disability

Watchdog Finds Staffing, Bug Problems At Disabilities Facility

Aug 29, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Citing a lack of staff as the primary culprit, Florida’s leading watchdog group for people with disabilities says it has found dirty living conditions, including “black vents” on an air conditioner and a fire-ant infestation, at a state institution in Jackson County.

Patty Houghland, an investigator with the organization Disability Rights Florida, sent an email to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities this month highlighting a staffing shortage at Sunland Center in Marianna.

Pulse First Responder Granted Disability Benefits

Jan 4, 2019

A Pulse shooting first responder with PTSD was granted disability benefits today. Former Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado’s benefits had been in limbo.

A candidate with a difference is running for State Senate District 23 in Sarasota. And if she wins, this difference could make a bit of history.

A new Florida task force met for the first time this week to start looking into transportation issues people with developmental and intellectual disabilities face on a daily basis. The Task Force on Transportation Disadvantaged Services was created as part of a new law that just took effect.

By the time Stephenie Hashmi was in her mid-20s, she had achieved a lifelong dream — she was the charge nurse of one of Kansas City's largest intensive care units. But even as she cared for patients, she realized that something was off with her own health.

"I remember just feeling tired and feeling sick and hurting, and not knowing why my joints and body was hurting," she says.

Nancy and Dan Gapinski of Glendale, Wis., remember a time when they couldn't really communicate with their own son.

"He used to not really have any kinds of conversations with us. He did a lot of echoing things that we said, and scripting from movies," Nancy Gapinski says as she and her husband wait for their son Ben's school bus to arrive. "A lot of times kids didn't know how to respond to him then, and didn't know what he was trying to say and conversations wouldn't really go anywhere."

Updated 2/28 3:06 p.m.

Jacksonville City Council members heard concerns Monday from Springfield residents about a proposed legal settlement between the city and two disability-rights nonprofits.

The settlement, in part, mandates the city approve a permit for an apartment complex for the disabled and chronically homeless,  at 139 Cottage Ave., or face a battle in court.


People who enjoy the great outdoors spend a lot of money -- and competition for those dollars can be fierce.

It’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, and a Bay County business is one of ten recognized across the state for hiring people with disabilities.

Floridians with unique abilities now have access to tax free savings plans thanks to a program that launched July 1.  ABLE accounts are based on college savings plans that have been around since the 1990s.

The Florida House is close to amending the state’s Civil Rights Act to prohibit pregnancy discrimination.  It’s a symbolic move, and far from a sure thing, but lawmakers are happy to see it moving forward.

An auto-insurance company owned by the founder of the “1-800-Ask-Gary” referral service has been barred from writing new policies, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Dr. Gary Kompothecras’ Sarasota-based AGIC Inc. is fighting with the state Office of Insurance Regulation over allegations that it doesn't have enough funds to pay future claims.

In other business news:

Law May Rescue Patients from Paperwork

Sep 18, 2013
Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post

The disease Greg Eisenstein endures is described as more painful than childbirth or even amputation in the medical literature. The state of Florida, Eisenstein says, is making him worse. (Editor's note: This story has been reprinted with permission from the Palm Beach Post.)

More than 550 wheelchair athletes are in Tampa for the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public places have to be accessible to them. But one group of athletes from South Florida found some places are more accommodating than others. 

Shannon Buchholz traveled from Aventura with a group of athletes that included her husband Harvey, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized wheelchair. Shannon said she made a reservation for 10, including four people in wheelchairs and one service dog, at Bern's on Saturday night after opening ceremonies for the games. 

Tampa Bay Times

Karen Heaton didn’t expect her son to live past his first birthday -- yet Donnie is now one of the oldest males living with Trisomy 18. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, Donnie can’t walk, talk or feed himself. But his mom, who gave birth at age 42 and rarely spends any time away from him, worries what could happen to her son if he outlives her. 

Right now, schools determine whether to move a student into special education classes.

But a proposed bill in Tallahassee would give parents of children with special needs more power over their education.

Fort Lauderdale sixth-grader Mariah Harris has Down syndrome, and she wants to be a veterinary technician.

“My dream is to go to college with my friends one day,” she told a panel of lawmakers.

A 39-year-old Spring Hill woman finally discovered her incessant arousal is an actual medical syndrome, but the judge who heard her application for disability said it's not an approved disability.