“Things I Mean to Know”

I was recently listening to the Podcast “This American Life” and was struck by the very question that I keep asking of advocates with regards to intellectual disabilities.   We are told over and over again that “evidence shows” yet have these advocates really looked at the evidence or are they just taking on faith what they have heard and have believed it?

Questions asked are “how do we know it’s true?”, “what is the proof of it?” “how much have you accepted without evidence?”

“Sometimes there’s a thing that you think you know, even though, right in front of you, staring you in the face, is clear evidence to the contrary.”  There are also the issues of denial  and deceit at play when censorship of opinions and experiences are practiced.

I’m keeping this here as a reminder to myself and others that things may not always be as they seem to be.  We cannot take things for granted and assume.  Just because someone says something and has an air of authority, it does not mean they are right, just, ethical or moral.

 

Special Certificates/Sub-minimum Wage – Public Comments submitted

When reading the Public Comments submitted to the Seattle Office of Labor Standards with regards to the rule change and subsequent legislative change in Seattle, I get a totally different view than that presented to the public by the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and The Office of Labor Standards.

Public Comments to OLS regarding special certificates 

Effective January 2018, sub-minimum wages with special certificates were eliminated within Seattle.  Effective April 2018, legislation which eliminated special certificates, sub-minimum wage and choice was codified into the Seattle Municipal Code.

 

Unfortunately, this was not the choice of those directly affected but apparently, the work of one person who led the campaign – Shaun Bickley identifies as that person.

Bickley led the way for the subminimum wage ban

This person has waged a cyberbullying and libelous attack on not only me but others.  The screenshots above are from this person who identifies as the one who got Seattle to ban sub-minimum wage as a Commissioner with the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities. Bickley claims that being pointed out in relation to this legislation has been harassment.

Be accountable and transparent.  The practice of gaslighting others is a tactic that is used by abusers.  Without any production of proof of fabricated allegations, the acts practiced by this person are cyberbullying and libel.

Haste Makes Waste – Seattle Style

The Ableds (or Allistics/Allists)

Shaun Bickley – “Breaking” Barriers

Apprenticeships Help People with Disabilities – but not in Seattle

Great News for Job Development and Training with Apprenticeships – but unfortunately, not in Seattle.

I have been an advocate of apprenticeship programs for many years – not just for those with disabilities but for everyone who would be interested in this type of training to develop job skills.

The US Department Labor Department – Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has contracted with Social Policy Research Associates (SPR)  to develop up to four pilot apprenticeship worksites.  One of these sites is Apprenti in Redmond, WA.

(see the article from SHRM regarding an announcement of this program.)

Unfortunately, there has been recent legislation in Seattle which prohibits people with Disabilities to work as an “apprentice, learner or messenger” – regardless of the pay.  This discriminatory legislation was instituted by the work of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and the Office of Labor Standards.

The rule change and subsequent legislation were rushed through a process without conversations and collaboration with those in our community.  There were violations of the First Amendment by the Seattle Commission which greatly impacted the outcome of this legislation.

There was little insight into how this rule change would affect those who were actually impacted and the wording in the new law (which was to remove discriminatory practices) actually is more discriminatory by the current wording.

Below is the wording of the legislation for SHRR 90-050 – Learners, apprentices, messengers, workers with a disability from the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Minimum Wage Rules. 

2. Issuance of special certificates

  • a. The Director may issue special certificates to pay a subminimum wage for learners, apprentices, and messengers as described in RCW 49.46.060
  • b. The Director shall not issue special certificates to pay a subminimum wage for people with disabilities as described in RCW 49.46.060.

Apprenti – Redmond, WA –  indicates that their training wage at least 60% of fully-qualified regular employees; then a  raise to at least 70% and after 6 months, at-will.   If this is the case with this pilot program, no employees in Seattle will be able to participate due to the legislation regarding people with disabilities.

Again,  issues such as this could have been alleviated if the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities allowed discourse with community self-advocates and other disability advocates who were affected.

If the haste of this rule change and subsequent legislation had been made public and shared, if the Commission had allowed discussions to take place, if the Commission had listened to what the community members were saying, we could have had a law written that did not discriminate against those with disabilities.

The Commission for People with Disabilities, of all Commission, should be responsive to the needs of the disabled community.  In this situation, they were not and ended up taking away choices for those they are to serve.

 

Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary (Bureau of Labor Statistics – United States Department of Labor)

see post “Haste Makes Waste – Seattle Style” for more information on this issue

Appreciating Diversity at Home

Thomas with his map of where staff are from

Thomas had a terrific time on this outing and is really happy with his new map.  One of the reasons he likes it so much is because it’s the same map we had on our wall at home while he and his siblings were all there growing up.

He emailed me many times telling me that he was going to take the bus downtown to Pike Place Market, go out to lunch and the map store with Craig.

About as soon as he got home he sent me the following email:

“Dear mommimahd a great time on the bus with creg today “

I love the emails that Thomas sends me – many times it takes quite a bit of deciphering but it’s really worth it.  Being able to use an iPad has greatly benefited him and provided him with several ways to communicate and interact with his community.

Appreciating Diversity contributed by Craig

I just happened to find this post on the Alpha Supported Living Services Website.  It made me feel really happy to see this written up and shared with others.

VAPO – Vulnerable Adult Protection Order – Part One

This past year was met with several new and “interesting” issues that needed attention.  One such issue was our adult my adult son being stalked by a predator.  As with most situations like this, there is a “honeymoon” phase of grooming before the predator pounces on the victim.

Adult grooming is correspondent to child grooming and applies to any situation where an adult is primed to allow him or herself to be exploited or abused. While it is a common assumption that grooming is only practiced on the very young, identical emotional and psychological processes are commonly used to abuse or exploit adults the elderly, and those with compromised mental facilities.

An predator will identify and engage a victim and work to gain the target’s trust, break down defenses, and manipulate the victim until they get whatever it is they are after. Overt attention, verbal seduction (flattery / ego stroking), recruitment, physical isolation, charm, gift-giving, normalizing, gaslighting, secrecy, and threats are all hallmarks of grooming.

Looking back on what all transpired, we can see how this grooming occurred – given that Kathy also lives with schizophrenia (we did not know this beforehand – not that it would have changed anything except knowing that it is not uncommon for people to stop taking their medications  we would have watched for changes in behavior sooner) Unbeknownst to us at the time too, Kathy has a history of stopping her medications and decompensating quickly – as happened in this situation too.

Kathy is a woman that we have known of for many years (maybe 20 years or so).  She and her family were parishioners at our church when we first met them.  We really didn’t have much personal contact with the family other than saying “hi” when we ran into them on occasions and then it seemed as if the whole family disappeared for several years.  Periodically over the years, Kathy would show up alone at various events but we never saw her consistently.  The most common place would be walking around
Greenlake since members of our family make that a daily habit and maybe Kathy does too.  Then again, the contact would mostly just be a quick greeting as each person continued on their way in opposite directions.

February 2018, we were at a family dinner at church and Kathy was also there and joined us.  It was actually the most that we had talked with her for about 20 years.  We updated each other on our various children and what they were all up to.  Thomas, our son with IDD was with my husband and me.  Thomas is extremely engaging and interested in people.  He tends to draw people to him with his constant questions and interest.

Kathy picked up on this and realized that she and Thomas had some common interests – Catholic Church, going to Mass, music (especially “classic rock” music) and driving around Seattle looking at sites and listening to music in the car.  Kathy approached us to see if it would be okay for her to visit Thomas and take him the Eucharist (communion) at his home.  We thought it would be a great idea and Thomas would love it.  It would increase his “natural supports” which is typically a good thing.  There would be Thomas’ support staff there if any issues came up.  This took a couple of months for everything to be arranged and “instructions” gone over and all was good!

The first visits were a success and Thomas really enjoyed meeting with Kathy and sending her emails.  We were glad that he had a new friend and someone to share interests with.  After about 4 visits, Kathy asked about taking Thomas out and to a mass at church.  This opened up a whole new area and anxiety but we reviewed specifics about safety and behaviors, specific instructions regarding issues in the community and knowing that it would be our church they would be going to, we agreed.

Kathy followed all the instructions and she and Thomas had a great time – out for dinner, picnic in the park, mass and then driving around listening to music.  We were all feeling good about this and that it had been successful.

Unfortunately, that did not last long – within a week things got very, very crazy – something that I would never had suspected.  Kathy then began to want to see Thomas every day, take him out to mass even when he had already gone to mass,  began writing very odd messages to him and other odd behaviors.

