Letters to the Editor (January 2010)

Unreasonable Terror

I applaud the candid commentary from Elizabeth Clark, contradictory to Don Gilkinson, LCSW (Letters, November 2009 News). Indeed, our profession is based on ethics. Sarah Palin incited unreasonable terror with her inflammatory rhetoric for her own political gain by manipulating the meaning of "death panels." This is clearly unethical human behavior and an attempt to mislead. Continue on, Elizabeth Clark: Call it what it is.

Kathleen M. Clark, LCSW, BCD
Austin, Texas


Don't Lump Communities

As a social worker who uses bilateral hearing aids, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a Legal Issue of the Month was devoted to working with deaf and hard of hearing. Then I soon was disappointed. Of course the "legality" focus of the issue emphasized the minimal accommodation practitioners have to provide to meet ADA requirements. The bigger question is: What ethical obligation do practitioners have to best serve clients? An even bigger practice issue concerns cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Deaf and hard-of hearing communities are entirely different. In fact, the distinction is made between the Deaf (living totally in a Deaf culture by choice) and deaf (usually late-deafened adults who choose to remain in the hearing world by the use of assistive listening devices). Lumping deaf and hard of hearing together is akin to assuming refugees from Africa are the same culture as black Americans.

I was equally disappointed to see that the Hearing Loss Association of America was not listed as a resource. HLAA has a complete training program in working with hard of hearing people called the Hearing Loss Support Specialist Program.

Claudia J. Dewane, D.Ed., LCSW, BCD
Camp Hill, Pa.


Violation of Values

While I applaud Dr. Elizabeth J. Clark's Aug. 26, 2009, letter to President Barack Obama regarding the issue of torture, her statement does not go far enough. I believe that NASW should call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since our invasion and occupation of these countries violates the social work values we so dearly hold.

James Campanella, LCSW Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.


No Health Care Handouts

The new health care plan will impoverish us even more. New bureaucracies and bureaucrats will be established and add to costs and debts.

As social workers, we have learned that the greatest help we can give is to help people who help themselves. We are not here to give "handouts," nor to encourage creating debts that cannot be repaid.

We are not communists or Robin Hoods to distribute wealth or encourage people to lose their incentives or ambition. That is not what social workers are all about. We are here to be as self-reliant as possible. A new behemoth of a costly bureaucracy is no solution for the folk who need health care, the poor, the working poor, the sick and the old.

Our people have a right to privacy and self-determination, not government interferences. They must be assisted to be fiscally responsible. We must not create more poor people through our negligence. By no means must we endorse more dubious health care bureaucracies. As social workers, let your voices be heard and let us fight for our beliefs as representatives of our social work tenets, our education and our knowledge!

Ursula A. Falk, LCSW/R
Buffalo, N.Y.