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Benevolent Ableism: When Help Isn’t Helping

If you are unfamiliar with the term “ableism”, it is a word, much like racism, that describes a societal condition that leads to the widespread discrimination and segregation, but in this case focused on those with a disability label. If ableism describes the culture that subjects people with disabilities to rejection, how do we analyze [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:42:50+00:00 July 8th, 2015|segregation|1 Comment

Thoughts on Group Service Models for People with Disabilities

In my speaking and writing, I often tout the need for services to be individualized, and take issue with the congregate models we generally see from agencies and schools in the forms of group homes, day programs, and classrooms. Often, there is pushback from families and providers. I frequently hear:- “What’s wrong with letting people [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:42:54+00:00 March 27th, 2014|choice, segregation|2 Comments

Workshops: The Burden of Proof is On You

Over the last year, I've been in front of numerous audiences to discuss the concept of Employment First and the need to phase out facility-based sheltered workshops. I don't make the argument lightly. It is a wholesale change of focus for many. It uproots individuals from their comfort zone. It is threatening to agencies and [...]

The Problem with Pro-Inclusion but Not Anti-Segregation

I recently gave a speech at a conference, and afterwards was approached by an individual who had a pointed criticism of my talk. "I support your message of inclusion, but why do you have to argue against facilities? Most of us work in these places. They will eventually change and workshops and day programs will [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:03+00:00 January 28th, 2013|conversion, segregation|11 Comments

Attention Workshops: The ADA Integration Mandate Applies to You

Employment services are included in the integration mandate of the ADA! This recent ruling in Oregon by United States Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart is a huge landmark decision. It should cheer advocates who are working to slow and eventually end the growing numbers of people with disabilities needlessly spending their days in segregated sheltered workshops.Similar [...]

A Response to ACCSES: We Believe NDRN is On the Mark Regarding the Need to End Segregation and Exploitation

Open Response Letter Regarding ACCSES Response to the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) ReportMembers of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:In an April 16, 2012 letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, ACCSES CEO Terry Farmer writes "strong opposition to the recommendations made by the National Disability Rights [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:07+00:00 April 25th, 2012|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|9 Comments

The Top 5 Reasons Why We Haven’t Yet Ended Disability Segregation

1. Fear of Change There is a big, obsolete, but functioning service structure out there, with people in jobs, agencies owning buildings, policies about how to get in and out of them, and billions of dollars to make it work. It's a giant game of mousetrap, easily able to fail when one part breaks, but [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:08+00:00 April 11th, 2012|conversion, institutions, segregation|2 Comments

Let Me Get This Straight. You Don’t Want the Institution to Close Because You’ll Lose YOUR JOB?

Controversy continues regarding efforts around the country to close large state-run institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Many of these recent closure announcements have more to do with excessive costs (which are absurdly high) in tough budget times, combined with an ongoing inability to end serious abuse and neglect, as reported in the media in [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:09+00:00 March 12th, 2012|institutions, segregation|3 Comments

A Bellwether? Oregon Sued for Reliance on Sheltered Workshops

Last month, UCP Oregon/SW Washington, with the help of Disability Rights Oregon, filed a class action lawsuit challenging Oregon’s failure to provide supported employment services to more than 2,300 of its residents who are segregated in sheltered workshops. The suit says people are "stuck in long-term, dead-end facilities that offer virtually no interaction with non-disabled [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:09+00:00 February 8th, 2012|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|4 Comments

A Candid Conversation on Disability Issues

Recently, for a podcast sponsored by Griffin-Hammis Associates, Cary Griffin and I had a discussion about many facets of our service system. We talked about the resistance to change of sheltered work agencies, the needless persistence of sub-minimum wage, concerns we had about generalized employment training programs being developed for people with autism, flawed social [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:10+00:00 December 13th, 2011|employment first, segregation, sheltered workshops|0 Comments

The 80-20 Rule and A Call to Freeze Referrals to Sheltered Work

The Pareto Principle is a well known economic theory that can be applied to a lot of situations. It goes something like this: about 80% of effectiveness is driven by just 20% of our activity. This distribution has also been found to relate to how a small number of people control 80% of the wealth. [...]

Discarding An Old Narrative: Shine a Light on Indignity

Some 30 years ago, some new and innovative approaches were developed to help people with disabilities lead better lives. They involved ideas such as normalization, social inclusion, individualized planning, and supported employment and supported living. These concepts were all based on focusing on the individual and not the disability, and each brought new ways of [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:11+00:00 October 20th, 2011|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|3 Comments

Engineered Employment: An Inadequate Solution for Adult Joblessness and Student Transition

Dale, come see our great recycling program! Check out our cleaning crew! We run a bakery that our special ed students all work at!Over the past 30 plus years of providing consultation and training to agencies and schools on the employment of people with disabilities, I have visited employment programs in 49 states and evaluated [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:12+00:00 September 22nd, 2011|employability, school to work, segregation, social enterprise|6 Comments

The Fallacy of the “Choice Argument”: Most People in Sheltered Workshops Want a Job

Despite numerouse national and state policies promoting integrated employment, 76% of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are served in facility-based, segregated programs - usually work activity centers or sheltered workshops. Whenever advocates talk about closing a sheltered workshop so the people there can get real jobs, the argument of choice is raised. "But this [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:17+00:00 April 3rd, 2007|choice, conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|4 Comments

The Fallacy of Low Productivity: Why People with Disabilities Are Relegated to Segregated Facilities at Low Wages

In a recent class I was facilitating, I again ran into the argument from someone that people with disabilities need sheltered workshops because they are not productive enough to be in the business world. Aside from the moral issue of segregating a whole class of people, let us address this stereotype of non-productiveness.There is no [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:17+00:00 March 13th, 2007|productivity, segregation, sheltered workshops|0 Comments