Disability and Abuse Newsfeed

Week of December 23, 2017 to January 4, 2018

Articles Compiled by Jennifer Palmer

Editing and Commentary by Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D., 

Posting by Thomas F. Coleman


Articles are listed in alphabetical order by state within each category, so you can easily scan through the articles for those within your state or other states in which you have an interest. International articles are near the end. The categories are: Abuse and Neglect, Laws & Legislation, Studies & Statistics, Improved Supports, International, and sometimes, Miscellaneous.


Check the categories below for a guide to types of abuse.  The categories are indicated by type, and the number of the article.  

Check the categories below for a guide to types of abuse.  The categories are indicated by type, and the number of the article. 


Sexual Assault: 2, 5

Physical Abuse:   8, 9

Emotional/verbal abuse: 24, 34

Financial abuse: 1, 7, 8

Kept enclosed: 26

Murder: 3, 4, 6

Neglected: 3, 10

Related to special education: 5, 23

Access/ADA: 18 (new tax cut reduces funding for service animals)


WINNER of most egregious award: 19: Parents with disabilities lose custody of their children.


WINNER of “good job” award: 28: Sentence for multiple rapes  of a woman with disabilities is upheld after being challenged; 29: Trauma center will provide communication for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.


WHO DUN IT (listed by article number):


Family: 5, 7

Carer: 1, 3, 4, 8, 10

Stranger: 9

Co-resident: 3

Special education employee: 27

Group home counselor: 2

Men:  1, 2, 7, 10

Women: 1, 4, 8

Good News: 36: Delta Airlines attempts to reduce stress for those with autism; 55: Woman able to communicate after 21 years without support; 59: Ireland to sign UN Rights Convention (Maybe the US will be next!!); 70: Special Olympics helps in many ways beyond the games themselves.


Bad News: 

20: Special education teacher sues school board for failure to serve the needs of special education students; 40: Hidden problem of abandonment of children with disabilities by their parents; 44: Caregivers cannot provide services due to state budget cuts then applied to Medicaid…thus people with disabilities are unable to work or ?; 45: Jobs for people with disabilities disappear due to ….state budget cuts; 67: Ok to restrain individual with autism judge says.


PLEASE NOTE:  Visit our website at www.disabilityandabuse.org  While on the homepage, we invite you to “like” us at the bottom of the page, making it easier to keep up with our activities!  Prior weekly newsfeeds are archived at: https://disabilityandabuse.org/newsfeed/contents.htm 




1.    “Two caregivers sentenced for exploiting a vulnerable Willcox adult.” Two caregivers were sentenced for exploiting a 74-year old vulnerable adult in Willcox. Theresa Alice Titus was sentenced to seven years' probation, while Reynard Gordon was sentenced to five years' prison, said Mia Garcia, director of community relations for the Office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. --- willcoxrangenews.com, January 3 (Arizona) https://is.gd/6qVYRm


2.    “Tracy group home counselor accused of child molestation.” A group home counselor was arrested Tuesday for sexually abusing a juvenile, Tracy police said. Nolan Bradly, 34, was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m. on three counts of child molestation, police said. --- kcra.com, January 3 (California) https://is.gd/Rzet2J


3.    “Granada Hills group home fined $15,000 after disabled resident fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife.” A Granada Hills group home for adults with developmental disabilities contributed to the brutal stabbing death of a resident by failing to provide adequate care and supervision, state licensing regulators have found. --- dailynews.com, December 26 (California) https://is.gd/280QhQ


4.    “Deaths of two at-risk adults in long-term care result in criminal charges.” The deaths of two at-risk adults — one with dementia, the other with disabling seizures — have resulted in criminal charges against five employees at long-term care centers, the attorney general’s office announced Friday. --- denverpost.com, December 29 (Colorado) https://is.gd/jDdvhL


