Words, Siblings, IDEA & More

Apr 29, 2024

Welcome to our fourth edition of Another Normal.
We’re working hard to curate current news on important topics and help young adults with disabilities bloom and grow. Life is especially challenging right now. We want to lighten your load.
Share and comment, please. We love hearing from you!

"If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just,
you have a moral obligation to do something about it."
 --John Lewis, RIP

Words matter.
We often wonder how to best keep up with preferred language related to people with disabilities. Here’s an important point of view worth sharing. Try asking the people you’re with what words they prefer. Some are always unacceptable, and it's good to know why. Let's talk about how we talk and create comfort and education through language.

Special siblings.
Research shows what many parents of special needs children have known for years: important benefits are derived from being the sibling of someone with a disability. Just look at these brothers, who inspire each other and aspiring athletes everywhere. Despite this inspiration, though, parents should be aware of and work to avoid parentification. Creating an environment that places too many responsibilities on the siblings of children with special needs can lead to long-lasting mental health issues and emotional scars. Spend quality time with typical siblings and make this as important to your daily life as tending to the needs of family members with disabilities. Special online communities offer support and connection to typical siblings and even those in specific age groups. 

Choosing the future.
Articles about the ADA are everywhere these days because this month marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of this landmark legislation. The New York Times reports that young people with disabilities have greater expectations for how the law protects their civil rights and expands opportunities for their futures. This includes the right to choose. People who do not have a disability get to choose where to live, work and recreate. Those with disabilities should have that same right, which should be protected by the government. This is the essential message of the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead and the ADA.

Bloom, the musical.
For her senior thesis, recent Princeton University graduate Rosie Arbittier created and produced a musical for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sadly, the arrival of Covid-19 forced Rosie to cancel the production this spring. However, she worked with the group to virtually perform and record its title song, "Bloom," with lyrics that speak to how important growth and learning is to everyone. Developed in conjunction with Best Buddies, this inclusive musical theater initiative and others like it can and should be replicated in other communities. Plant some seeds and see what you can grow!

Follow the leader.
Remember that story we reported in Volume 1 about a recent special ed court ruling in CT? Judge Charles Haight Jr. found the state’s Board of Education violates IDEA by discontinuing special ed services to students after they turn 21. In a disappointing move this week, CT appealed the ruling. Not sure why the State Board of Ed would continue litigating this case. Let’s hope CT goes the way of Hawaii, where damages were ultimately awarded to students in a similar dispute.

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