As a sponsor of HB 1706 I am writing you this email with information regarding the discrimination of this bill by denying the opportunity of any disabled person to work as an apprentice, learner or messenger. By eliminating the special certificates for people with disabilities, the other jobs are also denied. Apprenticeship, learners and messengers can be great jobs for people with certain disabilities and it’s shameful to deny those choices.
As stated in the documentary “Bottom Dollars” produced by Disability Rights Washington and Rooted in Rights – “If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals” I truly believe this – unfortunately, HB 1706 does not address any of the issues of support – just the wage. Do not pass HB 1706 until all the issues are addressed and planned as is recommended in research by national agencies.
Supported Employment is great – it can open up many opportunities for people. It needs funding to be successful and this bill does not address the issue of supporting funds for job coaches, job development, job training or transition planning. It only looks at eliminating the special certificates. Eliminating special certificates without addressing the critical issue of funding supported employment/integrated employment for this population will result in a crisis. This population is already involved in a crisis situation with lack of caregivers and supported living with many people stuck in hospitals with no place to go. Passing this bill at this time is not in the best interest of anyone.
It is interesting to note that not one research report of any advocacy agency recommends immediate elimination of certificates. A well planned and funded transition is needed for a stable and sustainable integrated supported employment opportunities. There is nothing in this bill that addresses any issues regarding transition. It has been stated that a rapid elimination would actually be detrimental to our population.
Elimination of special certificates without taking into consideration the other issues involved will only result in job loss. It will not increase the employment opportunities nor will it mean that those with disabilities will now make a living wage. When a person is only able to work 10 hours a week, minimum wage will not allow them to be self-supporting.
In Seattle, the legislation caused people to lose hours at their jobs. Yes, their wages increased but their hours decreased. For some of these people their job was also their opportunity to be integrated in the community – with the loss of hours, their community integration opportunity decreased too. A question asked in today’s public hearing by Representative Mosbruker was regarding an evaluation of what has happened in places that have eliminated the special certificate. This is a very critical question that also needs to be answered before moving forward. There is information available on this for New Hampshire, Maine and some other states – I would be more than happy to provide links to you.
In Seattle, there were 8 people who were working under a Special Certificate – 6 at Ballard Locks were working 5 hours a day had their hours cut to 3 hours a day, the person at Ballard Lutheran had her hours cut from 15 hours a week to 12 hours a week and the person at Ballard Market was working 6 hours a week and did not have hours cut but the manager express concern about being able to hire employees with significant intellectual/developmental disabilities in the future. It should be noted that none of these employees needed 1:1 job support for their jobs.
I did not hear anyone testify about the support needs for those involved in integrated employment or talk about the number of hours these employees may work a week or the coordination of supports (transportation, housing, personal needs support) needed to be employed. These are all critical issues that need discussion before a bill such as this is passed.
Again, as an example, my son who lives in Supported Living also has supported employment. He works 9 hours a week at Lowe’s and makes $16.59 an hour. This means that his gross wages are $597 per month. He also receives SSI which is reduced due to his wages so overall his income is roughly $900.00. He needs to pay rent, utilities, groceries and all living expenses from that $900.00.
The County (through DDA) pays the employment vendor about $2400.00 a month to provide the support to my son for his 1:1 job support. What have you heard about the funding for these integrated jobs for people like my son who needs 1:1 support to be employed in an integrated community setting? While the employer is paying the employee minimum wage, someone needs to pay the job coach or there is no job at all.
Please do not pass HB 1706 at this time. Yes, fair and equitable wages are important but in order to have fair and equitable wages in an integrated setting we need to look at the whole picture.
At the risk of continued personal assaults from one of the people testifying today, I feel obligated to inform people of the consequences of taking such rash actions without a full understanding and acknowledgement of the various issues involved in coordination of supports. It was not a collaborative process at all with Shaun Bickley (he was co-chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities) taking the helm and violating the First Amendment by censoring and blocking comments from constituents to the Seattle Commission and later writing libelous comments about others and most recently commiting fraud, conspiracy and interference with contractual relations with regards to my work as a registered nurse. This is all in retaliation against me for trying to have accountability and transparency in the process of the elimination of special certificates in Seattle.
I would be more than happy to provide information on national research regarding the issue of special certificates and special wages, integrated and supported employment and transition planning to ensure sustainability and success.
