Jean Vanier, 1928 – 2019
As the world mourns the passing of Jean Vanier and we consider his message, I find myself acknowledging that what his L’Arche communities provide is something each of us is actually capable of providing, though few of us do.
Indeed, societies have done a horrible job welcoming people with disabilities – intellectual or physical. Our ableist conditioning prevents us from embracing what Jean...
Linda Bidabe, 1945 - 2017
Heroes and social giants belong to other times and other places. We see the well- known images of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Schindler, and we know where they lived, what they did, and why we remember them. We know who the famous people are.
A lesser known woman, but one who is no less a hero is Linda Bidabe. Those who know her know that she developed movement science concepts ahead of...
Here’s what we didn’t see.
Two weeks ago we highlighted a story about Michael Keating, the young man who was singled out by Pope Francis for blessing. Now we don’t normally just rerun news items, but this thoughtful follow-up story that just appeared in the Washington Post is too good not to share with you. And it provides a window into the life of a special boy and his beautiful family, written with a sensitivity that is...
Take It from the Pope
Even for a man whose every day is managed and choreographed to the moment, the last six days in the United States must have been extraordinarily micro-managed. All the more surprising then, that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, took opportunities to break out of script and send a message to the watching world.
On Saturday, after landing in Philadelphia, the Holy Father halted his motorcade—his entire...
Everyone is Unique. Really?
Next month brings us to National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The industry news is full of inspirational stories of how children and adults with Down syndrome have enriched the lives of their families, peer groups, communities, and a wider acceptance of those with a third copy of the twenty-first chromosome.
The entertainment and fashion industries have done a great deal to further this effort...
Saving Medicaid Dollars and Improving Care
A small population with huge costs, children with complex conditions and severe involvement require seamless care, and few hospitals can provide that kind of 24-hour coverage on the average awarded Medicaid reimbursements.
However, the St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Chronic-Complex Clinic in Tampa has joined a growing network of hospitals across the country to find a payment formula to cover the...
Cerebral Palsy and the NYC Ballet: In Praise of Dance
Albert Einstein said dancers are the athletes of God. And St. Augustine, “I praise the dance, for it frees people from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community….O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you.”
NYC Ballet discovered that ancient wisdom is still true today, when they responded to a mother’s idea about a...
Advocacy as Art
If you look up ‘Medicaid Waiver’ on the internet, you’ll find the four primary types available to states across the nation. You’ll also find myriad links and sites available to aid the application process, and the collateral industry that has emerged to facilitate these programs. If you’re like me, you’ll soon be lost.
For parents of adult children with developmental...
A Quiet Giant Among Us
For some people, when they speak, we stop to listen whether we intended to or not. There is a power behind their words that comes from a lifetime of doing, of quietly practicing the values they speak of. Such a person is Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, and a giant among advocates for people with disabilities.
This year Vanier was honored with the Templeton Prize, and on March 11 he delivered an...
Community Action at its Finest
The receding snow banks are creating inviting sidewalks, and which kid’s first response is not “where’s my bike?” Children with physical disabilities want to ride just as much as any child, and they should. Sadly, adaptive trikes are far too rarely covered by Medicaid or insurance, even with a strong case for the therapeutic benefits of cycling.
Thankfully, there is a growing...