Friday, January 20, 2017

White House Website Just Scrubbed of LGBT, Climate Change, Healthcare and Civil Rights Mentions


White House Website Scrubbed of LGBT, Climate Change, Healthcare and Civil Rights Mentions

All of the Obama administration's web content on LGBT, Healthcare, Civil Rights, and climate change are no more.  The pages have been archived and deleted as part of the Trump transition plan.  Were millions of Americans, affordable healthcare, US history and Climate change just erased? 

For reference, here is what the website looked like during Obama's last days in office:
 


And here is what the updated version looks like:

  
Obviously, there will be a transition period and time for the new administration to shape policy, but ......why this? Signals a stark difference in attitude



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teachers Call Trumps Billionaire Education Secretary Nominee Public Education Enemy #1


Trump nominee for Education Secretary faces fierce criticism from teachers unions that she is working against public education. 

This belief was reinforced when billionaire Betsy DeVos - dubbed public school enemy # 1 -  refused to answer important direct questions critical to people with limited financial resources and those with disabilities. And perhaps most surprising response came when questioned by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut the safety of our children in school. Her response on having guns in schools; guns in schools could 'protect from potential grizzlies' 

When asked does she agree that schools who receive federal funding be held to the federal law? Specifically of IDEA (Individuals with disabilities act), bullying and violence? She was nonresponsive and when pushed,  finally said she would leave bullying to the states and she never responded to the question on IDEA.  When asked if vouchers - a program she has championed - would be made available to children enrolled in both special education and general education, she did not respond, rather she skirted the question and referred to a scholarship program in Florida. 

My question now is, how does someone seeking the highest education post in the United States, and a critical post for the future of this country not have a response to these legal, ethical and moral questions?

Asked outright by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont whether she got the job because of her family's political contributions, DeVos said: "As a matter of fact I do think that there would be that possibility. I have worked very hard on behalf of parents and children for the last almost 30 years."
On tuition-free public colleges and universities, DeVos said: "I think we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. Somebody is going to pay for it."
She skirted Sanders' question on whether she would support making childcare free or much more affordable for low-income families as is the case in many countries, saying only that she felt strongly about "parents having opportunities for childcare for their children."  
"But it's not a question of opportunity," Sanders fired back, raising his voice. "It's a question of being able to afford it!"
Responding to fierce criticism from teachers unions that she is working against public education, DeVos told the committee that she would be "a strong advocate for great public schools."
"But," she added, "if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child — perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet — we should support a parent's right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative."
Ethics and morality play a role in education, and it seems to me Ms. DeVos is unclear on her position when it comes to those less fortunate then herself. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Judge States "Boys will be Boys" As Justification for Rape & Assault of Special Needs Student

Not 1, or 10 but 30 Witnesses confirmed this special needs teen was assaulted. 

If you read this and you're as upset as I am, not just as a mom of a person with special needs, but as a person who believes in justice and human rights, then, please....



On October 22, 2015 a mentally disabled, African American high school student was sexually assaulted by his classmates in a nearly all white Dietrich High School in Idaho. John Howard, 18, Tanner Ward, 17, and one other unidentified member of the football team lured the victim into a school locker room, promising him hugs, stripped him, forcefully inserted a clothes hanger into his rectum, then kicked it deeper into his rectum — causing internal injuries.
When this case was initially reported, and it was announced that John Howard was being charged with felony rape, the possible penalties were as severe as life in prison. It seemed like some semblance of justice was imminent. The school superintendent interviewed 30 witnesses and confirmed that the teen was sexually assaulted. Prosecutors agreed with their investigation — which also determined that the victim was also called “Kool-Aid,” “chicken eater,” “watermelon,” and even “n----r” by students at the school.
In spite of all of this evidence, this week John Howard was given the break of his life. Instead of getting life in prison for what he did, he won’t be going to jail for 10 years or five years or a year or six months or even a day. Instead, he’s getting two years of probation and 300 hours of community service. With good behavior, the judge said his record could be expunged. He’ll also be allowed to do his community service in his new home in Texas where his family peacefully relocated.
Judges in Idaho can reject plea deals if the proposed reduced charges and sentencing does not match the crime. It is disturbing that these criminals are walking our streets. Mental health services were not addressed as they should have been mandated. It is not normal to shove a hanger up another person's rectum. This isn't a case of "boys will be boys" yet the sentence depicts that cultural attitude. Please assist us in removing Judge Randy Stoker today by signing our petition. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

One Way Autism Genetic Testing Can Help You LIve a Better LIfe

Thank you all for continuing to log into Autismdaybyday for the past 6 months, while I've been quite. All of the loss in our family - my mom, our dog Shadow and my daughters 13 year old reptile - left me with nothing to say. I'm still a bit numb and speechless, and at the same time I can feel my voice coming back as I come to grips with our new normal.

Nonetheless, as all you mom's know, life and it's demands don't stop, no matter what. Nick still wakes up in the night, he still has to be on the bus at 6:30 am he still needs 24/7 care and even though I've not been emotionally fully present, life had to go on, so we've been busy not the less.

On of my busy things was getting a new genetic test for Nick. The last time he was tested was just after diagnosis. The test didn't show anything, and it was my hope that with all we know now the test might reveal a little more.  Well, I was wrong. He just did the microarray genetic test that looks for chromosomal abnormalities, and it came back negative. Which tells me we are doing so much but still know so little. It's good to know Nick has no chromosome mutations, however, it would be better to have gotten some understanding as to why my precious child has autism, or shall I say why any of our children have autism.

But, it's not over yet. We will move on to the next test which is more detailed and unlike the first test which typically does not reveal anything about autism, more in-depth testing has been successful in providing insight when the child has a co-morbid condition, and in this case with Nick's Epilepsy. This is the one way Autism Genetic Testing can help people live a better life, today. Successful identification makes it possible to select the drugs that will be the most successful in treatment, which may not be a cure but I would appreciate Nick only having to take medication that makes a difference.

Still when all is said and done nothing much has really changed since Nick was first tested 15 years ago. The tools are a little better, and yes they have a bit more knowledge overall, but when it comes to taking that knowledge and directly helping out kids; when we get there nobody knows.



 



Monday, September 26, 2016

La Vie En BLUE Fashion Gala - Autism Speaks Southern California

For anyone who loves fashion, or if you're just looking to have an amazing time this week and at the same time raise money for a great cause, check this out....

And here is a link to the information;  La Vie En BLUE Fashion Gala - Autism Speaks Southern California

Cheers,
Donna 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Google Glass for Autism Can Get You Your Hearts Desire!








http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000553150  - Story on CNBC
Google Glass flopped in the general market, however, the folks at Standford did not overlook the potential benefits to other markets.  They recently developed a new use for Google Glass: Helping children with autism improve their understanding of facial cues.  

Seeing Nick consistently and correctly respond to facial cues would be a game changer! Until you've met a person who does not have this skill it's impossible to understand how vulnerable it makes them, and the many ways in which it makes it impossible for them to respond to, fit in and connect with others in the simplest ways. 

For those of you who don't know what I mean, try this; Ask someone to shoot you every look they use to convey a non-verbal message (they can include hand gestures if they like) and then think what that tells you, and how you would act differently knowing that information.  For example, you see a creepy look so you move away, a sad look and you feel concern, maybe step closer and ask "what's wrong"? You Get The Idea...

Then have them shoot you the same looks, make the same gestures while you have your eyes covered.  Notice your response...
Now you know what it's like to have autism and not be able to read social cues.

Hey Google, when will this be available to families? 


http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000553150  - Story on CNBC


Autism Glass Project  Link to the Stanford Program


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Autism and Exercise are a Blankety-Blank!

"He's the fastest athlete I have... 
if only he would run toward the finish line! "
Nicks APE Coach

This is how Nick feels about exercise! Let's face it without the social motivation of winning as the goal, sports just don't have the same pull.  

In this case, Nick preferred sleep over playing basketball!. His sport of choice jumping up and down. The result great legs, but he only does this when he wants too which means it falls short of an exercise routine.  As most of you know he's enrolled in soccer now and I'm excited to see how it goes. He won't run to get a goal, but he's staying in the game and going up and down that court, which is amazing for him (again refer to the picture above).  


In time, maybe in time. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Key to Happiness and Longevity...Friends. I Thank God for Mine

videohttp://www.thebos.co/p/KZUWXG

My dear friend, Deniece Williams (Yes the singer) makes sure I get out from under my responsibilities when she comes to town. Thank goodness for friends and laughter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Airports and Autism


Any parent will tell you travel is a nightmare for families traveling with an autistic child, so much so that many families just stay home. The first time I took Nick on a plane the only tip I was given, was give him some Sudafed and it will knock him out.  Which I later learned was the “go to” plan for many families. Today as corporations like Disney reduce supports for families impacted by autism – in environments known to be very stressful which trigger negative behaviors for children with autism - others are embracing our children and making efforts to accommodate them.  

Two airports have stepped up to improve the travel experience and accommodate families!  First Delta, in partnership with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and autism advocacy group The Arc, launched the Atlanta Airport’s first multisensory room on April 12 to provide a calming, supportive environment for passengers on the autism spectrum and now a room opened inside the Myrtle Beach International airport in South Carolina to help families with autistic children by providing a designated quiet space to decompress after a flight.

The rooms features include pillowed and cushioned cubicles and seats marked with the words “Quite”, a mini ball pit, bubbling water sculpture, a tactile activity panel and other items children can interact with to help calm and prepare them for their travel experience. 

If you dig you will find that a parent of a child with autism drive this type of change, and this instance is no exception.  Delta First Officer Erich Riese, who has a 9-year-old son on the autism spectrum was the voice of the program for Delta. He even came over the intercom on the day the room was opened to provide travel tips and best practices based on his personal experience. These tips include:

-Prepare children for the upcoming trip by reminding them of it regularly
-Book a window seat near the front of the aircraft
-Pack a small carry-on bag containing comforts from home
-Board last as it minimizes the time spent on the airplane

“When my son was born, I couldn’t wait for him to be old enough to travel with me,” Reise said. “When doctors diagnosed him with autism, we looked at his diagnosis as a positive. Instead of traveling less, we traveled more… The key is to simplify, simplify, simplify.”

It's only two airports right now, but I do hope others will follow.







Thursday, August 18, 2016

What the Public is Saying About Regional Center Service Disparities to Latinos and Blacks

If you are concerned about the differences in how regional centers are providing services, particularly to Latinos and African-Americans, we encourage you to attend:

PUBLIC HEARINGS
on Service Disparities

Sponsored by 
the California Department of 
Developmental Services

The Department of Developmental Services will hold four public meetings to consult with stakeholders, including consumers and families, advocates, providers, and protection/advocacy agencies, to review purchase of service data and develop recommendations to help reduce disparities. Discussion areas will include identifying cultural barriers and challenges in obtaining regional center services and the areas that need clarification for people to understand the service delivery system, as well as, plans and recommendations to promote equity and reduce disparities in the purchase of services.

THERE WILL BE TWO HEARINGS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ATTENDED BY SENIOR DDS OFFICIALS:

INLAND EMPIRE:
Thursday, August 25, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
Molina Healthcare
Molina Aliso Beach Conference Room
550 East Hospitality Lane, Suite 100
San Bernardino, CA 92408
On-site translation will be provided in the following languages: Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY:
Friday, August 26, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
South Central Los Angeles Regional Center
2500 S Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018
On-site translation will be provided in the following languages:  Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

For more information - Click here

Let's get a big turnout.  Please join us!