E-Bulletin February 6, 2018

February 6, 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

February: American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month. Check out the American Heart Association to explore information and resources about heart disease and how to prevent or manage it.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) features ideas for accommodations for workers with heart conditions.

National Burn Awareness Week

February 4th - 10th is National Burn Awareness Week, sponsored by the American Burn Association, which offers awareness materials, fact sheets on burn injury, and tips on fire safety.

Also, explore the research, factsheets, and other resources from the Burn Injury Model System Centers.

NPR Special Series: “Abused and Betrayed”

National Public Radio (NPR) produced this seven-part series of special reports investigating the “hidden epidemic” of sexual assaults against people with intellectual disabilities.

Health and Safety in Group Homes

This website, which includes model practices, videos, and related information, features a new report, Ensuring Beneficiary Health and Safety in Group Homes Through State Implementation of Comprehensive Compliance Oversight. The report follows recent audits which found that individuals with developmental disabilities living in group homes often experienced serious injuries and medical conditions that resulted in emergency room visits.

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Employment News

Engaging Employers: A Guide for Disability and Workforce Development Service Providers

This new guide from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) examines the “dual customer” approach – serving both employers and workers with disabilities – needed to ensure successful employment outcomes.

Pregnancy Discrimination and the ADA

These articles outline employment considerations and potential overlapping laws – including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the ADA – that may affect pregnant workers:

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ADA Legal News

Virginia: DOJ Settlement Agreement with Spotsylvania Medical Center

The U.S. Department of Justice entered a settlement agreement with the Spotsylvania Medical Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The agreement aims to improve communications between hospital staff and patients and their companions who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The hospital will implement a comprehensive plan to ensure that appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, are provided when necessary to ensure effective communication. Additionally, the hospital will pay a total of $121,000, distributed among several complainants as compensation for the effects of alleged discrimination.

Barbri, Inc. Will Improve Access to Bar Prep Course

Barbri, Inc., which offers a course designed to prepare law students for bar exams, entered a settlement agreement that will result in improved access for students who are blind.

EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Enforcement and Litigation Data

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released data on all the charges filed with the agency in fiscal year 2017. A significant percentage (approximately 32%) of charges alleged discrimination based on disability. Data specific to various issues and laws, including charges filed under the ADA, can be found on the agency’s site.

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Technology News

Access Board Issues Correction to ICT Refresh Final Rule

The Access Board has issued a correction to its updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT). The correction restores provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted. The action applies to the final rule the Board published to refresh its Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) standards for ICT in the federal sector and its Communications Act (Section 255) guidelines for telecommunications equipment.

The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices, which provide text communication across phone connections for people with hearing or speech impairments. In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs.

In finalizing its rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality in IP-based telecommunication environments. Therefore, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally left out.

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Education and Transition News

GW: “Officials Examine Website Accessibility amid Federal Disability Investigation”

Officials at George Washington University (GW) have formed a task force to examine the accessibility of the school’s websites.

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Health and Wellness News

Research in Focus: Ideas for Supporting Healthy Lifestyles for Youth with Disabilities

Recent focus groups of youth with disabilities from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds and their parents highlighted challenges faced when trying to engage in healthy lifestyles and participate actively in recreational activities.

The focus groups also shared ideas for improvements. Here are some of the ideas the youth came up with:

  • Starting community teams or clubs that are accessible
  • Offering programs to teach youth with disabilities to drive or use public transportation
  • Organizing healthy cooking classes
  • Removing unhealthy snack vending machines from schools

The parents recommended:

  • Establishing programs where parents and their children can exercise together
  • Training for teachers and coaches on how to make their programs inclusive
  • Partnering with staff who already include youth with disabilities in their programs
  • Using community gardens to grow fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Providing family education on healthy diet choices and how foods can interact with medications the youth may be taking
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Arts and Entertainment News

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Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) News

“Growls Are Growing over Delta’s New Rules for Flying with Service Animals”

Some travelers with disabilities and advocates say Delta Airlines' new rules, which require paperwork about service animals or emotional support animals to be submitted 48 hours in advance of a flight, violate the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

Top Things to Know About Braille Signage

February 15, 2018
12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Join us for this 30-minute webinar and learn more about accessible signage.

Cancer as a Disability: Your Rights in the Workplace

February 20, 2018
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
This 90-minute session will provide an overview of the laws that provide protection in the workplace for those who are coping with a cancer diagnosis.

Request for Information: Opioid Use Disorder Among People with Disabilities

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on the incidence of opioid use disorder among people with disabilities. This information will help NIDILRR determine what research might be needed to inform interventions and/or policies to mitigate the effects of opioid use disorder on people with disabilities. Topics of particular interest include opioid use among common subgroups of people with disabilities and their secondary conditions, and/or the effectiveness of existing or adapted treatment strategies for opioid use disorder among people with disabilities. Comments should be submitted by February 20, 2018 via email to sarah.ruiz@acl.hhs.gov.

2018 TechSAge Design Competition

This competition seeks to inspire talented college students from around the world to develop technology-enabled design solutions to meet the needs of older adults with disabilities facing everyday challenges in areas such as health at home, social connectedness, active lifestyles, and community mobility. Students may enter individually or in teams, and are encouraged to partner with an older adult to develop creative solutions. Applications must be submitted by March 25, 2018.

2018 Student Research and Design Competition: Access and AAC

This competition is designed to stimulate research and development on Access and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), systems and tools to support individuals with disabilities who have complex communication needs. The competition is open to students from high school through graduate and post-graduate levels. Students can work with faculty on the project, but the submission should clearly reflect the work of the student or student team. Submissions are due by May 4, 2018.

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