It matters Not That I Have Wheels And Roll In This Life, For In The Next Life I Shall Have Wings And Fly!


Speaker who uses wheelchair ‘carried onto stage’ at Melbourne disability summit


PHOTO: A speaker at the National Disability Summit had to be helped from the wheelchair-inaccessible stage. (Supplied: Jarrod Marrinon)
MAP: Melbourne 3000
Organisers of a national disability conference in Melbourne have come under fire after a speaker had to be carried onto the stage because it was not wheelchair accessible.

Attendees of the sixth annual National Disability Summit, organised by a private provider, said participants with disabilities who paid $2,000 to attend were made to sit together at one table at the back of the room.

Only 12 concession spots had been organised for participants with disabilities at the summit, held last week.

There was no ramp for mobility-impaired speakers to reach the stage and participants had to be lifted up four stairs so they could get to the lectern.

One participant, Jax Jacki Brown, said on Facebook that watching a speaker getting carried up on stage showed that “we have a long way to go”.

According to a blog post by Ms Brown, the “accessible toilet was filled with chairs and used as a storage space in the week leading up to the conference”.

PHOTO: The accessible toilets were full of chairs and used for storage in the week leading up to the conference, Jax Jacki Brown wrote on a blog post. (Supplied)
“The food provided was up on really tall tables … wheelchair users could not access it,” she added.

Disability advocate Jarrod Marrinon said organisers took his registration fee and then told him there was no spot for him but eventually allowed him to participate.

“I was pretty taken aback when I realised just how much these people don’t really think about what they’re doing,” he said.

“I refused to sit [at] the table. The problem was the table was up the back, in the corner.”

In a tweet, disability discrimination commissioner Susan Ryan said conference organisers have been approached regarding accessibility issues at the event.

The organisers of the event, Informa, have been contacted by the ABC for comment.

The summit discussed the progress of the NDIS trial sites

National home decorating chain PIER 1 IMPORTS VIOLATES ADA COMPLIANCE LAWS

After an eleven-year journey in and out of court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a shopper at Pier 1 Imports’ Vacaville, California, store.
In a recent ruling, the court found that “given its frequency, the aisle access problem must be viewed systematically, not as a series of individual barriers to access”, and as a result, found Pier 1 Imports had violated ADA compliance laws.
The shopper filed his initial complaint in response to the store’s architectural features that he felt acted as barriers to his wheelchair. Byron Chapman, a longtime Pier 1 customer, claimed that on at least eleven separate visits to the store, furniture, merchandise and other items obstructed the store’s aisles.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a store’s functional aisle width must be at least thirty-six inches. Although, Pier 1 Imports’ building design allowed for ADA compliance, the store’s policy of frequently lining the aisles with furniture and other merchandise did create an obstruction, according to the court.
Pier 1 argued that the “ruling improperly excluded a store manager’s declaration about the store’s policy of ensuring that potential obstacles were only temporary”, however, the court ruled that there was no evidence to support the stores claim.
The court’s ruling is further evidence of the continued need for ADA compliance experts.
If you are experiencing access issues or have questions about a building’s accessibility compliance, contact us today.
Our team of knowledgeable, highly-respected professionals would be happy to share any information you would like, and answer any questions you may have

Mia’s thoughts- I have had my own run ins with pier 1 we live near their bayside queens store and regularly I have been told by store staff “well wheelchairs shouldn’t be in here we can’t help it if you don’t fit” also in 2003 we bought tealights, a bag of 20 from their upper east side store we lit one in our apartment, it exploded like an IED and did 4,000 dollars damage to our apartment. we found pier 1 had a corporate habit of buying candles from eastern block countries with no laws controlling the use of dangerous ingredients and to this day they still buy from the same people there was gasolene used in the candle that exploded to make it burn quicker so people would buy more.

Students with disabilities lobby Government ahead of May Budget


More than 100,000 students with disabilities across Australia are being denied access to education because of a lack of government funding.

On top of that, many other students are receiving inadequate support.

At the last election, the Abbott Government promised to redress the problem – but students and their families are still waiting.

Today they’re holding a national day of action at Parliament House to lobby the Government ahead of the May Budget

Trish Jackson has no arms, six holes in her heart and nerve pain caused by a drug her mum took while pregnant. Is $9,200 compensation fair?


Trish Jackson, one of 37 Thalidomide Survivors who missed out on millions od dollars in compensation, at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: News Corp Australia
SHE was born without arms and has six holes in her heart because her mother took an anti-nausea drug. But the only compensation Trish Jackson’s mum received is $9,200.
The 52-year-old Queenslander is one of 35 thalidomide victims who’ve been cheated by the legal system and ignored by our government. As other governments around the world pay out their victims, she wants help.
Thalidomide was launched in 1957 to treat nausea in pregnant women but it caused severe birth defects including missing and stunted limbs, missing organs, deafness and blindness in more than 10,000 babies worldwide.
Forty per cent of the babies born with these defects died before their first birthday and the world’s worst drug scandal led to the establishment of Australia’s medicines watchdog the Therapeutic Goods Administration..
In 2013 when 100 other Australian thalidomide victims shared $89 million in compensation Trish and 35 surviving thalidomide victims missed out.
Her parents were forced to waive their right and her right to any further compensation for her injuries when they received a $9,200 compensation payment from the company that distributed thalidomide in the 1970s.

Trish Jackson was initially denied a disability pension despite missing two arms as a result of an anti-nausea drug her mother used while pregnant. Picture Kim Smyth News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia
Trish was aged just ten at the time her legal rights were signed away.
A further small settlement was reached between these 35 victims and the distributor of the drug in 2010.
Trish is angry that while other governments have helped the victims in their country the Australian Government has ignored victims here.
In 2012 the British government provided 20 million pounds compensation for its thalidomide victims, the Irish Government topped up a German compensation scheme and paid its victims a lump sum payment and monthly allowance in the 1970s.
The Canadian Government this year offered its 95 thalidomide victims a $125,000 lump-sum payment and access to a medical assistance fund of up to $168 million.
The Australian Government has done nothing for our thalidomide survivors, instead Trish says its bureaucracy has humiliated them.
When she applied for the dole as a school leaver Trish Jackson was told her she had to prove she could work before it would be paid and she was sent to a sheltered workshop.
She later got a job as a receptionist.
Trish Jackson says she even had to fight for a disability pension several years ago because the bureaucrat considering her case failed to notice she was missing her arms.
She’s written to every federal and state MP about her plight and that of 37 other survivors like herself.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told her to contact her state community services department and gave her a 1300 number to call at the Department of Human Services when she sent him a letter asking for compensation similar to that provided to overseas victims.
Dr William McBride, the Australian doctor who discovered risk of Thalidomide to unborn babies. Source: News Corp Australia
When she came to Canberra this week Social Security Minister Scott Morrison refused to meet her.
Former Labor assistant health minister Jan McLucas promised to help Trish and other thalidomide victims in 2008 but nothing came of it.
Ms Jackson’s local MP Senator Chris Ketter raised her case in federal parliament this week.
When Trish Jackson took the Prime Minister’s advice and called the state community services department it offered to install a hand rail in her home even though she doesn’t have any hands.
The federal Human Services Department told her they didn’t know what thalidomide was and had no funding for her.
“They are just waiting for us to die so the problem goes away,” she said.
Trish says she wants the government to apologise to her parents for allowing the medicine into Australia and compensation to help modify her home so she can live with the disability caused by the drug.
“How do you put a price on being stared at, laughed at, made fun of, all the heart operations I’ve been through, being told by the government you are not disabled, sent to work in a sheltered workshop, the lost relationships, the lost work opportunities,” she says.

Trish Jackson wants government compensation to her modify her home to cope with problems caused by the drug thalidomide. Picture Kim Smyth News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia
Trish dreams of having enough money to tile her floor so it is flat for her wheelchair, she needs her bathroom revamped to suit her needs, her swimming pool needs updating to remove steps so she can get the only exercise she can do.
Most of all she wants an apology to her parents over the drug that caused the birth defects because she says her mother blames herself for Trish’s birth defects.
Trish has a 21 year old daughter and worked for 15 years before the strain of brushing her teeth, doing her hair and other basic tasks with her feet and mouth took its toll on her body.
She lives with a constant headache, thalidomide damaged her nerves so merely brushing against her can produce pain like being hit by an axe.
When 100 other thalidomide victims received millions in compensation in 2013 Trish’s father called thrilled to think she had finally got help.
He cried when she told him she would get none of that compensation because he had signed away her rights.
“I’m a happy person, I’ve never been woe is me, the world owes me,” she says.
“This is how I was born, this is what I live with I just get on with it,” she says.

Black Woman Locked In Psych Ward For 8 Days Because Cops Couldn’t Believe She’s A Businesswoman

Reposted from an online story By KERRY-ANNE MARCH 24, 2015 1:41 PM

An African American business woman from Long Island was drugged and locked in a hospital psych ward for eight days because first police, and then doctors could not believe her high-powered career was real.

The hideous ordeal began last September as 32-year-old former Citigroup banker Kam Brock drove her BMW through Harlem. The NYPD pulled her over, accused her of being high on marijuana and impounded her car. No weed was ever found in the vehicle.

The next day, she went to pick up her vehicle and confronted officers about her treatment. She was forcibly sedated, cuffed, and sent to Harlem Hospital. On arrival, she was locked up in the psych ward as an ‘Emotionally Disturbed’ person.

“Next thing you know, the police held onto me, the doctor stuck me with a needle and I was knocked out,” Brock recalls. “I woke up to them taking off my underwear and then went out again. I woke up the next day in a hospital robe.”

But this was only the beginning of her nightmare. As the New York Daily News reports:

Kam Brock’s frightening eight-day ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ ordeal at the mental facility included forced injections of powerful sedatives and demands she down doses of lithium, medical records obtained through her suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court show.

In efforts to establish her credibility and sanity, Brock tried to explain who she was. She told doctors about her job, and that President Obama follows her on Twitter—both of which are true. They argued she was delusional and bipolar, sedated her, and kept her in treatment for more than a week.

The New York Daily News was able to gain access to Harlem Hospital’s treatment plan for Brock, which read:

“Objective: Patient will verbalize the importance of education for employment and will state that Obama is not following her on Twitter,” and “patient’s weaknesses: inability to test reality, unemployment.”

But as Jay Hathaway over at Gawker points out:

In reality, Barack Obama’s Twitter account—which is not actually run by President Obama, or even the White House—follows 640,000 people, including Brock. One way to “test” that reality might have been to look at Brock’s Twitter account, which is public.

Doctors could also have verified Brock’s employment history with ease, had they so chosen. Several Instagram photos from her time at Citibank last year are available publicly. They show company emails announcing the most productive personal bankers of the month, a list Brock consistently topped and shared with pride. Astoria Bank is her current employer.

A simple Google search of her name, or a few phone calls would have cleared up this whole situation in a matter of minutes. But no such measures were taken. Is it really so unbelievable that a black woman in America might own a BMW legitimately, bought with wages from a successful career?

Apparently so.

Medical records show that for eight days, she was forced to attend group therapy, suffer injections of heavy sedatives, and swallow lorazepam and lithium pills – all in efforts to have her deny her own life story.

When she was finally released, no apologies were made for the mistake. Instead, she was handed a $13,000 medical bill.

Brock has since filed a suit against the city, citing unspecified damages. New York City’s Law Department are reviewing the suit.

Hey Dallas domestic Airport a wheelchair Bathroom actually has to fit a wheelchair in it!

As my regular readers know I recently flew from New York LaGuardia airport to Albuquerque via Dallas, at Dallas Airport I had to go to the little girl’s room before we replaned. I rolled into the ladies room to go pee, we opened the door to roll in and when I did my knees hit the back wall and the rear of my wheelchair and wheels are still sticking out into the main room of the toilet.
I rolled out and looked and it said disabled bathroom and had handles bolted like a disabled bathroom to the wall, so Ella said “oh there’s another one down the other end” so we rolled down there and it was identical. Half the width of my wheelchair wheels which are 24 inch, so 12 inches and the back rest were stuck out into the room and the door couldn’t close. We rolled out and asked the attendant and was informed all bathrooms in the complex are identical, so a domestic airport and an international airport, one of the busiest in the nation I’m told has no wheelchair accessible facilities?
Thousands of people go through the airport every day, there are Military bases in and around the Dallas airport there are VA hospitals wounded warriors and also general public who are disabled rely on the ability to be able to use facilities in the airport and the who gives a fuck attitude we got, and my favorite ”this is Texas not new York honey” will not cut it we are citizens like everyone else and our tax dollars paid for the airport so if we pay for it we damn well have the right to use every facility in the buildings.



You just can’t make this stuff up. Or as they say, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Currently in Connecticut a Roman Catholic Priest, Monsignor Kevin Wallin, who has become known as “Monsignor Meth” is going through sentencing for his conviction of running a crystal meth amphetamine ring. Even more startling is where the priest was running the ring out of-Namely, a sex/smoke shop.

Furthermore, Monsignor Meth OWNED the sex shop where the meth amphetamine ring was being run. It is suspected that he bought the shop to launder his profits from selling the meth.

One can only speculate as to why he chose that business vs. the many “non-sexual” choices in cash businesses there are out there, most of which would be much lower profile than a sex shop. But so far, no convictions have resulted in anything having to do with the shop. Although there have been reports of Wallin being caught previously having gay sex in the rectory. Also it is reported that Wallin was a frequent cross dresser during those episodes.

Wallin was busted in 2013 after selling the drugs which he received from a California distributor and sold to an undercover narcotics officer 6 times. Next week he is to be sentenced. And despite a pre-arranged plea deal, he is asking for leniency.

Wallin originally agreed to a plea deal that would include at least 10 years behind bars. Now, a week before final sentencing, his attorney is asking for a reduction in sentence to 4 years plus some community service in an attempt to rewrite the deal in the 11th hour.

His attorney is using some 80 letters of support for the priest, including one from the late Cardinal Egan to try to sway the judge. According to the defense, Wallin’s priestly goodness should entitle him to only do less than half of what is agreed upon. You know, religious affluenza.

Acoording to the defense, forget that he ran a meth ring. Forget that he ran the meth ring from a sex shop. Not one he patronized, one he owned. In fact, forget all that messy business having to do with priests and sex, including illicit sex altogether. And definitely forget that the shop was perhaps also a tool to launder money and perhaps had other less than honorable purposes for Monsignor Meth.

The defense only wants the judge to consider his “day job.” That he was a priest. And we all know priest = good guy, right? Wallin’s attorney also cited 3 decades of “charitable service” in the Monsignor’s defense. they believe he is just too good of a man to stick to the agreed deal!

Mafia Dons and gangster bosses give away turkeys every Thanksgiving. John Wayne Gacy was a good painter and was active in the community. Heck, O.J. did charity work in the area of domestic violence. None of that matters when talking about their crimes. This priest betrayed everyone around him. Most of his victims surely aren’t even known yet, and might not ever be. He did not serve his community, he used it.

Let us all hope Monsignor Wallin receives the sentence that he agreed to and not the one he and his attorney are trying to slip through in the 11th hour that they feel they are entitled to as sufferers of religious affluenza

