Author: Jennifer McLelland

Analysis: My Son’s Journey With Food, and How I Learned to Love Meal Supplements

For me, the most important thing about the holidays is food. I love cooking almost as much as I love eating.

But that perception was challenged when my son, James, was born with medically intensive disabilities. I wanted my son to have a positive relationship with food, even though he is fed through a tube. To do that, I had to tackle my own emotional baggage about what it means to feed my family.

Analysis: Day Cares for Medically Fragile Children Are Closing. Here’s How to Save Them

Children who need medically intensive care cannot attend traditional day care programs. California has an option for these kids, called Pediatric Day Health and Respite Care facilities.

But the amount the government pays these facilities to care for children has not kept pace with inflation and rising staffing costs. Because of the stagnant rates, California’s pediatric care facilities are in danger of closing.

Analysis: When the Power Goes Out, These Devices Save Lives. More Californians Need Them

Our house lost power a few nights ago, during one of 2023’s record-setting storms. For our family, losing power is a medical emergency.

But on this occasion, for the first time, I had access to a portable power station. Portable power stations are rechargeable batteries that can provide hours of backup electricity, which is especially important for people who use medical devices or assistive technology.

Analysis: 30 Years After the Americans with Disabilities Act, There’s Still Work to Be Done

As an abled parent of a disabled child, I’m learning to help my son manage accessibility burdens because our communities and institutions aren’t designed with him in mind.

We can do better for children with disabilities by building more accessible, more inclusive communities and by teaching them how to assert their rights in situations that aren’t in compliance with the law. 

Analysis: We Can Talk About Abortion Without Being Ableist

I made the choice to continue a high-risk pregnancy, but I honor the choice of any pregnant person who opts to terminate given the same set of facts.

What I don’t like is seeing ableism — that is, prejudice against adults and children with disabilities — rolled into discussions about abortion, as has happened often since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Analysis: The Formula Shortage Is Also A Disability Rights Issue

The baby formula shortage wreaking havoc across the United States is terrifying for any parent who relies on infant formula to feed their child. It’s especially calamitous for babies and children with special health care needs who rely on special prescription formulas that have also been impacted by the supply shortage.

The shortage highlights an ongoing, systemic failure to ensure vulnerable children have secure access to medically necessary, life supporting products and equipment.

Analysis: Why California Needs an Oversight Office for Durable Medical Equipment

California’s system for providing durable medical equipment and supplies at home is complicated and difficult to manage, even in normal times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, rationing and supply chain disruptions have made things impossible for families of children with special health care needs.

I believe California needs a state oversight office for durable medical equipment to give families and patients a way to resolve problems before they cause harm.

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