Where are the evaluations?

Shaun Bickley “an autistic person who organized a campaign to end subminimum wage in Seattle” turned down the choice to work in a sheltered workshop when he was younger while living in Texas.  It’s great that he had the choice and is employable – he currently works for The Arc of King County in Seattle, WA.

While Bickley flips a page that lists  “over 80 organizations that have signed on in support”  (see link). I am curious if any of them know the full story, have heard of evaluations that have been done in states which have eliminated special certificates or that people in Seattle lost work hours – due to this type of legislation.

There is more to the issue than the wage and the fact that these advocates do not understand or acknowledge that supported employment, while a wonderful opportunity, is costly to sustain.  This is clearly evident in the fact that their Fiscal Note states “No fiscal impact”.  How do they propose employing all these people in supported employment without a fiscal impact?

There needs to be a lot of answers here before moving forward with anymore legislation of this kind.

The following information is taken from Morningside’s Website 

How does Morningside’s Supported Employment Program Work?

After a careful assessment of an individual’s skills and vocational interests, a Morningside job developer will conduct a job search in the community, assisting prospective employers in the identification of appropriate jobs and tasks to meet the needs of their specific businesses. A comprehensive job analysis is conducted to ensure a good employer/employee match. An applicant is referred followed by a job interview, after which the final hiring decision is the employer’s.

How is Morningside Involved After the Placement?

Employment specialists, or job coaches, assist new employees with a comprehensive job orientation, followed by on-going, individualized training and assistance to promote satisfactory work performance on an as-needed basis. They may also provide job modification assistance to employers, disability awareness training for co-workers, or job retention services to the employee and business on a long term basis.

What Reasonable Accommodations will I be Expected to Make for my New Employee and What will They Cost?

The employment specialist may analyze job tasks, restructure how specific job tasks are completed or teach tasks differently to best fit employer/employee needs. Most accommodations cost nothing at all and, in most cases, the employment specialist’s time is free to the employer.

Who pays Morningside (and other agencies? According to the Fiscal note it appears there is no cost.

How can the fiscal note be ZERO?

“Bottom Dollars”, a documentary on sub-minimum wage and sheltered workshops produced by @rootedinrights and Disability Rights Washington, has a statement which tells the truth about the situation –

“If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals”  – For some reason, this critical statement is not mentioned in any reference to the documentary or supported employment.

Supported employment offers wonderful opportunities to disabled employees and benefits to the employers and our community.  Unfortunately, just as “Bottom Dollars” states, the proper services and supports are needed.  This means FUNDS.  For some reason, advocates, legislators and community members forget about this cornerstone to supported employment  which ensures supported employment to be successful and sustainable.

Microsoft, has developed a “SE -Toolkit” and has a wonderful outlook regarding the benefits to all of hiring people with disabilities. The videos on the site have examples of some wonderful success stories and it is terrific to see disabled people working and enjoying their jobs in the communities.

The information below is from the Microsoft Supported Employment FAQ webpage

Who pays the Supported Employees and their coaches?

Employers do not pay a fee to the coaching agencies. Coaches work for employment coaching agencies, which are usually non-profits funded by government entities. In Washington, the primary government funders are the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and county Divisions of Developmental Disabilities.
Supported Employees are paid by their employer. The expectation is that vendors will hire Supported Employees within existing labor budgets within the Real Estate and Facilities scope. Vendors hire Supported Employees for roles that they need to fill.

How do job seekers with I/DD find out about Supported Employment opportunities with Microsoft RE&F vendors?

When a vendor has a job opening for a Supported Employee, the program manager notifies the coaching agency partners. The agencies determine which individuals are best suited and qualified for the specific job opening, and assist those individuals with applying, interviewing, onboarding, and ongoing job coaching.
Candidates for employment should contact one of our partner agencies. See the earlier topic, “Who are the primary partners in the Microsoft RE&F Supported Employment Program” for more information, or download our employment agency list.

Stop the Charade

Stop the charade and listen to Senator Walsh tell the honest truth in the statement prior to the public hearing on SB 5753.

Personally, I’m tired of being ridiculed by so-called advocates who talk about parents who have fears – look at the mess we are in -parents and caregivers of those with significant support needs know all too well about the realities.

These fears are based on reality. For those who ridicule us, go visit people like Kevin in the hospital and tell his mom that she is just fearful of what can happen.

Kevin’s 33rd day in a hospital room.

The last 4 days Kevin has become increasingly desperate. The nursing staff at

the Medical Care Unit where he is are such a great group of professionals. They

have tried to keep him occupied, even taking him on wheel chair rides around

the floor, but each day that passes he grows more restless. Kevin is a 5 year old

(6’2” tall) that wants to go back to his safe/familiar room, surrounded by his

things. He also wants to go for hikes, to the store, the movie theater, and the

library. Now he is hitting himself in the stomach and legs with such force that

his legs and abdomen are completely covered with purple and black bruises.

This is the only way that he can deal with this overwhelming stress. He is

limping because he hurt his left leg during the self-injuring actions that now

are happening continuously throughout the day. Yesterday he became

increasingly anxious with each passing hour, pleading for his “Bellingham

house”. He began to scream, hit his room door and window and security was

called. Kevin hit his RN and one of the security guard during the incident when

they attempted to keep him safe in his room. Throughout the day he was

heavily medicated with no success. At night, he managed to escape from his

room and run downstairs to the hospital lobby and then outside where he was

wrestled by security until Bellingham police arrived.

After he was guided back to his room by the police he was finally medicated

with an IM injection of B52 (Benadryl/Haldol/Lorazepam). He has been asleep

since then, in a way I feel this is better for him to stop his mental anguish and

physical self-inflicted pain.

This situation is a disgrace, my child deserves better from our system. He will

severely injure hospital staff or will be gravely injured by medication

administration and/or being restrained.

 

 

Kevin – 34 days trapped, restrained, drugged and traumatized in a hospital

Why is traumatizing an autistic man allowed to happen?

How is Kevin going to heal from this abuse?

drug addiction

Kevin’s 33rd day in a hospital room. (Now it’s 34 days as of Feb 13, 2019)

The last 4 days Kevin has become increasingly desperate. The nursing staff at the Medical Care Unit where he is are such a great group of professionals. They have tried to keep him occupied, even taking him on wheel chair rides around the floor, but each day that passes he grows more restless. Kevin is a 5 year old (6’2” tall) that wants to go back to his safe/familiar room, surrounded by his things. He also wants to go for hikes, to the store, the movie theater, and the library. Now he is hitting himself in the stomach and legs with such force that his legs and abdomen are completely covered with purple and black bruises. This is the only way that he can deal with this overwhelming stress. He is limping because he hurt his left leg during the self-injuring actions that now are happening continuously throughout the day. Yesterday he became increasingly anxious with each passing hour, pleading for his “Bellingham house”. He began to scream, hit his room door and window and security was called. Kevin hit his RN and one of the security guard during the incident when they attempted to keep him safe in his room. Throughout the day he was heavily medicated with no success. At night, he managed to escape from his room and run downstairs to the hospital lobby and then outside where he was wrestled by security until Bellingham police arrived.
After he was guided back to his room by the police he was finally medicated with an IM injection of B52 (Benadryl/Haldol/Lorazepam). He has been asleep since then, in a way I feel this is better for him to stop his mental anguish and physical self-inflicted pain.

This situation is a disgrace, my child deserves better from our system. He will severely injure hospital staff or will be gravely injured by medication administration and/or being restrained.

Please contact legislator:
Sharon Showmake at 360 7867854
Luann Van Werner at 360 7867980
Doug Erickson at 360 7867682

Plead for my son to be able to go to a respite bed where he can have physical activity outside of his room, He is unable to comprehend what or why this is happening to him. He needs a less restrictive environment where he can feel free and safe.
please feel free to share!

Marcia Alspaugh

Kevin has been stuck in the hospital for 31 days – and counting

Kevin has been in St. Joseph Hospital for 31 days

My son Kevin is a 26 year old man with severe autism and he is developmentally delayed (around 5 years old developmentally). Kevin has been in a Bellingham group home for the last four years (Access Living). Before that, he was a resident at Fircrest RHC in Shoreline for five years. For the last six months Kevin has been having behavioral problems. His psychiatrist attempted to adjust his medications with no positive results. Now we know the behavioral problems were the result of increased ammonia levels due to a couple of his medications. For months he has been frustrated, sleeping all day and awake all night. Kevin has a history of poor self-regulating skills and can lose control and throw a tantrum when under stress. He is 6′ 2″ and during these instances he can harm those around him. My son has assaulted his caregivers and his roommates several times in the last six months. Each time the police were called and he was handcuffed and sent to the ER at St. Joseph Hospital. Once the crisis is over, promptly he feels bad and goes back to being a kind, loving child.

In November he was at the hospital for five days due to self-harming behaviors and hitting one of the caregivers. Again in January 7th he became anxious and hit a caregiver and a wheelchair bound roommate. Police were called and Kevin was taken to the ER. He was transferred to SECU in a room with another four patients. This unit is an extension of the ER, where patients with violent behaviors are placed on hold. Definitely not a good place for an autistic individual due to the loud screaming and the aggressive behaviors of patients around. When I went to the hospital he was crying, very scared, and asking to go home. I took him home with me and when I called his group home the next day, they let me know that he was not allowed to come back to his house. (Access Living wants to work with us and is attempting to rent a new house where Kevin can have his own space).

Kevin was with his father and I for two days as we were attempting to take care of him in our home until a new living situation was arranged. Sadly, he became agitated the third night because he wanted to go to his home in Bellingham. After he threw chairs and pushed his father and I, sadly we were not able to help him settle down. We were forced to call 911 at he was taken to the hospital again. He was in SECU that night and the next day he was transferred to a medical care unit. He has been there since the 10th.

We have been trying to get help from DDA but they have no answers. I contacted the admissions office at Fircrest on January the 11th and was informed that there was a great chance of them to accept Kevin on one of their respite beds since he was a Fircrest resident in the past. I informed Kevin’s care manager, but he let me know that it was out of his hands and the paperwork needed to be reviewed first by a DDA committee in Everett. It took from January 10th until February 4th for the file to be sent to Fircrest to apply for a respite bed. I called the person in charge of Kevin’s case in the Everett DDA office on 2/5 and he let me know that there are no respite beds available “anywhere” for my son at this time. We are desperate at this point, as the hospital is not the best place for an individual like Kevin.

St. Joseph Hospital staff have been great with my son (I work on the same floor as a floor RN), but Kevin will be better served in a place where he can go outside for walks and have more freedom to ambulate. He is in his hospital room 24/7 and this is harmful to his mental/emotional stability. The only good news is a new psychiatrist who is an expert on autism took Kevin’s case and she has changed his medications due to toxicity found in his blood work. We have already seen remarkable positive changes in his behaviors but the last four days he has started to do self-harm due to the stress of being confined for such a long time.

We feel helpless and discouraged since we are not able to help our child. Putting Kevin through this experience is wrong! More has to be done to help DD patients and their families during crisis situations like this. Please feel free to share our story, Kevin deserves better from the system.
Marcie Alspaugh

Addendum:  Video from June 2014 with footage of Kevin while he lived at Fircrest – Kevin is seen at 1:12 and 1:26 in this short video:

Success!

Speaking up does work – just keep doing it and eventually something may turn around.

Last week I testified before the Senate Human Services, Reentry, and Rehabilitation Committee regarding the need to include anti-stalking language in the legal protections for vulnerable adults.  SB 5338 was the bill developed at the request of the Department of Social and Health Services which provided the changed below to RCW 74.34

Brief summary of SB 5338

The testimony I presented was the first the Committee and others had heard about the lack of legal protections against stalking predators. I am very happy to see that this committee understands this critical omission and took steps to include the change in the substitute bill which was passed out of the committee and forwarded to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

first substitute for SB 5338

Couldn’t help myself

I just happened to be going through the Washington State Legislative agendas and noticed there were amendments being  made to the Vulnerable Adult Protection Order RCW 74.34.  There are companion bills – SB 5338 and HB 1422 which both had public hearings at the same scheduled time January 30, 2019.

I had to get there by 7:45 in the morning to be sure that I would be able to address the committees and add a new amendment to this bill – that of including anti-stalking and anti-harassment language to the protections granted to vulnerable adults.  This was my opportunity to get this information shared to several legislators and hopefully other advocates so that this omission of legal protections is corrected.

Senator Darneille (Chair) and the other Senators presents (Senator O-Ban, Senator Walsh, Senator Nguyen. Senator C. Wilson and Senator Cleveland) heard my testimony and by the response I received it is hopeful that some action will take place.  I will be sure to follow up with them and also keep trying to spread the word to other advocates and legislators.

Unfortunately, due to changes in the agendas of the two simultaneous committee meetings, I was unable to get to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee to give a public comment.  I will be emailing all Representatives in that committee with this information.

My testimony starts at 1:03:24 if you would like to listen – there is much more to the story but this is a snapshot to get the ball rolling.

 

Straw Ban, Straw Kids and SB5077

The Straw Ban – where to start and where to end – there are several issues that need to be discussed and there is one issue that is non-negotiable.

Yes, we do have a plastics problem – that’s a given.  There are many misunderstandings regarding the major culprits of this and the major areas that are causing the pollution.  Those are the areas that can be discussed and hashed out with those environmentalists that understand this issue.

The non-negotiable issue is the use of single-use bendable plastic straws which are life saving tools for many with disabilities.  This is not an issue that is only for those who are currently disabled but an issue for everyone.  Aging, disease or acquired disability could cause any one of us to rely on these straws for our life. There are no viable alternatives for this population.

I know that photos of sea animals with injuries from plastics is not a pretty sight to see and I feel very sorry for those animals too.

But, I also have great concern for the harm that can come to our fellow humans when they are denied tools that enable them to have a full life.  Without these particular straws, people will aspirate and that leads to a whole cascade of events often leading to death.

aspiration pneumonia

17 year old with acute respiratory failure

aspiration caused acute respiratory failure

This is a 17 year old boy who developed acute respiratory failure – could have been something he aspirated.  He now has chronic lung damage.

SB 5077 was brought to Senator Patty Kuderer by students at Lake Washington High School.  In addition to these students testifying at the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee on January 24, 2019, a younger group of students, the Straw Kids,  from Redmond, WA also provided testimony.

While it is terrific to see these young students engaged in the legislative process, it would be great if they could also learn about the lives of those with disabilities and have real concern and understanding for the needs these real people are saying are a necessity to their life.

kids testifying for sb 5077

“Straw Kids” from Redmond, WA 

Please, kids, take a look at the photo of your peer, learn about people with disabilities and the tools they need to live, do not deny life to your fellow humans.