Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Funding Disabilities

I am in New York on business. Miss my kids. 

And wow, am I tired of writing about Assistive Technology. If I had a magic wand, I would make all that magically better and move on. But, respite is essential, and I am taking respite from the topic. 

I came across a lovely article in a local Brooklyn rag about funding challenges for a local organization serving people with developmental disabilities-- The Guild for Exceptional Children. This after a conversation with a very good friend about AT and the need to develop more developmentally appropriate software that interfaces with the My Tobii eyegaze system... to which he suggested with the sweetest intent: there must be foundations out there that would take that on. 

It seems particularly ironic with this article in the paper today. And parents of children with disabilities know it just ain't so. There is not much money in services for disabilities. Not much of a market for specialized products like the My Tobii or the ECO. More attorneys work for districts blocking children's IEPs than work for children to secure their rights. It is always, all about money. Why should your kid go without so that my kid, who clearly will not amount to anything, should get a really fancy computer that helps her add and read Clifford? THAT is friggin' socialism. BAD.... bad socialism. YAY survival of the fittest.  (Sorry, listening to Sean Hannity today in the cab at about 80 decibels bent me out of shape).

The thing is, it is easy, so easy for the right to say that every one has a right to life, but not so easy to say that everyone has a right to quality of life. Quality ain't cheap. Quality for everyone is socialism.

Here is my final, line in the sand, quid pro quo: I will concede to restrictions on abortion. Really, I will the instant, the very instant, that  medical care, food, shelter and water and care by highly-qualified providers are the legally protected rights of EVERY child who has taken their first breath in our great nation, including every child with a disability. 

Is that so much to ask? Just a little socialism, Sean. For the kids.