Disability and Abuse Newsfeed

Week of February 2 to February 8, 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 (question of consent), 3, 7, 57

Physical Abuse:   1, 4,9

Emotional/verbal abuse: 9, 65

Restrained: 8

Kept enclosed:

Murder: 6, 10

Neglected: 5

Related to special education: 4, 8, 9, 57

Law Enforcement: 10


WINNER of most egregious award: 3: Man attempts to rape 5 year old autistic child so that he would stop himself from raping his 2 year old daughter, thinking that the autistic child would not be able to tell of the abuse.  A novel and malevolent “prevention” effort.


WINNER of “good job” award: 14: Move to eliminate terms “illegitimate” and “retarded” from common use;66 – Gerber selects a child with a disability for the first time in its history; 68: Model with Down syndrome starts a trend; 69: Valentine Day dances planned for people with disabilities.


WHO DUN IT (listed by article number):


Family: 5

Carer: 1, 65

Stranger: 2, 3, 7

Men:  1, 2, 2, 5, 7, 8

Women: 4, 5, 8, 9, 57

Good News: 22: driver who sexually assaulted riders was denied appeal of his conviction; 33: Recognition of import of nurturing relationships on health; 41: Health Care Guide for autistic patients is distributed; 49: Cornell launches positive disability program; 62: Mother wins court appeal for full-time pay for full-time work caring for her son.


Bad News: 

22: (Questionable) A 2-minute screening instrument to identify autism is promulgated; 31: increase in FASD rates by 10 times; 34: Use of psychotropics to control nursing home residents, not to heal them (cross reference #38); 43: Nursing home patients are overmedicated; 59: individuals with autism get psychoanalysis which leads to recommendation for psychiatric hospitalization then removal from the family.


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.       “Man accused of abusing boy in special needs group home.” A Valley man who worked as a caregiver at two group homes has been arrested and accused of assault. --- fox10phoenix.com, February 2 (Arizona) https://is.gd/hAs1DS


2.    “Stubblefield’s lawyers: Rape charge can’t be believed because she lied about dancing nude online for money.” Lawyers for former football star Dana Stubblefield are demanding that bail be set in their client’s rape case because new evidence has emerged to support his claim that he paid the woman for consensual sex. --- mercurynews.com, February 5 (California) https://is.gd/fsUobd


3.    “Orlando man sentenced to more than 17 years for trying to have sex with autistic child.” An Orlando man told FBI agents he planned to have sex with a 5-year-old autistic girl to keep himself from molesting his own small children, according to court documents. ---- orlandosentinel.com, February 2 (Florida) https://is.gd/fcF3fL


4.    “Escambia County school bus aide fired after mistreating autistic child.” A Pensacola woman has been charged with battery after Escambia County deputies say she mistreated a special needs student. --- weartv.com, February 2 (Florida) https://is.gd/YY6XMW


5.    “Florida couple leave autistic son alone outside bar while they watch Super Bowl.” A Florida couple were arrested on Super Bowl Sunday after they left their 6-year-old autistic son outside a bar while they drank and rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to an arrest affidavit. --- local10.com, February 6 (Florida) https://is.gd/WlV3hD


6.    “Whitney Young HS senior with autism found stabbed to death.” Faculty and students at Whitney Young High School on Monday were mourning the loss of a popular special needs student who was stabbed to death at his temporary apartment in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. --- abc7chicago.com, February 7 (Illinois) https://is.gd/RatQVx


7.    “Brockton Housing Authority maintenance man arrested on rape charges.” A working foreman for the maintenance department at the Brockton Housing Authority was arrested and charged with rape and indecent assault and battery on a mentally disabled person, according to police. --- enterprisenews.com, February 7 (Massachusetts) https://is.gd/opTEFk


8.    “Disability Advocates Allege Abuse, Neglect at Kindergarten in Haverhill.” An advocacy group says it has uncovered evidence of abuse and neglect at a Massachusetts public kindergarten that serves many children with disabilities. --- wbur.org, February 2 (Massachusetts) httts://is.gd/C0hwWC


9.    “Macomb County special needs teacher accused of verbally, physically abusing students.” An elementary school teacher was charged with child abuse after investigators were tipped off that she was verbally and physically abusing her autistic students in Macomb Township. Brittany Stevens, 28, of Mt. Clemens, was charged with three counts of second-degree child abuse. --- clickondetroit.com February 8 (Michigan) https://is.gd/2OeMM9


10.“San Antonio teen killed by police had disabilities.” The mother of a 19-year-old killed by police said her son functioned at the level of a second-grader. --- khou.com, February 6 (Texas) https://is.gd/L9RJRt




11.“Arizona Bill Aims to Close the Guardianship Gap.” A new bill in Arizona would speed up the process for caregivers to begin receiving subsidies for the children in their care before a permanent guardianship has been finalized. The bill also allows guardians who subsequently adopt to apply for adoption subsidies, which they currently cannot do. This would be similar to how subsidies are granted to adoptive families and would help prospective guardians plan and budget in advance. --- chronicleofsocialchange.org, February 2 (Arizona) https://is.gd/P0Himg


12.“Senate to consider guardianship fix.” A phased-in guardianship reform bill is headed to the full Senate for a vote after the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday endorsed the idea of injecting transparency – rather than big changes – into the current system within six months. --- abqjournal.com, February 5 (New Mexico) https://is.gd/KEsvSJ




13.“How Prosecutors are Making Intellectually-Disabled African-Americans on Death Row Smart Enough to Kill.” IQ tests have long been plagued by claims of cultural and racial bias. Critics from a wide range of arenas, including academia, psychology, psychiatry and activism have characterized these controversial assessments as ineffective, inappropriate and skewed toward a normative white standard. --- atlantablackstar.com, February 8 https://is.gd/6oOnOL


14.“Colorado may scrub 'illegitimate' and 'retarded' from laws.” The nonpartisan staff for the legislature reports that none of the updated language will change the way the state conducts business or cost taxpayers any money. --- 9news.com, February 7 (Colorado) https://is.gd/xMG81g


15.“ACLU suit accuses state prison of violating blind inmate's rights.” A blind inmate was discriminated against when a state prison refused to allow him to participate in a literacy program to get his sentence reduced, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. --- southbendtribune.com, February 8 (Indiana) https://is.gd/EAVYU2


16.“For first time, Indiana special education students could receive alternate diploma.” Indiana may soon have not one, but two, new diplomas. For months, state officials and lawmakers have been working on creating a single Indiana diploma to encompass all four of the state's current diploma offerings in a way that will satisfy new federal reporting requirements. --- indystar.com, February 5 (Indiana) https://is.gd/sxUtH1


17.“Iowa Medicaid lawsuit dismissed; critics say chronic problems persist.” A lawsuit accusing Iowa’s privately-run Medicaid program of illegally denying health assistance for thousands of Iowans with disabilities was dismissed Friday by a federal judge because the managed-care company in the suit ended its contract with the state. --- desmoinesregister.com, February 2 (Iowa) https://is.gd/ocJVD9


18.“Tenants evicted improperly from Baltimore's privatized public housing, complaint alleges.” Former public housing complexes that Baltimore officials sold to developers are evicting tenants too quickly and without proper notice, a new complaint alleges. Disability Rights Maryland, a nonprofit advocacy group, investigated court filings related to former public housing and said it found seven cases over the past year in which residents were evicted or served with eviction notices improperly. --- baltimoresun.com, February 8 (Maryland) https://is.gd/5N8WQ3


19.“RCSD, parents react after sudden departure of special education program head.” Both the Rochester City School District and parents of special needs children say they’re concerned about the future of the district’s special education department following the sudden departure of Theresa Wood, who headed the program for two months before leaving this week. --- 13wham.com, February 7 (New York) https://is.gd/TPKEdD


