Archive for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Advocates for those with disabilities rally for funding

April 27, 2011, 1:47 p.m. Updated April 27, 2011, 2:16 p.m.


Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday in support of funding of services and programs for those with disabilities.

Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday in support of funding of services and programs for those with disabilities.

An awareness campaign by disability service organizations called "Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Walk Around the World," sought to walk 24,902 miles -- the circumference of the Earth -- over a two month period. The effort ended with 128,188 miles, as announced at a rally at the Capitol on Wednesday and displayed by a group that receives services through Lawrence-based Cottonwood Inc.

An awareness campaign by disability service organizations called "Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Walk Around the World," sought to walk 24,902 miles -- the circumference of the Earth -- over a two month period. The effort ended with 128,188 miles, as announced at a rally at the Capitol on Wednesday and displayed by a group that receives services through Lawrence-based Cottonwood Inc.

— As thousands of Kansans with disabilities wait for services, several hundred people rallied Wednesday against funding cuts to those services.

“They should do the right thing,” said Kathy Lobb of Lawrence. “The waiting list seems to go up every year,” Lobb, a consumer representative with the Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas, said.

More than 4,650 children and adults with developmental disabilities are waiting to receive disability services.

Advocates for those with disabilities said Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature need to approve a multiyear funding plan to address the issue.

“We need legislators to try their best to eliminate the waiting lists,” Matt Fletcher, associate executive director of InterHab, said during a chilly, windy event on the southside of the Capitol. InterHab is an association of disability service providers.

After a three-week break, the Legislature resumed its session Wednesday. The House and Senate are supposed to complete work on a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Tom Laing, executive director of InterHab, said legislators have carved out $2 million in proposed funding to help those on the waiting lists. And while that is appreciated, Laing said, “it doesn’t really scratch the surface.”

That funding should provide services to approximately 200 people, but more than that number will be added to waiting list over the next fiscal year, he said.


Joshua Montgomery 5 years ago

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.

-Matthew 25:40

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

-FDR, Second Inaugural

notanota 5 years ago

Jesus was a socialist. And I hear he wasn't born in the US.

Christina Hoffman 5 years ago

My child will be one of those many many people added in the next year to this long list. I was told its a five year waiting list for services that my 6 year old could benefit from now. Services for children with disabilities are expensive, with out help my 6 year old probably wont receive all the services she needs just because we cannot afford to get them to her out of pocket.

Thank you to all who rally together to help those that need it most.

notanota 5 years ago

I'm sorry. As a human, I find this appalling. As a taxpayer, I find it fiscally irresponsible. DDs don't go away, but they do lessen with appropriate early intervention services. Pay for the children now, and some will go on to become taxpayers themselves. Ignore them, and you'll be paying a lot more later.

Amy Heeter 5 years ago

Over a hundred people have commented on Obamas birth certificate but only three here. Americans have some serious priority problems.

notanota 5 years ago

To be fair, this is a newer story, but yes, Americans do have some serious priority problems.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Are Schadenfreude and lack of compassion disabilities? If so, you should apply. There'd be no waiting period.

Beth Ann Bittlingmayer 5 years ago

Someone can not "think" they are bipolar. It must be diagnosed by a physician. My son was first diagnosed at age 11. What he suffered from the disease was awful. At age 20, still suffering but even worse, the state of Kansas told us NO ONE gets disability the first time they apply. It's partly a game to see who is most persistant rather than who is deserving. That is inhumane.

SWJayhawk13 5 years ago

Wow. I have bipolar disorder, and yes it is treatable, but it still is a daily struggle (and no, I didn't just "think" that I had bipolar disorder -- it was diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and then re-diagnosed by another whom I sought for a second opinion, when I was 16). There are varying degrees of how disabling it can be. Some people with bipolar disorder can function just fine, hold a job down, etc. while others are unable to manage their symptoms and aren't able to function as well.