Thank you for your concern and attention to this critical issue.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
Disability Rights Washington is presenting their “Breaking Barriers” awards fundraiser this month. Below is information from the Disability Rights Washington Website which describes this award.
Ex-Commissioner (Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities) Shaun Bickley, was chosen as the recipient for the Advocacy Award. There are many of us in the disability community who have been victims of Shaun Bickley’s online malicious and cruel attacks, slander and libel. We are upset about Bickley’s violations of the First Amendment as a Commissioner, falsified data and information Bickley presented to the Commission, the previous Mayor, the previous Director of the Office of Labor Standards and the Seattle City Council.
In addition to the above allegations (all well documented in public records), Bickley had extreme disregard for the by-laws and code of conduct of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities. In fact, after Mayor Durkan did not re-appoint Bickley to the Commission, Bickley took it upon himself to return to the Commission the next month and have himself voted in as the co-chair with a Commission appointed seat. Bickley continues to refer to himself as the Co-Chair of the Commission despite not being appointed by the City Council. This is a violation of the by-laws but evidently, Bickley is not held accountable to those by-laws.
“Bully” is the least offensive description that many who have encountered Shaun Bickley use to describe his actions towards others.
How has it come to be that a BULLY is being honored as a recipient of this “Breaking Barriers” award?
September 29, 2018
Each year, Disability Rights Washington presents its Breaking Barriers Awards. These prestigious awards honor a business, an elected official or public servant, and an advocate with a disability for breaking barriers to advance the rights of and improve the lives of people with disabilities in Washington State. Specifically, Disability Rights Washington will present the following awards:
- Advocacy Award
- Public Policy Award
- Business Leader Award
Disability Rights Washington presents this award to an advocate with a disability who has made significant contributions in the past year to advance the rights of people with disabilities in Washington State.
Public Facebook Post this evening –
This is the email I sent Evan Philip in the Mayor’s Office, CM Lisa Herbold and her staffmember Shannon Perez-Darby, and Interim Director of OCR Mariko Lockhart.
I’m at my wit’s end with the city standing behind misogynists and white supremacists but bristling at the slightest criticism of their policies. Despite the work we have been able to accomplish, several of us are ready to quit after today if the city can’t deal with these issues and provide competent staff support.
To all concerned,
I want to continue to express my disbelief at the city’s unwillingness to provide support to the Disability Commission, and its ongoing support of white supremacist, misogynist, and ableist behavior.
I don’t know how many Commissioners have to come forward and complain about misogyny and white supremacy from Mayoral and Council-appointments before the city takes it seriously. Apparently six isn’t enough. Ten? Fifteen?
Today I witnessed ChrisTiana ObeySumner co-chair by themselves while two older white men screamed at them, interrupted, and corrected them. At one point Eric Scheir began screaming at the top of his lungs at ChrisTiana, threatening to sue. People left the room,. Mr. Scheir is perfectly aware of his ability to physically intimidate women and non-binary people by screaming at the top of his lungs, and if he isn’t, he is unqualified to serve on the Commission. I can tell you he would be fired from any job I have ever had for that kind of behavior.
Jayson Morris is a Council-appointed Commissioner. Six Commissioners have complained about his behavior, the Co-Chair and the Director of OCR had a meeting with him to address his behavior, and the Co-Chairs wrote Councilmember Herbold about him on June 8. Nothing has happened. Eric Scheir is a Mayoral appointment who has exhibited this kind of narcissistic, racist, and misogynistic behavior since before he was appointed. Nothing has happened.
At what point do I assume that individuals acting as agents of white supremacy and misogyny, on behalf of the Mayor and City Council, are simply carrying out the will of those entities? Especially since Meg Bartosovsky and I were removed without even being spoken to because of our advocacy on the Commission. There is a pattern here, and it’s that white supremacists and eugenicists are given every chance and every opportunity to thrive, but developmentally disabled advocates who question the city are removed post haste.
Six Commissioners signed a letter asking for Marta Idowu to be replaced in her position as Commission liaison. Today, while this screaming rant happened, Marta did nothing. What “support” is OCR providing if they don’t address violence within the meetings, don’t keep order, don’t address micro and macroaggressions, and can’t even keep accurate minutes?
My peers voted to appoint me into a Commission-based seat and for me to continue on as co-Chair. I would love to continue the great work we have done, work the City has praised and been credited for, but I sat in that meeting feeling physically unsafe as a man screamed his lungs out at us with the full backing of the Mayor and City Council, and I’ve seen the disparate treatment we receive when we bring light to these issues.
I don’t know how many time I can ask that someone–the Mayor’s Office, OCR, the City Council–take responsibility for the situation it has created: to deal with violent Commissioners and to provide competent staff support to our meetings.
Thanks for listening,
Co-Chair, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities
The Ableds (or Allistics/Allists) – anyone who is not autistic. The Ableds are named as the root of most of the problems that autistic people face in society. The Ableds are said to go out of their way to make life harder for autistic people. The Ableds do not understand autistic people. The Ableds are evil and are only self-serving. The Ableds are for eugenics. The Ableds. . . . .
Personally, I’m really tired of reading about “The Ableds” and reading about all they are doing to impinge on the lives of autistic people.
I’m not sure if autistic people have even thought about how the so-called “ableds” have actually been there providing support so that autistic people (and all the other disabled people – specifically those with intellectual and developmental disabilities) are not isolated in their homes – oops – that is an ableist statement. How can one do anything that isn’t ableist in the eyes of these neurodiversity activists? And though “the abled” may not be autistic, they may have other disabilities that affect their ability to engage in meaningful activities of their own.
Many of “the abled” devote their lives to supporting those with disabilities so that the disabled have opportunities they would not have without that support.
Many disabled people, if not most, live in collaboration with their “abled” caregivers and support people. Some disabled people may be totally unaware that their support person has another life besides being there for support. because that “abled” person is devoting their life to support the disabled person.
What I find extremely discordant is that it seems that many of the people who identify as neurodiverse also identify as non-binary and prefer pronouns of they/them. For being so unyielding about their non-binary identity they are also very dogmatic about calling anyone who is not autistic “Abled”. There is no non-binary when it comes to Abled vs Disabled in their minds.
Take a moment to read this blog posting “Three Strikes… and He’s Out?”
Wow – this is reality for many of our family and community members – this is why we become isolated. Inclusion for us is a fantasy.
A recent comment made to me by a King County District Court Judge regarding taking my son to a self-advocacy meeting and a Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities meeting ;
“I think you took your son there just to bother him” (referring to the Autistic Activist who told me that guardians are all self-serving and every person is able to speak for themselves)
Thank you, Judge, for your understanding – I do not take my son places to bother others – is that how you view INCLUSION, Judge?
Yes, I’m sure my son’s behavior does bother people and he is not able to be appropriate in many settings of inclusion. Waiting in line, being patient, being quiet, sitting down, keeping hands to himself, are all very difficult things which take constant support to try to have a resemblance of “appropriate” behaviour. It takes alot of energy to provide this constant support – one of the reasons that caregivers become isolated when ensuring people with disabilities are included. We don’t want to bother others and it’s not fun for us to try to manage our son’s behaviors in places that are difficult for him – it’s always a balancing act with a needed escape route.
So, if you see us out in our community – we are not there to bother or frighten you – we are there to try to give our son some meaningful experiences in life.
I have had issues with the group SAIL – Self-Advocates in Leadership (Washington) for some time since I have witnessed this group dis-regard self-advocates who may not agree with the agenda of this group. SAIL has typically had a representative testify every year to various committees in Olympia claiming that all institutions should be closed. SAIL has had consistent messages that oppose person-centered planning with regards to choice of residential setting. This group claims to represent ALL people with disabilities and fails to understand the heterogeneous make up of this population.
This past year the previous Self-Advocacy Coordinator who actually worked for the Arc of Washington (Noah Seidel) took a position in the Washington State Developmental Disability Ombudsman Office. SAIL did not renew their non-profit status with the Washington State Secretary of State and the organization non-profit status expired February 28, 2017 and SAIL administratively Dissolved as of July 3, 2017.
The Arc – Washington State posted a Job Announcement for Self-Advocacy Coordinator on September 19, 2017
SAIL is now run by The Arc – Washington State and the new Self-Advocacy Coordinator is Cheryl Monk. SAIL is not an independent organization managed and lead by people with developmental disabilities as many are led to believe but is some sort of committee within The Arc- Washington State.
There are other Self-Advocates in our state that do not promote the same agenda as the members of The Arc – SAIL. These self-advocates have a variety of experiences and want to preserve choice for everyone.
One such self-advocate is a young man who lived at Fircrest for 6 years. He moved to supported living during March 2016. Even though he has a guardian, it was his choice to move and he has worked with his residential team, community, family, friends, employer, job coach and healthcare providers to make this transition a success. The supports are critical for him to remain in supported living and the collaboration is essential to make it all work.
But he hears things and picks up on what goes on in the community. When he hears news about Rainier or Fircrest closing, his anxiety spikes. While at Fircrest he heard talk about this very often and he had lived at Frances Hadden Morgan Center prior to it’s closure – an experience that was traumatizing for many. The threat of losing his home again was a real threat while he lived at Fircrest.
This is his message to our legislators – he will not be testifying as a self-advocate in front of legislative committees but his message is just as important as those who belong to The Arc – Washington
This post has offended some self-advocates. The militant activism by some DD Self-Advocates is cause for concern. The lack of ability to understand that others have different needs and desires, that caregivers, friends and family members of those who require intensive and extensive support needs are valuable as advocates for the people they support are major problems.
It’s very unfortunate that those self-advocates who refuse to collaborate with other advocates have a persecution complex against those who advocate for better services and the funding to support those services. Those who advocate with and for people with IDD are not advocating from a “pro-institution” position but from a “pro-person centered planning” position. There is no ulterior motive to pit one group against another – we’re all in this together.
We hear much about Self-Advocacy and there are many trainings out there for people to learn to become self-advocates. This is part of becoming more independent and able to make choices. Yet, these trained self-advocates are only a minor part of the population of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The agenda of many of these self-advocacy organizations may actually be against services and choices that many of their peers would advocate for. The problem is that the peers who are not involved in these self-advocacy trainings (for a variety of reasons) are not able to communicate thier needs and choices in a typical manner. Therefore, the majority of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are not represented by these self-advocacy groups.
When trained self-advocates voice their agendas and state that this is what people with IDD advocate for, they mislead our legislators and policy makers.
Again, it is important to understand the disability of intellectual AND developmental disabilities – by the very nature of the disability the people affected by it are, in most cases, unable to communicate their needs and choices to those who do not know them. The people with IDD may not even be aware of or care about the issues that the trained-self advocates choose to concentrate on.
Yesterday I decided to take my son to a SAIL (Self Advocates in Leadership) meeting in Seattle. My son is aware that I go to our state capital and communicate with people in our government. He is aware of some of the names that he hears me say and gets excited when I say I am going to meet with one the legislators he has heard of.
I told him that we were going to a meeting for people with disabilities. I have no idea if he understood what I was even talking about because he doesn’t really consider himself “disabled” or needing any type of special adaptation or accomodation. He knows that he’s not able to do some things that his siblings do – such as drive – but he’s totally fine with that and if you asked him if he wanted to learn to drive he would crack up laughing. My son accepts how he is and is happy. He has been disabled his whole life and his reality is that he does things differently than his typical siblings. He is aware that his siblings do things that he doesn’t do – but that’s totally okay with him becuase he is able to do the things that are important to him. In that respect, they are all the same. He is extremely happy with his life!
So the topics and discussions at the SAIL meeting were of absolutely no interest to him. Due to the length of the meeting and total lack of interest on my son’s part, we did leave the meeting early since it was also clear that his noise level and interest in other things besides what was being discussed were extremely distracting to at least one of the speakers.
One speaker, who happens to be on the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, appeared very disturbed by my son. The speaker had to stop and complain several times to one of the meeting co-chairs about the distractions and even said that he could not talk with such distractions. After about the 4th time this speaker started to talk it was very clear that he was getting agitated by my son’s noise but the co-chair told him to just keep talking and not to worry about the “distraction” (my son’s noise)
When my son kept trying to look at his You-tube videos or listen to Pandora or ask Siri about various people he knows, he would either get very excited and laugh or get angry with me for trying to encourage him to be quite. He then started focusing on the time and saying “we will leave at 3 o’clock” for about 45 minutes and then we did leave at 3 PM.
