Newsletter: September 14, 2011

Northeast ADA Center September 15, 2011 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

NY Announces Emergency Replacement Food Stamp Benefits Due to Hurricane:
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has announced that Food Stamp recipients who lost food due to Hurricane Irene can get replacement Food Stamp benefits to replace food that was purchased with Food Stamps.  Learn more at:

Accessible Recruiting Webinar September 22nd:
The New York City Business Leadership Network (NYCBLN) is presenting a webinar September 22nd from 1:00-2:15pm ET, "Accessible Recruiting- Compliance & Candidates with Disabilities including Veterans". This webinar is free for NYCBLN corporate members and $99 for non-members. Register at:

40 Años de Historia: Apoyando Posibilidades de Cara al Futuro:
El Consejo Estatal sobre Deficiencias en el Desarrollo (CEDD) en colaboración con la Oficina del Procurador de las Personas con Impedimentos (OPPI) y el Instituto sobre Deficiencias en el Desarrollo (IDD) celebrarán la actividad, 40 Años de Historia: Apoyando Posibilidades de Cara al Futuro.  En esta se ofrecerán varias conferencias sobre temas legales, de salud, educación y empleo, enfocados en las personas con deficiencias en el desarrollo.  La misma se llevará a cabo el 22 de septiembre en el Hotel Embassy Suites en San Juan y se repetirá el 29 de septiembre en el Hotel Ponce Hilton.  Para más información y registro puede comunicarse al (787) 722-0590, los espacios son limitados.  

Access Issues at Shelters in New York (NY) After Hurricane Irene:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, there has been some criticism of the accessibility of emergency shelters in NY, in which some locations failed to provide accommodations for people with disabilities. According to the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York, even the transportation in the city that was being used, such as buses and vans, was not accessible and left people with disabilities with additional difficulties during this state of emergency. Read more at:

Kindergarteners with Disabilities Offered Free Private School in NYC:
Due to overcrowding in public schools in New York City (NYC), the state has offered to provide kindergarteners with disabilities, who were not able to be placed in public school, free private school education. School officials say the placement problem is a result of the technological issues that have been encountered with a system meant to track students with special needs. For more information, go to:

New York (NY) Training on NYS and Federal Accessibility Requirements: 
On September 27th from 9:00am-1:00 pm, the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) and the United Spinal Association, will be hosting a training on the design and construction requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards for accessible design and the state building code of NY. The presentation will include, among other things, an overview of State & Federal accessibility requirements, new access standards & harmonization with federal laws. Registration is $20 before September 20th and $25 after. You may also register the day of the event.  For more information and to register, contact STIC at (607) 724-2111.    

How Are You Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month?
October has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year's theme is "Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities," which promotes the valuable contributions people with disabilities make to America's workplaces and economy. The Northeast ADA Center would be happy to advertise any related events your agency, organization, or community may be hosting.  Please email and let us know the details and watch for it to be showcased in upcoming News Bulletins!  Learn more about NDEAM and order posters, available in English, Spanish, and other languages, at:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Job Gains Seen for People with Disabilities:
Even in the current economic climate, people with disabilities are making strides in the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment rates for people with disabilities decreased from 16.8 percent to 16.1 percent in August. Read more at:   

Barista with Dwarfism Settles Lawsuit with Starbucks:
A barista with dwarfism has settled a lawsuit with Starbucks Coffee Company and will be paid $75,000 for alleged discrimination. This case is the result of the manager at the El Paso, Texas Starbucks location refusing to fulfill the barista's accommodation request for a stool during training. The manager had said she would be a "danger" to fellow co-workers and customers. For further information, please visit:

Disability Discrimination in Housing Complaints Rise:
According to a report by the federal government, despite overall housing complaints being down, discrimination based on disability was the most filed housing complaint of last year, accounting for almost half of all complaints. Read more at:    

State of Learning Disabilities Report Released:
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (LD) released "The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends, and Indicators".  This biennial publication includes key facts and current statistics, information on learning disabilities in secondary schools, postsecondary education, and the workforce. It indicates that about five percent of public school students in the U.S. have a LD, and only about one-third of those students are provided with assistive technology to support instruction and learning. The report outlines suggestions for improvement for individuals with LDs.  

