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

Friday, September 30, 2016

National Trends in Disability Employment Webinar October 7th

The monthly webinar to get detailed findings of the latest Jobs Report release and announcements from the Disability Employment field. Mary V.L. Wright, Senior Director for Demand Side Engagement & Analytics, Jobs for the Future, will also present.

Register for the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar on Friday, October 7, 2016 at 12 Noon EST .
Agenda: October 7, 2016
  • 12:00 pm: Overview of National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Jobs Report Release – Andrew Houtenville, UNH-IOD & John O'Neill, Kessler Foundation
  • 12:10 pm: nTIDE open Question & Answer period for attendees
  • 12:20 pm: Announcements from the field of Disability Employment – Michael Gamel-McCormick, AUCD
  • 12:30 pm: Open Question & Answer period for attendees
  • 12:40 pmMary V.L. Wright, Senior Director for Demand Side Engagement & Analytics, Jobs for the Future
  • 12:50 pm: Open Question & Answer period for attendees

About the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar

On the first Friday of every month, corresponding with the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar will take place as a live broadcast via Zoom Webinar to share the results of the latest nTIDE findings. In addition, they will provide news and updates from the field of Disability Employment, as well as host an invited panelist who will discuss current disability related findings and events. The archived webinar will be available as a video as well as an audio-only download the following week.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

People with Disabilities are the Largest Voting Bloc in the United States And Needs to Unify

During a hyper political season in which the media jockeys to cover which presidential candidate has courted favor or offended which minority group in our country, the largest minority group among us is largely ignored - people with disabilities (PWD). 

by Jay Ruderman  President, The Ruderman Family Foundation, published by The Huffington Post | Sept. 28, 2016

According to statistics PWD make up approximately nineteen percent of our population or roughly sixty million Americans. If we add family members of PWD to this bloc, we are talking about a plurality of American voters—a group that can easily decide any election. So then why does the media largely ignore this massive minority population and its potential impact on our upcoming presidential election? Part of this omission is no doubt rooted in the historic marginalization of PWD. However, I think it is also embedded in the disability community’s lack of unification; PWD have yet to successfully join together to amplify their voice as a group.

While there have been huge gains by the disability community this political season, such as increased attention in the wake of the recent quarter century anniversary of the ADA—the landmark legislation for disability rights—the nonpartisan #CripTheVote campaign, and both parties’ National Conventions giving air time to PWD, the disability community largely segregates themselves into various groups focused on their disabilities. Although there are organizations that work towards the inclusion of all PWD, the majority are honed in on one category of disability. Whether the disability is autism, paralysis, schizophrenia, blindness, depression, deafness or any other one, there is a national organization and advocacy group for that particular disability. Many of these organizations do great work and advocate for similar causes, but by virtue of their separate efforts, the American public and the media in the United States tend to see the disability community not as a community, but rather a group of disparate agendas.

It is largely understandable that we don’t readily see all people with disabilities as part of the same group. At first glance, Olympic powerhouse Michael Phelps who has written about having ADHD has little in common with a wheelchair-user. However, the fact is that both Phelps and any other person with any disability needs—and has a right to—an accommodating environment that allows them to succeed and be fully integrated in all aspects of life. Regardless of the specific needs, every group within the disability community would benefit from a unified agenda that would allow them to act as a voting bloc.

The more the disability community will work together to send a unified message that they will no longer be silent when their community is segregated by separate schools, housing, employment, religious and social life, the more the American public and our media will awake to the political power of this vast and growing community. The more the disability community will demand, in a unified voice, that an unemployment rate of sixty-five percent for PWD is unacceptable in modern day America, the more their voice will be heard.

The day that America should realize that disability rights are civil rights has arrived. It is not too late for the disability community to band together and make their unified voice heard. The time has come for all Americans with disabilities and their families to demand that their rights be honored by our elected officials who are on the ballot this coming November. By uniting the advocacy and unifying the message of all PWD this fall, the American people and our media will turn its attention even more to the largest minority group in the United States.

Jay Ruderman is President of the Ruderman Family Foundation - photo, a leading advocacy organization focusing on the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society.

Follow Jay Ruderman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JayRuderman

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Giving Patients and Providers the Keys to Their Health Data Online

Have you ever wanted to pull up a list of your allergies or the medications you’ve taken on your smartphone or computer? How about your lab results, or records from your recent visit to the hospital?
Having your health data at your fingertips can help you stay healthy. As a nation, we’ve made incredible progress in digitizing the health system – with nearly all hospitals and three-quarters of doctors using certified electronic health records. Now that all this electronic health information exists, we’re focused on making sure it flows more easily to you and your doctor as part of our efforts to make health care better, smarter, and healthier – what we call delivery system reform.

This week, to mark National Health IT week, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services launching a video that explains how:

YouTube published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Sept. 2016

Illinois Home Services Program Overtime Rules Public Hearings: Oct 3rd in Chicago : Oct 6th in Springfield

The ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES has posted Notice Of Public Hearings For Illinois Home Services Program Rules on Overtime Rules.
# # #

The following infromation is being shared from Access Living (CIL) of Metro Chicago;
For the public hearings, anyone who was affected by the overtime policy as it was put into effect from May 1 to August 3, should consider attending to describe what you think of the proposed overtime policy. The proposed policy is pretty much similar to what was in effect from May 1 to August 3.

The first hearing is on Monday, October 3. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) will host the hearing to accept public comment on the topic of the proposed overtime policy for HSP. The hearing will be from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle in Chicago, in Room C-500, 5th Floor Auditorium. There will be a sign in sheet to testify, and testimony is limited to under 10 minutes. Testimony will be recorded.

The second hearing will be on Thursday, October 6, also from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Michael Howlett Building Auditorium at 2nd & Edwards Streets, Springfield. As in Chicago, there will be a sign in sheet to testify, and testimony is limited to under 10 minutes. Testimony will be recorded.

We would urge anyone planning to testify at the public hearings to consider making suggestions on how the overtime policy could be improved, and how to best ensure that people with disabilities who have HSP are able to continue living in their own homes, hiring and managing the personal attendants of their choice. It has taken many years to build HSP and thousands of people rely on it to be able to do basic activities of daily living.

We urge those of you who cannot make the hearings in person to send written testimony to DHS no later than October 3.The written testimony can simply be in the form of a letter telling your story. It should focus on the HSP overtime policy and whether that affected you in a positive or negative way from May 1 to August 3. If you have suggestions for the policy, the written testimony is a good way to go. Written testimony should be sent to:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Tracie Drew, Chief
Bureau of Administrative Rules and Procedures
Department of Human Services
100 South Grand Avenue East
Harris Building, 3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62762
#  #  #

If HSP is near and dear to your heart, please consider attending the hearings or sending in written comment.  The policies for HSP should be driven by you, the HSP customers, your right to control your services, and your individual needs.

Stella Young: "I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much" opinion about disability in Australia - TedTalks

Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn't, she'd like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into "inspiration porn."

Interactive transcript

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxSydney in April 2014, an independent event. TED editors featured it among  selections on the home page.

For more of TedxTalks, visit: https://www.ted.com/watch/tedx-talks
Interactive transcript

2016’s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities – WalletHub Study

With October being Disability Employment Awareness Month, the unemployment rate for persons with a disability rising and 2015 disability benefits barely enough to keep a beneficiary above 2014 poverty levels, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities.

In order to ease the process of finding the best place to live while managing a disability, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities across 25 key metrics. They range from “number of physicians per capita” to “rate of employed people with disabilities” to “park accessibility.”
Best Cities for People with Disabilities Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
1Overland Park, KS 141Winston-Salem, NC
2Scottsdale, AZ 142Norfolk, VA
3Lincoln, NE 143Jersey City, NJ
4Gilbert, AZ 144Newark, NJ
5Peoria, AZ 145Memphis, TN
6Huntington Beach, CA 146Buffalo, NY
7Honolulu, HI 147Rochester, NY
8Irvine, CA 148Providence, RI
9Oklahoma City, OK 149Anchorage, AK
10Chandler, AZ 150Worcester, MA

Best vs. Worst
  • Cleveland has the highest percentage of persons with disabilities living in the area, 20.7 percent, which is 3.6 times higher than in Aurora, Ill., the city with the lowest, 5.7 percent.
  • Pembroke Pines, Fla., has the lowest percentage of persons with disabilities living below poverty level, 6.5 percent, which is 6.8 times lower than in Rochester, N.Y., the city with the highest, 44.1 percent.
  • Jacksonville, Fla., has the lowest cost of a doctor visit, $68, which is 2.7 times lower than in Milwaukee, the city with the highest, $182.
  • Laredo, Texas, has the lowest annual cost of in-home services, $20,592, which is 3.3 times lower than in San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont, Calif., the cities with the highest, $68,640.
  • New York has the highest percentage of the population with walkable park access, 94.9 percent, which is four times higher than in Charlotte, N.C., the city with the lowest, 26.0 percent.
  • Overland Park, Kan., has the highest median earnings for people with disabilities, $46,345, which is four times higher than in Grand Rapids, Mich., the city with the lowest, $11,523.

