By Michael Rock:

There have been a number of recent developments in the area of developmental and intellectual disability.

The State of New Jersey just announced that it would permit hospital inpatients with developmental or intellectual disabilities to have a visitor to support them during their stay. Regulations will be implemented to make sure such visitors do not risk spreading the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement in April condemning denials of organ transplants to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, highlighting the discriminatory nature of this common phenomenon.

As Congress works on additional coronavirus stimulus bills, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, which represents dozens of disability advocacy organizations, has urged the nation’s top legislature to increase funding of state Medicaid and community services.

On April 11, the disability community lost a prominent self-advocate: Mel Baggs. Baggs first achieved renown in the advocacy community with her “Getting the Truth Out” website, a critique of the Autism Society of America’s “Getting the Word Out” awareness campaign. Baggs would gain further recognition with the 2007 Internet short film “In My Language,” which helped promote understanding of how people with nonverbal autism may “speak.” They were 39 years old.

These are only a few examples of the many new developments in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities that occur every day.

Michael Rock is a New York City-based reporter and self-advocate with autism. A graduate of Brandeis University, his work has appeared in Kings County Politics, Chelsea Now, Our Town, Queens County Politics, and WhoWhatWhy.