As we count down the time until we can breathe freely again, here are a couple news bits that impact the Disability community.
This one is local but hopefully other places will follow this lead:
Panel discussion on understanding ableism, Jan. 21
The King County Disability Consortium is hosting an online community discussion on ableism, the intersection of racism and disability, and where there is still work to do.
This one is concerning, especially since most of us know how hard it is to fight back against automated decisions.
How algorithm-based hiring tools can increase disability discrimination
More employers are using algorithm-based hiring tools for remote candidates. But a new report shows that a reliance on these tools can exacerbate inequities.
A podcast; I don’t listen to them (have a hard time with auditory info), but it sounds intriguing (bolding mine):
Sally Satel: The Secret History of the Opioid Epidemic
The story of why pain relievers took root in Appalachia begins decades before the introduction of OxyContin.
Why did prescription opioids bring so much misery, addiction, and death to the small towns of post-industrial America? The media's standard narrative focuses on the role played by OxyContin, a powerful painkiller supposedly foisted on helpless rubes and naive doctors by cynical profiteers at Purdue Pharma, whose executives have already pleaded guilty to a number of crimes. In this telling, the opioid epidemic is a morality tale of capitalism run amok, regulation made toothless by anti-government zealots, and uneducated populations left behind by the knowledge economy.
Sally Satel has a vastly different, more complicated, and more accurate story to tell. She's a practicing psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse, the author of a series of books on health care issues, and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2018, she moved to Ironton, Ohio, a small, economically depressed town in Appalachian Ohio, and worked with patients and social service providers to better understand how opioids, heroin, and fentanyl became drugs of choice for people in a part of the country that have been using all manner of substances—from moonshine to marijuana to earlier versions of opioids—to escape both brutally demanding physical labor and the absence of jobs for decades if not centuries.
"The story of why pain relievers took root in Appalachia actually begins decades before the introduction of OxyContin," says Satel, and simply clamping down on prescriptions for painkillers will not only fail to solve the problem in places like Ironton, it will consign thousands of chronic-pain sufferers to excruciating discomfort.
I found this paper to be an amazingly detailed look at long COVID and how people are experiencing it (you can download the pdf):
Characterizing Long COVID in an International Cohort: 7 Months of Symptoms and Their Impact
This is just a reminder of someone who helped the world become more familiar with disability.
Karen Killilea, 80, Dies; Turned Disability Into Triumph
She refused to be limited by her cerebral palsy. Her story was the subject of two widely read books and became an inspiration to many.
...Babies born so early rarely survived in those days. The doctors told Karen’s parents to institutionalize her and get on with their lives.
That was the last thing that James and Marie Killilea (pronounced KILL-ill-ee) would do. Far from forgetting about Karen, they scoured the United States and Canada for medical specialists who could help her. They saw more than 20, all of whom said that Karen’s case was hopeless. One told them that in China, a child like Karen would be left on a mountaintop to die.
They finally found a doctor in Baltimore who recognized Karen’s intelligence, saw that she was aware of her surroundings and determined that she had cerebral palsy. With tireless dedication, her family spent at least two hours every day for the next 10 years helping Karen move her limbs back and forth, and eventually she triumphed over her prognosis.
Okay, that’s probably long enough — no need to read all, but I wanted to gather them for anyone who’s interested.
This is an open thread. Let us know how you’re doing and what’s on your mind.