Building Evacuations and the Social Model of Disability


New buildings need to consider universal design principles to ensure all people can safely and independently evacuate a building that is free of barriers, restrictions or delays.
The 1975 publication Fundamental Principles of Disability argued that the problems faced by people with disability were caused by society’s failure to take account of their needs, not by their impairments.
This view developed into the social model of disability and differs greatly from the medical model of disability. The medical model sees people with disability in need of medical intervention and to be cured or fixed. Under that model, people with disability are to be pitied, considered in need of charity and often hidden away from society.
In contrast, the social model sees the disability as the result of a person with an impairment living in a world with barriers. These barriers present themselves in many forms, including technological, physical, communication and in social attitudes. The social model purports that for full inclusion, there must be significant changes made and barriers removed so that people with disability can participate on an equal basis within society.
Thankfully, times are changing and we now have international laws to protect the rights of people with disability. In 2006, the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The convention has since been ratified by New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many other countries, including Vietnam earlier this year.
The convention aims to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.”
It includes a number of areas such as accessibility, personal mobility, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political life, equality and non-discrimination. The convention recognises the importance for a shift in attitudes from the social welfare concern (being the medical model) to a human rights issue (being the social model), which acknowledges that these social barriers are disabling people.
A critical factor to the success of meeting the objectives of the convention is by adopting universal design principles. The UN defines universal design as the “design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
It also adds that universal design “shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.”
In terms of universal design and evacuation planning, there are a number of measures that can be implemented to ensure a building is safe for all occupants, not only when the building is being used in its normal state, but when there’s an emergency and a need for evacuation.
During an evacuation, the anatomy of a building changes, alarms are activated, passenger lifts cannot generally be used and people use egress paths that may differ from their normal path into the building. For these reasons, designing a universally accessible means of egress into the building at an early concept stage is the best approach.
Though the following is not an exhaustive list, it aims to provide some basic steps that can be adopted to provide a universally inclusive environment, with consideration to the social model of disability discussed above, and with regard to emergency planning:
Ensure emergency management procedures are in place, with mechanisms to identify the needs of individuals.
Implement tailored Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for people who self-identify their impairment and develop General (or Group) Emergency Evacuation Plans (GEEPs) within public spaces.
Nominate fire wardens in all locations who can supervise the evacuation and remove any barriers.
Conduct regular inspections of egress routes to ensure they’re unobstructed.
Provide clear and unambiguous exit signage with Braille and tactile characters, with directional signage directing people to exits.
Provide an accessible means of egress path that can be negotiated independently, including the use of an evacuation lift when on an upper or lower level.
Use assistive devices such as evacuation chairs where evacuation lifts have not been provided.
Display evacuation diagrams showing the accessible egress routes, including identifying where exits, evacuation lifts, refuge areas, evacuation chairs and fire stairs are provided.
Supplement alarm notification systems with visual and vibrating alarm devices.
Provide accessible handrails on both sides of all fire stairs.
Identify exit doors with a contrasting colour, provide accessible door handles and sufficient circulation space on approach to each exit door.
Given our ageing population, longer working lives and higher density living it is critical that we start to prioritise the importance of a universally accessible egress route from all buildings, including residential buildings and change legislation to reflect this requirement.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

People with Disability, The Social Model of Disability,

Another Toronto business tells customer with guide dog they aren’t welcome

By Christina Stevens

TORONTO – Karoline Bourdeau and her husband Richard said after a long day, they just wanted some sushi at a nearby restaurant.

But as soon as they entered, the owner of Ikki Sushi told them Karoline’s guide dog, Potter had to go.

“He doesn’t talk to me, talks to my husband and points at the door telling us to leave,” said Karoline.

“I explained, he’s a guide dog, he’s allowed in,” said Richard.

They said the restaurant owner kept insisting the dog must wait outside and it quickly became clear that he wasn’t changing his mind.

Global News tried to contact him by telephone, but he hung up. However, when we went to the Scarborough restaurant he explained his point of view.

“I say you can leave the dog outside or in the car,” said Bob Huang, the owner of Ikki Sushi.
He said he was worried that the dog fur might bother other customers, particularly if they are allergic, so he suggested the man (Richard) could be the guide.

“The man can handle this problem. I think the dog just outside waiting for him, no problem,” said Huang.

Even after acknowledging that he understood it was the law, Huang insisted service dogs would not be permitted in his restaurant.

“I understand this way but she’s just thinking of herself. Does she think of other people?” said Huang.

He said it doesn’t matter whether a dog is working, it is still an animal.

Earlier this week Global News reported on another Toronto woman who was told her guide dog was not allowed in a Tim Hortons.

“I tried to think of an analogy. If someone is in a wheel chair you know you don’t tell them to leave it outside with the bicycles,” said Victoria Nolan.

After she and her husband refused to leave, staff relented. Legally, they didn’t have a choice.

“The law says that a person that is blind or partially sighted, accompanied by her guide dog must be allowed into places open to the public,” said Yin Brown, Advocacy Manager for CNIB.

Even though they knew they were in the legal right, the Bourdeaus said that as they were unable to sit down or order they left. They also called both Toronto Police and the City of Toronto, with neither taking any action so far.

“This is really humiliating. I could write, not just one book, but ten of them about the different incidents that just keep happening,” said Karoline.

Australian prime minister ABBOTT: Says 99 CENTS AN HOUR IS ENOUGH FOR SOME(he means intellectually disabled) WORKERS

Reposted from an online post BY CORINNE GRANT MARCH 19, 2015 945 304 13
What a disgraceful excuse for a Christian is Abbott. This week sees the re-introduction of a bill into Parliament that, if passed, will mean that 10,000 workers with an intellectual disability will never receive full compensation for the work they did over a ten year period.

Some of these workers earned just 99 cents an hour. Yep, you read that right. We were paying people with an intellectual disability 99 cents an hour for a decade while the rest of us received far, far more than that.

Under the Fair Work Act, it’s possible to pay people with a disability less than the minimum wage. However, you can’t use the Fair Work Act as an excuse to rip people off. That’s essentially what happened to people working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs). The ADEs had used a government scheme called BSWAT to assess its employees’ wage levels. That scheme decided that some workers with an intellectual disability were worth only 9% of what able-bodied workers were worth. Others were worth a little more and earned $3-$4 an hour. Lucky them.

Maurice Blackburn launched a class action on behalf of the workers and, after a drawn out process, the case landed in the High Court. The High Court held up the decision of the Federal Court: the government’s BSWAT assessment was in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act and the workers were owed substantially more than what they had been paid. The High Court ordered the government to compensate them.

That should have been the end of it. If the government had any respect for the High Court, it would have simply done what it had been ordered to do. Not this government though. It introduced a bill last year saying it would only pay the workers half of what they were owed. (I guess you have to fund billions of dollars in petrol subsidies for mining magnates somehow.) After a concerted campaign by disability advocates, the motion was lost.

Not to be deterred, the government re-introduced the bill this week and the tactics they have employed to get the bill passed this time are an absolute disgrace.

Josh Bornstein

Josh Bornstein, a lawyer for Maurice Blackburn, has been representing the workers throughout their fight. The government played dirty right from the start. Last year, it convinced Clive Palmer that the workers would only receive half of what they were owed anyway because Maurice Blackburn was going to suck up the other half in legal fees. It was a complete lie. Maurice Blackburn are representing the workers on a pro bono basis and won’t collect any fees.

This time around, the gutter tactics have reached a new low. According to Bornstein, the government has persuaded the ADEs to tell families of the workers with disabilities that some of them will be sacked unless the bill is passed and they drop their legal action. It’s an astonishing lie. The ADEs are not the ones shouldering the expense of the back pay, it’s the government who will be doing that. No-one has to be sacked.

Horrifyingly, the strategy is working. Families of vulnerable workers are so scared their kids will lose their jobs that they’re ringing senators and begging them to support the bill. Bornstein suspects this tactic has already worked on both Senators Madigan and Xenophon.

It’s the same approach the Abbott Government has used in the past. First they threatened to leave little kids in detention unless their asylum seeker laws were passed. Then they threatened to sack 1700 scientists if their education bill wasn’t agreed to. Now they’re threatening to sack people with an intellectual disability if the Senate doesn’t consent to paying them only half of what the High Court says they are owed.

Once again, we’re depending on the cross bench to show the moral backbone the cabal of “Christian” men running our country are so clearly lacking. Let’s hope they’ll do the right thing, and let’s hope Xenophon and Madigan will change their minds.

GetUp has launched a tool that will give you the phone number of your cross bench senators.

The bill could be passed today. Give them a call before it’s too late


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