ADA Update 2017: Session Descriptions

Wednesday, September 13, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Pre-Conference Session: ADA Overview
Mid-Atlantic ADA Center Staff
This session is designed for those new to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or anyone needing a refresher. The presentation will provide a basic outline of the three major sections of the ADA: Title I, the employment provisions of the ADA, Title II, the provisions covering state and local governments, and Title III, the provisions covering public accommodations and services operated by private entities. The 3 ½ session will provide a working knowledge of the major concepts and regulations of the ADA.
ADA Leadership Network Meeting
Leadership Network Members: please contact for information.

Thursday, September 14, 9:15 AM

Federal Agency Panel
Join us for a conversation with representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Access Board and U.S. Department of Transportation who will discuss their agencies' current initiatives and activities related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Moderator: Laura Owens, TransCen, Inc.
  • Sharon Rennert, ADA/GINA Policy Division, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Roberta Kirkendall, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice
  • Rex Pace, U.S. Access Board
  • John Day, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Thursday, September 14, 10:35 AM

Breakout Session #1.1: Ask EEOC 
Sharon Rennert, ADA/GINA Policy Division, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
This is your opportunity to get the answers to your burning questions on Title I (employment) issues. A representative from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will field questions from participants. 
Breakout Session #1.2: Ask DOJ: Title II and Title III 
Roberta Kirkendall, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Join us for an update on ADA enforcement and guidance activities related to Title II (state and local government) and Title III (businesses open to the public). This is an interactive session and you are encouraged to bring your tough issues and concerns forward. Learn from what others may be experiencing and the questions and issues that they may have as well.
Breakout Session #1.3: Ask the Access Board 
Rex Pace, U.S. Access Board
The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. A representative from the Access Board will talk about the Board’s latest initiatives and updates and answer participant questions. 
Breakout Session #1.4: Ask the Federal Transit Administration 
John Day, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
A representative from Federal Transit Administration will discuss the latest updates to the Department of Transportation’s ADA Regulations and answer your questions.

Thursday, September 14, 12:30 PM

Keynote Address 
Judith Heumann
Disability rights activist, and former Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State

Thursday, September 14, 1:20 PM

Breakout Session #2.1: Employer-Provided Leave and the ADA 
Sharon Rennert, ADA/GINA Policy Division, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
This workshop will review common issues employers confront when employees request leave related to a disability.  Many employers think that all leave requests from employees with disabilities must be handled as requests for reasonable accommodation, but that is not true.  Other potential options include an employer’s leave program (for example, annual or sick leave, short-term or long-term disability leave), a worker’s compensation program, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The workshop will review an employee’s right to leave under all these programs and laws and how to determine when a request for leave should be addressed as a reasonable accommodation.  The workshop will focus on key reasonable accommodation issues related to leave for a disability, including what type of leave is required, why leave is needed, the length of the leave, additional requests for leave, and possible other accommodations that may permit an employee to continue working or resume work more quickly.  The workshop will offer tips to avoid rigid application of policies or practices limiting leave or the ability to return to work, and will review how to legally justify denying leave (or additional leave) as a reasonable accommodation.
Breakout Session #2.2: Self-Evaluation and Transition Plans
Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Are you one of those public entities that are slightly behind in doing a self-evaluation and transition plan? Are you asking yourself, "What is a self-evaluation and transition plan?". Well then, this is the session for you. All public entities subject to Title II of the ADA must complete a self-evaluation. For public entities that have 50 or more employees, there is also a requirement to have in place a transition plan that addresses structural changes that are necessary for achieving program accessibility. Come to this session if you are interested in learning more about how to approach conducting a self-evaluation and how to integrate the information gathered into a transition plan.
Breakout Session #2.3: 2010 Standards for Accessible Design Overview
Rex Pace, U.S. Access Board
The ADA Standards apply to a wide range of facilities in the public and private sectors and specify which elements and spaces must be accessible. This session will cover how the standards apply in new construction, alterations, and additions and review scoping requirements, general exceptions, and other provisions relevant to application. 
Breakout Session #2.4: Veterans with Disabilities as People with Disabilities 
Susan Prokop and Heather Ansley, Paralyzed Veterans of America
This workshop will focus primarily on what veterans with disabilities need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as other disability civil rights laws, introduce attendees to a basic understanding of veterans disability benefits and how public agencies can assist veteran clients that they may be serving.
Breakout Session #2.5: Accessibility in Rail Facilities 
Kenneth Shiotani, National Disability Rights Network
This session will explain the different modes of rail transportation under the ADA, “Rapid Rail” (Subways), Light Rail, Commuter Rail and Intercity Rail (Amtrak) and the slightly different ADA requirements for each mode. Issues covered will include stations, alterations of stations, and boarding and accessibility requirements in different kinds of rail cars.  

Thursday, September 14, 2:55 PM

Breakout Session #3.1: Performance and Conduct Issues and the ADA
Sharon Rennert, ADA/GINA Policy Division, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
One of the biggest challenges facing any supervisor is handling employee performance and conduct issues.  This challenge may seem even greater if the employee has a disability.  Generally, employers will be able to handle these issues as they would for all other employees, but there are some areas where there may be a need to approach an issue differently.  This session will review how the ADA addresses performance and conduct issues, and the role of reasonable accommodation in addressing performance and conduct issues.
Breakout Session #3.2: Transition Plans: It's a Dirty Job, but Someone's Gotta' Do It!" 
Bob Green, Marybeth Dugan, Genevieve Jennai, Wen Huang, Mike Moxley, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks 
In accordance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Project Civic Access initiative, Montgomery County (Maryland) entered into a Settlement Agreement in 2011 that spells out its plan to promote and confirm its commitment to inclusion and accessibility. In keeping with that spirit, the Montgomery Parks Department submitted a Final Transition Plan to the DOJ in August, 2016. The plan provides a strategy and timeline for Physical Access as well as Program Access. The combination of these two key elements constitutes the basis for an inclusive park system which is the focus of this session.
Breakout Session #3.3 Title III Accommodations and Customer Service 
Adrien Van Note, Capital One
This session will outline details of how a Title III public business could comply with ADA regulations.  Details with how to implement policies and procedures in addition to establishing what ‘Effective Communication’ means to different businesses.  The presenter will hold an interactive discussion regarding how ‘reasonable modifications’ apply.  Key business practices such as training and controls will also be shared.
Breakout Session #3.4: Service Animals 
Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
This session will provide information about the Department of Justice’s regulatory requirements related to service animals.  This interactive session will discuss how the ADA applies to Title II and Title III entities and will include discussion of the definition of service animals, permissible questions, certification and documentation requests, coverage of emotional support animals and more.  Bring your questions!!
Breakout Session #3.5: Embracing Accessibility in the Whole Organization: New Approaches and Resources 
Chris Law, National Federation of the Blind’s Accessibility Switchboard Project
What do you mean when you say your organization “embraces accessibility”? Does that mean hiring, retaining and promoting people with disabilities? Ensuring that customers who have disabilities are treated fairly and respectfully? Making sure that the technologies customers and employees use is accessible (not just the internet website, but also the staff intranet, the phone system, and even break-room vending machines)? We usually find that “embracing accessibility” involves enthusiastically tackling one or two areas, but rarely does it span the entire organization. In this presentation, we’ll look at the latest thinking and resources for taking organization-wide approaches to embracing accessibility.

Friday, September 15, 8:30 AM

Breakout Session #4.1: Creating a Culture of Disability Inclusion – Practical Solutions for Workforce Engagement and Retention 
Moderator: Kia Silver Hodge, Lockheed Martin
Dan Ellerman, Northrop Grumman
Andrea M. Hall, DXC Technology
Katherine McCary, DC Metro BLN and C5 Consulting, LLC
Disability culture change is a journey that requires strategy and a commitment to that strategy from senior leaders, middle managers and all employees.  While many businesses have recognized the value of proactively recruiting and retaining individuals with disabilities in their workplaces, many other federal contractors have only begun to change their environment to become disability inclusive as a result of compliance change and are seeking ways to move forward in their journey.
The revisions to Section 503* regulations require Federal Government Contractors to make good faith efforts to employ at least 7% of their workforce with IWD (Individual with Disability) across all job groups and types. To capture this, invitations to self-identify are offered in pre- and post- offer and every 5 years employees are invited to self-identify. Although the form is simple, getting candidates and employees to disclose is difficult. Of the many challenges, the most significant is creating a culture of inclusion in which employees feel safe, respected, and valued resulting in an increased number of employees feeling comfortable enough to self-identify.
While few organizations have reached the aspirational goal yet, in this session you will hear from leading global organizations that have developed replicable strategies that can support your efforts to get to 7%.
*Note: On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a Final Rule in the Federal Register revising the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) that became effective March 2014.
Breakout Session #4.2: ADA Coordinator Workshop: Implementing Title II in a Government Environment ***SESSION FULL***
Nancy Greene, Montgomery County (MD) Government and Nancy Horton, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Because Title II impacts virtually all programs and services provided by a State or local government, the role of the ADA Coordinator can be challenging. Adding to the complexity are changes in technology, services and expectations. Using real-life scenarios and issues, this session is designed to give Title II Coordinators, an opportunity to discuss topics ranging from the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to responding to requests for reasonable accommodations to keeping staff trained on Title II. If you have scenarios or topics you would like to discuss, please email them to
Breakout Session #4.3: Title III Case Law 
Robert Dinerstein, American University, Washington College of Law
This session will present an analysis of cases decided under Title III of the ADA which covers businesses open to the public.  Emphasis will be on federal cases (Supreme Court, if any; Courts of Appeals; District Courts), supplemented by any significant state court decisions that rely on the ADA.  In this session, the presenter will discuss the holdings and rationales of the cases, and indicate how these cases fit within the larger context of ADA Title III case law and jurisprudence.
Breakout Session #4.4: What is REASONABLE? Discussing the Accommodation Process within the College Environment 
Tessa DiPerri, University of Maryland, College Park and Crystal Tenan, Towson State University
Accommodations in higher education can be very different from K-12 and workplace accommodations.  Join us as we explore an overview of what reasonable accommodations look like in higher education and scenarios of a variety of accommodation requests.  In addition, we will go over the AHEAD documentation guidance and talk about reasonable documentation in higher education.
Breakout Session #4.5: Pedestrian Facilities and Transit – Working Together 
Linda Osiecki and Joe Ellis
Pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way that are accessible and ADA compliant should be an important part of the public infrastructure. They are also used by people to reach transit facilities. With the rising costs of paratransit, investing in improvements to pedestrian facilities so that there are accessible routes to transit have the potential for tremendous cost savings, while expanding the travel network and options for people with disabilities. This session will examine the basic requirements for transit and pedestrian facilities and the ultimate goal of providing a network for all pedestrians and transit riders.

Friday, September 15, 10:05 AM

Keynote Address
Dr. Josie Badger
Youth Director, Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Friday, September 15, 10:55 AM

Breakout Session #5.1: Reasonable Accommodation: Navigating the Interactive Process 
Roy Matheson, Reasonable Accommodation, LLC.
The Interactive Process is the foundation upon which effective reasonable accommodation programs are built. After examining each of the 8 necessary steps in the interactive process, this workshop will review the techniques ADA coordinators and human resource professionals use to resolve complicated or difficult requests for accommodation.
Breakout Session #5.2: The ADA in Law Enforcement, State and Local Courts and Detention Facilities
Steven Gordon, USAO Eastern District of Virginia, U.S. Department of Justice
The ADA applies to most everything involving state and local law enforcement, courts and correctional institutions.  This presentation will cover the applicable case law, ADA regulations (including structural and substantive requirements), technical assistance materials and recent enforcement actions in these three settings.  It will also cover common issues that arise in these settings and steps that these public entities can take to ensure compliance with the ADA.
Breakout Session #5.3: ADA and Business Today 
This session will feature panelists John Wodatch, former Chief Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Julia Sarnoff, Attorney at Seyfarth Shaw, and a representative from the business community discussing current issues regarding compliance under Title III of the ADA, which covers businesses open to the public. Topics addressed may include:
The business case for compliance
Accessibility trends in Title III entities
Case law trends
Breakout Session #5.4: FCC Accessibility Programs and Services
Robert McConnell and Will Schell, Federal Communications Commission
An overview will be provided regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s disability-related programs and services. The discussion will be centered around policy work regarding Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding access to telecommunications, and both Title I and Title II of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) regarding communication access and video programming. Policy topics to be reviewed include telecommunications relay services, captioning of video programming on television and the Internet, advanced communication services, accessible video devices, the National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), and accessible user interfaces and program guides.  Updates will also be provided on other FCC disability-related activities, such as the Disability Advisory Committee, Direct Video Calling, the Consumer Help Center, technology transitions such as real-time text technology, and emergency access.  
Breakout Session #5.5: Higher Education Disability Accommodations Q & A 
Tessa DiPerri, University of Maryland, College Park and Crystal Tenan, Towson State University
Bring your higher education disability and accommodation questions for this interactive session.  Tessa DiPerri, Disability Specialist at the University of Maryland, and Crystal Tenan, Deputy ADA Coordinator at Towson University, representatives from the two largest Maryland state schools will share their expertise on accommodations and access in higher education.  If you have a question you would like to submit in advance, please email them to

Friday, September 15, 1:30 PM

Breakout Session #6.1: Investing in the Future: Empowering Millennials with Disabilities in the Workplace 
Moderator: Sue Werber, Chair, DC Metro BLN ME Committee
Katie Jones, Booz Allen Hamilton
Kelly Fomalont, National Center on Learning Disabilities
Taja Brown, Northrop Grumman
By 2020 Millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce.  Chances are that your organization is preparing for this large and expanding workforce. But what are you doing about Millennials with disabilities?  Add in Section 503 regulations and you start to think, what do we need to know? What do we need to do?
While there is currently little research, what is known is that Millennials with disabilities do not tend to identify as individuals with a disability. This is the ADA Generation. They tend to consider intersectionality and explore the organization’s commitment to diversity in which they choose to bring their talents. They focus on bringing their whole self to work and want an employer who recognizes the capability of Millennials with disabilities. This session will share information gathered from a DC based pilot focus group, the ME Collaborative (Millennials and Employers) and DC Metro BLN employer members who have made significant progress in the arena of inclusion. You will also hear from Millennials within the ME Collaborative-on what is most important to them in making their career choices.
Breakout Session #6.2: Corrections and the ADA - Getting It Right
Barry Marano, Virginia Department of Corrections, Tameka Hull, Arlington County (VA) Sheriff’s Office, Robin Ahern, Philadelphia Department of Prisons
This session will explore the Americans with Disabilities Act and the ways it is applicable within corrections. We will navigate the complexities of the law, understanding the need for safety and security as a priority. There will be discussion on how to modify policies, practices and procedures to ensure inmates with disabilities are fully included and receive equal benefits to programs and services in a corrections setting. Creative solutions providing reasonable accommodations will also be discussed.
Breakout Session #6.3: Common Errors and Omissions in Accessible Design
Rex Pace, U.S. Access Board
Insufficient space to transfer to a seat in a transfer shower or inaccurate placement of the grab bars in a roll-in shower with a seat, are a couple of common errors we often hear about. This session will highlight these and other areas where errors often exist and provide clarification for any misunderstandings regarding the technical criteria.
Breakout Session #6.4: A Collaborative Partnership: The Role of the ADA Coordinator in Emergency Management 
Dawn Brantley, Virginia Department of Emergency Management
What role can or should the ADA Coordinator play in emergency management? How can the ADA Coordinator be a resource for emergency planning, response, and recovery? This session will provide information on the importance of ADA Coordinators participating in all emergency management activities within their jurisdiction. Participants will also learn how ADA Coordinators can work collaboratively with emergency managers to ensure ADA compliance in emergency management programs and achieve positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
Mid-Atlantic ADA Update