Newsletter: March 16, 2017

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: March 15th, 2017

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:


The Northeast ADA Center is on Social Media

Did you know you can follow the Northeast ADA Center on social Media?  You can follow us on Facebook by going to  On Twitter by following @northeastada and on LinkedIn by going to


What’s New in Our Region:

How Accessible are New York City’s High Schools? Students with Physical Disabilities are About to Find Out

Michelle Noris began her son’s high school search the way many parents of children with physical disabilities do: by throwing out most of the high school directory.  She knew her son Abraham would only have access to a few dozen of the city’s 400-plus high schools because of significant health needs, despite being a bright student with a knack for writing.  “I tore out every page that didn’t work in advance of showing [the directory] to him,” Noris recalls.  Even once they narrowed the list of potential schools, they still couldn’t be sure which schools Abraham — who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair — would be physically able to enter. The directory lists whether a school is considered partially or fully accessible, which, in theory, means that students should have access to “all relevant programs and services.”  Ultimately it fell on families to visit the school before they could get a clear picture on how accessible the school and its programs were.  Using a 58-question survey, the city is collecting more granular data: if music rooms or computer labs are accessible, for instance, or whether there’s a slight step in a library that could act as a barrier. The survey also tracks whether a student in a wheelchair would have to use a side or back entrance to make it into the building.  To read more about this go to:


Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities Getting a Boost from NJ Colleges

New Jersey colleges and universities — big and small — are doing their part in making sure more young adults with developmental disabilities get their shot at a successful postsecondary education. According to the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, 11 percent of undergraduate students in the 2011-12 academic year reported having a disability.  In the past, higher education may not have been a realistic option for those dealing with intellectual disabilities or autism. But over the past 10 years or so, a handful of New Jersey institutions have implemented programs aimed at leading these students in the next step of their education and towards a career.  A first-of-its-kind program for a four-year school, COMPASS launched at the Metropolitan campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2008, devoted to students with high-functioning autism. The program began operating at the Madison campus this academic year as well.  Dr. Kathleen Viezel, COMPASS director, said the two-year program helps students transition from high school to college with an ultimate goal of independent functioning. Participants receive academic coaching, group counseling and individual counseling on a weekly basis.  To read more about this go to:


What’s New in the Rest of the Country:

Metro Agrees to Settle Discrimination Case for $175,000

Metro transit agency has agreed to pay $175,000 to a Maryland man who said his job offer with the authority was rescinded when the agency learned he had epilepsy. The transit agency must also implement new policies that ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including training hiring managers so that a similar scenario is avoided in the future, according to the terms of the settlement. The U.S. Justice Department filed suit in January on behalf of the applicant, Bennie Vaughan. According to court documents, Vaughan received a job offer for the position of elevator/escalator parts supervisor in May 2013, but it was withdrawn a month later after the agency learned of his medical condition.  To read more go to:


People with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities Fight Bias in Transplants

Paul Corby needs a new heart. On that there is no dispute. The same rare disease that killed his father at 27 is destroying his left ventricle. While there is no cure or surgery that might repair the damage, a heart transplant could extend his life considerably. But Corby, who lives in Pottsville, Pa., is autistic, has several psychological conditions and takes 19 medications. When he applied to the transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, he was rejected because of his “psychiatric issues, autism, the complexity of the process and the unknown and unpredictable effect of steroids on behavior,” according to the denial letter sent to his mother.  “I couldn’t even believe this would happen,” Karen Corby said, “that this would be the reason in this day and age.”  In fact, people with cognitive disabilities are turned down for organ transplants often enough that their rights are a rapidly emerging ethical issue in this corner of medicine, where transplant teams have nearly full autonomy to make life-or-death decisions about who will receive scarce donor organs and who will be denied.  Beyond some restrictions imposed by laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers at 815 U.S. transplant programs are free to take neurocognitive disabilities such as autism into consideration any way they want. To read more about this go to:


Opportunities for You!

U.S. Access Board Announces Section 508 Webinar Series Schedule

The U.S. Access Board announces this year's schedule for the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series which will be devoted to the Board's recent final rule updating its Section 508 Standards. The rule also refreshes guidelines for telecommunications equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act. The next five webinars, which are free and held every other month, will cover different sections of the rule, including referenced standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0:

• March 28, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
  WCAG 2.0 and the Revised Section 508 Standards
• May 30, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
  Old versus New: Original Section 508 Standards (2000) compared to the Revised   Section 508 Standards (2017)
• July 25, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
  Revised Section 508 Chapter 4 Hardware (including Mobile)
• September 26, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
  Revised Section 508 Chapter 5 Software (including Mobile)
• November 28, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
  W3C WCAG 2.0 Resources

For more details or to register for any of these webinars, visit





Join the Diversity Partners National Kick-Off Webinar on March 29th!


The Diversity Partners Project, housed at the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, is bridging the gap between employment service professionals, job seekers with disabilities and business.  Diversity Partners can help improve your business relationships in serving job seekers with disabilities, using a combination of in-person training, online toolkits and on-demand technical assistance.


For more information about the project, please visit: 
To register for the free webinar, please visit:


Special Spotlight:  

Service Animals and School Districts

Service Animals and their presence in schools have been featured in the media recently. Below are two articles that highlight the implications of denying access of service animals in educational settings.

Cherry Hill Student Prevails in Fight to Bring Service Dog to School

In Cherry Hill, NJ it took several months of lobbying school officials before they decided they should allow junior Ben Shore to bring his service dog to school, while they worked to revise the policy that had previously prevented him. Shore, 16, is on the autism spectrum and has a service dog to help him deal with panic attacks. He had argued to school officials that the district's service dog policy placed restrictions on service dogs that violated state and federal law, including requiring proof of formal training and banning them from buses. On February 2nd, Ben was finally allowed to bring his dog to school. A school district spokeswoman said the school decided to allow Shore to bring his service dog "in advance of the adoption of the revised policy, as we work to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act." To read more about this, please visit:


Supreme Court Sides with Family in Service Dog Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals should reconsider whether Ehlena Fry and her family can sue a Michigan school district for its decision years ago to tell Ehlena, who has cerebral palsy, that she could not bring her service dog to school.  In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, Ehlena’s parents and their lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union argued in October that they shouldn’t be required to exhaust administrative remedies under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before suing under a separate law involving access to public institutions, as the school district argued.  To read more about this go to: