Newsletter: February 21, 2019

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: February 21, 2019

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar-Service Animal Scenarios

March 27th 2019
1:00pm EST to 2:00pm EST
Presenter: Chris Sweet, Northeast ADA Technical Assistance and Outreach Specialist

Service animals have begun emerging in popular media as a topic of contention as airlines, business's, and other places of public accommodation struggle with understanding what service animals are. In this webinar, we will explore scenarios relating to rights and responsibilities of both service animal users as well as those of places of public accommodation. To register go to:

What's New in Our Region:

Employment Training Program Helps Young Adults with Disabilities Prepare

Atlantic Center for Independent Living (Atlantic CIL) has partnered with Atlantic City and Pleasantville school districts this year for the roll-out of a new pre-employment transition services (pre-ETS) workshop for students with disabilities which began just last month. Training coordinator Pete Abraldes from Atlantic CIL was in Jonathan Lelli's special education class at Atlantic City High School last week to discuss with the students what they aspire to be and how they can get there. He was beginning a lesson on making a vision board to help accomplish a goal. Referred to as pre-ETS, the workshops are now required as part of changes to a federal law in 2017. Grants were made available that year by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to organizations that could provide such services that would help students with developmental disabilities prepare for and get employment. To read more about this go to:

Disability Integration Act Reintroduced, Fights for Independence of Disabled Individuals

A piece of civil rights legislation reintroduced on January 15, 2019 to the 116th Congress helps fight for the independence of all people, including the disabled. The Disability Integration Act - originally introduced in 2016 by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., prohibits states or local governments that provide institutional placements for individuals with disabilities who need long-term assistance, and prohibits insurance providers that fund such long-term services, from denying community-based services that would enable such individuals to live in the community and lead an independent life.
Without this in place, people who are eligible for services could be forced into nursing homes or other institutions by their insurance company, according to Aileen G. Martin, executive director of the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, rather than receiving the services in their own home. To read more about this go to:

New York Inmates with Mental Illness Are Held in Prison Past Their Release Dates, Lawsuit Claims

A lack of community-based mental health housing facilities have left mentally ill inmates incarcerated months past their release dates - including some in solitary confinement, a new lawsuit alleges. The Legal Aid Society and Disability Rights New York filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Manhattan against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on behalf of a group New Yorkers with mental illness who allegedly have been held in prison because of a shortage of mental health facilities. The group filing the lawsuit has either fully completed their sentences or reached their approved parole dates, but remain incarcerated, some for as long as 16 months past their release dates, because "the State has failed to ensure the necessary capacity in community-based mental health housing," legal aid lawyers and mental health advocates say, adding the inmates then have to "languish in prison, awaiting a placement." "It's shameful that New York State keeps them in prison simply because they have mental illnesses and need supportive housing," Stefen Short, Staff Attorney with the Prisoners' Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement. "This is an abhorrent practice, and New York must end it immediately, and provide our clients with the resources to facilitate their release." To read more about this go to:

SCOTUS Orders State, City Responses to Lawyer's Certiorari Petition in ADA Suit Over Courthouse Access

The high court's directive to the state and city comes as part of an increasingly fierce legal battle being waged between disabled lawyer Caner Demirayak and government officials over what type of changes, if any, must be made to the Brooklyn Supreme Court civil courthouse. In a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the state and city to file responses to a disabled lawyer's petition for writ of certiorari pertaining to his preliminary-injunction motion aimed at forcing officials to make fast changes-including installing temporary ramps and lifts-at the Kings County Supreme Court civil courthouse. The court's directive, which came via three separate Jan. 15 letters sent to government entities, including the Office of Court Administration, comes as part of an increasingly fierce legal battle being waged between disabled lawyer Caner Demirayak and government officials over what type of structural and other changes must be made-if any-at the courthouse to make it accessible to the disabled. "This could mean that somebody in the Supreme Court ... thinks that this case is very important to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities," Demirayak said this week of the Supreme Court's move to call for the state's and city's responses. But some lawyers experienced with the Supreme Court's cert-petition calls for responses say they are not especially surprised it has been made given the range of legal issues raised in Demirayak's pro se case. To read more about this go to:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Summer 2019 "Access to Exchange Fellowship" in Eugene, Oregon

