News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do You Know about

Last year, emailed Ability Maine to tell us about one of their highlighted series of articles. At that time, had been around for 10 years, yet I think most people with disabilities online have never heard of it. If you're not familiar with the website, here's what they have to say about themselves: ( is the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide. Individuals with disabilities, their families, caregivers and others are connected to thousands of resources from federal, state and local government agencies; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations. New information is added daily across 10 main subject areas – Benefits; Civil Rights; Community Life; Education; Emergency Preparedness; Employment; Health; Housing; Technology and Transportation.

Are You Following Ability Maine on Social Media?

If you are on Twitter or Facebook, you might want to follow or "Like" Ability Maine because some material that does not get posted on our blog — for example, links to newspaper articles about topics relating to disabilities and Maine — is posted on our Facebook page or in our Twitter feed. Visit us: Ability Maine on Twitter or Ability Maine on Facebook.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maine Has Highest Rate of Workplace Injuries in US; Nursing Homes Are Riskiest Maine Jobs

By Sharon Wachsler

According to a recent report, the state of Maine has the highest rate of serious workplace injuries of any state in the US. The report, "Allsup Study of Workplace Injuries," examines workplace injury rates by location, by type of work/industry — including private sector versus public sector, and by state.

The study was conducted and issued by Allsup, a company that provides representation to people applying for Social Security disability and other forms of disability benefits. [PDF] Data was collected for the year 2011. The number of illness and injury cases at work that required job transfer or restriction in Maine in 2011 was 6200, while there were 14,400 SSDI claims made in the same year.

The measurement of the [PDF] most dangerous workplaces was determined by reports of rates of injuries that were "serious enough to involve days of job transfer or restriction," per 100 full-time workers. The most dangerous workplaces in Maine were singled out as: state- or government-owned nursing and residential-care facilities (with the state rate of 7.1 injuries per 100 workers as compared to the US average of 1.2 for that industry), warehousing and storage (5.2 versus the national average of 2.7), private nursing-care facilities (5.1 versus 2.6), building material and garden equipment and supplies retailers (4.9 versus 2.7).

The fact that "nursing home facilities" and "community care facilities for the elderly" were [PDF] two of the 10 most dangerous industries nationwide — and both of which Maine is among the highest rates of injury for workers — is a disturbing finding. This suggests that not only are the [PDF] residents of such facilities often in danger of serious physical harm, but so are their caretakers, facts which seen very likely to be related.

From ADAPT ( "Our long term care system has a heavy institutional bias. Every state that receives Medicaid MUST provide nursing home services, but community based services are optional. Sixty seven (67%) percent of Medicaid long term care dollars pay for institutional services, while the remaining thirty three (33%) must cover all the community based waivers, optional programs, etc."

It seems to me that one of the best ways to support worker safety and the rights and safety of people with disabilities is to support more independent and community living, instead of relying on the nursing home industrial complex. Which would allow both people with disabilities and care workers more options for safe, sustainable, and enriching living and working opportunities.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Temple Grandin at Autism/Asperger's Conference, Portland, Fri 9/27

From Des Flynn:

Future Horizons’ upcoming Autism/Asperger's Conference in Portland on Friday, September 27 at the Abromson Center, featuring three expert speakers, including Dr. Temple Grandin, the noted scientist who has autism and the author of The Autistic Brain 
Dr. Grandin will be giving a brand new presentation about the DSM-5’s impact on the autism world and the implication of removing Asperger’s, which will change diagnosis and treatment options forever!  
Other speakers are Jennifer Mcllwee Myers, an accomplished writer who has Asperger's Syndrome and the author of How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger's and Dr. Jim Ball, a highly experienced, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and president/CEO of JB Autism Consulting, who discusses behavioral intervention for young learners, and is the author of Early Intervention & Autism. 
Throughout the conference there will be an extensive resources/book table available, as well as excellent networking opportunities with other local parents/caregivers, therapists, counselors, special ed teachers, psychologists, etc., within the various ASD/SPD related communities.  
Future Horizons is offering a 10 percent discount off of their regular conference prices for registrations booked online, by phone, fax, or mail.  Use coupon code TGCONF when registering to receive the discount.  (This special discount can't be combined with any other discounts or offers.)  
For more information about the conference, CEUs, to register, etc., please visit Future Horizons’ website or call them at 800-489-0727.

Please spread the word! And thanks to Des Flynn for sharing this info with Ability Maine!

