Editor’s Column – September 2000

The Social Security articles on page 1 talk about a meeting that was held on August 1 to discuss the […]

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The Social Security articles on page 1 talk about a meeting that was held on August 1 to discuss the Work Incentive legislation which was recently passed on a federal level. This legislation will have some of the most profound impacts on people with disabilities. People being able to go to work may have a bigger impact than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When people with disabilities are fully integrated into the workforce, the general population will be forced to interact and understand disability issues firsthand.

The other issue on page 1 is a conversation with Commissioner Apfel, the head of Social Security. During the interview, I was struck by the commissioner’s openness and genuine candor when it came to employing people with disabilities. I truly believe he wants this effort to go forward as fast as possible. Unfortunately, it may be four or five years before the Clinton proposals fully take effect.

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Margot Imdieke-Cross has written an article about the difficulties she had accessing the new commuter car. (See below) Unfortunately, too many people with disabilities can relate to her experience. It becomes very frustrating when in today’s world, 10 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people still are not providing adequate access. What I think may be the most frustrating of all is people’s attitudes, they just don’t have a clue sometimes when it comes to providing accommodations for people with disabilities. Studies over the years have shown that making things accessible benefits society at-large.

Advocating Change Together (ACT) many years ago produced a button which read “attitudes are the real disability”. The more and more, I am becoming a believer in that saying. If we could change societies attitudes towards people with disabilities, t I think almost everything else would fall and place.

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The Disability Culture article this month and deals with a difficult issue (see page 5). In part, it raises the issue on whether or not genetic testing should you be used to weed out certain disabilities before birth. This raises a whole host of ethical questions, if you know your child is going to be severely disabled and you’re able to prevent it should you? On one side, you have disability leaders saying “and disability brings richness to our society” and on the other side you have a parent saying “do I really want to be forced to deal with all the problems and issues disabled child/adult will have.” This debate a will most likely never be resolved. Both sides are equally divided and have valid viewpoints.

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I urge everyone to vote in the September 12 primary. Study up on the likely candidates for your Representatives and Senators. This will be an important election and we need to participate. In October we will carry information on the US Senate race.

  • Wash your hands! Hands that look can still have icky germs!
  • Work with your care provider to stay healthy. Protect yourself. Vaccines are your best protection against being sick.

You are not alone. Minnesota Autism Resource Portal.