Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sarah Palin: Advocate?

Sarah Palin is back in the news about special needs, after writing an article about raising a child with Down Syndrome in Newsweek's "The Daily Beast." Read "Life With Trig: Sarah Palin on Raising a Special-Needs Child." Because she writes as a mother and takes no position on any policies affecting people with special needs, it remains unclear how she is fulfilling her pledge to be an advocate in this area.

About a year ago, that same "Daily Beast" column carried the headline "Sarah Palin Snubs Disability Advocates." A few snippets:

Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc: "Since the end of the presidential election, we haven't heard Sarah Palin articulate any specific policy proposals [on disability]. [She] "has unfortunately politicized the issue in ways that are not productive, and it has converted what really are bipartisan issues into partisan ones."

Adam Pockriss, a spokesperson for Autism Speaks, noted that since a fundraising walk in 2009, "Palin hasn’t had any further involvement with Autism Speaks, nor has she taken a position on any autism-related policy items, to our knowledge."

Andrew Imparato, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities: "We'd like to see her go back to some of the policy issues, like Medicaid costs at the state level and how that will affect children and adults with disabilities. There are a lot of issues out there that we haven't seen her weigh in on. So the jury's still out on how strong of a disability advocate she wants to be."

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