Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dept. of Justice Issues July 2015 Guidance on Service Animals

Americans with Disabilities ADA regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) include specific provisions for the accommodation of service animals used by people with disabilities. DOJ receives many inquiries on this subject and recently issued a new guidance that answers many common questions about service animals and ADA rules. The 9-page document below is from July 2015,"Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA," is intended to help covered entities understand their responsibilities under the ADA to accommodate people with disabilities and their service animals through "reasonable modifications" in policies, practices, or procedures.

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
Department of Justice seal

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA

Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.
The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make "reasonable modifications" in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle. Accordingly, entities that have a "no pets" policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities. This publication provides guidance on the ADA's service animal provisions and should be read in conjunction with the publication ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals.


Q1. What is a service animal?
A. Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
Q2. What does "do work or perform tasks" mean?
A. The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.
Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
A. No.  These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places.  You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.
Q4. If someone's dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?
A. It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog's mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.
Q5. Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
A. No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.
Q6. Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?
A. No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.


Q7. What questions can a covered entity's employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?
A. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.
Q8. Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?
A. No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.
Q9. Who is responsible for the care and supervision of a service animal?
A. The handler is responsible for caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting, feeding, and grooming and veterinary care. Covered entities are not obligated to supervise or otherwise care for a service animal.
Q10. Can a person bring a service animal with them as they go through a salad bar or other self-service food lines?
A. Yes. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers to and through self-service food lines. Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories.
Q11. Can hotels assign designated rooms for guests with service animals, out of consideration for other guests?
A. No. A guest with a disability who uses a service animal must be provided the same opportunity to reserve any available room at the hotel as other guests without disabilities. They may not be restricted to "pet-friendly" rooms.
Q12. Can hotels charge a cleaning fee for guests who have service animals?
No. Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest's service animal causes damages to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests.
Q13. Can people bring more than one service animal into a public place?
A. Generally, yes. Some people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks. For example, a person who has a visual disability and a seizure disorder may use one service animal to assist with way-finding and another that is trained as a seizure alert dog. Other people may need two service animals for the same task, such as a person who needs two dogs to assist him or her with stability when walking. Staff may ask the two permissible questions (See Question 7) about each of the dogs. If both dogs can be accommodated, both should be allowed in. In some circumstances, however, it may not be possible to accommodate more than one service animal. For example, in a crowded small restaurant, only one dog may be able to fit under the table. The only other place for the second dog would be in the aisle, which would block the space between tables. In this case, staff may request that one of the dogs be left outside.
Q14. Does a hospital have to allow an in-patient with a disability to keep a service animal in his or her room?
A. Generally, yes. Service animals must be allowed in patient rooms and anywhere else in the hospital the public and patients are allowed to go. They cannot be excluded on the grounds that staff can provide the same services.
Q15. What happens if a patient who uses a service animal is admitted to the hospital and is unable to care for or supervise their animal?
A. If the patient is not able to care for the service animal, the patient can make arrangements for a family member or friend to come to the hospital to provide these services, as it is always preferable that the service animal and its handler not be separated, or to keep the dog during the hospitalization. If the patient is unable to care for the dog and is unable to arrange for someone else to care for the dog, the hospital may place the dog in a boarding facility until the patient is released, or make other appropriate arrangements. However, the hospital must give the patient the opportunity to make arrangements for the dog's care before taking such steps.
Q16. Must a service animal be allowed to ride in an ambulance with its handler?
A. Generally, yes.  However, if the space in the ambulance is crowded and the dog's presence would interfere with the emergency medical staff's ability to treat the patient, staff should make other arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital.


Q17. Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
A. No.  Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.
There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.

Q18. My city requires all dogs to be vaccinated.  Does this apply to my service animal?
A. Yes.  Individuals who have service animals are not exempt from local animal control or public health requirements.
Q19. My city requires all dogs to be registered and licensed.  Does this apply to my service animal?
A. Yes.  Service animals are subject to local dog licensing and registration requirements.
Q20. My city requires me to register my dog as a service animal. Is this legal under the ADA?
A. No.  Mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA.  However, as stated above, service animals are subject to the same licensing and vaccination rules that are applied to all dogs.
Q21. My city / college offers a voluntary registry program for people with disabilities who use service animals and provides a special tag identifying the dogs as service animals. Is this legal under the ADA?
A. Yes.  Colleges and other entities, such as local governments, may offer voluntary registries.  Many communities maintain a voluntary registry that serves a public purpose, for example, to ensure that emergency staff know to look for service animals during an emergency evacuation process.  Some offer a benefit, such as a reduced dog license fee, for individuals who register their service animals.  Registries for purposes like this are permitted under the ADA.  An entity may not, however, require that a dog be registered as a service animal as a condition of being permitted in public places.  This would be a violation of the ADA.


Q22. Can service animals be any breed of dog?
A. Yes.  The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals.
Q23. Can individuals with disabilities be refused access to a facility based solely on the breed of their service animal?
A. No.  A service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal's breed or how the animal might behave.  However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded.  If an animal is excluded for such reasons, staff must still offer their goods or services to the person without the animal present.
Q24. If a municipality has an ordinance that bans certain dog breeds, does the ban apply to service animals?
A. No.  Municipalities that prohibit specific breeds of dogs must make an exception for a service animal of a prohibited breed, unless the dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  Under the “direct threat” provisions of the ADA, local jurisdictions need to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a particular service animal can be excluded based on that particular animal’s actual behavior or history, but they may not exclude a service animal because of fears or generalizations about how an animal or breed might behave.  It is important to note that breed restrictions differ significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In fact, some jurisdictions have no breed restrictions.


Q25. When can service animals be excluded?
A. The ADA does not require covered entities to modify policies, practices, or procedures if it would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public.  Nor does it overrule legitimate safety requirements.  If admitting service animals would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program, service animals may be prohibited.  In addition, if a particular service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded.
Q26. When might a service dog's presence fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program provided to the public?
A. In most settings, the presence of a service animal will not result in a fundamental alteration.  However, there are some exceptions.  For example, at a boarding school, service animals could be restricted from a specific area of a dormitory reserved specifically for students with allergies to dog dander.  At a zoo, service animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated.  They cannot be restricted from other areas of the zoo. 
Q27. What does under control mean?  Do service animals have to be on a leash?  Do they have to be quiet and not bark?
A. The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. In most instances, the handler will be the individual with a disability or a third party who accompanies the individual with a disability. In the school (K-12) context and in similar settings, the school or similar entity may need to provide some assistance to enable a particular student to handle his or her service animal. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the person's disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may use a long, retractable leash to allow her service animal to pick up or retrieve items. She may not allow the dog to wander away from her and must maintain control of the dog, even if it is retrieving an item at a distance from her. Or, a returning veteran who has PTSD and has great difficulty entering unfamiliar spaces may have a dog that is trained to enter a space, check to see that no threats are there, and come back and signal that it is safe to enter. The dog must be off leash to do its job, but may be leashed at other times. Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.
Q28. What can my staff do when a service animal is being disruptive?
A. If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises.
Q29. Are hotel guests allowed to leave their service animals in their hotel room when they leave the hotel?
A. No, the dog must be under the handler's control at all times.
Q30. What happens if a person thinks a covered entity's staff has discriminated against him or her?
A. Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.  Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.


Q31. Are stores required to allow service animals to be placed in a shopping cart?
A. Generally, the dog must stay on the floor, or the person must carry the dog.  For example, if a person with diabetes has a glucose alert dog, he may carry the dog in a chest pack so it can be close to his face to allow the dog to smell his breath to alert him of a change in glucose levels.
Q32. Are restaurants, bars, and other places that serve food or drink required to allow service animals to be seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table?
A. No.  Seating, food, and drink are provided for customer use only.  The ADA gives a person with a disability the right to be accompanied by his or her service animal, but covered entities are not required to allow an animal to sit or be fed at the table.
Q33. Are gyms, fitness centers, hotels, or municipalities that have swimming pools required to allow a service animal in the pool with its handler?
A. No.  The ADA does not override public health rules that prohibit dogs in swimming pools.  However, service animals must be allowed on the pool deck and in other areas where the public is allowed to go.
Q34. Are churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship required to allow individuals to bring their service animals into the facility?
A. No.  Religious institutions and organizations are specifically exempt from the ADA.  However, there may be State laws that apply to religious organizations.
Q35. Do apartments, mobile home parks, and other residential properties have to comply with the ADA?
A. The ADA applies to housing programs administered by state and local governments, such as public housing authorities, and by places of public accommodation, such as public and private universities.  In addition, the Fair Housing Act applies to virtually all types of housing, both public and privately-owned, including housing covered by the ADA.  Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are obligated to permit, as a reasonable accommodation, the use of animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks that benefit persons with a disabilities, or provide emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of a disability.  For information about these Fair Housing Act requirements see HUD’s Notice on Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-funded Programs.
Q36. Do Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, have to comply with the ADA?
A. No.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities to participate in Federal programs and services.  For information or to file a complaint, contact the agency's equal opportunity office.
Q37. Do commercial airlines have to comply with the ADA?
A. No.  The Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel.  For information or to file a complaint, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, at 202-366-2220.


For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.
To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available, visit the ADA Website's home page and click the link near the bottom of the right-hand column.
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Duplication of this document is encouraged.
July 2015


Mexico City Restraints at Facilities for People With Disabilities, Finally Bans Cages

PHOTO: This little boy has a bed sheet tied over his arms and around his back. Facility staff said it was so he wouldn't hurt himself.
the situation is not acceptable in Mexico, the ABC News report is tough to watch, but important to understand the situation for people with disabilities that face these conditions in parts of the world.

YouTube published by ABC News: July 31, 2014

ABC NEWS, report By CHRISTINE ROMO | July 31, 2015

A Mexico City official said the city would ban the use of restraints and cages on children under its care and work to get many into homes, after a Disability Rights International and ABC News joint investigation uncovered youth, some with disabilities, living in deplorable conditions in government-funded facilities.

"Effective immediately Mexico City will ban the use of restraints and cages," said Secretary Jose Ramon Amieva of the Ministry for Social Development.

Though the streets of Mexico City teem with signs of the country's growing wealth — the total net worth of Mexico's billionaires is now more than $144 billion, according to Forbes — in the shadows, children can be found alone and neglected behind locked doors and windows.

On July 22, advocacy group Disability Rights International, which has worked in Mexico for more than 20 years, released a report — "No Justice: Torture, Trafficking and Segregation in Mexico" — detailing its findings after a yearlong focus on the children, some with disabilities, growing up in state institutions.

In its report, Disability Rights International also said that it had obtained a so-called "black list" — dated November 2013 and created by the Mexican government — of 25 facilities where children continued to be left permanently, despite the Mexican government's declaring those sites abusive or in very bad condition.

One such facility that ABC News visited along with Disability Rights International recently featured a maze of locked doors. Padlocks on every door and every window. The children that lived there were of varying ages. Some had disabilities, some were dropped off by the government and others had been released from detention centers.

Click here for more information on Disability Rights International.

Disability Rights International said that even though the Mexican government had placed the facility on its black list, the government's funding had kept the building going. Priscila Rodriguez of Disability Rights International said the public was not aware of this list.

"It's horrible," Rodriguez said about the children's living conditions at another site. "This is a terrifying place."

At a different facility, advocates like nurse Karen Green McGowan found children with disabilities and of different ages locked up in rows and rows of cages.

"They don't know what they're doing," Green McGowan told ABC News. "They don't have a lot of other tools."

The directors of the sites, however, told ABC News that the child residents had a good quality of life, that they were clean and fed and that they had a place to live.

"The government is totally abandoning these children" said Eric Rosenthal, the founder of Disability Rights International. "It is total abandonment. Mexico is falling short. These are fundamental human rights violations."


Americans with Disabilities Act Continues To Inspires Global Expansion of Disability Rights

25 years later, we should be proud that the ADA triggered an expansion of human rights and protections globally
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) July 24, 2015

(Washington, D.C.) When disability advocates started talking about the need for an international disability rights treaty, the frame of reference was the Americans with Disabilities Act. The legislation signed into law by President H.W. Bush, on July 26, 1990—the ADA—was the catalyst and the foundation on which the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was built. Now is an appropriate time to acknowledge that the ADA and CRPD are close siblings.

United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) President Patricia Morrissey, Ph.D, attended an ADA reception at the White House on July 20 and said:

"Everyone who did the work to get the ADA passed was in the East Room for President Obama’s address, and, as the President stated, ‘We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go.’ While the reception was a fitting time to mark 25 years of human and disability rights achievements, it is now a clarion to continue this work and demonstrate the obligation to offer the spirit of the ADA in the form of the CRPD to the One Billion people globally who need it. You know, we can do this if we try!"

Now, over 151 countries have ratified the CRPD. Conversations worldwide have shifted from the ideas about the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation, to how do we implement these concepts? How do we make them a matter of common practice?

Instead of a four-pillars approach in the ADA (employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunication relay services), the U.N. delegations from 190 plus countries, over six years, discussed, debated, and agreed on 40 plus articles that lay out requirements and expectations in specific contexts (e.g., health care, education, employment, political participation, public awareness, right of mobility) and emphasized certain people with disabilities (children, women). This direction was necessary as developing countries said they needed specificity and emphasis in order to make their governments respond appropriately.

While the disability and human rights communities rightfully celebrate the 25th anniversary all over Washington and the nation, the fact remains that the universal value of these rights and protections will make this world a better place. It is our hope that someday soon the United States will join the nations that have ratified the CRPD.

Special Olympics Illinois 2015 Rubber Ducks Race Day, 60,000 Ducks Will Splash into the Chicago River August 6

Ducks still available for adoption - 1st Prize is a Brand New 2015 Chevy Trax
CHICAGOAugust 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 60,000 rubber duckies will drop off the Columbus Bridge into the Chicago River on August 6, 2015 at 1 p.m.!  The 10th Annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby to benefit Special Olympics Illinois enthralls people of all ages who watch the ducks "race" to the finish line. This year Special Olympics Illinois celebrates a decade of ducks. Join the conversation using #ChiDuckyDerby on social media.
Ducks are still available for adoption for $5.00 online until August 6 at www.chicagoduckrace.com. Ducks can also be adopted on race day, August 6, beginning at 7 a.m. at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The Family Festival begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Wrigley Building and features carnival games and prizes, face painting and visits with many of Chicago's sports team mascots as well as the Ducky Derby mascot Splash. Many Special Olympics Illinois athletes are on hand to greet visitors. First prize is a Brand New 2015 Chevy Trax.
Special Olympics Illinois athlete, Global Messenger and Ducky Derby Ambassador Nick will be at the finish line boat to hold up the winning duck whose adopter will win the Trax, courtesy of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers. Other prizes include an all-inclusive Apple Vacation to Cancun, Mexico, a NASCAR package, and a Rosemont Getaway Package for two.
The success of the annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby depends on the dozens of sales teams – both corporate teams and independent groups – who devote the summer to selling duck adoptions and spreading the word about the benefits of Special Olympics.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 21,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit www.soill.org.
On race day all media contacts should check-in at media table. Contact: Corinne Zollars 847-309-6125 or czollars@soill.orgAlexandra McMillin 312-502-7954 or amcmillin@soill.org.

Kentucky County Sheriffs Handcuffed Mentally Disabled Children, ACLU Representing Parents

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) Aug. 3, 2015  - Two northern Kentucky women have sued a county sheriff and one of his school resource officers for placing their two disabled elementary school children in handcuffs.

The handcuffs were too large to fit around the wrists of the 8-year-old boy and the 9-year-old girl, both of whom have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are identified in court documents only by their initials. School Resource Officer Kevin Sumner put the handcuffs around the children's biceps, locking their arms behind them. A video of one of the incidents shows the 8-year-old boy struggling and crying while sitting in a chair.
"You don't get to swing at me like that," Sumner told the boy, according to a video that was captured by a school administrator and uploaded to YouTube by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the women and their children. "You can do what we've asked you to, or you can suffer the consequences."
YouTube published by ACLU: Aug 3, 2015
A federal lawsuit says the boy - 3 feet 6 inches tall and 52 pounds - was removed from class last August because he was not following his teacher's directions. The boy then tried to leave the principal's office but was physically restrained by school administrators until Sumner arrived to escort the boy to the bathroom.
On the way back from the bathroom, the boy tried to hit Sumner with his elbow, according to a report from the Kenton County Sheriff's office cited in the lawsuit. That's when Sumner put him in handcuffs.
The 9-year-old girl, who weighed about 56 pounds, was sent to an isolation room at her school last August for being disruptive. School officials asked Sumner to help after the girl tried to leave the room and was restrained by the principal and vice principal. A report from the sheriff's office said Sumner put the girl in handcuffs because she was "attempting to injure school staff."
The lawsuit said the experience caused "a severe mental health crisis" and Sumner called for a "medical crisis team." The girl was taken by ambulance to a hospital for a psychiatric assessment and treatment.
The lawsuit asks for a judge to ban the school from doing this again and for money to compensate for the pain and emotional trauma and for attorneys' fees.
Kentucky state regulations ban school officials from physically restraining students that they know have disabilities that could cause problems.
The lawsuit says officials at both schools were aware of the students disabilities, which including "impulsivity, and difficulty paying attention, complying with directives, controlling emotions and remaining seated."
"Shackling children is not okay. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal," Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a news release.
Col. Pat Morgan with the Kenton County Sheriff's Office declined to comment, saying the office had not been officially notified of the lawsuit. Robert Sanders, Sumner's attorney, said Sumner put the children in handcuffs because "they were placing themselves and other people in danger of harm and that's what the book says to do."
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks ASL Duo-interpreted performances–Free for All in 2015

this is a wonderful addition to an event I have enjoy since ShakeSpeare in Park started.

This summer, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is offering six FREE ASL Duo-interpreted performances of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits in neighborhood parks all across Chicago. Below I have provided information to share with your readers.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits
Free For All. All Across Chicago. All Summer Long.

ASL Duo-interpreted performances

Sunday, August 2, at 3:00 pm                Garfield Park Conservatory (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Saturday, August 8 at 6:30 pm               Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
Sunday, August 9 at 4:00pm                  Riis Park (6100 W. Fullerton Ave.)
Wednesday, August 12 at 6:30pm          Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
Friday, August 14 at 6:30pm                  Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.)
Sunday, August 16 at 4:00pm                Washington Park (5531 S. Russell Dr.)

Shakespeare’s memorable characters come to life in a unique and exciting mash-up of scenes from his most celebrated plays—from Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth to The Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It. On each stop of the tour, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds and a company of professional actors shares the delight of Shakespeare with families and neighbors of all ages.

For more information, please visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.


FREE #ASL Duo-interpreted performances at Chicago #ShakesintheParks–All Across the City. All Summer Long. More at www.chicagoshakes.com/parks

Chicago’s favorite #FREE summer tradition #ShakesintheParks returns with #ASL performances! Full schedule at www.chicagoshakes.com/parks #Access

 2013: Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

For the Chicago Park District: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/

Friday, July 31, 2015

Grandmother advocating for her Granddaughter with Cerebral Palsy, was told to leave a Shopping Mall because of the Wheels On Her Walker

Please read the following email account of what happened this week to my eight-year-old granddaughter who has cerebral palsy and tell me where I might find assistance in making sure no other handicapped child is subjected to this treatment by a Peterson Co. employee.
The following was shared by American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). 25 years after the ADA was signed and there is still so much work left to be done. Thank you, Mable, for your leadership and advocacy.
Ability Chicago Info supports Mable Duke for advocating  for her granddaughter, and all with disabilities, TY.
This was my initial email to the Peterson Co. representative:
Mable Duke
To: avanover@petersoncos.com Cc: Peyton Duke Amber Parnell
Action Required
Ms. Vanover,
My name is Mable Duke and I am the grandmother of Brianna Duke. She is eight years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy. I know you are well aware that yesterday while she was playing with her six year old cousin at the Virginia Gateway Plaza that she was told to leave repeatedly by a security guard under your supervision because of the wheels on her walker. She is not able to walk at all without her walker. Despite the fact that the babysitter and several bystanders tried to explain to the man that the “no wheels” rule applied to toys like skateboards and bikes (as pictured on the sign) not a device for the handicapped, a public scene ensued and my precious granddaughter who has endured much in her eight years of life was left in tears. I know you came and apologized. I know you made the security guard apologize. I’m sorry, that simply isn’t enough. I want to know what disciplinary measures have been taken against the security guard involved and I want to know what precautions have been put in place to make certain no other handicapped child has to suffer this treatment.
If I haven’t received a satisfactory response in writing from you within 24 hours I will be asking the Americans with Disabilities Act U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division http://www.ada.gov/contact_drs.htm
, The American Association of People with Disabilities http://www.aapd.com/take-action/spea
 k-out/, and the Washington Post metro@washpost.com for assistance in making sure this never happens again.
Believe me, I’ve never been more sincere in my life.
Mable Duke
This is the initial response I received from a Peterson Co. representative.
Joanna Caputi
To: Mable Duke
Virginia Gateway
Dear Ms. Duke,
Thank you for your email. Please accept our sincerest apology for your family's negative experience at Virginia Gateway yesterday and any sadness that it caused your granddaughter. I can assure you that we have met with our Security team to review all fountain rules to insure that this does not happen again. We have specifically outlined with our team the policy on "wheels" in that area, which does not apply to any medical equipment or medical devices.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you or a member of your family directly. Please feel free to contact me at 703-227-0894, or if you would prefer to provide your phone number, I can contact you.
We would also like the opportunity to do something special for Brianna. If she has a favorite restaurant at Virginia Gateway, we’d be happy to host her and your family as our guest.
Thank you.
Joanna Caputi
JOANNA CAPUTI | Regional Marketing Director
12500 Fair Lakes Circle | Suite 400 | Fairfax, VA 22033
(P) 703.227.0894 | (F) 703.631.6481

