Newsletter: November 18, 2016

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: November 18, 2016

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Closed November 24th and 25th 

The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 23rd and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 28th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday November 28th.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

What's New in Our Region:

Lawsuit: N.J. preschool expelled Down syndrome toddler because she was not toilet trained

Chesterbrook Academy in Moorestown, NJ, part of Nobel Learning Communities Inc., is facing a discrimination lawsuit after expelling a girl with Down syndrome. The school gave the parents a deadline for the girl to be toilet trained and refused to provide accommodations, even after a note from her doctor stated she wouldn't be toilet trained in time for the school's deadline. The school is accused of treating students without disabilities differently and not enforcing the same rule with other students. Chesterbrook Academy facilities in other parts of New Jersey and the country have faced similar complaints about disability discrimination. To read more about this story, go to: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20161027_Lawsuit__N_J__preschool_expelled_Down_syndrome_toddler_because_she_was_not_toilet_trained.html

When is a student 'gifted' or 'disabled'? A new study shows racial bias plays a role in deciding

A recent study done at NYU shows a direct link between teacher bias and referrals for special services. Teachers were more likely to see academic shortfalls as disabilities in white students than in black students, and students of color were more likely to be referred for special education testing for emotional and behavioral issues and less likely to be identified as gifted. This was tested through fictional profiles of students from different racial groups. While other studies have shown racial disparities in gifted and special education, this study may shed light on how this disparity may happen, as teacher referrals account for 75% of referrals to these programs.  To read more about this study, go to: http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2016/10/20/when-is-a-student-gifted-or-disabled-a-new-study-shows-racial-bias-plays-a-role-in-deciding/

How Employers Can Make Businesses More Inclusive for People with Disabilities

Michael Ray, who has hearing loss, uses technology that allows him to hold a job that requires talking on the phone at VA Western New York Healthcare. He says other people have used simple accommodations, such as writing out interview questions, and that the best thing an employer can do to accommodate people with disabilities is to start a conversation. With proper accommodations, employees with disabilities can be very successful. To read more, go to: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2016/10/24/employers-making-businesses-more-inclusive-for-people-with-disabilities.html

Somerset County, NJ selects winners of Disability Advocates Award

After receiving many nominations this year, Somerset County selected two individual category winners for the Disability Advocates Award. Karen Kowalski was selected for her commitment to people with special needs through occupational therapy and music access programs. Samantha Petersen was nominated for her work with people with visual impairments and Seeing Eye Programs. Finally, Legal Services of Northwest Jersey was nominated for its commitment in providing legal assistance to people with disabilities. To read more about these honorees, go to: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2016/11/somerset_county_selects_winners_of_disability_advocates_awards.html

New Technology Helps NJ's Developmentally Disabled Gain Independence

New Jersey works with a network of nonprofit agencies to connect residents with disabilities with programs, technologies, and other forms of assistance. Assistive or Adaptive technology is a broad term that refers to anything that can help someone do something better. While this term isn't limited to devices that help people with disabilities, research has shown that technology can help make up for certain limitations and can help better integrate individuals into the workplace and live independently. The NJ Division of Disability Services assesses individuals' needs and refers clients to other state offices that can be of assistance with retaining appropriate assistive technology. To read more on this topic, go to: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/10/25/new-technology-helps-nj-s-developmentally-disabled-gain-independence/

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead vs. L.C. to State and Local Governments' Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities

In Olmstead vs. L.C., the Supreme Court mandated integration as part of Title II of the ADA, in order to place people with disabilities in the most integrated setting. This means the setting that enables the most interaction between people with and without disabilities, especially in the employment sector. Integrated supported employment services have thus emerged as a leading model for enabling people with disabilities to work in competitive employment settings. People with disabilities should be given the chance to make an informed decision about the best employment setting in order to promote overall integration. To read more about the Integration Mandate go to: https://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_guidance_employment.pdf

McDonald's to pay $56,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

The EEOC charged that McDonald's refused to interview a job applicant at its Belton, Mo., restaurant because of his deafness, resulting in McDonald's paying $56,500 to settle a discrimination suit. The applicant had previous experience working at McDonald's, yet the new location canceled his interview when they heard he needed an interpreter. McDonald's is also now required to train new management employees on the ADA and reasonable accommodations. To read more about this case, go to: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/mcdonald-s-to-pay-56500-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination-suit

Financial aid for students with disabilities

In addition to dealing with the same conditions and obstacles as other students when entering college, students with disabilities also have to pay the same tuition and fees as other students. There are many levels of loans, however, that students with disabilities are eligible for to help alleviate some of these costs. These include Pell Grants, Stafford loans, as well as disability specific scholarship programs. To read more about financial aid options for students with disabilities, go to: http://www.nj.com/njeducation/2016/11/financial_aid_for_students_wit.html

Jefferson County agrees with DOJ to improve access to polls for disabled voters

Jefferson County, Alabama has agreed to improve physical access at polling sites to accommodate voters who are blind or use wheelchairs. This settlement was reached under Title II of the ADA in order to ensure the right to vote for people with disabilities. The Department of Justice is looking to resolve this issue of inaccessible polling sites around the country. To read more about polling place access, go to: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/10/jefferson_county_agrees_with_d.html

Opportunities for You!

AccessibilityOnline Free Webinar Series: Transient Lodging Q & A

December 1, 2016 2:30pm to 4:00pm
Presented by the U.S. Access Board and the ADA National Network

The Access Board will partner with the American Hotel and Lodging Association to provide an overview of the scoping and technical requirements for transient lodging facilities and to respond to your burning questions. Session participants are encouraged to submit your questions in advance regarding transient lodging facilities to include amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness facilities, spas, restaurants, and conference rooms offered by the facility.  To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110503

Special Spotlight:  

Disabled veterans find peace and fish during 'thank you' tournament at Table Rock Lake

A group of 21 disabled Missouri veterans got an unusual "thank you" for their service Wednesday morning on the cool water of Table Rock Lake. They went fishing. Guided by professional bass anglers and local fishing experts, the veterans poked into coves and cast lures into fishy-looking spots during the first Fishing Dreams for Veterans fishing tournament. All the gear, lures and fast competition boats even special motor-powered reels for a few were provided free of charge to the former servicemen, who suffered a wide range of injuries during their military careers or after they got out.  To read more go to: http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2016/11/07/disabled-veterans-find-peace-and-fish-during-thank-you-tournament-table-rock-lake/93115116/

For Free resources about veterans please visit NortheastADA.org

http://www.northeastada.org/pages/webinars/#veterans  

 http://www.northeastada.org/docs/vets/Vets_Disabilities_Brief.pdf

https://www.northeastada.org/docs/vets/Vets_Disabilities_Family_Brief.pdf