To view the full report and your city’s ranking, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-people-with-disabilities/7164/

SOURCE: WalletHub

Monday, September 26, 2016

Physicians' Specialty Hospital to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Hospital Fired Nurse Because of Her Seizure Disorder, Federal Agency Charged
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Physicians' Specialty Hospital, a physician-owned hospital in Fayetteville, Ark., will pay $35,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit challenged Physicians' Specialty Hospital's refusal to accommodate a nurse's disability following a seizure. The nurse requested to move to another position that did not involve direct patient care, or, in the alternative, a leave of absence until she could resume her nursing duties. Instead of providing the accommodations, the hospital fired her a few days later.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is unlawful to deny a qualified individual with a disability a reasonable accommodation, and it is also unlawful to fire such a person because the individual needs an accommodation. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Physicians Specialty Hospital, Civil Action No. 5:15-CV-05237PKH) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"Ensuring that people with disabilities have equal opportunities to succeed in the workplace is central to the ADA," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. "EEOC remains committed to fighting disability discrimination."

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

SOURCE: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 09/20/2016

Federal Court Rejects Employer’s Argument That Wellness Programs Are Insulated from Disability Law

MILWAUKEE - A federal court has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a disability discrimination case involving wellness programs filed against Orion Energy Systems, the federal agency announced today. The court rejected the employer's argument that the insurance safe harbor provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) immunizes wellness plans from ADA scrutiny.

In the Orion lawsuit (EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-CV-1019 (E.D. WI)), EEOC argued that Orion required Wendy Schobert to submit to medical testing as part of a wellness program or pay 100 percent of the premium for the employer-provided health insurance. EEOC contended that this violated the ADA's prohibition against involuntary medical exams. However, Orion contended that its wellness plan was covered by the ADA's so-called "insurance safe harbor," and thereby was excused from ADA compliance except if it operated as a subterfuge. Orion also argued that the plan was lawful under the ADA because it was voluntary.

The district court rejected Orion's safe harbor argument, and held that the plan was subject to ADA review. The court concluded that EEOC's recently issued regulations on the ADA's safe harbor provision were within EEOC's authority, and further held that the safe harbor provision did not apply even without regard to the new regulations. However, the court found that the wellness plan was lawful under the ADA because it concluded that the employee's decision whether to participate was voluntary under that statute.

The court also held that there were issues of fact regarding whether Schobert was fired because of her opposition to the wellness plan, and indicated that the case would be set for trial.

Since the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied, the next step in the process should be the scheduling of a trial on the retaliation claim.

"Although we disagree with the court's holding that participation in the wellness plan here was voluntary, we are pleased with the court's solid reasoning that the safe harbor concept does not apply here," said John Hendrickson, the regional attorney for EEOC's Chicago District Office. "It establishes that there is no easy out for employers from ADA scrutiny - they must make sure that their plans comply with that law."

EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District, which is responsible for handling charges of employment discrimination, 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.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

SOURCE: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 9/23/2016

Webinar Oct. 27th: National Fire Protection Association's Emergency Evacuation Planning for People with Disabilities

"ADA National Network Learning Session:National Fire Protection Association's Emergency Evacuation Planning for People with Disabilities"

October 27th, 2016

Webinars begin at 2.30pm ET/1.30pm CT/12.30 pm MT/11.30am PT/8.30am Hawaii.
Registration: Free on-line at http://www.adapresentations.org/registration.php
General advice about major disasters says each of us will very likely need to take care of ourselves for the first 24 to 72 hours. The former chair of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Disability Access and Review Committee said " Every one of us should be prepared to take some responsibility for our own safety regardless of our circumstances."

To that end, the NFPA has created the Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities which provides assistance to people with disabilities, their employers, building owners and managers, and others as they develop emergency evacuation plans that integrate the needs of people with disabilities. This guidance can be used in all buildings, whether old or new.
This webinar will review the 2nd edition of this Planning Guide and provide major topics and updated materials.
Learning objectives:
  • Identify the specific functions that are part of a process of evacuating a building and how to build a successful plan.
Allan Fraser is the Senior Building Code Specialist on the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) staff. Before joining NFPA, he had been the Building Commissioner in 5 different Massachusetts municipalities over twenty seven years. He is a Certified Building Official and a Certified Professional Code Administrator. He staff's NFPA's Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee. He represents NFPA on a number of committees of other standards developers.
These 90 minute webinars are delivered using the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform. Collaborate downloads files to your machine in order to run. We recommend that you prepare your technology prior to the start of the session. You may need the assistance of your IT Staff if firewalls prevent you from downloading files.

To view all of the sessions for the coming year, or to see previous sessions, go to http://www.adapresentations.org/schedule.php
These 90 minute webinars are delivered using the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform. Collaborate downloads files to your machine in order to run. We recommend that you prepare your technology prior to the start of the session. You may need the assistance of your IT Staff if firewalls prevent you from downloading files.
To view all of the sessions for the coming year, or to see previous sessions, go to http://www.adapresentations.org/schedule.php
The information presented in this webinar is intended solely as informal guidance, and is neither a determination of legal rights or responsibilities by NIDILRR or FEMA.
SOURCE: Pacific ADA Center

#originally scheduled/post for Oct 13, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Social Security Publishes Final Rule to Revise Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders

On Monday (09/26/2016), the Social Security Administration will publish final rules, effective January 17, 2017, that revise medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders. This regulation is a comprehensive revision to the criteria for evaluating disability claims involving mental disorders.
"Updating our medical criteria for the disability program is a challenging task that has been complicated by deep budgetary cuts in recent years," said Carolyn W. Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security. "We are committed to updating our regulations to reflect up-to-date standards and practices used in the health care community."
The final rule is the last step in a careful, deliberative process that engaged relevant stakeholders, including current disability beneficiaries and their family members, mental-health physicians and treatment providers, and advocacy groups for those with mental disorders. It also reflects information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition, the mental health profession's current standard classification of mental disorders. In addition to reflecting comments from members of the public, the rule also reflects an intellectual disability report we commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences, and the expertise of disability policy experts, adjudicators, psychiatric professionals, and vocational experts who provided input at every phase of the rulemaking process.
The publication of this final rule is an important cornerstone of our effort to secure today and tomorrow for members of the public with mental illness who are some of our most vulnerable beneficiaries.
You can learn more about the revised criteria at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current.
SOURCE: Press Release 09/23/2016 - Social Security Administration
# will update when Final Rule published

Colorado Disability Community Approved For 60-unit Housing Project in 2017

The 60-unit housing project is slated to break ground next year.
Denver—A $17 million housing project for people with disabilities has been approved by The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) in Denver.
The breakthrough of the 60-unit development is championed by The Atlantis Community Foundation (ACF), a 30-year nonprofit provider of services for the disability community, including the creation and management of housing. The organization currently owns 100 apartments in six separate communities.
“This is a remarkable milestone for ACF,” said Lloyd Lewis, ACF board chair, in prepared remarks. “We are thrilled with this news. This will bring to life an opportunity so desperately needed by the disability community in Colorado.”
The foundation is hosting an event at their headquarters at 10 S. Cherokee St. on Sept. 25  in order to showcase the design plans for the new facility.
In addition to the Atlantis Housing Foundation and Atlantis Community Inc. board members, other stakeholders are Ken Hoagland, developer & advisor for the project; the development team who presented to CHFA, members of the disability community and Joe Poli of Humphries Poli Architects.
Groundbreaking for the first stage of the development is slated to begin in 2017.
SOURCE: Multi-Housing News, article by Ioana Moldovan | Sept. 22. 2016


from a Press Release on May 12, 2016
U.S. Department of Labor

#InclusionWorks’ seeks to inspire social media awareness of workers with disabilities
WASHINGTON – To reflect the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced that the theme of 2016’s official National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “#InclusionWorks.”
“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”
Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces. Led nationally by ODEP, NDEAM’s true spirit lies in the many grassroots observances held nationwide every year. Each spring, the theme for each year’s celebration is announced to help organizations and groups plan their events. 
ODEP created this year’s theme with input from a wide variety of its partner organizations, including those representing employers, people with disabilities and their families, and federal, state and local agencies. The hope is that the hashtag theme spurs both individuals and groups to post images and stimulate discussion on social media about the many ways “inclusion works.” 
NDEAM’s history dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, the federal legislature expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM. When the department established ODEP in 2001, the agency assumed responsibility for NDEAM.
For more information about NDEAM, including specific ideas for how different types of organizations can participate, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam.
ODEP’s mission is to develop and influence policies and practices to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. For more information, please visit the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/.

Release Number: 16-0971-NAT

# repost from May 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

SNAP Pilot Program Provides Grocery Delivery for Homebound Disabled, Elderly in Test Areas

Your neighborhood grocer may be conveniently located just a few short blocks away. But for many persons with disabilities and the elderly participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the store might as well be on the other side of the world.
It’s a difficult problem that USDA’s new homebound food delivery pilot aims to alleviate, not just for the more than 4 million nonelderly adults with disabilities participating in SNAP, but also for the nearly 5 million seniors, who often face similar challenges and who may face disabilities, as well.
USDA recently announced the food purchasing and delivery firms selected to take part in the one-year pilot, which will be conducted in locations nationwide, perhaps at a location near you.
Firms selected include Denver Food Rescue (Denver, Colo.), Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (Las Vegas, N.V.), Many Infinities, Inc. (Alabaster, Ala.), Senior Services of Alexandria (Alexandria, Va.), and Store to Door (Roseville, Minn.).
The pilots break new ground for USDA. For the first time, governmental and non-profit food purchasing and delivery services will be allowed to accept SNAP benefits as payment. This is expected to increase the opportunities for home delivery to those unable to shop for food.
I think it’s important to note that during the trial period participating firms will only be permitted to accept SNAP benefits from households where the qualifying person with disabilities or elderly person is the head of household. This is intended to ensure that the pilot focuses on households that have the most limited access to foods.
Given that nearly one in five SNAP participants is either elderly or a person with disabilities, it’s clear that we must address the special challenges faced by these groups. Lessons we learn during the pilot will help USDA shape final rules now in development, which is an important step forward, as I see it. Home delivery of groceries will help ensure that those unable to shop for food themselves have access to the nutritious foods we all need to maintain a healthy diet.
posted from  Disability.gov - Guest Blogger Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
About the Guest Blogger
Kevin W. Concannon was nominated by President Obama and Secretary Vilsack and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2009 to serve as Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) in the United States Department of Agriculture. FNCS has principal responsibilities for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which feeds an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population, and has lead responsibilities for promoting healthful diet through the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Hillary Clinton Outlines Vision for People With Disabilities “We’ve got to build an inclusive economy that welcomes people with disabilities.”

Of all the attacks that Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats have tried against Donald J. Trump since he captured the Republican presidential nomination, one has stood out for its emotional force and persuasive power: No one, it seems, can abide Mr. Trump’s mockery last year of a reporter’s physical disability.

very nice article by MATT FLEGENHEIMER and AMY CHOZICK for The New York Times | SEPT. 21, 2016
And as Mrs. Clinton strains to make a more affirmative case for her own candidacy, after a summer focused largely on hammering Mr. Trump, her campaign believes that a focus on an often-overlooked constituency — voters with disabilities — can accomplish both goals at once.

On Wednesday, without mentioning the Trump episode, Mrs. Clinton discussed her vision for an “inclusive economy” with expanded job opportunities for what she called “a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked and undervalued — who have so much to offer, but are given far too few chances to prove it.

“That’s been true for a long time,” she said, “and we have to change it.”

In keeping with a recent campaign theme, she described how her career had informed her policy goals, from her work for people with disabilities during her time at the Children’s Defense Fund to her tenure as secretary of state, when she appointed the first special adviser for international disability rights.

Whether they can participate in our economy and lead rich, full lives that are as healthy and productive as possible is a reflection on us as a country,” she said in a gymnasium at a youth center here.

Though Mrs. Clinton made no mention of the moment last year when Mr. Trump mocked a New York Times reporter, Serge F. Kovaleski, who has a congenital joint condition that visibly limits the flexibility in his arms, she may not have had to: The episode has earned Mr. Trump some of his most blistering ratings in focus groups, and a pro-Clinton “super PACmade it the centerpiece of an ad in June. (Mr. Trump has denied that he was mocking the reporter’s appearance, saying he did not even recall meeting him.)

