Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Suit: Papa John's illegally fired worker with Down syndrome

FARMINGTON — Back in September 2011, Scott Bonn started working for the pizza-delivery company Papa John’s folding boxes.
Bonn, who has Down syndrome, got help from the state to fulfill his duties with a job coach.
After a visit to the Farmington location by a Papa John’s operating partner in February 2012, the local franchise owners became aware of the situation and made a call to corporate human resources department.
As a result, Bonn was fired, an EEOC attorney says.
Now the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has stepped in with a lawsuit against Papa John’s both at the franchise and corporate level.
Representatives for Papa John’s did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
According to the EEOC, Papa John's discriminated against Bonn by failing to reasonably accommodate his Down syndrome and by terminating him because of his disability. Before he was fired, Bonn worked successfully with the assistance of an independently employed and insured job coach.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Watch David Hasselhoff Take A ‘Knight Rider’ Superfan With Down Syndrome For A Spin In KITT

by Danger Guerrero from UPROXX:
This is really cool. In a recent segment of the Dutch television program Syndroom (which, according to the translated version of its Facebook page, is dedicated to “helping people with Down syndrome, autistic disorders and other syndromes” fulfill “their ambitions, dreams and fantasies”), David Hasselhoff took a Dutch Knight Rider superfan named Twan out for a spin around Beverly Hills in KITT. Here’s the YouTube description of the video, translated from Dutch to English.
It is a very special day for Twan: he met David Hasselhoff. He even get a thick hug of this American superstar and may take a ride with David in the KITT.
And sure enough, off they go. They even have it set up so KITT gives Twan a personalized message before they all pull away, which apparently means they got 87-year-old William Daniels — Mr. Feeny himself — to reprise his role as the voice of the car. Everyone appeared to have a really great time, especially Hasselhoff, who took great pleasure in freaking out some people on the freeway.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Franklin sisters’ bond used to highlight Down Syndrome Awareness Month

by Cheryl Makin from My Central Jersey:
Caryn Croll is a determined woman. She has come up against many obstacles in her 27 years, but has always pushed through to reach her goals. With her feisty and “can do” nature, Croll, born with Down syndrome, achieved academic and athletic success as a high school graduate and Special Olympic gold medalist.
Now the Franklin Park resident has her sights set on increasing awareness, opportunities and research for those with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
“We are all in the same boat,” she said. “We need to spread the word.”
Her face on Times Square
To this end, Croll will be featured on Saturday as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) annual Times Square Video presentation. Croll’s photo helps highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family. The image of Croll was selected from more than 2,000 entries in the NDSS worldwide call for photos. More than 220 photographs will appear in the video. Croll’s photo shows her along with her “little sister” Michelle Croll, 23.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Saudi govt to bear cost of treating kids with autism and Down syndrome

by Saad Al-Qabousi from the Okaz/Saudi Gazette:
The Ministry of Social Affairs will bear the entire cost of treatment and rehabilitation of children with autism or Down syndrome at domestic care centers, an official source at the ministry has said.

The official, who did not want to be named, said in the past the ministry was bearing only half of the cost. He said: “There are about 6,000 children with severe disorders who are unable to benefit from education in the government or private schools.

“The ministry will pay the full cost of their rehabilitation in the special centers inside the Kingdom.”

The official made it clear that the ministry's offer will not include children who are taken for rehabilitation abroad.

“The ministry will bear the full cost of the rehabilitation of autistic and Down children in the day centers that are licensed,” he said.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

homecoming king will make you smile

from My Fox 9:
Blaine High School homecoming king Brock Shepard fits the stereotype -- a popular, three-sport athlete with an amazing smile. More than 2,000 students selected Shepard as their homecoming king not because he has Down syndrome, but “because of what he means to the school in spite of it,” the school said.
“Everyone loves him,” homecoming queen Britney Monteon said. “He means a lot to the school. He's amazing.”
Shepard is known for his “infectious” personality at BHS. He's the manager of the Bengals wrestling and plays on the school's adapted floor hockey, bowling and soccer teams.

Congratulations Brock! Watch his coronation at http://youtu.be/nWZML9g52X4

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thank Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin for Their Support of the ABLE Act!

To Down Syndrome Advocates from the NDSS:

We are closer than ever to the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S.313) being brought to the House floor for a vote. We need your help in thanking Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee!

We need your help! Please call and thank Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin for their support! Call-in script provided below.

Chairman Dave Camp: (202) 225-3561
Ranking Member Sandy Levin: (202) 225-4961

TALKING points

-I'm calling to thank Chairman Camp/Ranking Member Levin for all his efforts to reach a bipartisan solution and encourage you to do EVERYTHING he can to pass the ABLE Act (H.R. 647/S. 313) before Congress adjourns next week!

-The ABLE Act is the most bipartisan bill in this Congress right now - 80% of the entire Congress supports it. There are 74 Senators and 380 Representatives cosponsoring the bill.

-Your boss is a tremendous champion for all people with disabilities and the ABLE Act will make a HUGE difference in the lives of the disability community! Thank you!

Thank you for helping us #passtheABLEact; and as Sara Wolff said in her testimony, this year!

Best Regards,

Ginny Sessions
NDSS, Manager Grassroots and Development Programming

Schwarzenegger congratulated by former staff

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a hug from John Masterson, 28, who has Down syndrome, after he unveiled his official portrait at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The photograph-like giant image of the Republican governor was made by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein and will hang on the third floor of the Capitol. Masterson worked in the mail room when Schwarzenegger’s was in office and continues to work there today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge takes ugly twist

from Ken Amaro from First Coast News:
This summer the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and now the ugly side of an ice bucket challenge is spreading on social media.
"I can't even look at it," said Leslie Weed, the parent of an autistic child and founder of The HEAL Foundation, which stands for Healing Every Autistic Life.
"There is an explosion of bullying among disabled children," she said.
It happened in Bay Village, Ohio. A 15-year-old autistic boy who was lured into taking the ice bucket challenge got a bucket full of urine, feces and spit dumped on him.
" (It is) very disturbing," said Weed. "This young man didn't even tell his mother she discovered it on his cellphone."
Weed said what parents and advocates for the disabled have come to realize is, traumatic events like this have long-term effects.
"Their sleep patterns are disturbed, their anxiety levels really rise, their behavior tend to get worse and worse," she said.
The outrage on social media is loud and clear.

Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Things my Child with Down Syndrome has Taught Me

by Bleigh Ahl Garcia from News of Salem County:
It has been 1 year since Tristan was born, and 360 days since I received he news that he has Down Syndrome. As I sit here in amazement at the whirlwind of a year we have had with Tristan in our lives, I just wanted to share a few things I have graciously learned so far in this journey.
1. Always try to look at people through God’s eyes…. if you look with your own eyes, you might miss something.
Having Tristan has taught me to see people for who they really are. I’ve always thought I was pretty good at this because of how I was raised, but I have to admit that I was giving myself way too much credit. After having a child with Down Syndrome, God has softened my heart so much and has given me more compassion for all types of people. I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I no longer am fearful of or uncomfortable around people with developmental disabilities or brain injuries. That fear came from a place of ignorance and misunderstanding. Tristan may have different needs and need a little more attention and care, but raising him as been just as “normal” as raising our son without Down Syndrome. He is a child who needs to eat, sleep, poop and be changed. He smiles when he’s happy, and he cries when he’s not. He has feelings. He has a spirit. His life is precious, and he has a specific purpose and calling. Most of all, he is loved by a God who doesn’t make mistakes. When God looks at him, He is overwhelmed with love. That’s how He sees all of us. My prayer is that I have the ability to look at people and see the value of their spirit first, rather than their disabilities and outward appearance.
2. Celebrate the Small Victories.
I’ve come to realize that every effort that Tristan makes to make a sound or move on his own is a HUGE accomplishment. Have you crawled recently? Like, literally gotten on the floor and army crawled on your belly? Well if you haven’t, just trust me….it hurts. For a child with a developmental delay, a heart defect, low muscle tone, vision problems, and breathing problems… crawling 2 yards is like running a marathon. That is something that most of us ‘normal’ and healty adults would complain about on a daily basis without realizing it. So, we will celebrate every single “milestone” whenever it happens, even if it is 2 years later. Though some victories may seem small to others, they are huge to Tristan….and that’s worth celebrating.
3. Slow Down & Enjoy the Ride.
I have to admit, although we have our struggles, my husband and I could win an olympic medal at getting things done on a schedule. More specifically, healthy meal planning while on the go for a family of four. We