Newsletter: February 22, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: February 22nd, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar! "Is That a Service Animal: What Rights Apply Where?" Is Now Available in Our Archives!

Our January 24, 2018 presentation on service animals, presented by Joe Zesski, is now available in our archives for those who missed it or want an additional review. It can be accessed by going to:

Free Webinar- "Access for All: The ADA and Older People"

March 21, 2018 1:00 EST-2:00 EST
The ADA has done much to improve the quality of life for millions of people -including older people - with disabilities. This webinar will educate participants about how the ADA applies to and affects older adults. We'll discuss areas such as effective communication techniques when serving people with hearing disabilities and ensuring that programs and services are accessible to older people. To register go to:


Cornell launches new disability awareness campaign

Using campus wide postering and social media, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator Team is launching a new campaign, #DiversityIncludesDisability, to build awareness of disability issues and support for an inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disability. Each month, a student, staff or faculty member will be highlighted - along with a disability-related topic - on Cornell's accessibility website and through Facebook. These profiles will complement and draw attention to the information already compiled online on disability and diversity at Cornell. To read more about this initiative go to:

What's New in Our Region:

JCC of Central NJ hosts a free special needs symposium on Feb. 25, 2018

In honor of Jewish Disability Inclusion and Awareness Month, the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains is hosting a free Special Needs Symposium on Sunday, February 25th, from 2-5 p.m. The keynote speaker is Pamela Schuller, stand-up comedian. As a teen, Schuller was diagnosed with a severe case of Tourette Syndrome. Now an internationally known disability and mental health advocate, Pamela's stories of growing up in a body she had no control over are engaging, powerful, a little bit heart wrenching, and unapologetically funny. Along with the keynote speaker, there will be breakout sessions in Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Education Consultancy, Transition Programs, Special Needs Wills and Trusts and Advocacy led by highly experienced local Special Needs professionals. To read more about this go to:


How Design for One Turns Into Design for All

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five adults in the United States has some disability. That is a demographic and economic motivator for many in the design industry. We also know that when people feel better about themselves, medical outcomes improve. "The utility of the most functional object in the world will go to waste if potential users don't connect with it and can't see themselves using it," said Donald Strum, a principal for product and graphic design at Michael Graves Architecture and Design. Graves's firm has rethought, among many medical devices, walking sticks, so they work better and use interchangeable handles, colors and tips, which let customers personalize them. More companies are catching on to a growing need where style meets function for the disability community. To read the full article go to: 


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Settlement Reached Over Cumberland County's Access to Polling Locations

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday announced a settlement with Cumberland County over its access to polling places. According to the attorney's office, it and an architect from the U.S. Department of Justice surveyed 52 of Cumberland County's 118 polling place locations on the primary election on April 26, 2016. The survey discovered that many of the county's polling places contained barriers for people with disabilities. Title II of the American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability by state or local government in any of its programs or services, including its voting program, according to the office. To read more about this go to:

Animals on Planes a Challenge for Airlines, Passengers

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, a man with a sizable dog on his lap already occupied the middle seat. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his face. The attack lasted about 30 seconds, according to Jackson's attorney, and left him with facial wounds that required 28 stitches and scars that are still visible today.

The incident, which Delta said was inflicted by a canine identified as an "emotional support" animal, was among the thousands of incidents that pushed the nation's largest airline to tighten rules for passengers flying with service or comfort animals

Though the Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as trained dogs or miniature horses, airlines are bound by the more liberal Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which allows free travel for "any animal" that is trained to assist a person with a disability or that provides emotional support. Airlines can require passengers with creatures in the second category to produce a letter from a physician or mental-health professional, but the documents are easily forged or obtained from websites that provide cursory, questionnaire-style "exams." The result, airline officials complain, has been a surge in poorly trained animals that has turned some flights into airborne menageries, with dogs blocking beverage carts, cats urinating on seats and ducks wandering the aisles.

Airlines have pushed for new federal rules to reduce fraud, and the transportation agency plans to begin taking comments on proposed regulations in July. To read more about this go to:

Largest Bar Exam Prep Class Provider Agrees to Settlement over Allegations of Discrimination Against Students Who are Blind

Law students who are blind and enrolled in a bar exam class offered by BarBri, Inc - host of the country's largest bar prep course - settled their claims this week alleging the company denied them fair and equal access to critical components of BarBri's test prep offerings, including its mobile application, website and course materials. Despite multiple attempts by the students to alert management to these concerns, the lawsuit alleged the company's actions not only prevented blind students from fully enjoying the resources to which they were contractually entitled, but also undermined their ability to effectively prepare for the bar exam. BarBri agreed as part of a court-enforced consent decree to update its online products using industry-recognized web accessibility guidelines, and to strengthen internal processes, training and staff resources for ensuring compliance with these standards. To read more about this go to:


NBC Olympics to Present 94 Hours of Paralympic Television Coverage

NBC Olympics' coverage will include all six Paralympic winter sports - alpine skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey, wheelchair curling, cross-country skiing, and biathlon - spread across ten days. The 250 hours of coverage includes 94 hours on television, which is NBC Olympics' most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games, nearly doubling Sochi 2014 (50 hours). 156 hours of streaming coverage will be available via and the NBC Sports app for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs. The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will take place March 9-18, 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with nearly 700 of the world's finest Paralympic winter athletes competing for glory in 80 events across six different sports on snow and ice. Team USA will compete in each of the sports contested in Pyeongchang with an estimated team of 70+ athletes. Read more at:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar- The History of Disabilities - Part 4: Civil Rights to Disability Rights

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
1:00 PM EST - 2:30 PM EST

The quest for social equality for people who have disabilities is a story that begins in the earliest years of the American experience. Marked by both great achievement, as well as some of the darkest policies imaginable, the struggle to remove physical, institutional, and attitudinal barriers faced by people who have disabilities is a dynamic story of disappointment and perseverance that continues to today. This webinar series provides an educational framework for students, social service professionals, family members, and most of all, people who experience disability. We will explore the roots of the disability rights movement and the historical turning points that shape contemporary policy. Dr. Logue's conversational style and deep subject matter knowledge make for an intriguing and thought-provoking webinar experience. Join author and educator Dr. Larry Logue as he tells the story of the disability rights movement in a four-part webinar series, "History of Disability Rights". Dr. Logue takes us on a fascinating journey; exploring the policies, legislation, movements, and personalities that have left their mark on this civil rights movement. To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

April will mark the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

With the goal of eliminating housing discrimination and residential segregation of all kinds, the bill is a critical tool for those with disabilities. In celebration of this important milestone, the National Fair Housing Alliance is organizing events across the country and launching a celebratory campaign called "#FHAct50."
To learn more about the FHA and to celebrate its anniversary visit: