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Hasbro Announces ‘My First Insurance Denial’ Toy

By kwschaef / 2022-09-26
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Entertainment conglomerate Hasbro announced plans to unveil a new toy designed to resonate specifically with disabled children. The “My First Insurance Denial” play set will give kids the opportunity to simulate the experience of receiving a denial for coverage of medical equipment and follow-up procedures from an insurance company.

“I’ve always loved role-playing games and wanted to create something similar here,” said Patrick Cooper, the toy’s developer. “My brother has cerebral palsy, and every time he asks his insurance company to cover a piece for his wheelchair or something else, he has to go through like five steps to get a denial. Then he starts the appeal process, and it’s a never-ending cycle. Thinking about this scenario as a game gave me an idea.”

The “My First Insurance Denial” set comes with five 3.75-inch action figures, scale models of buildings for each figure, and a built-in toy phone. Players start with a wheelchair user and their caregiver at home calling their insurance company. Once the insurance representative sends the first denial, the wheelchair user then calls their pharmacy provider for a referral. The pharmacy then calls the client’s primary doctor for a referral, which results in a back-and-forth exchange that can go on for days. 

“What I really like about this set is that kids can play with it for hours and not get bored,” Cooper said. “There are so many moving parts to insurance denials. Plus, the kids have to really use their creative and imaginative skills to figure out a scenario in which the disabled character actually gets their request approved.”     

In addition to the figures that come with the set, Cooper and his team are also developing additional characters to play into the narrative aspect of this toy, which consumers can buy separately. These include figures for an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a neurologist, and a wheelchair sales representative.

“We really think this could open doors for other disability-themed toys,” Cooper said. “I’ve already pitched the ‘Ouchie! The Incompetent Phlebotomist Draws Blood’ board game and the ‘Kidney Stone Blaster’ toy, both of which my brother said he liked.”    

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Crippen and removing the barriers that prevent us from being involved in planning the services we use

By Crippen / 2022-09-25
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Some of you may be aware that I’ve recently been involved with a small group of fellow Crips in addressing the barriers that exist that


Disabled Woman Frantically Fixing Posture Before Parents’ Visit

By Nate Woogen / 2022-09-23
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Standing on the balls of her feet in front of her bedroom mirror, Tessa Newton, 25, who lives with mild cerebral palsy, spent several hours anxiously correcting her posture prior to her parents’ semi-annual visit.

“My mom always zeroes in on my spine,” said Newton, aware that she’ll probably slouch if she isn’t consciously holding herself straight every second. “I also feel them constantly judging my gait,” she added, practicing walking back and forth. She tried to follow her childhood podiatrist’s old instructions to put her weight on the outsides of her feet.

In order to prevent a stressful dinner of her parents eyeing her form, Newton retrieved a chair from the kitchen and put it in front of the mirror to check her sitting position.

“I tend to slump when I sit for a long time,” said Newton, wincing as she straightened her torso. “Then my dad tells me that’s why my back always hurts.”

When she received a text from her parents saying they would be there in twenty minutes, Newton decided she had done as much as she could and braced herself for the upcoming criticism. She was looking forward to the end of the visit, when she could allow her posture to deteriorate back to its normal state.

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P.T. Barnum Facing Accusations of Hiring Discrimination Against Able-bodied Applicants

By Nate Woogen / 2022-09-22
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NEW YORK — Famed entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum has come under fire for systematically excluding able-bodied performers in his circus.

Critics have pointed out that Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, which features a wide array of animal acts, acrobatics, and abuse, has a disproportionate number of disabled performers.

Barnum insisted that he hires based entirely on merit, and that overrepresentation of disabled performers is a coincidence.

“I look for the people who can best fit the roles of freaks and human oddities,” said Barnum as he repaired the stitching on the Feejee Mermaid. “If an able-bodied person can do that, I hire them on the spot.”

An anonymous spectator exclaimed, “Oh come on with that excuse! It’s 1861 — get with the times!”

“Just because we don’t have easily-exploitable abnormalities doesn’t make us less capable,” said able-bodied Nancy Hallett, casually juggling five balls. “It’s not fair. We didn’t choose to be born this way.”

Barnum was quick to defend himself. “I hire a ton of able-bodied people. In fact, most of my peanut salesmen and dung scoopers are able-bodied. You might recognize …” he trailed off, focusing on straightening a poster of Tom Thumb.

Barnum then exclaimed, “Nobody would pay a dime to gawk at normal people!” and stormed away. He returned several seconds later to remind everyone that the show starts at 7.

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Crippen looks at queues … and Nirvana

By Crippen / 2022-09-21
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You might remember an interview I did with Nabil (Nabs) Shaban back in June of this year. In it he told me about an encounter


‘Get Well Soon!’ Says Friend to Woman with Lifelong Chronic Illness

By kwschaef / 2022-09-20
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While recuperating from a recent MS flare, Sally Fletcher texted her new friend Pete Hansen to cancel dinner plans for Tuesday evening, opting instead to rest at home. When Hansen asked her what was wrong, Fletcher told him that the body aches, muscle spasms and fatigue she had experienced in the past 24 hours were enough to wipe her stamina for the rest of the week. 

“That’s too bad, but get well soon!” Hansen told Fletcher via text. He felt confident that he was being a supportive friend and added that they could hang out when she felt recovered from her MS.

Fletcher then sent Hansen a link to the National MS Society, explaining that multiple sclerosis is a lifelong chronic condition that affects more than 2.8 million people worldwide. 

Hansen texted back, “Well, at least you’re not alone! Actually, I think my roommate’s uncle might have the same thing. I heard him talk about the spasm thing one time too.” 

Taking a deep breath, Fletcher tried changing the subject and hoped to end the conversation soon. She asked Hansen if he had watched the new season of “Stranger Things” yet, but Hansen insisted on providing her with unsolicited medical advice.

“You know, I bet with a community that size there’s gotta be someone who could develop a cure. Have you researched what kind of medical advancements there are? Until then, I know a good nap and ibuprofen always do the trick for me when I’m exhausted! Let me know if you need me to pick up some from the pharmacy.”

Three hours after sending this text, Hansen wondered why Fletcher hadn’t responded. He then remembered that the same scenario had played out a few months earlier when he sent his friend with endometriosis an ad for essential oils.

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This Small Town Girl in a Lonely World Couldn’t Take the Train Going Anywhere Because It Wasn’t Accessible and Now She’s Stuck and It’s Midnight

By Steven Verdile / 2022-09-14
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It seemed like it was too good to be true … because it was. The girl, 19, was eager to embark on an exciting Journey, a fantasy of limitless possibilities. However, her dreams were crushed upon realizing that the train platform wasn’t accessible by wheelchair, leaving her stranded there in the middle of the night.

“I assumed, since my town could afford a train that runs ANYWHERE at midnight, that they could afford an elevator or ramp and that the train station would be accessible, but I was wrong,” she said. To make matters worse, the lack of accessibility information available online meant she didn’t realize it was inaccessible until she had already been dropped off via her town’s accessible transit service.

“I was stuck at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, surrounded by a pile of broken wine bottles and something that smelled like bad perfume.”

She opened the accessible transit app to request a ride back home before remembering that all rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. She then tried to call an accessible Uber, but there were none within her radius.

With limited options, the girl resorted to taking the bus, but the nearest bus stop was roughly two miles away. She carefully drove her wheelchair past some sketchy strangers walking up and down a busy boulevard and finally made it to the bus stop beneath a couple dimmed street lights.

The first bus that came had a broken lift, and on the second bus the driver didn’t know how to operate the lift. The third bus driver just drove by her altogether.

“Then the fourth one came but there was already a wheelchair user in the only wheelchair space on the bus. The problems just kept going on and on and on and on.”

Fortunately she didn’t stop believing, and just as the sun began to rise, a fully functioning bus arrived that took her home.

While this multitude of problems may seem extreme, it is a reality that many disabled people face, and not only in small towns. In fact, sources are reporting that on the same night, the same thing happened to a boy who was born and raised in south Detroit.

The post This Small Town Girl in a Lonely World Couldn’t Take the Train Going Anywhere Because It Wasn’t Accessible and Now She’s Stuck and It’s Midnight appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


Disabled Man Drops F-Bomb in Public, Several Injured

By Zephyr Ash Ostrowski / 2022-09-12
Posted in

Charlie Burroughs could not have anticipated the mayhem that surrounded him in downtown Fort Wayne.

“I was trying to get onto an uneven sidewalk after crossing the street during a short walk with my crutches, but I misjudged a step and fell. I thought I swore under my breath, but I guess it was a little louder than usual. That’s when the problems really began.”

Bystanders heard the F-bomb from a disabled person and chaos ensued. One distracted driver crashed into a telephone pole and brought down some wires. Errant sparks set a farmers market stand on fire; some customers suffered moderate burns. Nearby store windows shattered spontaneously, leaving two people with glass shards in their arms. A church bell fell from its tower and smashed a car.

Phyllis Beaton, a witness to the destruction, had this to say: “I prefer not to think about people with disabilities. If I do see them, they’re always happy, bless their souls. God gave them a bigger cross to bear and that’s why they’re so inspirational. I nearly had a heart attack because this man chose to use profane language to express his frustration. Think of the children!”

Burroughs provided this defense: “Folks prefer to not see or hear us but have this impossible image of us as these little sweet disability angels who can do no wrong. That, if I can be frank, is f*cked up. Disabled people have a right to swear if they choose, just like anyone else. I’m allowed to be mad as hell and I have plenty to be mad about, like this sidewalk. The next city council meeting will definitely hear from me.”

We would publish Burroughs’ full statement on inaccessible infrastructure, but it was not fit to print because of, well, you know. It made Uncut Gems look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. When we told him we couldn’t print his entire statement, he replied with a simple, “F*ck that noise.”

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Disabled Teen Makes Small Fortune Forging BM Chart at Local Crip Camp

By Kathleen Downes / 2022-09-08
Posted in

Long Island, N.Y. — This summer, a quick-thinking teen with cerebral palsy has found a creative way to channel his entrepreneurial spirit … and help other disabled youth along the way. During his two-week stay at Camp Happyheart for kids with physical disabilities, Tim Robins, 16, decided to cash in on a hallowed camp tradition: the camp bowel movement chart. The infamous document, found on the bathroom wall beside a terrifying poster of a tick bite, gets a checkmark from a counselor each time a camper takes a dump.

“The chart,” as it is colloquially known, displays a camper’s success — or lack thereof — for all to see. Those with bashful bowels face the looming threat of Colace, among other intestinal explosives, delivered by the camp’s squad of watchful nurses. Robins, an aspiring businessman, saw a lucrative opportunity in his friends’ epic struggle.

“For $10 each, I forge a counterfeit checkmark on the chart and sneak away before the counselors notice,” Robins said.

He added that, so far, his antics have fooled the nurses, who believe individually bagged grapes have kept everyone stunningly “regular” this year.

A satisfied customer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, applauded his bunkmate for fulfilling unmet needs.

“I mean, with all the grilled cheese and pizza camp serves, plus most of us being non-ambulatory, this initiative is essential,” said the teen. “As one of the only walking campers and one of very few with legible handwriting, Tim was basically born for this. I mean, Christ, he can hold the Sharpie, and his checkmarks look just like the ones our counselors draw!”

Another bunkmate, Chris Rodgers, gladly spent a school year’s worth of his allowance to avoid the dreaded Colace. A shuddering Rodgers remarked, “That stuff is like over-the-counter dynamite. After it detonates, you’ll be so much lighter you’ll float away like the house in the movie ‘Up.’”

Rodgers’ best friend, Peter Wright, who used hidden cash to buy an illicit checkmark, said popular constipation remedies like Smooth Move Tea are anything but smooth. Added Wright, “The person on the commercials is always jauntily kayaking in a flowy skirt after taking a dose. But when I drank that stuff in the summer of 2019, my life flashed before my eyes. I knew it was time to start bringing an advance directive, and some extra underwear, to camp.”

Robins, who adores the nurses, admits feeling slightly guilty about his shady dealings but ultimately sees a benefit for the camp’s bottom line. “I’m saving the camp hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on laxatives and enemas,” he boasted. “In this trainwreck economy, they should be grateful.”

However, he remains concerned that his scheme will be discovered. “It’s all fun and games till someone with multiple checkmarks on the chart needs to be disimpacted,” he mused. “Then, the jig is up.”

The post Disabled Teen Makes Small Fortune Forging BM Chart at Local Crip Camp appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


This Specialty Care Clinic Ran Out of Excuses and Was Finally Forced to Schedule Appointment for Visually Impaired Patient

By 2shoes4eyes / 2022-09-06
Posted in

The staff at the world-renowned retina specialist clinic couldn’t decide which patient to schedule an appointment with next. “Jennifer Parker has only waited 62 days, and I still have a bunch of my best award-winning excuses to use on her,” said scheduler John Garrison as the phone rang. “Oh crap, it’s noon. She always calls now. Ignore that! We have to pick an excuse first!”

At home, Parker hung up on the dead tone once again and checked off another day on her calendar. “Perhaps day 63 will be my lucky day,” she thought, rubbing her rabbit’s foot vigorously. “You’d think they’re playing games instead of answering phones!”

As the clinic staff spun the Wheel of Patients, the needle pointed to Tom Smith’s name. Smith, who had waited 99 days for an appointment, would be the lucky patient to finally get one scheduled, while everyone else would be given the excuse of the day. 

Garrison threw a dart at the dartboard of excuses. “Looks like today we will tell patients Dr. Thompson does not have available appointments because …” said Garrison, making a drumroll sound effect. “… her cat died! And to make it sound like we’re not lying, tell them it was an Ashera, really cute, blah, blah, blah. Embellish with details!”

On her 99th day, Parker was tired of waiting and calling. She had heard it all: “Yes, we’ll call you,” “Our toilet broke,” “Dr. Thompson’s second cousin’s ex-wife’s daughter had a baby,” and even “Dr. Thompson broke a nail.” She had had enough.

At noon, the staff stared at the normally ringing phone and looked at each other. “Why is the phone silent? Shouldn’t Mrs. Parker be calling us right now?!” cried Garrison, frantically dialing her number. “It’s her Day 99; I don’t have any more excuses. We must schedule her appointment today!” 

As Parker picked up her phone to call another specialty clinic, Garrison was simultaneously calling her. Without waiting for her to say hello, he immediately said in a sickly sweet voice, “Mrs. Parker, this is the retina specialist clinic. It’s your lucky day — we can schedule your appointment!” 

Realizing who it was, Parker knew exactly what to do. 

“Toot, toot, toot,” she said, mimicking the loudest dead tone sound Garrison had ever heard, and gave the phone a middle finger.

The post This Specialty Care Clinic Ran Out of Excuses and Was Finally Forced to Schedule Appointment for Visually Impaired Patient appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.