Newsletter: September 05, 2008

Northeast ADA September 05, 2008 News Bulletin

What's New in the Northeast:

August 20, 2008:  NY Governor David Paterson and NYS Legislature have agreed to an additional 6% cut to local community based services in a package of cuts estimated to reach $1.7 billion over the next two years.  Many local programs and groups will be impacted including, among others, those that provide suicide prevention, mental health services, and homeless prevention.  Read more at:

Lawmakers reach agreement on $411M in state cuts:

Day of state cuts falls short: 

State officials working on $500 million in budget cuts; tax cap dead:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Higher Education Act Reauthorized!

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, signed by President Bush on August 14th, sets federal higher education policy for the next five years and now includes numerous provisions regarding the preparation of educators to use the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in their teaching practices. Among other things, this bill will allow students with intellectual disabilities attending higher ed programs designed for them to be eligible for Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Work-Study. Read more at:

First Ever ASL VIDEO PODCAST from the Disability Law Lowdown!

The first ever video Podcast series in American Sign Language announces new episodes on the Disability Law Lowdown website. These Podcasts now include video that allows subscribers to see native Deaf speakers signing the show's content.  Free subscriptions to the ASL Podcasts are available to have shows automatically delivered to MP3 players. The ASL Podcasts are also available on the Disability Law Lowdown website, where show transcripts are simultaneously available. The hosts for the ASL Disability Law Lowdown are native Deaf signers who will provide the latest information about disability rights and obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability-related topics. Subscription is free and RSS feeds are available to automatically download the shows to video iPods, computers, phones, and other video-capable devices.  To subscribe, visit or look for this Podcast on iTunes.  Disability Law Lowdown is provided by the Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) national network.

Target Settles Suit with National Federation of Blind!

Read more about the Target Corporation's class action settlement that requires the corporation to create internal guidelines to make their online site more accessible to the blind by March 2009:

The Latest on the ADA Amendment Act:

The ADA Amendment Act (formerly known as the ADA Restoration Act) has been passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives and is now being considered by the Senate.  For up to the date information visit either OR

Here are some excerpts on what the bill does, taken from a summary written by the Congressional Research Service, a well-respected nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress.  The ADA Amendment Act:

  • Amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to remove from the definition of "disability" a reference to substantially limiting one or more major life activities.
  • Prohibits the consideration of the impact of mitigating measures when determining whether impairment exists
  • Defines "record of physical or mental impairment" as having a history of, or having been misclassified as having, a physical or mental impairment.
  • Defines "regarded as having a physical or mental impairment" as being perceived or treated as having a physical or mental impairment whether or not the individual has an impairment.
  • Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • Allows, as a defense to a charge of discrimination, that the individual alleging discrimination is not a qualified individual with a disability.
  • Requires that the Act's provisions be broadly construed.

Read more about the bill that is now in the Senate at:

Opportunities For YOU:


Register for online courses through the Cornell University Employment & Disability Institute- next course on Social Security Administration:

ADA Audio-Conferences:

September 16th, 2008 2:00-3:30pm EST:  Latino Immigrants with Disabilities: Challenges in Employment
In 2000 the U.S. Census data showed that there is a significantly higher percentage of working-age Latino immigrants in the United States who have a disability compared all other groups.  This group faces a number of challenges when it comes to accessing social services including vocational rehabilitation and job placement. Speakers will address the barriers faced by this population and some innovative programs and services that are available to assist them.
Michael Feldenkrais, JD, Feldenkrais Query LLP and Brigida Hernandez, PhD,  YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities
  Online through the ADA Audio-Conference website at:
CEU Credits:
anyone working in architecture, design, civil engineer, supervisory, human resource, independent living, and advocacy capacities as well as legal professionals, ADA State & Local Government Coordinators, consumers, business owners, and individuals seeking advanced information on the ADA.
Format & Time:
Each session is delivered via telephone conference call and also real-time captioned on the Great Lakes web site (
Sessions begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and are 90 minutes long (2-3:30 pm).
  Email or call 617-695-1225 (v/tty)

TWO Research Participation Opportunities:

  • Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace Study: This study is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the U.S. Department of Education, and conducted by the University of Maryland and the DBTAC Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. The survey, which will take about 15-20 minutes, is for people with disabilities, employers who are employing individuals with disabilities, and service providers for persons with disabilities. The purpose is to compare their perceptions of the significance of factors affecting job accommodation requests and provision. For more details and to participate go to:

  • Health Survey: This study, being conducted by the Research and Training Center on Health and Wellness at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, is researching the kinds of questions that are used to find out about people's health in order to better know the best questions to use to gauge this information, even if they have disabilities. Only 700 completed surveys will be used from all across the country so let's make sure our state is represented! The survey will take about 40 to 50 minutes to complete and none of your personal information is made public. If you are 18 years of age or older and currently have a physical, vision, or hearing disability, or mental health/emotional condition which has lasted 6 months or longer, and would like to participate, please request a survey at:


See you in a few weeks!!!