Newsletter: August 20, 2014

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: August 20, 2014


Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:


Northeast ADA Center Releases Spanish Website!

The NEADA Center is happy to announce its website can now be viewed in Spanish! You can access the Spanish site directly at: or by going to and clicking on the button that says "Ver Sitio Web Espanol". We are very happy to be able to make the majority of our website materials and information available in Spanish now.  Please let us know if you have any feedback on how we can improve our communications with our Spanish speaking constituents throughout Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York, and New Jersey, and we hope you enjoy the website! 


9-10-14 - Free Webinar on Inclusive Extra-Curricular Activities

The NEADA Center will present a free webinar, "School's Out, Now What? Inclusive Extra-Curricular Activities" on September 10th from 2:00-3:00pm ET. This webinar will include a review of the US Department of Education's January 2013 letter detailing the obligation of public schools to include students with disabilities in athletic programming under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It will also consider the benefits of inclusion for students with and without disabilities. Register at:


9-19-14 - Free Webinar on Housing Issues for People with Disabilities

The NEADA Center will present a free webinar, "Housing Issues for People with Disabilities: The ADA and Other Laws" on September 19th from 2:00-3:30pm ET. The shortage of accessible housing in the U.S., compiled with discrimination in the housing market, reduces the availability of housing for citizens with disabilities and complicates their experiences within their homes. This webinar will cover some of the housing issues confronted by individuals with disabilities, and the different disability laws that are designed to facilitate access to appropriate housing. Register at: 


What's New in Our Region:


Legislation Updates New York's Accessibility Signage and Logos

On July 25, 2014, New York State (NYS) Governor Cuomo signed into law new legislation to update accessibility signage and logos throughout NYS. This updating of signage is an important step in the removal of the social stigma around people with disabilities. A new, more active graphic will be required for new and replaced signage in New York and the word "handicapped" will be replaced with "accessible." Read more at:


USVI Designates October as "Disability History and Awareness Month"

Due to the collaborative activities of the USVI PAIR program and the disability community, legislation has been enacted to declare October "Disability History and Awareness Month" (Act No. 7621). The Virgin Islands legislature passed the proposed bill in its entirety on June 18th and it was approved by Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on July 11th. The law states that during October, each public school "...shall conduct and promote educational activities that provide instruction, awareness and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. The activities must include various events, such, as school assemblies and guest-speaker presentations." This legislation is based upon a belief that disability history should be shared in schools as a way to increase disability inclusión and decrease instances of bullying and harassment. 


31 Caribbean Epilepsy Conference to be Held in September in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican Epilepsy Society -a private nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medical, psychological, psychosocial and educational services to people with epilepsy and their families - will hold their "31 Epilepsy Caribbean Conference" on September 13th, 2014 at the Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino in San Juan, PR. Some of the topics to be discussed include early detection of developmental disabilities and epilepsy, seizures in the newborn and the unexpected, sudden death due to the condition, among others.  Also as part of the event, the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance Specialist in PR will be offering training about reasonable accommodations for people with epilepsy in the workplace and the educational area.  The conference is accredited by the Central Division of Continuing Education and Professional Careers of University of PR Medical Sciences Campus (EFEUSA).  For more information about this event, contact the organization at (787) 782-6200 /, or visit:


Latest News from New York State (NYS) Justice Center

The latest electronic news from the NYS Justice Center is now available and includes information on a new mobile app for reporting incidents to the Vulnerable Persons Central Register, an investigation into a nonprofit provider serving people with developmental disabilities, and new publications from the Justice Center. Read all the news at:  


What's New in the Rest of the Country:


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Passed by Congress

On July 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives, passed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill that critically supports the advancement of integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities, instead of sheltered workshop environments. This bill puts additional pressure on state governments to expedite this integration process, while also creating more talent investment programs for young people with disabilities to ease their transition into the workforce. Now the Bill is ready for President Obama's signature.  Read more at: and: Learn more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act