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign plainly views the contrast as critical to its strategy for the remainder of the race, including the highly anticipated first debate with Mr. Trump on Monday. Mrs. Clinton has said often that she can handle the personal insults from him, but that what gets her piqued are attacks on groups that Mr. Trump has appeared to bully.

And she is in good company. “Making fun of that reporter was just not only in bad taste, it just demonstrated the character of him,” said Christine Griffin, a lawyer and disability policy advocate in Boston. “The disability community is very upset by that, but if you look at the poll numbers, so is the rest of society.”

Mrs. Clinton’s team did not entirely hold its fire on Wednesday. Hours after she left the stage, her campaign held a conference call in which supporters condemned Mr. Trump’s mocking of Mr. Kovaleski. “You’d have to go back 50 years or more to find someone who would actually think that way,” said Tom Harkin, the former Iowa senator who introduced the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

The campaign also featured the infamous clip of Mr. Trump in a new ad starring Anastasia Somoza, a disability rights advocate who was born with cerebral palsy and has known Mrs. Clinton since she was 9.

People with disabilities make up a potentially potent political coalition: A study this month from two Rutgers professors projected that more than 35 million people with disabilities would be eligible to vote this year — roughly one-sixth of the electorate. More than a quarter of the electorate either has a disability or shares a household with someone who does, the study estimated. And they are represented fairly equally in both parties. As the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke often of championing children with special needs, noting her own child with Down syndrome.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the president of RespectAbility, an advocacy group, said the election had focused attention on issues affecting disabled voters as never before, with Mr. Trump’s behavior serving as a galvanizing force.

“I don’t think there’s a person with a disability on the planet who has never been made fun of,” said Ms. Mizrahi, who has dyslexia and is raising a child with physical disabilities. “Every person with a disability knows what it’s like to live with stigma.”

Ms. Mizrahi also lamented that Mr. Trump had often “conflated the word ‘stupid’ with the word ‘loser,’ ” as she put it, warning that such thinking could hinder the job prospects of people with intellectual disabilities.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton did not go there, infusing her half-hour address with the earnest zeal that she tends to summon more readily during policy speeches than in campaign rallies.

She ticked off statistics, noting that nearly one in five Americans lives with a disability, and strayed from her prepared remarks — “I want you to hear this because this is not well known,” she interjected at one point — to urge people to listen.

She spoke of her own policy agenda for people with disabilities, which includes a program aimed at helping people with autism and a pledge to eliminate the “subminimum wage” paid to some people with disabilities, which she called “a vestige from an ugly, ignorant past.”

Mrs. Clinton said she had taken to carrying a copy of a recent article in The Boston Globe that detailed the successful three-decade career of a McDonald’s employee with Down syndrome.

And she described what she viewed as the “ultimate test” of a society: “how we treat our fellow human beings, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

The closest she came to mentioning Mr. Trump was at the end, when she repeated a common campaign refrain: “Love trumps hate.”

Solidifying the disabled as a voting bloc may require extra diligence, given issues of accessibility at many polling places. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 sought to remove impediments, but advocates say many barriers remain. The National Disabilities Rights Network, for one, seeks to inspect polling locations in advance, but many are not open until Election Day, making that impossible.

Until then, Mrs. Clinton seems likely to return to the theme often. Some of her most affecting moments on the campaign trail have come when people have approached her on rope lines or during round-table discussions about their struggles caring for disabled family members, and she has often turned to the subject spontaneously.

The crowd on Wednesday appeared grateful for the consistent attention.

In lieu of a sign, Geannie Bastian, 35, who uses a wheelchair, held up her college degree, saying it represented Mrs. Clinton’s commitment to improving educational opportunities for disabled people.

She said Mrs. Clinton was wise not to discuss Mr. Trump in the room. Everyone, she said, knew his record well.

“I know what that gesture is,” she said, recalling Mr. Trump’s imitation of Mr. Kovaleski. “I’ve had kids do this my entire life.”

# Matt Flegenheimer reported from Orlando, and Amy Chozick from New York.


CHICAGO --- The Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC), a National Cancer Institute-funded initiative to reduce cancer disparity in Chicago's low-income neighborhoods, will host its First Annual Community Report and Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Chicago’s Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.

The free, all-day symposium will be open to the public and provide a detailed look at the ongoing work of the ChicagoCHEC partnership, led by researchers from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, low-income Chicago communities that are predominantly African-American or Latino face cancer death rates up to double the national average.

“We’re establishing an innovative, community-driven and collaborative platform to foster meaningful cancer research, education, training and outreach across the Metropolitan Chicagoland area,” said Dr. Melissa A. Simon, the George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and co-director of the Lurie Cancer Center’s Cancer Control and Survivorship Research Program.

“Our goal is to transform how community engagement and research are conducted, thus changing the architecture of how we collectively improve health equity.”

The symposium will feature a panel of public health care providers, a town hall forum and networking opportunities to mobilize Chicago communities in the areas of cancer survivorship, health care access and delivery, research and clinical trials, community capacity building and cancer health education.
A diverse panel of cancer survivors will discuss their journeys, including how they have accessed services and how community organizations have supported them.

Dr. Linda Rae Murray, the former chief medical officer from Cook County Health and Hospital System, and breast cancer survivor Roz Varon, the Emmy Award-winning traffic/transportation anchor for ABC 7, will deliver keynote speeches at the event. Cook County Commissioner, 7th District, Jesus Garcia will deliver the final keynote address to close the event. 

“The racial and ethnic disparities in health care outcomes are an alarming and urgent public health issue,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community-based practice at UI Health, director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the UIC College of Medicine. “As we seek to end these disparities in Chicago, I am excited that three institutions are at the table -- together with the community -- asking how can we can better conduct research and reach diverse communities. We know the traditional top-down approach isn't working, so it's time to engage with the community in a new way."

The community steering committee of ChicagoCHEC is at the heart of the coalition’s efforts, according to Dr. Moira Stuart, associate professor of health, physical education, recreation and athletics at Northeastern.

“The 20-plus key community stakeholders on the committee represent the diversity of Chicago communities related to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability,” Stuart said. “Our community steering committee is central to guiding the strategic efforts to foster meaningful partnerships across Chicago communities.”

According to Christina Ciecierski, associate professor of economics at Northeastern Illinois University:
  • “In addition to community and institutional partnerships, supporting collaborative research to improve cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship is an essential element of this partnership.” 
  • Joanne Glenn, co-chair of the ChicagoCHEC community steering committee, said she attended the town hall meeting last year that launched ChicagoCHEC because she wanted to hear about an effort that didn’t just “talk the talk.”
  • “ChicagoCHEC is a first-of-its-kind collaboration across academia, research and community in the Midwest, and I am honored to be involved in something that is addressing and identifying the community needs by involving diverse community partners and constituents,” Glenn said. “Thanks for ‘walking the walk,’ CHEC.”

The Symposium will kick off a series of local community events taking place in Chicago through 2016 and 2017. 
More information about ChicagoCHEC, the symposium and event registration can be found on www.chicagochec.org.

SOURCE: Northwestern University News article by Kristin Samuelson | Sept. 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Autistic Girl Left Wandering Chicago Streets After School CPS Transit Drop-Off

An 11-year-old girl with autism was roaming the streets of Chicago’s South Side by herself.
original report by Audrina Bigos for CBS2 News Chicago | Sept. 20, 2016

That’s what happened when her Chicago Public Schools transportation dropped her off–with no supervision, CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos shares in this Original Report.

A normal day for 11-year-old Kymera is filled with smiles, but Monday was much different.

“She was sweating profusely and her nerves were all over the place,” her mother, Kalaveeta Mitchell said.

That’s because the driver of the special needs van dropped her off at home with no supervision. The company is SCR*, a vendor of Chicago Public Schools.

“When the van or the bus pulls up they are supposed to release the child to an adult, not just let them out,” Mitchell said.

Kymera, who has autism and PTSD, was roaming the streets for almost a half hour–alone.

The young girl said she felt “scared and confused.”

And her mom was furious. “Easy pickings for someone to pick her up and take her away and we would never know.”

Mitchell wants CPS to be held accountable as well as the company operating the van.

“They didn’t contact the school, they didn’t call DCFS, they didn’t call Chicago Police,” she said. “This ended well but it could’ve ended in tragedy.”

CPS sent CBS a statement saying, “The District’s protocols were not followed, and we are working with our vendors to ensure this does not happen again.”

# As we attempt to wait a few days before republish of news articles, when a important issues arrises we will post on the same day of original report. We Acknowledge CBS2 Chicago as orignal report.

* SCR also is a vender of Chicago Paratransit Service as provided thru Pace Suburban Bus Services.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Section 508 Webinar Sept 27 : Introduction to the three A's: Accessibility, Assistive Technology and Accommodation

The next webinar in the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series will take place September 27 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will cover accessibility to electronic and information technology, assistive technologies, and reasonable accommodations. Presenters will explain each of these approaches to making covered technologies usable by people with disabilities and the relationship and differences between them.

For more details or to register for this free webinar, visit www.accessibilityonline.org
(Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session)

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to electronic and information technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.
Section 508 Best Practices: Introduction to the three A's: Accessibility, Assistive Technology and AccommodationSeptember 27, 2016, 1:00- 2:30 (ET)      
Presenters: • Alexander Koudry, MS, ATP, PMP, RET; Director, Center for Information Technology Access, General Services Administration
• Timothy P. Creagan, Senior Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board (moderator) 
Registration: www.accessibilityonline.orgNote: Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.
SOURCE:  United States Access Board

Dept of Justice alleges UC Berkeley campus in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act

The campus responded last week to the U.S. Department of Justice’s allegations that UC Berkeley violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act because of the inaccessibility of some of campus’s public online educational content.

article by MALINI RAMAIYER for The Daily Californian | Sept. 19, 2016
In an Aug. 30 letter, the DOJ alleges that the campus’s Youtube Channel, iTunesU platform and Massive Open Online Courses lack accessible design and calls for UC Berkeley to take steps toward accommodation. The DOJ declined to comment on the allegations, but in its letter, the department detailed specific violations of Title II, including an alleged lack of accurate closed captioning in videos for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“The Department found that of the 543 videos it could identify on the YouTube channel, 75 had manually generated closed captions,” the letter stated. “Of the remainder, many had automatic captioning generated by YouTube’s speech recognition technology.”

The letter also states that the content could be potentially inaccessible to people with visual disabilities. The DOJ letter alleged that some videos do not include alternative ways to access visual information, such as audio descriptions of images, and that some documents are not formatted properly for individuals who use screen readers — software programs that convert visual text into synthesized speech or braille.

Campus spokesperson Roqua Montez said while UC Berkeley is committed to making public educational content accessible, such as the online programs cited in the DOJ letter, its first priority is accessibility for enrolled students. The problem for the campus currently, he said, is making the accommodations requested by the DOJ in light of financial constraints.

“We might not be able (to) continue to provide the free public content under the conditions laid out by the DOJ because those conditions are rather costly,” Montez said.

The complaints originated from members of National Association of the Deaf, Stacy Nowak and Glenn Lockhart, who are not affiliated with the university and could not be reached for comment.

English professors Susan Schweik and Georgina Kleege called the campus response to the allegations “grudging.”

“It’s possible to see an undertone of resentment,” Kleege said. “‘Oh, these people with disabilities are asking for too much. It’s too expensive and we can’t possibly accommodate all these people.’ It makes a subtle statement about inclusion of people with disabilities on this campus.”

To avoid costly fixes and repair, Kleege said the online content designers should have considered accessibility from the outset. She added that she knows students and faculty with disabilities that are unsatisfied with accessibility overall on campus.

Kleege is blind and explained that even for faculty, it can be difficult to work with various websites and materials. For instance, when bCourses was first launched, Kleege said she struggled to create the site for her students because the user accessibility of the tools was limited.

“I imagined that the designer might have imagined a blind student using the site but they might not have thought of a blind professor using it. That’s a problem,” Kleege said. “It goes to the idea of who is the public that you’re designing for and that public includes people with disabilities.”

The campus’s Educational Technology Services offers support to students with disabilities for the use of online course material, and the Disabled Students’ Program generally oversees accommodations for students with disabilities.

Instead of a complaint-based improvement system, Kleege and Schweik emphasized that they would like to see a shift into active consideration of disability rights across the board.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for this campus to think about accessibility,” Schweik said. “This should be met as a serious challenge in a budget-strapped, large university with a desire to serve the public as a public university should.”

TO READ THE LETTER FROM THE DEPT. OF JUSTICE TO UC BERKELEY, AFTER THE ORIGINAL POST: http://www.dailycal.org/2016/09/19/department-of-justice-alleges-campus-in-violation-of-americans-with-disabilities-act/

U.S. Access Board Webinar October 6th: Accessible Signage - A Refresher

laptop with Access Board sealThe next webinar in the U.S. Access Board's free monthly series will take place October 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and provide a refresher on requirements for signs in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards. The session will address visual access, tactile signs, required access symbols and other pictograms.

For more information or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.