E-Bulletin January 9, 2018

January 9, 2018

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

DOJ Withdraws ADA Rulemaking Actions

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the withdrawal of several Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) pertaining to Title II and Title III of the ADA. The Department will reconsider whether rulemaking is “necessary and appropriate” in the following areas:

  • Web-based information and services
  • Equipment and furniture
  • Next-generation 9-1-1

This article comments on DOJ’s action:

“DOJ Nixes All Pending ADA Rulemakings, Including Website Access Rules”

DOJ Withdraws Technical Assistance and Guidance Documents

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the withdrawal of several publications related to Title II and Title III of the ADA. Most of the documents were withdrawn because they included outdated information (they were issued before DOJ revised Title II and III regulations in 2010).

However, DOJ did issue a separate statement on the withdrawal of one document, the “Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments' Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities,” which was originally issued in 2016. DOJ said the withdrawal will “afford further discussion with relevant stakeholders … as to how best to provide technical assistance” on the topic, but “does not change the legal responsibilities of State and local governments” under the ADA.

“Protecting Digital Accessibility Ensures Equal Rights for Disabled People”

This article by disability rights advocate Lainey Fiengold highlights efforts by activists and lawyers to advance digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Study

This report analyzes data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) to reveal a comprehensive picture of how people with disabilities manage financial resources and make financial decisions.

An infographic illustrates some of the financial challenges of disability.

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Business News

Is Your Hotel Website ADA Compliant? Here's Why It Matters

This article urges hoteliers to ensure their websites and online booking systems are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

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Employment News

“The Case for Improving Work for People with Disabilities Goes Way Beyond Compliance”

This article reports on a recent study by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), which found that a significant portion of white-collar workers have disabilities, yet many of them feel they experience various forms of discrimination, and many with invisible conditions are reluctant to reveal them.

CTI offers tips on several management strategies that can help create a culture of inclusion which benefits both employees and employers.

Employment Goals: How Family Members Can Support Individuals with Psychiatric Conditions

This new guide includes information and resources for family members who want to support individuals in recovery in going to work.

Workforce Recruitment Program

The 2018 Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) database is now available. This recruitment and referral program, designed to connect federal employers with highly qualified students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking internships or permanent jobs, is now also available to private employers.

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Transportation News

“Amtrak Proposes Boarding Platform, ADA Improvements at Martinsburg Train Station”

This article reports on proposed accessibility improvements at the train station in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

FAA Advisory Circular: Access to Airports

This revised guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is designed to assist airport operators comply with laws, including the ADA and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), that address access to airport facilities, programs, and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Updates to the guidance include a section on the provision of Service Animal Relief Areas (SARA).

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ADA Legal News

Maryland Court: Officer Qualified Despite Limitations

The U.S. District Court for Maryland found that Baltimore County discriminated against a county correctional officer who experienced a flare-up of an inflammatory disease. The court said the county failed to engage in an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations for the employee, and coerced him to accept a reassignment to a less favorable position. Find the court’s decision in Allen v Baltimore County, Maryland.

Dependable Health Services to Pay $38,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Dependable Health Services Inc., a health care staffing agency, will pay $38,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency alleged the company discriminated against a phlebotomist who worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The employee requested a reasonable accommodation for her disability, but was terminated.

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Education and Transition News

Students with Mental Health Needs in Colleges and Universities

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law offers materials to help guide colleges and universities in creating and implementing comprehensive and effective policies to support students with mental health needs. A new model policy was developed in consultation with mental health experts, higher education administrators, counselors, and students.

Additionally, a guide for students and a fact sheet are designed to answer frequently asked questions and help students with mental health issues understand their rights.

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Technology News

“Who's Paying for Assistive Technology?”

This article explores some of the challenges faced by individuals who require expensive assistive technologies in order to fully participate in today’s society.

“An App That Teaches You a New Language for Ordering Lunch”

A new app, Speak2Sign, is being tested at interactive kiosks in Washington, DC’s Union Market. The app is designed to teach basic American Sign Language and help bridge the communication gap between hearing and deaf or hard of hearing individuals.

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Arts and Entertainment News

“Every Designer Should See the Smithsonian’s Illuminating Exhibit on Accessibility”

This article reports on Access+Ability, a new exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which showcases more than 70 inventions related to aging and disability. From fashionable clothing to sleek assistive devices and creative technologies, these designers are reimagining inclusion and independence.

“Hold the Strobe Lights: Why 'Sensory-Friendly' Shows Are the Latest Trend in Kids Music”

This article reports on the growing popularity of sensory-friendly shows and performances – events where the sound level is lower, the house lights are higher, and members of the audience are allowed to dance and move around the venue. Such performances are often more appealing for individuals with autism or sensory sensitivities. 

“The Company Working to Make Dance More Inclusive”

This article highlights the Axis Dance Company, a professional dance company that works to bring “rigorous artistry” to integrated dance performance.

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Social Security News

Hardship and Death While Waiting for Social Security Disability Benefits

This article reports on the “broken and backlogged” system that can result in people waiting months or years for disability benefits.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

ADA in Focus Webinar:
Committment to Digital Accessibility: Best Practices for Inclusive Technology

January 17, 2018
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Digital accessibility is a civil right: the right to participate in all that is offered on websites, mobile applications, and through other technologies. Join Lainey Feingold, one of the country’s leading disability rights lawyers, for a lively presentation on digital accessibility basics. How do people with disabilities use technology? What barriers stand in their way? What best practices have emerged from legal developments and from organizational champions? Learn the tools you need to help make 2018 a year of great digital inclusion for people with disabilities.

FCC Seeking Comment on Effective Communications During 2017 Hurricane Season

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks public comment on the resiliency of the communications infrastructure, the effectiveness of emergency communications, and government and industry responses to the 2017 hurricane season, which devastated many communities and the communications networks that serve them. The FCC seeks information to better understand how well communication access was maintained (for those with or without disabilities) and what lessons may be learned for the future.

Find the Public Notice in Word or PDF. The deadline to submit comments is January 22, 2018.

Integrated Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Services and Outcomes Research

Applications are being accepted for this two-year fellowship, designed for professionals with an MD or PhD who wish to gain expertise in health services and outcomes research. Applications are due by February 1, 2018.

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.

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