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Opening School Sports To Kids With Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education is telling schools they must include students with disabilities in sports. How will that work?

Seattle Seahawks football player Kennard Cox hands the football off to Juan Herrera during the fifth annual 12th Man Football Cheer Camp in Miami Lakes, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. The 12th Man Football Cheer Camp was created by Miami Dade police officer Allen Lowy to give those with special needs or disabilities the opportunity to be a part of organized football. (AP)

Seattle Seahawks football player Kennard Cox hands the football off to Juan Herrera during the fifth annual 12th Man Football Cheer Camp in Miami Lakes, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. The 12th Man Football Cheer Camp was created by Miami Dade police officer Allen Lowy to give those with special needs or disabilities the opportunity to be a part of organized football. (AP)

New guidance from the U.S. Department of Education for schools across the country on disability and sports. On Friday, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued a directive to say students with disabilities must be given equal opportunity to compete in school sports.

No presumptions permitted that they can’t do it. And reasonable accommodations must be made. A starting light instead of a gun for a deaf sprinter. And more.

It’s being hailed as a landmark, like Title IX.

This hour, On Point: Opening sport to disabled students. What it means. How it will work.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christina Samuels, staff writer for Education Week.

Terri Lakowski, CEO of Active Policy Solutions and policy director for the Inclusive Fitness Coalition.

Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank focused on education issues, and a contributor to the Education Gadfly newsletter.

Bruce Whitehead, executive director of the National Athletic Administrators Association.

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press “Students with disabilities must be given a fair shot to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues, the Education Department says.”

Forbes “Advocates for students with disabilities are rightly equating with the historic Title IX a Department of Education order, released Jan. 25, that orders schools receiving public funding to make reasonable accommodations so that those students may participate in athletics, and asks schools to create additional athletic opportunities for those students for whom reasonable accommodations wouldn’t be enough to ensure their participation.”

Flypaper Blog “The step that federal officials are taking today will have wide-ranging consequences for decades to come. It potentially puts school districts on the hook for billions of dollars in new spending. At the very least, the changes should be subject to the regular regulatory process, which allows for public input, demands an accounting of potential costs, and gives all sides to voice their concerns. A better solution is to let legislators take up this question—and appropriate funds if they decide that wheelchair basketball and the like is a key priority.”

Detroit Free Press “Owen, an eighth-grader with Down syndrome at Van Hoosen Middle School in Rochester Hills, had been practicing with Howell for a couple of months. Now, Owen ran down the court, came off a pick and hit a three-pointer. The crowd at Wednesday’s game against Troy’s Boulan Park went wild, screaming, chanting and waving signs emblazoned with Owen’s name.”

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  • Spanglor

    This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL)simple restates what the law already says- at 34 CFR 104.37, Section 504 specifically requires that recipients of federal educational funds provide students with disabilites an equal opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities such as athletics. In other words, DOE is telling schools, this is already the law, you should be doing this- not making new new requirements.

    • hennorama

      Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor …

      TY for all of your posts on this topic.  You clearly know your stuff.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Next, someone will be pushing to allow the disabled to fight on the front lines, in hand to hand combat, with the women! This is ridiculous ! Spend that money on reversing disabilities and finding cures. There is far to much emphasis on sports in this country, anyway.

    • Don_B1

      The problem with the “emphasis on sports” is that it is on the varsity athletes, not on those with average or less than average ability.

      It is well documented that physical activity improves mental abilities and leads to longer lives with less chronic diseases, etc. Thus if every child is exposed to a variety of athletic activities, it is more likely that all will find a rewarding activity that will enhance their lives, and by reducing health problems, save everyone money over the long term.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        Don, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Physical fitness and health do not necessarily follow from playing sports. Physical fitness is a “way of life”. My goodness, have you ever taken a good look at the fans ? Interest in sports has continued to increase over the years and yet America continues to become more unfit !

  • Gregg Smith

    We work with a lot of handicapped kids here at the farm. Some severely so. There are many precautions and extra safeguards needed to do this. It’s not a mainstream thing. But if a team can help a kid and do it safely there is nothing to stop them from making a place. Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook site the video of a kid with Downs Syndrome hitting a couple of 3 pointers to win a game. Priceless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iahi8BTNmIU&feature=youtu.be

    Then there’s Obama’s take:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HOBTUCv4o0 

    • 1Brett1

      Sarah has, over the years, promised to do so much to champion the rights of people with disabilities…unfortunately, it has amounted to a couple of posts on her FaceBook page and Twitter account about someone excelling at sports or some platitude. Now that’s activism!

      What Obama said was insensitive and wrong…and what is your point, if any, beyond that?

      By the way, that is admirable what your family’s farm provides in terms of a recreational/therapeutic program…because that is so, don’t think it is then okay for you to make people with disabilities the foundation of a joke. That is never okay. Also, does your family receive any funding for the riding program? Or do they incur all costs themselves?

      • Gregg Smith

        I would never make a joke at the expense of the handicapped. I don’t know where you get that. Regarding Palin, her son Trig has had the most disgusting things publicly said about him imaginable. I don’t think you have a clue as to her activism for the cause. But whatever, that wasn’t my point. It was a great video and I saw it on Palin’s site so I felt I should credit her. That’s all.

        I will always take the opportunity to show what an insensitive nasty person Obama is, that was my point there. It relates to the topic.

        I’m not sure what you mean by funding. The hippo therapists pay (nominally) for the use of our facility. It also takes volunteers, one to lead the horse, one to the left and another to the right. We must go through a bit of training to do that. We receive zero government funding.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          OT: Gregg, you have hippo therapists?

          Thanks for calling me a computer wiz on the other thread. I may pass for one here, but not at CNET. Did you get your questions about “Guest” answered?

          • Gregg Smith

            Yes we have 3… but no hippos. 

            No, I never got an answer but it’s no big deal. It went to the weeds and I felt bad for hijacking your thread. I didn’t particularly like your comment but it was yours.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Eh, no prob. (And I know hippos and horses are related.)

            There was stuff from others which covered a lot. All I might be able to add is that nobody (as far as I know) can comment without logging in someplace now, so no more Anonymous. But in the pre-login days, “Guest” was already filled in as the name, so if one didn’t change it, it’d come up as Guest being the author. (Of course if there are two people on one thread doing that, nobody knows who is who.) And I never looked at who clicked “like” before yesterday.

            Hey, keep us updated when you host another intercollegiate horse competition.

          • Gregg Smith

            Thanks.

            The next show we host will be Feb. 10.

        • 1Brett1

          What activism for the disabled has Sarah participated in/initiated? I don’t know of any; enlighten me. 

          Those therapists use money that wasn’t acquired at all from Medicaid money they receive to pay to rent your space? And why do you say, “we have…” and other such language to describe the program at your farm. It sounds like they just rent your space. So if I rent a building to a special needs program it’s my program? 

          My point is that there are Medicaid funds used indirectly and directly to fund the program which rents space on your farm (which is fine with me–I applaud that; it is you who regularly condemn “entitlement” programs, however). My secondary point is: don’t take credit for something that isn’t yours to take credit for.

          • Gregg Smith

            Regarding Sarah Palin, I don’t know. Neither do you. Don’t make assumptions. It’s her business, not ours. 

            And no, I don’t condemn entitlement programs. I condemn the abuse of them and the inability to have an honest debate about that abuse because of cretins exploiting emotions with shallow arguments.

            You sure are nosy but I will be forthcoming. I do not know what kind of reimbursements the therapist receive, if any. Hippo therapy is not universally accepted as legitimate by many insurance companies. I’m not sure about medicare/medicaid. People sometime actually pay out of pocket for services. I know it’s hard to imagine. However, I can’t give you the breakdown because I don’t know.When we started, there were very few doing it. I’m sure the term hippo therapy existed but it was a very fringe concept 15 years ago. The physical therapist we had back then just happened to board a horse with us so she knew about horses and PT but not as they related to each other. Now the lady who runs the program is certified in hippo therapy as are the two others. She also boards a horse (actually 2) with us. It was a joint effort to establish the program here. She worked as a liaison between us and the hospital and our insurance company. We (I) built a wheelchair ramp, special tie stalls and a few other specialties. They use our horses which are specially trained on our dime. The arena is for all our boarders (35 or so) and lesson students. Anytime it is in use by the therapist it takes priority and the boarders ride outside. Most of the many volunteers it takes are kids who take lessons from us. The 4H club we’ve hosted for 25 years is highly involved as well. Our farm is like a small community, or a big family, working together to make it all happen. We actually loose money if you consider the many other more profitable uses for our facility that are available but not exploited. Clinics, College classes, riding lessons and even an occasional concert are much more profitable. We just cannot offer it up for free or we would. It’s not much money at all. It’s not just a matter of renting the building. Finally, I’m not taking credit for squat. I’m nothing. It’s the kids who are the champions. It’s their courage that gets the credit. It’s me who owes them for the joy and inspiration they give me.

        • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

          “… Regarding Palin, her son Trig has had the most disgusting things publicly said about him imaginable…”
          Can you supply particulars and not general statements? Thanks

    • Ray in VT

      I agree that working with animals and team sports can be great avenues for children with disabilities, and I would have liked your comment were it not for the part where you found it necessary to start your daily Obama’s the worst on everything forum.

      Now, if Sarah Palin is such a great friend of the developmentally disabled, then why did she slash state funding for special needs education?  It makes one wonder about her priorities.

      • Gregg Smith

        I read your reply after I replied to JGC. Thanks for weighing in but I’ll refer you to my reply to her. I also respect your opinion but I’m standing by it. I will say this is a case where I feel out on the limb as far as decorum goes. But I feel it’s important. 

      • jefe68

        Good question.

    • JGC

      Oh, c’mon, that Obama clip is ancient history, from around before his first presidential term.  He immediately apologized the next day for a poorly conceived joke.  I was feeling all warm and fuzzy and hopey changey about the ways to highlight can-do efforts made for disabled kids, until the end of your post.  No 3 points for you!

      • Gregg Smith

        It’s just my nature. I inferred a reference to Trig because it was when Palin was front and center but it’s just a guess. I have no basis.

        Sorry if I offended you but it did happen. I could remove it and considered doing so because of your comment (yes, I respect your position) but decided against it. I think it relates and is an example of the potential hurdles to this ruling. I’m a little touchy about hideous jokes at the expense of those helpless to respond. I hold a grudge.

        • Ray in VT

          So what’s your position on calling people retards or retarded?  It was certainly a fair game term when I was growing up in the 1980s, but, then again, a lot of people used fag, and not to mean a cigarette.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t know. I hate that words get redefined as offensive and the list is long. Intent means a lot as does the age of the speaker. But that’s hard to read, if not impossible. However, as much as I don’t like it, there seems to be a line that gets drawn and “retarded” has crossed it. I don’t use it.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        3-points? Foul!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Impressive Gregg, way to use discussion of the disabled to promote a Crackpot while simultaneously demeaning a President. I’d never seen/heard that clip of The President before, not watching television has its benefits. You do realize he was making a dig at himself don’t you? Poorly worded yes, derogatory? No.

      • Gregg Smith

        Thanks for the kind words. I see the Owen video is now up top so I’m glad I posted it. Take the good with the bad.

      • anamaria23

        Agreed.  I am sure there are many public figures with disabled children.  The Kennedys come to mind as does David Axelrod.
        Sarah Palin uses her disabled child to score political point such as in the patently false death panel discussion.  
        The Kennedys helped found the Special Olympics which has brought purpose and joy to millions of disabled.  Some Kennedy family members have made this their life’s work.
        That is the difference.
          

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t think that’s fair. Palin tries to keep Trig out of the spotlight but at the same time she doesn’t hide him in a closet. She will get criticized either way. What’s a loving mother to do?

          • anamaria23

            I am sure Palin is a loving mother and is working in the best interests of her child.
             

    • jefe68

      You are the very definition of a bottom feeder.
      Trust you to lower this to the level of political BS.

      • Gregg Smith

        It was Obama who did that. Your outrage is misplaced.

        • jefe68

          Sorry, my outrage, if you want to call it that, is directed at your inanity.

          • Gregg Smith

            So Obama’s line was cool with you?

    • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

      Did you really watch the video? No one guards Owen and his 3 pointers are not crucial to the outcome.

  • http://twitter.com/Dragonsong73 Eric R. Duncan

    I am not sure how it will work in schools but with a teenage sister in law with spina bifida who has blossomed since joining all abilities football, basketball, and tennis teams in her hometown I see the powerful impact these inclusive programs can have. She has even begun talking about being an all abilities coach in the future.

  • Jasoturner

    This really touches upon a metaphysical conundrum.  If we wish to believe that life is a gift given equally to all, then why do some posses abilities that are denied others?  And how can their respective experiences be considered equal?  Or at least equivalent?

    Robert Pirsig came to our aid when he observed that it is attention to detail, and personal “pursuit of excellence” that determines quality of life.   Thus, one’s skill set is largely irrelevant to quality of life.  Rather, as long as one pursues one’s interests to the best of one’s abilities, one can experience “quality”.

    Whether this pursuit of excellence takes place in the arena of art, sport, labor or academics is not overly relevant, as long as the pursuit takes place.  Opening up another avenue for these students to pursue excellence is all to the good.

    Note, though, that this understanding is not supportive of the hero-worship that we often see in sports.  While I cannot speak for Pirsig, I suspect he would find the dedicated training of a clumsy basketball player to be just as worthy of praise as that of Michael Jordan.  The fan’s obsession with celebrating the absolute best is understandable, but it does not imbue the fan himself with a route to experience quality.

    If that makes any sense…

  • J__o__h__n

    I suffered through a “performance” by a dance troupe that admitted members without requirements for talent, body shape, or athleticism.  It was awful.  The choreographer was legally blind.  You can’t make this stuff up. 

    • JGC

      Next performance maybe you should close your eyes. You know, work the empathy angle.  

    • hennorama

      J__o__h__n – one person’s art is another’s trash, and vice versa.  There’s no accounting for taste.

      Respect for and sensitivity to the feelings of others are quite another matter, as you’ve ably demonstrated.  You may wish to “suffer through” the second hour’s topic related to bullying and shaming.

      • J__o__h__n

        Critiquing an awful performance is not bullying.  Artistic merit isn’t as arbitrary as personal taste.  If they got a benefit from the activity, I’m happy for them.  But performing invites evaluation.

        • hennorama

          Fair enough. TY for your response.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I admire any efforts to be inclusive of those with disabilities, with sports however I wonder if their inclusion won’t turn into exploitation.

    • jefe68

      Check out Owen in the video, kid has some skills despite his disability. 

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I watched the clip as well as the one Ray posted and find both heartening. I in no way doubt the skills of disabled children. My concern is that the disabled will be exploited for economic or gratuitous promotional purposes.
        I’m a little confused by your reply.

        • jefe68

          Valid points. I’m not sure what the answer is. In some high schools sports are big thing. I know that the school my daughter went to girls lacrosse and soccer (football)
          are very competitive programs. Quite a few of them end up getting scholarships to college. 

          There is a huge difference in a school with a varsity team that has scots looking at the players and a high school basketball team that’s not invested in this level of playing.  

  • Spanglor

    If school districts are concerned about this guidance, then they likely were not following what the law already requires- both Section 504 and Title II both already REQUIRE that students with disabilities who meet the requirements of a non-academic activity must be provided an equal opportunity to participate

    • hennorama

      Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor …

      TY for all of your posts on this topic.  You clearly know your stuff.

  • Eva Elmer

    I have a son with cerebral palsy who will enter Kindergarten next year and I am so thankful for this change.  The docs say that CP kids need lots of activity and exercise yet the “system” set up relies on PT once a week for one hour and then seem to push them into a wheelchair because it’s “easier” to deal with them.  The kids will get better and do better with exercise.  They are KIDS and that is integral to their development.  Having them do sports will lay a foundation of activity for the rest of their lives just like for any child..

    • jefe68

      I agree, and should not all children be getting gym or something akin to a sports program as part of their curriculum?

      I took gym in school but I was never on a team, you had to try out and get on the team. 

      Are these not two different things?

      • Spanglor

        They are- which is why students with disabilities also have to try out and, as the guidance notes, if a student w.disabilities cannot meet the requirements of the sport/team – for instance, can’t run fast enough to be on the track team- then such students wont make the team.

        • hennorama

          Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor …

          TY for all of your posts on this topic.  You clearly know your stuff.

    • Gregg Smith

      Have you tried hippo therapy? We have had great results with CP, even extreme cases. Once on a horse, the change was incredible. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=54602503 Steve Holt

    Don’t schools usually make the right call in cases involving differently abled athletes, or have there been recent cases where schools discriminate against differently abled students? Just wondering why we needed a decree from on high.

    • Don_B1

      With the cuts in funding for schools, along with the Arts physical education has been cut in almost every school system. Some schools even make their “varsity” players contribute fees for uniforms, etc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    I find it interesting that people criticize the inclusion and cost of inclusion of such a small group, when sports programs in general involve such a small group of the school population and often require sizable portions of school budgets.

  • d clark

    Schools should just get out of sports altogether. These people will fundamentally change all the sports. “Reasonalble accomodation” be damned. The lawyers won’t quit until they have destroyed sports. To hell with all of you!

    • Wahoo_wa

      I just wonder what happens when life outside of an academic environment smacks young people in the face and they can’t deal with the difference.  I see that reality for both able-bodied students and students with disabilities.  We’re raising generations of overly-entitled individuals.

    • Don_B1

      If what you mean is the varsity sports programs you have a point.

      But by having schools provide an introduction to “sports” as a physical activity that will provide lifelong benefits for the individual thus helping to generate mare active, healthy adults and elderly, the whole society will benefit from the increased contributions of its citizens and the decreased health costs.

  • Wahoo_wa

    OK so you’ve addressed the intellectual ability question and the physical ability question.  What about athletic ability.  I have little athletic ability.  I am therefore athletically disabled.  Should I be accommodated too? Just wondering where we’re drawing the line here.

  • Bruce Hooke

    I heard the comment about how sports is supposed to be the “best of the best facing off.” That is certainly true for high level competition (pro sports, the Olympics, national competition, etc.). For high school sports I think all the athletes would benefit if the focus was more on sportsmanship, teamwork (for team sports), and skills development. The doesn’t mean you don’t play to win, and doesn’t mean you can’t have a varsity and junior varsity team if you have enough depth. It does mean that winning at all costs is not the first goal of having a high school sports team. It is also worth repeating, as we have heard on the radio, that for high school teams where athletes have to “make the cut” to get onto the team, disabled athletes are not being held to a lower standard.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    What’s sad about this is the major school population of the less than the best of the best still gets excluded from playing.

