Newsletter: November 23, 2015

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: November 23, 2015

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Closed November 27th and 28th

The Northeast ADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 25th and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 30th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am EST on Monday November 30th.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

Overview of the Proposed Standards for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment-Free Webinar

December 9, 2015

1:00-2:00pm EST

Presented By: Jennifer Perry

This webinar will review the proposed accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register, visit, http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5545 

What's New in Our Region:

Study Reveals that Job Applicants Face Discrimination over Disabilities

While 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities still face hurdles when it comes to finding employment. A new study produced by researchers at Rutgers and Syracuse University discovered that employers are less likely to respond to candidates with disabilities. In a field experiment where potential employers received applications created for the study, the fake applicants with disabilities received 26 percent fewer expressions of interest.  All resumes were designed to show the candidates were highly qualified, while they were split between coming from novice and experienced candidates. Applicants that disclosed their disabilities received particularly low interest from employers when the firm was small (less than 15 employees) and when the applicant came off as more experienced. To read more, visit: https://www.inverse.com/article/7659-study-reveals-disabled-job-candidates-face-discrimination

Brooklyn Mother Fights for Changes after Disabled Son Misses Graduation by One Point

Laurie De Vito is a dancer by trade, a longtime Brooklyn resident who teaches contemporary modern dance at studios around the city.  But as the mother of an 18-year-old with a disability, she also has nearly two decades of experience banging on doors to make sure her son receives the services to which he is entitled. This year, her skills as a mother-bear advocate met their greatest challenge and most rarefied audience. Through sheer force of will, she found herself on the phone with the highest education officials in the state - including the chancellor of the Board of Regents and the commissioner of the Department of Education - lobbying them to make changes to state policy that would allow her son to earn his high school diploma. And it is working.  Through advocacy and determination Laurie has successfully petitioned the New York State board of regents to look at a new rule that would allow an appeal for special education students who score at least a 52.  This was proposed at a regents meeting and the board is likely to vote on it in December.  To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/nyregion/mother-in-new-york-fights-for-changes-after-disabled-son-misses-graduation-by-one-point.html?_r=0

Settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act Between the United States of America and the Virgin Islands and Virgin Island Bureau of Motor Vehicles

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under Title II of the ADA with the United States Department of Justice by. The complaint alleges, inter alia, that the complainant suffers from a migraine condition which causes her to experience extreme sensitivity to sunlight. On her doctor's advice, she had her car windows darkly tinted. She registered her car with dark tinted windows without incident with the BMV from 2006 to2012. In January 2012, she was granted a disability permit by the BMV specifically for the dark tinted windows. In January 2013, the BMV refused to register her vehicle on the grounds that the window tint exceeded that allowed by Virgin Island statute, 20 V.I.C. § 800. The complainant presented to the BMV medical documentation supporting her request as well as her disability permit, but her request was nonetheless denied.  To read more on the outcome of this settlement go to: http://www.ada.gov/bmv_vi_sa.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Worker Who Retired Soon After Injury Entitled to Temporary Total Disability

A Virginia worker who was injured just weeks before his retirement should receive temporary total disability benefits for his injuries, even though the man did not attempt to reenter the workforce after his accident, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled. Preston L. McKellar worked 42 years as a structural welder for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. He notified the company in April 2010 that he would be retiring in May of that year, court records show. On April 15, 2010, Mr. McKellar tripped and fell while working on the construction of a submarine. Court filings show that he injured his back, hip, knees hands and wrists, and he was placed on restricted work duty for the rest of April 2010. Mr. McKellar retired as expected on May 1, 2010, records show. Soon thereafter, he went to see an orthopedic surgeon for continued pain related to his accident, and was found by the doctor to be totally disabled. The doctor placed Mr. McKellar on "no-work status." Mr. McKellar went on to file a workers comp claim seeking medical benefits and temporary total disability compensation from Northrop Grumman, filings show. A commissioner with the Virginia Worker's Compensation Commission found in 2013 that Mr. McKellar's medical evidence and testimony were sufficient to grant him medical benefits and TTD benefits. That was despite the fact that Mr. McKellar testified that he had not pursued employment since retiring from Northrop Grumman. To read more, visit: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20151102/NEWS08/151109978

AirForce earns DOD best military department disability award, Airmen honored

The Air Force received the secretary of defense trophy for the best disability program among large military components for the fourth year in a row. Two Airmen were recognized for their work during a ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 29.
For the past 35 years, the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity has recognized outstanding service members and Defense Department civilian personnel with disabilities at an annual awards ceremony.

The ceremony recognizes recipients for outstanding achievement in the hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities. This year's theme, "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am," was a constant reminder for members of the DOD to maintain the commitment to employ disabled civilians and wounded veterans.

"This observance, like the others we enjoy throughout the year, is an educational experience, individually and collectively," said Brad Carson, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "I personally value the opportunity to reflect on the history of this observance and the biases it aims to combat."

Bob Corsi, the assistant deputy chief of staff of manpower, personnel and services, and Dr. Jarris Taylor, the deputy assistant secretary of strategic diversity integration, accepted the award on behalf of the Air Force.  To read more, visit: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/627727/af-earns-dod-best-military-department-disability-award-airmen-honored.aspx

Justice Department ADA Consent Decree Covering Accessible Polling Places in Augusta County, VA

The Justice Department announced on November 4th,  that it filed a complaint and proposed consent decree today in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia resolving allegations that Augusta County, Virginia has discriminated on the basis of disability by failing to provide physically accessible polling places to people with mobility and vision disabilities. Title II of the ADA requires public entities to ensure that all of their polling places are accessible to people with disabilities. Under the consent decree, which must be approved by the court, the County agreed to make permanent architectural changes to a number of polling place facilities, and to provide temporary measures such as portable ramps and temporary doorbells at others, to provide accessible polling places throughout the County. The County, which cooperated with the United States, also agreed to revise its policies and polling place survey instrument, and provide training to poll officials. To find out more about the ADA or this consent decree, call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its www.ADA.gov website.

Opportunities for You!

Webinar: Effective Practices for Employment Preparation and Support for Youth with Disabilities-Free Webinar

December 3, 2015

2:00- 3:30pm EST

Presenters: Laura Owens, President, TransCen, Inc.  Ann Deschamps, Senior Research Associate, TransCen, Inc.

With the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this year, it is important to reflect on our accomplishments in order to ensure that every individual with a disability, regardless of severity, is provided equal opportunity to achieve the American dream and become a valued, contributing member of society. Employment is a desired outcome for all individuals - including youth with disabilities. For many, employment is both an intervention and an outcome. Research has shown that one of the key indicators of whether youth with disabilities have succeeded in the transition from school to adult life is whether or not they are employed after they leave high school. This presentation will address why we should presume all youth can be employed through stories and discussion of the latest professional research.

To register, visit, http://www.adainfo.org/training/webinar-effective-practices-employment-preparation-and-support-youth-disabilities

Webinar Series: Reasonable Accommodation Process for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

December 8, 2015 10:00am to December 15, 2015 11:30am

Presented by the Northwest ADA Center

VRCs play an essential role in facilitating successful reasonable accommodation outcomes between applicants/employees and employers throughout the employment process. In individual cases, the VRC can help build the applicant/employee's confidence in requesting reasonable accommodation. For employers making commitments toward more diverse and inclusive workplaces, the VRC can serve as a collaborative partner to meet those goals.    

Part I of the webinar series will offer guidance and a general overview about what a VRC needs to know about reasonable accommodations and the interactive process under Title I of the ADA. The VRC will learn how to coach qualified individuals with disabilities on how to facilitate an open and honest dialogue with potential and current employers.   

Part II of the webinar series will cover examples and case studies showing how the VRC can maximize successful outcomes by collaborating with applicants/employees and employers.

Cost: $45 per session, per site

To register, visit: http://www.adainfo.org/training/webinar-series-reasonable-accommodation-process-vocational-rehabilitation-counselors

Special Spotlight:  

New app will serve as eyes for the blind

An app called NavCog, which is currently being developed by both IBM and researchers at Carnegie Mellon, could forever change the way people with visual impairments see the world.  Currently NavCog utilizes smart phones' Bluetooth features to help the visually impaired navigate very much like a GPS system.  While that in and of itself is a tremendous step forward IBM and the team at Carnegie Mellon have even loftier aspirations for the app.  Some of the goals include facial recognition along with recognizing emotions on peoples face as well.  In order to help speed up the creation and implementation of the app, the programmers have opened the platform source so that others could add to the code.  To read more, visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/10/22/the-new-app-that-serves-as-eyes-for-the-blind/?utm_content=bufferc03c3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer