Newsletter: July 17, 2019

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: July 17, 2019

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar! Outdoor Access Scenarios

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
12:00 - 1:00 PM Eastern

This one hour webinar will review key ADA regulations and design features related to outdoor recreation by providing case scenarios to explore topics such as beach access, swimming pools, fishing piers and play areas.
Registration link:

What's New in Our Region:

New York University Dentists Want to Redefine Care for Patients with Disabilities

For Staten Island residents Donna Agoncillo and her son Christopher Agoncillo, having a dentist that understands how to treat people with special needs is essential. Christopher, 30, has autism, and when superstorm Sandy hit Staten Island in 2012, their options became more limited than ever. Now, the mother-son-duo take hourlong bus rides to and from Manhattan for Christopher's dentist, a trip that she said is "well worth it." Christopher's dentist is at New York University Dentistry's Oral Health Center for Disabilities. The new clinic focuses on treating patients of all ages with physical, cognitive, and developmental challenges. Along with basic dental care, the center also provides endodontics, surgery, orthodontics, pediatric care, implants, periodontics, and prosthodontics, all provided by specially-trained students and professionals. To read more about this go to:

Lawsuit Claims MTA Discriminates Against Riders with Disabilities

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of NY has been hit with a lawsuit alleging that they discriminate against transit riders with disabilities. The non-profit group Disability Rights Advocates say that only about 24% of subway stations in New York City are accessible to the disabled, which they claim is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "The MTA must acknowledge that accessibility must be a top priority," Disability Rights Advocates said in a statement. "They can no longer continue to prioritize amenities like Wi-Fi and artwork over the ability of their customers with disabilities to ride the subway." Last month, a judge ruled that the lawsuit against the MTA alleging discrimination can move forward, but the MTA is planning to appeal, their next court face-of is in August. To see the original article go to:

Program for Students with Disabilities will expand to Staten Island Elementary Schools

A program for elementary-aged students with disabilities is expanding to Staten Island, according to state Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore). The New York City Department of Education's (DOE) Academics, Career, and Essential Skills (ACES) program -- which allows students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to learn in their community school -- is expanding on Staten Island in time for the 2019-2020 school year. The ACES program provides students with intellectual or multiple disabilities with an opportunity to learn in their local school. Teachers and support staff are trained in specialized instructional strategies and assessments that support students in learning and applying work and independent living skills at home, in school and in the community, according to the DOE's website. The expansion comes after Reilly and other advocates worked to convince the DOE to roll out the program on Staten Island, where it had only been offered locally to intermediate and high school students -- not elementary students. To read more about this go to:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Department of Justice Celebrates 20th Anniversary of the Olmstead Supreme Court Decision Protecting the Rights of Americans With Disabilities

Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court issued the groundbreaking decision in Olmstead v. L.C., holding that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities in institutions is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This decision led to the development of new opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live and work in their communities. To enforce the holding of Olmstead, the Department of Justice has addressed the unnecessary segregation of people with physical, mental health, or intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in various residential and non-residential settings, nationwide. Nearly 50,000 people benefit from statewide settlements giving them the opportunity to receive health, residential, employment, and day services in their communities and, where appropriate and consistent with their informed decision, to leave, or avoid entering, segregated institutions. To read more, go to:

Obesity Alone Is Not a Disability

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that extreme obesity, without evidence of an underlying physiological condition, does not meet the definition of a physical impairment and therefore is not considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, due to the employee's extreme obesity, he was deemed unsafe to work in his position as a bus driver. He was eventually terminated after a two-year leave. He then sued, alleging violations of the ADA. The Seventh Circuit found that the driver was unprotected by the ADA because the implementing regulations state that obesity is an impairment only if it results from an underlying "physiological disorder or condition," which the employee failed to show. In so holding, the Seventh Circuit joined the Second, Sixth and Eighth Circuits. The Seventh Circuit rejected arguments from medical organizations that obesity is in and of itself a physiological disorder, noting that "The ADA is an antidiscrimination - not a public health - statute, and Congress's desires as it relates to the ADA do not necessarily align with those of the medical community." To read the full article go to:

Owner of Betty Ford Center Reaches Settlement with DOJ Over Americans with Disabilities Act

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation finalized a settlement agreement, agreeing to remove architectural barriers to access at the Betty Ford Center, a well-known drug and alcohol treatment facility in Rancho Mirage, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that the Betty Ford Center violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination by places of public accommodation against individuals with disabilities.
Hazelden, a Center City, Minnesota-based addiction treatment and advocacy organization, fully cooperated with the government's investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"People should never be deterred or impeded from seeking treatment for drug or alcohol addiction because of a physical disability," said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna. "Our office will enforce the rights of individuals with disabilities to access healthcare without barriers. We commend Hazelden for taking steps to comply with the ADA to ensure that the Betty Ford Center is accessible to all." To read more about this go to:

Theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month Announced

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced "The Right Talent, Right Now" as the theme for the 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The 2019 theme emphasizes the essential role that people with disabilities play in America's economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent. The Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) administers NDEAM. Observed annually in October, NDEAM celebrates America's workers with disabilities both past and present, and emphasizes the importance of inclusive policies and practices to ensure that all Americans who want to work can work, and have access to services and supports to enable them to do so. With continued advances in such supports, including accessible technology, it is easier than ever before for America's employers to hire people with disabilities in high-demand jobs. To read more about this go to:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar Series (Part 3 of 8): The ADA, Employment and Disclosure

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

The Southeast ADA Center, Georgia APSE, and the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE) are working together to build awareness of Employment First.

"Advancing Equal Employment Opportunities and Creating Inclusive Workplaces" is an eight-part webinar series from April 2019 - February 2020 that will feature a variety of topics for supported employment providers, vocational rehabilitation professionals, self-advocates, and families. Each webinar will embrace APSE's vision, mission and values, and provide tools and resources that can be used to advance equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Please join us for the third webinar in this eight-part series. To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

Celebrate the ADA

Throughout the year, celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Anniversary (July 26) in your workplaces, schools and communities. While much progress has been made, much remains to be done.

The ADA Anniversary Tool Kit is a project of the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers across the United States that provide information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

To view the ADA Anniversary Toolkit and find out how you can celebrate the ADA Visit: