Op-Ed: Step up for civil rights treaty for people with disabilities

By Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi · June 25, 2012


 WASHINGTON (JTA) — Several important Jewish organizations are standing behind a critical international treaty to support civil rights, dignity and hope for people with disabilities. However, grass-roots help is urgently needed to get it approved by the U.S. Senate before the political season overtakes the ability to get things done in Washington. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is under consideration by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is already supported by the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Rabbinical Assembly, The Jewish Federations of North America, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Women’s Rabbinic Network. But you can make a difference by calling your senator at (202) 225-3121.

The convention realizes an international effort to achieve global goals of economic self-sufficiency, equality of opportunity, full participation and independent living for people with disabilities. These goals are enshrined in our own Americans with Disabilities Act, a model for the convention. The convention will enable Americans with disabilities working or traveling abroad, such as veterans or members of military families with disabilities, to access the same protections as they enjoy in America.

 No new legislation will be required by U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, nor does the convention impose any new costs. In fact, as noted, much of the treaty is grounded in American laws. However, American action is needed for international leadership in this area.

 America must move quickly to ratify the treaty, and we need to do our part. The CRPD treaty was launched under President George W. Bush and sent to the Senate by President Obama. Already there is some momentum created by the announcement of bipartisan support of Senators Durbin, McCain, Barrasso, Udall, Coons and Moran.

Ratifying the treaty during this Congress will enable the U.S. to participate in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee, an advisory group that is a forum for idea sharing related to disability policy. The committee represents a valuable opportunity for continued American leadership and influence on this issue. Only those countries that have ratified the convention can serve on the committee, and American leadership in this arena is critical to the ultimate success of the treaty.

 The American disability rights community has united behind ratification of the convention. It’s time for us to say “hineni” — here I am — and stand to ensure full participation and access for people with disabilities the world over.

(Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the parent of a child with special needs, is the founder and president of Laszlo Strategies.)

Gabi Down dreams of wheelchair fencing success at Paralympics

REPOSTED FROM STORY By Elizabeth Hudson BBC Paralympic sport reporter

To her Year Nine classmates at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, Gabi Down is just another typical 14-year-old.

She dislikes maths and likes PE, The Only Way Is Essex, her cat Wallace and hamster Eric and her friends describe her as “funny”, “confident”, “honest” and “a great friend”.

But swap the school books for a sword and a mask and she becomes a top wheelchair fencer who will be making her Paralympic debut in London later this year.

Down, who trains at Touche Fencing Club in nearby Towcester, will be one of the youngest members of the ParalympicsGB team and will be taking part in the women’s team epee event alongside team-mates Gemma Collis and Justine Moore on Friday, 7 September at the ExCel centre while the rest of the school are enjoying the first days of the new term. But despite her tender years, Down, who started wheelchair fencing after being talent-spotted at a sports camp aged 11, is looking forward to taking on her rivals.

“I know I will be the youngest fencer there and now I don’t feel intimidated by my older rivals,” she told BBC Sport. “I’ve been competing for just over a year now and I see the same people at every competition.


Gabi DownDown will be one of the youngest members of the GB team in London

 “At my first couple of events I was a bit intimidated and I thought my rivals were all going to destroy me but now I’ve got far more used to it and I feel really comfortable going to competitions. There are some really tough opponents but some I have a good chance against so I will just go and try my best.

 “The more experienced guys on the team like David Heaton, who will be going to his fifth Games, are a great help and support to us all and tell us what to expect from different opponents and different competitions.”  Down has a condition called skeletal dysplasia which means that her bones are not properly formed. She was born with two toes on her right leg and had it amputated when she was three.

However, sport has always played an important role in her life and she now has the chance to show off her talents on the world stage.

The teenager has also played wheelchair basketball and taken part in athletics and gymnastics but they have taken a back seat for the moment to allow her to concentrate on wheelchair fencing.

While a medal is probably beyond Down with the GB epee team ranked ninth in the world, she wants to enjoy the whole Games experience. “Since I’ve been selected I’ve been training about five days a week,” she said. “I was over the moon to be selected and it is such a big thing to compete in a home Games for my first Games and I feel really privileged.

Wheelchair fencing facts

  • Great Britain will have a team of seven wheelchair fencers in London after having a team of one in Beijing
  • David Heaton retired after Athens in 2004 but has returned to the sport and will compete in London – his fifth Games
  • GB’s last Paralympic medal was a bronze won by the men’s sabre team in Barcelona in 1992

“I’m just looking forward to everything at the Games and staying at the Olympic Lodge. It will be absolutely amazing to have a home crowd cheering you on, no matter what.

“I’m hoping to go and see some wheelchair basketball at the Paralympics and I’ve also got Olympic tickets for some athletics heats and the women’s football.”

 But she admits that trying to juggle school work and training can be challenging.

“I have fallen behind at school because of different tournaments and training weekends but the teachers have been really great and to help me to catch up they give me work to do,” she said.

“It is really hard when my friends are going out and I can’t go as well but I’ve given it up for a really good cause. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and friends will still be there afterwards so it makes it all worthwhile. “I never thought I would be able to get any of my friends to come and watch me compete as not many have seen me fence before so it will be great for them to come along and support me in London.”

 And her form teacher Sam Watson, who will be among a group from Oakgrove School travelling to support Down when she competes at the Games, hopes her pupil will enjoy the experience.

 “The school is really proud of Gabi, not only as a student but for her sporting excellence and the success she has had,” she said.

 “It has been a tough balancing act for her but we can’t wait to support her and hopefully she will do well and enjoy the event. The fact that she can share this amazing opportunity with her friends and the rest of the school is fantastic.”

Baby’s broken legs, ribs ‘not surprising’,Queensland Australias child abuse workers tell

Reposted from a story by: Margaret Wenham From: The Courier-Mail June 26, 2012 12:00AM

Mia’s thoughts- in the late 1990’s the actual  queensland minister for childrens services Norm alfred  was discovered to be a pedophile, who stacked the senior staff of his office with fellow pedophiles and young men he had groomed since he first molested them as young boys.

So if the top dog dog id the biggest monster and gets away with it for years why does it not surprise me that abuse is rampant in the sunshine state.


Child abuse

HIDDEN SHAME: This x-ray of four-month-old baby ‘Jack’ shows his two broken ribs and two broken legs. Source: The Courier-Mail

AT four months old, there’s not much you can teach a baby to do.

But Baby Jack had already learnt not to cry.

An X-ray of little Jack shows two fractured ribs – broken at the back where they join his spine and caused by him being grabbed and squeezed tightly out of anger – for which he received no medical treatment.

It also shows a healing break of his leg, high up near the head of the femur. This bone fractured when he was flung against a wall. There was another older fracture of his right forearm.

The fractures of his arm and femur were also untreated.

The abuse and injuries went undetected until scans were ordered by suspicious medical staff when he was admitted to hospital with his right shin bone, or tibia, broken.

Jack – not his real name – has since been removed from his parents and is one of more than 8000 children and young people in Queensland living in out-of-home care. 

THE number of Queensland children being removed from their homes has nearly doubled in eight years, despite the number of proven abuse cases more than halving.
THE cost to protect vulnerable children against abuse has spiralled in Queensland, with an average $13,600 now spent for every case investigation – less than a third of which are ever substantiated.

“I’ve seen a lot of trauma and tragedy from abuse and neglect over the years, so when I saw this X-ray and heard about this little fella’s injuries I was horrified but also not surprised. We see cases like this every week,” ACT for Kids chief executive Neil Carrington said yesterday.

According to the most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare child protection report, there were more than 237,000 notifications of suspected child abuse involving 163,767 children in 2010-11.

ACT for Kids

ACT for Kids

CHILD ABUSE: Neil Carrington, CEO of ACT for kids. Picture: Annette Dew
Source: The Courier-Mail


Following investigations by child protection authorities, 31,527 children were found to have been abused, including nearly 6000 in Queensland.

