Newsletter: December 21, 2016

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: December 21, 2016

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing

Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center!  Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 3:00pm ET Friday, December 23, 2016 until 8:30am ET Tuesday, January 3, 2017.  The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, our Technical Assistance Call Center (1.800.949.4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and be staffed on a limited basis during this time. When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing.  The Northeast ADA Center Cornell based staff will be available again beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2017, and normal ADA Center business hours and operations will resume at that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests.  The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

What's New in Our Region:

Settlement Agreement between the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and Camp Treetops under the Americans with Disabilities Act

A resident of Valley Stream, New York, filed a complaint with the United States, claiming that Camp Treetops refused to accept her daughter as a camper because of her daughter's disability. Camp Treetops is a residential summer camp, accredited by the American Camp Association, located in the Adirondack Park of Lake Placid, New York.  Camp Treetops had informed the mother of the girl that its acceptance of her into Camp Treetops' 7-week junior camp was rescinded because they learned that she had Type 1 diabetes.  Camp treetops avoids litigation by settling with the United States and agreeing to conditions to avoid future discrimination.  To read the full settlement agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/camp_treetops_sa.html

Judge halts eviction of a person with a mental disability as Brooklyn landlord seeks to evict tenants with disabilities

A federal judge has issued a temporary order to stop the eviction of a man with a mental disability from his building, where the landlord in the gentrifying neighborhood allegedly no longer wants to lease apartments to tenants with disabilities. Robert Cardona, 46, was informed that he was being evicted when his lease was due to expire on Nov. 30, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  The suit contends the landlord's new policy discriminates against persons with disabilities and violates the Fair Housing Act and New York City Human Rights Law. To read more about this, go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/judge-halts-eviction-mentally-disabled-man-brooklyn-article-1.2889132

Man with Disability Helps Children with Disabilities

Brentwood NY resident Oscar Valentin doesn't let his disability stop him from helping children with disabilities. Valentin has been an active member with the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Long Island for more than ten years. He says the agency helped him to find his independence and to live his "life without limits", which is why he wanted to give back to the organization in a special way.  Now every Friday, Valentin volunteers at The Children's Center at UCP of Long Island, located in Commack and works as an assistant coach to students.  To read more about this go to: http://patch.com/new-york/westislip/man-disability-helps-children-disabilities

"Jake's Law" would nudge every N.J. County to build a playground accessible to all children

A bill up for consideration in the state Assembly would push every New Jersey County to build at least one "inclusive" playground that is accessible to children with disabilities.  Inclusive playgrounds aim to accommodate children with varying physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The proposal would bar any county without an inclusive playground (or one under construction) from receiving Green Acres funds for conservation and recreation projects.  It would also direct the state Department of Community Affairs to publish rules for the design and construction of inclusive playgrounds. Jake's Law is a reference to Jake's Place, an inclusive playground in Cherry Hill, Camden County, created in honor of Jacob Myles Cummings Nasto, who died from complications of heart surgery.

To read more about this go to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/new-jersey/99106-jakes-law-would-urge-every-nj-county-to-build-a-disability-friendly-playground

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named

Megan Lordos, a middle school teacher, says she was not allowed to use the word "dyslexia." She's not alone. Parents and teachers across the country have raised concerns about some schools hesitating, or completely refusing, to say the word. As the most common learning disability in the U.S., dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the population. That means millions of school children around the country struggle with it. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools are required to provide specialized services to assist students by providing supports such as reading tutors and books on tape. But those special services can be expensive, and many schools don't have the resources to provide these accommodations. That has led some parents and advocates to worry that some schools are making a careful calculation: If they don't acknowledge the issue or don't use the word "dyslexia" then they are not obligated to provide services. To read more about this go to: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/12/03/502601741/dyslexia-the-learning-disability-that-must-not-be-named

FAPE Case Draws Flurry of Attention

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider how much educational benefit schools must provide students with disabilities, everyone from lawmakers to  advocates are weighing in. A dozen amicus briefs have been filed in the case known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District since the high court said this fall that it would take up the matter. The case marks the first time in more than three decades that the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE. The case is expected to be heard in January. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/12/06/fape-case-draws-flurry-attention/23089/

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar! ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards- Open Q & A

January 5, 2017

 2:30PM-4:00PM ET

This is your chance to get answers to your "burning" questions about either the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standard or the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard. After a brief introduction, accessibility specialists will respond to questions submitted during the live session. Come prepared with your questions.

To register, please visit: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/schedule/

The LiveWell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (LiveWell RERC) is conducting a survey, and they need you!

LiveWell RERC's mission is to promote accessibility of information and communication technology.  The focus of the survey is on the use of consumer technology (cellphones, tablets, fitness trackers, etc.).  The data collected will help designers create new solutions to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Please use the following link to participate in the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SUN-ICT-2016-2017

If you have any questions, or wish to complete the survey by phone or paper copy, please contact Kathleen at: karthik_arulselvam@shepherd.org; 404-350-7458

Special Spotlight:  

Department of Justice Issues Final Rule on Movie Captioning and Audio Description

On November 21, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed a Final Rule revising the Justice Department's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III regulation to further clarify a public accommodation's obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities. The Final Rule requires movie theaters to: (1) have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron's seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with these features; (2) provide notice to the public about the availability of these features; and (3) ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features. The department has long held the position that captioning and audio description are auxiliary aids required by the ADA.  Despite this obligation and the widespread availability of movies with these features, the department received numerous reports from the disability community indicating that neither closed movie captioning nor audio description is universally available at movie theaters across the United States, hence the release of this Final Rule to clarify this obligation.  To read more on this go to: https://www.ada.gov/regs2016/movie_captioning_rule_page.html