20.“Ohio’s Dangerous Abortion Ban Pits Disability Rights Against Reproductive Rights.” Anti-choice activists must stop using people with disabilities as pawns in their mission to undermine reproductive rights, as they have with the newest ban making it unlawful for health-care providers to perform abortions based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. --- rewire.news February 8 (Ohio) https://is.gd/wkvkAx


21.“Greeneville: Group Homes Should Have to Pay for Services.” The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution Tuesday encouraging the state legislature to pass a bill that would require group homes serving the intellectually disabled to make in-lieu-of-tax payments to local governments. --- greenevillesun.com, February 7 (Tennessee) https://is.gd/ISRreZ


22.“Appeal denied for bus driver who sexually abused special needs children.” The Utah Court of Appeals upheld a conviction Thursday of a Draper bus driver accused of sexually abusing two special needs students he drove to school. --- deseretnews.com February 2 (Utah) https://is.gd/YvW2ST


23.“Utah House OKs bill banning abortions based on Down syndrome.” Utah's House of Representatives passed legislation Monday barring abortions sought because a fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, sending the measure to the Senate despite warnings from their attorneys that there's a high probability a court will rule it's unconstitutional. --- miamiherald.com, February 5 (Utah) https://is.gd/AVlrAj


24.“Cheesecake Factory to pay $15,000 to fired deaf dishwasher in Seattle.” The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle a federal complaint that it failed to provide a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for a deaf part-time dishwasher at its downtown Seattle location--- komonews.com, February 2 (Washington) https://is.gd/qWurjY


25.“Don’t shortchange special education.” School districts across Washington agree on at least one critique of the state’s new education-funding plan: The Legislature is still not spending enough money on special education. --- seattletimes.com, February 6 (Washington) https://is.gd/xXx4VY




26.“Don’t overlook autistic girls.” Close your eyes and conjure up an image of an autistic kid. What springs to mind? --- miamiherald.com, February 1 https://is.gd/NMKUUY


27.“Autism, Bipolar and Schizophrenia Share Genetic Similarities.”  By examining brain tissue, researchers say they've found similarities in certain mental illnesses, including autism and schizophrenia. --- health.usnews.com, February 8 https://is.gd/wCCCx4


28.“Sea it to Believe it”  Does the ocean hold the key to a breakthrough cure for depression?” --- Ground-breaking research has revealed low brain levels of an essential nutrient could be contributing to our mental health crisis. --- thesun.co.uk, February 2 https://is.gd/2HiiG1


29.“Occurrence of Elder Abuse Remains High for Dementia Patients.” Today, an estimated 5.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the tragic memory, thinking and behavior disease, Alzheimer’s – one of the most common forms of dementia. As these people age, 75 percent of them will be admitted to a nursing home by their 80th birthday and fully dependent on someone else to care for them. --- blog.levinperconti.com, February 5 https://is.gd/0eZvNi


30.“Researchers Develop 2-Minute Autism Screening Tool.” New research suggests that a quick questionnaire may be highly accurate at flagging children for autism. --- disabilityscoop.com, February 6 https://is.gd/O2Vzo3


31.“Fetal Alcohol Disorders Up to 10 Times More Common Than Believed.” Up to 10 times more children have disabilities related to fetal alcohol exposure -- drinking during pregnancy -- than previously believed, finds a new study. --- forbes.com, February 6 https://is.gd/BUOzHq


32.“New research could help improve social interactions for people with autism.” A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas is giving some families hope. The research found a way to stimulate a specific part of a brain that controls your social interactions. --- kxan.com, February 2 (Texas) https://is.gd/hfW9zn


33.“Adverse childhood experiences can lead to poor health as adult.” February’s emphasis on love and friendship is a great time to ponder how our relationships with family and friends can affect our personal health, both for better and worse. Until fairly recently, the medical field has under-­appreciated the connection between nurturing relationships and health. --- registerguard.com, February 5 https://is.gd/bWmQy1


34.“US nursing homes misuse prescription drugs to control residents, says Human Rights Watch.” Nursing homes across the US are giving antipsychotic drugs to residents with dementia to control their behaviour, despite rules against the misuse of drugs as “chemical restraints”, a new report claims. --- independent.co.uk, February 5 https://is.gd/OfAh5X




35.“Feds Disclose Schools Under Investigation for Disability Discrimination.” The U.S. Department of Education is making it easier to find out when a school is under investigation for violating the civil rights of students with disabilities. --- disabilityscoop.com, February 8 https://is.gd/VVm5mD


36.“Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Report Series.” NCD undertook this report series as an examination of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and as a follow-up to a number of NCD's prior education reports. Since NCD’s last report on IDEA in 2004, IDEA was reauthorized, the Federal Government implemented new federal monitoring systems, and most recently, --- ncd.gov, February 7 https://is.gd/OBMmxh


37.“Voters with disabilities face barriers to voting.” Millions of voting-age Americans with disabilities face numerous obstacles to cast their ballots in elections, including a recent return to paper ballots, poorly trained poll workers, and physically inaccessible polling places. --- csmonitor.com, February 2 https://is.gd/DpVpBO


38.“Risky Antipsychotic Drugs Still Overprescribed in Nursing Homes.” A study published Monday by Human Rights Watch finds that about 179,000 nursing home residents are being given antipsychotic drugs, even though they don't have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses that those drugs are designed to treat. --- npr.org, February 5 https://is.gd/EcBtfh


39.“Autism groups say families must prepare for police encounters — and officers need better training.” A Phoenix-area incident last year drove home the need to continue training first responders on interacting with people with autism and other developmental disabilities. --- azcentral.com, February 5 (Arizona) https://is.gd/thWrUK


40.“Disabled lives matter, too.” Last summer in Citrus Heights, James Bradford Nelson, a man with mental illness who had been acting erratically, had his skin seared on the hot pavement until he passed out as police held him to the ground. --- sacbee.com, February 5 (California) https://is.gd/7vT7o9


41.“Healthcare Toolkit for autistic adults featured at UCSF Developmental Disabilities Conference.” Autistic adults face many barriers to accessing health care, including navigating a healthcare system that relies heavily on verbal communication. --- blog.sfgate.com, February 2 (California) https://is.gd/vugIOX


42.“$100K shortage in Montville’s special ed account ‘not anything unusual’.” A $100,000 shortfall in the public school district’s special education account is par for the course, according to Superintendent Brian Levesque, who says shortages occur every fiscal year as the needs of special education students fluctuate. --- norwichbulletin.com, February 2 (Connecticut) https://is.gd/g3O4Vt


43.“Overmedicated in Kansas: Human Rights Watch says nursing homes among worst nationally.” Kansas is one of six states spotlighted in a new report on the overuse of anti-psychotic drugs to sedate nursing home residents. --- kansascity.com, February 7 (Kansas) https://is.gd/JQ2FUD


44.“GiGi's Playhouse: A haven of learning, empowerment for those with Down syndrome.” Down syndrome is not a disease. There is no cure. But there is hope. That is the driving factor that brought hundreds of people affected by Down syndrome — many young people with the disorder and many more family members — for the grand opening Saturday of GiGi’s Playhouse, a learning, achievement and empowerment center in Annapolis. --- capitalgazette.com, February 3 (Maryland) https://is.gd/DUWtkX


45.“Creating A Community for People with Developmental Disabilities.” Parents of adult children with developmental disabilities often struggle with long-term housing options. In one Michigan city, there's an unusual development aiming to provide more independence. --- npr.org, February 4 (Michigan) https://is.gd/SJb1II


46.“We had a great day at the park with our autistic son, until someone called the police.” It had been a good day at the park. A miracle day, in fact, for our family. Our 5-year-old son, Johnny, who is moderately autistic and prone to violent outbursts and self-injurious behavior, had sailed through the outing without a meltdown. So it was all the more shocking when the police approached us. --- stltoday.com, February 8 (Missouri) https://is.gd/hMuokT


47.“Health Department Outlines Cuts to Services for Special Needs Kids.” The state health department is taking the next step to chip away at $49 million in budget cuts. That’s how much Governor Steve Bullock and state lawmakers told the department it had to reduce expenses at the end November’s special legislative session, in order to balance the state budget after lower than expected tax revenues last year. --- mtpr.org, February 11 (Montana) https://is.gd/RJgPjX


48.'Empties for Empower' gives job training for people with special needs.” A local group is making sure people with disabilities are included in the work force by offering a job training program. ‘Empties for Empower’ gives people with special needs the chance to develop professional and social skills. --- w ivb.com, February 4 (New York) https://is.gd/HnBC8U


49.“Cornell launches new disability awareness campaign.” Using campus wide postering and social media, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator Team is launching a new campaign, #DiversityIncludesDisability, to build awareness of disability issues and support for an inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disability. --- news.cornell.edu, February 8 (New York) https://is.gd/28hGZU


50.“Meet Milo, a robot helping Texas students with autism.” It used to be difficult for Elgin Middle School seventh-grader Abigail Wise to stay focused during some of her lessons in the classroom. --- kxan.com, February 7 (Texas) https://is.gd/1gR4Xt


51.“Virginia Seeks to Create a Deaf Advisory Committee, But the Way Forward Isn't So Clear.” Children who are born deaf or hard of hearing often wind up in kindergarten with no formal language. The state wants to find out why and what can be done, but there’s disagreement over the best approach. --- wvtf.org, February 7 (Virginia) https://is.gd/6JIFxX


52.“Wisconsin releases free visor cards for deaf, hard of hearing drivers to communicate with police.” The Wisconsin Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is giving the community a much-needed new resource to make interactions with police officers easier and safer. --- channel3000.com, February 4 (Wisconsin) https://is.gd/Ce1vbg




53.“Prisoners with disabilities routinely face sexual, physical abuse: Human Rights Watch.” Pete's first stint in youth detention left a deep and lasting impression on him. At 14, he said he was sexually abused and beaten by fellow inmates at a juvenile correctional centre. --- abc.net.au, February 7 (Australia) https://is.gd/WHVCl0


54.“N.S. case seeks to make supported homes for disabled declared a right.” A ground-breaking human rights case set to begin on Monday could help hundreds of Nova Scotians with disabilities move out of institutions and into small group homes, says a lawyer who has led a three-year-long effort to bring the cases before a formal hearing. --- thewesternstar.com, February 4 (Canada) https://is.gd/UCjeJO


55.“New Toronto research hub to focus on developmental disabilities and mental illness.” Statistics suggest mental illness more prevalent among those with neurodevelopmental disabilities --- cbc.ca, February 5 (Canada) https://is.gd/VYYK9s


56.“Nova Scotia argues that supported housing for disabled is 'not a right'.” Nobody has the unfettered right to live in government-assisted housing of their own choosing, a lawyer for the Nova Scotia government told a human rights board of inquiry Monday. "It is not a right guaranteed by the government," said Kevin Kindred, the counsel for the Attorney General, during opening arguments in a case advocates say could help people with disabilities move into supported housing in the community. --- thechronicleherald.ca, February 6 (Canada) https://is.gd/irhWIj


57.“La Verne special-needs teacher’s aide accused of sexually abusing student, held on $2 million bail.” A 25-year-old teacher’s aide at a La Verne school focused on the education of special needs children is being held on $2 million bail after she pleaded not guilty to seven charges of child sex offenses involving a boy younger than 14, according to court records. --- dailybulletin.com, February 6 (Canada) https://is.gd/qFYz4k


58.“Hong Kong’s special needs children not getting the therapy they need past the age of six.” Community group asks government to extend subsidies for therapy from preschool to primary school pupils, as some low-income parents are using the bulk of their funds for private sessions --- scmp.com, February 5 (China) https://is.gd/kSJCPv


59.“'France is 50 years behind': the 'state scandal' of French autism treatment.” A reliance on psychoanalysis sees autistic children going undiagnosed, being placed in psychiatric units and even being removed from their parents --- theguardian.com, February 8 (France) https://is.gd/ZMRxWO


60.“Bombay High Court refuses permission to autistic boy to appear for Class X exams.” The Bombay High Court has refused to grant relief to a 16-year-old autistic boy whose parents had approached it seeking that he be allowed to sit for the Class X exam this year. In an order passed earlier this week, a bench of Justices B R Gavai and B P Colabawalla however, suggested that the parents consider shifting the boy to a school that caters to children with special needs and that he take the exam at another suitable time. --- freepressjournal.in, February 4 (India) https://is.gd/ejrFFt


61.“Poverty and people with disabilities.” Sir, – I refer to your editorial of February 5th on the issue of the ever-widening poverty gap for people with disabilities. The extra costs associated with having a disability have been hidden by poverty measures that look at income alone. --- irishtimes.com, February 7 (Ireland) https://is.gd/EObSk5


62.“'We're absolutely ecstatic': Mum caring for disabled son wins appeal over pay.” A mother caring for her intellectually disabled son is "absolutely ecstatic" after winning an appeal against a government decision to only pay her part-time for her work. Auckland woman Diane Moody is a full-time caregiver for her 51-year-old son, Shane Chamberlain. --- stuff.co.nz, February 8 (New Zealand) https://is.gd/SFJ6TH


63.“In Sierra Leone, supporting children living with disabilities.” As I stepped into the house in a suburb of Waterloo Town, western Sierra Leone, something immediately caught my eye – the broad smile on the face of a 13-year-old boy sitting in a wheelchair and beckoning me to sit beside him. --- reliefweb.int, February 2 (Sierra Leone) https://is.gd/vcHeOi


64.“Autistic UK Man Accused of Hacking FBI Wins Appeal Against Extradition to U.S.” An autistic British man accused of hacking into U.S. government agencies won his appeal against extradition to the United States on Monday but was told he should be prosecuted in Britain instead. --- usnews.com, February 5 (UK) https://is.gd/xTALEy


65.“Somerset care home staff bullied autistic residents, review finds.” People with autism living in a care home in Somerset were taunted, bullied and humiliated by staff, a review has found. Workers at the home run by the National Autistic Society threw objects at residents and teased and swore at them, the report from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) says. --- theguardian.com, February 8 (UK) https://is.gd/CwILvb



66.“Utter cuteness! Down syndrome boy steals Gerber execs' hearts in photo contest.” The winning smile goes to 18-month-old Lucas Warren, the first baby with Down syndrome to be awarded first place for the Gerber baby contest in its 91-year history. Out of 140,000 photo submissions, the adorable boy was chosen to be this year’s spokes baby. --- foxnews.com, February 7 https://is.gd/B6OG5T


67.“Man in wheelchair takes journey to shake hands with someone in every state.” One man is on a journey to shake hands with a person in every state. Dennis Schultz is making his way across the U.S. in a wheelchair on a mission he calls the “Handshake Journey.” --- koat.com, February 3 https://is.gd/gRZRjk


68.“The World's First Professional Model with Down Syndrome Will Inspire You to Be the Best Version of Yourself.” Madeline Stuart, an Australian model with Down syndrome, is on a mission to change the way we look at people with disabilities. The 21-year-old first broke the internet last year after becoming the world's first professional model with Down syndrome to star in major fashion campaigns. --- shape.com, February 2 https://is.gd/wmDsWq


69.“Over 90,000 Expected at Proms for Those with Special Needs.” Teens and adults with disabilities from around the globe are expected to attend hundreds of proms planned just for them on a single night ahead of Valentine’s Day. --- disabilityscoop.com, February 6 https://is.gd/I7zbiT