There were plans to take him out again and she did not follow the instructions and this caused an extreme crisis in Thomas’ life.  I was informed by his staff that evening and quickly followed up with Kathy that I needed to meet with her to discuss the issues and again wrote out issues of concern and “instructions” that anyone working with Thomas needed to follow hoping that she would see that I was not singling her out but that these were “rules” that we all followed to keep Thomas safe.

I was totally unprepared for the response I received from her –

“Let’s discuss Thomas living with me for a trial. I need to discuss with my other son yet I think we could make it work for a trial or 2. He’s very calm with me and I understand his disorders very well.”

Luckily, she had gone out of town for that weekend and I knew I had a little time to compose a message which was very short and to the point –

Because of the enormous disruption triggered by your extremely late arrival with no communication on Thursday (May 3, 2018) we have decided to stop all visits between you and Thomas. Under no circumstances are you to visit or communicate with him

Her response – “For Now” and then continued to email Thomas.  Things just got more strange from there.

Kathy returned to Seattle and tried to enter Thomas’ home while I was there.  She was told to leave and the staff chased her out and we called the police.  Kathy pointed her finger at me (like she was shooting and said “bang, bang”) as she left the house.  I was totally shaking but trying not to show it because I didn’t want to scare Thomas.

After about 30 minutes I felt it was safe to leave and before I got home (10 minutes away) I received a call that Kathy had returned.  She also texted a message to my husband

“Jim please call me. Tommy is my son as you know and I want him back. I AM God and I want to see him now. I’m very concerned about his welfare. Please help me. I’m sitting outside of his house.”

This message and her actions sent us into crisis mode with police activity and court – we obtained an emergency restraining order (which she violated several times) and lived on pins and needles while also trying to remain calm for Thomas’ sake.

She began to stake out Thomas’ house, drive up and down the street, park in neighbor’s driveway and walk around Thomas’ house trying to see in his window.

Cheryl & James – Bruce and I are preparing legal action to restore custody of our son Tommy. Let us know if you choose to settle peaceably. You may receive more mercy.

We had police presence at our house and at Thomas’ house with extra staff funded through DSHS, alarms and motion sensor lights installed all around his house.

Hi James,

Are you willing to testify at Thomas’s hearing so that I can continue to visit with him? As you know, I am his biological Mother and Bruce Springsteen is his biological Father. We want him back and are aware of the voodoo problem…we can handle any complications.

We need your involvement and want Thomas to be present at the hearing. Let me know where you stand on this. We plan further legal action if I cannot visit with him. He can live with me rather than whatever Cheryl is intent upon. I love Tommy.

to be continued –

Activist or Advocate? Seattle Style.

I have come to realize that when an activist is unable to address questions about issues, the activist digresses to personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issues.  This is a diversionary tactic to distract the public from the truth.  It often works or they wouldn’t use this tactic.   The so-called personal attacks could be totally made up (as most are in this situation) or a major twisting of the objective truth.

Case in point – issues of the sub-minimum wage ban in Seattle.  The Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities instituted this rule change and subsequent legislation without listening to concerns in the community.   It’s difficult to separate the Commission from the current Co-Chair, Shaun Bickley since Bickley self-identifies as the person who got this ban in place.  If people credit the Commission, Bickley becomes upset that his name was not mentioned as the person responsible.  This is why many of the issues I address are written about/to Bickley since he was the person answering for the Commission.  This is not a personal issue about Bickley himself, but Bickley, acting as Co-Chair of the Commission and as a public servant for the City of Seattle.

As far as I’m concerned, any one of the Commissioners could answer but they have left it to Bickley to do the talking.  So, my calling out Bickley is only because Bickley is the one doing the communicating for the Commission.

But, Bickley, has made it a personal issue against him, when in fact,  it’s not about him at all but the issues.  I have only been trying to get a conversation on the issues.  Bickley writes as if I have been trying to invade his personal life – I know nothing about the person, his life, and have never tried to contact him personally outside of the Commission.  The fact that Bickley seems to think that the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities is his personal domain (Facebook and meetings) is a problem.

Bickley blocked me from the Commission Facebook page (he does state this himself) and that was a violation of the First Amendment.  Bickley claims that I cried ‘censorship” when he blocked me from contacting him.  The way he writes this it appears that he blocked me from his personal page and I got upset about that.  I have no idea since I have never gone to his personal page and never tried to contact him personally.  He did block me from the Commission page but that is not HIS page – it is a City Commission page and yes, that was a concern.  Bickley does not seem to be able to distinguish between himself and the Commission.

Bickley recently posted a long diatribe for Autism Speaking Day 2018 on his friends, Kassiane Asasumasu’s blog “Radical Neurodivergence Speaking”.  This essay is an exercise in narcissistic victimization delusions.  When I informed Kassiane Asasumasu of the libelous essay, she wrote ” It’s not libel when it’s true. It’s the best sourced item I’ve ever published.”  Maybe Kassiane Asasumasu never checks sources if she believes this nonsense too.  

For documentation and clarification of letters I have sent to The Arc of King County (Bickley’s place of employment which he claims I have visited and contacted many times asking for his removal).  Bickley also claims that I have shown up in person at his job to demand my dismissal, as well as at meetings he attends – including Commission meetings.    Yes, I have attended Commission meetings and one SAIL meeting with my disabled son but have never shown up at his place of employment regarding anything having to do with him.   These are public meetings for disability advocacy.  The Arc of King County is an advocacy agency for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities – something that I have been involved in for over 20 years.

Letter to Ramona Hattendorf, The Arc of King County, regarding the abusive response at a public meeting by Co-Chair Bickley – May 2018

Correspondence with Ramona Hattendorf regarding issues with Seattle Commission and explanation of events which have occured. June 2018

Bickley writes – she “tried to physically prevent me from exiting the Commission room, probably hoping to entrap me into shoving past her to escape so she could claim to be attacked by the big bad autistic.”

This statement is clearly a fabrication.  I left the room with the Office of Civil Rights Liaison, who is also heard on the recording saying “Shaun, back up”, and Bickley was nowhere near me at the time.  He was still in the Boardroom talking with others when Marta and I left the room in conversation.

Letter sent via blind cc to all those who submitted public comments to OLS May 2018 – I assume that the person that Bickley refers to has partner in this comment “She’s contacted many others, advocates and friends, including my partner, to warn them what a terrible person I am.” maybe one of the 70 people on this list.  This was also the only email that I EVER sent to Bickley’s personal email (except for the reply to his “cease & desist” letter)

Correspondence with Ramona Hattendorf, The Arc of King County, regarding the letter by sbickley@thearcofkingcounty.org regarding elimination of sub-minimum wage statewide – October 2018

As a follow up, the false accusations and libelous comments posted and shared on many Social Media sites regarding not only issues with me but with other disability advocates who have questioned him, are acts of aggression and harassment.

Bickley has NO evidence of the accusation he has fabricated and so the tactic is to make personal attacks and take on the abused victim role.  All I can say is that must be a very sad place to be and a sad place to see the world from.   I do hope that someone is able to talk with him and help him to come to grips with reality but given what I have learned about those with this type of personality disorder, it rarely happens unless that person can acknowledge fact.

And, Bickley, if you are reading this, please do provide supporting documentation for your claims because I have not seen the evidence.  Also, please discuss the issues as I have requested over and over again.

HCA Training in Washington

75 hour training  There are at least 40 places other than SEIU 775 to obtain DSHS approved 75 hour training to become an HCA in Washington State.  Below is a link to the page on the DSHS website.  There are various options from online modules to all in-class trainings.  You can choose which training program works for you.  Some are offered only in one county, others are throughout the state.

Training Sites  

The site is difficult to find on the DSHS website – one has to go through many pages and clicks to find it.  If you need help, contact me and I will help you.

Below is one example of one of these DSHS approved Training sites.  There are roughly 40 such agencies listed and these alternatives may help to ease our crisis.

Cornerstone Healthcare Training Company

Another issue with HCA is the situation that was written about in Crosscut October 25, 2018.   This article focuses on a different problem but also related to the fact that Washington State has some of the most restrictive requirements to becoming a Home Care Aide.

Would-be home health workers claim bias in state’s qualifying exam

“Washington state is also home to some of the toughest requirements for home care aides, thanks to a 2011 ballot initiative sponsored by the SEIU 775 Northwest. Within 200 days of being hired — or 260 days for those with limited English proficiency — home care aides must pass a background check and the certification exam.”

We need caregivers – we need to find a way to promote the training and passing of the requirements.  What we have is not working.