Newsletter: July 26, 2010

Northeast ADA Center July 26, 2010 News Bulletin

Special Spotlight on the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

 Today, July 26th, 2010, marks 20 years since President George H.W. Bush signed "the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities", the Americans with Disabilities Act, into law. In this special edition of our News Bulletin, we have compiled several resources, links, and pieces of information regarding this commemorative anniversary. We encourage you to not only utilize these resources today, but to recommit yourselves to pursuing disability inclusiveness at the local, regional, state, and federal levels through your work and community involvement. We have come very far in breaking down barriers to accessibility and the full participation of our citizens with disabilities in all aspects of life, but there is definitely more we can do to fully achieve this goal. The Northeast ADA Center invites you celebrate how far we've come, contemplate what still needs to be done, and collaborate with each other and us, to create a more inclusive and accessible country!

 From Wendy Strobel-Gower, Northeast ADA Center Project Director:

 "When I was growing up there were no curb cuts, accessible parking spots, or access ramps.  People with disabilities were forced to stay at home because they were denied access to their communities, to schools, and to jobs.  If you couldn't do everything just like everyone else did, then you just didn't get to do it.  On the 20th anniversary of the ADA, it is important to reflect on this important civil rights legislation.  Surely, the greatest success of the ADA has been the opportunities that it provided to people with disabilities- the opportunity to participate in community life, to do their own grocery shopping and to go to local restaurants and libraries.  People with disabilities can now express their dissatisfaction with their local government. Before the ADA was passed, it was not that people with disabilities couldn't be heard if they wanted to express themselves; it was just that they couldn't get into the government buildings to do so!

 Is the world after the ADA a perfect place?  Have we done all of the work that we needed to do?  Certainly not!  There are still places and opportunities that are inaccessible to people with disabilities because of one stair, because of an inaccessible bathroom, or because of someone's ignorance.  Many people with disabilities still struggle to find work.  A new law was recently passed, the ADA Amendments Act, which provides even more hope for equality of all people in our communities.  It is our sincere hope that this law will allow people with disabilities to achieve equality in the world of work as well. 

 On the 20th anniversary of the ADA we ask that you take a look around your community.  What changes can you make to improve the integration of all members of your community?  Who can you talk to about treating people equally?  What simple changes can you make in your life to make a difference in the lives of so many others?  Thank you!"

 Video of President George H.W. Bush signing the ADA:

 Comments from Susanne Bruyere, Employment & Disability Institute, on how the ADA has transformed workplaces:

 White House Disability Web site:

 ADA Anniversary toolkit:

 ADA Anniversary video:

 You Tube PSAs from the National Network of ADA Centers:

 The American Association of People with Disabilities on the ADA Anniversary:

 ADA 20th Anniversary Video Series from TASH, an international association of people with disabilities and others concerned with civil rights, independence, and education for people with disabilities:

 U.S. Census facts for features: 20th anniversary of ADA:

 From the U.S. International Council on Disabilities:

 Able News Commemorative Anniversary Supplement:

 Finally, don't forget to register to attend the Northeast ADA Center's free day-long ADA Anniversary event on August 12th in Ithaca, NY!



 What's New in Our Region:

 Free Trainer Network Program in Ithaca, NY. August 10th-11th:

The DBTAC Northeast ADA Center is hosting a FREE two-day Train the Trainer program August 10-11th at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. You will learn how to implement our core ADA Trainer Network programs and become certified as trainers in our ADA Trainer Network. For more details or to register, go to: Breakfast and lunch are provided but participants must pay for their own travel and/or lodging.

 "Mental Retardation" Officially Removed from Name of NYS Agency:

Governor Paterson has officially signed into law the name change for the now "New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities" (OPWDD), formally known as the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Read more at:

 Hiring Workers who are Deaf is a Win-Win for This New York City Company:

A NYC cleaning company, Dirty2Purdy, was having trouble holding on to reliable employees before they teamed up with a nonprofit organization that helps workers with disabilities find jobs. The first four or five reliable employees hired were through Federal Employment Guidance Services Health and Human Services System. Today, about 40 percent of Dirty2Purdy's staff is deaf or hearing impaired, including the crew manager. The cleaners work about 30-35 hours a week and make $10 an hour. Read more at:

 Medicaid payments to Facilities for People with Disabilities Questioned:

Federal officials have launched an inquiry into Medicaid payments to nine state institutions for people with developmental disabilities, after it was revealed that the facilities had reimbursement rates of $4,556 per day for each of 1,400 residents. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is now requesting that New York provide them with additional information about those claims, including a detailed description of how the rates are developed and what the total Medicaid payments and operating and capital costs for each institution are. Read more at:

 What's New in the Rest of the Country:

 Veterans Administration is Easing Rules to Cover Stress Disorder:

The government is preparing to issue new rules that will make it substantially easier for veterans who have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to receive disability benefits. Veterans groups assert that the current rules discriminate against tens of thousands of service members who did not serve in combat roles but nevertheless suffered traumatic experiences. Under the new rule, which applies to veterans of all wars, the department will grant compensation to those with PTSD if they can simply show that they served in a war zone and in a job consistent with the events that they say caused their conditions. Read more at:

 Health Delivery, Inc. To Pay $45,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit:

A Saginaw, Mich.-based health services provider will pay $45,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had charged that Health Delivery, Inc. unlawfully refused to return to work an employee with a record of depression even though she had completed a course of treatment and had been approved to return to work. On top of the monetary relief, Health Delivery also agreed to imple­ment disability discrimination policy changes and to provide training to all of its management and supervisory employees regarding the ADA. Read more at:

 Blockbuster Video Reaches Settlement Agreement with the DOJ:

Blockbuster, Inc and the Department of Justice have entered into a settlement agreement as a result of a complaint filed under Title III of the ADA. The complainant alleged that she and her service animal were denied access to the stores. Read the terms of the agreement at:

 Public Input Needed to Strengthen Disability Employment Regulations:

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking public input on ways to strengthen its regulations requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified individuals with disabilities. The deadline for issuing comments is September 21st. For more information, go to:

 FEMA and ILCs Form Emergency Management Agreement:

On July 22nd Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate met with National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) officials to discuss ways that FEMA, NCIL, and their public and private sector partners can ensure emergency management is inclusive of everyone, including people with disabilities. FEMA and NCIL signed a Memorandum of Agreement to coordinate public efforts on preparedness, response, and recovery. For more information and to read the agreement, go to:

 National Disability Needs Survey Launched- Complete by September 1st:

The Arc, an organization that protects and promotes the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has launched a national survey to solicit the perspectives of individuals and families within the intellectual and developmental disability community regarding available services and supports as well as gaps that exist. The goal is to involve this population in determining the services that are provided to them and gauging whether they are being delivered successfully. The survey will ask questions on a variety of topics including housing, education, employment, and transportation, and provide options for respondents to contribute personal stories and experiences. To read more and to access the survey, go to:

 H.R. 3101 Leaves People who are Deaf-Blind Behind:On June 30th, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet considered the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" (H.R. 3101). However, the new H.R. 3101 is missing an important provision- funding for specialized communications equipment needed by people who are deaf-blind, such as refreshable Braille devices. Read more at:

 "Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities" Released:

The Civil Rights offices in the Departments of Justice and of Health and Human Services have released a new technical assistance publication, "Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities". You can access the document at:

 Opportunities for You!

 Free Webinar on the ADAAA from EARN on July 29th:

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network will host a free webinar on July 29th from 1:30-3:00pm EDT, "The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act- What Do I Need to Do Now to Ensure I Am Ready for the Change?" Speakers will be from the EEOC and the Job Accommodation Network. Register at:

  Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2010 Webinar Series:

The ATIA 2010 Webinar Series has added a new collection of live, interactive, online educational events covering a range of topics related to assistive technology. The webinars will run from July 29th through November. To learn about each one and to register, go to:




See you in a few weeks!