Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pizza = happiness

I just got back from the AAPD pizza party, where I got to meet some of the interns I hadn't met yet, see the ones I had, and talk to some great people about some bad TV. This week I spent a lot of time in the office, working especially on a project for Disability Mentoring Day. I’ve also been continuing to work on questions for a program called Life Smarts that encourages consumer knowledge in teens. When I’ve been out of the office, it’s been pretty interesting too. On Wednesday, I (and Jae and Ross, two of the other HQ interns) attended a meeting of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), which my cubicle-mate Ginny Thornburgh runs. She also runs AAPD’s Interfaith Initiative. At the meeting, religious leaders and disability advocates (and some who wore both hats) came together to talk about the enforcement of the Olmstead decision, which stated that unnecessary institutionalization is in violation of the ADA. There were two speakers, Sam Bagenstos and Henry Claypool, and they both spoke about their work in the government and how they’ve seen the successes and shortcomings of the Olmstead decision. They both were extremely knowledgeable and great speakers. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know Ginny better—even though we sit right next to each other, we rarely get a chance to talk. But we discovered that her granddaughter will be going to my college next year, which was a fun coincidence! In the afternoon I met David at the SilverDocs film festival in Silver Spring—they have something called The Good Pitch, where filmmakers show their films in progress to experts in relevant fields and potential funders, seeking advice and financial backing. David spoke on a panel about a film which tracked Lott Industries, a factory connected with the auto industry that employs hundreds of people with developmental disabilities but is in danger of closing. It was really interesting to hear a variety of perspectives as well as to see the other film proposals at the Good Pitch. Today I went to a meeting of APRAIS, which is the Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions, and Seclusion to discuss the progress of S. 2860, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, and I participated in a conference call about the temporary high-risk insurance pools for people who have been denied health insurance based on pre-existing conditions that will begin on July 1. This seems like it’s going to be big for health care reform, but the real action will happen in 2014. So now I'm exhausted, and I'm going to take a break from all things AAPD until tomorrow!

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