and less on whether our own organizations are inclusive. So great to see this guide on how organizations working on water, sanitation and hygiene can become more inclusive.
What is ableism, actually? An evolving definition.
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 previous issues online or search the archive of disability news since 2020.
The show goes on: thank you!
Reader contributions to the newsletter have already gotten beyond what I dared to hope for: more than £2,400 so far, with monthly donations on track to take it over £3,000 in the year. Over fifty of you have given on pay-as-you-like-basis.
Support from you and two institutional grants mean that the newsletter is locked-in to continue this year at the same level it was last year.
I'm really touched by your trust in me and the value you place on this work. As well as being the practical support I need, it is hugely motivating for me to keep on improving what we do here. Like I said, all the content will always stay open for all, so you are contributing to a public resource.
I would love to be able to develop more, and further support will help me upgrade. It’d be great to make a website where the links could be browsed more easily, and I'd like to do more analysis and explainers on specific topics.
I'm aware that y’all are making personal contributions for something that a lot of you use for work. Perhaps we could do an institutional subscription, like your work would pay for journal access. Hit me up if that would be a goer, I can provide a quote/invoice.
Getting fancy now: the newsletter has a logo
A while back one of the disabled brothers that I met in my travels, Tan Kuan Aw did a sweet watercolour portrait of me. We met in Penang, Malaysia, thanks to his blog on accessibility issues there. People say the portrait shows my friendly nature?
It's great to be able to use something that speaks to these global connections of disability as the logo. The image description is a watercolour version of me, dark hair, beard, eyes and glasses to camera, with blue shirt against the cloudy splotches of an almost-blue English sky and blurred background of buildings. Signed Tan Kuan Aw 2021.
All-you-can-eat news buffet
We have 221 links from 51 countries and regions, organized by these topics:
- Accessibility and Design
- Assistive Technology
- Black Lives Matter and Racial justice
- Civil Society and Community
- Climate Crisis
- 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
- Global Disability Summit
- History and Memorial
- Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
- Indigenous People
- Institutions and Deinstitutionalization
- International Cooperation
- Justice Systems and Legal Capacity
- Lived Experience and Opinion
- Mental Health
- Mobility, Travel and Transport
- Policy and Rights
- Politics and Elections
- Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
- Sign Languages
- Social Protection, Poverty and Costs of Disability
- Space Exploration
- Sport and Paralympics
- Violence and Harassment
- Water and Sanitation (WASH)
- Women and Girls with Disabilities
Accessibility and Design
The big event this month is the Zero Project 2022 conference which this year celebrates policies and practices on Accessibility. (23 to 25 Feb)
In Canada, New project tackles accessibility of heritage buildings (Dec, Remi Network)
In Egypt, Cairo sidewalks to be enhanced to enable access to persons with disabilities (Nov, Egypt Today)
In India, Lessons from Chennai on accessibility for the disabled (Jan, New Indian Express)
In the United States, Accessible NYC A summary of what the city authorities are doing for accessibility and inclusion. (links to pdf, NYC)
'Related – perhaps inseparable – from the physical health challenges faced by SBH adults and increased reports of mental health challenges. The lived experiences of many SBH adults involves increased isolation – in large part due to the changes in physical health described above, that can make it more difficult to enjoy a full social life. It is not surprising then that many people report an increase in anxiety and depression. This can result in a negative cycle, as people are less likely to make the effort to see others, which further increases the sense of isolation. ' (Dec, IF Global)
Measuring assistive technology supply and demand a scoping review (Dec, Assistive Technology Journal)
Introduction to the companion papers to the global report on assistive technology (Dec, Assistive Technology Journal)
UNICEF to introduce 24 new assistive products into the global Supply Catalogue. "Through global tenders, UNICEF and WHO have been able to negotiate low-cost prices which will ensure these highly technical and specialized pieces of equipment can be quickly and easily ordered by field teams, partners, and governments." (Dec, UNICEF)
TIDAL N+ "Transformative Innovation in the delivery of Assisted Living Products and Services" - "building a transdisciplinary network" (Jan, GDI)
Black Lives Matter and Racial justice
In the United States, Asian Americans with disabilities are often overlooked. A new youth-led group aims to change that. (Jan, NBC News)
The UN international World Braille Day (4 Jan, UN)
In Tunisia, Seeking Knowledge While Blind (Nov, Meshkal)
In the United Kingdom, The Politics of Braille
"These days the argument for and against Braille continues in several arenas. Blind people are divided in regards to its usefulness, schools debate whether it is worth recruiting qualified teachers, and governments fail to set aside funding to either train those teachers or fund their employment in local authorities. ‘Has technology replaced Braille?’ is a question I hear thrown around by the media more often than I should, usually accompanied by an article about a technology that will revolutionise how blind people read, rendering Braille unnecessary. It has not failed to escape me that whilst I’ve seen countless such articles, Braille is still firmly in place as the writing system used by blind people globally." (Jan, Catch These Words)
'16-year-old Eemon, who has a visual disability, said, "We are very ill-fated that our education has come to a halt for the past two years." Eemon had to join a courier service as a worker to support his family, as other members faced income loss as a result of the pandemic. It is highly unlikely that he will go back to his much-loved school, even though schools have reopened.' (Dec, The Daily Star)
In the United Kingdom, COVID-19 pandemic impact on psychotropic prescribing for adults with intellectual disability: an observational study in English specialist community services: "The pandemic caused an increase in psychotropic prescribing associated with lockdown severity and urban settings." (Jan, BJPsych)
An evidence brief on How can health and social care services promote the safety and well-being of people with intellectual disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in LMICs? (Nov, Disability Evidence)
The Global Platform Reader on COVID-19 and older people in low and middle-income countries (link to pdf, Jan, Corona Older)
- People with disability 'completely overlooked' as Omicron surges (Dec)
- Living with COVID-19 in the time of OMICRON: Escalating risks for people with disability in Australia and recommendations how to address them. (Jan, Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health)
In Bangladesh, Jobseekers with disabilities left out of Covid recovery plans (Dec, Dhaka Tribune)
In Canada, Accessibility of Canadian COVID-19 Testing Locations for People with Disabilities During the Third Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: "more than a year into the pandemic, there existed a clear lack of accessibility information for Canadian testing locations for people with disabilities." (Dec, MedRxiv)
'The court found the legislature had failed “to take measures to ensure that no one is at risk of being disadvantaged on the basis of disability in the allocation of life-sustaining treatment if shortages in intensive care resources arise.” The court ordered lawmakers to introduce stronger measures based on the constitutional right to nondiscrimination. They should consider disability rights training for medical staff and the creation of stronger procedures to identify disabilities.'
In the Philippines, Supporting OPDs Covid-19 response: reflections from the Philippines (Dec, CBM Australia)
In Spain, Plena Inclusión demands a plan to protect persons with intellectual disabilities in the face of the Omicron wave. (Dec, Discapnet)
In the United States,
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions details when COVID-19 can be a disability including if you get fired because of having symptoms of COVID-19 (Dec, The Hill)
- Biden and CDC's Covid-19 variant guidelines "have disabled people feeling left for dead" (Jan, MSNBC)
- High-Risk Pandemic Stories: A Syllabus. "We are not alone" (Jan, Disability Visibility Project)
- A letter to the health authorities responding to CDC comments that had referred to the deaths of those 'unwell to begin with': "The public health response to COVID-19 has treated people with disabilities as disposable." See more on Huffpost (link to pdf, Jan, coalition of disability organizations)
In Australia, Australian vaccine contractor prioritises aged care "NDIS participant vaccine rates remain lower than general population" (Jan, the Guardian)
In Bangladesh, Directives to hold special Covid-19 vaccination drive for people with disability (Jan, The Business Standard)
In the United Kingdom, Booster jabs are vital – why is it so difficult for clinically vulnerable people to access them? (Dec, the Guardian)
Living with COVID
In Australia, Covid-related staff shortages in Australian disability sector leave some without vital services (Jan, the Guardian)
In Canada, Chronic exhaustion, derailed lives and no way out. This is long COVID. (Jan, Maclean's)
In New Zealand, For those of us with disabilities, lockdown won’t end as long as Covid strategies leave us behind (Dec, the Guardian)
In Norway, When you talk about "those who are going to die from something anyway" then you are talking about me. "Aren't I, a human being, worth more than the local pub?" (in Norwegian, google translate makes sense, Jan)
In the United States,
- What Does ‘Living With Covid-19’ Mean For Disabled And Chronically Ill People? A useful balanced view of pessimistic and hopeful outcomes. (Dec, Forbes)
- At-Home Coronavirus Tests Are Inaccessible to Blind People: “It’s your personal health information, you should be the first to know." (Jan, NYT)
Civil Society and Community
In Netherlands, Reducing prejudices about people with disabilities interesting to see that it doesn't approve of the simulation exercises (in Dutch, google translate makes some sense, Jan, Movisie)
What is Climate resilient inclusive design and why do we need it? Global Disability Innovation Hub at COP26 (Nov, GDI)
Environmental Justice and Disability with Pauline Castres - YouTube a nice conversation covering key issues and reflecting on COP. (Dec, Judy Heumann)
Policy Brief on the decade of healthy ageing in a climate-changing world (Jan, Decade of Healthy Ageing)
Cop26: Take stock, regroup and keep disability inclusion on the table for climate action "let's do better together". (Jan, Bond)
In Kenya, Include persons with disability in climate action plans (Jan, The Standard)
Culture, Entertainment and Media
In the United States,
- Beauty & Disability The Entrenched History of Ableism in the Beauty Industry (Dec, World Institute on Disability)
- A New Coalition Amplifies Disability Culture in the Music Industry (Jan, NYT)
TV and Film
In Argentina, Four Feet High Just caught up on the first episode of this charming series from 2020. So far a portrait of young people figuring out identity issues on a rollercoaster of relationships, identity, inclusion and exclusion. 'Revolutionises the way the body is represented on the screen' (in Spanish, with subtitles in English and other languages, Dec, Arte TV)
In Bangladesh, Country's first wheelchair-using news presenter makes debut "an initiative to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream to commemorate the golden jubilee of independence." (Dec, The Business Standard)
In the United Kingdom, I'm thrilled that Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly Come Dancing: see her interview in the Guardian talking about her life, career and the show. (Dec, the Guardian)
In the United States,
- Ahead of the Golden Globes Shining a Spotlight on Disability-Inclusive Nominations (Jan, Respect Ability)
- ‘As We See It’ Is Not a Typical Portrayal of Autism starring three leads who are on the autism spectrum (Jan, NYT)
- ‘CODA’ Script: Read Siân Heder’s Screenplay That Spotlights Deaf Culture (Jan, Deadline)
In the United States, Three disability questions every editor should ask (Dec, RJI)
Data and Research
Disability Data Advocacy Toolkit updated version (link to pdf, Dec, CBM Global)
Data-driven advocacy for inclusive employment and social protection The experiences of organizations of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya (Dec, Leonard Cheshire)
FIRAH applied disability research General call for projects - 2022 Project leaders can be from any country in the world but if they're not French then it has to be in partnership with a French organization. (Jan, FIRAH)
In Indonesia, How do Positive Deviants Overcome Health-Related Stigma? An Exploration of Development of Positive Deviance Among People With Stigmatized Health Conditions in Indonesia (Dec, Qualitative Health Research)
In Spain, New edition of the Spanish Journal on Disability (REDIS) (in Spanish, Dec, Discapnet)
Digital Accessibility and Technology
In India, State of digital accessibility in India (Dec, Financial Express)
In Norway, Inaccessible Possibilities: experiences of using ICT to engage with services among young persons with disabilities: even though they're seen as digitally native doesn't mean they can use health and social services online. (Dec, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology)
In the United States, How AI is being used to improve disability employment (Jan, Microsoft)
Email Accessibility 4 Best Practices for Marketers (Jan, BOIA)
A chrome plug-in Wordle for Screen Readers. Great game, and good to see some accessibility retrofitted: see also a site that gives you descriptive text to allow sharing the results in an accessible way. Another disappointing example of how things can go viral without accessibility being baked in.
6 Tips to make your Tweets more accessible and inclusive (Twitter)
Disabled And Here "a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images from our own perspective" (Affect the Verb)
In Bangladesh, Web Accessibility is now a reality in Bangladesh, not a dream anymore (a bold description of the important initiatives taken.) (Dec, Digital Journal)
In the United States, App & Web Accessibility Lawsuits Break Records (Dec, UsableNet)
In the United States, Navigational Apps for the Blind Could Have a Broader Appeal (Dec, NYT)
In China, Changing attitudes toward disability, one vlog at a time (Jan, Shine)
Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response
Bridging the divide understanding collaborative action in disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction through socio-cultural activity theory: exploring the collaboration between people with and without disabilities. (Jan, Emerald)
UNDRR webinar Disability inclusive disaster risk reduction – still a tick marking exercise? (14 Feb)
