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When you’re a little kid, the world divides itself into “good guys” and bad guys”.  As we grow older, maybe not wiser, but older, our world becomes more nuanced.   There are no easy categorizations of people and there are no easy solutions to problems.

I read a lot of articles about disabilities.  Some of the articles are about government policies.  Some are about funding gaps.  Lots of them are how individuals, their families and their supporters are coping.  Some are good news stories; lots of them aren’t.  There’s a real range.

I read a lot of the articles in Canadian news roundups.  They come from everywhere in the country.  And here’s the interesting thing.  Over the past year, I’ve noticed a significant shift in the stories that the media have focused on.  A growing number of the stories have to do with mental health.  That includes everything from PTSD to brain injury and teen depression and suicide.

Pen and Paper

Quick!  Grab a pen.  Or power up that laptop.  You have until May 20th to write a note to the United Nations.  What?  Why write to the UN?  Because the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities is preparing a study on the right of persons with disabilities to social protection.  And that study is going to be presented at the 70th session of the General Assembly this October.

So are you willing to put the work in?  Here’s the web site with all the information.  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/SRDisabilities/Pages/SocialProtection.aspx

Now I really am worried.  And I think that you should be too.  Especially if you live in the Quebec side of the Ottawa River.  A Go Public news item on the CBC today http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/woman-with-cerebral-palsy-loses-quebec-s-help-because-mom-saved-for-her-future-1.3048058  indicates that the Quebec government doesn’t recognize the Henson Trust.   This young woman’s mother had set it up for to assist her when Mom dies.

Gymnastics

There’s something really special happening in the sports world this summer.  Really, really special.  No, it’s not the Blue Jays run for the pennant.  It’s not the Red Blacks hopes for the Grey Cup.  Give up?  It’s the 2015 Summer World Special Olympics.

I actually don’t know anyone who will be participating.  But I have been riveted by the web site for the games at http://www.la2015.org  I’ll bet you will be too when you check it out.  It’s got compelling stories, super photos and lots of information to look forward to when the games actually begin.

A squirrel sitting on an iron fence

I grew up in an apartment in Montreal.  It was nice and big – the way old-style Montreal apartments are (or at least, used to be).  But it meant we always had to tip-toe or else the old lady underneath would whack at the ceiling with her broom handle.  And it also meant NO PETS.  Oh, my sisters and I had our share of goldfish.  We literally killed them with kindness (read that as overfeeding).  And we experimented with a hamster once but she disappeared into the heating system and we never found her again.  A lot of tears over that!  So mostly we went to the park and fed the squirrels.  That was great fun.

Eight is Not Enough

I tried a little experiment this morning.  It was a grey morning, snowing at first, then raining.  My head was aching, despite the second cup of coffee.  I needed something to cheer me up.  So I turned to my best buddy Google.  Yup, I thought, Google will find something for me.  With a smile on my face, I plugged in the following:  “best news developmental disabilities”.  Google, by the way, is smart enough to interchange developmental and intellectual disabilities.  I did not limit my search to Canada and since I am proficient in more than one language, I was OK with that, too. (Just to be sure, I also searched “good news developmental disabilities”.)

Downs and Ups

Well, last week was certainly a bit of a roller coaster, wasn’t it?  First thing, 50 Ottawa workers with developmental disabilities are out of a job.  After decades of plugging away, the federal government is no longer interested in their paper sorting services.  And didn’t that raise a stink?  You could smell it around town, in the House of Commons and right around the country.  So now the contract has been extended for three years.  Yup, quite the roller coaster ride, thanks to the power of the media.

Tomorrows a Better day

I’ve got a few concrete animals in my postage-stamp back yard.  They’re a little kitch.  But I’m fond of them.  They each have a history.  My two favourites are a small recumbent doe-eye cow and a sturdy penguin.  The cow is a lovely memory of the many hours that my daughter and I spent at the Experimental Farm, watching the cows.  It was her favourite Sunday outing.  If I took her there, I could usually persuade her to walk through the rose gardens with me afterwards.  It was a “two-fer” experience that served both our purposes.  Especially if we ended up the excursion sharing French fries from the nearby chip wagon. 

Picture of tree half winter/ half spring

Ah Spring!  Whoops, wrong climate!  We’re still stuck in winter, aren’t we?  Sometimes, at this time of year, it’s really hard to be motivated.  Those of us who are gardeners see waist high snow in our back yards.  Our winter coats and boots are salt-covered.  And let’s not even start talking about those outrageous magazine spreads that have been blooming since January with tempting outfits that none of will get to wear for at least another two months.  I, for one, need something to distract me big time.

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