Leeds Woman Alleges Job Discrimination due to Hearing Impairment

According to an August 31, Bangor Daily News story, Agnes Farnsworth was let go of her seventeen-year volunteer job for Kennebec Valley Community Action Program when she requested that she receive communication via text message instead of phone, due to her hearing loss.
In March 2011, Farnsworth asked to receive text messages on her agency-provided cellphone instead of calls, due to her hearing loss, when instructions were relayed to her about passenger pickups and drop-offs.
That form of communication was used for two weeks then stopped. The agency’s transportation manager sent her a letter telling Farnsworth she was fired because “communication between staff and yourself (sic) has become almost impossible in regards to phone conversations and that is a very important part of our process,” according to a report filed by Michele Dion, an MHRC investigator.
Farnsworth's claim is being investigated by the Maine Human Rights Commission. Read the complete story at BDN Maine.

GROW Grassroots Organizing Workshops 9/27-29

If you are planning to come or curious/interested but need more information, contact Jacqui, Iggy, or Larry (contact info below). 
Registration information is below. This should be a great weekend, with a wide variety of people from around Maine and beyond, so we hope you can be there! Just reply to and type in contact information or register on the web site.

GROW New England's
Sept. 27-29, 2013
Bryant Pond 4-H Camp
Bryant Pond, ME
(near Bethel and Paris/Norway)

For New and Experienced Grassroots Organizers in Maine, NH, and Vermont to Learn More about Creating Grassroots Social Change

(You can register simply by typing in the information requested and replying to, or go to
Name: _________________________
Address: _______________________
Town/City: _____________________
State & Zip: ____________________
Phone #: _(_____)________________
E-Mail: ________________________

Please Complete All That Apply:

___Number of people registering for the Sept. 27-29 Weekend
Enclosed is $___________________
Partial Payment is OK; remainder due on arrival. Checks payable to: ROSC: Address is below. Paying the entire amount when you arrive is also an option, but paying some before the weekend is helpful.

Childcare register by Sept. 20th
___I need childcare: Please list ages of children. _____________________

Ride Share:
___I need a ride from _____________
___I can offer a ride from__________

Please note special accommodations required (diet, health, sleeping, etc.) ________________________________

Return form by September 25th, if possible, to: GROW, 161 Stovepipe Alley, Monroe, ME 04951 or E-mail it to

For questions & more info:
Iggy: 207-415-4458,
Larry, 207-525-7776,
Jacqui, 207-284-3358,

Why GROW New England?
(GrassRoots Organizing Workshops)

We believe in a better world where there is:
●Respect for civil liberties;
●Commitment to nonviolent conflict resolution;
●Economic justice and rights for all;
●Affordable health care, housing and education;
●A healthy environment & sustainable lifestyles;
●Celebration of diversity in age, race, gender, etc.

In order to create a world that provides for the well-being of everyone, we have to ORGANIZE!
In order to take back our power we have to ORGANIZE!
In order to ORGANIZE we need to gather, learn, share and plan with each other!

Join new and experienced activists from northern New England as we:
● Learn and teach about the “big picture” of social change.
● Gain new organizational skills/strategies.
● Learn about successful models throughout the region.
● Celebrate successes.

GROW Weekend Schedule
Introductory Friday Workshop
Friday, September 27th, 1:00-4:30 PM
Making a Difference: Skills for the Effective Organizer
This workshop provides basic skills and background for anyone who is new or relatively new to organizing. Good reminder and refresher for more experienced organizers as well.

Weekend Schedule
5:00 PM Friday, September 27th to 2:30 PM Sunday, September 29th
Cost $10-$80 (actual cost is about $70-80/person, but pay what you can/all welcome, whatever amount you can pay) includes lodging (bring bedding), meals, all workshops, and use of outdoor facilities. In addition to workshops (see list), GROW will use interactive methods to help attendees develop skills in planning actions/events, creating groups, and becoming better organizers. For a complete schedule and updated workshop offerings, please contact those below. Information will be added when confirmed, especially in September:

Nate “Iggy” Brimmer (207) 415-4458
Larry Dansinger (207) 525-7776
Jacqui Deveneau (207) 284-3358


This year's GROW Theme is: “Organizing Strategies”

Workshop Topics
Tentatively Include:
Strategy Development
Power Analysis
Skills Share
Overcoming oppression and celebrating inclusiveness
Listening and storytelling to identify the issues
Influencing Public Policy

Accessibility: Facilities are totally wheelchair accessible.

Child Care: Childcare will be available at no cost, during workshop times only. Those requesting childcare must register by September 20th.

Food: Meals will emphasize local foods and will offer meat, vegetarian and vegan options. We can make individual adjustments as needed. Meals (and housing) are included in registration costs. Attendees will be asked to help with meal preparation or cleanup.

Travel arrangements: Call/email a contact person for ride sharing options.

Registration: We encourage people to register by September 25th to help with meal and travel planning, though last minute registrations will be accepted. Registration details and directions will be e/mailed after you register.

For questions & more info:
Iggy: 207-415-4458,
Larry, 207-525-7776,
Jacqui, 207-284-3358,