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August 2013 Archives

St. Louis girl with Down Syndrome to model for clothing company

Many teenagers dream of becoming a fashion model. Unfortunately, for teens living with disabilities like Down syndrome, that goal may be difficult to reach, as it is rare for clothing companies to feature models with physical or mental conditions. But one young woman from Missouri successfully used social media to prove her determination -- and chops -- and got herself a modeling gig.

Learning from "Disability for a Day"

A long-ago project in Columbia was "Disability for a Day." Various people volunteered to adopt a disability for the day and then talk about it that afternoon. I decided to use low vision. Since I always wear glasses I rubbed petroleum jelly on the inside of each lens. That way I could walk around the office without bumping into people, but couldn't recognize their faces. Reading and driving were out of the question. And I was a little afraid when I rode with family members because I couldn't see the other cars. And I found, most importantly, that I couldn't look at people's eyes when I talked to them. I hadn't realized how important the eyes were-do they agree, do they disagree, do they understand? We who are "able" have a lot to learn from those who have disabilities. 

Medical discovery triggers debate of Down syndrome 'cure'

About 400,000 people in the U.S. are living with Down syndrome, with about 6,000 babies born with the condition each year. Down syndrome is a congenital disorder, with an extra copy of chromosome 21 in the body's cells being the cause of 95 percent of cases. While cognitive impairment is probably the best-known symptom, Down Syndrome can also increase the risk of heart defects, problems with breathing and hearing, Alzheimer's disease and other serious medical problems.

Social Security Administration to drop term 'mental retardation'

As part of an effort by the U.S. government to be more respectful of those living with intellectual disabilities, the Social Security Administration has officially stopped referring to those conditions as "mental retardation." The agency, which administers the Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income systems, will now use the phrase "intellectual disability" instead staring on Sep. 1.

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