“Arizona is known as the best state in the nation for people with developmental challenges. But its Division of Developmental Disabilities has turned down thousands of people who seek assistance because of paperwork issues.
“Arizonans with developmental or intellectual disabilities who have struggled to get care from the state. Top row, left to right: Eric Nunn, Emory Webster and Drew Bolender. Bottom row, left to right: Mike Lundergan, Kyra Wade and Jaden Ruiz.” – (Kareem Samuels/Make Studio for ProPublica)
by Amy Silverman for Arizona Daily Star, with data analysis by Alex Devoid, Arizona Daily Star
“Kyra Wade’s favorite color is pink. The 11-year-old likes road trips and the movie ‘Monsters, Inc.’ She loves to watch people laugh. Her culinary preferences run to noodles and rice.
“Beyond that, her parents don’t know much about her needs and wants.
“Kyra is autistic and profoundly deaf. She was born premature at about 27 weeks, just a little over 2 pounds, which has impacted pretty much everything: eyesight, hearing, digestion, sleep patterns. A strong tremor in her hand makes it impossible for her to use American Sign Language. Her parents think she recognizes a couple dozen signs.
“They know she’s frustrated. Kyra often smacks herself on the side of the head with her hand or bites her palm so hard she draws blood, said her mother, Ka Wade. The Wades assume she is doing it when she is in pain. Kyra is not potty trained, but she got her period recently. Ka couldn’t explain what was happening.”