As for your comment that "it would be harder for them to keep a relationship than a job" ...I don't even know what to say to that except I find it extremely offensive and ignorant.

deec 5 years ago

Don't mind the person who posted above you. they clearly have no real awareness that mental illnesses are just that-illnesses, which are caused by biochemical brain issues. They probably think you should pull yourself up by your bootstraps and kick the devil right out of you, because clearly, you are faking it to live high on the hog on four or five hundred bucks a month and some food stamps. end sarcasm.

notanota 5 years ago

Clearly someone has awarded you an Internet PhD in psychology. Your brilliance on the subject is astounding.

deec 5 years ago

I just understand from personal experience that mental illnesses are illnesses, not sinful behavior or laziness as was believed for centuries. This attitude is still alive. The stigma attached to mental illnesses does not attach to someone who, for example, has diabetes or a heart condition. Implicit in the paradox post is the idea that mentally ill people are faking it, so they should get out there and work. I have a relative who is ill and has been for years. Her sister takes great pains to explain that sis is only her half sister, so the family genetic pool is not to blame.

jafs 5 years ago

Actually, although it's a bit of a side issue, type 2 diabetes is linked quite closely to lifestyle and personal choices.

As are many forms of heart disease.

deec 5 years ago

I understand that. But there is very little social disapproval of either. There is also a genetic component, as there can be with mental illnesses.

SWJayhawk13 5 years ago

I can relate to your son. I was diagnosed at 16 (I'm 22 now) and my bipolar disorder has gotten more and more severe as I've gotten older. I'm not on disability, but I know that it is very difficult to receive disability. I was told exactly what you said -- that I'd automatically get denied the first time I apply. It's frustrating to know that people who need help aren't able to get it. I know people who qualify for disability but are too ill to apply for it, let alone going through the appeals process. People need help and they need it ASAP, it's wrong that the state is playing games with people. People that sick are unlikely to re-apply, yet are probably the people who need it the most. Anyway, I hope that things go well for your son (or as well as they can when you have an SPMI).

notanota 5 years ago

I'll tell all those kids to just stop being autistic or stop having Downs. That'll fix it.

This article is about the waiting list for developmental disabilities for people waiting for services, like therapists or respite care providers, not people waiting for blank checks. Ask your wife to explain the difference.

sr80 5 years ago

Such contempt will not be tolerated by your so called wife (social worker). She will be tracked down and fired !!!! You just opened Pandoras Box !!!

Scott Morgan 5 years ago

This nation in the modern era, post Civil War has cared for the disabled. Before this time faith based organizations did wonderful things for the unfortunate. Not sure I can find any pure evil in care, but certainly misled treatments have occured due to ignorance. I'm sure a few evil people did evil deeds, but as we learned more about disabilities we certainly changed.

As a life long proponent of care for the less fortunate I find it both fascinating and disturbing how expectations have changed over the years.

For instance John Kennedy's sister was developmentally disabled. Top notch care in this era was a private "group" hospital setting. Many in the know feel group settings provide more than adequate care. In fact some suggest this cost effective style of treatment really is superior in terms of social development.

Now it seems more and more noble parents of a DD youth often expect a lifetime of home personal care.

This involves a small private setting away from the parents home in some cases, often an apartment with 1 or 2 others. This mimics the feeling the youth is normal. Who wouldn't want this for a relative with a DD? Yet the cost of care in these settings is breaking not only school budgets, but entire social service community coffers too.

Somewhere along the progressive history associated with severe disabilities the cradle to grave 24 round the clock home support for our less unfortunate is considered a right.

notanota 5 years ago

Yes, someone like this: should be in a group home? Or here's another case from Lawrence, JT:

I knew JT from my time as a student. He was in a residential facility before his parents worked out a way to provide him with his own home and job with supports. The group home woke them up with squirt guns. You wouldn't treat a prisoner that way, so why would you do it to a DD adult?

There are good group homes with good outcomes and happy residents, and there are some residents that simply cannot be cared for outside of a facility (or a really intensive facility like KNI), but community integration should be an option for anyone who is healthy, non-violent and able to work with the assistance of a job coach. It's better for the community, it's better for the family, it's better for the individual, and it should be an option. It isn't even necessarily more expensive.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

You will find people on both sides of this discussion but what needs to be preserved is a continuum of services and consumers/families right to choose what best meets their needs. Right now, if you are stuck on the waiting list, your choice is NO services or pay for them out of pocket (not an option for most). Students with disabilities leaving the public schools can look forward to a 5-7 year wait right now. Not acceptable!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

The rich say we're broke, so the disabled must pay.

Mary Alexander 5 years ago

All systems can be made better but not to help those in need is just wrong. If the list is to long to help those that are waiting we need to see why it is not getting taken care of. Is it staffing or what? Those that have never had a disabilities can not tell someone who has one what is right or wrong. Those that have to take care of these individuals know what it takes so someone who has never taken care of these individuals should not try to tell them how to. These services needs to be available. I am proud of those that went to Topeka on Wednesday to express how important that this is to be funded.

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