HOMEPAGE www.danieljvance.com

By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPC, NCC

I have had this column nearly 10 years, and haven't been able to find a better source of news about people with disabilities than Inclusion Daily Express, which has been run since 1999 by 51-year-old Dave Reynolds of Spokane, Washington. Reynolds gathers hot, online news from around the world affecting people with disabilities on topics like inclusion, law, community living, employment, and advocacy.

He has nearly 1,000 worldwide subscribers. Over 10 years, I bet the idea for 20 columns published here began with news sent from Reynolds.

In a telephone interview, Reynolds said of his background, “When I was a kid (in the '70s), I always found myself hanging out with the people who were 'on the outside.' I didn't realize it then, but my buddies would be labeled today as having a disability. We called ourselves 'The Misfits.' I am certain now one had cerebral palsy. With another friend, I found out only as an adult he had been in special education classes and had what was then called 'moderate mental retardation.' He was my best friend. Looking back, I guess there was a reason why he always asked me to read the menus to him.”

He had another friend who likely would be diagnosed today with Asperger's syndrome, and Reynolds himself was treated as an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder. In the '80s, he was a special education teachers aide, which reinforced his connection to people with disabilities. Referring to his role now as an advocate, he said, “I love seeing the underdog prevail.”

He told the story of one such underdog, a man in his 70s he had worked with while on his other job with Arc Spokane. “When (that man) was born, the doctor found he had cerebral palsy and some intellectual disabilities,” said Reynolds. “The doctor and nurse told his parents to leave the child, go home, and they would put him in a local institution. When the parents refused to leave the child, the doctor said instead to not feed him (and let him die). That (sort of) treatment was common back then and considered compassionate.”

What satisfies him most about his work? He said, “When I hear back from readers saying an article was pertinent to what they were doing and had shared it with people they knew or had worked with on a committee.”

Thank you, Dave.

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