Newsletter: August 31, 2012

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - Aug 31, 2012

What's New in Our Region:

Landmark Decision: Voter Polling Sites Must Be Accessible For People With Disabilities On Election Day  

A Federal Court ruled that New York City's voter polling locations must be accessible for citizens with disabilities on Election Day. Thus, polling locations for example must be accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs or/and have vision impairments. The revolutionary judgment is the result of more than a decade of advocacy by individuals with disabilities. The ruling is likely to have countrywide implications. United Spinal Association and Disabled in Action filed the lawsuit in 2010.These two organizations work toward ensuring that citizens with disabilities are integrated into their communities as independently as viable. 

Read the court's decision at: www.dralegal.org.  

The Northeast ADA Center has just released a Fact Sheet on Voting.  Visit our home page to view it: http://www.northeastada.org/  

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

GAO: Transition for Students with Disabilities Can, Must Improve

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that the lack of coordination between federal government programs and services designed to facilitate transition for students with disabilities makes it difficult for students and their families to navigate the various programs. While the school district is available to support students before they graduate, they do not receive this critical support once they leave the school system and they get lost in the "maze of bureaucracy."  The report found several other barriers to successful transition to adult lives as well.  To read more about the Government Accountability Office's report, visit: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/08/gao_transition_for_students_.html

Voting Rights for People with Disabilities Questioned

In Minnesota, a battle is rising in court and in the state legislature. At issue is whether or not adults who are under the supervision of guardians, for example persons with disabilities, should be entitled to vote. Presently, such persons are capable to cast ballots but an ongoing lawsuit could change this. This issue comes at a very critical moment where the presidential election is right around the corner.

To read more about the voting rights of persons with disabilities, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/08/01/voting-rights-questioned/16154/

Pets May Offer Big Gains for Kids with Autism

For people with autism, bringing an animal in the home may lead to noteworthy social improvements, a study finds. Researchers reported in the journal titled PLoS One that those with autism show improvements in two areas "offering to share" and "offering comfort" within a few years after bringing a new animal into their lives. Similar development was not observed among study subjects who lived with a pet ever since birth or those who never had a pet at all. According to Marine Grandgeorge, the study's head researcher, "This study reveals that in individuals with autism, pet arrival in the family setting may bring about changes in specific aspects of their socio-emotional development. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing an association between pet arrival and changes in pro-social behaviors." To read more on this report, visit:  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0041739

Justice Department Announces Americans with Disabilities Act Barrier-free Health Care Initiative by Us Attorney's Offices Nationwide

U.S. Attorney's offices across the country are joining efforts with the Civil Rights Division to concentrate their enforcement efforts on a critical area for persons with disabilities through a new Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative.

This new effort will ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to medical information made available to them in a way they can understand and use it.  Regarding this initiative Assistant Attorney General Perez states "Access to health care remains an area of critical need for too many people with disabilities, especially those who are deaf or who have hearing loss; [additionally], the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative will make sure people with disabilities are capable of physically accessing medical buildings and facilities and are not discriminated against when it comes to receiving potentially life-saving medical information."

To read more about the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/July/12-crt-931.html  

Links for Financial Empowerment

Many individuals with disabilities experience poverty and chronic underemployment and lack the resources to become economically empowered. A list of resources has been gathered to assist people with disabilities and their families increase income production, save and accumulate assets. The National Disability Institute has created a list of 16 web-based resources that will provide information on financial education, access to favorable tax provisions, links to experts on government benefits and benefits planning and multiple tools and strategies to advance your employment and economic status.

To read the list of 16 web-based resources, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/Resources/Links.aspx

Protests to Target Low Pay at Goodwill

Disability advocates in several states are planning to show up outside of Goodwill locations to speak out against the nonprofit for paying their employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage. This action is being coordinated by the National Federation of the Blind, ADAPT and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. The National Federation of the Blind originally launched the protest of Goodwill Industries previous this summer after reading documents demonstrating that the organization has compensated employees with disabilities as little as 22 cents per hour. The protests are projected to be informational in nature according to organizers.

To read more visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/08/21/protests-target-goodwill/16285/  

 

Opportunities for You!

Survey: Rental Housing Search and Occupancy Experiences of OIF & OEF Veterans with Disabilities  

Veterans with military associated disabilities who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and who searched for accessible rental housing or lived in rental housing are invited to participate in a research study to bring awareness of their rental housing search and occupancy experiences. If you are interested in participating in this research study, please cut and paste the following link to your internet browser to access the electronic version of this study: https://survey.vt.edu/survey/entry.jsp?id=1343941175459

Participants have until Friday, September 7, 2012 to complete the survey. For participating in this study, you have the opportunity to enter into a drawing to win 1 of 4 money orders in the amount of $50.00! If you have any questions regarding this research, contact: Luz Semeah via phone or email at (561) 603-2350 or lmsemeah@vt.edu.

Inclusion, Accessibility and Justice: Equal Rights For All!

Dr. Twersky Glasner is conducting a study to determine the nature of D/deaf people's experiences with the Criminal Justice and emergency services system. Visit this link to read more about the study and how to participate! http://webhost.bridgew.edu/atwerskyglasner/inclusion.htm

ediONLINE Series 7 - Fall Semester 2012

During the fall semester in 2012, the Employment and Disability Institute will offer the Series 7 Certificate in Benefits Planning from the ediONLINE virtual classroom. The program is the only scientifically based certification process in the United States for Work Incentive Practitioners. The program consists of 17 webinars leading up to a certification examination. Some of the topics covered include the Social Security Administration and its work incentive programming, TANF, housing, Veterans Benefits, and Workers Compensation.

To read more about Series 7 Certificate in Benefits Planning, go to http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/ and click on ediONLINE. 

ediONLINE Series - Advanced Issues for the Work Incentive Practitioner

The Employment and Disability Institute is offering an advanced series for Work Incentive Practitioners. Some of the topics in the series include Overpayment and Economic Self-Sufficiency, Representative Payment, Work Incentives and Planning for Individuals with Blindness, and Advanced IRWE and Subsidies. The series has been approved by Cornell University as meeting continuing education requirements for those with a Certificate in Benefits Planning.

To read more about the advanced series, go to http://www.edi.cornell.edu and click on ediONLINE. 


Special Spotlight: Department of ADA Settlements and Consent Agreements

The following links provide details on ADA Settlements and Consent Agreements reached by the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the ADA.

Larkin, Axelrod, Ingrassia & Tetenbaum, LLP law firm must modified they policies regarding Service Animal: http://www.ada.gov/larkin-cd.htm  

Starline Tours of Hollywood, Inc. ("Starline") must ensure the provision of accessible transportation:  http://www.ada.gov/star-line/starline-cd.htm

DOJ's settlement agreement with Dragon City, Inc. calls for the modification in policies and practice regarding service animals in their restaurant:  http://www.ada.gov/dragon-city/dragon-city.htm     

The City of Woodlake, California must alter its practice of unlawfully requiring pre-employment medical examinations of job applicants before making an offer of employment: http://www.ada.gov/woodlake_ca_sa.htm

North Shore University Health Systems must make available auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, to individuals who are deaf to guarantee effective communication at a hospital: http://www.ada.gov/northshore-uni-sa.htm