[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Washington Times: Hiring the Disabled is ‘Crazy’
NCD Responds to ‘Incendiary’ Editorial
August 31, 2012
WASHINGTON (August 31, 2012) — The Washington Times in a recent editorial attacked a new U.S. Department of Justice policy encouraging the employment of more Americans with disabilities as an appeal to “those who are teetering on the edge of sanity.”
The editorial, ‘Holder’s “severe mental deficiency” ‘, was in response to a Justice Department policy memo issued by Attorney General Eric Holder encouraging the agency to improve its hiring of Americans with targeted disabilities.
The chairman of the National Council on Disabilities, Jonathon Young, responded with a letter to the editor clarifying what the policy actually states.
“Contrary to the apparent attempt by the Washington Times to frighten, separate and inflame, Americans with disabilities are us,” Young said. “People with disabilities are America’s returning veterans and our aging seniors, our sons with autism and daughters with Down syndrome. They are our Olympic athletes.”
Read the editorial below.
Read the NCD letter to the editor below.
EDITORIAL: Holder’s “severe mental deficiency”
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Are you boycotting the NFL in the wake of the anthem protests?
By – The Washington Times – Wednesday, August 22, 2012
You don’t have to have a severe intellectual disability to work at the Justice Department. But it helps.
According to a July 31 policy memo titled “Hiring of persons with targeted disabilities,” otherwise problematic mental deficiencies are no barrier to jump-starting a career at Justice. The memo lists a number of “targeted disabilities” that trigger special hiring privileges in compliance with President Obama’s Executive Order 13548. Among them are people with “severe intellectual disability,” “psychiatric disability” or other undefined “current severe physical, intellectual or mental conditions.” Most employers would balk at even minor mental disabilities in hiring a lawyer, let alone severe ones. But the policy states that the Cabinet department run by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. must “achieve a work force from all segments of society,” which includes those who are teetering on the edge of sanity.
Mr. Holder’s crazy new human-resources priority says it’s necessary to ensure that people with targeted disabilities “have equal employment opportunities.” It then goes into detail on all the ways in which they will be given special, exclusive treatment. The disabled are eligible for direct hiring in a “streamlined, non-competitive appointment” process that the policy lauds as a “win-win” for the department and the applicant. Of course, this preferential treatment is a lose-lose for the other, perhaps vastly more qualified applicants who were never let in the door, as well as for American taxpayers who cannot benefit from a superior level of public service.
Targeted mentally challenged individuals may be hired for unadvertised positions in a secret, closed-door process that otherwise would be strictly illegal. Standard requirements for prior work experience may be waived so that those who most need to prove they are up to the task don’t have to. Once hired, some of these special hires may have their privileged Schedule A appointments converted into career civil-service positions.
After detailing the numerous special exceptions, benefits and other provisions afforded targeted individuals, the policy reiterates the principles in Title 5 of the U.S. Code that people only be hired “after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity.” However, by design, the policy is not fair, the process is not open, and it only extends opportunity to a select few.
The potential for abuse is enormous. The grab-bag category of undefined “current severe physical, intellectual or mental conditions” is elastic enough to allow or encourage fraud, with or without the complicity of people making hiring decisions. People may self-identify disability status on the government’s Standard Form 256, which states that information provided “will be used for statistical purposes only and will not in any way affect you individually.” As the Justice Department policy makes clear, this flatly is not true.
Affirmative action has gone far astray from its origins as a means of correcting specific acts of unlawful discrimination. The Justice Department’s new policy reveals that special preferences are being used actively to deny opportunities to otherwise well- or better-qualified job seekers in the name of an abstract view of fairness. Ironically under the first black president, the federal hiring process is separate and unequal.
The Washington Times
Response from National Council on Disability Chairman Jonathan Young to August 22 Washington Times Editorial on Federal Hiring of Americans with Disabilities
The Aug 22 Washington Times editorial, (Holder’s “severe mental deficiency”) categorizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative to hire more Americans with disabilities as “crazy” illustrates a profound mischaracterization both of disability and the Executive Order the Times finds objectionable.
In the editorial, the Times takes issue with a July 31 policy memo issued by the DOJ which seeks to improve agency “hiring of persons with targeted disabilities.” According to the Times, the memo in question lists a number of “targeted disabilities” that “trigger special hiring privileges” in compliance with President Obama’s Executive Order 13548.
While incendiary phrases like “teetering on the edge of sanity” might play well with pundits they do little to make the case the Times attempts to argue against hiring disabled workers. Use of words like “trigger,” “special” and “privilege” reinforces an unsubtle, archaic bias: “Disabled people are dangerous. They are not like us. Employers beware!”
Contrary to the apparent attempt by the Washington Times to frighten, separate and inflame, Americans with disabilities are us. People with disabilities are America’s returning veterans and our aging seniors, our sons with autism and daughters with Down syndrome. They are our Olympic athletes. Moreover, you don’t have to be born with a disability to have disability, someday, personally affect you. Most people, 80% in fact, aren’t born into disability, they acquire their conditions later.
Why hire more people with disabilities? According to 2010 Census data, 56.7 million Americans have disabilities. The unemployment rate of persons with a disability was 15% in 2011, almost double the rate for those without a disability, at 8.7%. Numbers alone would seem to indicate a need to improve these figures as the DOJ, other federal agencies, and forward thinking employers in the private sector are attempting to do.
While the Times editorial suggests applicants with disabilities would be fast-tracked into jobs at the DOJ without due screening and assessment, the DOJ memo clearly states otherwise, “A qualified individual with a targeted disability is a candidate who, based on his or her background, skills, and experience would have otherwise been selected for interview, with or without a disability (emphasis added).” Or to translate for the editorial staff at the Times: Applicants must be qualified.
To mischaracterize the DOJ initiative with fear-mongering and hyperbole misses the point. Efforts such as those outlined in the DOJ memo to increase employment of Americans with disabilities should be supported and replicated, rather than maligned.
The National Council on Disability urges employers in both the public and private sector to follow suit.
The original editorial by the Washington Times this is in response to is available at:
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.