1982 Disability Rights case

Hey folks!

Below is a long article from CBC titled “How Justin Clark’s fight for independence transformed disability rights in Canada”

It is about a man, Justin Clark, born with cerebral palsy, who was raised in an institution, and took his parents to court.  He wanted very badly to leave the institution and live independently!

Justin uses many ways to communicate: Voice, Signing and a Bliss board (1982), which has a synthetic voice.  I am very sure Mr. Clark uses an iPad now… As does my friend AJ Brown!

The article itself has text, audio and court documents. Of course I did not listen to the audio, being Deaf, but I did read the court document!

I want to draw your attention to one point in the middle of the court document.  It inspires me!

Mr. Clark is being asked by one of the lawyers:

“If you lived at N’s house, who will make your decisions?”

Mr. Clark replied both voicing and signing, probably emphatically, “I”!

Elsewhere in the court document, near the end, the Judge asks Mr. Clark if he knows which people he can trust.  Mr. Clark replies with a “Yes.”  And what is more moving, Mr. Clark’s parents and, then the courtroom, stood up and applauded him!

Why is that important?  Why is that simple Yes so important?  Because he was at first determined to be incompetent, that he needed someone there to oversee his well-being, to protect him from dishonest people.  His Yes shows that he knows his abilities, his limitations.   And he Can, and still is, living independently!

I applaud you Mr. Justin Clark!

My own childhood with my vision & hearing issues and all that befell me, it was not a smooth road.  I don’t know what happened or what prompted the discussion, but once my paternal Grandmother asked my Mum in some form or another: why don’t you put him (meaning me) in an institution?   My Mum probably replied with “…that is not going to happen,”and thought of throwing a fresh pie at the old lady!  Thanks Mum!

Here is the CBC Article!

Enjoy your rainy day!

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