Wednesday, October 31, 2012

First ever T-20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind

We are glad to announce the first ever cricket T-20 World Cup for the Blind in the history of the game is to be held in Bangalore, India in December, 2012. The World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) conferred the hosting rights of the World Cup to India during the annual general meeting held in Dubai on May 2012. The event has participation from Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka along with new entrants Nepal. It will kick off with a grand opening ceremony in KSCA stadium.

 This will be the first blind cricket International event to be held in Bangalore and also the first one in India since 2005. Doordarshan and All India Radio to telecast the tournament live keeping in view the reach of the National broadcaster.The event will greatly boost the image of Blind Cricket and cricketers in this age of expanded media drive. Blind cricket is a rehabilitation drive for the millions of visually impaired across the country.
The selected Indian blind cricket team is as follows: 
1.Shekar Naik (Captain), B3, Karnataka
2.I. Ajaykumar Reddy (Vice captain), B3 Andhra Pradesh
3.Ganeshbhai Bhusara, B3, Gujarat
4.Hanuman Pooniya, B3, Rajasthan
5.K. Ramesh, B3, Tamilnadu
6.Maneesh A, B3, Kerala
7.Prakasha Jayaramaiah, B2, Karnataka
8.Dunna Venkatesh, B2, Andhra Pradesh
9.Hiteshbhai Patel, B2, Gujarat
10.Dilip Munde, B2, Maharastra
11.Pankaj Bhue, B2, Odisha
12.Vikas Patel, B1, Gujarat
13.Ketanbhai Patel, B1, Gujarat
14.Sanjeev Kumar Dalal, B1, Haryana
15.Ravi S, B1, Karnataka
16.Md. Jaffar Iqbal, B1, Odisha
17.Subhash Bhoya, B1, Gujarat.

                              Ex-cricketer Syeed Kirmani unveiling the World Cup ball

                                                      T-20 World Cup Schedule:

29th and 30th November 2012
WBCC Annual General Meeting
30th November 2012
Arrival of all participating Teams
1st December 2012
T20 Inauguration
2nd December to 10th December 2012
League Matches
11th December 2012
Rest Day
12th December 2012
2 Semi Finals
13th December 2012
Final and Prize Distribution Ceremony

For more info, log in


Monday, October 29, 2012

RTI expose of inaccessible Delhi Post Offices

The theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities for 2012 is ‘Removing barriers to create an inclusive & accessible society for all’. Postal Services comes under essential services but are the post offices accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PwD’s)?

The Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is the most widely distributed post office system in the world. The postal service comes under the Department of Posts which is a part of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology under the Government of India. India has been divided into 22 postal circles, each circle headed by a Chief Postmaster General. Each Circle is further divided into Regions comprising field units, called Divisions, headed by a Postmaster General.Further divided into divisions headed by SSPOs & SPOs.

I sent many letters and reminders to SSPO, East Delhi to make the zone accessible to PwD's but nothing happened. Hurt by this constant discrimination, I filed an RTI to know the accessibility status of all the post offices in the capital of the nation. The results are shocking. In subsequent days, I shall upload the responses of RTI replies from each division in New Delhi here. Please watch out this space. In the mean time, read below the summarized report of this RTI revelation published in today's Times of India:

No ease of access for disabled to post offices
Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN | Oct 29, 2012
                         DIFFICULT TO REACH: The post office at Gulmohar 
                         Park is located in a basement without any ramps
NEW DELHI: Gulmohar Park's post office exists in the basement of DDA market, down a flight of stairs in a structure with no ramps or lift. That, however, hasn't deterred the south division of the India Post from declaring it "barrier-free" in its reply to an RTI enquiry filed by Dr Satyendra Singh, professor of physiology at University College of Medical Sciences and doctor at GTB Hospital.

Singh, himself disabled, filed a query under RTI Act in July requesting information from the postal department on the levels of accessibility at Delhi post offices. The reply is worrying as many first-floor post offices have no lifts and many of those declared "barrier-free" have stairs leading to them.

South division claims 65 of their 67 post offices (including Gulmohar Park's), are "barrier-free". The ones at Chittaranjan Park and Kailash Colony, it admits, are on the first floor "without any facility of lift". South division also claims that "ramps have been constructed for free movement of wheelchairs" and "height of all the counters has been lowered for easy access".

West division, too, claims "all the post offices of this division are easily accessible and barrier-free". "The two post offices in Rajouri Garden are both on the ground floor. The one in Janta Market has a very high pavement in front of it and the one in the main market is on a narrow and potholed bylane frequently flooded by sewage water and is slippery. A visually-impaired person can't reach that one," says Singh. The postal department didn't reply to his queries immediately but responded only after a first appeal was filed.

Singh travels 10 kilometers to Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, to send a speed post as the post offices closer to home all are inaccessible. "We only have impairments, it's the society which makes us disabled," he says. 

                      RTI MAN: Dr Satendra Singh at a post office in Jhilmil
North division runs 81 post offices of which 14 are above ground-floor or occupy multiple-floors. As per the division's own admission, "there is no provision of lifts in any post office building". However, the division had written to the executive engineer, postal civil division, for providing assistance as per the Disability Act, in seven post offices (including Ashok Vihar, Civil Lines, Malka Ganj and Rohini Sector 7) first in January 2009 and again in July and September, 2010, "but the needful has not been done yet". Southwest division runs 60 post offices, mostly from rented buildings, and 46 of them don't have ramps for wheelchairs. None of the post offices in the southwest division are on the first floor. 

In central division, four post offices are operating from first-floors, "without having the lift" or any "separate arrangement for the people with disability". East division, too, states that "no post office under this division is with the facility of lift" and "no facilities were provided" for people with disability on POs above ground-floor. They say that barring seven post offices (at Krishna Nagar, Azad Nagar, Old Seemapuri, Mayur Vihar, Shahdaramandi, Gandhi Nagar Bazar and GTB Hospital), the rest of their 62 offices are "accessible to all persons with disabilities". Apparently, the stairs (without even handrails) at the PO in Jhilmil Industrial Area are not a barrier.

In the first question, Singh had sought "accessibility status" and explained what he meant by adding parenthetically, "whether accessible/barrier-free or not to persons with disabilities". In reply to this query, the office of the director, General Post Office, informs, "The GPO is centrally located and it is, therefore, accessible for all".

Source: TOI dated 29 Oct 2012 (5th page) and online at

Next on Enablist: Only dead ends for disabled (RTI replies from North, West, Southwest, East, South, Central Divison and GPO, New Delhi. Watch Out). I also request the readers to send me photographs of inaccessible post offices from Delhi, if any, at

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Birthday Wishes to Polio Pioneer

28th October, New Delhi. 
Today is Jonas Salk's birthday-the polio pioneer. Rotary International may have celebrating his birthday wrongly on 24th October as World Polio Day but the fact remains that he was born on this day. To pay tribute to this legend I am covering a 10-photo-cum-quotes of Dr Salk. 

Please also see "Polio comic as part of graphic medicine". The source is Feb 2009 Rotarian Magazine and the artist is Steve Buccellato. This comic has been linked at 'Infinite Ability.'

Friday, October 26, 2012

Study on Physical Disability and Identities of Resistance

Stacey L. Coffman-Rosen writes:

"Dear friends,

I apologize in advance for cross-posting.

I am a doctoral candidate in Human Development at Fielding Graduate University located in Santa Barbra, California. I am conducting an IRB approved study for which I am seeking participants.

I wish to interview women between the ages of 18-50 who meet the following criteria:

(1) have a visible physical impairment; (2) self identify as disabled; (3) consider disability an important part of their identity or self concept; and (4) were diagnosed with a physical impairment by the age of 6.

This research focuses on how women with physical impairments develop positive identities that incorporate disability. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative research study is to examine the narratives and life stories of women with visible physical impairments who self-identify as disabled and demonstrate identities of resistance. This research may impact the process and understanding of social identity development in the lives of women with physical disability. Through narrative inquiry (life stories), disabled women’s voices will be heard in both their complexity and discursiveness. These voices are not the passive stereotypes of disability, but an emerging resistance that may potentially revolutionize how women with disabilities feel about their lives, bodies, and ultimately, themselves. I hope that the knowledge shared by participants will help advance knowledge in disability studies and influence the practice of psychologists, and other paraprofessionals in mental health.

Participants will answer questions related to their current conceptualization of disability and the role of intersecting social identities in the creation and maintenance of identity and self-concept. Participants will be asked to describe positive and negative aspects of living with impairment/disability. Participants will identify situations where they have agency and autonomy.

Interviews (which should not take longer than 2 hours) can be conducted in person (I can travel to you if you are located in the Central Florida/Greater Orlando area), by telephone, or by Skype/webcam. Participant language and communication styles will be accommodated. I would be happy to provide a copy of the interview questions and the informed consent form (ICF) in advance of the interview.

If you fit the study criteria and would be willing to continue directly to the survey, please click on this link:

The survey is short (15 questions) and contains more information about the study and an informed consent.

If you would like more information about this research, please contact me at the email address I will send you more information about the study, including the informed consent (IFC) and the interview questions. The interviews have been running between one to one and a half hours.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this posting."

Stacey L. Coffman-Rosen, Doctoral Candidate
Human Development
School of Human and Organizational Development
Fielding Graduate University
356 Copperstone Circle
Casselberry, FL 32707
(407) 699-1491

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Theme for Human Rights Day 2012

Every year, Human Rights Day, on 10 December, is an opportunity to raise global awareness of human rights issues.

This year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will focus on inclusion and the right to participate in public life.

Fulfillment of the right to participate is fundamental to the functioning of a democracy and an effective human rights protection system.?Inclusion of all those who have been traditionally locked out of the process is an essential precondition to the achievement of both.

The theme draws directly from Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which speak of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, the right to freedom of assembly and association and the right to take part in government, either directly or through freely chosen representatives.

This Human Rights Day, OHCHR aims to highlight that 'participation in public life' can only achieve its full meaning and real significance when everybody is included in decision-making processes.

The theme is in accordance with the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 which is "Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all." Let's hope the two events address the urgent issue of accessibility in depth.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We are almost there, however…[Post Polio Syndrome]

India has been taken off the polio endemic list by the World Health Organization this February. That leaves only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria as polio endemic countries. We are almost there as far as polio eradication is concerned. However, there are around 12-20 million polio survivors living in the world today. And a bitter and largely unknown fact is that decades after recovery from polio, 60% have the risk of developing new muscle weakness and other symptoms that can lead to increased debility. These new symptoms are referred to as Post Polio Syndrome or PPS in our medical jargon. PPS affects not only “paralytic” polio survivors, but also unknown numbers of patients who had subclinical polio. The pathophysiology behind PPS is not fully understood and the latest research suggests that our reliance on pharmacological agents is of no value in PPS. 

I quote verbatim from an article (Update on current and emerging treatment options for post-polio syndrome): 

“Post-polio syndrome (PPS) refers to the clinical deterioration experienced by many polio survivors several decades after their acute illness. The symptoms are new muscle weakness, decreased muscle endurance, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, cold intolerance, and this typical clinical entity is reported from different parts of the world.

The pathophysiology behind PPS is not fully understood, but a combination of distal degeneration of enlarged motor units caused by increased metabolic demands and the normal aging process, in addition to inflammatory mechanisms, are thought to be involved. There is no diagnostic test for PPS, and the diagnosis is based on a proper clinical workup where all other possible explanations for the new symptoms are ruled out.
The basic principle of management of PPS lies in physical activity, individually tailored training programs, and lifestyle modification. Muscle weakness and muscle pain may be helped with specific training programs, in which training in warm water seems to be particularly helpful. Properly fitted orthoses can improve the biomechanical movement pattern and be energy-saving. Fatigue can be relieved with lifestyle changes, assistive devices, and training programs. Respiratory insufficiency can be controlled with noninvasive respiratory aids including biphasic positive pressure ventilators. 

Pharmacologic agents like prednisone, amantadine, pyridostigmine, and coenzyme Q10 are of no benefit in PPS. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been tried in three studies, all having positive results. IVIG could probably be a therapeutic alternative, but the potential benefit is modest, and some important questions are still unanswered, in particular to which patients this treatment is useful, the dose, and the therapeutic interval [1].” 

The United States National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) lists the following Criteria for diagnosis of PPS [2] 

• Prior paralytic poliomyelitis with evidence of motor neuron loss (which can be confirmed through a typical patient history, a neurological examination and, if needed, an EMG examination).
• A period of partial or complete functional recovery after acute paralytic polio, followed by an interval (usually ≥ 15 years) of stable neuromuscular function.
• Gradual onset of progressive and persistent new muscle weakness or abnormal muscle fatigability, with or without generalized fatigue, muscle atrophy, or muscle and joint pain.
• Symptoms that persist for at least a year.
• Exclusion of other neuromuscular, medical, and orthopaedic problems as causes of symptoms.

One of the most common questions polio survivors ask is, “How should I exercise?” This has been much debated [3]. General guidelines for patients are: 

• Maintain an active exercise program to avoid deconditioning and cardiovascular sequelae
• Avoid overly aggressive exercise (fatiguing)
• Resist the impulse to exercise through pain. 

Muscle fibers of polio survivors have very limited endurance because of the loss of aerobic enzyme activity and greater reliance on anaerobic metabolic capacity [4]. Cross-training programs, such as alternating cycling with swimming and walking, is a good way to involve different muscle groups, but such programs should be consistent in terms of repetitions, resistance, and time. Swimming is beneficial but it is also a form of strenuous exercise. If moving out of a wheelchair/assistive device to the pool involve tiring efforts than swimming should be avoided. Conservation and judicious use of the energy is the key in PPS. For most people, using daily activities as a primary way to exercise is too erratic and may lead to overuse, fatigue, and further weakness. We must evaluate our daily routine as so many times because of work pressure we ignore our body. 

Thirty one years ago, in October 1981, some 250 health care providers and polio survivors held an international symposium in Chicago to consider this question: What ever happened to the polio patient? [5]. In a summary of the proceedings of that conference the editors note “Those survivors - the former generation that pioneered the advances – seem to be ‘prematurely ageing,’ and no one really understands why.” Thirty one years later we know the name of this new collection of symptoms but the pathophysiology and management is largely skeptical. PPS is difficult to diagnose since the symptoms of presentation are usually non-specific. 

The awareness on PPS is still very poor, at least in India. Globally also, literature is incorrect when it comes to World Polio Day. I disclosed it in my previous blog post how erroneously Jonas Salk’s birthday is correlated on 24th October. Today is again 24th October and we in India celebrate Dussehra. Let’s burn the effigy of ignorance on this auspicious occasion and spread awareness on PPS. Today is also a day when devotees worship Goddess Shakti who represents strength, ability and courage. On this day, the Devas joined their energies into Shakti, a single mass of incandescent energy to kill the devil Mahishasura. Let’s explore our infinite abilities, and work collectively in killing the demon of ignorance, that is, PPS. 

We (polio survivors) aren't dead yet. Are we? 
Polio survivor's fight to correct date of Salk's b'day


1. Farbu E. Update on current and emerging treatment options for post-polio syndrome. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2010 Jul 21;6:307-13.
2. Post-Polio Syndrome: Identifying Best Practices in Diagnosis & Care. March of Dimes, 2001
3. Silver JK, Aiello DD. What internists need to know about postpolio syndrome. Cleve Clin J Med. 2002 Sep;69(9):704-6, 709-12.
4. Silver JK, Aiello DD. Bone density and fracture risk in male polio survivors. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001; 82:1329.
5. retrieved on 24 Oct 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Amrita Gyawali: Wheeling up the ramp

Nepal. Upon seeing glamorous shots of 21-year-old Amrita Gyawali on Cybersansar—with her deep-set eyes and perfect smile—many would contend that she is one of the prettiest girls on the website.

However, only a few would know that this is a young lady who has dedicated herself to challenging social assumptions regarding women with disabilities, a young lady who has not let her personal afflictions stand in the way of her ambitions.At a time when people with disabilities are struggling to be included in various fields and professions, Amrita has taken matters into her own hands and established herself as the first model in Nepal’s fashion industry—in a wheel-chair.

Besides having 40 photographs published on the Cybersansar website, Amrita has also modelled in a ramp show organised by the Namuna College of Fashion and Technology.

Although one wouldn’t know it to look at her, considering her cheery disposition, it has taken an incredible amount of heartache and pain for Amrita to get to this point in her life. When she was 3, she lost her entire family—both her parents, her brother and sister—in a horrific bus accident in Lucknow, India. Amrita, who was the only one in her family to have survived, suffered a severe spinal injury that bound her to a wheel-chair forever, unable to walk or stand. 

She was then taken to the Jorpati-based SOS Children’s Village, an international charity that funded homes for children in various parts of the country, with one dedicated to children and young people with special needs. While these circumstances would have been enough to shatter anyone else in her place, Amrita has shown tremendous determination in trying to overcome the tragedies of her past and move forward. She now stays at the SOS Girl’s Hostel in Naxal and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology at Tri Chandra College. 

As for the idea of modelling, Amrita describes being intrigued by the thought since she had been in the 9th grade. However, it wasn’t until after completing her plus two exams that the idea started taking concrete form. She recalls telling her friends about her plans, and they were instantly supportive.

One of these friends was Rama Karki, who is also a counsellor and nurse at the SOS Children’s Village. Rama has been in Amrita’s life for many years now, having seen her through some traumatic times, and the two are very close, almost like sisters. In fact, it was Rama who asked the owners of Cybersansar if they could feature Amrita on the website. Consequently, Amrita had her first photo published on the site in February of last year.

“Amrita is not only beautiful, but she is bold and confident too. Her confidence was one of the things that persuaded us to give her a chance so that she could inspire others like her to come forward,” said Abhinav Kasaju, Cybersansar’s founder. He adds that Amrita’s photos, which feature her donning a variety of jewellery, have proved quite popular with visitors to the site. 

Following this, Namuna College of Fashion and Technology offered her a spot in their fashion show last September. Although she was meant to be included with the regular models, the team decided to incorporate a different segment in the show dedicated to children with disabilities after talking to Amrita—’Dresses for Special Need Children’. 