It’s too bad because I think SAIL did discuss a topic that my son does have an opinion about – that of the intermediate care facility. He is adament about these communities staying open and providing homes and care to those who need to live there. This is something that he does understand from his experience – an experience that most in that room did not have – or at least not in recent years.
My son shows great concern about Fircrest (the ICF/ID in our neighborhood and where he lived for 6 years) closing. He can name the other Residential Habiliation Centers in our state that are often in the news with regards to funding cuts and closure. He did live at Frances Haddon Morgan Center (FHMC)for 1 year but was able to move to the RHC in our neighborhood prior to the closure of FHMC. My son often asks “What happened to Frances Haddon?”
It is clear to me that this self-advocate meeting was meaningless to my son yet he is one of the many who need advocacy. It’s shameful that the agency that is geared towards self-advocacy is unable to accommodate the needs and opinions of those who most need an advocate and fail to see the broad spectrum of needs and choices of the population.
I’m really curious how these self-advocacy groups work with people similar to my son and how they reach out and learn what issues are important to them? Or is this population forgotten and silent when it comes to advocacy?
One would think that being a magazine devoted to neurodiversity and open to “publishing opinions from many corners of the neurodiversity community” that censorship and blocking participation from advocates in discussions is counter to the mission. Apparently, only those neurodiverse in the “right” way are allowed to comment and exchange opinions or answer questions from others.
Saskia Davis, published her thoughts about the article above on NOS Magazine. There was a follow-up comment to which Saskia wanted to reply and it was then that she realized that her post had disappeared and her reply was not able to be posted either.
I offered to publish Saskia’s responses on this site because I think they are worthy of being read and understood. The first comment can be read on Developmental Disabilities Exchange. The follow up comment is below in this post.
“NOS Magazine is a news and commentary source for thought and analysis about neurodiversity culture and representation. Expect long form journalism, reviews of pop culture, and more. NOS stands for ‘Not Otherwise Specified,’ a tongue-in-cheek reference to when a condition does not strictly fit the diagnostic criteria, or is in some way out of the ordinary.
Opinions: Not Otherwise Specified
Stories: Not Otherwise Specified
Perspectives: Not Otherwise Specified”
NOS Magazine is a publication for the neurodiversity community. As such, people who identify as a part of the neurodiversity community and/or who are neurodivergent in some fashion will be given publication preference in order to ensure that this publication is a voice of the community. We recognize and respect self-diagnosis as valid and do not have a standard of who is “disabled enough” to count.
Published pieces are not necessarily the opinion of NOS Magazine. We are open to publishing opinions from many corners of the neurodiversity community.
Responding to: (from Saskia Davis)
September 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm
“I going to share some examples people can to explain their love one support needs that don’t use mental age theory. I some people being asking me for alternatives……..” (http://nosmag.org/mental-age-theory-hurts-people-with-intellectual-disabilities/
“These are helpful suggestions. How would you help a person understand the level of constant, total care that is required for the support of someone who lacks the capacity to make safe decisions, lacks verbal ability to express what is wrong, and what s/he wants, but has enough, almost understandable vocabulary to frequently repeat the same few phrases, can’t safely mobilize herself anywhere, is absolutely distractable, and doesn’t care to focus on anything except neckties or hats or cars, will choke due to putting food in her or his mouth before swallowing the last bite if allowed to self feed, except that is impossible because s/he can’t load her own spoon, but can hold a glass and will choke if not dissuaded from laughing during drinking, while self-feeding, gets food all over her/his face, body and clothes, laughs with delight when something or someone falls on the floor and finds it great fun to empty surfaces of their contents to see them fall, or someone who can carry on a delightful, if limited conversation but, who, if asked questions or when another person wants his food or when he can’t have food from someone else’s plate, will throw a 20 minute tantrum just like those that two year olds throw, (only this person is 6 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds) hollering, throwing himself on the floor, writhing, kicking screaming, hitting, biting, and who has been unable to learn to tie his shoes or put them on the correct feet and who remains incontinent at the age of 21 despite many patient years of family members and caregivers’ attempts to help him achieve continence. In few enough words so that the reader or listener will stay engaged to understand the other points you are trying to make, how do you give a picture of such a person that allows another to understand the intensive level of care and careful planning for support that is needed and the struggles the person endures in order to make progress? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.”
The title of this post is a quote from Sara Luterman, editor of NOS Magazine in answer to my question regarding removal of my own posts.