E-Bulletin February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

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

“United Spinal Association Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary”

United Spinal Association has reached a historic milestone as it celebrates 75 years of providing people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) valuable programs and services that maximize independence and quality of life.

“Face Masks Inhibit Communication for 95 Percent of People with Hearing Loss, New Survey Finds”

According to a new survey conducted by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), in partnership with Cochlear Limited, 95% of people with hearing loss in the United States say masks and facial coverings impact their ability to communicate. This has heightened levels of anxiety, social isolation, and other mental health-related effects among people with hearing loss.

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Employment News

“Employer Groups Seek Clarity on COVID-19 Vaccination Incentives”

According to a letter signed by more than 40 business groups, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should clarify what kinds of incentives employers can offer workers to encourage them to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Employers must be cautious in offering incentives related to employer-sponsored wellness initiatives that collect employee health or medical information, as significant incentives may be considered coercive. 

“‘Adulting’ Is Hard: Understanding the College-to-Career Transition and Supporting Young Adults’ Emotional Wellbeing”

The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR), in collaboration with The Jed Foundation, published a brief with the results of a study conducted to better understand the experiences of young adults during the college-to-career transition. It examines how these experiences affect emotional wellbeing, and discusses how colleges and potential employers can support young adults as they transition from college to employment.

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State and Local Government News

Maryland: “Disability Rights Groups Seek Equal Access to Ballot through Voting Machine Bill, Lawsuit”

This article highlights efforts in Maryland to implement a universal ballot marking system that would enable voters with disabilities to vote “privately and independently,” as their ballots would be indistinguishable from those of voters without disabilities.

“Maryland Bill Would Require Therapy Dogs to Be Allowed in Public Schools”

A bill in the Maryland state legislature would require public schools to allow the use of therapy dogs across the state. 

Pennsylvania: “Department of Human Services Provides Updates on Work Supports System for Medicaid Recipients”

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) recently outlined the new Medicaid Work Supports system, a program designed to connect people whose health care is covered through Medicaid to local employment and training resources. As Pennsylvania continues to experience economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS hopes this program can be a bridge to employment for people affected by job or income loss.

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Transportation News

Pennsylvania: “No End in Sight for Mobility Stress Experienced by Disabled SEPTA Riders as Agency Dealing with Limited Access to Capital Funding”

This article highlights the issue of inaccessibility at a number of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) stations. Limited access to capital funding means SEPTA cannot accelerate needed accessibility improvements to rail stations across the region.

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Business News

“Lodging Interactive Launches DiningClick - ADA Compliant Catering Menu Services to Replace PDFs”

Lodging Interactive announced the launch of DiningClick, an online menu management and publishing system for hotels and restaurants designed to improve the accessibility of menu information for those who are blind or have low vision.

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Legal News

“$2.25 Million Fund Available in Justice Department Settlement with Amtrak”

Amtrak began accepting claims for monetary compensation from people with mobility disabilities who used or wanted to use one of 78 stations with accessibility issues. The press release includes a list of the stations and other information about eligibility for compensation; claims must be submitted by May 29, 2021.

Virginia: “Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Old Dominion University to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint”

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. The agreement resolves the Department’s investigation into a complaint that ODU discriminated and retaliated against a graduate student based on her disability and related request for reasonable modifications of policy.

Maryland: “Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Will Pay $15,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit”

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will pay $15,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC alleged that a qualified applicant who is deaf was turned away from a scheduled interview at the restaurant’s Linthicum Heights, Maryland location, and ultimately rejected for a dishwasher position based on his deafness.

California: “Nike Will Equip Workers with Clear Masks to Settle Deaf Customer's Suit”

Nike has agreed to provide employees in its California stores with transparent face masks and pen and paper to accommodate customers who are deaf or hard of hearing for as long as its COVID-19 policy to provide face masks remains in effect.

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Health and Wellness News

“Physicians’ Perceptions of People with Disability and Their Health Care”

A recent survey found that more than 80% of doctors believe that people with significant disabilities have a worse quality of life than those without disabilities, and only about 40% of doctors were very confident about their ability to provide the same quality of care to patients with disabilities. These findings raise questions about ensuring equitable care to the 61 million Americans with disabilities.

Opinion: “Whose Underlying Conditions Count for Priority in Getting the Vaccine?”

This article explores the issues around fair distribution of the vaccine to people with various conditions, and how to ethically determine who should receive the vaccine first. While many states are turning to the list of 12 conditions designated as high-risk by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the list was never intended to be a guideline for vaccine distribution.

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Arts and Culture News

“Children's Books That Feature Characters with Disabilities”

This article includes a list of 53 children’s books featuring main or secondary characters who have disabilities.

“NBCUniversal Vows Auditions for Actors with Disabilities”

NBCUniversal announced that actors with disabilities will be included in auditions for each new film and television production, becoming the second major media company to make such a commitment. The pledge covers projects by the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, NBC network and Peacock streaming service.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

ADA National Network Launches 30th Anniversary Celebration

The ADA National Network (ADANN) is celebrating 30 years of providing training, technical assistance, and guidance on the ADA. Throughout the year, the ADANN will be highlighting its services, success stories, and vision for the next 30 years. Visit the ADANN to learn more and find your regional ADA Center.

Input Needed on WCAG 3.0 Accessibility Guidelines

The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0. WCAG and supporting materials explain how to make web content, apps, and tools more accessible to people with disabilities. They are seeking input from evaluators, developers, designers, project managers, policy makers, people with disabilities, and others — particularly on the structure and the draft conformance model. To review and provide feedback, please start by reading the WCAG 3 Introduction  to get important background on WCAG 3 development, review guidance, and timeline. Please submit comments by February 26, 2021.

2021 National Survey on Health and Disability

The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is conducting this survey to understand how access to health care and insurance, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, may be affecting the lives of people with disabilities. The survey is open to U.S. adults over 18 years old, with any disability and any type of health care coverage, including no coverage. For more information, call 855-556-6328 (Voice/TTY) or email healthsurvey@ku.edu. Participants will have a chance to win a $100 gift card. The survey closes April 30th, 2021.

“Study: Using Virtual Reality to Improve Job Reentry in Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury”

The Kessler Foundation is recruiting participants to test the effectiveness of virtual reality to improve job reentry. Participants must be adults between 18 and 65 years old and have been diagnosed with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), are at least one year post injury, and currently looking for employment. Those who complete the study will receive up to $200.

Access Board Announces Schedule for Public Forum on Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles

In Spring 2021, the U.S. Access Board, in partnership with other federal agencies, will host a series of virtual meetings on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to all passengers, including those with disabilities. The four-part series will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing inclusive AVs. The sessions are free and open to the public.

  • Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Entering and Exiting Vehicles
    March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
  • Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Maneuvering and Securement in Vehicles
    March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
  • Communication Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory or Cognitive Disabilities
    April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)
  • Findings, Recommendations, Future Research, and Suggested Next Steps
    April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

“The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Announces 2nd Annual Reeve Summit 2021: Where Care, Cure and Community Connect”

April 27 - 29, 2021
This VIRTUAL event will touch on topics and themes relevant to the paralysis community, bringing together health professionals, advocates, community members and caregivers to brainstorm a future for people with disabilities defined by access, inclusion and innovation.

“Office of Civil Rights Seeks Information on Addressing Disability Discrimination in Health Care and Child Welfare Contexts”

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on disability discrimination in health care and child welfare contexts, especially in relation to organ transplantation, life-saving or life-sustaining care, health care value assessments, crisis standards of care at state or provider levels, suicide prevention and treatment, availability of auxiliary aids and accessible medical equipment, and discrimination against parents and prospective parents with disabilities involved with the child welfare system.

NIDILRR Seeks Peer Reviewers for Upcoming Competitions

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) is seeking expert peer reviewers for several upcoming disability and rehabilitation research grant competitions. Reviewers are not required to travel to participate in ACL grant reviews, which are conducted via teleconference discussion following individual review of applications. Visit the Administration for Community Living’s Reviewer Recruitment Module for more information.

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