The segment featured, along with Amrita, eight other wheel-chair users. “At first, I was a bit nervous because it’s generally assumed that modelling is only meant for tall and slim people. But when I came onto the ramp on my wheel-chair, the applause I received and the sense of support I got from the audience was very reassuring,” Amrita says. 

Despite the relatively warm reception that she’s gotten from the industry and the public so far, Amrita isn’t too sure she wants to pursue modelling as a full-time career. Talking about her recent experiences, she says, “There is still a massive difference in this field between regular and differently-abled models. Whether it has to do with sharing photographs on commercial sites like Cybersansar or taking part in ramp shows, it’s very difficult for us to get the same kind of opportunities as the others.” 

Amrita is currently involved in a number of activities aimed towards the upliftment of women with disabilities. She holds the view that in terms of advocacy on disability, although moving from a welfare approach to a right-based approach is challenging, it is also necessary. 

Disabled individuals—regardless of whether they are men or women—needn’t shy away from society and shut themselves out. If you look hard enough, she says, you will find that people are more supportive than you’d ever expected. 

Offers are still coming in. Amrita has just recently wrapped up a photo-shoot for a fashion collection centre at Chabahil; her image will soon be featured on a billboard in the city—something she is looking forward to. She has also been offered parts in a number of music videos by Nhyoo Bajracharya and other singers. For someone who had every reason to give up, Amrita’s show of strength is a rare and beautiful thing.

WCAG 2.0 approved as an ISO/IEC International Standard

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), the world’s leading standards body in electrotechnology, and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), through the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1: Information Technology, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have announced approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

“This important accessibility standard, which is already widely deployed internationally, can now benefit from additional formal recognition from IEC and ISO national bodies,” noted Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “Such recognition is expected to increase internationally harmonized uptake of WCAG 2.0 by governments, business, and the broader Web community.”

“ISO/IEC JTC 1 is very pleased to bring on board this most important of W3C accessibility standards, given the increased interest in accessibility among JTC 1 National Bodies in recent years,” said Karen Higginbottom, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1. “We also expect that IEC and ISO recognition will encourage greater convergence around WCAG 2.0, further driving development of supporting tools and software.”

WCAG 2.0 has been adopted or referenced by many governments and organizations. Following the passage of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an increasing number of countries have been seeking solutions to address their treaty commitments for information technology accessibility for people with disabilities.

“The ISO/IEC imprimatur increases the avenues for adoption of W3C technology and guidelines,” noted Judy Brewer, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C. “In some countries, policies require that nationally adopted technical standards must be ISO/IEC. Formal approval by JTC 1 of WCAG 2.0 will increase deployment, reduce fragmentation, and provide all users with greater interoperability on the web.”

WCAG 2.0 was first submitted to the ISO/IEC JTC 1 process for Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) in October 2011. W3C has been an approved JTC 1 PAS Submitter since November 2010, and is one of nine organizations that are currently approved. To learn more about W3C and the ISO/IEC JTC1 PAS Submission process, see the W3C PAS FAQ and the JTC 1 website.

As an ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standard, WCAG 2.0 is now also available from IEC and ISO, while it remains a stable international W3C standard with extensive supporting resources. JTC 1 recognition neither changes nor supercedes the existing standard, which remains freely available from the W3C website along with multiple W3C authorized translations of WCAG 2.0.

Monday, October 22, 2012

World Polio Day - 24th or 28th October?

The article in the prestigious JAMA (the Journal of American Medical Association) begins as, “…As World Polio Day is remembered on October 24…” [1]. The official site of World Health Organization’s Western Pacific region also mentions [2]:

World Polio Day originally brought people together to remember the birth of a man who led the first team to develop a vaccine against polio, Dr. Jonas Salk. It was the development of this vaccine, and its successor oral polio vaccine, that enabled the world to embark on an ambitious journey – the eradication of polio. Every year on 24 October, people around the world shine a spotlight on the importance of global eradication.”

My own interview (I am a polio survivor) was published as World Polio Day special on Times Internet Limited's venture on 24 Oct 2011[3]. So far so good. 

Let’s move on to the title of an article published in the journal ‘Vaccine’ [4]. It states- Salk. Born 28 October 1914, New York, NY; died 23 June 1995, La Jolla, CA. Yes, it’s the complete title and a Google search will tell you that Salk was indeed born on 28th October. The Wikipedia page on Jonas Salk also mentions the same date. In fact, Jonas Salk's eldest son, Peter mentions some factual errors in the ‘talk page’ of this wiki page but he did not contradict the birth date so I assume it’s correct [5].

World Polio Day is not mentioned in the list of United Nation’s Observances [6]. However there is a complete website on this day  On contacting the site, I got immediate response which reads:

"Dear Dr. Singh,You are so right. 24th of October has been chosen by a.o. the Rotary Foundation to commemorate the month in which Jonas Salk was born. We will correct this immediately."

The closest balancing act in this mess is done by an Australian agency which carefully states, “…Wear Orange for World Polio Day each year which falls on or near the birthdate of Jonas Salk (28 October)”[7]. This is the closest accurate version which I could find on literature. For years, Rotary International and Gates foundation are celebrating this day on 24th. The honest error may be giving out wrong impression but nobody could ever forget Salk’s response when he was asked who holds the patent of this vaccine. He famously said- “Nobody. Could you patent the Sun?”

The Enablist’s view: We have two excellent vaccines, IPV and OPV, but the unsavoury arguments about their merits and defects had led to delays in controlling the disease in endemic countries and in its ultimate eradication. Whether 24th or 28th, I feel neither Dr Salk’s family nor anybody else would mind if we achieve the broader goal of Polio eradication. Let’s hope people of Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan join the global community in fight against eradication.


1.    Mitka M. Polio eradication goal still elusive. JAMA. 2004 Oct 20;292(15):1805-6.
Retrieved 22 October 2012.
4.     Spier RE. Jonas Salk. Born 28 October 1914, New York, NY; died 23 June 1995, La Jolla, CA. Vaccine. 1995 Nov;13(16):1487.
5. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
6. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
7. Retrieved 22 October 2012.

The Hospital Poems

Dr. Jim Ferris is the chair of the Disability Studies Program at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. He is also the author of several books and journals on poetry and disability.

His celebrated creation The Hospital Poems is the winner of the 2004 MSR Poetry Book Award and is a collection of poems published as a memoir to recall his childhood spent in the hospital. Many of these poems go deep inside Ferris's own journey. Ferris' poems range from humorous, to agitation, and optimism. His most well known poem, "Poet of Cripples", has gained critical acclaim for speaking out against the "fix-it" establishment.

Kathi Wolfe (Freelance Writer/Poet) reviews his work in Disability Studies Quarterly:

Anyone who believes W.H. Auden's dictum that "poetry makes nothing happen" will be shocked into disbelief on reading The Hospital Poems by Jim Ferris. Ferris' searing, Whitmanesque volume of poetry, winner of the 2004 International Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, is a sharper instrument of social change than any political revolution.

Ferris, who has a mobility disability, spent much of his childhood and adolescence in the hospital. The Hospital Poems is a memoir in poetry about this experience. Disability policy, architectural and attitudinal barriers–even a seminal civil rights law like the Americans with Disabilities Act–can seem like distant matters impacting only other people somewhere "out there" to anyone untouched by a disability. Yet, The Hospital Poems, by turns trenchant, defiant, and poignant, makes the tyranny of the "normal" up close and personal for readers with or without disabilities. From the opening poem "A Poet of Cripples," where Ferris, echoing Whitman, says, "Know that you are a cripple too.\I sing for cripples, I sing for you," to "Mercy," where the poet says of his non-disabled eighth grade classmates visiting him as their good deed for the day ("Blessed are the merciful, for they shall have mercy.\ But not from me"), The Hospital Poemsinvites, even compels, readers to share the author's anger, shame, pain, and evolving disability pride. Only the most intractable reader will come away from this work unchanged.

There are three reasons why The Hospital Poems is an almost breathtakingly powerful work. First, the volume is not a disease-of-the-week, let's-have-a-pity-party-every-page, tear-jerker. Ferris, who teaches disability studies and communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, doesn't turn the memories of his youth into an "inspirational cripple" tale or a medical case history. When Ferris uses medical terminology, it is with, almost savage, irony–as in "Standard Operating Procedure," a poem, addressed to a surgeon about to operate on a boy. "Tell him this is for his own good, this will hurt you more than him....Then press the drill to his thigh and squeeze the trigger," the poet writes, "....He won't like it much, children are like that."

The Hospital Poems tells the story not of a saintly child but of an ordinary boy who is under the auspices of doctors, nurses and other adults who want to "'fix him' so he'll look 'normal.'" Anyone marginalized because of disability, race, sexual orientation or other difference will identify with the patient in the poem "The Coliseum." A boy is standing before the doctors who are conducting rounds in the hospital. "You are a specimen for study, a toy, a puzzle—they speak to each other as if you are unconscious," the poet writes. Though, anger and sadness are found in many of Ferris' poems, The Hospital Poems has much humor in it. "Fear at Thirteen," which describes an adolescent's fear of having an erection during surgery, is a mordantly funny poem. Ferris writes, "hatchet men waiting to cut you, and what you fear most in all the world is that you'll pop a boner and die embarrassed on this green yet sterile field." In the poem "Robert Walton," the young speaker of the poem can't understand why Robert, another boy in the hospital ward, calls him a "hoar" when he's angry. "I have no idea what this word might mean so I look it up, puzzle over the spelling," Ferris write, "still can't understand why\he would call me a kind of frost."

Another reason why the poems in The Hospital Poems are so evocative and memorable is that this is not a politically correct volume. Though filled with a disability rights perspective and utterly lacking in pity or sentimentality, this work does not pretend that there isn't emotional or physical pain in Ferris' childhood world. In "Meat," the poet, recalls his hospital mates returning to the ward after surgery: "If it's your friend you go by his bed to check on him.....When we pass by, even if you hated the guy, we take care not to bump the bed." In "For His Own Good," one of the most poignant poem in the collection, Ferris reflects on what it was like for his parents when he was an infant, "and I wonder/what it must have/been like to/give your baby/to the doctors./...What do you tell the brave little soldier?"

Finally, The Hospital Poems will be indelibly imprinted on the minds and hearts of readers because the poems in this volume are superbly crafted. Though some of the poems are written with deceptive simplicity, anyone trying to write verse of this quality would fail by a long shot. A couple of poems in this book are too prosaic to be effective poetry. "From the Surgeons: Drs. Sofield, Louis, Hark, Alfini, Millar, Baehr, Bevan-Thomas, Tsatsos, Ericson, and Bennan" is one example. This poem, in the form of a case history, gives the reader insight into the clinical jargon that dehumanizes people with disabilities. Yet, the relentlessness of the medical argot (of such lines as "Physical examination. Head. There is nothing abnormal about the head.") becomes repetitive and numbing. Even the most sympathetic reader may feel at this juncture as if he or she were being, figuratively, beaten over the head by the poet's message. Fortunately, Ferris' forays into preaching are rare, and this is a minor quibble. Ferris is one of the most talented of the new generation of crip poets and artists. The Hospital Poems does what good art does best: engage, entertain and create cultural change.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Can Disability Be Sexy?

By Michelle Diament (Disability Scoop)

A series of photographs spoofing the often racy advertisements from clothing retailer American Apparel is questioning traditional ideas of beauty in a most provocative way.

The photos are of Jes Sachse, a 25-year-old Canadian college student with a rare genetic condition known as Freeman-Sheldon syndrome. She has unique facial features, a curved spine and her right leg is a bit shorter than her left, but Sachse is not lacking in attitude.

The series dubbed “American Able” includes 13 recreations of actual American Apparel ads. In one called “Tight,” Sachse appears in a leotard to strut her stuff before an oversized window. In another ad called “Workout,” Sachse is shown wearing nothing more than a headband and green shorts.

The work produced by Sachse’s friend, photographer Holly Norris, 21, is appearing in Toronto subway stations this month on more than 270 electronic screens as part of a photography festival.

“What I hope comes of this is that people can view disability differently and see that people with disabilities are sexual,” Sachse says. “So many people are trying to come to my aid and protect me from being exploited and they want to prevent disabled people from living their lives.”

The project began nearly two years ago as an assignment for a women and popular culture class that Norris was taking as an undergraduate at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Norris thought it would be fun to spoof American Apparel advertising, because the company claims that models in its print ads are just normal, everyday girls, though they all seem to share similar body types.

“This idea of who is beautiful and what’s sexy that we see in the media all the time isn’t necessarily what beauty is to me or to you,” says Norris, who received permission from American Apparel to display the work publicly.

As a child, Sachse says she was taught to deny that she was different. But over the years she instead developed pride in her body. Most of the clothing used in the photos actually belongs to Sachse who says she likes to dress stylishly.

“I look confident in the photos and I look just how I feel about the work, about the idea, about my body,” she says.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Keeping You Abreast; Breast Cancer Awareness Handbook

Living with a disability does not make a female immune to the risk of breast cancer. On the contrary, studies have shown that there are higher rates of death related to breast cancer among women with a disability, even when diagnosed at the same stage as women without a disability.
Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.But DO NOT think that breast cancer is a death sentence. Rather it is a wake up call. It makes you aware of the fact that how fragile life can be. But at the same time do not forget that that there are no shortcuts with breast cancer.It is high time that you should become aware of the things that you have to do in order to survive. You have to be your own advocate. With the help of this handbook learn how examine yourself. THIS IS YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR LIFE.
Unfortunately, till now, there has been no accessible information for the breast cancer prevention, breast cancer self examination and breast cancer awareness in our country for the women with disabilities.
I am glad to announce that this is for the first time such information has been compiled here in our country. Cross the Hurdles has prepared a Handbook for the women with disabilities and their care providers so that their breast health is properly taken care of. It is available in both Hindi and English for the reader's convenience.
This information is available in accessible format in the form of E-Book uploaded on website. You can read it online or Download it easily.
For further information write to:
Abha Khetarpal, 
President,Cross the Hurdles

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Voices of Courage Awards 2013

Voices of Courage Awards 2013
“Refugees and Displaced Persons with Disabilities”

Accepting Nominations for Honorees
Deadline: October 31, 2012

Each year, the Women’s Refugee Commission honors individuals who are working on behalf of refugee, internally displaced, asylum-seeking and resettled women and young people. We are now seeking candidates to be honored at our Voices of Courage Awards luncheon on May 2, 2013.

In 2013, we will honor individuals who are developing or leading programs that benefit and include refugee, internally displaced, asylum-seeking, returnee or resettled people with disabilities.

People living with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded of all displaced people. They may be hidden in their shelters, and subsequently not identified in data collection or included in needs assessments by humanitarian agencies. As a result, they are excluded from or unable to access most aid programs because of physical and social barriers, including negative attitudes. They rarely have the opportunity to engage meaningfully in community decisions and are rarely consulted directly on their own needs — with agencies frequently deferring to community leaders, family members or caregivers for even the most personal concerns, like access to reproductive health care or protection from violence. Often, refugees with disabilities are more isolated following their displacement than when they were in their home communities.

The Women’s Refugee Commission is working to advance the rights and dignity of refugees and displaced persons with disabilities through research, advocacy and training initiatives that develop the capacity of humanitarian agencies to ensure non-discrimination and of persons with disabilities to lead full lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities. Our Voices of Courage Awards luncheon will help shine a spotlight on this critical issue and highlight the skills and capacities of persons with disabilities.

The Women’s Refugee Commission wishes to recognize outstanding individuals supporting this often-neglected population. Some examples of projects honorees might be undertaking:

  • Developing and supporting refugees and displaced persons with disabilities to form representative organizations or groups in refugee and displaced communities.
  • Working with communities to protect persons with disabilities from violence in humanitarian settings.
  • Supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection programs in refugee and displaced contexts, including child friendly spaces, mentorship and peer support.
  • Providing sexual and reproductive health education to young persons with disabilities who are refugees.
  • Bridging the gap between disabled and non-disabled youth in refugee settings.
  • Ensuring access to information and services through innovative approaches, outreach and awareness raising.
  • Your nominee’s project here!

We encourage organizations to nominate persons with disabilities working in their projects, who are positive role models for refugees and displaced persons with disabilities, or making a significant contribution to promoting the rights of this marginalized group.

Two individuals will be selected to receive the Voices of Courage Award. The two 2013 Voices of Courage honorees will each nominate an organization to receive a $5,000 grant from the Women’s Refugee Commission to further their critical work to benefit displaced people in their communities. We will feature descriptions of the honorees’ selected programs in our luncheon journal.

Candidate criteria:
  • Candidates may live in the United States or overseas.
  • Candidates should be individuals who have developed or implemented successful programs that serve people with disabilities who are currently or were previously displaced by conflict or natural disasters, or who are seeking or have been granted asylum.
  • Candidates should be passionate advocates for improving the lives and protecting the rights of refugees, internally displaced people or asylum-seekers with disabilities.
  • Candidates must be able to travel to New York for a week in May (the luncheon is Thursday, May 2, 2013) to accept their award (all travel and housing expenses will be paid).
  • Candidates must be willing to participate in media interviews.
  • The ability to speak English is preferred.

To nominate a candidate for a Voices of Courage award, please send: 1) a letter of nomination that details the program and tells the story of the nominee; 2) the curriculum vitae, résumé or biography of the nominee; and 3) the names and email/phone/fax of three references. If you email your nomination, please include all the information in a single attachment or include it in the body of the email. Include the name of the nominee in the subject of the email. Please do not send any additional materials (photos, etc.) as they will not be considered.

Please email your nomination by October 31, 2012 to You may also fax the nomination to +1.212.551.3180, attention Nicole Rajani, or mail to: Women’s Refugee Commission, Attn: Voices of Courage Nominees, 122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168-1289, USA.

PLEASE NOTE: We can only consider nominations that are written in English.

Thank you for your help. For more information on the luncheon, contact us at the above address