5.    “Special Education Teacher and Mom of 5 Sentenced to 10 Years for Sex with Student.” A former teacher of special education students in Illinois accepted a guilty plea that sentenced her last week to 10 years in prison for criminal sexual assault of a student younger than 18, PEOPLE confirms. --- people.com, December 26 (Illinois) https://is.gd/CCyGnx


6.    “Man with developmental disability shot, killed while shoveling snow on Cleveland's East Side.” A man with a developmental disability was shot in the head and killed on New Year's Eve, Cleveland police say. --- cleveland.com, December 31 (Ohio) https://is.gd/nFIgxa


7.    “Son charged with stealing $109K from blind mom.” A 55-year-old man is accused of stealing $109,000 from his blind, 94-year-old mother and spending it all at a casino. --- koin.com, January 1 (Oregon) https://is.gd/POs87m


8.    “Former employees at local disabilities agencies charged.” Two former employees of local disabilities agencies, one from Greenville, have been arrested after they were charged with committing crimes while working at the agencies. --- greenvilleonline.com, January 2 (South Carolina) https://is.gd/txFpm1


9.    “Special-needs child tied up during robbery at tax preparation business.”  Kemah Police said they’ve arrested one of two suspects accused of robbing a tax preparation business and using zip ties to hold the owner, his girlfriend and 14-year-old son, who has special needs. --- click2houston.com, December 30 (Texas) https://is.gd/qMbhYf


10.“State Disciplines Home Care Aide It Says Left a Client Alone After Getting Locked Out.” A Thurston County home care aide had his credential revoked after he claimed he got locked out of a client's home and left. --- chronline.com, December 31 (Washington) https://is.gd/IQBhkf




11.“New rules on guardianship in Md. put in place.” Changes to Maryland’s guardianship rules go into effect go into effect Monday more than two years after a work group was formed to make recommendations on how to improve the process and ensure best practices are employed. The changes include new certification requirements to be completed by doctors and social workers; new training and eligibility requirements --- thedailyrecord.com, January 1 (Maryland) https://is.gd/Jk9Dja


12.“New rules require training for court-appointed guardians of older, vulnerable Marylanders.” New court rules that went into effect Monday are aimed to better prepare court-appointed guardians for handling the financial and personal matters of vulnerable Marylanders. --- fredericknewspost.com, January 2 (Maryland) https://is.gd/E3VVj6


13.“Nebraska's Office of Public Guardian expects to hit full capacity, need waiting list in 2018.” A public office created two years ago to provide guardians for vulnerable adults in Nebraska will likely hit full capacity in 2018, prompting the need for a waiting list, a report released this week said. --- omaha.com, January 4 (Nebraska) https://is.gd/TPn6oq


14.“Court suggests critical changes to state rules.” New Mexico’s secretive system under which the state handles daily living and financial decisions for hundreds of incapacitated people a year would undergo a radical transformation if recommendations unveiled by a state Supreme Court commission are adopted. --- abqjournal.com, December 30 (New Mexico) https://is.gd/5uMxYf


15.“The road ahead: Critical flaws abound in proposed guardianship laws.” The Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) recommended changes to New Mexico’s guardian and conservator laws continues to position judges and their appointees beyond any accountability for actions taken in guardian and/or conservatorship cases. --- abqjournal.com, December 24 (New Mexico) https://is.gd/q7gYGu




16.“Trump Special Ed Pick Earns Senate Approval.” The federal government is getting a new top special education official. Just before the end of the year, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Johnny Collett as the next assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the U.S. Department of Education. --- disabilityscoop.com, January 2 https://is.gd/3nMN9g


17.“California cracks down on improper use of disabled placards.” California officials plan to crack down on thousands of "dead" drivers. --- sfgate.com, December 29 (California) https://is.gd/6zo8t6


18.“Changing Tax Codes Impact Assistance Dog Services for People with Disabilities.” Big changes are coming for the 2018 tax year after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and it may be impacting those organizations that need charitable gifts most—those charities like Canine Companions for Independence that provide life-changing assistance dogs to children, veterans and adults with disabilities entirely free of charge. --- prnewswire.com, December 29 (California) https://is.gd/JRMf9d


19.“Parents with Disabilities Face an Uphill Battle to Keep Their Children.” Nearly one in 10 children in the United States are at risk of being removed from their home by a child welfare agency simply because their parent has a disability. --- psmag.com January 3 (Colorado) https://is.gd/reehkL


20.“Former Torrington Middle School principal sues school board, superintendent, alleging special education violations, retaliatory termination.” Former Torrington Middle School Principal Valerie Bruneau sued the Board of Education and Superintendent Denise Clemons Tuesday, alleging that the district discriminated against and violated the rights of special education students during her tenure, including by not providing required paraprofessionals, then illegally fired her as retaliation for reporting the issue. --- registercitizen.com, January 2 (Connecticut) https://is.gd/vblWNy


21.”Cubs fan who uses wheelchair sues, says Wrigley Field violates disabilities act.” A 20-year-old Cubs fan who uses a wheelchair is alleging in a lawsuit that Wrigley Field renovations have eliminated or excluded some handicapped-accessible seating at the stadium in violation of federal law. --- chicagotribune.com, January 1 (Illinois) https://is.gd/fNHlYR


22.“Ex-teacher accused of stealing from Special Olympics fund.” A former Sioux City schoolteacher has been accused of stealing nearly $3,000 from accounts she set up for East High Special Olympics and the Friendship Connection. --- omaha.com, January 1 (Iowa) https://is.gd/ahvM97


23.“Shawnee Mission cited by state for delayed, missing services for special education kids.” The Shawnee Mission School District must submit an action plan to the state this month after an investigator found the district did not provide the required amount of federally required services for some individual disabled or gifted students earlier this school year. --- kansascity.com, January 3 (Kansas) https://is.gd/euQ9Dq


24.“Schuitmaker, Garcia child safety bills become law.” Bills concerning the safety of children and students from child care facilities through high school students are now Michigan law. --- hollandsentinel.com, December 30 (Michigan) https://is.gd/1YoWEN


25.Holly Christensen: The problem with the Down syndrome abortion ban.” In many serious discussions about Down syndrome, abortion is the ghost in the room. --- ohio.com, December 28 (Ohio) https://is.gd/2ZUlC7


26.“Pendleton superintendent testifies in case against former district.” Pendleton School District Superintendent Chris Fritsch testified in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Washington, Dec. 19 as part of a civil suit against his former district alleging improper use of an isolation booth. --- eastoregonian.com, January 2 (Oregon) https://is.gd/1jU91j


27.“Lawsuit alleges three McGuffey teachers mocked special-needs students.” The mother of a McGuffey School District student whose special needs allegedly were mocked by three teachers in a conversation recorded by mistake is accusing the district of discrimination and other violations of her daughter’s rights in a federal lawsuit. --- observer-reporter.com, December 29 (Pennsylvania) https://is.gd/2jvr0A


28.“Man who raped mentally disabled girl wasn't over-punished, Pa. court says.” A Centre County man who was convicted of repeatedly raping an intellectually disabled girl wasn't over-punished when he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, a state appeals court has ruled. --- pennlive.com, December 29 (Pennsylvania) https://is.gd/xkrydj


29.“Trauma Center Agrees to Ensure Effective Communication with Deaf Individuals.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont have reached an agreement with The University of Vermont Medical Center to ensure that the federally funded medical center provides communication services for deaf and hard of hearing patients, HHS announced Dec. 20. --- ohsonline.com, December 29 (Vermont) https://is.gd/W4ocaW


30.“Family of Wheelchair-Bound Fall Victim Sues Alaska Airlines.” The family of a 75-year-old woman who fell down an airport escalator in her motorized wheelchair and later died is suing Alaska Airlines. --- usnews.com, December 29 (Washington) https://is.gd/Ur5pvZ




31.“Clomipramine, an Antidepressant, Shows Potential in Treating Progressive MS in Early Study.” Clomipramine, an approved antidepressant, shows potential in treating people with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) — a disease form with few treatments — by protecting nerves from various processes thought to underly progressive MS, early research shows. --- multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com, December 29 https://is.gd/i5CV0i


32.US autism rates appear to be stabilizing, new study suggests.” Autism rates are much higher than originally thought but may have stabilized in recent years, a new study suggests. --- cbsnews.com, January 2 https://is.gd/8AEISR


33.“Folic Acid in Pregnant Women on AEDs Linked to Lower Autism Risk.” Folic acid supplementation, used before and during pregnancy, may mitigate the risk for autism in offspring of women treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), new research shows. --- medscape.com, January 3 https://is.gd/nImAsv


34.“ELC Steps Up to Protect the Rights of Bullied Students with Disabilities.” Bullying and harassment impact hundreds of thousands of students across Pennsylvania every day. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one out of every five students reported being bullied in 2015. --- law.com, December 29 (Pennsylvania) https://is.gd/M92iPI




35.“How to Protect Disability Rights in 2018.” Disability rights have always been an important political issue in the United States, but in 2017, the growing profile of activist group ADAPT highlighted what’s at stake. --- care2.com, December 26 https://is.gd/NHU4gP


36.“Delta Flight Attendant with Aspergers Creates Art Project to Ease Flyer Anxiety.” After 9/11 airline passengers were more irritable because of heightened security and a reduction in amenities. Delta Air Lines’ flight attendant Jewely Van Valin wanted to do something to ease her passengers’ stress. --- the-art-of-autism.com, December 29 https://is.gd/iu3C4R


37.“Conservatives and People of Faith Must Be a Voice for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.” Last year as a way to help me connect with people, a friend of mine introduced me to a group that had ties to a non-profit group called The Arc. --- christianpost.com, December 30 https://is.gd/6m3Ihk


38.“Kathy Hoffman: Special-ed students need qualified teachers.” Our students in special education deserve highly trained teachers with the expertise needed to teach children with learning challenges. --- tucson.com, December 28 (Arizona) https://is.gd/ADhh1V


39.“Adaptive education helps children diagnosed with autism.”  Any parent or guardian of a child with autism understands sending their student off to school to seek an education may result in an experience unlike the rest of their peers. --- azfamily.com, December 29 (Arizona) https://is.gd/rxSWwI


40.“Autistic Man's Abandonment on Hospital Emergency Room Is Tip of Deepening Problem.” The way the state defines an emergency — the death or incapacitation of a developmentally disabled person’s caregiver — has contributed to the plight of the young man with autism abandoned by his parents at Manchester Memorial Hospital five months ago, and to similar cases across the state. --- courant.com, January 1 (Connecticut) https://is.gd/axN9wE


41.“Progressive Caucus to try again to force special ed hearing.” The City Council’s 11-member Progressive Caucus is not letting up in its drive to force a public hearing on what it calls the “mistreatment and cheating” of special needs students at the Chicago Public Schools. --- chicago.suntimes.com, January 3 (Illinois) https://is.gd/00w18H


42.“Official: Louisiana School for the Deaf needs 'major change'.” The Louisiana School for the Deaf, which is undergoing a review amid poor performance, needs an overhaul, a member of the state's top school board who's been tracking the assessment said Tuesday. --- edweek.org, January 3 (Louisiana) https://is.gd/HkPFLc


43.“Understanding Disabilities launches ‘UD at Home’ website.” Understanding Disabilities, a Reading-based nonprofit providing disability awareness education to elementary and middle school students for 32 years, has announced the unveiling of a new website, --- reading.wickedlocal.com, December 29 (Massachusetts) https://is.gd/ut1dFo


44.“Montana Cuts Contracts with Developmental Disability Caregivers.” That’s a result of cuts to Medicaid due to the state’s budget cuts, enacted by Governor Steve Bullock because of the state bringing in lower than expected revenue. --- mtpr.org, December 28 (Montana) https://is.gd/qfTOv9


45.“How Job Cuts Impact Developmentally Disabled in The Flathead.” The 10 percent cut to the state health department’s budget, part of an attempt to bring Montana’s overall state budget back into the black, is starting to sound less abstract. --- mtpr.org, January 1 (Montana) https://is.gd/ExDDzh


46.“A serious achievement gap for disabled students in NY State.” It has been more than 40 years since President Gerald Ford signed into law mandatory provisions for handicapped children to receive an appropriate public education. The basic requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act remain, including an emphasis on educating these children in the least restrictive environment alongside their non-handicapped peers. --- newsday.com, January 1 (New York) https://is.gd/B9o2mt


47.“Lower Providence police debut special-needs meet-and-greet.”  It’s a known fact that the appearance of firefighters, decked out in their full firefighting gear, are a cause of fear and anxiety for autistic children. --- timesherald.com, December 30 (Pennsylvania) https://is.gd/OgCce2


48.“CDC offers new program for young disabled adults.” A nonprofit agency that aims to serve people at all stages of life continues to find new ways to do so. --- t-g.com, January 2 (Tennessee) https://is.gd/jpP2Al


49.Teachers are working harder than ever, but Texas is failing its special needs students “ I'm going to let you in on a secret: Something is wrong with our special education system in Texas.--- dallasnews.com, January 4 (Texas) https://is.gd/IOIjXp


50.“Questions continue over canceled special education contract.” The state education department spent three weeks vehemently defending its decision to pay $4 million to a relatively unknown startup company to craft a long-term special education plan for Texas and to analyze confidential information on special education students. --- houstonchronicle.com, December 29 (Texas) https://is.gd/ScUnoq


51.“Lucky Ones Coffee serves equality for people with disabilities.” Katie Holyfield and Taylor Matkins have heard for years that they must have big hearts because they spend their days working with people with disabilities. --- parkrecord.com, December 29 (Utah) https://is.gd/b7VnYp


52.“People with Disabilities Bring Unique Perspectives to the Workforce.” Our diversity is what makes the human race so special. Each individual person is a unique sum of their past experiences, personal opinions/beliefs and their physical characteristics. --- thurstontalk.com, December 31 (Washington) https://is.gd/AkfsEC




53.“Don’t the Disabled Have the Right to Pray?” Those familiar with South Asian culture will know that Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca and as per the Quran, it is a mandatory religious duty, to be performed by all practicing adult Muslims – who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey – at least once in their lifetime. --- thewire.in, January 2 https://is.gd/8BgsDW


54.“Here Is How Your State or Territory Is Doing on Human Rights.” The report card from Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), an association of solicitors, barristers and legal academics and students, identified areas for improvement for the rights of Indigenous, disabled, female, and LGBTI Australians, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. --- buzzfeed.com, January 1 (Australia) https://is.gd/iY3zyS


55.“Technology allows Nova Scotia woman with brain injury to communicate for first time in decades.” As her grey-blue eyes move ever so slightly, Joellan Huntley's determination to be heard becomes immediately clear. Unable to speak or move her body because of catastrophic brain injuries she suffered in a car crash when she was 15, the Nova Scotia woman made headlines last week when her family revealed she had used the latest eye-gaze tracking technology to speak to them for the first time in 21 years. --- theglobeandmail.com, January 2 (Canada) https://is.gd/NokNCP


56.“Transit accessibility for all remains a dream unfulfilled across Canada.” There's a pair of elevators to nowhere at one of the busiest subway stations in Montreal. --- theglobeandmail.com, December 30 (Canada) https://is.gd/yskcqq


57.“Disability rights get a judicial boost.” The disability rights movement received momentous judicial support on December 15. --- newindianexpress.com, December 31 (India) https://is.gd/g4mOmu


58.“Top Court Grants Rs. 15 Lakh Compensation to Deaf and Mute Rape Survivor.” The top court modified a Himachal Pradesh High Court order directing the payment of Rs. 30,000 per month for life as compensation to the survivor, who is 80 per cent handicapped. --- ndtv.com, January 2 (India) https://is.gd/QYm7TF


59.“After 10 years, Ireland is to finally ratify UN Convention on rights of people with disabilities.” In September of this year, our FactFind series asked a question: Why on earth hasn’t Ireland ratified the UN’s Convention on Disabilities? --- thejournal.ie, January 1 (Ireland) https://is.gd/AozXEh


60.“Crossing Borders: The Importance of What You Leave Behind.” For the past four years, volunteers from Tucson, AZ have crossed into the border city of Nogales in the state of Sonora, Mexico to provide hearing health care services on the last Saturday of each month. --- journals.lww.com, January 1 (Mexico) https://is.gd/NCKt9V


61.“AP: Wheelchair-bound Palestinian Protester Shot in the Head.” Palestinian medical records show a well-known, wheelchair-bound protester was killed by a bullet to the head during an anti-Israel demonstration in Gaza two weeks ago. --- voanews.com, December 28 (Palestine) https://is.gd/lMZHb9


62.“Jim Doherty: Criminals pay for autistic youngsters to take their first steps into work.” Across west central Scotland, the National Autistic Society are ­working with people on the autistic spectrum to help them develop skills for the workplace, gain social confidence and find employment. --- scotsman.com, January 3 (Scotland) https://is.gd/fNjkIE


63.“Vulnerable Adults Bill to be introduced in the first half of this year: Desmond Lee.” The Bill will allow the authorities to step in for high-risk cases where intervention is necessary to protect and ensure the safety of the vulnerable adult. ---- channelnewsasia.com, January 3 (Singapore) https://is.gd/192YOn


64.“Dubai special needs volunteer programme requires 'commitment and empathy'.” Mainstream school children gain understanding of special needs challenges --- thenational.ae, January 4 (UAE) https://is.gd/w7UpsN


65.“How Watford's innovative Sensory Room is making young autistic fans' experience of football extra special.” Senses working overtime, the noise and crowds were overwhelming the young fan's matchday experience. --- mirror.co.uk, December 30 (UK) https://is.gd/JAnn1I


66.“Thousands claiming ESA disability benefits could miss out on years of backdated payments due to DWP error.” Thousands of people claiming disability benefits could miss out on up to three years of backdated payments, despite the Department for Work and Pensions taking responsibility for the error. --- mirror.co.uk, December 25 (UK) https://is.gd/6T9yjf


67.“Judge allows 'draconian' restraint to be used against autistic 11-year-old boy for his own safety because of his 'extreme aggression and violence.” An autistic 11-year-old boy, whose behaviour is 'extreme', can now be physically restrained for his own good by staff at a specialist unit, a family court judge has rule. ---- dailymail.co.uk, December 31 (UK) https://is.gd/gfQPyu




68.“What dating an autistic man is like.” When you have an invisible disability, the first challenge is getting other people to believe you — to encourage them to express empathy for someone else. --- salon.com, January 1 https://is.gd/0Bl1QH


69.“The Good Doctor’s Autistic Protagonist Is a Jerk, and That’s an Important Step Forward.” The music is tense as a multicultural, unrealistically attractive team of television doctors works to save their patient. --- slate.com, December 29 https://is.gd/h5HTL2


70.“A special Chicago story.” Chicago’s is tough and tender. Gangster and Midwestern. Violent and benevolent. --- chicagotribune.com, December 29 (Illinois) https://is.gd/Q0j2bL