All posts by Sara Luterman

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against ‘Drop Out Factories for Abandoned Kids’

Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of regular oversight. For over five hours, he answered questions about sexual orientation, gender, race, drug policy, Russia, fetal tissue sales and many other topics. Remarkably, no one asked him about the Justice Department's progress on disability issues. Sessions did say, at one point, that the Justice Department is, "committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans." Is this true for disability issues? Earlier this week, disability advocates filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Georgia for segregating disabled students in a separate and unequal school system called the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, or GNETS.  Through the lawsuit the Arc, Center for Public Representation, and others are demanding the state  to provide students access to the disability support services they need at their own neighborhood public schools. GNETS often does not have … Continue Reading ››

The Good Doctor: Season One, Episode Four

I have a confession to make: Oftentimes media criticism with a dash of social justice feels like a race to see who can say the most cutting, critical things about poor representation first. Sometimes, like with Atypical, the ire is well deserved. Other times, I feel pressure to declare something irredeemably Problematic before really giving it a chance. Another related confession: I actually really liked this episode of The Good Doctor. I feel like Dr. Shaun Murphy got to be an actual, flawed person. There are several instances where I sort of wanted to slap him, but not because I thought he was being written badly -- Only that he was making some of the same mistakes I or autistic friends have made in the past while trying to figure out how to be an independent adult. Note: I would not actually slap anyone unless they explicitly asked me to … Continue Reading ››

The Good Doctor: Season One, Episode Three

This week’s episode of The Good Doctor is titled “Oliver." "Oliver" is the name of the donor of a very important liver, a liver that will save a life. The episode's main plot dealt with the ethics of transplantation, which is pretty heavy stuff. Transplant lists literally decide who will live and who will die. Overall, the episode was decent -- Much better than last week's DSM dumpster fire. Sean once again has motivations beyond pathology. God willing he stays that way for the rest of the season and even perhaps grows as a person.

I think ABC really missed an opportunity with this episode to educate, however. While exploring the ethics of transplantation, it would have been wonderful if they had explored the ethics of transplantation as it relates to people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities -- People like Dr. Sean Murphy. If Sean … Continue Reading ››

Democratic Congressman Withdraws Latest Attack on Disability Rights

Last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a markup session for a bill that would refund the Children's Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP.  During the session, there was contentious discussion on topics ranging from the current disaster in Puerto Rico to Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Many disability activists, however, were anxiously awaiting a different discussion. Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) planned to introduce an amendment to the CHIP bill that would make it possible for institutions to take money intended to support disabled people in their homes and communities. CHIP itself is an important disability issue. It was created to provide health care for children and pregnant women in low- to middle-income homes whose annual incomes were only a little bit higher than the Medicaid limit. CHIP covers 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women. Funding needs to be periodically reauthorized by Congress. Last … Continue Reading ››

Congressman Tim Murphy Resigns, Neurodiversity Community Feels Relief

As reported by NOS Magazine last week, Congressman Tim Murphy has found himself embroiled in a sex scandal. New information has revealed that while acting as a member of Congress's pro-life caucus, Murphy urged the woman he was having an affair with to get an abortion. As a result, Congressman Murphy has resigned, effective immediately. Murphy's resignation is excellent news for people with psychiatric disabilities. Kit Mead, creator of Psych Ward Reviews, was delighted at the news of Murphy's resignation:
"Murphy was devoted to taking away the agency and voice of people with mental health disabilities. He advocated forced medication and loss of privacy. I hope that in the future mental health reform initiatives are led by people with disabilities."
During his time in Congress, Murphy was the most vocal champion of forced psychiatric medication.  In 2016, Murphy championed the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” better known as the … Continue Reading ››