Monday, April 27, 2009

Wikis as Disability Resources

ORIGINAL-- Wikis can be a great way to build disability and rehabilitation resources. A wiki is a collection of interlinked web pages and documents using server software to allow users to create, share, and edit content in a collaborative format.[1] Wikis are information databases, where users can work collaboratively, authoring new content, editing each other’s content through common web browsers, and linking to internal and external resources and data, all while tracking all the changes.[2]

Several disability-specific wikis are available such as Disability Wikia, a wiki focusing on general issues. Disability 911 is organized around emergency preparation for people with disabilities. AbilityNet uses a wiki to build and disseminate content about assistive technology and related topics. Wikipedia has many wikis related to disability, rehabilitation, and related topics, such as rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation engineering.

[1] Bold, M. (2006). Use of wikis in graduate course work. Journal of Interactive Learning
Research, 17(1), 5-14.
[2] Coyle, J. E. Jr. (2007). Wikis in the college classroom: A comparative study of online and face- to-face group collaboration at a private liberal arts university. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 68(5-A), 1892. AND Cunningham, W. (n.d.) Why wiki works. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from

Friday, April 24, 2009

Girl who had Quadriplegia Died by Neglect

MICHINGAN— Michigan police located Shylae Thomas, a 9-year-old girl with quadriplegia due to a brain injury in infancy, dead in a storage facility earlier this week. Shylae was the adopted (familial) daughter of Lorrie M. Thomas, now charged with second-degree murder, second-degree child abuse, tampering with evidence, welfare fraud and other charges. Evidence shows Shylae died about six weeks ago, and her death was ruled “homicide from neglect” by the local medical examiner.
** Articles and video do not use person-first language**

“Disabled 9-year-old found dead in MI storage unit”
“Shylae Thomas' mother to face second degree murder, other charges”
Associated Press/You Tube Video: Quadriplegic Girl Found Dead

Thursday, April 23, 2009 Online Disability Community

Many thanks to Emily for commenting about Disaboom ( on my recent social networking post, which she describes as"an interactive community and online resource *specifically* for people with disabilities! It has articles, blogs, forums, videos, etc. Just another one that's worth checking out. Thanks!".

I agree! Here at DisabilityIntel, I have mentioned studies and other articles done by Disaboom (available in the archive), and can attest to the excellence of the website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Disability Communities in Social Networking

ORIGINAL-- Online social networking is an immensely popular activity, and people with disabilities and disability special interest groups are making the most of these networks. Following is a small sample of just a few of the hundreds of disability and rehabilitation-related communities on MySpace, Facebook, Tribe, and Care2.

MySpace includes more than 10,000 nonprofit and philanthropic groups. Searching the site, you will find approximately 200 related groups and several hundred profiles for rehabilitation counselors. Check out “Disability Entertainment News”, the “Social Security Disability Coalition”, and the “disTHIS Film Series” , just to a name few.

According to a recent New York Times article, Facebook expects to have 200 million members this year! Over 500 groups related to disability and rehabilitation are on Facebook, including groups such as “Reframing Disability”, “Disability Dignity”, and the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). You must join Facebook to view.

Tribe organizes member connections around special interest “tribes” in particular cities. According to site statistics, 45,000 tribes of all types are active in the online community. Current tribes include “Disability Connection”, “Wheelchairs United” and “Insiders’ View of Disability”.

This site is designed for people interested in healthy and green living, activism, and human rights. Care2 has 400 nonprofit partners and only accepts advertisers who exhibit social responsibility. Numerous disability-related groups have a presence on Care 2, including groups such as “Disability Advocacy Group” and “ThisAbility: An Access, Awareness, and Inclusion Group”.

Monday, April 20, 2009

HHS: Henry Claypool Director of Office on Disability

From NRA--
The Department of Health and Human Services today announced the selection of Henry Claypool as director of the HHS Office on Disability. Mr. Claypool has 25 years of experience developing and implementing disability policy at the federal, state, and local levels, and he has personal experience with the nation’s health care system as an individual with a disability.

Mr. Claypool has advised the federal government on disability policy for several years. From 1998-2002, he held various advisory positions at HHS, including Senior Advisor for Disability Policy to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Clinton administration. From 2005-2006, he served as a Senior Advisor in the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability and Income Support Programs.

As Director of the Office on Disability, Mr. Claypool will serve as the primary advisor to the HHS Secretary on disability policy and will oversee the implementation of all HHS programs and initiatives pertaining to Americans with disabilities.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Report: Severe Housing Affordability Crisis for People with Disability

From the NRCA/Capitol Insider-- Today the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force issued Priced Out in 2008, a study which documents the severe housing affordability crisis facing over 4 million people with disabilities who rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to live. The report compares monthly SSI payments to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Market Rents in all metropolitan statistical areas across the country. The national average rent for a one-bedroom unit was $749 per month (112.1% of monthly SSI payments) and the studio/efficiency unit rent was $663 per month (99.3% of monthly SSI income). The report can be accessed at:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Housing for People with Disabilities in Stimulus

From Steve Gold at The Disability Odyssey continues:
Housing Information: Omnibus Act and Stimulus Bill.
Information Bulletin #282

Congress has $30 million for 2009 housing choice "Mainstream" vouchers to be used only for non-elderly people with disabilities. That's about 3,400 new vouchers - Mainstream Vouchers. These are competitive vouchers requiring application. Because these Mainstream vouchers are so competitive, advocates might want to consider the following:

  • For those States that have received Money Follows the Person grants, a lot of new vouchers could be used to help people transition out of institutions- if your State and your Housing Authorities work together and apply.
  • For those States that want to maximize the number of people who transition out of institutions, consider using these 2008 and 2009 Mainstream vouchers together with HOME's Tenant Based Rental Assistance vouchers. Work with your State and Housing Authorities to put together an intelligent package of a number of housing components to transition people out of institutions.

For more information, or for back issues of other Information Bulletins online, visit: with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects. To contact Steve Gold directly, write to or call 215-627-7100.

Friday, April 3, 2009

VR Highlighted in US News World Report

Today’s Health section of US News & World Report online features VR Counselors and the State-Federal Rehabilitation system as key players in post-secondary employment for people with Autism. “Teenagers with Autism: Want a Job?” reports on the "supportive and customized employment" approach, which involves collaboration between school systems and VR facilitates to assist young people with Autism transition into the workforce through high school. The author notes, “Counselors work with employers to figure out how to make aspects of a disability an asset”. In addition, the article notes, “The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention at Virginia Commonwealth University has pioneered research on creative ways to employ people with disabilities...” For the full article, please visit:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NCD: More Fed Jobs Needed for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, DC via NRCA—The National Council on Disability (NCD) says efforts to employ people with disabilities in the Federal Government have not worked, and in a new report, recommend strategies for change The paper, “Federal Employment of People with Disabilities” is available at: . John R. Vaughn, NCD Chairperson, says, “despite laws, regulations, policy guidance… barriers to federal employment remains, and the number of employees with disabilities in the federal workforce is still low.” NCD's 2008 Annual and Progress Reports are also available on the NCD website.

For more information, contact NCD Director of External Affairs, Mark S. Quigley, at or by telephone at 202-272-2008
National Council on Disability Calls for New Federal Approach to Disability Policy
Federal Employees with Disabilities Few And Far Between, Report Says
National Council on Disability Makes Recommendations to Create More Federal Job Opportunities for People With Disabilities