- Review of Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Policy across Europe and Central Asia. As well as countries with informal links with organizations of persons with disabilities, Italy and Serbia have disabled people's representatives engaged formally in working groups on disaster management. No country systematically disaggregates information by disability in DRR information systems. See also a collection of further resources on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction. (Dec, EDF)
- EDF welcomes regional roadmap to resilience on the adoption of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) Roadmap 2021-2030, which recognises persons with disabilities are more at risk during such crises. (Dec, EDF)
Education and Childhood
A new book Global Directions in Inclusive Education Conceptualizations, Practices, and Methodologies for the 21st Century. Edited By Matthew J. Schuelka, Suzanne Carrington (Dec, Routledge)
Best of UNICEF Research 2021: highlights research on support provided to children with disabilities in Montenegro and how children with developmental disabilities in Palestine experience stigma and discrimination. (Jan, UNICEF)
In Inclusive education, The case for early identification and early intervention in assistive technology: assistive technology enables learning and so children who need it must be identified as soon as possible. (Dec, Assistive Technology Journal)
In the Asia-Pacific, Ensuring continuity of education of children with disabilities during emergencies (Dec, Global Partnership for Education)
In Ethiopia, Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)
In India, Early detection of disability among children is important (Dec)
In Italy, Embracing and rejecting the medicalization of autism (Feb, Social Science and Medicine)
- Books adapted into Nepali Sign-Language by Let's Read Asia with the Nepali Government (Dec, All Children Reading)
- Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)
In Qatar, Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)
In South Asia, Mapping of Disability-Inclusive Education Practices in South Asia (Aug, UNICEF)
In West Africa, Information and Communication Technologies and Inclusive Education "Despite their potential to foster inclusive learning, the use of ICT in schools in the intervention countries faces a number of barriers" (Humanity and Inclusion)
Employment, Business and Work
From the ITCILO with Cornell University, a course on Disability in the Workplace a 90 minutes training. (Jan, ILO)
In Australia, Increasing board and executive representation (Jan, Australian Network on Disability)
In Bhutan, Microgrants used to promote entrepreneurship in a pilot project. A film was also made about the project, Dreams of Birds Flying in the Sky, trailer available on Youtube. (Jan, Kuensel Online)
In Brazil, Inclusion with Accessibility at Work a site with quite a few resources (in Portuguese)
In Cameroon, Prejudice robs disabled women of work "Laws to protect disabled people are not enforced in the central African nation, leaving many without jobs. But a local organisation is helping equip disabled women for work." (Dec, New Frame)
In Canada, Hiring more people with disabilities can address labour shortages > "Labour shortages are one of the biggest issues facing Canadian companies right now, but there’s an underrepresented and untapped pool of skilled Canadians that could help close the gap: people with disabilities." (Dec, Globe and Mail)
In India, Poorly Worded Ads, Apathy Are Depriving Doctors With Disabilities of Job Opportunities (Dec, The Wire)
In Kenya, Business as Unusual Disability inclusion practices of private sector employers. (Dec, Kenya Business and Disability Network)
In Poland, Survey report on 10 principles for successfully employing people with disabilities A mixture of experiences of disabled people, employers, and guidance for businesses to become more inclusive. (link to pdf, Dec, TAKpelnosprawni)
In Spain, "The leader of the future, if they're not inclusive, won't be a leader" (in Spanish, Jan, Ethic)
In Tunisia, "We are all different" video featuring the situation of workers with disabilities, discrimination against them, and political actions taken. Great selection of people working in different areas including entrepreneurs and artists. (in Arabic, with English subtitles., Oct, Solidarity Center and UGTT)
In the United Kingdom, Disability Smart Awards (Dec, Business Disability Forum)
In the United States,
- U.S. Department of Labor eliminates exemption for federal contractors with disabilities to be paid less than the minimum wage (Nov, Council of State Governments)
- Adobe Releases Results Of Study Looking At Recruiting, Retaining, And Supporting Disabled Workers See also the adobe study results. (Dec, Forbes)
- The Rise In Telework During The Pandemic, An Opportunity For Accessibility And Inclusion (Jan, Forbes)
In Nigeria, Gaining respect and financial stability: stories from Nigerian women. Village Savings and Loans Associations to help women set up their own businesses and cover expenses. (Nov, CBM)
Global Disability Summit
- Plenty of events on the way into this as well: see the event guide. covering the thematic, regional and side events.
- See also the master guide (Global Disability Summit)
You can follow the GDS on social media and with its social media toolkit. Hashtags will be #CommitToChange and #GDS2022. Suggested prompt is “I believe in a disability-inclusive future because…” (Jan, Global Disability Summit)
On Humanitarian response, a call for commitments to disability inclusion (Jan, Global Disability Summit)
International Summit On Disability And Health Aims To Achieve #HealthForAll (Jan, Health Policy Watch)
Ensure disability inclusion is not just a tick mark (Jan, Humanity and Inclusion)
In Europe, Policy brief on disability-inclusive health systems Highlights greater risk factors in health, limited service delivery and poor health outcomes. (WHO)
In Rwanda, Ottobock and association for disabled persons strengthen orthopaedic care (Jan, Ottobock)
In the United States,
- Pregnancy among Women with Physical Disabilities: Unmet Needs and Recommendations (Jan, Brandeis)
- Program Access, Depressive Symptoms, and Medical Errors Among Resident Physicians With Disability. 'Our study establishes an association between a lack of accessibility and heightened risk for depression and self-reported medical errors during training.' (Dec, JAMA Network)
- 'I am a medical student with significant hearing loss. ': Here’s what the pandemic has been like for me and others with my disability (Jan, AAMC)
- Technical Standards from Newly Established Medical Schools: Review of Disability Inclusive Practices: "medical schools may perpetuate historically restrictive technical standards that serve as barriers to applicants with disabilities." (Jan, Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development)
- Many doctors are still befuddled by accommodating people with disability (Jan, Stat News)
History and Memorial
In Bulgaria, Memorial to Kapka Panayotova – a great Independent Living activist (Dec, Disability Defenders Network Newsletter)
In the United Kingdom, The 1921 census is a snapshot of a post-war Britain where disability suddenly became visible: "Poignant, defiant notes by men living with war wounds show the roots of the ongoing fight for disability rights taking hold". (Jan, Inews)
In the United States,
- The letter that Helen Keller wrote after she visited the Empire State Building. > I will concede that my guides saw a thousand things that escaped me from the top of the Empire Building, but I am not envious. For imagination creates distances and horizons that reach to the end of the world. It is as easy for the mind to think in stars as in cobble-stones. (Jan, Letters of Note)
- Darby Penney, Who Crusaded for Better Psychiatric Care, Dies at 68 (Dec, NYT)
- Neil Marcus, Whose Art Illuminated Disability, Dies at 67 See more about Neil in the introduction and the last newsletter. (Dec, NYT)
In Canada, Court Case on whether appropriate housing is a human right for people with disabilities Nova Scotia government argues that it isn't and they have the right to define the quality of social services people receive, not the court. (Jan, Halifax City News)
Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
An overall view on Aid policy trends to watch in 2022 Diversifying aid, its staff and its workplaces are one of the key themes to explore this year. The article puts this under the "decolonisation agenda" but there are many examples where genuine gains in diversity and inclusion are made without touching colonial dynamics. (Jan, The New Humanitarian)
Good to see these six reflections on Cash and Voucher Assistance in 2021 that shows the place of disability-inclusive cash assistance in a "patchy" shift to putting people at the centre of work. (Dec, CALP Network)
Perhaps familiar to some of you, but this month I learned that physical rehabilitation centres are one of the ways that humanitarian impact bonds are being used. The idea of the impact bond is that you pay for results and they might be a means to secure different sources of funding. (Government Outcomes Lab)
December Newsletter from the Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (Dec, IDA)
- Helping the disabled in Afghanistan: rehab and assistive technology in centres staffed by people with physical disabilities (Dec, ICRC)
- Humanitarian Crisis And Neglect In Afghanistan Puts People With Disabilities At Risk (Jan, the OWP)
In Africa, Workshop on Including Displaced Persons with Disabilities Workshop for African OPDs (Jan, IDA)
In Jordan, Jordan’s sole refuge for people with disabilities risk closure as COVID-19 dries up donations (Jan, Global Voices)
In the Philippines,
- Super Typhoon Rai leaves widespread destruction (Dec, CBM Global)
- The Humanitarian Needs and Priorities identified after Super Typhoon Rai includes mentions of persons with disabilities. (Dec, Relief Web)
In Turkey, Protection Needs of Refugees with Disabilities Only one of the 300 research participants had a job; 9% had part-time work. (Jan, Relief Web)
In the United Kingdom, A Mural on Disability and Migration bringing together the disabled movement and asylum sector. (Youtube, Dec, Disability Murals)
Disability Studies Quarterly special edition on indigeneity and disability: Kinship, Place, and Knowledge-Making (Jan)
Institutions and Deinstitutionalization
In Australia, Victorian government seizes control of supported care homes over abuse, ‘uninhabitable conditions’ (Jan, SMH)
In Austria, How did people in institutions fare during the corona pandemic? Short animated video comparing independent living solutions to the confinement in institutions. (Youtube, in German with English subtitles, Dec, Unabhängiger Monitoringausschuss)
In Canada, Warehousing disabled people in long-term care homes needs to stop. Instead, nationalize home care. (Jan, the Conversation)
In the Czech Republic, From hospitals back to life An in-depth feature on pyschiatric institutions. "I've been in the hospital since I was eighteen. I'm eighty-one now." (in Czech but google translate seems to make sense, Jan, iROZHLAS)
In Europe, Inclusion Europe's 2022 Campaign is to End Segregation.
“The situation of people with disabilities more generally has improved over time. However, this is not true for all people and more limited for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are more likely to be living in segregated or congregated settings and less likely to be experiencing real inclusion.” (Jan, Inclusion Europe)
In Ireland, Ireland is tarnished by its use of prisons to house the unwanted and mentally ill (Jan, The Journal)
In New Zealand, He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu. A report on survivors of abuse in care, their efforts to restore their lives and hold governments to account. (Dec, Abuse in Care Inquiry)
In the United Kingdom, The shameful legacy of the Lennox Castle hospital Scotland's largest institution for people with learning disabilities, which closed 20 years ago. (Jan, BBC)
See the CIP question of the month on How civil society can work with large development partners and financial institutions to address disability inclusion. Hosted by the World Bank's lead on disability. (Jan)
Reflecting a Movement’s Principles in Grantmaking Structure Evidence on the Benefits of Participation (Dec, DRF)
Intersectionality Resource Guide and Toolkit An Intersectional Approach to Leave No One Behind:
'This does not require an “add and stir” approach, but rather a full shift in mindset—one that is willing to sit with the discomfort that comes with exploring the relational nature of power and discrimination both within and beyond UN systems.', (Jan, UN Women)
- Innovation to Inclusion Learning Update (link to pdf, Jan, Leonard Cheshire)
- See You Strategic Framework 2021-2024 Light for the World Netherlands is now See You: 'We see our values reflected in the Bible, as well as represented in the UNCRPD' (link to pdf, Nov, See You)
- Light for the World 2021: The year in review (Dec, LFTW)
- World Federation of the Deaf review of 2021. (WFD)
- A survey on the situation of persons with deafblindness (2022) (up to 14th Feb, WFDB)
In Bangladesh, How Sadia became a strong advocate for people with disabilities (Dec, CBM Australia)
In Ethiopia, Strengthening OPDs in Ethiopia increases impact and value for money: "For every $1 provided by CBM, FEAPD have generated approximately a staggering $14." (Nov, CBM Australia)
- What about young persons with disabilities? Key issues for how the European Year of Youth should include young people with disabilities. (Dec, EDF)
- Lack of inclusion of people with disabilities is worrying exclusion at the Conference on the Future of Europe (Dec, Euractiv)
In Iraq, Testimonials from the Bridge CRPD-SDGs Training "I have never seen a training so inclusive". Everything I've heard from people that have gone through this training around the world is extremely positive. (Nov, IDA)
In Latin America and the Caribbean, The path to inclusive local development good practice guide to the social and employment inclusion of young persons with disabilities (in Spanish, Dec, CEPAL)
Justice Systems and Legal Capacity
In the Americas, Practical Guide for the Establishment of Support for the Exercise of the Legal Capacity of persons with disabilities. Also available in Portuguese and Spanish (links to pdf, OAS)
- Participation of People with Disability Program resources for disabled people's organizations to implement the UNCRPD. (Jan, Disability Bangladesh)
- Mobilizing Disabled Peoples’ Organizations to Implement Bangladesh’s Disability Law (Yes, the Journal of Human Rights Practice has a paywall oh dear, Jan, Journal of Human Rights Practice)
In Mexico, Manual on Justice and Persons with Disabilities a reference for judges and others in the legal system to apply a rights-based approach to disability. See also a launch event on youtube. (in Spanish, Dec, Supreme Court)
Lived Experience and Opinion
Define Yourself: Riva Lehrer’s and Jan Grue’s Disability Memoirs (Jan, LA Review of Books)
In Canada, What Does It Mean to ‘Crip’ Healing?
'We’re used to thinking of “healing” as specific treatments — surgery, pills, herbs, acupuncture. Those things are useful and important. But a cripped definition of healing would include anything that supports someone’s disabled body/mind. My cane; my friend’s garden bench chair they sit on while they weed; my heating pad and excellent ice packs; my friend’s sensory friendly hijab; the CRV my friend and his partner bought that can easily fit his wheelchair in the back; stim toys; my car with its disabled parking permit; the disabled parking spaces at the Grocery Outlet; the portable wheelchair at the protest; Zoom captions; the autistic Black, brown, Indigenous, Asian and mixed race group I hang out in online; and my close and extended disabled BIPOC friend family who are available to bitch and vent and commiserate and troubleshoot and doula each other: none of these are healing in the “cure” sense. But all of these things do a lot to ensure my or someone else’s chances of an excellent disabled life.' (Dec, The Tyee)
In India, Don't Mourn For Us, an advocacy poem by Aishwarya Othena (on Youtube, Dec, Rising Flame)
In the United Kingdom,
- Unbound an animation reacting to the phrase "wheelchair bound": "my wheels travel the world, and they dance, whirl in light and colour" (subtitles but no visual description, Dec, BBC)
- My Life With Dynamic Disabilities: What You Should Know (Dec, Refinery29)
In the United States,
- Working definition of Ableism updated in January 2022:
A system of assigning value to people's bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people's value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, "health/wellness", and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, "excel" and "behave." You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism. (Jan, Talila Lewis)
- Reframing Entrepreneurship And Disability To Shape A New Business Culture describes the way we make changes within organizations as 'intrapreneurship'. (Dec, Forbes)
