Newsletter: March 30, 2011

Northeast ADA Center March 30, 2011 News Bulletin

 

What's New in Our Region:

Assistive Technology Program Grants Available in New Jersey:
The Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC) of Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) is requesting proposals for the expansion of assistive technology (AT) programs in New Jersey. DRNJ is offering grants, in amounts up to $20,000, for the expansion of existing AT activities. For more information on these grants, and to access the request for proposals, go to: http://www.drnj.org/atac/

New York (NY) Times Investigation Finds Abuse in State-run Homes:
A recent investigation of New York State-run homes revealed a high incidence of residents who have disabilities being abused. Forty years ago, under much scandal for negligence of abuse, the warehouse-like settings that housed many people with developmental disabilities were replaced by a network of small group homes. But these homes tend to have little oversight and few consequences for employees who abuse the residents. The NY Times investigation found problems in over 2000 state run homes and a very low number of incidents actually being reported. Due to this investigation, Governor Cuomo's administration says it will "undertake immediate and comprehensive review of the agencies and their practices". Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html?_r=3

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

EEOC Focuses on Barriers to Unemployment for those with Mental Disabilities:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a hearing on March 15th regarding unemployment rates for those with mental disabilities and found that the high rate of unemployment was due mostly to employers' myths and fears of hiring someone with an intellectual or psychiatric disability. The EEOC meeting was held in part to learn how to dispel these myths and other barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Testimony was heard from those who said that work was a significant part of their ability to cope with their disability, and also from those who employed people with disabilities and how that made them better managers of all of their employees. "Our witnesses brought home the fact that people with mental disabilities can work, and want to work, just like everyone else. And it's a win-win situation when employers figure out how to tap that work potential," said EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum. The EEOC press release on this hearing is available at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-15-11c.cfm

Model Jobs Program for People with Disabilities Initiated:
Lowe's Distribution Center and The Arc of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania have teamed up to provide jobs to people with disabilities, becoming a model for other Lowe's distribution centers looking to do the same. This program has resulted in 47 new hires with 169 persons with disabilities currently employed in Lowe's distribution centers across the nation. The Arc is hoping to begin a program that would also offer employment to veterans with disabilities. Read more at: http://www.timesleader.com/news/Disabled_jobs_program_a_model_to_follow_02-21-2011.html

The FCC Survey about Emergency Access for People with Disabilities:
On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) released a national online survey to determine the most effective and efficient technologies and methods by which persons with disabilities may access Next Generation 9-1-1 emergency services. The results will inform the EAAC as it makes recommendations for the FCC to draft rules to ensure those with disabilities can access 9-1-1. Read more at: http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0316/DOC-305233A1.doc. The survey is available until April 24th, provided in English and American Sign Language at: http://fcc.eaac.sgizmo.com/s3 and en Espanol at: http://fcc.eaac-es.sgizmo.com/s3.

Omnibus Express Fined for Violating ADA Accessibility Requirements:
Omnibus Express, a Texas based bus company was recently fined for operating buses that were not accessible to people with disabilities. The company was also mandated to meet ADA specification by July 1, 2011 or have their operating authority revoked. Read more at : http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/fmcsa0211.html

ODEP's "I Can" Public Service Announcement Receives National Award:
The Campaign for Disability Employment's "I Can" public service announcement earned national recognition at the 2011 PRWeek Awards recently. The Office of Disability Employment Policy's Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez described the recognition as an "honor" and said " 'I Can' reflects the diversity of skills people with disabilities have to offer and demonstrates their capacity to work for businesses of all sizes and industries." View and Share the "I Can" PSA.

Major Study Completed on People Who Use Wheeled Mobility Aids:
Results of a study on people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids by the Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center) show that there is still a problem concerning the ease of mobility for these devices. Greater space is required to operate some of these mobility aids which can be very frustrating for the operator as well as those around them. Detailed measurements of people using a variety of wheeled mobility devices were collected and this research confirmed significant differences in measurements and functional abilities between users of manual chairs, power chairs and scooters, as well as between men and women. The full report is available on the IDEA center's website but for a more detailed summary go to: http://www.access-board.gov/news/wheeled-mobility-report.htm

The Disability Law Lowdown Podcasts are Back Online:
The National Network of ADA Centers and the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) have brought back online the Disability Law Lowdown podcasts with new host, Lex Frieden, the Director of ILRU. Topics will include international aspects of disability and the new Department of Justice and Access Board regulations. Check the podcast site regularly at: http://dll.ada-podcast.com/

Health Plan Information for People with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions:
A New York Times article spells out requirements for those with pre-existing medical conditions who need to apply for medical insurance. Information is included that helps to find a plan, notes eligibility restrictions, and gives coverage and costs. To read the full article, and to find a plan in your state, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/health/19patient.html?_r=1&hpw

Department of Education Confirms Commitment to Students with Disabilities:
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) on March 15th and vowed to abolish the "2 percent rule" that "disguises" the educational performance of 2 percent of students and misrepresents the academic needs of students with disabilities. Secretary Duncan stated it was necessary to "tell the truth about student performance-so that we can give all students the supports and services they need". Read the full press release at: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-duncan-vows-move-away-2-percent-proxy-rule-assessing-students-disabili. Read his full remarks to AAPD at: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/all-means-all-secretary-duncans-remarks-american-association-people-disabilities.

 

Opportunities for You!

Early Registration Rates End April 6th for ADA Symposium!
The annual National ADA Symposium will be May 8-11, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada and will consist of many breakout sessions, trainings, events, and the ADA Coordinator Training Program. Presenters are from key federal agencies and the International Codes Council. Registration fee is $500 until April 6th then increases to $600. To learn more and to register, go to: www.adasymposium.org.

2011 Disability Leadership & Policy Summit April 21st in Philadelphia, PA:
United Spinal Association and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association are presenting the 2011 Disability Leadership and Policy Summit, "Employment- the Gateway to Empowerment and Independence", on April 21st at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Admission is free and the event will include a Summit Exhibition and a Policy Summit Panel Presentation featuring speakers from the U.S. Department of Education and Office of Personnel Management. For more information and to register, go to: http://www.unitedspinal.org/events/summit/

Summer Workshops for Deaf Professionals in Rochester, New York (NY):
The Deaf Initiative in Technology provides the latest technical training in an all sign environment. Their summer workshops, held at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, cover topics such as starting your own business, Microsoft programs, web site development, and building basic applications and web pages. Register by April 1st for the discounted rates. To register, go to: www.rit.edu/diit or call 585-475-7545 (V/TTY).

Workplace Accommodations Survey for Employers and HR Professionals:
Researchers at the University of Maryland are seeking employers and human resource professionals to take a 15-minute online survey about perceptions of workplace accommodations. Participating in the survey earns a chance of winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Employers and HR professionals can learn more and access the survey at http://sgiz.mobi/s3/DBTAC. Questions about the research study and requests for alternative formats of the survey can be directed to (301)405-9126 or dbtac07@umd.edu.

Special Spotlight- DOJ and EEOC Regulations Published:
The Department of Justice's (DOJ) revised regulations for Title II (state and local government entities) and Title III (private businesses that are places of public accommodation) of the ADA went into effect on March 15th. Also, on March 25th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released their final regulations for the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). There have been numerous press releases, fact sheets, and other information circulated about both sets of long-awaited regulations. There will also be opportunities for the public to learn more about what these regulations are and how they will be enforced. Please read below for more information and call your regional DBTAC ADA Center at 1.800.949.4232 any time with any questions!

EEOC Final ADAAA Regulations:

Press Release: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-24-11.cfm

Access to EEOC's various ADAAA related fact sheets: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/r-news-view.cfm?NewsID=57

The ADA National Network (DBTACs) is pleased to announce a special session on ADA Amendments Act Final Regulations. We've all been waiting for them. On Monday April 4th from 2:00-4:00pm EST, Sharon Rennert, Senior Attorney Advisor for the EEOC, will tell us how the new ADAAA EEOC regulations will affect people with disabilities, employers, and the workplace on a day to day basis. You can participate via webinar or by phone. On the registration form you can indicate how you will participate and whether you want to ask any questions in advance. Please register at: www.adaconferences.org/ADAAA. This session is being coordinated by the DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center and the DBTAC-Southeast ADA Center on behalf of the ADA National Network. Questions should be directed to adaconferences@adagreatlakes.org or 877-232-1990 (V/TTY).

DOJ Revised Title II and Title III Regulations:
The revised regulations took effect on March 15th and primarily affect the following areas: service animals, wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices, ticketing (includes processes for obtaining tickets to sporting events, concerts, theater, etc), effective communication, and the ADA standards for accessible design. The National Network of ADA Centers will be releasing a series of Fact Sheets very soon to help explain these revised regulations. Watch for those on our website soon! In the meantime, read below for more information:

Press Release: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/March/11-crt-324.html

Title II: Corrections to the Final Rule (HTML) as published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2011 | (PDF) This document corrects typographical errors and one substantive error reflected in certain sections of the rule relating to service animals.

Title III: Corrections to the Final Rule (HTML) as published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2011 | (PDF) This document corrects an inadvertent error in an instruction, the omission of some language in the rule, and an error reflected in certain sections of the rule relating to service animals.

Final Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Final Revised Regulations Implementing Titles II And III of the ADA, Including Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design (PDF) | (HTML)

Additional information about Title II changes is available here: http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_withbold.htm

Additional information about Title III changes is available here: http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_withbold.htm

The DOJ created ADA Update: A Primer for Small Businesses, an illustrated guide to help small businesses understand the new and updated requirements of the revised ADA regulations.

United Spinal article on the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design: Harmonizing ADA Standards with State and Local Building Codes:

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/article.asp?articleid=126540

 

See you in a few weeks!