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DisAbility and Social Networking

This holiday season, I dashed through links, videos and photos in my one horse open sled in order to find you interesting, insightful and inspiring items for your viewing pleasure. Happy holidays!

1. Recent news about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, Adam Lanza, has stated that he had been reportedly diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, causing a wave of concern from autism advocates. Lanza killed 26 people at the elementary school, which included 20 students aged 6-7. Both Lanza’s old classmates and family members have stated that the Adam has been diagnosed, but autism advocates are worried about how the news will play out for those with Asperger’s and other mental illnesses.

Advocates have stated “the diagnosis does not explain the mass shooting” and have also pointed out that there isn’t a “link between the type of planned violence that Lanza displayed and the developmental disorder [Asperger’s]. Says Michael John Carley, the executive director of the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, “While the majority of statistics prove that we are infinitely more prone to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of violence, we are not immune from becoming people capable of making terrible, horrible choices. No one is.”

The tragedy has also called for attention to the disgraceful amount of mental health services that are currently available. The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law agrees. In a statement released by the organization, they state “A stronger commitment to vital community mental health services is long overdue and must be paired with improved gun laws in order to prevent future tragedies.” Found on the Disability Scoops Facebook page.

2. After a controversial statement made by Geoffrey Clark, the UK Independence party has decided to suspend Clark from standing for the party again. Clark, an election candidate, had suggested that mothers caring fetuses with Down syndrome or spina bifida should be forced to terminate their pregnancy, by abortion, to avoid having the child be “a burden on the state as well as on the family.” Originally, the UKIP had backed Clark, saying that members held a wide range of views and opinions that weren’t deemed party policy; the comments had been contained in a “personal manifesto”.

However, after a heavy backlash, the party pulled a U-turn and said in a later statement that the views of the would-be Kent councilor were “abhorrent” and that he would not be standing for the party again. Clark has come out in his defense, stating that they weren’t necessarily his ideas and that he regrets “articulating it [the abortion proposal] the way I have,” and that he has plans to “rewrite it.” Found on the Center for Leadership in Disability Facebook page.

3. There is nothing cuter than letting children taking a picture or two with Santa Claus himself. Sarah Pasley knows all about that for sure. After standing in line with her son and mother for over half an hour at the Boise Towne Square Mall, Pasley was disappointed after seeing that her 8 month old son, Kiptyn, had feel asleep 5 minutes before they were going to meet the man himself!

Never one to move a child aside, Santa instead lay back onto the chair and placed little Kiptyn on his stomach. And this adorable photo was taken! If you don’t smile at this, then Santa will surely be putting a lump of coal in your stocking on Christmas Eve! Found on the Miss Wheelchair America 2013-Mariah Kilbourne Facebook page.

4. On a Saturday morning, the New York Rangers faced the Philadelphia Hammerheads on the rink on the northern end of the New York City’s Central Park. Nothing would be unusual about this if the Rangers team members weren’t children children with disabilities. For many of these kids, the idea of being able to play an active team sport sounded impossible; all of them either have limited or no mobility in their lower bodies due to injuries or conditions such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy.

The coach, Victor Calise also has a disability, paralyzed from the chest down after a mountain biking accident. The team also ranges from 5 to 18 years old and even includes female members. The game ended with a score of 3-3, but the score didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they played their hearts out. Found in the New York Times achieve.