Newsletter: January 16, 2013

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - January 16, 2013

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

  • Beginning January 16, 2013, the Northeast ADA Center's News Bulletin will be sent out once a month to our audience.
  • Partnership to Promote Employment of People with Disabilities

The Northeast ADA Center is pleased to announce that in an effort to support the national dialogue on the employment and retention of individuals with disabilities, the National Network of ADA Centers has formed an alliance with the National Employer Technical Assistance Center (NETAC) for Employers on Employment of People with Disabilities.  NETAC and the ADA National Network recognize the value of establishing a collaborative relationship to promote and improve the employment of people with disabilities. This collaboration encourages the co-promotion of resources, events and services to better serve the employment needs of persons with disabilities and to support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of workers with disabilities. "The NETAC and the ADA National Network have been offering complimentary services for years. By partnering with the ADA National Network, we are expanding our capacity to provide needed resources to the business and disability communities and offer more comprehensive services," commented Judy Young, Director, National Employer Technical Assistance Center (NETAC). For more information on the National Network of ADA Centers, visit www.adata.org. For more information on the Employer Assistance & Resource Network, an employer technical assistance service of NETAC, visit www.askearn.org.

  • Save the Date! Free training on ADA issues in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands!

The Northeast ADA Center will be offering a 2-day training event in the month of February in St. Croix & St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The first day will consist of general sessions focusing on the new Title I, II, and III regulations, interaction of these regulations with territorial laws, and recent disability trends.  The second day will feature options for training where participants will be able to choose to attend sessions on different emerging issues (web site accessibility, veterans' issues, and emergency management services) or more in-depth training on the new regulations.  These trainings will be offered at no cost for up to 35 registrants in each location.  A working lunch will be provided.  Registration information and more details will follow shortly. The events will be held in:

  • St. Croix on February 11th and 12th at the Renaissance Carambola Beach Resort & Spa;
  • St. Thomas on Feb 14th and 15th at the Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star; and San Juan on Feb 18th and 19th at the La Concha.

What's New in Our Region:

Disability Access Improving in Amherst, New York (NY)

The city of Amherst, NY has recently implemented a variety of new initiatives to make the city more accessible to people with disabilities to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The town began implementing changes after a self-assessment of possible violations and found that it had numerous ADA violations.  As part of the town's accessibility initiatives, city officials and employees have also been provided access to disability awareness programs. To read more, visit: http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121211/CITYANDREGION/121219885

Skills Credential may Aid Students with Disabilities in NY State

New York State is planning to phase out its Individualized Education Program diploma by June 2013. The diploma had been offered to students with severe learning disabilities. To replace it, the state is considering implementing a Career Skills Credential. The Credential would certify that a student has completed certain career skills and academic coursework; individual students would also be able to develop their own career plans. Critics of the proposal say that it would serve to segregate and stigmatize students with disabilities as opposed to challenging them. To read more, visit: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Skills-credential-may-aid-disabled-students-4110120.php

NYC Comptroller Insists All Taxis of Tomorrow Must Serve Individuals with Disabilities

New York City's Comptroller John Liu rejected the city's contract with Nissan for its "Taxis of Tomorrow." The reason he rejected the contract was that the new vehicles would not be accessible to individuals in wheelchairs. Liu stated, "we must not allow New York's yellow taxi fleet to become a symbol of exclusion that tramples the rights of wheelchair users." To read more, visit: http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2012/51/taxioftomorrowlatest_at_2012_12_20_q.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Database of Nearly 3,000 Ready-For-Hire Candidates with Disabilities Awaits Employers

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity recently made available the 2013 Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) database to assist employers in their hiring efforts towards employing qualified employees with disabilities.  The database features profiles of college students and recent graduates with disabilities who have a wide variety of backgrounds and skills. Individuals in the database are prescreened, thus, making the database an effective tool for targeted recruitment.  Both private and federal employers are able to gain access the individuals in the database. To read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20122362.htm#.UOa62YWiYXw

New Things Occurring at the Employer Assistance and Resource Network

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has gone Social and its website has had a facelift! EARN announced its new presence in the social media world.  Like EARN on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and join their group on LinkedIn for updates and information for employers seeking to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities. Additionally, EARN has revamped its website, www.AskEARN.org.   The website was expertly redesigned in response to feedback from employers and other users.  Streamlined with connections to social media and now adaptable to mobile devices, the new EARN website continues to provide valuable resources for employers seeking to recruit, hire and retain qualified employees with disabilities.

For more information and resources, visit www.AskEARN.org.   

Health Care a Hurdle for Many with Autism

A new study reveals that adults with autism face more difficulties accessing healthcare compared to adults without autism. According to the study, adults with autism are less likely to utilize preventative services such as Pap smears or to receive certain immunizations. The disparities are taking place even though individuals with autism are just as likely to have primary health care providers as treating professionals. The study also provides recommendations for how doctors can work to address the healthcare disparities affecting adults with autism. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/12/21/health-care-hurdle-autism/16999/

Petition to Officially Recognize American Sign Language Reaches Threshold for White House Response

A request to legitimately recognize American Sign Language as a "community language" and a "language of instruction in schools" has garnered more than 27,000 digital signatures in less than a month. Supporters of the petition hope that recognition of the language will help sign language to be more widely accepted in the public. It would also mean that sign language could be used in more capacities such as in the provision of medical care.  To read more, visit: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/12/11/petition-to-officially-recognize-american-sign-language-reaches-threshold-for-white-house-response

Rules Eased for Veterans' Brain Injury Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs is set to propose new regulations that would make it easier for veterans to receive benefits for illnesses related to traumatic brain injuries. Under the new regulations, veterans with conditions such as Parkinsonism and depression would have an easier path to receiving health care and compensation. The proposal could also potentially increase the agency's application processing times because more veterans would be eligible for benefits. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed new regulations.

To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/us/benefit-rules-eased-for-veterans-with-brain-injuries.html?_r=0

NASA to Mentor Students with Disabilities           

Starting this year, employees at the NASA will mentor students with disabilities. The mentorship program is part of the District of Columbia Public Schools' transition program for students with disabilities. The program is meant to get the students interested in careers in areas of science and mathematics. In some instances, the program leads to internship opportunities at NASA for the students.  NASA is one of three career partners in the District of Columbia Public Schools' transition program. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/12/18/nasa-mentor-disabilities/16978/

The Debate behind Disability Hiring

This article explores some of the debate around new regulations that the Department of Labor is considering. The potential new regulations would require that 7% of federal contractors' workforce be people with disabilities. Specifically, the regulations would affect contractors with contracts of over $10,000. The article also highlights companies that have implemented disability-hiring initiatives such as Walgreens and AMC Theatres. Opponents of the possible regulations think that they will cost companies too much money to implement. Supporters of the regulations believe that they can benefit people with disabilities as well as employers. To read more, visit:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3002957/disabled-employee-amendment

Results from Sibling Study to Help Shed Light on Sibling Caregivers

The recently released "Sibling Study" conducted by Easter Seals discusses the experiences siblings and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. According to the study, 23% of adults will become caregivers for siblings with disabilities and they often feel unprepared for the responsibilities. The study also found that though many respondents reported the responsibilities to be stressful, many also felt that their relationship with their siblings enhanced their lives. To read more, visit: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/easter-seals-releases-results-sibling-203400843.html

Video: Sleep Problems and Sleep Apnea in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

This informative video recording is of a lecture given by University of Washington professors on the connection between sleeping disorders and spinal cord injuries. The lecture reviews how and why sleep can be affected by spinal cord injuries. It also discusses common treatment techniques for dealing with sleeping disorders. To view the lecture, visit: http://sci.washington.edu/info/forums/reports/sleep.asp

Opportunities for You!

January 18th Webinar on the 2011 Disability Status Report

During this webinar, researchers from Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute will present key disability related findings from the recently released 2011 Disability Status Report. The webinar will also survey new data and statistics related to disability and a variety of areas such as employment and education. The webinar will be held on Friday, January 18th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm EDT. To register for the webinar, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/index.cfm

March 20th Webinar on Reasonable Accommodations in Employment-A General Update with Emphasis on Leave and Reassignment

In this webinar, sponsored by the ADA National Network, disability lawyers will discuss the rights of individuals with disabilities to reasonable accommodation in employment, including leave and job restructuring, in addition to general updates on new or notable cases. This session will focus on issues such as paid/unpaid leave as a form of reasonable accommodation and identify the most common situations in which employers have claimed the defense of "undue hardship." This session will also discuss any new/notable legal cases and legal guidance available. The webinar will be held from 1:00pm to 2:30pm on March 20th. To register, visit: http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/ADALegal/Schedule/#fy2013session2

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2013 Orlando
Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2013 Orlando offers an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, and those who support, work with, employ or educate individuals with disabilities, to gather for annual professional development requirements, get more out of existing AT or learn about the latest technologies. This conference will be held January 30 - February 2, 2013. http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4299 

2013 National ADA Symposium

The National ADA Symposium is a comprehensive conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that provides practical, expert training on ADA implementation from the country's top presenters. Explore this site and register now for the premiere training event on the ADA! The symposium will take place May 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas. There is a registration fee is $600.00 prior to March 30, 2013. To register for the conference, visit: http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1165935

Special Spotlight: Myths about Autism and Violence

The tragic shooting at Newtown, Connecticut has sparked a national discussion about the connections between autism spectrum conditions and violence. Numerous media sources reported that the attacker was an individual with an autism spectrum condition, which some may have speculated contributed to his actions. However, extensive research conducted on autism shows that individuals with autism spectrum conditions are not any more prone to performing the sort of pre-planned violence displayed in the tragedy. The following articles provide information on the national discussions:

Connecticut School Shootings Focus Conversation on Workplace Violence Prevention 

http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/Pages/Conn-School-Shooting-Workplace-Violence.aspx

Groups: Autism Not to Blame for Violence

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/health/connecticut-shooting-autism/index.html   

In Shooting's Aftermath, Autism Backlash Feared

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/12/21/in-shootings-backlash-feared/16993/

 Link between Autism and Planned Violence Discounted by Experts

http://www.boston.com/dailydose/2012/12/17/link-between-autism-and-planned-violence-discounted-experts/4zR3RIA6210AYEvhjJisJK/story.html

Connecticut Shooting Raises Questions about Autism

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/12/17/connecticut-shooting-autism/16970/

Connecticut School Shooting Thrusts Autism into National Spotlight

http://www.examiner.com/article/connecticut-school-shooting-thrusts-autism-into-national-spotlight

Asperger's, Autism not Linked to Violence: Experts

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/12/16/aspergers-autism-not-linked-to-violence-experts

Autism, Empathy, and Violence: Asperger's does not Explain Connecticut Shooting:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/12/17/asperger_s_and_newtown_school_shooting_autistic_does_not_mean_violent.html