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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving message from The Arc of the United States

Visit The Arc's Website

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, 2013 seems to have flown by, and everyone at The Arc is reflecting about all the things for which we are thankful.
First and foremost, the board and staff of the National Office are most appreciative of YOU and your ongoing support of our cause nationally, as well as with local community and state chapters of The Arc.
Rather than write out why we are thankful we thought it would be more meaningful to show you!
Because Of You...
Please take a moment to watch our short video and accept our thanks!
Whether you stay home or travel, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at The Arc.

Thank you for supporting The Arc

If you wish to make a tax deductible year-end gift you can do so securely on our website.
The Arc 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 800.433.5255  |  Contact Us

© 2013 The Arc

Justice Department Files Complaint over Inaccessibility of H&R Block's Website

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Monday, November 25, 2013
Justice Department Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit Alleging H&R Block’s Tax Preparation Website Is Inaccessible to Individuals with Disabilities
The Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced today that they have moved to intervene in National Federation of the Blind et al v. HRB Digital LLC et al, a private lawsuit alleging disability discrimination by HRB Digital LLC and HRB Tax Group Inc., subsidiaries of H&R Block Inc.  In the memorandum and proffered complaint filed by the United States in support of its motion to intervene, the United States alleges that the H&R Block companies discriminate against individuals with disabilities and that their website,www.hrblock.com , is being operated in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), notwithstanding well-established and readily available guidelines for delivering web content in an accessible manner.  The motion, attached complaint in intervention and supporting memorandum were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ Boston Division.

As alleged in the filings today, H&R Block is one of the largest tax return preparers in the United States.  Its companies offer a wide range of services through www.hrblock.com , including professional and do-it-yourself tax preparation, instructional videos, office location information, interactive live video conference and chat with tax professionals, hybrid online and in-store services and electronic filing.  Their website, however, is not accessible to many individuals with disabilities and prevents some people with disabilities from completing even the most basic activities on the site.

Today’s filings further state that many individuals with disabilities, including, among others, people who are blind, deaf or have physical disabilities with an impact on manual dexterity, use computers and the Internet with the help of assistive technologies.  For example, screen reader software makes audible information that is otherwise presented visually on a computer screen; captioning translates video narration and sound into text; and keyboard navigation allows keyboard input rather than a mouse to navigate a website for individuals with visual, hearing or manual dexterity disabilities.  Such technologies have been widely used for some time and there are readily available, well-established, consensus-based guidelines – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – for making web content accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The complaint in intervention seeks a court order that would ensure that tax services offered through www.hrblock.com are fully and equally accessible to individuals with disabilities.  The department also seeks an award of monetary damages for aggrieved individuals, including the two named plaintiffs and a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest.

“The web revolutionizes our lives daily and maximizes our independence in many areas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “Inaccessible websites of public accommodations are not simply an inconvenience to individuals with disabilities – they deny persons with disabilities access to basic goods and services that people without disabilities take advantage of every day.  An inaccessible website can also mean a business loses a customer it never knew it had.”

“We are building an electronic world in which we ever-increasingly live,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.  “All benefit when, as the ADA requires, we build our online businesses, schools and other public spaces in a manner equally accessible to all.”

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations.  It also requires public accommodations to take necessary steps to ensure individuals with disabilities are not excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, such as accurate captioning of audible materials and labeling of visual materials. 

To find out more about federal disability rights laws, call the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD) or access its ADA website atwww.ada.gov .  ADA complaints, including those involving the inaccessibility ofwww.hrblock.com , may be filed by email to ada.complaint@usdoj.gov .
Accessible versions of the motion to intervene, proposed complaint to intervene and memorandum in support of the motion can be found at www.ada.gov.

Webinar Dec 5: Using WCAG 2.0 to Evaluate Document Accessibility: RSVP - U.S Access Board

The next webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place December 5 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will cover how to evaluate the accessibility of electronic documents according to the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (also known as WCAG 2.0). WCAG 2.0, which is published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is the internationally recognized standard for web accessibility.

 Accessibility features of word processing programs also will be addressed. Jutta Treviranus and Jan Richards of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University will join Bruce Bailey of the Access Board in conducting the session. 

For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

For the United States Access Board : http://www.access-board.gov/

High School Disabled students can be eased into adult world

[photo:Jackie Smith (left) and her mother, Joan, were at a recent New Trier High School board of education meeting to talk about the New Trier Transition Program, which is designed for New Trier High School students, aged 18-21 years old, with moderate to severe disabilities who require additional instruction to achieve post-high school goals. Jackie is in the program. (Brian Cox, handout / November 25, 2013)]
Sometimes success can be measured by making yourself breakfast or buying a cup of coffee.
That could be the motto of the New Trier Transition Program, which is designed for New Trier High School students, ages 18-21 years old, with moderate to severe disabilities who require additional instruction to achieve post-high school goals. The program was launched in 2009 and the New Trier High School board of education recently received an update on it from two instructors.
"We are the last step for our students before they enter the real world," said instructor Kari Viano, who also mentioned an open house on Friday, Dec. 6 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in room 266 on the Winnetka campus. Students will talk about the program and give tours of the classrooms.
Most of the students attended the Education and Life Skills classrooms for their four years at New Trier. They are provided with community-based, functional, real-world curricula focused on enhancing independence and vocational skills, Viano said. She said students can attend through the day before their 22nd birthday.
When it started, the program had one teacher, four assistants and seven students. It now has 31 students ages 18-21, 15 instructional assistants/job coaches and two classroom teachers, all on the Winnetka campus.
Jackie Smith, 19, from Winnetka, has been in the program for a year and she told board members how much she has benefited from it.
"I feel positive about the work I do," Smith said.
And so does her mother, Joan Smith.
"What we want is independence," she said. "We want them to hopefully have purposeful employment and have a full life."
"Some of the ways to get there are unknown so it's a great program to have in our community. We feel very lucky to have this team of people that Jackie's involved with every single day," Joan Smith said. "She's very happy to go to school. She tells me every day how much she loves the program and loves being part of it. That's a real important piece. The work is hard but she's willing to do the hard work with the support of the people."
There are four main focus areas including life, vocational, social and communication skills. All students participate in daily community job training opportunities, and the Life Skills curriculum covers monthly topics that rotate through a three-year cycle. In addition, one of the classrooms has a kitchen attached where students are taught how to make breakfast. They are also urged to join a local health club and are taught how to buy coffee at Starbucks.
"Our students work out in a real gym," Viano said. "That's what adults do."
The students are offered vocational training at local businesses including The Winnetka Thrift Store, The Sheraton Hotel, Body Science, Walgreens, the Winnetka Ice Rink, Treasure Island Foods, the Wilmette Library and the Holocaust Museum, among a slew of others.
Viano said the Transition Program is partly funded through state and federal monies, but the school also has to contribute.
"In the past it was very hard for me, but I got over it and I've changed a lot, and I'm now almost 20 years old," said Jackie Smith. "I'm very independent, and I love my family for supporting me and telling me I have a bright future ahead of me."
Chicago Tribune Nov 25, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gerarado Salinas who is Blind, as a student excels with support from Daley College, City Colleges of Chicago

by Karen Meyers, Disability Issues at ABC7 Chicago

Did you know that the City Colleges of Chicago is one of the largest community college systems in the nation?

This year, they have awarded almost 4,000 degrees. One of the recent graduates has succeed in many ways, despite his disability.

Six months ago, Gerarado Salinas, 26, graduated with honors from Daley Community College.

"I decided to come to Daley College because it's cheaper, its more accessible. You can take as many classes and you can transfer these courses to a university," he said.

Gerarado, who was born in Mexico, lost his vision when he was 12.

"I had retina detachment in both eyes. I had six surgeries and nothing worked," he said. "A year after I lost my vision, I decided to come to the United States to Chicago for the American dream, for a better opportunity."

"I was unable to speak English. So, I wasn't able to communicate with them, and they were trying to teach me Braille and English, and I had a hard time," said Gerarado.

At age 19, Gerarado enrolled at Daley and got a lot of support from the disability access center.

"A person who takes notes in class, a person who reads you the exams and types the answers, a recorder so that I can record class audio books an CD, and help with computer software, like JAWS. That is a voice command that reads everything," said Gerarado.

Dr. Eduardo Garza is the dean of students.

"In Gerarado's case, what we're most excited about is that student with a growth mindset who sees obstacles and tries to find solutions, who builds that resiliency, who builds that sense of grit, which Gerarado has exemplified over the years," Garza said.

Gerarado is currently attending the University of Illinois Chicago.

"I want to be a lawyer, an attorney. I want first my bachelors in political science so I can be more familiar and be prepared for law school," he said.

"Gerarado has made us extremely proud, and we are very happy that we served him over the years and wish him nothing but success in his future years," said Garza.

Gerarado's is just one of many City colleges of Chicago success stories. All of the colleges have services available for students with different disabilities.

(for video report: CLICK HERE )

For more information go to www.ccc.edu or call 773-COLLEGE.

# For more of Karen Meyers, Disability Issues at ABC7 Chicago: CLICK HERE

(Copyright ©2013 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Chicago-area Local teen with Spina Bifida needs new wheelchair van, lift

YouTube Published on Nov 20, 2013


I'm Carlos Delgado; I am 19 years old and was born with Spina Bifida. I'm unable to walk because I'm paralyzed below my waist. I am ventilator and oxygen dependent. I graduated from high school last year and am now a full time student in the LIGHT program, where I am learning life skills. In the future, I hope to go to college and get my degree in computer technology.

I have two younger siblings, a sister and a brother. Four years ago, my father passed away suddenly. My mom works full time as an assembler at a medical supply manufacturer. My grandpa also lives with us. Since I am confined to a wheel chair and am ventilator dependent, I need to have someone with me all the time. I am in a state funded program that provides me with nursing care, during the day and evening, until I turn 22 years old.

In 2000, we got a half ton van with a wheelchair lift; I was seven years old at the time. I had a manual wheelchair, now I have a power wheelchair with a battery, ventilator with a battery, oxygen and an emergency bag. The total weight, including myself, is around 700 pounds. Unfortunately, my lift does not accommodate that amount of weight. Our wheelchair lift is no longer working. It was repaired in the summer, now it's stopped working again. We have been told we need a 3/4 ton van and a lift that will hold 1000 pounds. For that reason, we can't get the lift repaired.

It is so important for me to have a van with a lift because it is my only means of transportation. Without It, I am unable to go to doctor appointments, weekly mass, family activities, school sports activities, etc. Without my van I am homebound.

The wheel chair lift company recommended a three quarter ton Ford or Chevrolet van, not older than a 2006, and a lift that accommodates 1,000 pounds. The lift will cost around $8,000, installed. A new van will cost around $25,000 to $35,000, depending on the year, make and the size.

In order to help my mom pay for the van and lift, I decided to do fundraising. I am asking you to tell your friends and family about this You Tube video. If each person sends a small donation, I believe I will raise enough money to buy this equipment. Just think, if 35,000-40,000 people send $1, I will raise enough money.

I greatly appreciate your help.
Please go to this link to make your donations.

Thank you

Carlos Delgado

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Think you can’t use a computer because of visual impairment, think again! Class on Nov 25 hosted by The Chicago Lighthouse.

Don't forget on Monday, November 25th, for another informative computer class, hosted by The Chicago Lighthouse .

If you or someone you know thinks they can’t use a computer because of visual impairment, think again! The Seniors Program continues to offer computer classes that show you how to work with screen readers and magnifiers. No prior experience with a computer is required and all levels are welcome.

Learn how to sign up here:

New York City cabs violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, says U.S. Attorney General

Nearly 500 city cabs violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, says Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Toyota Siennas and Ford Transit Connects are vans must be able to carry wheelchair users under the federal ADA, Schneiderman’s office said in a letter last week. The definition of van under the ADA is the subject of ongoing litigation between advocates and the Bloo

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS / Nov 19, 2013

Nearly 500 of the city’s yellow cabs violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because they’re not wheelchair accessible, the state attorney general has concluded.

By any common-sense measure, Toyota Siennas and Ford Transit Connects are vans and must be able to carry wheelchair users under the federal ADA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said in a letter last week .

Schneiderman is asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to adopt his opinion and enact clearer regulations.

The definition of van under the ADA is the subject of ongoing litigation between advocates and the Bloomberg administration. Schneiderman isn’t involved in the lawsuits but his opinion is “quite significant,” Jim Weisman, general counsel at the United Spinal Association, said. “He’s the chief law enforcement officer in the state.”

The United Spinal Association has asked a federal judge to declare Nisssan’s NV200 - the Bloomberg administration’s chosen “Taxi of Tomorrow” - a van that must be wheelchair accessible under the ADA.

Schneiderman’s letter doesn’t discuss the NV200. But the Nissan model has the same characteristics Schneiderman cited in evaluating the Sienna and Transit Connect, including a “boxlike” shape, typically featuring sliding doors on the side panels.

There are more than 13,200 yellow taxis. Only 231 of them are wheelchair accessible, although the city is planning to add 2,000 more in the next several years.

The current yellow cab fleet includes 472 Siennas and Transit Connects that do not have wheelchair ramps.

The Bloomberg administration has a deal with Nissan to be the sole producer of yellow NV200 NYC cabs for a decade. The first nine are in service. The city Taxi and Limousine Commission had no immediate comment.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/500-city-cabs-violate-federal-law-ag-article-1.1522696#ixzz2lJfKFrNR http://fw.to/IoGQOXd


Access Living and Bodies of Work present:

HARILYN ROUSSO is a writer, painter, educator, social worker, psychotherapist and activist who has worked in the disability rights field, with a particular emphasis on issues of women and girls with disabilities, for more than twenty-five years. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Access Living

Personal assistants, audio description, real time captioning and sign language interpreters will be provided

"This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Please Support the 2013 Holiday Toy Drive for The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Toys are needed to make the holidays brighter for youngsters in The Chicago Lighthouse children’s program as well as children of our partner organization, the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the city’s south side.

Please drop off a new, unwrapped toy at the Lighthouse’s Chicago address, 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, or our Lighthouse North location at 222 Waukegan Road. 

This very special campaign will run from December 2 through December 13.

For more information, contact Julie Daraska at 312/997-3681 or

The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: CLICK HERE

Friday, November 22, 2013

Public Transit accessibility: Maintaining elevators and escalators is a national effort

by Heather Redfern ; Metro Magazine ; Nov. 21, 2013

For some public transit riders, the first mode of travel they take every day is not a transit authority’s trains or buses, but rather the elevators and escalators to get to a station’s platforms or vehicles. And to keep them moving, elevators and escalators require as much attention as an organization’s fleet.
Where some transit organizations outsource escalator and elevator repairs to third party contractors, other agencies like Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), New York City Transit (NYCT) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have brought the work in-house, with their own dedicated mechanics, trained by the organizations.

“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”
Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor, demonstrates the mock-ups SEPTA uses in its training facility.
Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor, demonstrates the mock-ups SEPTA uses in its training facility.
To prepare employees for working on the people movers, SEPTA, as well as WMATA and NYCT, created labs to give mechanics hands-on experience with the equipment.

“We can’t take elevators and escalators in the field out of service to train our apprentices and incumbent mechanics,” said Rosmondo. “Our facility allows our team to participate in simulation training on hydraulic and electrical mock-ups, with parts they will find in the field.”

SEPTA’s training facility will also be outfitted with a full-size demonstration escalator and elevator with real-life functionality.
“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Rosmondo. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”
“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Rosmondo. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”

“Utilizing our in-house resources has been extremely beneficial for SEPTA,” said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s Deputy GM. “We have the ability to respond to equipment issues quickly, which in turn has resulted in solid elevator and escalator reliability numbers.”  

Not only does SEPTA work on its own elevator and escalator training and upkeep but, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set forth by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The project is administered by the Transportation Learning Center and supported with matching funds from the Federal Transit Administration. Joining SEPTA, WMATA and NYCT in the consortium are Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and their union partners.

SEPTA, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set by APTA.

The consortium was established in 2009 out of necessity. "New technology, like digital controls, combined with many current technicians nearing retirement age, meant that SEPTA and other agencies needed more training,” said Jack Clark, deputy director of the Transportation Learning Center. “Add to that the accessibility requirements for riders with disabilities and increasing needs for accessibility in an aging ridership, and the training needs become acute. The Consortium represented the first national effort to build the skills of the transit elevator/escalator technicians instead of relying on outside vendors.” 

Ed LaGuardia, SEPTA’s recently retired chief engineering officer of bridges & buildings, was a national leader in transit elevator and escalator maintenance and played an instrumental role in gathering key people to be involved in the consortium and define industry training standards. 

“In addition to Ed’s expertise, we are fortunate to have the unprecedented cooperation of labor and management,” said Clark. “We have union and management representatives working together to develop the program. It’s been a good experience.”

To date, the consortium has more than 30 courses designed and used in pilots for the three-year apprentice program. Rosmondo is a member of the consortium’s Course Development Team. 

“Working with agencies across the country has been helpful. We all share similar experiences and face the same challenges even though we are in different parts of the country,” Rosmondo said. “We can share ideas. The resources are out there for us to do our jobs even better.”

SEPTA, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set by APTA.

Second Hearing on the Disability Treaty (CRPD) Draws Big Crowd

United States International Council on Disabilities

Ithe CRPD Support logo with We support instead of I support 

 Second Hearing on the Disability Treaty 
Draws Big Crowd 

Yesterday morning, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the second of two hearings on the Disability Treaty, and our community turned out in great numbers again!  Advocates representing the broad and diverse coalition in favor of the treaty were present at the hearing to show their support.
Thank you!  Your Energy Has Brought the Treaty This Far! 

A highlight of the event was the delivery to the committee of a petition with over67,000 signatures from across the country calling for ratification. This number continues to grow, add your name at www.disabilitytreaty.org.
Marca Bristo, President of the US International Council on Disabilities,was energized by the turnout at the second hearing and encouraged by the substantive discussion of the treaty. Ms. Bristo remarked, "I'm thrilled and gratified that we have had such a robust turnout for this hearing. Those present today represented the strength, diversity, and commitment of our community. Our coalition reflects America and the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, veterans, and religious and civil rights organizations who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified.  I would like to thank Secretary Kerry and Chairman Menendez for their continued leadership and support on this crucial treaty."  

All of those present voiced the hope felt by many in the disability, civil rights, veteran, business, and faith communities that the U.S. Senate would take this rare second chance to do the right thing and vote to ratify the treaty. Witnesses speaking on behalf of the treaty included Secretary of State John Kerry, Frances W. West, Worldwide Director of IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, and C. Boyden Gray, attorney and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.

Secretary of State John Kerry said, "I still believe what I believed the first time - that ratification of the Disabilities Treaty will advance core American values, expand opportunities for our citizens and businesses, and strengthen American leadership. And I am still convinced that we give up nothing by joining but get everything in return. Our ratification doesn't require a single change to American law, and it won't add a penny to our budget. But it will provide the hook we need to push other countries to raise their laws and standards for the protection of people with disabilities to the standard we set at home under President George H.W. Bush and Republican Leader Dole when we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Frances W. West, Worldwide Director of IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, said "As with many other societal issues, the U.S. has served as a model for the rest of the world. Ratifying the CRPD is the next logical step in our journey towards full societal inclusion of Americans with disabilities. It will also preserve our leadership role in promoting the rights and employment of persons with disabilities worldwide, and create new global market opportunities for U.S. businesses."

C. Boyden Gray, attorney and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union said, "The concepts and principles that were developed during the Reagan Administration and then codified in the ADA during the Bush 41 Administration are now at the heart of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The U.S. delegation that worked at the UN during the Administration of President George W. Bush made sure that the new Disabilities Treaty followed the time-tested approaches of American disability law. The Disabilities Treaty is the next logical step after the ADA."
USICD will be back in touch with updates as soon as we have them.  In the meantime, please keep sending friends and family to www.disabilitytreaty.org
and using Twitter to keep the momentum! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Needed: Chicago - Youth with Disabilities and Mentors for Disability Justice Mentoring Collective!

The Disability Justice Mentoring Collective – DJMC – is seeking new youth and mentors to participate in this great program! DJMC provides a unique opportunity for youth with disabilities, ages 13 to 18, to receive guidance and support from a mentor who cares about disability justice.  Disability justice is beyond disability rights---being sure that people have access to society and full inclusion beyond what is the law. In particular disability justice is about furthering the power of people of color of color with disabilities.
What does it take to be a mentor?
·         A desire to work with youth with disabilities
·         An application and background check
·         Attendance at a meeting one Saturday a month at Access Living
·         Contact with your mentee once a month at your convenience
·         A willingness to share your interests, experience, and wisdom
We especially need male mentors! We have a few young men waiting for you to step up! For example, Joseph enjoys bowling, roller skating, Play Station 3, and bike riding, and he would like a mentor who can help him with his social skills.
The minimum commitment for DJMC is four hours per month. This small investment of your time can have a profound impact on the life of a youth with a disability.
To receive an application, contact Kate Danielson or Candace Coleman.
( 312-640-2100
TTY (312) 640-2102
Access Living’s Youth and Education programs empower youth with disabilities to take pride in themselves and to find meaningful choices for living, learning, and working in their communities. We encourage youth with disabilities to be considered and consider themselves full and equal members of society. We develop self-advocacy skills to fight discrimination. We help build confidence and provide youth with opportunities to be a voice in decisions that affect them.

For Access Living: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Nov 21 U.S. Senate hearing - 8:30 am (CT) watch life coverage

Ithe CRPD Support logo with We support instead of I support

On Nov 21 on Capitol Hill for the second Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Thursday, November 21, 9:30 a.m. ET
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50
First & C St NE, Washington, DC 20510
Click here to RSVP!

9:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. CT
You can watch the hearing live on C-SPAN or stream it here.
There are a few Senators on the Committee are still on the fence about whether or not to support Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Please help to remind them to keep their focus on the people the CRPD benefits all over the world and not on petty politics.

You can still make sure your voice is heard by contacting three of the key Republican Senators on the Committee and telling them you support the CRPD:

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake: Call 202-224-4521, send an email through his website, or Tweet #ISupportCRPD to @JeffFlake.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker: Call 202-224-3344, send an email through his website,or Tweet #ISupportCRPD to @SenBobCorker

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson: Call 202-224-5323, send an email through his website, or Tweet #ISupportCRPD to @SenRonJohnson

For more information on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) - click the logo.

Virtual Town Hall: video on the Disabilities Treaty (CRPD) from Nov 20, 2013 - TAKE ACTION NEEDED NOW!!!

YouTube Published byU.S. Department of State on Nov 20, 2013
Co-Anchor and Managing Editor of PBS NewsHour Judy Woodruff hosts a discussion with Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann and the Honorable Patrick Murphy about the Disabilities Treaty and its connection to people with disabilities at home and abroad at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on November 19, 2013.

 For more information on this topic, visit the Disabilities Treatywebpage and follow Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann on Twitter at @IntDisability (and follow #DisabilitiesTreaty and #CRPD).  You can also follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SAHeumann.


Message from:
American Association of People with Disabilities
2013 H Street NW, 5th Floor | Washington, DC 20006

crpd sticker.jpg

The second Disability Treaty hearing is Nov 21, 2013! Call your Senators TODAY!


Nov 21 is the second and FINAL Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on the Disability Treaty, formally known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We need you to call your Senators TODAY to tell them that you support the Disability Treaty. We need to show the Senate that the disability community is behind this treaty!
The more people that call today, the more impact we will have!
The Disability Treaty provides a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was the model for the Disability Treaty. On December 4, 2012 the Senate considered the ratification of the Disability Treaty but fell only 5 votes short of the super-majority vote required.
We need you to call your Senators. If your Senators are listed below, we especially need your support today.
  • Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
  • Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
You can be directed to each of them by calling (202) 224-3121 TODAY. When you are transfered to your Senator, just give your name, zip code, and say "I support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities." That's it!
Forward this message onto your lists of friends and colleagues so they can join us in sending a message to the Foreign Relations Committee that we support the Disability Treaty! Thank you for your help!
For more information and to view the hearing live at 9:30AM tomorrowThursday, November 21st,please click here.
We will also be live Tweeting! Follow @AAPD and Tweet #CRPD and #ISupportCRPD.
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Town Hall Meeting in Chicago - Dec 3 - Moving on Out! Focusing on people with disabilities moving out of Illinois nursing homes.

Town Hall Meeting- Moving on Out

 on December 3, 2013 at Access Living (2 pm to 5 pm)

Moving on out...Has Illinois Lived up to the Promise of the ADA and Olmstead for People Moving out of Nursing Homes to the Community? 

People with Disabilities Report on Home and Community Services and Share a Vision for the Future.

The Olmstead Decision mandating the right of people with disabilities to live in least restrictive settings occurred in 1999, yet moving out of a nursing home to the community and living life well in the community is still very difficult for many people with disabili-ties. Join us for a presentation by people with disabilities who have lived in nursing homes on the issues involved in moving out to the community, supports that make this move possible, and their collective visions for what community-based services and supports could and should look like as Illinois moves forward on rebalancing $ toward community living options. Open mic and discussion sessions follow the presentation.

There will be personal attendants, ASL interpreters, food, and refreshments.

Please contact Danbi Lee at dlee72@uic.edu or 312-996-9655
for registration or additional assistance/accommodations request.

Co-sponsored by Access Living’s Freedom Project and
the UIC Departments of Occupational Therapy and Disability and Human Development

Equip For Equality staff will be in attendance to provide information about our work on the three Olmstead community integration lawsuits. 

Event Title:Town Hall Meeting- Moving on Out
Description:Moving on out...Has Illinois Lived up to the Promise of the ADA and Olmstead for People Moving out of Nursing Homes to the Community?
Date:December 3, 2013
Time:2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where:Access Living
Room:4th Floor
Address:115 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago , IL  60654
United States
Contact:Tom Wilson
Community Development Organizer

Disabled Characters in Fiction; article by Susan Nussbaum


Susan Nussbaum

Playwright, Author
Vov 19, 2013

On the whole, I do my best to avoid books and movies with disabled characters in them. Of Mice and MenForrest Gump, and A Christmas Carol all make me cringe. Heretic? Hater of the disabled? The nerve. But I've thought about this a lot, because I love plays, books, and movies, and also because I'm disabled.
Disabled characters are written into stories for one reason: the disability. Do most people actually believe real disabled people spend our days obsessing about being cured? Or rhapsodizing about killing ourselves? Here is the truth: Disabled people barely ever even think about our disabilities. When we do think about them, it's usually because we are dealing with an oppressive, systemic problem, such as employment discrimination. Can't there ever be a disabled character in a book or film just because? Where the topic doesn't ever come up? All sorts of interesting stories can be written about a disabled character, without the disability ever being mentioned. You know, just like real people.
The vast majority of writers who have used disabled characters in their work are not people with disabilities themselves. Because disabled people have been peripheral for centuries, we've been shut out of the artistic process since the beginning. As a result, the disabled characters we're presented with usually fit one or more of the following stereotypes: Victim, Villain, Inspiration, Monster. And the disabled character's storyline is generally resolved in one of a few ways: Cure, Death, Institutionalization. It's a well-worn formula that can be changed up in a number of ways, but it usually looks something like this:
Disabled Victim + Self-involved non-disabled Protagonist = Cured Victim + Redeemed non-disabled Protagonist
So in A Christmas Carol:
Tiny Tim (victim) + Miser Scrooge (non- disabled protagonist) = Cured Tiny Tim + Redeemed Scrooge
Or in Rain Man:
Raymond (victim) + Charlie (self-involved, non-disabled protagonist) = Institutionalized Raymond + Enlightened, Evolved Charlie
Sometimes, of course, the formula is more complex. For example, in Avatar, the disabled (paraplegic) character becomes "cured" only when he is in his alien avatar body, so the story is resolved when he's permanently merged with his avatar. Avatar also presses home the myth that disabled = non-sexual, by the implication that only in the disabled hero's avatar body can he become fully sexual. The myth of the non-sexuality of disabled people is standard in disability imagery. (Not counting blind characters. Blind characters in films, for example, are generally portrayed by attractive female actors who are victimized by predatory men, or attractive male actors who are often featured in at least one scene where they drive a car.)
Here are a few more examples of the way the disabled character is deployed by novelists, playwrights and screenwriters. This list represents the tip of a very large iceberg. Next to each title, I've listed the stereotype that fits the character, and the eventual fate of the character. I know many of the examples below are considered masterpieces, and surely some of them are, but when it comes to disability, even the best writers don't always know what they're talking about.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - victim/(but also) monster, suicide (or killed, depending on if you read the book or see the movie) 
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - intellectually disabled victim, dies from institutional neglect, deaf victim, suicide 
Moby Dick - (Ahab) villain, killed
Flowers for Algernon - victim, miraculously cured, but then the cure is reversed and the character institutionalized 
Peter Pan - (Capt. Hook) villain, swallowed by crocodile 
To Kill a Mockingbird - (Tom Robinson) -- victim, killed; (Boo Radley) - victim, allowed to live
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - victim/martyr, killed
Forrest Gump - inspiration, cured (he miraculously sheds his leg braces in one scene, among other things)
Wait Until Dark - victim (inspiring a rash of films featuring naked, blind, gorgeous actresses being watched in bathtubs)
Scent of a Woman - victim/inspiration, attempted suicide, given will to live by young assistant
Whose Life Is It Anyway - victim, suicide
Million Dollar Baby - victim, suicide (begs to be euthanized) 
Frances - victim, institutionalization
Dr. No - villain, killed (drowned in an avalanche of bat shit)
It's a Wonderful Life (Mr. Potter) - villain, foiled by good guys
Sling Blade - victim/but also villain, institutionalization
The Green Mile - victim, killed (character also endowed with magical healing powers)
Gattaca - victim, suicide (self-immolation)
I Am Sam - inspiration
Midnight Cowboy - victim, dies
When African American characters were written only by white writers, or LGBT characters were written mostly by heteros, and women were written largely by men, culture in America was, in a way, simply a reflection of the imaginings of a privileged segment of the population. I'm not saying writers should only write about people from their own racial or gender backgrounds. I have often written characters who are outside of my personal experience. But there's an authenticity to characters that are written by someone who embodies the experience of oppression that can help break through old myths. Disabled people have only begun to emerge from the shadows in the past 60 years, but they've already started producing art of all kinds that reflects their lived experience. Maybe it's time for some new stories.

Susan Nussbaum was awarded the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Her novel Good Kings, Bad Kings will be available in paperback November 12, 2013.