disability

Jacqueline McFarquhar's mom, Beryline Hillaire, celebrating her 80th birthday at the adult day care center Active Day.
Courtesy of Jacqueline McFarquhar

Jacqueline McFarquhar’s mom, Beryline Hillaire, is 80 years old and has Alzheimer’s. For the last two years, Hillaire's been going to Active Day, an adult day care center near Cincinnati.

Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET

Jerry D'Agostino had a job but couldn't afford a few things he wanted to do: a meal out once a week, go to the movies, attend Comic-Con. He was working alongside other people with disabilities at a center in Rhode Island, doing what he calls "benchwork" — rote tasks like fitting rings into heating tubes, packaging ice packs, assembling boxes for jewelry.

Ohio School for the Deaf sophomore Malia Schneck will use a school-issued iPad to study from home.
Katey Bowers

Malia Schneck is excited about the upcoming school year, but like many students across the U.S. wishes that she could see her friends again in September. Instead, Schneck and 160 other students at the Ohio School for the Deaf will be scattered across the state for another semester of remote classes.

For Sarah McLaren, who lives in a suburb of Minneapolis, talking about the spring is painful. Her daughter, a rising fourth-grader, struggles with auditory processing and receives special education services. But McLaren says her daughter had trouble keeping up with teachers on an iPad because the instruction was almost all talk.

"They'd tell her, 'Look at this problem, look at that problem. No, show me your worksheet,' " McLaren remembers. "The teachers were doing the best they could, but all those rapid verbal directions just overwhelmed her."

Vanessa Ince's daughter, Alexis, has a rare chromosomal abnormality and autism. Alexis has thrived at her public school in Wailuku, Hawaii, and loves spending time with her classmates.

Ince says when the COVID-19 pandemic closed her school in Wailuku, the effect on her daughter's well-being was "devastating."

"Alexis regressed so severely. She was previously, I would say, 95% potty trained and she started wetting herself." She also regressed in other areas, her mother says: She went back to crawling and stopped trying to use her communication device.

Brandon Duncan describes himself as fearless. So when he first heard news reports about the novel coronavirus, the 30-year-old wasn’t afraid for himself. 

“I’m like, how is this going to affect Danny?” he says.

Video purports to show a protester whose prosthetic limbs were removed by Columbus Police during demonstrations Sunday.
meanmrbadger / Reddit

Columbus Police released video footage Monday to push back on allegations that officers took away the prosthetic limbs of a protester during a clash Sunday afternoon.

The new norms of the coronavirus era — wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and conducting conversations through teleconference software — have made life more complicated for most Americans. But for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, they have transformed every day tasks into technological labyrinths, and exposed a number of inequities in local health and government systems.

John High has diabetes, which led to his leg being amputated below the knee two years ago. He's been using a wheelchair since then, and hasn't gotten used to having to work out solutions to everyday problems — such as getting in and out of the shower in the small rental house he shares with his son in Norman, Okla. But when he hears a tornado siren blaring out its high-pitched warning he feels a spasm of fear and dread. In this situation, he's on his own.

Danielle Turkovich and Emily Krichbaum
StoryCorps COLUMBUS / WOSU

Growing up, Emily Krichbaum’s younger sister Michelle was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome - a rare genetic disorder that causes severe developmental disabilities and neurological problems. Throughout her life, Emily found connecting with her sister - who is nonverbal - very challenging.

Cuyahoga County is taking steps to protect adults with disabilities from abuse or neglect. The Guardian Partner Program aims to assess the care being provided to nearly 7,000 wards of the county.

Guardians currently provide a report every two years on any changes in diagnosis, care plan or living arrangements for adult wards, said Probate Court Magistrate and Deputy Court Administrator Jennifer Alexander. But the court doesn’t usually interact with the adults themselves outside of an initial hearing or service, she said.

During the final presidential debate of 2019, one of the moderators posed a question about a topic that rarely gets attention on the debate stage: What steps would candidates take to help disabled people get more integrated into the workforce and their local communities?

For Andrew Yang, the question was both political and personal. His oldest son, Christopher, is on the autism spectrum.

School bus
Flickr / Creative Commons

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has five years to create and implement a plan providing more support and resources to students with disabilities. It's part of a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit with advocates for children with disabilities.

The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority says more than 20,000 families are waiting for housing assistance. A federal grant will allow it to help some of those most in need.

The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) is calling the project the Mainstream Voucher Program.

AMHA has about 4,000 families with disabilities who could benefit from the program. But the half million dollar grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will only fund help for 80 families.

An all-gender restroom is seen at Seattle City Hall Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

An Ohio lawmaker is calling on the state to require more places to have adult changing tables in restrooms.

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