Justice Department Developing Disability Training For Police

Responding to the demands from advocates like the National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Community Relations Service under the U.S. Department of Justice will begin to administer training to law enforcement personnel specific to relations with people with disabilities. Similar to their new training specific to law enforcement relations with the transgender community, this program will focus on the needs of the individual with a disability. Read more at:


Social Security Administration (SSA) Announces Updated Instructions for Reasonable Accommodation Requests

The SSA has issued updated instructions for all direct service employees on how to handle disability accommodation requests.  Some highlights of the new instructions include: calling the SSA national 800 number; visiting a local field office; or calling or writing to a Field Office or Hearing Office where they would like to receive the accommodation. SSA will provide "standard accommodations", such as Certified Sign Language or Video Remote Interpreters and handwritten notes in all agency offices without requiring special approval of management. SSA will also provide standard notices via either print, large print, Braille, or electronic means sent by mail. If an individual requires more than one of the standard accommodations or a different type of accommodation, they must contact the Center for Section 504 Compliance. Individuals have the right to request a "non-standard accommodation", which will require management approval. Learn more at: or contact your local Region 2 Liaison (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) Laura Coffey at 502-479-5865 or


White House Adds New Disability Adviser

Replacing Claudia Gordon, Taryn Mackenzie Williams will serve as an associate director in the White House's Office of Public Engagement as the liaison role between the disability community and the president. Williams' term in the role is expected to be short-term as she is "on loan" from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. Read more at:


EEOC says reasonable accommodation required for all pregnant workers

The EEOC has recently published Guidance that expands the responsibility of employers to offer light or alternative work to women who have pregnancy-related restrictions if they offer alternative work to people who are covered by ADA disability. This Guidance does not have the force of law, but will be up for ruling by the Supreme Court and Congress in the future. Read more at:


Disability related inquiries should be reviewed for ADA and GINA compliance

Following the EEOC recent informal discussion letters critiquing policies and forms that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, this article reviews requests employers cannot make of employees. Unless the employer can prove the question must be asked as a business necessity, many questions that inquire about medical history would expose an employer to lawsuit.  Read more at:


U.S. Currency Reader Program

The Bureau of Engravings and Printing have announced that beginning on September 2, 2014 a pilot program will be rolled out to provide people who are blind or are visually impaired with currency readers free of charge. Starting January 2, 2015 the program will be nationally rolled out. Read more at:


Latest Job Accommodation (JAN) Electronic Newsletter

The latest JAN ENews is now available and includes information on recruiting resources for federal contractors, online application systems, ADA leave beyond FMLA, accommodating social anxiety disorder, and many other timely topics. Read the ENews at:


Nordstrom's Chooses to Be Disability Inclusive While Promoting Sale

Four people with various disabilities are featured in Nordstrom's anniversary sale catalog this year modeling the retailer's latest trends. Some of the models include a 7-year-old who has Downs Syndrome, a wheelchair user, a veteran with a prosthetic leg, and a woman that was born without her right arm below the elbow. All of these models are featured modeling various trends popular this year from clothing to shoes and handbags. Read more at:


Opportunities for You!


9-4-14 Free Open Question and Answer with the U.S. Access Board"

Back by popular demand! Accessibility specialists and information technology specialists from the Access Board are available to answer your burning questions during this session. Session participants are requested to submit questions in advance on the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards, the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard, Section 508, Medical Diagnostic Equipment or other Board rulemakings or activities. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register and learn more about this webinar, please visit


Special Spotlight:  Disability Treaty One Step Closer to Becoming Reality


The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), or Disability Treaty, passed out of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a vote of 12-6 on July 22, 2014. The Disability Treaty is designed to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities worldwide and enjoys the support of a broad coalition ranging from disability rights organizations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The treaty includes protections against discrimination in the workforce as well as equal access to education, amongst other basic human rights. Advocates maintain it reinforces rights written in the landmark ADA without interfering with U.S. sovereignty. The Disability Treaty's next steps include ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. For more information on this story, please visit the following links:


From, "Disability Treaty Passes Senate Committee"


From, "UN Disability Treaty Clears Senate Committee"


From "Global disabilities treaty passes committee but faces a tough fight in the Senate"