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Disability Digest

The monthly member-only newsletter of
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
May 2016
Where do you stand on Public Trust in Government?

speech bubbles_ Speak Out
Disability Network will host two "Community Conversations" focused on public trust in government. The Center for Michigan is conducting hundreds of these conversations throughout Michigan to gather input from citizens.

Join us in Kalamazoo (5/23) or St. Joseph (5/24) to provide input and let your voice be heard in Lansing! The events are free and open to the public. Follow this link for more details.
Parenting with a Disability

People with disabilities are often judged harshly for choosing to become parents; either because people assume they cannot handle the responsibility or because genetics causing a disability may be passed on. According to the Great Lakes ADA Center, 35 states include disability as grounds for termination of parental rights. Nine states and the District of Columbia list physical disability in particular as grounds for termination of parental rights, even without evidence of abuse or neglect.

In this video, Emily Ladau and her mom, Ellen, talk about some of the discrimination they have experienced and how misplaced those judgements are.

On May 5, the National Council on Disability and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation released "Parenting with a Disability: Know Your Rights Toolkit" at a historic White House Forum on the Civil Rights of Parents with Disabilities. Follow this link to download this document as well as the new enhanced edition of "Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children." 

Accessible Events Policy

_Policy Implemented_ stamp
Disability Network Southwest Michigan has adopted an official policy regarding our commitment to the accessibility of events. The policy starts with: "It is the policy of Disability Network Southwest Michigan that any event we hold, host, partner for, sponsor, or for any event from which we might benefit, will be accessible to persons with disabilities." Details of the policy require that the venue be physically accessible, including the restrooms, that registration materials offer accommodations, and that a fragrance-free statement be included in all promotional/invitation information for indoor events.

You can read our Accessible Event Policy here. We encourage other organizations to consider adopting a similar policy.
Graduation Gap

young man in graduation robe _ hat
Although graduation rates as a whole are rising across the United States, according to the Huffington Post article " The Special Education Gap," the rate of graduation is roughly 20 percent lower for students with disabilities. This is alarming as high school graduation represents a particularly important milestone for students with disabilities. The article states that students with disabilities who graduate from high school are more likely than dropouts to spend their early adult years engaged in school, work, or preparation for work.

You can read the complete article here.
Book cover_ Out of My Mind
Book Club

Wednesday, June 1
12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m. (lunch provided)

Held at BOTH our Kalamazoo and St.Joseph Offices.

RSVP to Dale (269) 345-1516 x123

Out of My Mind
(By: Sharon M. Draper)

Melody is not like most people. She  cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her  integrated classroom-the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally
challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it . . . somehow.

For more information about Disability Network Southwest Michigan's Book Club, visit the Book Club page of our website.

ILRU, founded in 1977, has a long history of providing research, education and consultation in the areas of independent living, home and community-based services, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
Kalamazoo Office
St. Joseph Office
517 E. Crosstown Parkway
2900 Lakeview Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 345-1516
(269) 985-0111