The Intellectually Disabled, Institutions and a Great Documentary

With a Little Moxie


The Intellectually Disabled, Institutions and a Great Documentary


ABC ran a special last week on the story of the Cox family, their adoption of the delightful Mia Kareen and the situation that currently exists in the Ukraine (and other Eastern European countries). If you didn't see it, you should be able to catch it here.

It was beautiful and achingly haunting - knowing how many children truly suffer from not having a family. How people could treat people - children! - worse than most animals are treated in an American animal shelter.

Watch it. Just take a minute and watch the video.

You see?

So what changed with us? It's not like the good citizens of this country all of the sudden woke up and smelled the bacon and thought, "gee! We're all brothers and sisters in this great human race! We should love one another and treat each other with dignity and respect, everyone - even the intellectually disabled!"

What changed it was the law. The ADA and very importantly, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Here's the wiki on that.

I know this, deeply and truly. In my previous job, remember, I did an awful lot of calling employers on their commitment to following that piece - if not in spirit then in quantifiable action. It's kind of like working with kids, I think - you can reason all you want with them, but sometimes you need to just lay down the rules and say, 'whether or not you understand this, you need to follow it." And hope that in time, they will mature to the degree in which they do, they will understand it, they will truly see the reason behind it, get it.

I am not Eastern European and I am not Ukrainian. I do not know how their culture works. I do not know how their legal system operates. I don't know who they have that is like Robert Kennedy, who advocated for those in Willowbrook - and more. I want to know these things. When I take my head out of the sand I long to keep it in, all I know how to do is cry and you know, tears just aren't enough.


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