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DisAbility and Social Networking

This weekend, I raced through links and stories to find you tales that were interesting, insightful and enjoyable. Happy Holidays!

1. For “Jeopardy!” fans out there, there’s a new contestant  and his name is Gabriel Harris. Harris, 11, from Colorado, has Asperger’s syndrome, but that definitely hasn’t stopped his dream of appearing as a contestant on the show.

There were obstacles in the Harris’ family way though: after Gabriel passed the first-round online test, his family couldn’t afford the plane ticket to Los Angeles in order to complete the second round evaluation.

Happily, once his story made local newspapers, donations started pouring in and now, Harris is prepping for both the show and his trip to Los Angeles! Good luck, Gabriel! Found on the Disability Scoop Facebook page.

2. Yvonne Pierre has started to gain a bit of buzz for her play, “Then You Stand”, which tells the story of how Down syndrome affects the lives of an ordinary family. Pierre has gained even more buzz for her play due to the fact that the cast is entirely Black. Pierre, whose youngest of two sons have Down syndrome, was inspired to create “Then You Stand” after getting bitten by the screenplay bug.

She believes that “everyone will take something different from this production whether they have a special needs child or not” and she hopes that people will “walk away with the feeling that no matter what they face in life, they can and will rise above it.” After you watch the play, then comment on this thread and tell me how you like it! I will be posting a review about it later this week. Found on San Francisco BayView fan page. 

3. A petition asking that American Sign Language, or ASL, be officially recognized as both a “community language” and as a “language of instruction in schools” has collected more than 27,000 signatures in less than a month. That’s 2,000 more than what was needed: petitions need to have at least 25,000 signatures before the White House will officially release a response.

Although ASL, the language used by much of he deaf community, has gained recognition as a foreign language in some states-meaning that students can take it as a credit for a foreign language-, Adreanaline Clark, a deaf cartoonist from Minnesota who also created the petition, says that it [“it” being foreign language recognition] “perpetuates sign language’s marginalization.

The national Association of the Deaf has come out in support of Clark’s petition, saying, “ASL deserves the same privileges and should be counted as a language on Census forms.” Found on US News homepage.

4. Two teachers will be facing child abuse charges after they were caught on surveillance video dragging a blind 6-year-old child with special needs down the hallway by his ankles. The teacher told police that she was trying to get the boy from one classroom to another and when the boy became stubborn and wouldn’t go, she resorted to drag him there. School officials wouldn’t comment. Found on Koat News homepage.