Top Ten Disability Events of 2008 – (Day in Washington Policy Update #32)

Day in Washington explores and discusses various aspects of disability policy. Each episode will cover a specific issue within disability, and/or a disability-related news article. These 6 minute podcasts offer an easy to understand introduction to disability policy and resources for those interested in further study. You can find the text of this podcast in the previous post. If you have difficulty downloading the podcast, please right-click and save it to your computer for playback.

Episode Summary: This episode is a restrospective of the top ten disability events of 2008.  Listed in order of importance, this podcast asks listeners/readers to respond to the question:  What is YOUR #1 Disability Event for 2008? 

Audio File: Day in Washington #32 (The Top Ten Disability Events of 2008)

3 comments for “Top Ten Disability Events of 2008 – (Day in Washington Policy Update #32)

  1. admin
    February 11, 2009 at 1:54 am


    Hello and welcome to a Day in Washington, your disability policy podcast. I'm your host, Day Al-Mohamed working to make sure you stay informed.


    2008 was a pretty busy year for the disability community. There were many policy issues and disability events that took place, that will have an impact for a long time to come. Today's podcast is my list of the Top Ten Disability Events of 2008.

    So let's get started the Top Ten Disability Events for 2008

    Number 10. Students with Disabilities in Advanced Coursework
    In Education, Secretary Spellings sent out a letter detailing that students with disabilities could not be prohibited from taking advanced coursework and that they did not lose their accommodations by doing so. This reinforced the idea that accommodations are exactly that, a way to level the playing field, a tool.

    Number 9. The Medicaid Moratorium.
    The Medicaid moratorium was to stop regulations that would negatively impact people with disabilities. The regulations would eliminate services such as help finding accessible housing, they would prevent people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, or those with mental health conditions or autism from utilizing rehabilitation services. In addition, the regulations would cut funding to children with disabilities in the school system.

    Number 8. The PreNatally and Postnataly Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act.
    The law provides that families receiving a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome or other genetic conditions or disabilities will be offered accurate and up-to-date information about the nature of the condition and also be connected with support services. As prenatal testing mechanisms improve this legislation will prove crucial to prospective parents who learn that their unborn child may have a genetic, chromosomal or physical disability.

    Number 7. U.S. Treasury Lawsuit
    In 2002, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) brought a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Treasury; demanding that they make currency accessible to visually impaired people. Methods for making paper money accessible include using different sizes, raised ink and raised dots. In addition, more than 100 other countries have already done so. On May 20, 2008, a US Court of Appeals ruled that American currency is inaccessible to the blind. The successful lawsuit will literally change the face of American money.

    Number 6. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities or CRPD. This is the first comprehensive, international treaty to protect a broad range of human rights of people with disabilities. The Convention was first opened for countries to sign on March 30, 2007. Almost exactly one year, the 20th country ratified the CRPD, and it entered full legal force.

    Number 5. Mental Health Parity. The legislation will require most group health plans to provide coverage for the treatment of mental illnesses that is comparable to what they provide for physical illnesses. Before Parity the system allowed insurers to set stricter limits on mental health care such as higher co-payments or limiting the number of visits to a health care provider for mental health care. In essence, without this legislation, it was okay for insurers to discriminate based on a person's disability (mental vs. physical).

    Number 4. Importance and Emphasis on Media and Disability: Tropic Thunder, Blindness and SNL

    In the 21st century, media is the world's common cultural environment. Society's values and priorities are expressed and reflected in film, television, theatre, news and music. In 2008 several films were viewed as being beyond the usual inaccuracies in the portrayal of disability. Tropic Thunder's use of the R word, Blindness' portrayal of visual impairment and an SNL skit, portraying visually impaired Governor Patterson as incompetent because of his disability.

    Number 3. ADA Amendments Act
    Several U.S. Supreme Court and other lower court decisions had significantly narrowed the definition of disability removing ADA protection from people with epilepsy, diabetes, and some psychiatric diagnoses. In 2008, the disability community working in cooperation with the business community successfully passed the ADA Amendments Act returning legal protection from discrimination to people with those disabilities.

    Number 2. The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act. Genetic testing is the way of the future. Already people are denied health insurance or charged significantly more premiums for what insurers call pre-existing conditions. If there was a way for to identify who MIGHT get a specific disease or disability, such as through genetic testing, it would radically alter who would and would not have access to health care. GINA is #2 because as we move towards the future, it offers protection from a new form of disability discrimination that only promises to grow.

    Number 1. Presidential Campaigns and the Courting of the Disability Vote. Power and influence in politics comes from three things Money, Media or Manpower. Money is obvious, Media is based on what is perceived as a hot topic and Manpower is the power of the vote. What happened this year was that for the first time, people with disabilities were seen as a powerful voting group. Both presidential candidates courted the community, made promises, mentioned disability in their speeches. It was recognized that there are more than 40 million people with disabilities are who eligible to vote and including their friends and family.suddenly the importance and influence of this voting bloc could be significant.could tip an election. With that recognition more politicians will pay attention to disability issues, will support disability legislation and will consider people with disabilities as a valid and powerful constituency.


    That's my list. What do YOU think was the Number 1 Disability Event of 2008? This is Day Al-Mohamed with your Day in Washington Disability Policy Podcast hoping that you stay well and stay informed. For more information on disability policy please check: or call me at 206-888-6009,

  2. February 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for the kind comment on my blog, I hope your day goes well. I enjoy your blog very much!

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