E-Bulletin December 12, 2017

December 12, 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

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed on December 3, was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992.

“World AIDS Day: Increasing Impact”

This blog post from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the U.S. Department of Labor highlights efforts to ensure that individuals with HIV/AIDS have employment opportunities.

“Falling Off the Cliff”

This four-part series reports on the crises many families face when children with disabilities grow to adulthood and “age out” of eligibility for many services and supports.

“Meetings and Events Technology Alone Can’t Solve Accessibility Challenges”

This article urges meeting planners to think broadly about access and inclusion when planning conferences and events.

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Business News

“ICBA Members and Community Banks Released From ADA Liability”

This article reports on a settlement agreement reached between the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the advocacy group Access Now, which had sent letters to many ICBA members regarding alleged accessibility barriers to the banks websites, mobile apps, and other electronic banking services.

The ICBA will encourage its members to adopt policies and practices that will improve access to electronic banking options, and Access Now will release ICBA member banks (as well as banks eligible for membership with assets of $50 billion or less) from ADA claims related to electronic banking services.

Grocers Urge Passage of ADA Reform and Education Act

The National Grocers Association (NGA) is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the ADA Reform and Education Act, which would amend Title III of the ADA to require that businesses be given notice and an opportunity to respond before private lawsuits could be filed alleging failure to remove structural barriers.

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Employment News

Virginia: DARS and Project Search Increase Employment Opportunities for Workers with Disabilities

This article highlights positive employment outcomes achieved by workers in Virginia, often with the support of public programs like the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and employer initiatives like Project Search, a national school-to-work program run by Centra Health.

An Employment Mentoring Project for College Students Who Are Blind

The Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision reports on this recently completed project and shares resources and publications that may be helpful to consumers and service providers.

Profile of Success: John Winfrey

Check out the latest “Policies in Practice” profile from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), highlighting the successful career of Maryland’s John Winfrey. Mr. Winfrey works for Microsoft, helping to ensure products are accessible to all users.

“Disclosing a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis at Work May Have Pros and Cons”

Researchers asked individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) whether, why, when, or how much information about their condition they disclosed to supervisors or colleagues in the workplace, and got a wide variety of responses. The experiences reported by those who chose to disclose varied as well, ranging from negative reactions to positive outcomes such as the provision of reasonable accommodations.

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WIOA News

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): What It Means for Accessible Technology and American Job Centers

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires American Job Centers (AJCs) to ensure the accessibility of information and communication technology (ICT) they use.

The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) offers resources and guidance to help AJCs understand their responsibilities, as well as the nuts and bolts of how to make their ICT accessible.

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ADA Legal News

Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center Agrees to Settle ADA Claim with Individual Who Is Deaf

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced a $121,000 settlement agreement with the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center (SRMC) that will result in improved policies and procedures to ensure effective communication with patients and their companions.

An investigation began following a complaint from an individual who is deaf, who alleged that the hospital failed to provide sign language interpreter services over the course of several emergency room visits, as well as many hospitalizations involving her mother.

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Education and Transition News

3 Ways Assistive Technology Supports Students with Disabilities

This article outlines some of the ways technology is supporting students with disabilities in achieving greater success in education.

"GAO Report Sounds Alarm About Vouchers and Students with Disabilities"

Many states offer voucher programs and education savings accounts to enable parents to send children to schools of their choice, including private schools, rather than their neighborhood public schools. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that many of these states do not inform parents of students with disabilities how their rights change when a child transfers to private school through a choice program.

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Health and Wellness News

National Influenza Vaccination Week: It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners choose December for National Influenza Week to remind people that it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

Managing Diabetes: New Technologies Can Make It Easier

The December issue of the “NIH News in Health,” the newsletter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), features this article on how new technology may help people better manage their diabetes.

A New Online Program May Help People with TBI Build Emotion Regulation Skills

Researchers tested a new online program, adapted from a face-to-face group therapy program, which was designed to help people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) overcome challenges in recognizing and controlling their feelings and reactions to those feelings. Though more study is needed to identify the direct impact of the program, most participants reported positive outcomes.

Neglected for Too Long: Dental Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

This policy brief from the National Council on Disabilities (NCD) provides insights into the lack of dental care many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) continue to experience due to a shortage of properly trained dental care providers. The brief examines the American Dental Association's ​Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct;​ surveys dental training and dental school curricula requirements; provides examples of programs that do train dental students in the care of patients with I/DD; explores the impact of Medicaid on the issue; and discusses the concept of medically underserved populations. The brief concludes with recommendations to federal and state policymakers, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and the American Dental Association.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

Disability Research Consortium Fellowships

Applications are being accepted for two fellowship programs related to disability research:

The summer fellowship program is an opportunity for students in master’s programs or early in doctoral programs (pre-dissertation phase) to spend a summer at Mathematica’s Washington, DC, office to learn more about conducting an independent research project related to disability policy.

The dissertation fellowship program offers financial support to students conducting their doctoral dissertation research on topics consistent with the DRC’s mission. In contrast with the summer fellows program, dissertation fellows remain at their home institution, with financial support provided to continue cutting-edge dissertation research.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge, sponsored by the Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, is seeking teams from around the world to create game-changing technology that will help radically improve the mobility and independence of people with paralysis. The Challenge will reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems.

The multi-year challenge will make several awards to develop technologies, culminating in one final award of $1 million in 2020. The deadline to apply for the first round of awards is February 7, 2018.

Ambassadors for the challenge include Paralympian Tatyana McFadden, who began her quest to become “the fastest woman in the world” when she and her family challenged her Maryland high school to make track and field programs more inclusive. The McFadden’s efforts eventually led to Maryland’s Fitness and Athletic Equity Law for Students with Disabilities.

An opinion piece by Ms. McFadden, “Technology Has Changed Our World, but Hasn't Done Enough for People with Disabilities,” urges innovators to participate in the Mobility Unlimited Challenge.

Online Dialogue: Laying the Groundwork for States as model Employers

The State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED) invites participation in an online dialogue about how states can become model employers of people with disabilities.

Surveys Seek Input on ADA Information Needs

The Northeast ADA Center is conducting three surveys to identify the ADA information needs of older adults and members of the Hispanic/Latino community with disabilities. One survey is open to adults age 60 or older with disabilities or ongoing health concerns, a second survey is open to service providers who support these older adults, and a third survey is open to members of the Hispanic/Latino community with disabilities (available in English and Spanish).

Seeking Participants for Study of Reasonable Accommodation Within Small Employers

The Northeast ADA Regional Center is seeking participants for a research study on reasonable accommodation policies and practices within small employers (15-500 employees). The study is open to individuals who work for small employers, including those in leadership roles who have responsibility for implementing accommodation processes within their companies. Participants will be interviewed by phone and will receive a $50 gift card at the end of their participation. Findings will be used to develop resources to support small employers in this area. For more information or to be screened for participation, contact Vicki Chang.

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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