Month: July 2017

Doctors With Disabilities: Why They’re Important

By Dhruv Khullar – July 11, 2017

Growing up, my sister never let our family get a blue “handicapped” placard for the car.

Born three months prematurely with cerebral palsy, she uses forearm crutches to get around. But she’d rather walk half a mile across a mall’s parking lot than take the reserved spot next to the entrance. (I found this particularly exasperating during the holiday season when a ready parking spot is more precious than the presents inside.)

But the prospect of less stigma and greater support for people with disabilities was a central reason my family immigrated to the United States. My sister was born the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) was passed — a law that reaffirmed America’s moral and practical commitment to equality.

More than 20 percent of Americans — nearly 57 million people — live with a disability, including 8 percent of children and 10 percent of non-elderly adults. And while the medical profession is devoted to caring for the ill, often it doesn’t do enough to meet the needs of the disabled. Continue reading

State’s Woes Shouldn’t Be Zoe Benjamin’s, A Young Woman With Disabilities

By Susan Campbell, Contact Reporter

Numbers can’t begin to tell the story of Zoe Benjamin, but here goes:

330 — Last month, Zoe, 21, of New Britain was among 330 Connecticut adults with intellectual disabilities who graduated from school. In addition to her intellectual challenges, she has autism, cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder, though a careful combination of diet and medication has kept the latter at bay for nearly seven years.

6 — On a scale used by the state Department of Developmental Services to determine a client’s level of need, Zoe ranks a 6. The scale goes to 8, the clients with the highest needs.

2,570 — Zoe is among some 2,570 state residents who rank a 6. She cannot be left alone. She has no sense of danger, and she has a high pain threshold. She is not verbal — that is, she makes noises, but she does not speak. She cannot play board games. She can’t sit still to have her mother read to her. She is not toilet trained, though her family is hopeful. She takes maybe 15 pills a day. Continue reading