FCC Reinstates Television Video Description: 
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reinstated video description of television programs which allows programs to be accessible to people with disabilities. Video description inserts narrated descriptions to portray key visual elements during the course of the program. Read more at:¬oc=1  

Customized Employment Resources:
Customized Employment is a universal strategy through which the relationship between employee and employer is personalized to meet the needs of both. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has resources on customized employment and flexible work arrangements available at Learn more about Customized Employment. Additionally ODEP has released customized employment videos for employers, youth, and the general public: View the Customized Employment Videos.    

Executive Order to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workforce:
On August 18th, President Obama signed an executive order entitled "Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce." The order will establish a government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce; develop a strategic plan and guidance for agency specific plans; identify practices to make agency efforts more effective; and establish a system for reporting regularly on progress. Plans shall identify strategies to remove barriers to equal opportunity in the federal government's recruitment, hiring, promotion, retention, professional development, and training. Each agency will be required to issue its own agency-specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Read the full press release at: You can also Read the executive order at the White House's website.

Comment on Rights-of-Way Guidelines by November 23rd:
The U.S. Access Board has issued proposed guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way that are available for public comment until November 23rd. The guidelines address access to newly built or altered streets and sidewalks and provide design criteria for pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements. See the full story.

White House Seeks Suggestions for Topics for Disability Monthly Calls:
Each month, White House staff who work on disability-related policies host a public, live-captioned conference call to keep the public better informed about important developments on different disability issues. Previous calls have been about accessibility, employment, education, technology, emergency preparedness, transportation, healthcare and the federal budget. The White House is now offering the opportunity for you to suggest topics you'd like discussed during these calls. Send in your ideas for discussion topics, as well as the federal officials you'd like to hear from on these subjects, by visiting

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar on Making Online Applications Accessible September 27th:
The webinar, "On-line Employment Application and Website Accessibility" originally scheduled for September 15th has been postponed to September 27th from 3:00-4:30pm ET. If you already registered for the Sept. 15th webinar, you do not need to re-register for this webinar. Questions can be directed to More information on registering is at:

Webinar on Traumatic Brain Injury September 22nd:
The Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE) is sponsoring a webinar September 22nd from 12:00-1:00pm ET, "Positive Communication Experiences for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury: A How-To-Guide". This webinar is $50 for APSE members and $100 for non-members. Register at:

Free Online Disability Rights Course:
The New England ADA Center is offering a free, self-paced webcourse available anytime that provides an overview of disability rights laws. The course takes about two hours to complete and participants will gain a general understanding of the major federal disability rights laws (ADA, Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Air Carrier Access Act), be able to assess what laws apply in different discrimination scenarios, and gain access to helpful resources. This course is available for CRCC credits and is ideally suited for people with disabilities, advocates, law students, rehabilitation counselors, social service providers, and anyone interested in disability rights laws. Learn more at:


Special Spotlight-  September is National Preparedness Month:

Our region has certainly been affected recently by natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. The Northeast ADA Center hopes everyone is remaining safe and healthy during these times.

In his proclamation designating September as National Preparedness Month, President Obama stated, "In April of this year, a devastating series of tornadoes challenged our resilience and tested our resolve. In the weeks that followed, people from all walks of life throughout the Midwest and the South joined together to help affected towns recover and rebuild...Disability community leaders worked side-by-side with emergency managers to ensure that survivors with disabilities were fully included in relief and recovery efforts. These stories...underscore that in America, no problem is too hard and no challenge is too great."'s Emergency Preparedness section has many tools and resources that can help people with disabilities and others prepare for, and recover from, emergency situations and disasters. Examples of resources found here are: 

You can also find help in your state by visiting's Information by State section and going to the Emergency Preparedness section for your state. Disability.Blog also has information about the importance of including everyone in emergency management planning, preparing for emergencies in the workplace and taking into account service animals when planning for emergencies.  Here are additional resources: 


See you in a few weeks!