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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"We Can't Breathe": The Deaf & Disabled Margin of Police Brutality

Nov. 30, 2016 -- The National Council on Independent Living’s Diversity Committee releases “We Can’t Breathe: The Deaf & Disabled Margin of Police Brutality Project.” This project includes a video and toolkit that can be utilized for educational training for disability organizations and agencies. The video discusses the narratives of 5 people with disabilities on the margins that have been victimized by police brutality and other forms of systemic violence. The We Can’t Breathe Toolkit was designed to equip disability organizations, agencies, and community members with the tools to process the video and build policies, programming, and advocacy that center intersectional organizing. The project addresses how state violence affects people with disabilities who are also women, people of color, and LGBTQ+. This training intentionally utilizes an intersectional framework to combat the racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia that pervade disability organizations and agencies.

In conjunction with the release of the We Can’t Breathe Project, there will also be a Facebook and Twitter chat the evening of November 30th from 7pm – 8pm EST. Anyone can participate in these conversations through the Facebook event page and/or NCIL’s Twitter page
SOURCE: Press Release

World AIDS Day - Dec. 1st 2016

World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.
World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health DayWorld Blood Donor DayWorld Immunization WeekWorld Tuberculosis DayWorld No Tobacco DayWorld Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day.
As of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide (1981-2012), and an estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claims an estimated 2 million lives each year, of which about 270,000 are children. 
(Info From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The HIV Testing Sites & Care Services USA Locator - AIDS.gov

In the United States of America, we have HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator is a first-of-its-kind, location-based search tool that allows you to search for testing services, housing providers, health centers and other service providers near your current location.
Check in the part of country you live in, on Dec.1st there are many free testing sites available.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Illinois Group Home Provider for Disabled Residents License Pulled For 'Imminent Risk' To Residents

Thee Illinois Department of Human Services has revoked the license of a group home provider that was spotlighted in a Chicago Tribune "Suffering in Secret" investigation series earlier month, citing the state-funded business for safety problems and "willfully violating the rights of individuals" with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Illinois Dept. of Human Services is revoking the license for eight group homes and daytime training program, all of which have operated under the name Disability Services of Illinois since earlier this year. The 45 adults with disabilities are being located to other community-living options, including group homes operated by different providers,

Equip for Equality, Illinois' federally empowered disability-rights watchdog, excoriated Goodwin's businesses in the early 2000s for hazardous conditions and financial mismanagement. The group, which advocates for the type of community living that group homes offer, titled its scathing report, "Why Does an Agency that Profited from Exploiting Persons with Disabilities Remain Taxpayer Funded?"

Please take some time and read the Chicago Tribune "Suffering in Secret" investigation series, it's a honest and tough look into the State of Illinois system that is suppose to serve and protect those with disabilities that rely on such programs.

Associated Press article Nov. 30, 2016

Illinois agency revokes group home provider's license

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Human Services has revoked a group home provider's license and cited the state-funded business for safety issues and rights violations of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

On Monday, the department's chief licensing official, Felicia Stanton Gray, told Reuben Goodwin Sr. she was revoking the license for his eight group homes and daytime training program, all under the name Disability Services of Illinois, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2fLA7zI ) reported.

"I think we do a good job to make sure people are safe and that the staff is trained," said Goodwin in an interview last month.

Goodwin can appeal the decision by requesting a hearing before Dec. 23, but the department will still move 45 adults to other community-living options in the next two weeks.

Human Services spokeswoman Meredith Krantz said the state agency will work toward changing the way group homes "are held accountable in order to ensure individuals with disabilities receive high levels of care."

The move comes after Disability Services was spotlighted in an investigation by the newspaper this month that revealed the inspector general's office mishandled a 2012 investigation into neglect allegations at Goodwin's business.

The investigation found at least 42 deaths linked to abuse and neglect in group homes or their day programs over the last seven years. Residents have been humiliated and lost freedom, state records show.

The probe also identified 1,311 cases of documented harm since July 2011 — hundreds more cases of documented harm than publicly reported by Illinois' Department of Human Services.

Results from Chicago Tribune's investigation have prompted Human Services Secretary James Dimas to order widespread reforms to improve public accountability and streamline investigations.

"My concern is that too often agencies hide behind their confidentiality statutes, which makes it harder for the public to know what is going on," Dimas said previously.

The newspaper's attempts to reach Goodwin for comment were unsuccessful.

Minnesota Nonprofit Agrees To Allow Sheltered "Clients" with Disabilities To Apply For Regular Employment.

Minn. nonprofit to reform hiring practices in major disability rights settlement

Adults with disabilities at nonprofit Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka worked on 100,000+ Super Bowl cake decorations in 2013.

article by Chris Serres for the Star Tribune | Nov. 21, 2016
In a case that could open doors for thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities, a large disability services provider has settled a state human rights charge and agreed to give its workers a shot at regular jobs.

Opportunity Partners, a Minnetonka-based nonprofit, has for years classified individuals with disabilities who labor in its facilities as “clients” or “persons served,” even though they perform actual work for pay and may aspire to be considered regular employees.

Many of these individuals are paid less than the minimum wage.

In a settlement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Opportunity Partners has agreed to change its hiring practices so that the roughly 2,000 individuals it serves will have the chance for regular work at a competitive wage. The nonprofit did not admit wrongdoing, but said it will make it clear that anyone who receives job supports or other services will be considered for employment, regardless of their disability or status as a recipient of disability services.

“This changes the paradigm,” state Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said in an interview. “The more people say it out loud, that all people should have the opportunity for gainful employment ... the more individuals who make the decisions on hiring will be open to actually hiring individuals with disabilities.”

Armando Camacho, president and chief executive of Opportunity Partners, said he does not expect the agreement to result in major changes in the way his organization provides services. It has been “extremely rare,” he said, for individuals served by the agency to seek regular employment at the agency. Of the 2,000 people served by Opportunity Partners, only one person applied for a staff position in 2015, he noted.

“Nonetheless, we are pleased to be able to now make clear that anyone is eligible to apply and be considered for employment, including individuals we serve or have served in the past,” Camacho said.

National advocates praised the settlement, saying it resolves one of the first legal challenges to a system of disability employment that has long been decried as discriminatory.

Across Minnesota and the nation, disability services providers such as Opportunity Partners bring in individuals to package products and do other light assembly work on contract for large companies. In Minnesota, more than 100 of these agencies hold special certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor that allow them to pay workers based on their productivity instead of a fixed hourly wage. Pay through this system, known as “piecework,” often amounts to just pennies on the dollar.

A recent analysis by Minnesota’s workforce agency found that 15,400 Minnesotans with disabilities work for agencies that hold these special certificates to pay subminimum wages.

Many individuals also receive job coaching, transportation and other services funded through Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. The line between worker and service recipient has long been blurry, with many agencies referring to workers as “consumers,” “clients” or “participants,” instead of employees.

“This is a milestone,’’ said Cheryl Bates-Harris, of the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C.

Bates-Harris said the settlement finally makes it clear that people who receive employment supports, regardless of their disabilities, should be treated on an equal basis with all other workers. “It doesn’t solve the problem of segregation,’’ she said, “but if people have the confidence to say, ‘I can move up,’ that gets to be contagious. This will embolden others."

Illinois Lawmakers Move To Block OT Restrictions For Home Care Workers

SPRINGFIELD , IL.— Feeling ignored by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration, people with disabilities who receive state-funded in-home care are turning to the General Assembly in an effort to block proposed overtime restrictions for their caregivers.

article by Dan Petrella for The PANTAGRAPH | Nov. 22, 2016
The Rauner administration is seeking to prohibit personal assistants who provide care through the state’s home services program from working more than 40 hours per week under most circumstances.

The state implemented the rule earlier this year in response to U.S. Department of Labor ruling that said home care workers must earn time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Facing a lawsuit from a union representing 25,000 home care workers, the state Department of Human Services put the rule on hold in August to seek approval from a bipartisan House and Senate committee charged with signing off on such rules.

While a final draft of the rules has yet to be submitted to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, the Senate last week approved a bill that would prohibit the department from making its proposed changes.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said the administration’s proposal “fundamentally undermines the vastly successful home services program.”

The restriction on overtime “needlessly penalizes workers” and “sows confusion overall,” Lightford said.

The measure, which the Senate approved on a veto-proof 38-18 vote, now goes to the House, where Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, has signed on as the chief sponsor.

Spokeswoman Meghan Powers wrote in an email that the department sought “to create a rule that protects residents who depend on the Home Services program, individual providers and the taxpayers of Illinois.”

“This legislation allows for unlimited overtime hours without any oversight, leaving our most vulnerable without backup providers, less job creation in Illinois and additional costs of at least $14 million annually,” Powers wrote.However, advocates and people in the program say the changes would deny them their choice of caregivers.

K.L. Cleeton, a 27-year-old Effingham resident who’s paralyzed from the neck down because of spinal muscular atrophy, testified about the issue at a public hearing last month and spoke last week at a Statehouse news conference in support of Lightford’s bill.

“We deserve to be heard, and we won’t be ignored,” said Cleeton, adding that he was speaking on behalf of tens of thousands of Illinoisans with disabilities.

Chicago Toy Store Caters to Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Chicago -- A quick Google search can pull up hundreds of sensory-friendly toys designed for children on the autism spectrum, but just because it’s billed as appropriate for children with special needs, doesn’t guarantee your child will like it. That’s where Spectrum Toy Store comes in. Based in Chicago, Spectrum Toy Store is the first toy store in Illinois, and one of several in the U.S., designed for children with developmental disabilities.

article By Jordan Davidson for The Mighty | Nov. 17, 2016
Behind Spectrum Toy Store is Jamilah Rahim, who decided to open the store based on her experience as a behavioral therapist. “[I] noticed that so many parents ordered their toys and sensory products from major online sites like Amazon and Ebay because they had no where locally to buy their products,” Rahim told The Mighty. “Then when they would receive their items the children were either uninterested in them or they were dissatisfied with the quality. I wanted to give parents somewhere local they could go and find toys and products that fit their child’s needs.”

Unlike web-based stores, Spectrum Toy Store lets children try its toys before their parents buy them. “Every child with a disability is different and their needs are different,” Rahim said. “Being able to come feel and see the product before purchasing it gives the comfort of knowing you have purchased the right product for your child.”

In addition to providing toys for children on the spectrum, Spectrum Toy Store also features individual and small group skill building activities – focusing on communication, cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, life skills, social skills and sensory activities – through its partner nonprofit organization, Children’s Advanced Recreation and Education. During the activity sessions, children use the toys sold in the stores, giving Spectrum Toy Store employees the ability to recommend toys to parents based on their child’s interaction with them. For those outside of Chicago, Spectrum’s toys are also available for purchase online.

So far, Rahim said, the response has been amazing, with people contacting her from outside of Illinois and even internationally. Her advice to people looking to provide similar services: “Consider all individuals when providing products and services. [Don’t] focus on the financial aspect, but on providing for a population that is underserved. [K]eep your passion as an advocate first and a business owner second.”

For more on the Spectrum Toy Store, visit spectrumtoystore.com.

Monday, November 28, 2016

National Trends in Disability Employment December 2nd 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, we 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.

Register for the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar on Friday, December 2, 2016 at 12 Noon EST.
Join the monthly webinar to get detailed findings of the latest Jobs Report release and announcements from the Disability Employment field. Retired Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa will present during the webinar.

Agenda: December 2, 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 pm: International Disability Employment
    Senator Tom Harkin, Retired, Democrat - Iowa
  • 12:50 pm: Open Question & Answer period for attendees

Dept of Veterans Affairs and National Disability Rights Network Sign Agreement to Enhance Services to Veterans with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – Oct. 28, 2016 - Curtis Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E). This agreement signifies a formal relationship between NDRN and VR&E to better enable Veterans with service-related disabilities to successfully transition into civilian life.

Signing on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs were Curtis Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity and Jack Kammerer, Director, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service.

The VR&E program provides individualized employment solutions and rehabilitation services to Veterans with disabilities that affect employment opportunities. NDRN is the non-profit membership organization for the nationwide Protection and Advocacy Systems and Client Assistance Programs (P&A/CAP). Collectively, the network is the largest provider of legally-based advocacy services to people with disabilities.

Under the agreement, NDRN and VR&E will collaborate to improve outreach to Veterans with disabilities, and increase awareness of and access to services that will enable them to better adjust to the civilian community. It will also improve communication and information sharing between the two organizations.

Additionally, NDRN and VR&E have agreed to determine when P&A/CAP agencies can support VR&E counselors to enhance services to Veterans; will exchange Fact Sheets on P&A/CAP and VR&E programs, services, statutes, and regulations to educate staff and clients; will conduct topical trainings on a variety of information important to Veterans such as benefits, disability rights under the law, employment, education and housing.

“Having sacrificed so much for our country, Veterans with service-related disabilities deserve every opportunity to find rewarding careers when they return to civilian life,” said Curt Decker. “This agreement is an important first step in a partnership that will improve employment services for our nation’s veterans.”

# # #

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

SOURCE: Press Release 

Justice Dept Revises Regulations to Require Closed Movie Captioning and Audio Description for People with Disabilities

Nov. 22, 2016 -- The Justice Department today announced an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III regulation to further clarify a public accommodation’s obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities.  The final rule provides that public accommodations that own, operate or lease movie theaters are required to provide closed movie captioning and audio description whenever showing a digital movie that is produced, distributed or otherwise made available with these features.
Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services, where necessary, to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities, and the department has long held the position that captioning and audio description are auxiliary aids required by the ADA.  Despite this obligation and the widespread availability of movies with these features, the department received numerous reports from the disability community indicating that neither closed movie captioning nor audio description is universally available at movie theaters across the United States.
The department initiated this rulemaking on June 10, 2010, with the publication of its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and then published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Aug. 1, 2014.  In total, the department received over 1,500 comments on the ANPRM and the NPRM, including a comment on the NPRM that was jointly submitted by advocacy groups representing individuals with hearing disabilities and the movie theater industry.  The department intends to publish the final rule in the Federal Register in the near future, and the rule will take effect 45 days after publication.
“The disability community and movie theater industry provided comprehensive insight on this important regulation,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department’s regulation establishes a nationally consistent standard and ensures that, in theaters across the country, people with hearing and vision disabilities can fully enjoy watching movies with their families and friends.”
The final rule requires movie theaters to have available and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description so that it is delivered to a movie patron’s seat and available only to that patron.  Movie theaters are also required to notify the public about the availability of these features and have staff available to assist movie patrons with the equipment. 
The requirements of this rule do not apply to any movie theater that shows analog movies exclusively.  Additionally, the compliance limitations under Title III of the ADA apply to this rulemaking, and thus, the rule makes clear that movie theaters do not have to comply with the rule’s requirements if compliance would result in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration.
For more information about this rule or the ADA, please visit the department’s ADA website or call the ADA Information Line (1-800-514-0301, 1-800-514-3083, TTY).  Once the final rule is published in the Federal Register, a copy will be available on the Federal Register’s website.
SOURCE: Press Release - Dept. of Justice on 11/22/2016

2016’s Most Charitable States – WalletHub Study

With tomorrow being #GivingTuesday (11/29), nearly a third of all annual giving taking place in December and the U.S. ranking second overall in this year’s World Giving Index, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2016’s Most Charitable States as well as a Charity Calculator to help donors maximize their philanthropic impact.

To determine the most generous states, WalletHub compared them based on 13 key metrics. The data set ranges from “volunteer rate” to “percentage of income donated” to “percentage of sheltered homeless.”

 Most Charitable States  
 1Utah 11West Virginia
 2Minnesota 12South Dakota
 3North Dakota 13Tennessee
 4Maryland 14Kansas
 5Oklahoma 15Missouri
 6Delaware 16Connecticut
 7New Hampshire 17Georgia
 8Ohio 18Virginia
 9Wisconsin 19Washington
 10Arkansas 20Kentucky
Key Stats

  • Utah has the highest volunteer rate, 39.3 percent, 2.1 times higher than in Florida, which has the lowest at 18.3 percent.
  • Utah has the highest percentage of donated income, 6.61 percent, 3.6 times higher than in New Hampshire, which has the lowest at 1.85 percent.
  • Utah has the highest percentage of the population who claim to have donated time, 56 percent, 1.9 times higher than in Kentucky, which has the lowest at 30 percent.
  • Maryland has the highest percentage of taxpayers who donated money to charity, 38.2 percent, 3.1 times higher than in West Virginia, which has the lowest at 12.3 percent.
  • Utah has the most volunteering hours per capita, 75.6, 3.7 times more than in Kentucky, which has the fewest at 20.7.
  • Vermont has the most public charities per capita, 27.07, 4.5 times more than in Nevada, which has the fewest at 6.05.
To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-and-least-charitable-states/8555/

SOURCE: WalletHub

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Have the Winter or Holiday Blues? Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

During the holiday season it can be a hard time of year for many. For those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression, the decrease in natural sunlight can negatively impact their mood. People with other forms of depression may also find the winter months difficult. And older adults and others who are far from their families may feel lonely or isolated. Find tips to help people with depression or anxiety and seniors and their caregivers handle holiday depression. Please read this article to learn more.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers tips about taking care of yourself when you have a mental illness, including eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise. Having a support system of friends and family members can also help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Learn how to talk with a loved one if you believe they might be depressed. Take a free, confidential mental health screening online or find a depression screening program near you.

To find mental health treatment options in your area, use the Mental Health Treatment Locator

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and need to talk to someone right away, 
please call 1-844-493-TALK (8255).

# originally published 12/23/2015, at time of repost all links up to date.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fed Court Halts Overtime Rule, Home-Care Workers For Seniors and Disabled Included

November 22, 2016 -- A Texas judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) attempt to expand overtime pay to more than 4 million employees starting December 1, 2016 will be delayed. The court ruling comes as a relief to numerous employers and Chamber members who have expressed concern surrounding not only the added cost, but implementation concerns, as well. The injunction will allow the judge more time before making a final decision on the authority of the DOL to make the rule change. Read more on yesterday’s ruling, Washington Post article.

The ruling will affect a diverse range of employment, but also Home-Care workers that assist seniors and people with disabilities. As more information becomes available we will updates our posts.

What yesterday’s ruling means for employers is that the rule will not be enforced as originally planned starting on December 1, 2016. Though you should continue to be prepared for possible implementation at a later date.

Disclaimer: this update is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to this issue, or any other legal question concerning or impacting your business.

Accessible Theatre Performances of "ONE OF US" Beauty and the Beast in Chicago Dec 1 - 11, 2016

Bodies of Work: Network of Disability Art and Culture is proud to partner with MCA this December! Please spread the word and get your tickets to see "One Of Us" with Julie Atlas Muz & Mat Fraser!Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

MCA Stage Presents
ONE OF US Julie Atlas Muz & Mat Fraser
Beauty and the Beast
Thu, Dec 1-Sun, Dec 11, 2016

It’s story hour for adults.
Burlesque star Julie Atlas Muz and English actor and comedian Mat Fraser use disability, beauty, and sexuality to expose the social undercurrents of the eighteenth century fairy tale.

Their explicit, adult-themed performance repositions the Beast as a natural-born freak to the beauty queen who loves him—using humor, and a healthy dose of nudity.

A collaboration with puppeteers of Oliver-winning British group Improbable, you won’t want to miss this happily-ever-after bedtime story.

(click to enlarge)

Ticket Price
$30 Full
$24 MCA Members
$10 Students
Call Box office for tickets and information https://goo.gl/mMwPdC
312-397-4010, and online at mcachicago.org
220 E Chicago Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60611

THU, DEC 1 & 8, 7:30 PM
These performances and post-show talks are ASL interpreted; Amy Kisner and Suzanne Salerno are each evening's interpreters.

SAT, DEC 3, 7:30 PM & SUN, DEC 4, 3 PM
These performances are captioned.

FRI, DEC 9, 7:30 PM
Relaxed Performance of Beauty and the Beast is open to everyone, but the artists are also offering this night as a "relaxed performance.” Relaxed performances are for people, with or without disabilities, who would prefer some flexibility in regards to noise and movement in the theater. Stage lighting and sound have been adapted by the artists to be less intense. Patrons are free to leave and reenter the theater as necessary, and the theater lights are kept at a glow to facilitate movement. Sensory rest areas are available outside the theater for patrons to take a break before returning to the show. Volunteers, many of whom are members of the disabled community, are present to assist. For more information, please call the MCA Box Office at 312-397-4010.

SAT, DEC 10, 1:00-3:00 pm
The creators of Beauty and the Beast put the experience of disability in society at the center of their work. They lead an inclusive workshop for professionals on reconfiguring collaboration, creation, and performance in theater and burlesque.
Includes ASL, Free with ticket to Beauty and the Beast

SUN, DEC 11, 11:00-1:00 pm
MCA Talk: Dialogue: Crip Culture
Mat Fraser and Director of Bodies of Work Carrie Sandahl lead a discussion on sexuality in the disability community. In relation to Fraser’s work as part of ONEOFUS, they speak about current policies and social implications. This talk features ASL and Open Captioning and is organized with Bodies of Work and in association with Access Living, the leading agency for disability advocacy in Illinois.
Learn more: http://bit.ly/2bFc9Zm

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

State of Illinois Targets Holiday Shoppers Abusing Disability Parking at Malls Statewide for the 10th Year

The annual State of Illinois sting begins the day after Thanksgiving who illegally park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities at shopping centers in Chicago, Schaumburg, Aurora, Oak Brook, Orland Park, Bloomington, Carbondale, Fairview Heights and Springfield, according to the Secretary of State office.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced today that Secretary of State Police will conduct statewide parking stings targeting individuals illegally parking in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities at shopping malls beginning Black Friday, November 25.

Secretary of State Police will enforce the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities at shopping centers in Chicago, Schaumburg, Aurora, Oak Brook, Orland Park, Bloomington, Carbondale, Fairview Heights and Springfield on November 25. Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and is the busiest shopping day of the year. Other enforcements will take place during the holiday season in Chicago, the suburbs and across the state.
“Our mission is not to issue tickets, but to ensure that accessible parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “Parking illegally in a space reserved for people with disabilities means a possible driver’s license suspension and a hefty fine, which could otherwise be used on gifts. Remember, if you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”
Drivers caught misusing a placard face a six-month driver’s license suspension and $600 fine. Repeat violators will face a one-year driver’s license suspension and $750 fine for a second offense, and for third or subsequent offenses a $1,000 fine plus a one-year driver’s license revocation. The fine for parking in an accessible parking space without a disability placard or license plates is up to $350 and using a deceased person’s placard or a fraudulent placard can result in a $2,500 fine and one-year revocation of a driver’s license.

There are 636,955 disability placards and 65,954 disability license plates in Illinois.

Secretary White urged individuals to report abuse of parking spaces for people with disabilities by calling 217-785-0309. Callers should be prepared to report placard and license plate numbers as well the as location of vehicles. People can also report abuse via the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com and complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form.

SOURCE: Illinois Secretary of State Press Release on Nov 22, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dee Smith Wins 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship

Dee Smith in action.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (November 20, 2016) – Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) captured the 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship today in Clearwater, Fla. following three days of racing at this US Sailing National Championship, hosted by Clearwater Community Sailing Center.

Sailors racing in a fleet of 12 2.4mR sailboats tallied nine races, including three on Friday, two on Saturday and four on Sunday.

Smith won seven races over three days and did not compete in the final race of the championship on Sunday.

“The first two days were light and shifty, but today, we had more wind which is always more fun,” said Smith. “I saw a lot of improvement in the fleet each day,” added Smith who offered instruction to the fleet this week.

Smith is a former America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race competitor and many other high-level racing programs over the course of his career. The Maryland native has hundreds of thousands of ocean racing miles under his belt.

Smith’s top results to date include a 4th at the 2016 Paralympic Games and 5th at the 2016 Para Sailing World Championship.

Placing second was Charlie Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.), an experienced and accomplished 2.4mR sailor who won this title in 2012, 2011 and 2009.

Rosenfield said, “The hosts were outstanding, the weather was great and I think it was a very successful event. It’s great we have so many new people and they are right there in the mix doing well.”

The regatta’s youngest competitor, Barbara Galinska (Chicago, Ill.) said, “I think I learned more in the last five days about sailing than I ever have. The most beautiful thing about sailing with these guys is that they are all such tough competitors. The staff here and race committee was amazing.”

It is US Sailing’s goal to organize events like this with host organizations around the country to increase participation and drive more awareness to the opportunities in adaptive sailing.

This US Sailing National Championship is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the U.S. for sailors with disabilities. The talented field often includes Paralympians, current or former US Sailing Team members, and new contenders. First established in 1986, the U.S. Independence Cup became US Sailing’s National Championship for sailors with disabilities in 1989. In 2007, the regatta moved under the championships division of US Sailing and was renamed the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship. Many competitors from this championship have gone on to represent the United States at the Paralympic Games including Nick Scandone, gold medalist at the 2008 Paralympics, and Jennifer French, silver medalist at the 2012 Paralympics.

These athletes raced this week to stake claim to the Judd Goldman Trophy. Peter Goldman donated the Judd Goldman Trophy in honor of Justin “Judd” Goldman (1914-1989) who, despite his own physical disability, was an accomplished sailor and inspired the creation of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program in Chicago.

For results and standings, photos, Twitter and Instagram (#DisabledSailing16) updates from Clearwater, and more information about the 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, please visit the event website.

- See more at: http://www.ussailing.org/disabledchamps16-final/#sthash.uovN5mgV.dpuf

Feds Request Suggestions How Medicaid Services Can Expand To Community-Based Services

notice published in the Federal Register this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said it is seeking suggestions about reforms and policy changes that the agency could pursue in order to grow availability of community-based services. 

CMS is requesting feedback from stakeholders on ways to expand community-based services while continuing to ensure choice for those who prefer institutional care. The majority of Medicaid spending is on long-term services.

Medicaid officials want to know what more can be done to provide services that promote the health and safety of beneficiaries with minimal fraud, waste and abuse. The agency also is seeking feedback on ways to strengthen the home care workforce to ensure that providers are available for a growing number of individuals needing support.

CMS is accepting public comments through Jan. 9, 2016

U.S. Access Board Webinar Dec. 1: Transient Lodging – Q & A on requirements in the ADA & ABA Accessibility Standards

laptop with Access Board sealThe next webinar in the U.S. Access Board's free monthly series will take place December 1 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and provide a question and answer session on accessible hotels, motels and other types of transient lodging. Representatives from the Access Board and the American Hotel and Lodging Association will review applicable requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards and answer questions submitted by attendees in advance or during the session. Questions are welcome on architectural accessibility as it pertains to such facilities, including amenities such as swimming pools, fitness facilities, spas, restaurants, and conference rooms.
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.

SOURCE: United States Access Board

Pres. Obama Appoints Key Administration Posts to the U.S. Access Board and National Council on Disability: Nov. 2016

WASHINGTON, DC - Nov 18, 2016 – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts. Below are the list of individuals that are part of the disability community, and are being appointed to posts that are to the United States Access Board, and the National Council on Disability.
President Obama said, “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country.  They bring their years of experience and expertise to this Administration, and I look forward to working with them.”
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, Appointee for Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is Founder and President of World ENABLED and The Pineda Foundation, positions he has held since 2003.  Dr. Pineda was an Adjunct Professor in City and Regional Planning and the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, positions he held in 2012.  He was a Senior Research Fellow at the World Institute on Disability in 2011 and a Principal Investigator at the Department of Education in 2009.  Dr. Pineda was a Researcher at the Institute for Urban and Regional Development in 2005 and at the University of California, Berkeley’s Kujacic Endowment in 2004.  He was a member of the Youth Advisory Committee of the National Council on Disability in 2003 and received the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award in 2009.  He was first appointed to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board in 2015.  Dr. Pineda received a B.A., B.S., and an M.C.P. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Shelley Siegel, Appointee for Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board
Shelley Siegel is Founder and President of Universal Design & Education Network, LLC, positions she has held since 1991.  Ms. Siegel is also Consulting Designer of the Siegel Design Group, Inc., where she has worked since 1972.  Ms. Siegel is a Fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the Design Alliance for Accessible and Sustainable Environments.  She is a former member of the Advisory Panel for the National Universal Design Program of the American Society of Interior Designers, the Florida Coordinating Council on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs ADA Advisory Board.  She was first appointed to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board in 2016.  Ms. Siegel received an A.S. from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, a B.L.S. from Barry University, and an M.A. from Nova Southeastern University.
Karen Tamley, Appointee for Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board
Karen Tamley is Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for the City of Chicago, a position she has held since 2005.  Ms. Tamley is Co-Founder of the Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing, where she also served as a National Organizer from 1994 to 2004.  She was Director of Programs at Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago from 1996 to 2005, Housing Director at Atlantis Community, Inc. from 1992 to 1996, and Executive Assistant at the National Disability Action Center from 1990 to 1992.  Ms. Tamley is a member of the Executive Committee of Meals on Wheels Chicago, the Board of Directors of Pace Suburban Bus, and the Transit Access Advisory Committee of the Regional Transportation Authority.  Ms. Tamley received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. 
Maxwell Barrows, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Maxwell Barrows is Outreach Director for Green Mountain Self-Advocates, a position he has held since 2007.  Mr. Barrows served as Region 8 Representative at Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered from 2008 to 2016, and also served as the organization’s Vice President from 2010 to 2012.  He is Co-Founder of Capitol Advocates Together and serves on the State Program Standing Committee for Development Services.  Mr. Barrows was recognized as a White House Champion of Change in 2015.
Ryan Easterly, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Ryan Easterly is Co-Founder and Director of Northern California Community Relations at MySupport, Inc, positions he has held since 2015.  Mr. Easterly served in several roles at The HSC Foundation from 2007 to 2015, including Manager and Senior Coordinator of the National Youth Transitions Initiative, and Program Coordinator.  Mr. Easterly was Program Assistant for the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy from 2006 to 2007.  He serves on the boards of Community Resources for Independent Living, Special Hope Foundation, and Ala Costa Centers.  Mr. Easterly received a B.S. from Troy University.
Billy W. Altom, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Billy W. Altom is Executive Director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, a position he has held since 2007.  Mr. Altom was Executive Director for Delta Resource Center for Independent Living from 1996 to 2007 and Program Director for Spa Area Independent Living Services, Inc. from 1993 to 1996.  He serves on the National AgrAbility Project Advisory Committee and the National Disability Leadership Alliance Steering Committee.  He previously served as Chair of the Rail Vehicles Accessibility Advisory Committee of the U.S. Access Board.  Mr. Altom received a B.A. from the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Rabia Belt, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Dr. Rabia Belt is an Assistant Professor at Stanford Law School, a position she has held since 2016.  Dr. Belt was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University Law Center from 2014 to 2015 and a Graduate Student Instructor at the University of Michigan from 2007 to 2010.  She was named a Kathryn T. Preyer Scholar in 2014.  Dr. Belt received an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.A., J.D., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Wendy S. Harbour, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Dr. Wendy S. Harbour is Director of the National Center for College Students with Disabilities, Coordinator for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Disability Consortium, and Advisor for Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring, positions she has held since 2015.  Dr. Harbour held various positions at Syracuse University from 2009 to 2015, including the Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Higher Education, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, Co-Director of the Center on Human Policy, Co-Coordinator of the Disability Studies Program, and Coordinator of the American Sign Language Program.  Dr. Harbour was an Adjunct Professor at the Boston Teacher Residency Program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston from 2006 to 2008 and at the American Sign Language Program at Northeastern University in 2007.  She was a Disability Specialist from 1995 to 2001 and an Academic Assistance and Testing Coordinator from 1995 to 1998 in Disability Services at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.  Dr. Harbour received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard University.
Benro T. Ogunyipe, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Benro T. Ogunyipe is an Accessibility Specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services, a position he has held since 2004.  Mr. Ogunyipe was President of the National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. from 2011 to 2013 and Vice President and Chairman of the organization’s Board from 2007 to 2011.  He was Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission from 2007 to 2012 and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago.  Mr. Ogunyipe was appointed to the Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force by the Governor of Illinois in 2016.  He was first appointed to the National Council on Disability in 2014.  Mr. Ogunyipe received a B.A. from Gallaudet University and an M.P.A. from DePaul University School of Public Service.
Clyde Terry, Appointee for Member, and upon appointment to be designated Chairperson, National Council on Disability
Clyde Terry is Chief Executive Officer of Granite State Independent Living, a position he has held since 2002.  Mr. Terry worked at the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council as Executive Director from 2001 to 2002 and as Director of Policy and Planning from 1994 to 2001.  He was an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Hampshire in 1996 and Hearing Officer/American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at the New Hampshire Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities’ Office of Client and Legal Services from 1988 to 1994.  Mr. Terry serves on the Governor’s Commission on Disability in New Hampshire and the Concord Hospital Medical Ethics Committee.  He served on the National Task Force on Accessible Elections and the ADA Watch Advisory Council.  Mr. Terry was first appointed to the National Council on Disability in 2011 and was designated Chairperson in 2015.  Mr. Terry received a B.S. from Emerson College and a J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center, now the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
SOURCE: Press Release, the White House on Nov. 18, 2016