Disability Rights Group Sues Two Warners Shows Over Studios’ Wheelchair Access

Link to Original Story & View Actual Court Documents Go HERE: http://www.deadline.com/2012/06/disability-rights-group-sues-two-warners-shows-over-studios-wheelchair-access/

By THE DEADLINE TEAM Tuesday June 12, 2012 @ 6:50pm PDT

The Disability Rights Legal Center today filed separate lawsuits against Time Warner Entertainment’s Conan and Warner Bros Television Distribution’s Dr Drew’s Lifechangers claiming that the shows failed to accommodate an audience member in a wheelchair. In the suits filed today in Los Angeles, plaintiff Emmanuel Ramirez said he was denied access to both tapings last year, with Lifechangers refusing him tickets outright because the show’s Glendale, CA-based Victory Studios “isn’t wheelchair accessible”, according to the suit. Conan tapes at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. The lawsuits assert claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act and related California civil rights laws, and seek policy changes, the removal of barriers, and damages “so that Mr. Ramirez and other people with disabilities can have the opportunity to participate in television show audiences”, the DRLC said today. Warner Bros had no official comment.

Paralyzed Teen Fulfills Vow to Walk at High School Graduation

TO SEE VIDEO, CLICK HERE:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/paralyzed-teen-fulfills-vow-walk-high-school-graduation/story?id=16557742#.T9j047_zIZo


June 13, 2012

 A dream 17 years-in-the-making came true for a California boy when he got out of his wheelchair and walked to accept his high school diploma.

 Patrick Ivison, a senior at Scripps High School in San Diego, was just 14-months-old when he was run over by a stranger’s car while walking with his mom, Jennifer Kayler. The September 1995 accident left Ivison with a spinal cord injury so severe he was paralyzed from the waist down.

 After six weeks in the hospital, Ivison was sent home in a wheelchair. The family’s life was changed forever, but they kept their spirits high.

 “I was just grateful. I was grateful he was with me,” Kayler told local ABC affiliate ABC10. “I was grateful that I get to hear him laugh and the fact that he was going to be in a wheelchair didn’t matter.”

 Ivison kept the same attitude as his mom and transformed his disability into a capability. He learned to kayak, ski , hand-cycle marathon-length distances, play rugby and even surf, using adaptive equipment to ride the waves. His passion for surfing took him to Costa Rica twice to film a surf documentary and to the competitive U.S. Open of Surfing for five consecutive years, according to his family’s website. Three years ago Ivison focused in on another goal, walking across the stage to accept his diploma at his high school graduation. He spent as many as six hours per day in intensive physical therapy in a California-based rehabilitation program called “Project Walk” to build his muscles and increase his coordination.

 “I’m actually pretty nervous. There’s going to be a lot of pressure,” Ivison said in the weeks before the big day, as reported by his mom on the family’s blog.

 On Tuesday night, in front of a cheering crowd of his classmates, teachers, friends and family members, Ivison had nothing to worry about.

 Video of the ceremony shows Ivison standing up and, aided by his trainer and a custom-made walker, walking to accept his degree. Also walking next to Ivison was his service dog, Richochet, who received his own special award for helping his owner through high school.

 Ivison, who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average, plans to attend the University of Southern California’s film school, his “dream school,” in the fall. Don’t be surprised to see another story about him in four years.

 “Maybe do like jumping jacks at college graduation or something like that?” he told ABC10 of his next goal. “I don’t know… let’s not put that for sure because I can’t commit to that one.”

A reply to Christine Quinn’s op-ed piece on the New York homeless in the Huffington post

Christine Quinn the openly gay speaker of the New York city council today has an op-ed piece on the homeless problem in the Huffington post I will admit I have not read it.

This is not a criticism or praise, just a long held Idea I have on the homeless problem in NYC.

There are many layers to the homeless problem, housing, medical care mental health care feeding addiction payment of welfare and VA benefits because over 60% ob NYC’s homeless are veterans  to name jjust a few.

The cost of providing these services falls to many agencies, in many locations in many government owned pieces of real estate built by public contract and  serviced by public tender occupied by public servants all at great cost to the city.

I live in flushing queens, but in my 15 years in this city I have lived in every borough except Staten island and one thing they all have in common is foreclosed crumbling government buildings long deserted due to many departments being brought together into one because of technology and fine tuning.  These  also have a lot of bank foreclosed entertainment centers and strip malls, that once were the centre of communities but now are merely centers of public concern.

We have on northern boulevard a grand old picture complex dating back almost 100 years, it has terrazzo floors art deco ceilings and grand stair cases sweeping like something out of gone with the wind.

All these buildings are quickly becoming camps for the homeless, and the government paid police hunt them out and crews clean off the graffiti until one by one they have to be pushed over because of damage done by the homeless occupation.

My idea is this, take the theatre on northern move in 100 homeless interview them and take ones with building experience give them a job that job is they teach others without those skills. The 4 story theatre gets rehabbed by homeless work force into two floors of studio accommodation, one floor of cafeteria health and laundry where they can shower wash clothes receive medication and eat. All non qualified jobs such as laundry cleaning  kitchen staff would be done by formerly homeless who as pay would receive industry wage and a roof over their heads.  You could have GED classes, computer centers language centers resume writing all on one floor, these could be taught by senior unemployed too old to be employed with very few years left before retirement  and you could draw from the ever growing pool of young college graduates who have the degrees yet are baristas and cab drivers because jobs are scarce.

 Each homeless person accepted would live there one year, with the goal be in that time if they were well enough they would leave with their own apartment and a job. If they had mental health problems they would use that year to locate family or group homes, or a mental health placement.  The huge benefits to the homeless HIVand aids community would be amazing we could provide aids meds free testing and ongoing counselling.

Cost could be shared by the Veterans Affairs by once identifying the client as a veteran the over head of their place in the system would be paid by the Va and Va liaison could have an office on site. Retirees, elderly unemployed the newly graduated and those trying to work after child birth could be the talent pool you could draw from.

 I have 37 years experience as a chef, yet because I’m in a wheelchair I can’t work I and other disabled people could be employed as instructors .

Each client off the street regains dignity,regains a useful place in society and  everyone wins we cut welfare we cut unemployment we cut the policing budget of trouble some homeless.  Society is cleaned up as one deserted strip mall, after one theatre after a closed school are rehabbed and put to new use.  The governments dollar value of real estate owned goes up, and  manufacture , retail  and medical infact there would not be one corner of society that could not benefit from such a program. With billions in new taxes flooding into our drowning economy.

 The disabled benefit, the homeless the LGBTQ and  the substance addicted all benefit in short the community at large wins.

 This is the ultimate definition of YES WE CAN, so why can’t we?

Disabled need more formal support: report

Dan Harrison
Published: June 14, 2012 – 12:00AM

 One in three Australians with a disability say they need more formal support, according to a report to be released today.

 The report, issued by the Council of Australian Governments reform council, is likely to strengthen calls for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. The council reports on the outcomes of the National Disability Agreement, which governs the more than $6 billion in annual government spending on disability services.

 Drawing on survey data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the council said people with disabilities continued to face major barriers to participating fully in the workforce.

There was no significant improvement in the workforce participation rates of people with disabilities between the most recent survey, taken in 2009, and the previous survey in 2003. “It would have been good to report some solid gains between 2003 and 2009, but in the area of workforce participation there was very little improvement for people with disability and that was despite an improving labour market,” council chairman Paul McClintock said.  Nationally, 50 per cent of the population with disabilities is employed, compared to about 79 per cent of those without disabilities.

 One in four people with severe or profound disabilities reported that their disability was the main reason they did not leave their home as often as they would like.

One in three people with disabilities said they needed more formal assistance than they were were receiving. Almost 20 per cent of those who took action to get further assistance in the previous 12 months said they still needed more help.

Asked what implications the report’s findings had for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, which is due to be launched in four locations from July next year, Mr McClintock said: “The logic of handling disability in a different way is really based upon the fact that the current system isn’t delivering effective change and isn’t improving.”

 The Gillard government has committed $1 billion over four years to launch a national scheme, under which people with disabilities will work with co-ordinators to develop support plans based on their individual needs and goals.

 The money will begin to flow with an $84 million downpayment in 2012-13, rising to $363 million in 2015-16.

 The Commonwealth has begun discussions with the states on the location of the four launch sites and on the design, governance and funding of the scheme. Those that take part in the launch will be asked to contribute a further $288 million between them.

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, has said he supports the scheme in principle and would like the Hunter region or Western Sydney to be one of the launch sites.

 But he said NSW could not afford to contribute any more funding beyond the $9.3 billion it had committed to disability services over the next four years.

 A national scheme is expected to cost $8 billion a year more than governments now spend on disability services. The Commonwealth will be expecting each state to at least maintain their current level of spending on disability services, and will be encouraging them to lift their level of spending to that of Victoria, which spends $8378 annually per person.

 About 4 million Australians have a disability. A further 2.6 million are carers to people with disabilities.


This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/disabled-need-more-formal-support-report-20120613-20axm.html

Speak For Yourself, iPad App Giving Voiceless A Voice, Exits App Store

Posted: 06/12/2012 8:46 pm Updated: 06/13/2012 9:22 am

Maya sits by her iPad with the app Speak for Yourself launched. It was pulled from the Apple Store last week.

A little girl has become the face of an embattled iPad app giving those with speech problems the ability to speak.

Maya Nieder, a 4-year-old in New York who has difficulty speaking, utilizes the app Speak for Yourself, to communicate with the world at large. In April, she was profiled by TIME’s Keith Wagstaff.

But this app, designed by certified speech-language pathologists, is in the midst of a legal battle and has been discontinued, for now. Apple removed the app from its App Store last week.

“Over 1,000 pageloads today and it’s only 10:45. The word is spreading,” Maya’s mother Dana Nieder tweeted this morning, as she wages her own war on the companies fighting the app with a personal campaign online.

Both sides have also released statements on Facebook (scroll down for those). Dana Nieder says she is fond of the role social media can play as this story develops.

“If something like this happened pre-Facebook or pre-Twitter, we would just be really upset by ourselves. There would be nothing that we could do,” she told The Huffington Post. “At least I feel I can do something [by posting to social media and a blog]. I can help the story spread and hopefully make a difference.”

Nieder says she’s also observed an outpouring of support and has been amazed how fast the story has circulated the Web. She spoke out on her personal blog after Apple removed the app:It disappeared. It no longer exists.

to this court document, here’s how it happened: PRC/SCS contacted Apple and requested that Speak for Yourself be removed from the iTunes store, claiming that it infringes on their patents. In turn, Apple contacted SfY and requested their response to these claims. The lawyer for SfY responded, explaining to Apple exactly why the infringement claims are unfounded, referring Apple to the current open court case, and pointing out that PRC/SCS had not asked the court for an injunction ordering the app to be removed from the store. For months, nothing happened . . . and then on June 4th Apple notified SfY that the app had been removed, due to the fact that the dispute with PRC/SCS had not been resolved.

The PRC/SCS that she’s referring to is Prentke Romich Company and Semantic Compaction Systems, which brought the app down with a claim that over 100 software patents were infringed on, per TIME. The case is still in court, but Apple apparently decided to remove the app now.

Maya still has the app, but her mother notes she won’t be able to get updates and it could fail as updates are made to the iPad iOS. For those who don’t already have it, they won’t be able to get it.

“What if it can be remotely deleted?” her mother also worries.

PCWorld foreshadowed what’s happening here with its piece, “How Tech Patent Lawsuits Hurt Real People.”

Maya’s mother told PCWorld that this is about big companies (PRC and SCS) against Speak for Yourself. If the little guys lose, those like Maya may be forced to get communication devices that can range up to $9,000 — Speak for Yourself retails for $299.99 — “too big (both literally and figuratively),” Dana Nieder said.

Speak for Yourself released the following statement in response to Apple’s move with a Facebook post Monday evening:

We were saddened and disappointed that PRC and Semantic Compaction filed a lawsuit against us, two speech-language pathologists who have emphatically supported their mission that “everyone deserves a voice.”

We came to terms with their decision and actions over these past few months. We have taken all of the necessary and legal steps to defend the lawsuit and protect Speak for Yourself, the app that we created, and that hundreds of people who are unable to talk are using to communicate.

Unfortunately last week, Apple removed our app from the App Store under pressure from Semantic and Prentke Romich. Now our sadness and disappointment have turned to indignation. Speak for Yourself will continue to fight this baseless lawsuit and the obvious, and blatant interference with your fundamental right to a VOICE which is motivated solely by their desire to drive SfY out of existence. That will not happen.

PRC had its own statement in response, posted to Facebook this afternoon:

Last week Prentke Romich Company (PRC) learned that Apple removed a language assistance app from its iTunes® store pending the outcome of a patent infringement lawsuit filed against the company that developed the iPad® app.

PRC and the licensor of the Unity™ system that powers our language devices jointly filed the lawsuit after our patent attorney found numerous instances of infringement on Unity patents in the “Speak for Yourself” app. Apple has a process that allows third parties to provide notice of infringement concerns as part of its terms and conditions. Accordingly, we reached out to Apple on two occasions. We provided Apple with a copy of the lawsuit, expressing our concerns about the “Speak for Yourself” app. We then responded to a later request from Apple asking for an update on the lawsuit. Last week, Apple elected to remove the app.

Maya’s mother had said previously that the legal fight was “literally” putting “my daughter’s voice on the line.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment

Only when you can consciously step out of your yesterday into today can you hope for a true tomorrow

In the first few minutes that a spinal cord injury is brought into an ER, one of the first tests they inflict upon them to gauge muscle control and response is to insert a finger anally to test sphincter response. When you’re in the spinal unit as I was when I was 16 you wear a gown open at the back and have a blue sheet under you a catheter inserted and if you mess yourself, no when you mess yourself they simply robotically change you, the sheets and the blue sheet in short the second thing to cut away from you in the ER after your clothes is your dignity.

When My friend mark and his wife were told their child was born with down syndrome 25 years ago, they were told if he lives to 2 he might make it to 5 if he makes 5 he might make 10 if he makes ten he might make early adult hood but he will never be educated and he will never have a job never love never marry or ever leave home. They were offered the chance to sign on the dotted line and start again, like he never happened because to the mainstream medical community it is easier to throw away the mentally and physically challenged at a early age into governmental warehousing so they can be trained from toddler years to be compliant to the system than is it to offer ongoing competent care to the patient their family and loved ones.

When I was baby in the first couple of years of the 1960’s, my parents were told one of my seizures would surely cause retardation so just put me away  just sign me away to a home for the retarded  and get on with your life.

We as a polite society like to think that surely in the 54 years since I came out screaming onto this globe that we have awakened, that we have  become enlightened but alas we have simply invented a more polite way to suggest it.  It is only through grass roots parent based groups for diagnosis such as Autism or down syndrome or cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy and others  that any thing gets better.

If we were left to the mainstream doctor knows best system of old, advocacy would be frowned upon and  research would be scoffed at and questions would be answered with looks of disgust and you would be still being told “trust me I know what’s best”.

One of the greatest things to come out of this amazing family based system of advocacy, is that we the disabled, our families and loved ones are encouraged to be our own loudest voice for change. We the people, with wheels under our asses crutches under our arms and guide dogs at our sides have become the army of advocates not only for ourselves but for everyone we the people can reach down into the remnants of the doctor knows best system and lift up with us to the light.

We have expos like the abilities expo that I recently led a symposium at, that comes to the New Jersey-New York area each year to show us the latest the best and the most innovative to make our lives better. We gather around computer screens all over the world asking and answering our own questions and in many cases the latest break throughs in the treatment of what made us different comes from our own efforts.

Out of this movement comes greatness, from time to time some greatness comes like the voices of the Paul Caunes screaming with an intellect and a passion that the abused disabled of British Columbia will not quietly into the goodnight like quite little gimps. Others come in the form of the  Margi Tripani’s of the advocacy groups CIDNY, whom without there would be no AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.  Sometimes it is as simple a solution as the beautiful Kareemah batts, who refuse to let anyone fall short of their best self by showing them that if she an amputee can achieve sporting heights that surpass most able bodied then for the rest of us not even the sky can ever be the limit.

Tonight in a conversation with a great aussie artist I know, we started discussing daredevil stunts and words like insane were bandied about by able bodied folk  when a picture of a bicycle poised to go down an alpine ski jump was posted. I took the side of “wow what an adrenalin high” my friends took the side of  “must have a death wish” and terms like “I know where your coming from” and ” I know how you feel” were used.  I know these lovely friends meant no put down or ill will, they were being kind and compassionate but I’m sorry unless they were probed to test sphincter strength and  left to crap on a sheet or told the phantom leg pains were normal even though your leg was no longer there or have almost been thrown away by your parents at birth  you will never know where were coming from and you will never know how we feel. I hope to whatever god you believe in you stay that way, because I care about you and wouldn’t wish the qualifying for this private club on anyone.

You see when whether or not it was your fault natures or a road side bomb in Iraq that paid for your lifetime membership for our members only club once you have been through hell and came out the other side and have grabbed what passes for quality of life with both hands you don’t ever again let go you never give up and you never accept someone else’s definition of sane safe or normal ever again.  If wheels Fotheringham wants to roll down a 120ft alpine ski jump at 50 miles an hour and do a triple summersault in his wheelchair and land it or I want to climb North Americas tallest rock face with only my upper body  that’s my choice because you see when he was born with spina bifida his chance to ever feel your kind of normal was taken from him at birth so every day he steps out of yesterdays definition into today redefines normal for today and then leaps into tomorrow that’s what he does to feel alive because only when you were not ever meant to be will you truly understand why we do what we do whether its ty belnap becoming a champion lifesaver on Australian beaches and beating out so called able bodied competitors even though he is a down’s syndrome adult or wheels landing a triple or me summiting el-Capitan or simple a severely cerebral palsic adult earning a college degree when he was never expected to graduate second grade we choose how we live we choose how we feel life and only by setting our own limits can we break free from the archaic oppressive ones forced on us by a society who would rather we not be here. I love all friends gay straight disabled otherwise abled or even yes the so called normal whatever that is and I believe in everyone’s right to live to their best potential all we the disabled community ask is we be left to achieve ours .Namaste