Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Disability.gov Update: Benefits.gov's New YouTube Channel 2012

Benefits.gov has launched a YouTube channel to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The channel currently showcases a self-help video about the site's confidential prescreening tool, the Benefit Finder. A YouTube account is not required to view the videos, but if you have an account, you can subscribe to the Benefits.gov channel and receive emails when new videos are posted.

YouTube Published on Dec 3, 2012

Visit Disability.gov for information about Social Security disability and other benefits programs.


Friday, December 28, 2012

EEOC Settles Disability Discharge Suit Against Scooter Store | Dec 2012

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

NEW YORK - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit against The Scooter Store, a nationwide, Texas-based retailer, the agency announced today. The terms of the settlement require The Scooter Store to pay money damages to a disabled former employee and to make changes designed to prevent discrimination and retaliation.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Case No. 11-04226 (AAR)(VVP), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the EEOC alleged that The Scooter Store discriminated against James Sherman, a mobility manager, by failing to grant his request for a reasonable accommodation. Sherman suffers from psoriatic arthritis and needed a temporary leave of absence from work. The EEOC claimed that the Scooter Store denied Mr. Sherman's request and fired him, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

By the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, The Scooter Store agreed to pay $99,000 to Mr. Sherman. Further, The Scooter Store agreed to comply with the requirements of the ADA and modify its leave policy. The decree also requires monitoring and training on anti-discrimination law. The decree will last for five years.

"We commend The Scooter Store for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter," said EEOC New York Trial Attorney Louis Graziano. "We are confident that we have put mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with the law in the future."

New York District Director EEOC Kevin Berry said, "Employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations in a workplace. The EEOC will seek full relief against employers who refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to eligible employees."

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


Saturday, December 22, 2012


PRESS RELEASE : December 18, 2012
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Washington, DC- Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. During this national time of grief, it is important that there be full media coverage, to help the nation understand the gravity of what has occurred.

AAPD is disappointed in media coverage linking the disability community with the horrors in Newtown. Inaccurately portraying people with disabilities as violent only perpetuates the discrimination against our community.

Specifically, there have been unconfirmed reports that the killer may be autistic. However, violence is not a symptom of autism. By linking autistic Americans to the horrors of Newtown, the media contributes to an unsafe society for people with disabilities. Research and statistics show, time and again, that people with disabilities are more often victims of bullying and violence, than the perpetuators of violence. If these facts are made clear, millions of Americans with disabilities may be spared from unwarranted stigma and prejudice.

We ask that the media please use this platform to inform people about the discrimination people with disabilities face on a daily basis, without spreading misinformation that causes unjust harm to our community.

Thank you for your understanding during this national time of mourning

# # #

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country's largest disability rights association, organizes the disability community to be a powerful force for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

U.S. Access Board Webinar on Accessible Amusement Rides (January 3, 2013) - RSVP

The next webinar in the Board's monthly series will take place January 3 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will review requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards for amusement rides.

The 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards address permanent amusement rides. Scoping provisions applying to newly designed and constructed rides provide the option to choose the type of access that is suitable for a particular ride. Three options for providing accessibility include a wheelchair space on the ride, a ride seat designed for transfer, or a transfer device. This session will provide details on the technical provisions for each type of access required on rides. Additional information recently obtained from a research project related to "independent" transferring will also be discussed.

Peggy H. Greenwell
Accessibility Specialist
Office of Technical and Information Services
US Access Board

Bill R. Botten
Accessibility Specialist
Office of Technical and Information Services
US Access Board

To register for this free webinar, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Questions for the webinar can be submitted in advance through this website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Career Post : Manager, ADA Compliance Programs; CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY | Dec 2012

As posted at CTA Careers.

Job Title Manager, ADA Compliance Programs
Location Chicago, IL, US
Job Type Full-Time Permanent

Job: IRC5727

Diversity Programs
Position Summary
SALARY RANGE: $74,000 - $88,000

Oversees CTA's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other related laws. Serves as the facilitator for CTA's ADA Advisory Committee. Works with staff at all levels of various departments to ensure the disability community's equal access to the Authority's services and facilities. Acts as CTA's point person on disability-related issues.

Primary duties and Responsibilities
Reviews CTA's capital construction projects from design through completion for ADA compliance. Evaluates vehicle, facility and equipment alterations/upgrades for ADA compliance. Researches, initiates, develops, and helps implement projects to enhance accessibility for rail and bus customers with disabilities. Works with staff from various departments and external areas to improve CTA's transit system, vehicles and services for people with disabilities. Liaises between CTA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Regional Transit Authority (RTA) regarding ADA compliance and responds to ADA-related federal Notices of Proposed Rule Making. Ensures CTA's fulfillment of FTA and RTA audit requirements.

Evaluates rail and bus procedures as member of CTA's Standard Operating Procedures Committee. As voting member of CTA's Accommodation Review Committee, reviews employee requests for accommodations for medical conditions. Supports the Law Department by providing subject-matter expertise at hearings, in depositions, etc. Coordinates and conducts regular meetings and other activities with CTA's ADA Advisory Committee and other members of the disability community to provide community input into the enhancement of CTA's bus and rail service, vehicles and facilities for people with disabilities.

Represent CTA at ADA-related meetings and in programs with other transit, governmental and human services agencies. Develops and delivers training programs for supervisory and front-line employees regarding the requirements of the ADA. Monitors ADA-related customer service complaints. Responds to inquiries regarding the Authority's ADA compliance and customers� accessibility concerns and suggestions.

Seeks opportunities and responds to requests to participate in community activities, fairs, exhibits, meetings, and training/education programs regarding transit services for customers with disabilities. Keeps up to date on relevant federal, state and local laws. Performs other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience Requirements
A minimum of a bachelor's degree, preferably in a field related to this position, such as transportation management, urban planning or disability studies. Graduate degree preferred; J.D. strongly preferred.

Understanding of and experience with communicating with and meeting the needs of people with disabilities and seniors.

Knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability-related laws as they relate to public transit, public accommodations and employment.

Organizational and administrative skills necessary to effectively execute the duties and responsibilities of this position.

The demeanor and temperament necessary for developing and maintaining amiable relations with various levels of Authority personnel and a wide spectrum of external contacts.

Ability to write and express oneself orally in a clear, concise and comprehensible manner.

Ability to exercise discretion when processing documents, or data considered to be confidential or privileged information.

Competence in operating personal computer systems to develop and maintain business applications using standard software programs.

Location and City
Chicago, IL

Applicants, if hired, must comply with CTA's residency ordinance.



PLEASE VISIT CTA Careers at: http://www.transitchicago.com/careers/


NASA to Work With D.C. Public Schools to Mentor Students With Disabilities Dec 2012

News Releases Dec. 14, 2012
RELEASE : 12-432

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Office of Education has entered into a memorandum of agreement with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to help foster science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational opportunities among high school students with disabilities.

This collaboration is part of the broader DCPS Competitive Employment Opportunity Program, a career-focused mentoring program that connects selected high school students with disabilities to professional mentors in the greater District of Columbia community. The program provides students with career exploration opportunities, soft skill training and career goal-setting support, and culminates with a mentor-supported, career-focused capstone project.

"NASA Education is committed to using the excitement and appeal of the agency's programs and missions to encourage students to pursue STEM studies and careers," said James Stofan, the agency's deputy associate administrator for education program integration. "We particularly want to encourage students who are underserved or underrepresented in STEM to explore the many opportunities that pursuing this course of study can offer. This partnership will help us do just that."

The initial phase of this mentorship and collaboration will take place during the first half of next year. NASA will invite some participants to a summer internship with the agency in 2013.

For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:


To learn more about the DCPS Competitive Employment Opportunity program, visit:



- end -

Monday, December 17, 2012

U.S. Access Board Working Group on Accessible Drug Labels to Hold First Meeting Jan. 10 and 11, 2013

A stakeholder working group organized by the Access Board to develop best practices for making drug labels accessible will hold its first meeting January 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C. The working group, which includes representatives from advocacy organizations and industry, will explore alternatives for making information on prescription drug container labels accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired or who are elderly. The meeting, which will be held at the Board’s Conference Center, will be open to the public.

Further details, including the meeting agenda, are posted on the Board's website.

For more information, contact Susan Crawford at crawford@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0029 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

Meeting of the Access Board Working Group on Accessible Prescription Drug Labels
January 10 and 11, 2013
Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

llinois Disability & Health Program (IDHP)

he Illinois Disability and Health Program is a collaboration initiated jointly by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The goal of the program is to develop, sustain and support activities to improve the health and quality of life and reduce the risk of chronic disease and associated secondary conditions among persons with disabilities.

Funding for this program is provided through a federal grant from the Disability and Health Team, National Center on Birth Defects, Developmental Disabilities, and Disability and Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Persons with disability are often susceptible to additional health conditions as a result of their primary disability. For example, precursors of common chronic diseases, such as physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, are more prevalent among persons with disability than those without. Despite these higher health risks, persons with disability are often overlooked by health promotion and disease prevention efforts.
The Illinois Disability and Health Program receives funding to conduct the following core activities.

Maintain and expand the Illinois Disability and Health Partnership composed of various stakeholders, such as individuals with disability, disability advocates, health service providers, state and local health agency representatives, and chronic disease-based advocacy groups.

Implement activities outlined in the Illinois Disability and Health Action Plan that guide future efforts of disease prevention and health promotion for citizens with disability in the state.

Facilitate integration of existing chronic disease and women’s health programs into statewide disability activities and assure their accessibility.

Raise public and professional awareness regarding the importance of reducing chronic disease as a secondary health condition among persons with disability.

Monitor the changes in prevalence of chronic disease, secondary conditions and quality of life in persons with disabilities

Illinois Disability and Health Program
535 W. Jefferson St., Second Floor ▪ Springfield, IL 62761
Phone: 217-782-3300 ▪ Fax: 217-782-1235 ▪ TTY 800-547-0466

Visit the website for more info: http://www.idph.state.il.us/idhp/

Disaster Distress Accessible Helpline Offers Support to Those Affected by Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy Dec 2012

SAMHSA News Release
Date: 12/14/2012 3:00 PM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

The Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 provides immediate crisis counseling and help to people affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy

A disaster or tragedy is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. The Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with many problems arising from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling after experiencing a man-made or natural disaster tragedy.

Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

“When disaster strikes, people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With community and family support, most of us bounce back. Some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “People seeking emotional help in the aftermath of a disaster can now call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 and begin the process of recovery.”

The Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free Helpline is confidential and multilingual and available for those who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence or any other tragedy affecting America's communities. The Helpline complements the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster response capacities, and is available immediately anywhere within the United States.

The Helpline can also be accessed at http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities .


Chicago: Davis Square Adult Adaptive Recreation - 2013 Winter Session

January 8 2013-March 24 2013

Daily Living Skills
Tuesday & Thursday
Ages 18 +

Walking Club
12:30pm-1:30 pm
Ages 18 and up

Boccia Practice
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Ages 18 and up

All Ages

Goal Ball
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
All Ages

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
All Ages

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
All Ages

For registration and questions contact:
Christina Moy, Special Recreation Coordinator
312 747 6107
(312) 742-PLAY (312) 747-2001 (TTY)

Davis Square Park
Programs for individuals with visual and physical disabilities
4430 S Marshfield Chicago Il 60609

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Post Employment Opportunities in Disability related fields. - non for profits - government - private sector. Dec 2012

If you are Hiring, we would be happy to Post Employment Opportunities in Disability related fields. - non for profits - government - private sector.

Or if you are interested in finding out about Employment Programs for people with disabilities in your area, we will be happy to help to locate agencies to assist.

We would like to know what information, resources, questions you might have. Is there more disability related information you would like for us to post. What different types of disabilities is more information being searched for. Are there specific Federal /State regulations more of interest? We are always trying to post information that is helpful for the majority of our readers.

We are pleased to post your information, or answer your questions (free service).
Please send us an email with information at:

PETITION: Tell the Senate: No cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits, and no tax cuts for the wealthy. Dec 2012

Democrats just won big at the ballot box, with President Obama crushing Mitt Romney and Democrats winning more seats in both the House and Senate.
But Congress is headed for a major showdown over federal spending before the end of the year.
And far too many Democrats and Republicans are part of a concerted push to put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits on the chopping block.

Negotiations are already happening and Congress only has a few weeks left in session, so your senators need to hear from you today.

Speak out and tell your senators to reject any deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits, or cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

Let's be clear, there are any number of crises that demand urgent action by Congress -- the foreclosure crisis, the unemployment crisis, the climate crisis to name just a few -- but reducing the deficit isn't one of them.

It's true that without a new deal to decrease the deficit before the end of the year, we'll see the automatic cuts and tax increases start going into effect in January.

But no deal is far better than a bad deal.

If we do nothing, the Bush tax cuts will expire and we'll see automatic, in some cases brutal, cuts to government spending. But these cuts include significant reductions to defense spending while sparing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits (not to mention a host of programs that help the most vulnerable).

As painful as the status quo might be, it's substantially better than the deals that have been floated thus far.

And it's hard to imagine that President Obama and the Democrats could cut a better deal with Republicans in the next two weeks than what they could accomplish in the next Congress with more Democrats in the House and the Senate, the Bush tax cuts already expired and (quite possibly) filibuster reform that reduces the power of obstructionist Republicans.

Speak out and tell your senators to reject any deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits, or cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Illinois woman will not face charges for abandoning adult disabled daughter at Tennessee bar | Dec 2012

Parents of children with a disability can sometimes feel overwhelmed. As children grow into adults, the responsibilities for parents do not lessen. While it is not unusual for the parents of mentally disabled children to seek help, one Illinois woman went further then many could imagine.

A grand jury decided this week that Eva Cameron, of Algonquin, will not face charges related to an incident that occurred in Tennessee over the summer, according to the Chicago Tribune. The woman left her 19-year-old disabled daughter in a bar, and drove away.

Cameron indicated that she brought her daughter to Caryville, Tennessee because of the population of Baptists in the area, and because she believed that the state has the best health care in the country, according to CNN.

The Tennessee courts did not say that the woman’s behavior was excusable. There was no indictment in the case because there is no law against what Cameron did. The girl is legally an adult, and the court found no legal reason to charge the mother

For those parents who have gone through the legal system to get help for their disabled children, it is customary to apply for guardianship before a child turns 18 in order to remain the primary legal caregiver. If that did not happen in this case, the girl is legally considered able to care for herself, regardless of her mental capacity. It is estimated that she has the mental capacity of a three-year-old.

Illinois has petitioned for guardianship of the 19-year-old. She is currently living in a group home. Eva Cameron signed paperwork stating that she did not want to take the girl back home to Illinois with her.

The mother in this situation clearly was overwhelmed by the needs of her daughter. Parents in Illinois should know that there are many resources available for children with disabilities. The Illinois State Board of Education, the Department of Children and Family Services, and local school districts are all great places to start when looking for resources.

Family & Parenting | © 2006-2012 Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicago Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker" gives children with disabilities a chance to dance : article/video Dec 2012

Dec 9, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The Joffrey Ballet's famous production of "The Nutcracker" is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

There are many versions of the classic ballet this time of year but the Joffrey's stands out because it includes young dancers with disabilities.

Fifteen years ago a role as a party guest was created for children with physical disabilities. It may be a small role but it's important.

Nine-year-old Djuna Moore is one of two dancers with disabilities in this year's production. This is her second year dancing with the company.

"I play a party boy and I have a really good time and at one scene we're supposed to scare the girls with a mouse," she said.

Moore has cerebral palsy. Her father said the ballet has been a really positive experience.

"We love it and we were hoping all year long that we would be cast to do it again and here she is," Christian Moore said.

Ballet is all about using the body to speak.

"It's wonderful when we have somebody like Djuna who is very animated and just really loves being on stage and she is very smart," Joffrey ballet master Willy Shives said.

"How fortunate that we are to be able to have children like that that are in a wheelchair with disabilities," Shives said.

"They don't have to have this role for a disabled child to participate but they do," Christian Moore said. "They take the time and the effort to include my daughter and Jasmine, the other child who is doing her role, it's just a great feeling to know that they you know consider us."

"It's magical and I just feel I fit in," Djuna Moore said.

"The Nutcracker" is now at the Auditorium Theatre until December 27. There are matinees and evening performances.

Report by Karen Meyer; ABC7 Chicago
(Copyright ©2012 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Get more Disability Issues » http://abclocal.go.com/wls/explore?section=wls/news/disability_issues


Travel and Disability Community Education Event at JCFS (Skokie, IL) | Dec 18, 2012 - RSVP

December 18, 2012
Tuesday , 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Beatrice Leonard, president of Travelers with Disabilities Having Fun, will discuss the challenges of traveling when you have a disability, and how to make the best out of a travel experience. Beatrice has travelled around the country and to several international locations. Some might believe that because Beatrice is visually impaired, her traveling experiences are not as exciting and hands on as someone else’s. Ms. Leonard aims to show how everyone can alter travel activities for personal enjoyment, regardless of their level of ability.

CEUs and CPDUs (2 units) are available for attendees!

This presentation is free, but registration is required. To register please contact Emily Tegenkamp at EmilyTegenkamp@jcfs.org OR 773-467-3741
Emily Tegenkamp, MA, LSW
Phone: 773-467-3741
Goldie Bachmann Luftig Building, 5150 Golf Rd., Skokie, IL 60077

Request information:
Jewish Child & Family Services(JCFS) Skokie, IL
CEUs and CPDUs Available

For more infromation from Jewish Child & Family Services(JCFS):

Saturday, December 8, 2012

EEOC Sues Sony and Staffmark for Disability Discrimination | Dec 2012

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Federal Agency Says Staffing Company and Sony Fired Employee From Temporary Job Because of Her Prosthetic Leg

CHICAGO, IL. - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a disability discrimination lawsuit today against Staffmark Investment LLC and Sony Electronics, Inc., alleging that they terminated a woman with a prosthetic leg because of her disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to John P. Rowe, the EEOC's district director in Chicago who oversaw the EEOC's administrative investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that Staffmark and Sony fired Shanks because of her prosthetic leg. Staffmark, a staffing agency, assigned Dorothy Shanks to work on a temporary job for Sony at Ozzy Hessey Logistics' (OHL) facility located in Romeoville, Ill. Sony uses OHL laborers to package and/or inspect Sony products that are being shipped out. Despite the fact that she was working in the OHL facility, Shanks's supervisors were all Sony employees, who were also located at the OHL facility.

On Shanks's second day of employment on the Sony job, a Staffmark employee told her that she was being removed from her assignment because they did not want anyone bumping into her, and that Staffmark would find her another assignment where she could sit. Staffmark never sent Shanks to work on any other job assignments even though Shanks repeatedly called Staffmark seeking work.

The EEOC filed suit under the ADA after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with Staffmark and Sony through EEOC's conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. Staffmark Investment LLC and Sony Electronics, Inc, N.D. Ill. No. 12-cv-9628, was filed on Dec. 4, 2012, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason and Trial Attorney Ann Henry will litigate the case on behalf of the EEOC.

"The ADA requires that individuals with disabilities be judged on their ability to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation," said Rowe. "Ms. Shanks performed her job with no difficulty, but was fired because of unjustified fears about her having a prosthetic leg. Firing employees because of baseless fears and stereotypes about their disabilities is illegal, and the EEOC will defend the victims of such unlawful conduct."

"Staffing agencies cannot avoid liability for discrimination by saying they were just following an employer-client's orders, nor can employers avoid liability by saying the victim was 'really employed' by their staffing agency," said John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "It's a pretty good bet that a worker with a prosthetic leg is always going to be protected by the ADA, and an equally good bet that flat-out firing the worker for that reason is going to violate the law. This scenario should not be all that difficult for employers to avoid. If they don't, the EEOC will be there to make things right."

According to the company website, Staffmark is one of the top ten commercial staffing companies in the United States, with more than 300 offices in 30 states. Sony Electronics, Inc. is the largest component of Sony Corporation of America, the U.S. holding company for Sony's electronics and entertainment business.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Americans With Disabilities Act-Cars blocking sidewalks-Civil rights | Video

Youtube Published on May 15, 2012

Violations of the disabled rights to use the sidewalks. The right for the disabled to use the sidewalks is a civil right! ADA violations. Cars blocking sidewalks.The disability rights movement.

Social Security Announces 200 New Compassionate Allowances Conditions | Dec 2012

Press Release
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fast Track Disability Process Will Now Include 200 Conditions
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 35 additional Compassionate Allowances conditions are in effect, bringing the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 200. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. The program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.

“We have achieved another milestone for the Compassionate Allowances program, reaching 200 conditions,” Commissioner Astrue said. “Nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities nationwide have been quickly approved, usually in less than two weeks, through the program since it began in October 2008.”

By definition, these conditions are so severe that Social Security does not need to fully develop the applicant’s work history to make a decision. As a result, Social Security eliminated this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.

Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions. The hearings also have helped the agency identify ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions.

For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

New Compassionate Allowances Conditions
Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Adult Onset Huntington Disease
Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome
Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma
Aplastic Anemia
Beta Thalassemia Major
Bilateral Optic Atrophy- Infantile
Caudal Regression Syndrome –
Types III and IV
Child T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma
Congenital Lymphedema
DeSanctis Cacchione Syndrome
Dravet Syndrome
Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma
Erdheim Chester Disease
Fatal Familial Insomnia
Fryns Syndrome
Fulminant Giant Cell Myocrditis
Hepatopulmonary Syndrome
Hepatorenal Syndrome
Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome
Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
Malignant Germ Cell Tumor
MECP 2 Duplication Syndrome
Menkes Disease - Classic or Infantile Onset Form
NFU-1 Mitochondrial Disease
Non-Ketotic Hyperglcinemia
Peritoneal Mucinous Carcinomatosis
Phelan- McDermid Syndrome
Retinopathy of Prematurity - Stage V
Roberts Syndrome
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency - Childhood
Sinonasal Cancer
Transplant Coronary Artery Vasculopathy
Usher Syndrome - Type I

# # #

SSA Press Office 440 Altmeyer Building 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Illinois Dedicates $4 Million in Illinois Jobs Now! Funding to Help Build Wounded Warriors Education Center | Dec 2012

Governor Quinn Announces New Veterans Education Center at the University of Illinois

URBANA, IL – December 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to announce $4 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help build the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The new center will help returning Veterans with disabilities readjust to civilian life and provide vital rehabilitative, counseling, academic and career services to support wounded warriors as they achieve higher education. The governor was joined by Assistant Secretary of the Army Thomas Lamont, philanthropist Ron Chez and university leaders including Provost Ilesanmi Adesida and Lt. Col. Eric Stetson of University of Illinois ROTC.

“Our servicemen and women sacrifice years of their lives to protect our country and when they return, they deserve support in earning the degrees and dreams that so many postponed,” Governor Quinn said. “Our wounded Veterans face unique challenges, but they should not face them alone. The Wounded Warriors Center will keep Illinois a leader in helping returning members of our armed forces achieve their dreams.”

The state-of-the-art Wounded Warrior Center will combine 24-hour comprehensive support to prepare severely wounded veterans to live independently and to successfully pursue their educational and career goals. The center will house offices for supporting programs, research spaces, a fitness center, residential units for up to 12 occupants, a teaching kitchen, a conference room, tutorial support spaces and a lounge. The facility will also be LEED Gold certified.

“More than 60 years ago, wounded WWII veterans began returning home only to find that access to a college education would be denied to them because of the injuries they had sustained in their service,” said University Chancellor Phyllis Wise. “In 1948, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the leadership of Professor Timothy Nugent, began to address this wrong, founding the world’s first comprehensive program of higher education for individuals with disabilities. That commitment has never wavered and we live in different world today because of his program and the dedication of all of those who have followed Dr. Nugent. The Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education will be the newest addition to that long legacy that began here and that will always be among our proudest accomplishments.”

The $12 million facility also is the beneficiary of a $6 million charitable pledge by U.S. Army Veteran Ronald L. Chez, who graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962 and is now president of his own financial consulting firm and chairman of Champaign-based Epiworks. Chez has been a strong supporter of efforts to help students with disabilities succeed in higher education, previously pledging $1 million to establish a scholars program that provides financial assistant to students with special needs. Additionally, the University has been working with donors to raise the final $2 million for the facility.

“There is no way that we can adequately compensate for the courage and service of our wounded Veterans,” said Chez. “It is our special opportunity to honor these heroic men and women and their families by helping to provide the services and facilities they require. I cannot think of a higher priority for private citizens and government than to provide opportunities for education and independence to those who have served all of us.”

Since its inception in 1948, the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has sought to advance the educational, social and vocational participation of people with disabilities through the collaborative promotion, provision and/or pursuit of innovative accommodations and educational services, and interdisciplinary disability research. DRES has made historic strides in interdisciplinary disability research – including wheelchair bus lifts, curb cuts and accessibility standards – many of which resulted from the applied disability research and/or educational outreach of its faculty and staff.

This fall, Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs launched Illinois Joining Forces, a new statewide public-private partnership that will improve support for servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Modeled after the national Joining Forces initiative, IJF is spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and seeks to increase collaboration and communication among non-profits and public agencies serving Veterans at the local, state and federal levels. Through IJF, participating organizations will work together to address gaps in services for job training and placement, healthcare, education and housing, actively refer veterans and servicemembers in need of assistance and offer better navigation of available resources and service to the public. To learn more about IJF, visit www.IllinoisJoiningForces.org.

For more information about other programs for Illinois veterans and servicemembers, visit www.OperationHomefront.org.


Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 2012 Infrastructure Accessibility Task Force Report

The Infrastructure Accessibility Task Force (IATF) was created by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in 2010, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The purpose of the Task Force was to serve as a resource to assist CTA in its strategic planning to enhance rail accessibility for people with disabilities – and help the agency reach the ultimate goal of providing full accessibility for its entire rail system.

The task force ultimately developed a report that outlines the IATF’s vision for future accessibility and serves as guidance for CTA’s rail system capital projects. The findings embodied in the report will inform future planning, though it does not take into account funding availability or potential construction limitations. Indeed, many of the report’s guidelines have already been reflected in significant new capital initiatives, such as the reconstruction of the Clark/Division Red Line station by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) that began in 2012 and the planned reconstruction of Wilson Station beginning in 2013, as well as the installation of elevators at the Garfield, 63rd Street and 87th Street Red Line stations as part of the Red Line South reconstruction beginning in May 2013.

The CTA wishes to recognize and thank the distinguished external members of the Task Force for their tireless collaboration and expert input as the CTA moves forward with future capital project planning. They are:

Jack Catlin (Partner, LCM Architects)(often accompanied or represented by Christine Scully, Architect, LCM Architects)

Mike Ervin (Member, Chicago ADAPT)

Luann Hamilton (Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation)

Glenn Hedman (Director, Assistive Technology Unit, University of Illinois at Chicago)

Kevin Irvine (CTA Board member as of 2012 and former Chair of CTA’s ADA Advisory Committee)

Greg Polman (Senior Vice President, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired)

Joseph Russo (Deputy Commissioner of Compliance, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities)
The CTA also thanks Chicago Transit Partners (CTP), a capital program management joint venture, which provided significant project management, technical assistance and planning work for the IATF.

The CTA remains committed to promoting accessibility for all customers, and would welcome your feedback : http://www.transitchicago.com/feedback/

Read the report: http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/iatfreport/IATF_Report_FINAL_(Fall_2012)_2012-11-29.pdf

For more on CTA Accessibility: http://www.transitchicago.com/accessibility/

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

President Obama Names Sachin Dev Pavithran to the U.S. Access Board | Dec 2012

President Barack Obama has appointed Sachin Dev Pavithran of Logan, Utah to the U.S. Access Board. Pavithran is Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities, a position he has held since 2011. Before serving as Program Director, he served in a variety of other roles at the Center, including Program Coordinator and Disability Policy Analyst, since joining in 2002. Pavithran has more than 12 years of experience as a consultant on disability policy and developing and training users of assistive technology and accessible websites. He serves on the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs National Board, the Utah State Rehabilitation Council, the Research and Development Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, and the National Multicultural Council of the Association of University Centers for Disabilities. In 2007, the National Federation of the Blind awarded him the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship.

The Access Board is an independent Federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design under the ADA and other laws. Its governing Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. The Board is comprised of 13 members from the public appointed by the President and representatives from 12 Federal departments.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

U.S. Senate rejects treaty to protect disabled around the world | Dec 2012

[photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP - Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), center, gestures during a news conference in Washington, Dec. 3, 2012, to urge Senate approval of an international agreement for protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. The measure failed on Tuesday.]

The Senate has failed to ratify an international treaty intended to protect the rights of those with disabilities, as a bloc of conservatives opposed the treaty believing it could interfere with U.S. law.

The Senate voted 61 to 38 to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, a tally that fell short of the two-thirds needed to sign on to an international treaty.

The 2006 treaty, which forbids discrimination of the disabled, has enjoyed bipartisan support. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the treaty would encourage other nations to develop the kind of protections the United States adopted 22 years ago with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The international treaty’s thrust, he said, was a message: “Be more like us.”

But the treaty has split Republicans. Among its most vocal supporters were Republican war veterans, including President George H.W. Bush and former senator Bob Dole, who was injured in World War II and made a rare return to the Senate floor Tuesday to observe the vote and lend his stature.

Other conservatives were deeply suspicious of the United Nations, which would oversee treaty obligations. Those who opposed the treaty included former senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the father of a developmentally disabled child who had traveled to Capitol Hill last week to encourage fellow Republicans to vote no.

He and other conservatives argued that the treaty could relinquish U.S. sovereignty to a U.N. committee charged with overseeing a ban on discrimination and determining how the disabled, including children, should be treated. They particularly worried that the committee could violate the rights of parents who choose to home school their disabled children.

“This is a direct assault on us,” Santorum said.

Nations that have signed on to the treaty include China, Iran and Syria. Opponents said that American approval might give the impression that the United States accepts how those nations treat their disabled citizens.

“The hard reality is that there are nation-states, like China, who do like to sign up to these organizations and gain the reputation for doing good things while, in fact, not doing good things,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)

Supporters dismissed those fears as paranoid, noting that the treaty would change nothing in U.S. law without further approval from Congress.

“With these provisions, the United States can join the convention as an expression — an expression — of our leadership on disability rights without ceding any of our ability to decide for ourselves how best to address those issue in our law,” said Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.).

The risk of rejection grew after Santorum and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced that they had gathered the signatures of 36 fellow Republicans on a letter opposing the adoption of the measure during this month’s lame-duck session.

But its proponents had pushed forward in hopes of peeling off a handful of Republican opponents. Senators were greeted this week near their basement subway by veterans and others in wheelchairs who pushed for support.

In deference to the solemnity of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) asked that senators cast their votes while seated at their desks — a rare move to observe the chamber’s formal rules that require each senator to respond to the clerk’s announcement of their name with an “aye” or “no.”

In practice, senators usually vote by giving a signal to the clerk — sometimes a thumbs up or down.

The Washington Post
By Rosalind S. Helderman, Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Senators who voted against the CRPD:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Daniel Coats (R-IN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA), N
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Dean Heller (R-NV)
John Henry Hoeven (R-ND)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Robert Portman (R-OH)
James Risch (R-ID)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Thune (R-SD)
Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
* Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) did not vote due to his health.

Please take the time to tell those senators who voted “Yea” on ratification ‘thank you’ for their commitment to the treaty and the disability community.

See how your Senators voted:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Disability Rights Consortium Meeting to Focus on Hunger Issues - Webcast Wed Dec. 5, 2012 st 9:30 to 11:00 AM (cst)

The next Disability Rights Consortium meeting will take place on Wednesday December 5th from 9:30-11:00 at Equip for Equality (20 North Michigan, Suite 300, Chicago, IL). The meeting will focus on the work of the Commission to End Hunger, and how we as a disability community can support the Commission's important efforts. Our speakers will be Dan Lesser from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Dawn Melchiorre from the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

In Illinois, there has been under-utilization of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), and one of the goals of the Commission is to identify ways to reach out to various groups, including people with disabilities.

In preparation for the meeting, you may want to review the Commission's recent report.

This meeting will be eligible for 1 hour of Continuing Legal Education Credit.

WEBCAST: www.illinoislegaladvocate.org.

Captioning will be provided at the meeting.

It would be great for us to work collectively as a community to help people with disabilities have better access to nutrition.

The meeting is held at:
Equip for Equality
20 North Michigan Ave, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602
312-895-7317 (v)
312-341-0295 (f)
800-610-2779 (tty)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chicago Disabled Man’s Wife Wrongly Ticketed For Using Handicap Placard | Dec 2012

CHICAGO (CBS 2 Investigators) — City and state officials are cracking down on the misuse of disabled parking privileges by people who are not disabled.

But the 2 Investigators found that in the last two years, 74 percent of those tickets issued by the city have been dismissed by administrative hearing judges.

The case of Wilton and Roystene Harris may explain why it’s happening.

Wilton Harris is blind, a diabetic, and has to go to receive life-saving kidney treatments three times a week.

His wife drives him to dialysis and uses Wilton’s handicap placard to park in a disabled parking spot near the center. Then they walk to the clinic together.

“I need the placard because of the shortness of breath,” Wilton Harris said one morning after finishing his dialysis treatment.

He says there are many days when he is so tired after dialysis that he can’t walk, so he needs the placard.

After Roystene Harris gets Wilton settled in for his four-hour treatment, she leaves to go to work. One morning, the police were waiting at her car and wrote her a ticket for unlawful use of a handicapped parking permit.

Chicago police say the officer followed the letter of the law, which says the person registered to the placard must be present when it’s being used.

But that’s wrong. The law says the disabled person must enter or exit the car when the disabled spot is being used. Roystene says she told the officer her husband exited the car with her to go for his treatment

“I told him where my husband was at dialysis. He said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry. You’re a nice lady, but he has to be in the car with you at all times.’”

The officer also told Roystene she should drop him off and park because she herself is abled-bodied.

But her spouse can’t even get into the building by himself because he is blind, she says.

What’s more, the officer confiscated Wilton’s placard. He says that has been a real problem.

“We don’t have that placard anymore, and we can’t park in disability or handicapped spot,” Wilton says.

Zena Naiditch, president and CEO of Equip for Equality, said the Chicago police interpretation of the disability parking law is “downright wrong.”

“If they apply the law in this way, lots of people with disabilities are going to be seriously harmed,” she says.

Many people with disabilities, like Wilton, need assistance to go to doctor’s appointments, jobs, schools or other recreational activities.

“The police officer had a responsibility here to take that extra step to make sure, in fact, the usage was in compliance with the law,” Naiditch says.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office says that is, in fact, what they do. For example, officers even call to confirm if a disabled person is at a medical appointment. If they are, no ticket is issued.

In their opinion, the Harrises were using their placard properly, and it has been returned.

But the Harrises still have to fight that ticket.

Report by Pam Zekman - CBS 2 Chicago - November 30, 2012

Monday December 3rd is International Day of People with Disabilities

Theme: Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all

Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.

Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society. Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice.

Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. Barriers faced by persons with disabilities are, therefore, a detriment to society as a whole, and accessibility is necessary to achieve progress and development for all.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes that the existence of barriers constitutes a central component of disability. Under the Convention, disability is an evolving concept that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the CRPD and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights. The CRPD (Article 9, accessibility) seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. It calls upon States Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others, as well as to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

In spite of this, in many parts of the world today, lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility as a cross-cutting development issue remains an obstacle to the achievement of progress and development through the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed outcomes for all.

The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society.

How the Day may be observed

Based on the main theme of IDPD 2012 “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and
accessible society for all”, sub-themes can be selected to cover all aspects of society and development, including, but not limited to, removing barriers to education, employment, transportation, travel and tourism or sports. You can select a sub-theme to address a specific issue of exclusion and accessibility in your community.

Include: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all stakeholders – Governments, the UN system, civil society and organizations of persons with disabilities – to focus on issues related to the removal of barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society that would benefit all.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the themes of IDPD 2012 to find innovative ways and means by which barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families can be broken down.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change and development in the communities in which they live.

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action that would help to remove barriers that limit accessibility for and participation by persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development. Highlight progress and obstacles in creating accessible and inclusive society, including in terms of physical environments, information and communications technology and other areas, as well as promote public awareness of existing barriers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.

Events around the world to commemorate IDPD 2012

You tell us! If you are commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in your community and would like to share an innovative idea that includes other stakeholders, such as your Government, a UN agency, an NGO/DPO or a community, please let us know about it. We will showcase the idea on our website to inform and inspire others to do the same. Please send your ideas to enable@un.org.

UN system

The Executive Secretariat and the Staff Union of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) invite its staff in Santiago (Chile) for a concert by the Orchestra of the School Santa Lucia, composed of young blind musicians from the Fundación Luz and a welcome address on the theme of the Day by ECLAC's Deputy Executive Secretary. Activities at ECLAC inlcude include a week-long art exhibition by young artists from Fundación Luz. The key message of the commemorative events is that full inclusion of functional diversity opens the door to fully enjoy the contributions made by different capacities. (luis.zuniga@cepal.org; veronica.lazo@cepal.org)

UNIC Moscow
UNIC Moscow, in partnership with RIA-Novosti News Agency and W3C (International Web Consortium) office in Russia, will organize a presentation of the authorized Russian translation of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2.0. WCAG 2.0 in Russian will be presented at a media briefing at RIA-Novosti press centre. The translation project – a joint effort initiated by the UNIC Moscow and supported by the UN Coordination Office in the Russian Federation – is intended to facilitate the use of this important international standard by web designers in Russia. In accordance with W3C procedure, after the translation was completed, the text was submitted to an editorial panel consisting of ICT professionals and pro-disabled advocacy groups, before a final W3C approval. On 4 December, also as part of the observance of the Day, the UNIC Moscow will organize a special thematic event “My Voice Counts.” The party will bring together representatives of Government organizations, advocacy and human rights groups, international organizations and journalists. The central element of the soirée will be the opening of an exhibition of photographs – winners of the national competition “Without Barriers,” organized by the Russian Society of the Disabled and the Union of Photography Artists of Russia. With the International Day of Human Rights just around the corner, another thematic emphasis of the event will be on building inclusive society.

To commemorate the Day, the Director-General of UNESCO will issue an official statement. UNESCO will launch an online community on disability issues and the first findings of the world report on the use of ICTs to access information and knowledge for persons with disabilities, as well as a report entitled "Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities" in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/themes/icts/teacher-education/unesco-ict-competency-framework-for-teachers/).

To commemorate the Day, UNICEF will launch a Disability Orientation campaign for its global staff via an awareness-raising policy video and related questionnaire.


Think big. Overcome barriers: As part of the EU co-funded project "Making development inclusive", AIFO, Associazione Italiana Amici di Raoul Follereau, has developed a short animated video on this year's theme for the celebration of the international day of persons with disabilities 2012. The title is "Think big. Overcome barriers". (www.overcomebarriers.eu; Italian version: www.superalebarriere.eu)

CBM and partners will be celebrating the Day around the world: http://www.cbm.org/Celebrating-3rd-Dec-368340.php.

Mobility International USA will release a new video" "Creating a World As It Should Be ®: The Power of Disabled Women Activists" that documents the power of disabled women activists in their quest to be included in international development programs. Sharing strategies across borders, this powerful, uplifting and invigorating documentary portrays activists who are paving the way for women and girls in their own countries to achieve their human rights. The video will be available for free in English, Spanish and Arabic on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/miusa1981.

The Zero Project Report 2013, with its special focus on employment and persons with disabilities, will be launched at the Vienna International Film Festival for Human Rights. At the launch, some of the most striking findings and figures of this year’s research, innovative practices as well as innovative policies from all around the world will be presented. Afterwards the award-winning Korean movie “Planet of snail” will be shown (see http://vimeo.com/31821257). The Report, published annually by the Essl Foundation, has been produced this year in collaboration with the World Future Council, Disabled Peoples' International and the International Institute for Advanced Studies. (www.zeroproject.org)

National and local commemorations

(New locations and updates forthcoming)

1. Peaceful marches to help realize the rights of persons with disabilities will be held in Buenos Aires on 3 December at 9 a.m. (en la calle 25 de mayo y Mitre) and on 5 December at 9:30 a.m. (Terminal de micros de Retiro, en el nivel de boletaría, en la puerta del Banco Ciudad (altura boletaría 1). (revis_aportarcomunitario@hotmail.com);
2. The Microemprendimientos Solidarity Association's Discapanch Pancheria will have an event in the hall of the train station of the Retiro Mitre line where persons with disabilities can register for business and work (Pro-Empleos para Personas con Discapacidades - Asociación Microemprendimientos Solidarios). MS Association will also conduct its "Sistema de Asesoramiento Integral y Gratuito" for those who wish to employ persons with disabilities thus fulfilling CSR and receiving tax benefits. (asociacionms@fibertel.com.ar; macyszyn@fibertel.com.ar; www.discapanch.com);
3. The Centro Edicativo _Terapuetico Crianza in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, will conduct several awareness-raising activities to commemorate the Day, including a photo competition on the rights of persons with disabilities, a "Spot the differences" in some store windows in the city (example: a clothing store mannequin sitting in a wheelchair), and a film series discussion. (danielaviglianco@cpenet.com.ar; www.cetcrianza.com.ar)

The Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) will conduct an exhibition "Removing Barriers: Creating New Futures for All" at the University of Sydney as part of the ‘Creating New Futures for All: Children, Youth, Disability and Situations of Forced Migration’ conference. The conference is being organised in line with the goals of UNICEF’s Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities and Development, ESCAP’s Make the Right Real and One Billion Strong’s goal of encouraging true implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It will bring together leading academics and organisations that specialise in children’s rights, refugee protection and disability. (http://sydney.edu.au/law/creatingnewfuturesforall/index.shtml)

The Austrian Premiere of the award-winning documentary “Body and Soul” (www.bodyandsoulmozambique.com) will take place on 2 December in Vienna, followed by a discussion with the three main characters of the film and the film director. The cinema is accessible and an audio-description of the film as well as sign language interpretation of the discussion will be available. This event is part of the Austrian Human Rights Festival entitled: “This Human World” (http://www.licht-fuer-die-welt.at/content/oesterreichpremiere-body-soul). On the 30 November, dancers with and without disabilities are invited to take part in an inclusive contact improvisation workshop with the three main characters of the film. (http://www.licht-fuer-die-welt.at/content/inklusive-tanzveranstaltung-body-soul)

Awareness-raising ctivities will be conducted throughout the State of São Paulo from 1 - 3 December, including the city of São Paulo, the countryside and the seashore cities, in places with full physical and communication accessibility. The Third Edition of “Virada Inclusiva” is expected to reach 120 partners, 80 different cities, and more than 800 events will take place simultaneously during the three days of celebrations. (http://viradainclusiva.sedpcd.sp.gov.br/)

Belgium (European Parliament event)
To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as well as the Human Rights Day, CBM and Human Rights Watch will conduct a panel discussion on the "Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries" on 4 December from 18h-20h at the European Parliament, Paul-Henri Spaak Building, room P7C050. The panel aims to inform the future work of key international and EU actors on best practices and main obstacle related to the issue of political participation of persons with disabilities in developing countries. (Luisa Fenu Luisa.Fenu@cbm.org +32 2 256 90 01)

1. In Fort Saskatchewan, an event will be held at Pioneer House Club 50, 10102 – 100 Avenue that will include the reading of a proclamation by the Mayor. Local recognition awards will be presented, along with opportunities to greet and meet with the Ft. Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Regional Disability Specialists, and local disability support and service organizations. Next Step Senior High will conduct disability-awareness activities and develop disability-awareness posters. (cgowers@employabilities.ab.ca)
2. The Perth County (Ontario) Accessibility Advisory Committee will conduct the 2nd Annual Canadian Amputee Hockey Challenge at the Perth East Recreation Complex in Milverton, Ontario in celebration of the Day. The event will also include a free skate from 7-7:30 p.m. (accessibility@perthcounty.ca)
3. In Vancouver, the events for the Day will include fun activities for families, film screenings, obstacle courses to go through using guide dogs and/or wheelchairs and assistive devices, adaptive sports, and performances featuring talent from the local disability community. An acclaimed filmmaker will also provide the keynote address. (http://vancouverdisabilitiesday.ca)
4. Vancouver Island University’s Disability Services is hosting a community event at the university in Nanaimo, British Columbia. A variety of community organizations, representing different disabilities will participate and provide education and information to students, staff and community members. The event includes exhibit booths, info stalls, art work and other festivities. (Denise.Hook@viu.ca)

Czech Republic
Svetlo Pro Svet will organise an event with high school students in Prague. The day will start off with a screening of the documentary ”Body and Soul” (www.bodyandsoulmozambique.com) and a discussion with the characters and the film director. Participants will then be invited to take part in an inclusive dance workshop, bringing together dancers with and without disabilities, the actors of the film and the high school students.

The Alkasr Elaeiny Medical School in Egypt through the Students' Scientific Society (SSS) of IFMSA will commemorate the Day for the first time at their College. Activities will include a gallery of famous persons with disabilities, a workshop and a fair. (dr.menaelzeiny@gmail.com)

Faroe Islands - Tórshavn
The Ministry of Social Affairs, The Council on Disability Awareness and the Disabled Peoples Organisation (NGO) will hold an event at the Nordic House. The Danish Paralympic rider, Annika Lykke Dalskov, winner of four medals at the London 2012 games, will be the keynote speaker. The programme will also include presentations by persons with disabilities and Faroese music. (www.radidfyribrekad.fo or rfb@radidfyribrekad.fo)

A person in a wheelchair, advocating for Article 9 of CRPD, and protesting the lack of access to public places, has developed project RAMP "Respect and Accept the Movement of all People". To promote an awareness of the issue, he will be producing 1000 stickers of the project and distributing them in his locality on 3 December. (makchie@yahoo.com)

1. Inter University Centre for Disability Studies at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, plans to conduct a Disability Survey in connection with the Day at all its affiliated colleges. The survey will focus on accessibility and related issues faced by students with disabilities. (iucdsmgu@gmail.com)
2. An event will be held at the National Institute of Technology (Calicut) for school children entitled" "Role of technology in improving the quality life of people with disabilities". (drpremrajp@nitc.ac.in)
3. An international Conference on Disability Equality and Accessibility will be organized Choice International with a view to provide an environment for innovation and creativity and exchange of experiences, to initiate change in disability equality and accessibility in India. The event would also provide a platform to share best practices in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. (http://www.choice-international.com/conference)

The Museum of the Asian-African Conference in cooperation with Mata Hati Indonesia, West Java Province authorities, Friends of the Museum of the Asian-African Conference, LayarKita community, Asian African Reading Club, POSS UPI, Kabuyutan and Bengkel Kreasi GaPaT communities will commemorate the Day with an event at the Museum of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java. Several events will be held during the month of December and include writing competitions, a photo exhibition, seminars, film screenings etc. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sahabat-Disabilitas/411287045611715?fref=ts)

1. The Center for Independent Living in Ireland will conduct leaders forums around the country to commemorate the Day. At the Menlo Park Hotel Galway, the Center will organize the Galway Leader Forum Fashion Show where members from all other forums will participate at the event on 3 December. The Leader Forum is a collective of persons with disabilities with common goals or experiences who meet to share experiences, take action to lobby for changes in laws or educating the public about social conditions. (www.dublincil.org);
2. Kanchi, launched its list of the Top Ten Actions for Inclusive Business on 3 November to begin the countdown to the Day. The launch also initiated the Kanchi 100 Recruitment week that called on Irish businesses to make themselves more inclusive of persons with disabilities as employees or customers; the Top 10 Actions are designed to get businesses thinking differently about disability. Kanchi will also release a series of case studies on the Kanchi 100 companies and their plans to become more accessible and inclusive for customers and employees with disabilities. (Amie@kanchi.org; www.kanchinetwork.com)
3. Mayo County Council’s UPSTART programme will supports projects in celebration of the Day, such as those through an open studio/public access event at Custom House Studios where participants Carrowbeg Enterprises can work in an integrated atmosphere and environment with members of the general public. The Workshops focus on encouraging and supporting participants to develop their own expression and imagery through assistance in use of different techniques. (mayoarts@mayococo.ie; www.mayococo.ie)

Islamic Republic of Iran
The Secretary of the Baavar Association will conduct an event along with members of the network of organizations of persons with disabilities in Tehran and the Tehran Municipality. The revised Act of Comprehensive Law regarding the Rights of People with Disabilities will be forwarded to the Government on 3 December (this national law, passed in 2004, is Iran’s most progressive and comprehensive legislation concerning people with disabilities. After 8 years, this act is revised by Secretary of Baavar Association and its operational issues and obstacles are resolved). A press conference will also be conducted with a view to enacting the act by the Iranian Parliament. (info@baavarnew.ir)

An NGO, POIESIS, will organize a round table on "Culture and Accessibility" in collaboration with SoundMakers Festival, the first Italian art festival entirely accessibile to everyone (www.soundmakersfestival.it). The meeting will launch the first Italian "Guide for accessible events" (associazionepoiesis@gmail.com, direzione@soundmakersfestival.it, www.soundmakersfestival.it)

Teso North and South Districts of Busia County have formed a joint organizing committee to arrange the commemoration of the Day at an event to be held at Amagoro Youth Polytechnic, Teso North District. Activities for the day will focus on removing barriers in access to opportunities in education and training, entrepreneurship, community participation, access to ICT and raising awareness on the special needs of PWD to the general public and include a procession, exhibitions (Agribusiness, ICT, artworks etc) plays, poetry, songs, sports and motivational speeches among other activities. (ebondara@gmail.com)

Light for the World – Austria and Matthieu Bron will conduct a joint advocacy and awareness-raising campaign in Maputo during “Disability Week” (week before 3 December) and include Government and UN officials, as well as NGOs and DPOs. On 21 November, the documentary “Body and Soul” will be shown as a prelude for a high-level meeting with the Government and other stakeholders on the recently adopted National Action Plan for Disability (2nd Plan) and successes and challenges of the Government to address disability issues. It will be followed by public screenings and debates on six days in Cinemas and theatres, and potentially universities. On 3 December a similar event will take place in Beira, the second-largest city in Mozambique. (www.bodyandsoulmozambique.com)

Integrated Effort For Development Nepal will organize an event in collaboration with Rotary Club of Dhulikhel where persons with disabilities and a parent group of Dhulikhel and the Dhulikhel Municipality will discuss ways to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The event will also include a variety entertainment show at the Shree Purna Sanjiwani Lankhanamai school,Dhulikhel,Kavre. (www.iednepal.org.np; www.rotarydhulikhel.org.np)

The Netherlands
On 29 November, PSO, the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development, the VU University and LIGHT FOR THE WORLD Netherlands will organise a conference in Amsterdam entitled “Development For All: How mainstream NGOs can include persons with disabilities in their programmes.” (http://www.lightfortheworld.nl/docs/diversen/official-invitation-to-conference-on-development-for-all---29-november-2012-in-the-netherlands.pdf?sfvrsn=4)

New Zealand
1. CCS Disability Action, Canterbury & West Coast Branch will host an event on 2 December, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the ReStart Mall, entitled: "Christchurch, Celebrate Us!" to mark the Day. The event will be a celebration of disability culture through performances such as music, dance, poetry and other performing arts, which includes persons with disabilities, as well as able-bodied artists. (Matthew.Whiting@ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz)
2. CCS Disability Action will further organize a series of events through the following regions: Northern Region: Northland is involved in a community event based in the Whangarei town basin, called ‘Getting Out There and Having a Go’ where persons with disabilities can participate in different recreational and sporting activities. (www.tiaho.org.nz); Auckland is celebrating this year with a lunch for youth with disabilities. Two young people willo speak about their experiences of being young people with disabilities and succeeding in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Fifty youth with disabilities have been invited to celebrate together and Auckland branch look forward to hosting this event. Hononga Rawhiti Region: Palmerston North is celebrating the Day with a community barbeque in a local park. There will be face painting and games, including Boccia demonstrations and the local Rugby representatives will be visiting as well; Napier is having a sausage sizzle in their car park area and people registered with CCS Disability Action are invited to enter a spot prize draw by sending photos, art, writing, etc. Prizes include accessible outings for two, ranging from sailing, swimming, or 10 pin bowling to movies and breakfasts and coffee at local restaurants and cafes; Wairarapa is hosting a lunch at which they will launch a special ribbon to commemorate IDPD. They are having speakers from the disability community to share their thoughts. The green metal ribbon will be shared with other branches and communities in the Hononga Rawhiti region with a view to wearing the ribbon any day of the year as a conversation starter to highlight disability rights and issues. (www.ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz)

Alive and Active Disability Initiative will commemorate the Day at Orlu Local Government Area, Imo State, with key note speakers and by advocacy visits to construction companies contracted to draw their attention to this year’s theme as well as Article 9 of the CRPD, as well as radio talk-shows, commentaries, newspaper articles in the local media, talent shows and Story-telling of (alive.active_project@yahoo.co.uk; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alive-And-Active-Project-AAP/170569159702142)

1. The DPO, A Star Association, will organize and event at the Jala Baba Auditorium in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Government officials, students, school children and others will participate in the event where speakers will cover issues related to accessibility, political rights of persons with disabilities (Talk Show), implementation of the CRPD and barriers faced by persons with disabilities. (muzammalislam@hotmail.com, astarassociation@yahoo.com)
2. The Nawabshah Disability Forum (NDF) has planned a one-day seminar in Nawabshah to raise awareness on disability rights, especially in remote rural areas. The seminar will include a panel discussion and consultation, as well as a social gathering and networking opportunity. (info@ndfpakistan.org, ndf_nawabshah@yahoo.com)
3. In Mirpurkhas, Sindh, an event will be held at "Mehran Special Education Center For Visually Handicapped Children" that will include an "awareness walk" on disabilities, sports activites and a musical show. (jhamandas2008@yahoo.com)
4. Special Children's Educational Institute (SCEI) is hosting an Open House and an initiative called "The CUDDLE Project" with a view to raise awareness and understanding of disability issues. (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151313452527324.523086.593242323&type=1&l=8a18b40d64; www.fb.com/sunflowersbyscei; scginitiatives.org; www.sceipak.org)
5. An event will be held in Jinnah Hall, Special Education Department , Sargodha, that includes an awareness-raising programme to promote a positive attitude towards persons with disabilities, and a society for all. (tca_zunera@yahoo.com)

Saint Lucia
Activities to commemorate the Day will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Education & Culture’s Special Education Unit and its special schools sports committee as part of a renewed physical activity drive. The event to be held on 20 November, will bring together children from the Island’s six special centers, Soufriere, Vieux Fort, Dennery, Gros Islet and Castries. Activities in the "Festival of Fun Day" include tug-of-war, frisbee, obstacle race, wheelchair race, soccer-rama, fill the bottle, block race, dress down, table tennis, etc. (nova@sacredsportsinc.com)

Saudi Arabia
The Center for Students with Special Needs (CSSN) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will celebrate the Day with sport tournaments, workshops, lectures, etc. The celebrations will initiate projects intended raise-awareness, as well as to promote accessibility at the University and expand its ability to accommodate various disabilities. (http://www.kau.edu.sa, wwazzan@kau.edu.sa)

The documentary “Body and Soul” (www.bodyandsoulmozambique.com) will be screened as part of the ONE WORLD festival in Bratislava, Slovakia. It will be followed by a discussion with the characters and director of the film. This event is organised by END EXCLUSION partner in Slovakia, eRko. (www.endexclusion.sk)

South Africa
1. The National Disability Rights Awareness Month will officially wrap up at the Bergvlam Hoërskool in Nelspruit, Mbombela in Mpumalanga on December 4 during a Siyahlola dialogue between the South African Cabinet, led by President Zuma, provincial and local political leaders, organisations of and for disabled persons and disability rights activists. (noluthando@dwcpd.gov.za; surprise@dwcpd.gov.za)
2. The Department of Communications will Official launch two critical strategies namely: Youth Development and ICT Strategy, and the Disability Mainstreaming and ICT Strategy, as part of the Department’s inaugural Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Symposium which marks the Commemoration of the International Day of Person’s with Disabilities and African Telecommunications Day as well as the Africa Youth Day. (Zinhle@doc.go.za; Zakhele@doc.gov.za);
3. On Monday, 3 December 2012 athletes from Wheelchair Tennis South Africa along with celebrities and members of the Davis & Fed Cup squads will be playing a tennis event. The event forms part of the Day's Celebration hosted by the Gauteng Premiers Office where over 2000 persons with a disability will gather to celebrate their Ability. (pr@tennis.co.za; Twitter: @WCTennis; Facebook: Wheelchair Tennis SA; www.tennis.co.za)
4. The Department of Inclusive Education at the University of South Africa in partnership with QuadPara (Gauteng North) will be commemorating the Day at Unisa, Kgorong Function Hall. The event will include motivational speakers, discussions and demonstrations on QuadPara learning and an exhibition. (+27 012-4296294; mokiwsa@unisa.ac.za)
5. The International Federation of People with Albinism and Blindness (IFPAB) in conjunction with Maurice Freeman Recreation Centre will commemorate the Day on 3 & 4 December at the Maurice Freeman Recreation Centre No 19 Fuller Street in Bertrams, JHB, under the theme: Equipping People with Disabilities in the AIDS Era. The agenda will include discussions under the themes: leadership, HIV / AIDS, MMC, dangers of drug abuse, albinism and disability. (ifpabworld@yahoo.com)

1. In Barcelona, the Library will conduct several activities to promote a better understanding of persons with disabilities and disability issues, including a story-telling session for children and a screening of the documentary film (Differents: Knowing the past, understand the present and reach the future), as well as a book presentation (The night is also white" Montse Baldrich) (Biblioteca Jordi Rubió i Balaguer, mayagj@diba.cat)
2. The Educación Física del C.P. Ramón Sainz de Varanda school a disability-awareness project will be conducted for the community. The school also plans to raise funds for a project in Nepal, as well as conduct inclusive adapted sports. (dpalasanti@hotmail.com)

Sri Lanka
Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children in Colombo, one of the world's largest hospitals, will work with HANDICAP International to do an accessibility audit of a 1000-bed hospital with a view to begin implementing the new accessibility policy of the Government of Sri Lanka. The activities of the Day will also include an art competition a children with disabilities and a presentation by the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

United Kingdom
1. On Saturday, 1 December 2012, inspirational speakers, exhibitors, musicians, sportspeople and performers from all over the UK will participate in an event at the Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford to mark the Day (www.idpwd.org)
2. Wakefield District Radio Society will be operating the Special Event Station GB0IDD (International Disability Day) over the weekend of 1 to 3 December 2012 from the Wakefield 23rd Troop Scout HQ to publicize the Day. Operation will be mainly (but not exclusively) SSB on the Bands 14 – 28MHz; times will be as many as we can cope with – look out for spots on various DX webs. QSL via Eqsl.cc only. (David.Evans@kirklees.gov.uk)
3. The Merton Centre for Independent Living will conduct a roadshow around the London Borough of Merton in celebration of the Day. Venues include All Saints Centre, The Wimbledon Piazza, Merton Adult Education, Morden Civic Centre, Baitul Futuh Mosque, and "My Voice Matters" debate at Drake House, 44 St George's Road, SW19 4ED. (Lyla, info@mertoncil.org.uk; www.mertoncil.org.uk)
4. An innovative exhibition touring Yorkshire and the Humber is raising public awareness of speech technology will be launched on the Day. ‘Articulate: The Art and Science of Synthetic Speech’ road-show features collaborative exhibits and installations in public places, demonstrating the latest research into speech-synthesis technology. The free interactive road-show is part of a research and public engagement project by the Creative Speech Technology (CreST) Network. (http://crestnetwork.org.uk; admn516@york.ac.uk)
5. On 4 December, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law will be holding an event ‘Exploring the breadth of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ in London. (http://www.biicl.org/events/view/-/id/734/)
6. On 4 December, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law will be holding an event "Exploring the breadth of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" in London. (http://www.biicl.org/events/view/-/id/734/)
7. On Tuesday 4 December, Real DPO Ltd will conduct a free information event on benefits, housing, transport, health services and social care. Plus share food and entertainment to celebrate the Day from 11am - 4pm at Ecology Centre, Mile End Park, 125 Grove Rd, E3 5RP. The event will be accessible, including a BSL interpreter. AgeUK, Alzheimer’s Society, APASENTH, Bromley-by-Bow Centre, DeafPlus, Mencap, Positive East, Tower Hamlets Law Centre and Real are hosting the event. (www.real.org.uk; 020 7001 2177; laran.wands@real.org.uk)

United States
With Our Hands Together will hold an event will be held at Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility in New York, Roosevelt Island and special music performance by the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School, Lighthouse International. (http://www.wohtusa.org; woht@wohtusa.org)

The The Institute Caracas Metropolitan Planning Workshop, National Observatory and Disability Law Committee of the Metropolitan Council will conduct an event "Accessibility for all: Caracas for all" to promote universal accessibility, to commemorate the Day. The event will include the Mayor of Caracas, experts and other Government officials. (www.plancaracas2020.com)

For much more visit;

U.N. Disabilities Treaty moves forward This Week In The U.S. Senate, But Future Is Uncertain

The movement to ensure that people with disabilities are treated fairly throughout the world moved forward a bit this week via a Senate vote. On Tuesday, the chamber voted to move the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the floor for a debate by a 61-36 vote.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a treaty that would extend the rights granted by the Americans with Disabilities Act to people with disabilities throughout the globe, no matter where they are living.

“Travelers abroad, Americans living and work abroad, would receive protection around the world,” Gary Arnold, of Access Living, told Progress Illinois.

In 2006, the treaty was originally adopted by the United Nations as a result of organized efforts around the world to create an international document that recognizes disabilities rights globally.

“That process took about four or five years, but it was lightning speed in U.N. time. It was the first international human rights treaty in the new millennium,” Marca Bristo, president and chief executive officer of Access Living, said in an interview with Progress Illinois.

In 2009, the United States signed the treaty by way of President Barack Obama. The convention has been signed by 154 counties and ratified by 126. In order for the U.S. to ratify it, the treaty needs a two-thirds majority Senate vote.

Because the U.S. has signed but not ratified the treaty, Bristo says America can’t appoint anyone to serve on the U.N.’s committee on disabilities.

“The United States, which has the best practices, has to sit on the sidelines because we aren’t a ratified country. Our best practices and many years of experience can’t be implemented because we haven’t been ratified,” Bristo said.

While Congress is currently in the throes of negotiating a solution to the fiscal cliff, Arnold says a Senate vote on the treaty may come as soon as next week.

“We’re anticipating a final vote next week on it, so we’re anticipating it won’t be pushed aside because of the fiscal cliff. There’s been a lot of negotiations on the vote,” Arnold said. “December 3rd is actually the official international day of disability rights. We don’t know if a vote will come then, but it would be serendipitous if it did.”

In addition to Access Living, more than 300 disability organizations, 21 veteran organizations and 30 faith organizations support full ratification of the treaty.

The United States Chamber of Commerce and former Republican Senator Bob Dole also support the treaty. Bristo praised Dole’s advocacy efforts, which she said he conducted from his hospital bed last week. But some current Senate Republicans may be poised to vote against ratification.

Back in September, 36 Senate Republicans signed a letter opposing a vote on the treaty during the lame-duck session and expressed concerns about giving the U.N. discretion on the issue of international disability rights for U.S. citizens. If those who signed the letter vote against the convention, that will be enough votes to prevent ratification.

Even still, supporters of the treaty are optimistic about garnering enough bipartisan support in the Senate for it to pass.

"Ratification of the CRPD is the next advance in the bipartisan march towards increasing the freedom of all Americans with disabilities,” Tony Coelho, board member of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and a former Democratic congressman, said in a news release.

Coelho was the primary sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

The law explicitly prohibits discrimination of persons with disabilities in the areas of employment; public entities at the local and state level; public accommodations, such as inns or hotels; and the telecommunications industry, which must accommodate deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed an amendment to the law that broadened the definition of disability and changed how statutory terms are implemented. Namely, the law now focuses “on discrimination at issue instead of the individual's disability,” according to the law's summary.

Both the original law and the 2008 amendment passed with bipartisan support and the convention will need backing from both sides of the aisle this time around to pass the two-thirds majority vote threshold.

“Disability policy has always been bipartisan. We have a bipartisan team moving this forward,” Bristo said. “We’ve had incredible support among both sides of the aisle. This is a crowning achievement for America. This treaty takes it to a whole different level.”

No changes in U.S. law are required in order to comply with the treaty.

Progressive Illinois
Article by Jon Graef Friday November 30th, 2012
Aricka Flowers contributed to this story.