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) is excited to announce the launch of the "Access to Exchange Fellowship". The NCDE is seeking college students and recent graduates in the United States who are interested in a career in international exchange! The goal of the fellowship is to provide college students and recent graduates professional and leadership skills related to disability inclusion in international exchange.
The "Access to Exchange" Fellow will spend May- August 2019, approximately 20-25 hours per week, working with the NCDE team towards the mission of encouraging and making it possible for more people with disabilities to engage in purposeful travel overseas. The fellow will be based in Eugene, Oregon at the Mobility International USA (MIUSA) office. See more at:

The Valuable 500 Launches at Davos to Promote Disability Inclusion

A new campaign that will hold global business leaders accountable for disability inclusion in their businesses launched today at the World Economic Forum's Annual Summit in Davos. Announced by #valuable founder Caroline Casey at today's press conference "The Case for Disability Inclusion", The Valuable 500 will seek 500 global businesses to commit to putting disability on their board agendas in 2019. The Valuable 500 seeks to tackle the trend for businesses to claim they are diverse, but exclude disability from their definition of diversity. Research by EY commissioned by #valuable has found disability is still woefully absent from the majority of board level discussions globally - with the majority (56%) of global senior executives rarely or never discussing disability on their leadership agendas. To read more about this go to:

Disability-Themed Emojis Approved for Use

The introduction of dozens of new accessibility-themed emojis has been welcomed by disability rights campaigners. The new characters include hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, white "probing" canes and guide dogs.
They follow a complaint by Apple that few existing emojis spoke to the experiences of those with disabilities. Their inclusion in 2019's official list means many smartphones should gain them in the second half of the year.
"Social media is hugely influential and it's great to see these new disability-inclusive emojis," said Phil Talbot, from the disability charity Scope. Up to now, disability has been greatly underrepresented. "We'd also like to see greater representation of disabled people and disability across all parts of the media and social media." To read more about this go to:

Opportunities for You!

Research Opportunity for Adults who Use Wheelchairs Full-Time

Study title: Falls and Fear of Falling in Adults who require Wheelchairs for Locomotion

To participate you must be an adult who:

  • Is at least 18 years old
  • Has a neurological diagnosis (such as but not limited to post-polio syndrome, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis) for at least 6 months.
  • Use a wheelchair (manual or power) at least 75% of your mobility time inside your home and 100% of the time outside your home.
  • Has a computer with internet access.
  • Is able to read and understand English.

If you are interested in completing an anonymous on-line survey about your medical condition, falls, risk of falling, and fear of falling, please access this link:

It will take you up to about 20 minutes to complete it. People who complete the survey will be eligible for a drawing for a $20 gift card.

Principal investigator and contact person:
Carolyn (Kelley) Da Silva, PT, DSc

Survey Opportunity: Research Project on Assistive Technology

The Fluid Interfaces group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab works on cognitive enhancement and novel human computer interfaces. Many people have expressed interest in assistive device applications of these technologies. Jaya Narain, co-founder and co-director of ATHack (MIT's assistive technology hackathon) and member of the Fluid Interfaces group, is exploring the design of new augmentative communication interfaces in this area. The Fluid Interface group are seeking people who have conditions that affect speech, and their friends and family, to help assess and develop concepts via an online survey.
The survey takes approximately 30 minutes and can be found at

Free Webinar-Accessible Entrances, Doors, and Gates

Thursday, March 7th, 2019
2:30 PM EST - 4:00 PM EST

Entrances, doors, and gates are key components of access along routes and to buildings, rooms, and spaces. This session will cover scoping and technical requirements in the ADA and ABA Standards for entrances, doors and gates. Presenters will review in detail the specifications for maneuvering clearances at doors using images and animations to better explain the rationale behind these provisions. They will also address recessed doors, automatic doors and gates, doors in a series, door hardware and other topics. To register go to:

Free Webinar-The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Sites: What is Required

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019
2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT

Many businesses and public entities use their web sites to provide information about programs and services, offer registration, enable visitors to purchase goods and services and much more. How does the ADA apply to these web sites? What makes a web site accessible? Are there ADA standards for web sites? Join us for this informative session as the speaker will address these questions and provide an opportunity for participants to ask their own. To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

Number of ADA Title III Lawsuits Filed in 2018 Tops 10,000

The number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court in 2018 hit a record high of 10,163 - up 34% from 2017 when the number was a mere 7,663. This is by far the highest number of annual filings since we started tracking these numbers in 2013, when the number of federal filings was only 2,722. In other words, the number of cases has more than tripled. California, New York, and Florida led the pack by a wide margin as the states with the most ADA Title III lawsuits, with Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Alabama making the top ten but trailing far behind. To read more about this go to: