E-Bulletin October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017

We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. This information is being provided solely for non-commercial, nonprofit educational purposes, including news reporting and research. It is not intended for commercial purposes. Further, we understand that our readers generally read the articles and information online, at the websites provided in the hyperlinks, rather than relying solely on our synopses or copies. We are not responsible for the accessibility or the content of other websites. Please be aware that some links provided are time sensitive, and may become inactive at any time.

We include links to articles, editorials and opinion pieces, press releases, and other materials that represent diverse perspectives. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any products, services, sources, information, or opinions expressed in these materials.

Visit the Trainings section for more information on ADA and disability related trainings, meetings, and conferences.

General News

October: National Physical Therapy Month

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is conducting its #ChoosePT campaign to promote awareness of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for the long-term treatment of chronic pain.

Disability Pride Resource Toolkit

This toolkit, released by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is designed to help youth with disabilities, service providers, and advocates develop disability pride.

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Employment News

NDEAM 2017

A variety of agencies and organizations released new resources, posted blogs and videos, and promoted observation of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October:

The U.S. Department of Labor blog post “Inclusion Drives Innovation” highlights the theme of this year’s NDEAM.

Employers and others can show their support for NDEAM by displaying this year’s official poster, in both English and Spanish, which is available for free download or can be ordered in hard copy through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) NDEAM 2017 Resource Toolbox.

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) launched Buy IT!, an online guide to help employers build accessibility and usability into their information and communication technology (ICT) procurement processes. Featuring background and sample language, the guide offers step-by-step guidance on researching IT vendors, specifying accessibility requirements in RFPs, and validating the accessibility of product choices to reduce the technology-related barriers facing many employees, job seekers, and customers with disabilities.

The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) shared resources and research findings to help support job seekers, employers, and employment and vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) posted a video on how Service Dogs Make a Difference in the workplace.

A Presidential Proclamation recognizes the skills, talents, and contributions of workers with disabilities.

“Why the Tech Industry Needs People with Disabilities — and Vice Versa”

Jennifer Zhang, Microsoft’s accessibility program manager, said “It is absolutely vital and important to have people with disabilities in your company.”

“Worried About Ageism? Ask Your Older Workers: ‘How Can I Help?’”

This article encourages employers to engage with older workers and make sure they know the door is open to requests for reasonable accommodations.

National Survey Reveals Gaps in Employer Approaches to Recruiting, Hiring, Accommodating, and Advancing Workers with Disabilities

A recent survey indicated a “major gulf” between employers’ perceptions of how successfully they are including workers with disabilities, and the kinds of policies and practices actually needed to do so.

Performance Management for State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies Serving Transition-Aged Youth

This new brief illustrates how state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies can use performance management tools and processes to leverage their data systems to improve their programs.

Global Report: Disabilities and Inclusion

This report presents data on the employment experiences of people with disabilities in the U.S., and compares them to those in the U.K., Germany, India, Japan, and Brazil.

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Accessibility News

Kiosk Group Renews Focus on ADA Compliance Efforts

The Kiosk Industry Group Association (KIGA) formed a new committee and working group to help develop accessibility guidelines for kiosks and other self-service transaction machines.

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Transportation News

Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program

This updated toolkit provides a model on how to bring together community members and resources to develop and operate a transportation system for people with disabilities in rural areas.

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ADA Legal News

“Supreme Court Punts on ADA, Special Ed”

The Supreme Court declined to review a case brought against Coca-Cola by a man who is blind. The man argued that the company’s vending machines ought to be considered “places of public accommodation” and therefore subject to accessibility requirements under Title III of the ADA.

The lower court had ruled that the machines themselves are not directly subject to Title III, although the places where such machines are located (e.g., a bus station or a hospital which is clearly a place of public accommodation) may well have some responsibility to ensure the availability of goods and services.

Third Circuit Court of Appeals: Pennsylvania District Court Must Reconsider Plaintiffs Claim that Movie Theater Should Provide Tactile Interpreter

These articles report on a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which ordered the lower court to reconsider its judgment in favor of the defendant, Cinemark USA, Inc., in a case brought by an individual under Title III of the ADA. The individual, who is blind and deaf, had asked a Cinemark movie theater to provide him with the services of American Sign Language (ASL) tactile interpreters so he could attend a movie showing, which the theater refused to do.

These articles report on the court’s decision:

Justice Department Settles with Montgomery County, Maryland, After School Program to Ensure Compliance with the ADA

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached an agreement with Bar-T Year Round Programs for Kids in Montgomery County, Maryland, to remedy alleged violations of the ADA. Bar-T is the largest provider of before- and after-school programs in Montgomery County, operating at approximately 30 Montgomery County public school locations.    

DOJ investigated a complaint that Bar-T discriminated against a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when it expelled him on the basis of behaviors associated with ASD, without properly considering whether reasonable modifications could have been implemented to accommodate the student. 

The settlement agreement requires Bar-T to adopt a number of procedures to ensure reasonable modification requests are appropriately considered. Bar-T will also pay $13,500 in compensatory damages to the student and his parents.

“Disability, Sex Bias Claims Lead Rush of EEOC Year-End Lawsuits”

This article reports on the numbers and types of lawsuits filed against employers by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the recent fiscal year, which ended in September. Filings indicate a focus on sex-based pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and disability discrimination.

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Education and Transition News

“Brief Coaching Can Help Youth Receiving Wraparound Services Become More Engaged in Their Treatment Planning”

A recent study found that a brief self-advocacy coaching program can increase youth’s active involvement and leadership in planning their own mental health treatment.

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Health and Wellness News

Professional Insights into Managing Pregnancy After SCI

This new video offers a guide for healthcare professionals treating women with spinal cord injuries (SCI) who may have concerns about having a safe and successful pregnancy. The video features experts in the fields of physiatry, nursing, and occupational therapy, with special focus on secondary conditions. It also features one woman with SCI and her obstetrician, and how they successfully managed her journey through two pregnancies.

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia

This issue of the Clinical Digest for Health Professionals from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health introduced research on complementary mind and body approaches for fibromyalgia. Practices discussed include yoga, massage, meditation, and acupuncture. The issue also includes links to clinical guidelines, systematic reviews and trials, and information for clinicians to share with their patients with fibromyalgia.

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2017 Report on Disability-Related Air Travel Complaints Received in 2016

The annual report on complaints alleging disability-based discrimination in air transportation, addressed by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), is available. The report covers disability-related complaints that U.S. and foreign passenger air carriers operating to, from, and within the U.S. received during the 2016 calendar year.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

ODEP Seeks Input on Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Initiative

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is seeking input from the public as it shapes a new stay-at-work/return-to-work demonstration initiative.

Millions of American workers leave the workforce each year after experiencing an injury or illness, and many could remain in the workforce if they received effective supports. The Department is considering the development of a grant program aimed at reducing long-term disability and increasing labor force participation among these workers, and is interested in comments from members of the public, states, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, researchers, employers, health care providers, private disability insurance providers, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and other interested parties. Comments must be received by October 30, 2017.

National Survey about Accessible Parking and Placard Abuse

This survey is for people with disabilities who use, or are eligible to use, accessible parking. The anonymous survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey closes November 1, 2017.

Survey of User Needs for Wireless Technologies

This survey seeks input from people with all types of disabilities on cell phone and tablet use, wearables, smart home technologies, and other next-generation wirelessly-connected devices. Responses will be used to inform designers and engineers, the wireless industry, government regulators, and other researchers to help them make wireless technology more accessible and more useful to people with disabilities.

Survey on Service Animals and Assistance Animals

If you are a U.S. resident at least 18 years old who uses a service animal or other animal that assists with your disability, or a parent of a child who uses such an animal, the Southwest ADA Center invites you to complete this anonymous survey about experiences accessing public places with your animal.

Employers: Registration Open for 2018 Disability Equality Index

The Disability Equality Index (DEI), a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score on their disability inclusion policies and practices. The DEI is intended to recognize companies’ successful inclusion strategies, as well as identify opportunities for continued improvement. Registration for the 2018 DEI is open until January 12, 2018.

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