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Friday, January 14, 2011

Action: Permission to reference and share an article

Submitted by: The Office of Senator Kirk Watson

Senate District 14

The office of Senator Kirk Watson permitted reference to a recent activity of Senator Watson, as reported in the following article (

ADL Partners with the Arc of the Capital Area

Date: September 21, 2010

Excerpt from the article: "Arc of the Capital Area- a nonprofit organization committed to promoting independence and choice by creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities- and ADL were joined by Senator Kirk Watson,  who emceed the event, and Mayor Lee Leffingwell who presented a City proclamation proclaiming Austin a city of respect. 
The theme of the event was a campaign to eradicate the use of the word "retarded," called the "R" word by Arc, and make the new "R" word "Respect."  Mental retardation is a medical diagnosis and should not be a pejorative term to be used against a group of people, but. the word "retarded" has become a derogatory label used negatively to ridicule individuals. Instead of a diagnosis, the term has become a hurtful slur.
This campaign is one step towards dramatically changing the attitude of society and the perception of people with disabilities..."


CnsmrRep said...

When I envisioned and later co-conceived and co-named what became known as: "The Americans with Disabilities Act", I had worked on it from 1964 until January 3, 1968. Indeed, I had boldly proclaimed when I was 13 years old in front of my Synagogue that: "one day I would (help to) change the world", but it took me 3 more years and the study of Law to do so.

Back in the early 1960's there was a way to test out of Law School and take the Bar exam; that was what and how I had striven to pursue.

I have worked most of my life helping others, and have spent many years trying to figure out a way that "cancer" and other disabling conditions could be woven under the protections of a Civil Rights Law - without success. I have also worked with children of all types - from Special Needs to Gifted, in regular classroom settings and in special small classrooms. Regular Ed is and was no exception.

I would try to explain this to so many others, but no one seemed to grasp the complexity of what I was trying to convey. Perhaps one of the biggest motivators for academic excellence isn't just intelligence - it's love, it's family, it's companionship, it's the ability to communicate. Chil- dren with cancer need no less.

Funding is absolutely necessary and critical for all programs benefitting children, especially children with special needs such as children with cancer.

Please do not cut this funding. Your vote, your support, is critically needed in these difficult budget times. It is the right thing to do; it is the American thing to do. It is the Texan thing to do; thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am the caregiver of a disabled spouse with cancer, he worked and supported our family for many years until he could no longer do so. He is also a veteran. I am also raising a son w/special needs, who would like to serve in the military, but probably cannot. I do hope he will be a self-sufficient wage-earning member of society. The services he recieves from the state; CHIP, free lunch, special ed at school, are going to be instrumental in whether or not that happens. We've been on the Medicaid waiver waiting list in Texas for about 12 years. My husband's SS disability is too high for my son to qualify for Medicaid or SSI. Remember when you are discussing the budget, there are real people, elderly, disabled, children, and their caregivers, whose lives and futures you are deciding.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for supporting and advocating on behalf of all Texans who have a disability. You are respected by all, no matter where they choose to receive services, State Supported Living Centers and community supports.

Susan Skyler said...

Dear Senator Watson,

Thank you for your support of the ARC and the respectful treatment of people with disabilities. Please continue by supporting the families that care for their members that are disabled or elderly. As the mother of a 25 year old young man with severe disablilites the job never ends.


Susan Skyler

Sarah Bird said...

Dear Senator Watson,

I am writing to share with your office just how essential services for the aged and disabled are to my family.

I have an 18 year old son who is profoundly disabled and requires constant care. My son has no volitional movement, is blind, non verbal, eats by g-tube and as far as we can tell has severe cognitive impairments. Before my son came up on the waiting lists for Medicaid waiver services we provided his care virtually unassisted. In the early years I rarely slept more than a few hours at a time. I lived in a constant state of trauma and exhaustion. During these years, I recall my greatest luxury being the occasional hour or two of respite, just enough time to sit in a cafe, have a cup of coffee and gear up for the next round of care.

Medicaid waiver services, in particular CLASS, Consumer Directed Services and CCP, changed my world. Sleep became something I could count on on a more regular basis. I was able to get an MBA from UT and eventually started my own business working out of my home. Working from home has enabled me to make a good living while still having the flexibility to manage my sons care and respond to emergencies.

There is no fluff in the services my son receives. Virtually every cent spent on him goes to direct care. Without this support I could not work. Worse, without this support I would go back to being a shell of a person, sleep deprived, exhausted, without the ability to envision anything other than how to get through the next hour, the next day.

Worse even still, without waiver services, there could come a day when my own personal survival and thus that of my son's might require that I institutionalize him. Such a step would ensure my survival but at the cost of my sanity and my heart.

Do we as a state want to do this to families? Children like my son are a product of our medical system, a system that saves lives at all costs and then hands these lives, regardless of the future implied, back to their families. Is it right to then abandon these families? None of us individually created our medical system. Yet any one of us could individually be left to care for a family member who is not "terminal" but has intense chronic care needs. I believe in caring for the least amongst us. Above all other messages, Jesus emphasized the importance of caring for the poor, the weak and the oppressed. But no matter your faith, there exists a powerful mandate to provide care to this new class of medically fragile but profoundly impaired people, a class that is the product of our collective advanced technology.

I am praying that in these challenging times, the Texas Legislature finds the wisdom to focus on valuing and supporting all of God's children, especially the least amongst us.

Sarah Bird