The most common type of abuse suffered by children in Queensland is emotional, with neglect and physical abuse, including serious maltreatment such as that experienced by Baby Jack, the next most prevalent forms.

Prior to the last state election the LNP pledged an inquiry into Queensland’s child protection system “to review progress and chart a new roadmap for the next decade”.

The inquiry is drawing closer, with counsel already approached by Government, and The Courier-Mail will this week highlight areas that must be looked at.

The newspaper has spoken to stakeholders to learn areas of concern that persist across the community – not just in state-run care – despite two landmark inquiries into child protection in the past 13 years.

In 1999, former governor Leneen Forde made 42 recommendations in a damning report which lifted the lid on abuse of children in Queensland churches, state-run orphanages and detention centres.

Five years later, the Beattie government went to an election promising to implement 110 recommendations from a similarly damning CMC report that found successive governments had failed to protect children in care.

It recommended the establishment of a dedicated Child Safety department, a massive funding boost and early intervention programs.

But eight years later, experts warn more needs to be done.

“Most people don’t understand how common cases like (Baby Jack’s) are and how significant the impact can be on a young child’s development,” Dr Carrington said.

“This child needs a safe and caring home as a priority. He will also need intensive therapy and counselling as he grows.

“Babies need interaction and engagement with caregivers to develop their neural pathways. He hasn’t had that so his cognitive development will need to be assessed and supported.

“The impacts of this kind of severe abuse can be life-long.

“Hopefully with swift action and appropriate wrap-around therapeutic support, he can overcome his experiences and go on to succeed socially and at school.”

Dr Kerry Sullivan

Dr Kerry Sullivan

AWARENESS: Dr Kerry Sullivan believes not enough is being done to raise awareness of child abuse and the warning signs, particularly involving babies. Picture: Luke Marsden.
Source: The Courier-Mail


Pediatrician Dr Kerry Sullivan, Queensland Health’s Gold Coast Health District child protection adviser, said not enough was being done to raise awareness of child abuse and the warning signs, particularly involving babies.

“If they can’t cruise they can’t bruise,” he said, explaining that any bruise or injury on a child which is not yet mobile could be a cause for concern.

“Most of the children who are physically abused and therefore most at risk of dying have seen people – doctors, nurses, community workers.

“If a baby has any injury you have to consider child abuse as a cause. Your intervention may be the one that comes before the child dies.

“The evidence is that shaking and other injuries occur on more than one occasion.

“When we eventually detect child abuse, we often see evidence of old injuries.”

Dr Sullivan said wide-scale public education campaigns were needed, as well as targeted programs.

“Anti-shaking information needs to be incorporated into all ante-natal classes,” he said.

“And more family support programs, spread statewide, would be a big help.”

Congratulations it’s a boy, no not a baby a service dog.


Hi folks, no neither of us dykes are pregnant that would be icky, (straight people don’t flame me with email about the wonders of motherhood I’m kidding) for almost two years after being diagnosed with severe PTSD from my childhood molestation I have been having counseling.

Since this disgusting war has been sending our warriors home wounded, the discovery has been made of the amazing curative effect of service animals for those living with PTSD.

Also in recent years it has been discovered that dogs can sense epileptic seizures and I have both epilepsy and PTSD among my other disabilities.

I researched service dogs and my choices were, either long waiting lists before even beginning selection of a pup and training then the training can take several years in total. Alternatively going the private route, and paying up to $30,000 for a privately trained animal .

Then I discovered that the law allows that if you have a pup of a suitable breed and the correct temperament, and you can have him privately trained to the exact syllabus that is approved as long as he passes all relevant exams he will be approved as a service dog. so the search for a pup began.

Well this weekend at the NYC gay Pride march, there was a street fair and Lil monsters animal rescue had dogs and cats for adoption


 and there sat a beautiful 4 month old German shepherd /collie cross and he was giving me kisses and snuggling within 5 minutes. He is not bothered by noise he is not aggressive and fine in large crowds otherwise the perfect pup. So he will be named Zeus, and as long as the last home visit goes well this week he is mine and so the love begins wish me well.