disabilities

Jim Michaud / Journal Inquirer

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a brain-damaged man sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 killing of his wife's 88-year-old grandmother.

The high court released the four-to-two ruling Tuesday, saying 69-year-old Richard Lapointe was deprived of a fair trial because prosecutors failed to disclose notes by a police officer that may have supported an alibi defense.

Vancouver Film School / Creative Commons

Should all Connecticut teachers get more special education training? 

The idea has been put on the table by a group of educators, lawmakers and other professionals, with a goal to help teachers identify students with disabilities earlier, so that they don't fall behind in class or develop behavior problems.

T. Charles Erickson
Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage produced its first-ever "sensory-friendly" performance this week. The staging of "A Christmas Carol" was geared toward audience members on the autism spectrum.

Juan Colon / Art Connection Studio

As his collection of paintings was spread across two tables, I asked artist Juan Colon about the large watercolor that’s become the postcard image for "Cityscapes: Uncommon and Familiar Beauty," an exhibition opening this Friday at the Art Connection Studio in Hartford.

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son's safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood.

"It's my worst nightmare," she says. "I have the issue with him not understanding, possibly, a command to put your hands up or to get on the ground. So, yes, it's scary."

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

Two veterans groups have sued the federal VA for a policy they say discriminates against thousands of veterans with PTSD who endured rape, sexual assault or harassment during their service. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Photographer Chris Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for years. Despite being twins, there was a major difference between these two: Nick was born with cerebral palsy; Chris was not.

The photography of both brothers’ is featured in the book The Distance Between Us. The story it tells is about how both Capozziellos are living and coping with Nick’s condition. Both join us to talk about their project.

The Ken Burns documentary The Address, premiering on most PBS stations Tuesday night, opens at the Greenwood School in Vermont, where students are being introduced to a longstanding tradition: studying the Gettysburg Address until they can recite it from memory in front of a large audience of students, staff and parents. If they succeed, they receive a special commemorative coin that is only given for this achievement. A first, second and third prize will be awarded — one for middle school, one for high school — for these performances.

Chion Wolf

  

The actresses Teri Garr and Annette Funicello, the television hosts Montel Williams and Neil Cavuto, the writer Joan Didion, Ann Romney, the wife of the presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the comedian Richard Pryor. These are some of the people that you quote-unquote know that have, or in Pryor's case had, Multiple Sclerosis.

The Intellectual and Developmental Disability Caucus met in Hartford on Friday to gather comments from state residents concerned about the long-term care of their adult developmentally disabled children. State  lawmakers  heard from many residents who worry about what will happen when they are no longer able to care for their children with autism and other disabilities. 

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

The State Department of Education has determined that Bridgeport Public Schools have violated their obligation to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Sujata Srinivasan

I’m with production manager Eryka Wright on the shop floor of East Hartford-based Onyx Spirits Co. LLC, which makes handcrafted Prohibition-era moonshine. While some workers carry boxes, Wright and one of her employees are doing the chicken dance. "We do random dance outbreaks to keep the blood flowing and keep the energy high," she said.

Wright supervises employees with developmental disabilities. They're trained by MARC Inc., a state-funded, Manchester-based not-for-profit chapter of ARC, a national advocacy group for people with disabilities such as autism, Down's syndrome, and fragile X. The organization places workers at companies across Connecticut, including Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gerber Scientific, and McDonald’s franchises. 

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Despite the federal government shutdown, there was a decrease this month in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backlog to process veterans' disability claims. The VA said pending cases dropped by 10,000 since September 28. But this doesn't mean the pressure is off the federal department to do more.

Christopher Capozziello / From "The Distance Between Us"

Photographer Christopher Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for as long as he's been a photographer. Despite being twins, there was something between them: Nick was born with cerebral palsy. Chris was not. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Photographer Christopher Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for years. Despite being twins, there was a major difference between these two: Nick was born with cerebral palsy. Chris was not.

The photography of both brothers’ is featured in the book The Distance Between Us. It tells the story about how both Capozziellos are living and coping with Nick’s condition.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The national unemployment rate for veterans has improved in recent years, hovering around the civilian rate of seven percent. At the height of the recession, returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were unemployed at nearly double the rate of non-veterans. A host of programs have been created to help former servicemembers support themselves after their military service ended. 

Jim Michaud / Journal Inquirer

Lawyers for Richard Lapointe will argue for their client's right to a new trial today before the State Supreme court. State prosecutors appealed last year's ruling by the state appellate court, which granted Lapointe a new trial. 

This case has garnered national attention. Lapointe is an intellectually disabled man with Dandy-Walker syndrome. He was convicted in 1992 for the 1987 rape and murder of his wife's grandmother in Manchester.

Chion Wolf

A group of parents in Darien have filed a complaint against the school district, alleging that their children with learning disabilities have not been getting the services they are supposed to. It’s just one of many examples of parents fighting through a hard-to-navigate system, one where schools say they’re struggling to find the money to pay for learning disabled students.

New research finds that abnormalities in an infant’s placenta at birth may signal that the baby is at risk for developing autism. This could help families intervene earlier to improve outcomes for autistic kids.

By the time a child is diagnosed with autism, they’re usually at least three or four years old.

But a new study finds that by examining a newborn’s placenta under a microscope, you can predict whether the child is at risk for developing the disorder.

taberandrew, creative commons

If you take a look at movies or TV, you’d think that having a disability is the worst fate possible-- maybe even worse than death.  Better to not be born at all than struggle through life unable to walk, hear, see or talk.

USA Hockey

HOST: Bravado and broken bones are commonplace in sled hockey. That's a version of ice hockey played primarily by the disabled. And the competition can be fierce. Patrick Skahill of member station WNPR reports from Newington, Connecticut, where amateur teams are hitting the ice hard for fun.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Null Value

Advocates for victims of sexual assault want legislators to strengthen protections for those with disabilities. 

Recently the state Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3, agreeing with an Appellate court decision to release a man convicted of raping a young woman with severe disabilities. The reason? 

The two sexual assault charges against Richard Fourtin state that a victim was physically helpless at the time of the alleged assault. The justices said prosecutors did not provide the evidence needed to prove the victim was uncommunicative or unconscious at the time.

via: http://www.oscarpistorius.com/

When Oscar Pistorius runs, it seems like a miracle that he can run at all on those j-shaped carbon blades.

Chion Wolf

There is one part of the autism spectrum with a specific name: Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s is a relatively new diagnosis - it was just added to the DSM in 1994.

It’s said to be a “milder” form of autism... Those with Asperger's may face social challenges and sometimes develop unusual behaviors and interests.

However, they typically do not have many of the problems with language or intellectual disability normally associated with autism.