- To Hold the Grief and the Growth: On Crip Ecologies
"Crip ecologies, crip time, crip ingenuity, crip spirit radically aim to question root systems that keep our imaginations limited and starved. How can we channel joy within our own skins before there is the stethoscope, the specialist’s jackhammered interrogation, before all the stigma we battle? I am not asking to look beyond it, because these constraints in our beings are here and ever-present. I am asking, as poets, as curious people who want liberation, how do we revel in the grief and also the growth we experience? In what ways does this unpack how we are taught to perceive place and nature?" (Jan, Poetry Foundation)
- On Marta Russell’s Money Model of Disability Locating disability in its economic circumstances, rather than in terms of stigma: seeing the industries of charity and care that commodify disabled people. (Dec, Blind Archive)
- Tina's art: "How I see the world" Art and photography from someone with Cerebral visual impairment. (Perkins)
- You Are Not Entitled To Our Deaths COVID, Abled Supremacy & Interdependence:
"My people are dying and terrified. And you don’t seem to care. You don’t seem to care because you don’t see them–see us–as your people too. When you talk to me about racial justice or housing justice or healing justice or gender justice, who exactly are you talking about? Whose justice are you fighting for? Because it never seems to include disabled people or if it does, it is only in theory, not practice; only to make yourself look better. Or only when disabled people are in the room or when disabled people initiate the conversation." (Jan, Mia Mingus)
Mental health support for children and adolescents with hearing loss scoping review (Jan, BJPsych)
Mobility, Travel and Transport
Experts at Dubai summit seek better travel facilities and accessibility for 'people of determination' worldwide (Jan, Gulf News)
In Australia, ‘You can make money out of us’ the disabled people demanding more accessible travel and tourism (Dec, the Guardian)
In Canada, Toronto City Council Today Banned Robots from Sidewalks, to Protect People with Disabilities (Dec, AODA)
In Europe, Next stop: a transport system accessible for all (Dec, EC)
In Netherlands, An interview about Haltebuddy: personalizing accessibility information in public transport. (Jan, Amsterdam Intelligence)
In the United States,
- Good to see that in NYC the pilot shared e-scooter scheme included possibility to rent wheelchairs or mobility scooters. (Jan, NYC Scooter Share)
- Accessible Cars Aren’t Born, They’re Made "Car buyers looking for specific mobility features have limited options, but customizers and manufacturers are trying to change that." (Jan, Wired)
- How 3 travelers with disabilities or chronic illness navigate the world "These travelers cope with an added layer of worry and logistics. Here’s how they do it." (Jan, Washington Post)
- Amtrak Pays $2.25 Million to Disabled People Who Were Unable to Access Train Stations (Jan, Newsweek)
Policy and Rights
The 15th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD is scheduled in New York from 14th to 16h June (UN)
A training course The Human Rights-Based Approach to Disability running in February-March (UNITAR)
Human Rights Watch World Report 2022 starts with a discussion of autocrats "on the defensive" and how democracies can "rise to the occasion"; from there it is an update on human rights by country, including updates on disability rights. (Jan, Human Rights Watch)
In Cameroon, Cameroon ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in French, Dec, Republique du Cameroun)
In Haiti, Greater Inclusion Necessary for Haitians Living with a Disability (Dec, World Bank)
In New Zealand, Appointment irks disabled community Ministry for Disabled People sees major appointments of people who do not identify as disabled. (Jan, Otago Daily Times)
- Lagos Govt Reiterates Commitment to People with Disabilities "with the launch of comic books aimed at promoting a friendly platform for disability inclusion." (Dec, This Day)
- Nigerian Disability Rights Acts: 3 years after Prospects and challenges (Jan, Pulse NG)
In Pacific Islands, Inequality, discrimination, and exclusion assessing CRPD compliance in Pacific Island legislation (Oct, UN ESCAP)
In Pakistan, Socio-Economic inclusion of PWDs Towards an Inclusive, Accessible & Sustainable Pakistan (Dec, Pakistan Today)
In Peru, Directive to regulate the management of regional and local governments on disability issues (in Spanish, Dec, El Peruano)
In the United Kingdom, High Court declares National Disability Strategy unlawful due to inadequate consultation (Jan, Bindmans)
Politics and Elections
In Japan, Interview with Eiko Kimura, member of the Japanese Congress. (Nov, Disability Visibility Project)
In Pakistan, Parliament House fully has been made disability friendly (Dec, Pak NGOs)
In the United States, Reflections on the 6th January Insurrection attempt includes a condemnation of people involved using disability to try to get off criminal charges: including the so-called QAnon Shaman attempt to invoke autism. (Jan, AAPD)
Factsheet on Rehabilitation through a gender lens (Dec, ReLAB-HS)
Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
In Australia, "I am on a mission to make dating more accessible and inclusive." (Women's Agenda)
In India, “I am disabled, it doesn’t mean I have no dignity” (Jan, The Lancet)
In Kazakhstan, Reclaiming bodily autonomy for persons with disabilities (Jan, UNFPA)
In the United States, We Talked To People Living With Disabilities About Sex And Here's What They Had To Say (Dec, BuzzFeed)
A podcast Road to Inclusion covering many themes relating to the Global Disability Summit. (link to youtube, also available on Spotify and other platforms, Jan, Atlas Alliance)
A great weekly newsletter Crip News with weekly updates on arts, culture and politics. Largely US/UK.
In Brazil, Portraits of Brazil with Disability A new podcast exploring a range of disability issues (in Portuguese, with transcription, Jan)
In the United States, I was very happy to find The Squeaky Wheel: a parody disability news site - think the Onion, but for us
The Global Digital Library has books available in three sign-languages, namely Cambodian, Kenyan and Rwandan.
In Kenya, Govt Offices to Start Using Sign Language in New Law (Jan, Kenyans)
Social Protection, Poverty and Costs of Disability
Social protection and access to assistive technology in low- and middle-income countries by friend of the newsletter Alex Cote. (Dec, Assistive Technology Journal)
In the United States,
- Tax authorities raise limit allowed benefit recipients in saving accounts (Jan, Disability Scoop)
- One of the awful features of some disability-related benefits is a limit of the assets that a recipient can have. California just raised the assets limits for medicare from 2000 USD to 130,000 USD. (link to pdf, Dec, State of California)
- The Care Crisis Isn’t What You Think "When it comes to disability, we devalue care (both caregiving and paid care work) because we devalue the people who need it." (Jan, Prospect)
In the United States, This space company This space company wants to help people with disabilities become astronauts | TheHill “So often we make design decisions up front that are exclusionary to entire segments of the population. That’s why I’m so excited about space. Space, to me, is a blank canvas.” and “NASA proved that deaf space flight participants would be more adaptable to the foreign gravitational environments, and yet there has never been a deaf astronaut.” (Dec, The Hill)
Sport and Paralympics
In China, China excels at the Paralympics, "but its disabled citizens are fighting for access. " Like many other countries doing well at the Paralympics, eh. (Jan, NPR)
In the Ukraine, Equal opportunities for girls with intellectual disabilities (Dec, UNFPA)
In the United States, ‘I need to speak my truth’: Allegations of emotional abuse led to the resignation of the Paralympic women’s wheelchair basketball coach (Dec, 19th News)
Violence and Harassment
In India, Disability, Gender, Violence, Home and the City 'Nidhi Goyal takes us beyond keywords' with interesting reflections on a range of subjects, illustrated with concrete examples, from her experience of the city, the relations between access and safety, and the home itself:
- "To access a city space, I invite someone in my physical space, and allow them to touch me. [...] I disconnect my arms from my body, because I have to offer my arm to every stranger I meet."
- How disability shows us new forms of exclusion and violence, whether a family not speaking in sign language, or "for a disabled women, domestic violence is not giving her medications on time, putting away her assistive device where she cannot reach by herself, without asking her."
- Whether this is about getting dressed, whether to go out: "We don't consider that taking consent from a disabled woman is required at all." (Dec, Third Eye Portal)
Water and Sanitation (WASH)
A guide to making WASH workplaces inclusive considering gender equality, disability and social inclusion. (Dec, Institute for Sustainable Futures)
Women and Girls with Disabilities
Empowering women and changing minds on CBM Germany efforts to support women with disabilities. (Jan, D+C)
The Snowdon Masters Scholarships are open for national and international disabled students applying for a master's programme at any UK institution that starts in 2022. (closing 1st April)
The Disability Rights Fund is hiring in several positions.
Thank you to the readers that made contributions to keep this going: Vera, Mary, Rémi, Shas, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Meg, Lori, Vishal, Sophie and Kam, Tobias, Joe and Laura (omg), Shirin, Stephen, Pranati, Rishab, Tom, Ricardo, Charlotte, Amy, Shasta, Sue, RBR, Ahmed, my dear Mother, Deborah, Ashton, Katherine, Kishore ji, Anna, Laurel, Khanam, Sander, Yaz, Opi and Mahi, Jennifer, Laura, Polly, Pien, Susan, Linita, Alastair, Maria, Eddie, Julia, Bethany, Sherri, Jutta, Shirely, Catherine, Kandra, Chloe, and Ilka.
I talk or email with quite a few of you and the advice you give really helps me shape how I go forward. A particular shout out this month to Davey Jose for helping me think things through.
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.
These newsletters are produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Any opinions or mistakes are mine. Many thanks to the Center for Inclusive Policy's support to this edition. And to Tan Kuan Aw for the newsletter logo.
Until next time!