Disability News Update – February 6, 2012

 The Weekly Disability News Update is a product of the Lead On Update — your point for the weekly news made by and affecting the disability community. For archived news and more links to disability information, visit the Lead on Update at http://leadonupdate.wordpress.com.

Upcoming Events


February 9, 2012

Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC)

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. 

FCC Headquarters,445 12th Street, SW, Washington,DC 20554 (closest Metro: Smithsonian). Additional accommodation requests can be made to fcc504@fcc.gov.   The meeting will also be web-cast with open captions at www.fcc.gov/live.  


March 4 7, 2012

SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference


From the White House:     

Federal Support for the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program Memorandum For the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

THE WHITE HOUSE – Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release January 20, 2012 

Thousands of Americans who are blind have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit that helps define our Nation as a land of opportunity. Through the Federal Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program administered by the Department of Education, talented and creative individuals who are blind have acquired the management training and business skills necessary to realize the American dream — a lifetime of economic opportunity, independence, and self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

For 75 years, blind business managers have successfully operated food services and commercial ventures at Federal, State, and private buildings and locations nationwide. We honor and celebrate this program’s historic achievements. We also trust that the Randolph-Sheppard Program will continue to be a leading model for providing high-quality entrepreneurial opportunities for blind individuals. From a simple snack shop, to tourist services at the Hoover Dam, to full food-services operations at military installations, blind entrepreneurs have provided exceptional customer service to Federal and State employees, the Armed Forces, and the general public. With proven ability, they have challenged preconceived notions about disability.

The Randolph-Sheppard Act (20 U.S.C. 107 et seq.) created the Vending Facility Program requiring qualified blind individuals be given a priority to operate vending facilities on Federal properties. This program is responsible today for providing entrepreneurial opportunities for over 2,500 individuals who are blind. In turn, these business managers have hired thousands of workers, many of whom are individuals with disabilities. