Newsletter: February 25, 2009

Northeast ADA February 25, 2009 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Wheelchair User Sues New York's Long Island Rail Road (LIRR):

An East Islip, NY man with cerebral palsy has filed a notice of claim against the LIRR after an incident last August when a conductor failed to quickly help him get off a train and then repeatedly announced over a public address system that the train was delayed because of a "wheelchair patient".  Since the claim was filed, the LIRR announced that it will direct employees to no longer refer to the disability of a customer as the reason for a delay and instead say that "a customer needs assistance".  Read more at:,0,3387044.story

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Important Request from Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to President Obama on Disability Policy:

Mr. Dale would like any personal stories from any person with a disability who has gone back to work, or has been rehired as a result of the economic recovery plan.  Mr. Dale is asking the disability community for your help in responding to this important and time-sensitive request, as it will assist him in facilitating full inclusion during the current administration.  You can contact Kareem at

Help Enact the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act:

The ADA mandated the TTY & Relay telephone services & closed captioning on television and movies but given the vast changes in technology since 1990, the laws do not cover some of today's most used media systems, particularly those that are Internet based. The 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act is a federal bill that attempts to promote better access in technology and internet for people who are deaf and hard of hearing by bringing current technology up to ADA compliance and making it more user friendly for this population. Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) is the organization fighting for this and they have an online petition that you can sign to support the passage of this Act. To access the petition, go to:

Department of Labor's (DOL) Recent Efforts to Increase Employment of Returning Veterans:

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has created a new fact sheet, "Supporting the Workplace Success of Wounded and Injured Service Members", which highlights the U.S. Department of Labor's recent employment-related outreach programs for returning service members and their employers-REALifelines and America's Heroes at Work.  To access the fact sheet, go to:

HireVetsFirst, an initiative of the DOL, has identified the top 10 reasons employers should hire veterans with disabilities:

US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and Partner to Promote Recruitment of Qualified Job Seekers with Disabilities:

On February 6th, USBLN and announced their partnership, designed to build upon the strengths of USBLN's national business-to-business network and's innovative internet-based portal and accessible technologies designed to connect qualified job seekers with interested companies. USBLN Executive Director John D. Kemp stated, "This partnership is a win for everyone...most of all Americans with disabilities seeking employment". Read more at:

Proyecto Vision- Professional Opportunities for Latinos with Disabilities:

Proyecto Visión offers information about a wide range of opportunities that are available for people, primarily Latinos, with disabilities. These opportunities include current job listings, scholarships, internships, educational opportunities, and grants and awards. To access the bilingual Website, go to: to Improve Access for Travelers with Disabilities:

Online travel agency, a subsidiary of, has agreed to improve access for travelers with disabilities as part of a settlement of a class action lawsuit that alleged it refused to guarantee reservations for wheelchair accessible rooms. By later this year, will have information on hotels' accessibility features on its Web sites, travelers will be able to make special requests to book accessible rooms online, and customer service representatives will be trained to give those requests individual attention. Read more at:


Opportunities for YOU:

At-Home Teleconference on the ADAAA- Must RSVP by this Thursday:

On Thursday March 5th from 6:30-8:00pm EST, there will be an At-Home Teleconference on the ADA Amendments Act and how it can help you. It is sponsored by the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter and will be facilitated by the Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center-Northeast staff.  Pre-Registration is required by Thursday February 26th in order to gain access to the teleconference number and passcode. RSVP to 1.800.FIGHT MS/1.800.344.4867. 

Attention Artists and Designers: Logo Contest Underway!

The National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) has partnered with to host an "ADA Watch" logo contest to better brand and increase the visibility of their national advocacy initiative to advance disability rights. A cash prize is available and the winning design will help increase the effectiveness of ADA Watch.  For more information, go to:

Earn a National Certificate of Achievement in Employment Services:

The Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER) at the University of Washington is presenting a two-part certificate program for direct service providers, the Certificate in Employment Services (CES), which will concentrate on practical employment strategies for people with disabilities, and provide an overview of significant disabilities, rehabilitation issues, and current trends. 

CES is designed to help course participants understand and utilize best practices across employment settings. The course focuses primarily on serving people who have developmental disabilities, but the information provided can also be applied to employment services for people with mental illness, traumatic brain injuries and/or physical disabilities.  Upon completion of the CES, participants will be awarded a National Certificate of Achievement in Employment Services from the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE).  For more information, go to:

Deaf Initiative in Technology (DiiT) 2009 Summer Workshops:

DiiT is excited to introduce its 2009 Summer Workshop Schedule, which includes many new workshops!  DiiT provides up-to-the-minute technical training in an all sign environment.  Workshop participants get the benefit of direct interaction with the instructors without the need for interpreters.  This year, DiiT is offering workshops in Graphic Communications, Information Technology, Engineering, English, and Business related topics.  All workshops are held at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.  For more information, or to register, please visit or call 585-475-7545 (Voice or TTY). DiiT encourages you to visit their Website to see new offerings or to add your name to the mailing list.


Special Spotlight:  The Economic Stimulus Bill:

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law, often referred to as the "economic stimulus" bill.  There is much discussion now as to how this bill will impact Americans during these severely trying economic times. There is also much concern over if and how it will assist individuals with disabilities.  Read more below about various aspects of the bill and how they will affect and/or benefit Americans with disabilities:

Article from Disability Scoop highlighting funding and stimulus payments for individuals with disabilities:

Included in the $787 billion bill is the largest one-time boost to the programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title I and Pell Grants. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has provided the following helpful summary of the bill which explains this more in depth:

Disability Policy Collaboration, a partnership of the Arc and United Cerebral Palsy, has worked hard to ensure the stimulus bill maintained the highest funding levels for disability-related programs. The following list summarizes disability programs such as Independent Living Centers, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Medicaid among others, and how much increased funding each will receive through this bill:


See you in a few weeks!!!