  • siskoe

    Just a question…does that mean that programs like “spcial olympics” will now have to allow “everyone” to participate?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    For those that say this will be the death of school sports, maybe that’s a good thing – maybe some of that money can go back to cancelled arts and music programs.

    • dvmmum

       Be careful what you wish for.  Art and music programs will face similar challenges.  Marching Bands incorporate wheelchair bound members, necessitating more expensive transportation options.  Many high school theaters are not designed for use by students with physical limitations.  Tools used by visual arts students can demand extra supervision when used by students who are disabled. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Judith-K-Littles/100000863942261 Judith K Littles

      School sports oftentimes, pay for themselves. Football and other sports are supported by the alumni and parents who pay to go to the games and buy things when they are there. This new initiative will be the death of a self-supporting institution and that is a real shame.

  • Ray in VT

    Here is another nice story of a student with disabilities getting a chance to contribute:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fw1CcxCUgg

    • anamaria23

      Nice.

    • Gregg Smith

      Thanks Ray. That was great.

      • Ray in VT

        I remember catching it by chance when it first aired.  One of my wife’s brothers has Asperger’s, and so much of this young man’s bearing reminded me of Max.  The thing that I really noticed was that he didn’t make eye contact, which is pretty typical.  What I thought was great was not only did they give this kid a shot, which would have been nice in and of itself, but when he got the ball he drained it.  He was just on fire.

        • Gregg Smith

          It’s a perfect illustration of how it should be IMHO. We had a boarder with Aspergers a few years back. She was amazingly smart. She played piano with a savant like ease. She was socially awkward and loud. She’s in college now and I’m sure she is doing well. 

          • Ray in VT

            I think that a lot can be done to provide opportunities.  I had an intern with Asperger’s a few years back.  She was quite socially awkward, but she had vast knowledge on a very specific subject.  My brother in law also eventually caught up socially, and he was able to function independantly in college.  He’s quite good with what he does, but he has a very narrowly defined comfort zone that he doesn’t like to move out of.  That might or might not be related to Asperger’s.  I don’t know enough about it effects to judge that.  They’re generally pretty high functioning, though.

  • AC

    has anyone mentioned the unfairness of some of the amazing new prosthectics? total advantage over a ‘whole/healthy/normal’ athlete…

    • Gregg Smith

      The olympian sprinter with one leg was accused of having an unfair advantage. That’s kinda weird. What an inspiration he was. Like this champion:

      http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/42180164/ns/sports-other_sports/

      I think “disabilities” is too broad a term.

    • Spanglor

      That’s addressed in the regulations and guidance- if the accommodation, such as a prosthetic, provides an unfair advantage, than it is not a reasonable accomodation

      • hennorama

        Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor …

        TY for all of your posts on this topic.  You clearly know your stuff.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Terri hates short people.

    • Wahoo_wa

      No wonder….she’s 6′-1″!!

  • OnpointListener

    The special education department in our school operates on a shoe string budget while the teachers and administrators have been feathering their own nests with extraordinarily high salaries and cadillac family health plans requiring only a nominal copay.

    Our school system just eliminated the art program for elementary students and eliminated one position in special education.

    Yet, the sports budget is a sacred cow.

    In the meantime, children with specific learning disabilities are going undiagnosed and/or unaccomodated.

    • jefe68

      So you want good programs but you don’t want to pay teachers a decent salary for their work.

      Is this correct?

      • 1Brett1

        Come on, jefe, it’s those extraordinarily high paid special ed teachers with their Cadillacs, er, I mean cadillac family health plans! They are the ones preventing special needs children from getting diagnosed and accommodated…sorry, but wasn’t that laughable?  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    On the current conversation (where short does not count, but a disability does) – so if someone is deaf and short, are they accommodated or are they cut?

    • Spanglor

      Reasonably accomodated for the deafness, which, because it is an impairment that affects a major life activity (hearing), is a disability.  Not accommodated for shortness which is NOT AN IMPAIRMENT (says this 5’0 gal ;) and therefore not a disability

      • Gregg Smith

        We had a commenter named Grady Lee Howard around here and many other blogs across the nation. He was a child actor who was stricken with Dwarfism as a result of a botched tonsillectomy. I think he has passed on but I’m not sure. We had some great debates over the years even thought they were highly contentious at times. He had a towering intellect for a small person. I kinda’ miss him.

        I wrote earlier that I thought the term “disabilities” was too broad and that’s the rub. Being short can indeed be described as a disability.

        • jefe68

          He had a towering intellect for a small person.

          How is it that you think this kind of language is OK?

          By the way dwarfism is not the same thing as being short. 

          • Gregg Smith

            It was a compliment, the guy was brilliant despite being a flaming liberal. I should have written “in” not “for”. Sorry for the clumsiness of my wording. Google his name and you’ll see. He took no prisoners. He was a pit bull. He was not someone to underestimate.

            Dwarfs are short. “Disabilities” is too broad.

          • 1Brett1

            I agree…”neocon-libertarian” is a disability.

          • jefe68

            Oy vey.

          • 1Brett1

            Dwarfism does not mean that a person has an intellectual disability. I suppose it’s okay to say that a person had a towering intellect for being in a wheelchair? 

          • Gregg Smith

            Who said it did?

          • Spanglor

            Dwarfism is a disability based on chromosonal differences that, in addition to “shortness” creates a number of other challenges for persons with the syndrome- severe allergies can be common, as well as pain, fibromyalgia, etc. As with any disabilities, there are individuals who have few if any limitations, while others have many, many challenges. Section 504 recognizes this by requiring individualized decisions about a person with a disability- instead of making a single determination about the abilities and limiations of everyone with a specific disability.  

          • 1Brett1

            About all I found on Howard is that someone using that name commented on various NPR blog forums…the child actor part seems apocryphal, although who knows. 

            One site credited him as being Oskar in The Tin Drum (one of my favorite films and a great allegorical novel by Gunter Grass), which is utter nonsense, as that actor was David Bennent who was 12 when he appeared in that film (he does not suffer from dwarfism). A person named Grady Lee Howard is credited to have been involved in acting and does appear to have suffered from dwarfism (and has apparently passed away), but this information seems to be fabricated; again, who knows. 

            There is no credible information on him (the actor with dwarfism), as the many places I found his name offered information that appeared false. Another site said he was in a movie called “The Blue Door” from 1992. I found no evidence that film even exists. Another site credits him as being the son of a woman who was the sister of Ron and Clint Howard’s father (again, Rance Howard was his stage name; his real name was Rance Beckenholdt, and there is no information that Rance Howard even had a sister of the name mentioned). Another site credits “Grady Lee Howard” as being a dwarf actor of 3ft. 4in. and was the illegitimate child of either Howard Hughes or hillbilly DJ Grady Cole, yet they credit the same “Grady Lee Howard” as having a mother who was Rance Howard’s sister; all of which, again, seems like some sort of online hoax.  

            I remember a “Grady Lee Howard” commenting here and on other NPR forums. I don’t remember his being particularly respectful to Gregg, or he and Gregg having any meaningful interactions other than the usual barbs exchanged, much the same as you, I or many of the other liberal commentators on these forums have with Gregg (although, Gregg seems to romanticize his importance and likability by liberals on these forums). At any rate, this just seems like more of Gregg’s inane story telling to humanize a point that is actually replete with insensitivities and political incorrectness, self-aggrandizement and out-and-out dubiousness. 

            Dawrfism is a legitimate disability, just being short is not; either way, saying, “he had a towering intellect for a small person” is tantamount to bigotry and is inherently discriminatory in tone. (To which I’m sure Gregg would say, “that’s sick,” or, “we’ve already established I kill kittens,” or, ” don’t tell me what I think,” or, “it’s not about me,” or “why are you so nasty,” or [fill in the blank with your favorite Greggism]…

          • Gregg Smith

            Grady Lee Howard and I went back years before I showed up here. I suspected he was FOS many times but could not prove it. Whoever he was, he was a force to be reckoned with. His wife, Gladiola, posted under his name for a while. I replied to her here thinking it was him and she reamed me then told me who she was. I asked about his health but she did not reply. She nor Grady liked me at all. To the best of my knowledge they didn’t respect me either but he did get a bit nostalgic toward the end. I did respect him though. I didn’t like him at all. 

            He referred to himself as a “Freakish Dwarf”. He intimated his father was Howard Hughes. Who knows? He was part of a group of libs called “figgers” who blogged to further an agenda in a coordinated way. Funny how it’s the right who gets accused of such. I’ve also seen a few of his compatriots here but not in a while.

            I suppose now you are eager to believe I think small people are inherently dumber that tall people. That’s stupid. I had the utmost respect for him no matter what you think I thought. 

          • 1Brett1

            When you say that you  and he “went back years,” is that on online forums? 

            I don’t really believe anything about Grady Lee Howard, especially considering what I’ve read about him online. Some of it may be true, but it doesn’t matter. Your interpretation of him just seems like more filtering of a mish-mash of some junkyard myth…

            As far as your last paragraph…I just love the way you set up something you suggest I am supposed to believe you think, then call some imaginary argument I was supposed to have believed “stupid,” but I consider the source. What was wrong with what you said about Grady Lee Howard is this: if this segment’s topic were on the civil rights of African-Americans, wouldn’t it be a bit bigoted sounding (at least odd for you to bring up) to say, “oh, hey, I knew a black guy once, and he had a towering intellect for a black person”?

            My problem with your treatment of this particular topic (inclusion of people with disabilities) is two-fold: 1) your language is archaic and tin-eared, and 2) Most of what you say regarding this topic seems more like some overly self-serving justification for really being an insensitive oaf who knows nothing about the struggles within the disabilities movement.

          • Gregg Smith

            Yadda yadda. I was making the point that short can indeed be labeled a disability. I was reiterating the vagueness of the term and how it applies to bureaucracy.

            You wrote: “”he had a towering intellect for a small person” is tantamount to bigotry and is inherently discriminatory in tone. (To which I’m sure Gregg would say, “that’s sick,” or, “we’ve already established I kill kittens,” or, ” don’t tell me what I think,” or, “it’s not about me,” or “why are you so nasty,” or [fill in the blank with your favorite Greggism]..”
            How does that not assume I think short people are dumb? I worded it wrong, that’s all but you try to turn it into a n indictment on my character as you always do. Look at your comment, the main point to most of them is that I am an insensitive dolt. I already stipulated that.

          • Gregg Smith

            And yes, online forums. WAMU in DC, The Watercooler in Charlotte, Bill Moyers and a few more. 

          • jefe68

            Well you could say that for an average sized man he (Gregg) has a small intellect.

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m a bit shorter than average but I am stupid.

      • hennorama

        Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor, Go Spanglor …

        TY for all of your posts on this topic.  You clearly know your stuff.

        • Spanglor

          Thanks, hennorama! Trying not to take sides, just explain the legal requirements….but have been surprised by the reaction to what really seems to me to be a “by the way, this is the law, make sure you guys are doing it….”

          • hennorama

            Spanglor – Welcome to the forum. Actually, it’s more appropriate for me to thank YOU for sharing your expertise. Thank you. Your patient gentle corrections have been appreciated.

            It was clear from your very first comment, referencing the “Dear Colleague Letter (DCL)” and “34 CFR 104.37, Section 504…” that one should read your comments were one interested in the “nuts and bolts” of this topic.

            I understand your surprise – you’re new here. One needs only to keep in mind that a lack of knowledge on a topic is not a hindrance to having and expressing an opinion on said topic. This generally makes for a lively and entertaining forum, but can also lead to frequent eye rolling on the part of the reader.

            Thanks again, and keep up the great work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drpmeade Paul S Meade

    All I can think about right now is the Kurt Vonnegut short story “Harrison Bergeron”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamieson.potter Jamieson Potter

    Struck while listening to the caller who talked about her nephew being able to participate in cross country because an adult volunteered to be there all the time.  Is this not an opportunity for volunteers to step in and potentially ease the burden in some communities.  Unfortunately this probably means that schools in communities with a wealth of volunteers will be able to provide significantly more than other less fortunate communities.  If federal funding was provided those communities that were able to find volunteers might pass on the savings to those that cannot.

  • 1Brett1

    I’m glad On Point had this segment. The discussion, overall, was reasonable…I did find Michael Petrilli attempting to find fault as the reason he was on the show. Interestingly, his first argument about what he thought was of paramount concern/the most prominent reason to criticize this was that the “process” for this clarification of Title IX has been faulty, that it was “mandated” without debate, that it restrictively imposes/enforces compliance to specific regulations. When that didn’t seem to go anywhere he shifted his biggest concern to too much vagueness in the clarification. When that didn’t seem to get any traction he shifted his argument to burdensome costs on school systems as the big issue.

    • hennorama

      1Brett1 – it’s the old “Keep throwing stuff against the wall until something sticks” technique.

      I was waiting for Petrilli to break out the “what about home schoolers?” argument used to justify voting against the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

      Still, it’s important to hear the arguments of both sides, as always.

      • 1Brett1

        Why, yes, people will be forced to build wheelchair ramps from their kitchens to their dining rooms…cats’ll be forced to build ramps to their litter boxes; dogs will have to post color-coded, universal maps to where they’ve buried their bones in the backyard…it’ll be madness I tell ya’ MADNESS!!!!

    • Spanglor

      I loved him finding fault with the fact that congress should have spoken (it did, in Section 504 and Title II); that there should have been regulations and opportunity for public comment (there was, hence the regulatoins requiring this, most specifically for Section 504, at 34 CRF SEction 104.37 in conjunction with 34 CFR 104.34)- in short, he was really arguing that we should redo the entire legislative and executive process before any executive agency acts. As someone who works in this area, I am surprised at the outcry by this guidance that merely seems to re-state the law, i.e., what school districts should have been doing all along…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656887852 Jake Anderson

    This is great for kids, but who will pay for it?  Training for coaches? speciailsts? Interpreters? This sounds like another unfunded mandate to schools that have been cut by billions nationwide.

    • http://www.facebook.com/emilie.austin.mullins Emilie Mullins

      Why pays for anything?  These kids deserve funding just like any other kid.

  • hennorama

    The well-known video of Owen’s three-pointer prowess brings to mind a recent “Random Act Of Kindness” feature in Sports Illustrated’s Dec. 24, 2012 edition.

    “In a game between Falls City High and Mapleton (both of Oregon), Falls PG Ethan McConnell fed a rebound to Mapleton’s Davan Overton, who suffers from gross motor deficiencies as a result of a childhood brain tumor, and who had missed all of his shots.  Davan then hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to seal Mapleton’s 67-42 win.”

    More:http://www.polkio.com/ns/sports/24566/column-falls-citys-ethan-mcconnell-demonstrates-leadership-sportsmanship-in-act-of-kindness

  • alsinaal

    1)      To your guest speaker, the notion that Title 9 did not steal from men’s sport 1 for 1 is silliness.  It did and I and my daughter are OK with that.  Your statements were a) ignorant or more likely b) disingenuous.
    2)      There is not such place as Federal Fundia.  Whether the mandate is funded or not we the people pay for it, and therefore; it should be treated as any other tax bill.
    3)      In this day and age of academic excellence relative to the rest of the world; it is amazing that serious people can be focused on this.  FYI . . . Please move the deck chairs to the port side; they will look better when then they come view the wreckage.

  • alsinaal

    1)      To your guest speaker, the notion that Title 9 did not steal from men’s sport 1 for 1 is silliness.  It did and I and my daughter are OK with that.  You statements were a) were ignorant or more likely b) disingenuous.
    2)      There is not such place as Federal Fundia.  Whether the mandate is funded or not we the people pay for it, and therefore; it should be treated as any other tax bill.
    3)      In this day and age of academic excellence relative to the rest of the world; it is amazing that serious people can be focused on this.  FYI . . . Please move the deck chairs to the port side; they will look better when then they come view the wreckage.

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    I’m not sure weighing in on such a delicate issue is a great idea. But I guess I just wanted to say the following:
    I don’t think it’s a good idea to blend the regular sports program with special needs.
    At least, not in cases where the handicap/need is going to change the natural flow of action.
    Because the players are going to know that it’s not optimal, and the handicap/special needs player is going to know it too.
    I’m just not convinced that’s good for either.

  • Gregg Smith

    Listening to the show one thing stood out and that is the word “disabled”. I cringed every time I heard it. Is that the preferred politically correct term these days? People with handicaps are not disabled. What happened to “handicapped”? I also heard “special needs” as a description but I think it was from a caller, that didn’t seem as bad. 

    • 1Brett1

      Seems like you would know, being that you’ve developed a working, pioneering, vanguard hippotherapy program and all.

      • Gregg Smith

        I answered your comment below in detail but deleted it a couple of hours later because I don’t need to justify anything to you. But yes we have developed quite a program and have helped countless kids. It took a community of volunteers,  special tack, equipment, sacrifice from our boarders, a 4H club raising money, procuring and training horses, love and devotion. I’ve built a wheelchair ramp, special tie stalls and much more to accommodate. The logistics of working with our insurance company, hospitals and physical therapist was daunting. The effort and cooperation of so many, not to mention the expense, that it takes will never show a profit but the rewards are priceless. There is more to it than you will ever understand. 

        And BTW, I talked with the PT today and Medicaid does not reimburse for hippo therapy alone. In the end we make no money but we profit more than a flea like you will ever comprehend. Our community and the kids are quite happy with our efforts but it doesn’t matter. It’s we who are the lucky ones. You haven’t a clue and I don’t care.

        • 1Brett1

          The PT gets Medicaid reimbursements for his/her PT consultations, the hippotherapy part is probably a weekend volunteer endeavor…but you’ve missed my point. 

          By the way, I’m 58 years old and have devoted my life since I was 17 to working with people with disabilities, both professionally and personally. If you are so involved with such innovative physical therapy involving people with disabilities, you wouldn’t seem like such a dolt when it comes to issues with the disabled, i.e., you’d refrain from the word “handicapped,” for one thing. 

          True inclusion is not some form of charity, as you seem to intimate in the way you characterize all that surrounds this issue. The way you talk (considering the way you have used language on this forum today and regarding this issue in past forums), I’d say you should actually have the therapists, with whom you “work,” work with you on sensitivity toward issues involving people with disabilities.

          • Gregg Smith

            15 years ago a father of a 7 year old paraplegic was concerned the wheelchair ramp was too steep. As he was telling me the ADA specs his kid was wheeling his chair up to the top, flying back down and spinning donuts at at the bottom. He was not disabled he just had a handicap. He won a blue ribbon in a show and the judge did not know he was paralyzed. Back then I was hesitant to get involved because I’m a sensitive guy. I just didn’t think I could handle the sympathy I would experience. I quickly learned sympathy was the very last thing the kids needed or wanted. I realize there needs to be some kind of language to describe the circumstances in settings like this but in my world I call them Sarah, Emma, Preston, Gracie or Brooke.

            You haven’t a clue and I don’t care. It’s not about me.

          • jefe68

            So let me get this straight.
            A 7 year old in a wheel chair who is a paraplegic is not disabled in your view? 

            I agree with Brett, you need help.

          • Gregg Smith

            Not at all.

          • 1Brett1

            You just breeched confidentiality by identifying their names on this forum..what a jerk.! (Go tell their parents what you have said on this forum today and that you called their sons and daughters by name and see what that gets you, pal.

          • Gregg Smith

            No last names, no location and you don’t know if they are aliases or not.

          • 1Brett1

            I’d like to illustrate something using your story, something you’ve overlooked. The boy who won a ribbon was able to do so because of first being part of the program at your farm. The program at your farm is adaptive, in the sense there are special equipment, special guidance, etc. 

            When he was in the show, he had to first mount the horse. This would have involved a ramp or some kind of assistance…that’s the concept but applied to public schools. 

            And, if a person can’t participate because the disability is too great for the sport and no reasonable accommodations are possible, other ways for the disabled person should be attempted to be sought. 

            Get it?

          • Gregg Smith

            Well, we didn’t have a ramp at the show grounds, we just lifted him onto the pony but that’s not important.

            I agree 100% with your statement. I just don’t think it should be mandated by government. We’re all about seeking and finding other ways. It can happen in the community. We have summer camps and work with local churches to give spots to troubled kids for free. We have working students who help feed. One has panic disorder so bad that she can’t go to public school. Out here she is not only valued but she has friends and is a normal kid. There’s much more and all of it is outside the realm of the Hippo therapy program.

          • 1Brett1

            “Well, we didn’t have a ramp at the show grounds, we just lifted him onto the pony but that’s not important.”

            Actually, that is important. Equal, dignified access is very important. A ramp attached to a public place is better for a non-ambulatory person than having to rely on other people to hoist him/her up to have access to a place/activity …See, you are not getting it. Promoting INDEPENDENCE is at the foundation of the disability movement.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, they just didn’t have a ramp, that’s all. Believe me, the blue ribbon gave him all the dignity he wanted.

            Also, the ramp does not mean INDEPENDENCE. It means the caretakers don’t have to lift as high. 

        • 1Brett1

          It makes sense that hippotherapy is not covered under Medicaid, as it isn’t considered a recognized legitimate form of therapy (however interesting, with potential therapeutic value, and I hope some measurable therapeutic value can at some point upgrade its status as a therapy). 

          It also makes sense that you would need to coordinate with your insurance company; there would be liability issues having people come to your horse farm (you certainly wouldn’t want to get sued if someone were to be injured, so carrying liability insurance also makes sense). 

          The hippotherapist is also a physical/occupational therapist; you have to be one of those before you can get certified (which, hippotherapy is supposed to incorporate physical, occupational and speech therapies). It’s supposed to improve neurological function and sensory processing; which, to be recognized as a legitimate therapy, it would need to substantiate those claims in measurable ways. I’m not saying it doesn’t or can’t, it just seems that if it did it could be reimbursable. No doubt the therapist is also volunteering his/her time (and may very well be gathering data on the effects of hippotherapy, which might help serve some greater good and help to include hippotherapy as reimbursable). 

          (I did a therapeutic horseback riding program back in 1983, but that was work to promote recreational opportunities and leisure inclusion; it was NOT a formalized therapy. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t therapy, albeit therapeutic for people with disabilities in terms of confidence building and for pleasure.)  

          Saying you had to coordinate with hospitals doesn’t make sense, unless you are saying that the physical therapist had some patients coming from a hospital, and the therapist brought some of his/her patients over for hippotherapy (not anything you’re doing, though). Or maybe you’re saying that your insurance had to be scrutinized by the hospital for them to sign release forms to come to your farm?

          I don’t doubt you built a ramp, a special tack, and special tie stalls; that seems your contribution. I also don’t doubt it makes you feel good to contribute in your own way. None of that was my point, though. 

          Your calling me a flea and not having a clue, however, doesn’t change my life’s work, nor does it inflate your contribution.

          • Gregg Smith

            Medicaid does recognize hippo therapy and will reimburse as part of an overall treatment but not alone. Yes, she works with the hospital(s). All of the patients already were part of a therapeutic program. The hospital supports and recognizes the legitimacy. All this is, is a different office and some enhanced treatment.

            The results are measurable and the PT is required to document it in painstaking detail but most of it can’t be quantified. We had a little girl with Reye Syndrome who had to wear inflatable pads on her arms because she would beat her head uncontrollably. Once on a horse she stopped. Eventually she did not need the arm pads while she was here. We’ve had autistic kids who were completely withdrawn and uncommunicative become animated and scream with joy while on the pony. After a while it begins to follow them home. It’s priceless to the parents. Hope cannot be measured.

            I do much more than just build a few things but I don’t need to justify myself to you. It’s not about me anyway. I’m the lucky one and have learned more about life and happiness that I ever thought possible.

          • 1Brett1

            Good…and I know hippotherapy has to be part of a larger PT treatment plan to be reimbursable. The gains you described are indeed measurable; behavior can be measured. It is also true that hope cannot be measured; it is also true that hope is not reimbursable.

            You see, I think the program is a good thing, and I also sense the wonderful gestalt of it all, not to mention it is programs like these that can open up new ideas in therapy and reinforce old ones that have value (yet aren’t necessarily championed anymore in certain circles, such as behavioral interventions, unfortunately, sometimes taking a back seat  to medication).

            My only point to any of my comments/replies to you is that your use of language is off (you’ve got to talk the talk in addition to walking the walk). I also challenge your perception that government is restrictive in this realm and too forcing in the implementation of certain approaches. 

            It’s great that your farm has taken it upon itself to assist in the creation of the program you describe. And churches and volunteer organizations play important roles within communities to promote change; however, without government, there would not have been the progress in all of these programs over the last 40 years. Everything from deinstitutionalization to schools to community-based programs would not be where they are today without government intervention. 

          • Gregg Smith

            Well, let’s stop while we agree and I do in concept. Government is important, I just don’t think it is a good idea here. That’s my opinion and I did not come to it until I listened to the how and thought about it.

            I’m still shoveling poop but do plan on looking into the word “disabled” (not “disabilities”) to see if I’m the only one it bothers. When I do and if I report back it will not be directed at you in particular… or not to you either. I just can’t see how anyone would choose to be labeled disabled and want to educate myself about it.

          • 1Brett1

            Well, it’s murky, believe you me. But before I start, I would like to finish our earlier exchanges by recognizing that both you and I can agree that we each have important roles to play in assisting people with disabilities. Ultimately, that is what is important to each of us, so I want to give props for a desire to help (to both of us). 

            As far as “disabilities,” “disabled,” “people with disabilities,” “the disabled,” “people who are disabled,” “I have a disability,” etc., I was taught (in my professional life) to say, “people with disabilities,” as in the person is first, the disability is secondary. However, there are some within the spectrum of that community who do not like that phrase and wish to be called, “a disabled person,” as in “I’m disabled,” “the disabled,” “disabled people,” etc. (I know, this is surprising.) They wish to be identified by their disability (“I’m blind,” “I’m autistic, etc.). They wish to put the disability first, and because they feel it is so much an intrinsic part of who they are as people and not something from which they suffer (e.g., “I’m a redhead”). The thinking is that their disability is a strength in how it defines them, not an affliction. I, personally, prefer person-first language and will stick by that; however, I’m willing to term someone any way he/she wishes. 

    • Spanglor

      The preferred term by most folks in the community is person with disabilities.

      • Gregg Smith

        When I read posts yesterday the term “disabilities” did not bother me other than I thought it was too broad. But when I heard the show and the term “disabled” kids it seemed t kick it up a notch. My experience is they are able to do much and sometimes better. Labeling someone as disabled writes them off as useless. Do you see that? Or am I out to lunch?

  • Gregg Smith

    I don’t think this is good, there’s too much ambiguity. There’s too much room for abuse. And there’s to much touchy feely  emotions trumping common sense. It’s not the governments job to enforce compassion.

    The myriad of afflictions that come under the umbrella of “disabled” each have different implications. I have an older cousin who had polio as a child. the result was a very bad leg, then when he was 17 he got in a bad motorcycle accident and trashed the other leg. He went into gymnastics. At one time he was the State champion at the rings, parallel bars and pommel horse. He didn’t need his legs of those. He could stand on how hands and do 100 vertical push ups. Later in life he was in a bad car wreck and his seat belt failed. Now he is a quadriplegic but he still coaches gymnastics. The point being, it’s a matter of matching the handicap to the sport. There are also other activities outside the school and in the communities that are better suited to fulfill the needs of handicapped kids wanting to achieve.

    I remember playing football in high school against a school for the deaf. They had a big bass drum on the sidelines that they could feel or maybe sense in some way. They kicked our ass.

    • 1Brett1

      Reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities  so that they can, as much as is possible, participate fully in a well-rounded education with their peers, including athletics.

      Inclusion is the better, more evolved way to configure our schools, and by extension our communities and society as a whole. One thing this concept is NOT is “too much touchy feely emotions trumping common sense.” 

      Unfortunately, society can not seem to promote inclusion on its own (left to its own devices, it seems to generally promote exclusion, or at least NOT promote inclusion), therefore government is called upon to promote inclusion through regulation and guidelines for best practices in this regard (otherwise, usually, discrimination and exclusion are the prevailing practices that get a foothold). 

      • Gregg Smith

        You can tell a handicapped person all day long that they are not different, that society will treat them as normal. I think that is hideous. Sue me. 

        • 1Brett1

          You’re a genuine dolt. Inclusion is about diversity, celebrating value in differences, etc…It’s just amazing that you would reply to my post by dwelling on the short comings of society always needing to catch up; it’s as if you are stuck in the 1950s. You seem to have a lot of pre-conceived notions about people with disabilities and about changing societal perceptions. 

          • Gregg Smith

            I live in Realville. I have no idea how you get that I don’t celebrate value in differences. I’m all about it.

          • 1Brett1

            Doesn’t sound like it.

        • 1Brett1

          I dare you to take all of your posts on this segment today and stand beside the therapist at one of the riding sessions and read them to the people with disabilities…you’d get read the riot act.

          • Gregg Smith

            I said “will” and you heard “should”. 

          • 1Brett1

            Don’t tell me what I heard! No, I am finding problematic your assessment that we should not tell people with disabilities they are not different. Also, as I said, we need to work to change society’s problem with inclusion. 

  • Gregg Smith

    I should preface this by agreeing with Brett that I am not the one who should decide how people choose to label themselves. 

    It seems the preferred term is “People with disabilities” and I don’t have a problem as it seems accurate to me. However the related term “disabled” does not make sense to me at all. In my car when my airbag is disabled it is useless. 

    This grammatical explanation sums up my reservations well:

    http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/handicap.html

    The word “handicapped” is seen by some as insulting and I don’t really get why. I do understand why some are insulted by being labeled “disabled”. And to further muddy the waters we codify the term “Handicapped” into law with things like “Handicapped Parking”, “Handicapped Accessibility” or “Handicapped Bathrooms” which have Handicapped toilets. These terms come from the ADA guidelines. And it makes sense. Would anyone use a “disabled” toilet?

    I guess it’s all semantics but it sure does not make sense to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rico.fortunado.1 Rico Fortunado

    The prevailing argument regarding funding presumes that “new” funding is needed to provide sports opportunity to all students. This is a fundamentally flawed notion. If school systems have been allocating athletic department funds by systematic discrimination against some of their student body, then it is only appropriate that schools reconsider allocation of existing funds in the interest of non-discrimination. This does not require additional funding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Judith-K-Littles/100000863942261 Judith K Littles

    People are excluded from school sports all of the time, based on ability. I suppose that if the person has a disability, it will no longer matter that they do not meet the requirements for that sport. Something positive is being lost in our society’s push to be politically correct. 
    Sometimes people cannot be included in everything. That has been true whether that person had a disability or not. It seems that children with typical abilities are being denied a more authentic and fair experience so that public school can be made more even. Not more fair. Fair is if you can excel then you can be on the team if not, this is not the opportunity for you. I predict in 10 to 20 years time, public school sports will be completely decimated as schools struggle to meet the ongoing needs of special needs children to the peril of typical chidlren.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 30, 2014
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

Jul 30, 2014
Janitta Swain, Writer/Exec. Producer/Co-Director Dinesh D'Souza, John Koopman, Caroline Granger and Don Taylor seen at the World Premiere of 'America: Imagine The World Without Her' at Regal Cinemas LA Live on Monday, June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. (AP)

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

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A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

 
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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