This was my first reply to the Peterson Co. representative.
Mable Duke
To: Joanna Caputi Cc: Peyton Duke Parnell, Amber
Re: Virginia Gateway
Ms. Caputi,
Let me make something abundantly clear to you. I couldn’t be more insulted by your response. We do not want a free dinner. We do not want compensation of any sort. Period. What we do want is what I requested earlier. 1. We want to know what disciplinary measures have been taken against the security guard who acted with total insensitivity, ignorance and cruelty yesterday, and; 2. We want to know what precautions have been put in place to make certain no other handicapped person has to be subjected to this treatment again.
You have at best marginally addressed question number two and totally ignored question number one. That simply is not acceptable.
To give your company the benefit of the doubt, I contacted Ms. Vanover before I took any further action. This isn’t about trying to “get” something from you. It is about protecting our children and ensuring that all individuals, handicapped or otherwise, are treated with consideration, respect and dignity. The security guard involved in this incident is clearly incapable of doing so and I will do whatever is necessary to make certain no other young child is subjected to such an emotionally traumatic and potentially scarring experience by him.
Unfortunately you’ve left me to choice but to move forward with contacting the media and the agencies in place to protect handicapped individuals to ask for assistance.
Mable Duke
Then I received this follow-up email from the Peterson Co. representative.
Joanna Caputi
To: Mable Duke
RE: Virginia Gateway
Dear Ms. Duke
I am so sorry that my response was interpreted as anything other than sincere. We have taken the appropriate disciplinary measures and have reviewed with all security team members that our policy does not apply to medical equipment of any kind. I can assure you that we have taken this very seriously and have taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I welcome the opportunity to speak directly with you or a member of your family. I can be reached at 703-227-0894.
JOANNA CAPUTI | Regional Marketing Director
12500 Fair Lakes Circle | Suite 400 | Fairfax, VA 22033
(P) 703.227.0894 | (F) 703.631.6481

This was my final response to the Peterson Co. representative.
Mable Duke
To: Joanna Caputi Cc: Parnell, Amber Peyton Duke
Re: Virginia Gateway
Ms. Caputi,
It’s funny I should hear from you as I sit here preparing the information to distribute to the media and disability advocacy agencies. In reading your messages, I realize that I may have not been as specific as I should have been when telling you exactly what my family wants to see happen as a result of the treatment my granddaughter was subjected to by one of your employees. I will outline that for you now, this one time, as it is what I’m asking the media and ADA for help in attaining.
The security guard that yelled repeatedly “Can’t you read?” at the 24-year-old family friend and former au pair that was babysitting my granddaughters needs to be fired from his position. That same guard when asked who his supervisor was insisted belligerently “I am the supervisor!” until a bystander stepped in and rephrased the question and demanded the name of the company he worked for. This man does not need to be in any job where he is in a public position of authority and allowed to use his own judgment (or lack thereof). Your company training needs to be updated and a memorandum sent to all employees regarding disability awareness and sensitivity, along with properly identifying medical equipment and devices. We want documented proof of this. Finally, the sign in the promenade needs to be updated and clearly state that it DOES NOT apply to medical equipment. Please note that nowhere in this message or my earlier messages was there any request or desire for the “free lunch” you so insultingly offered, or any other kind of personal compensation. As a retired CEO I’m astounded at what lengths are required to simply get your company to do the right thing.
I will not be talking to you, Ms. Caputi, nor will any of my family members. A verbal response means nothing and cannot be documented. That’s why I asked you to respond in writing to begin with and it’s also why ADA legislation was passed and advocacy groups created. When people like you won’t do what’s right, people like me don’t have to fight that battle alone. Unless you can provide proof you have, in fact, already taken the actions as outlined above, then there is no further need of a response from you, written or otherwise. You can provide it later to the proper authorities when they get in touch with you.
Mable Duke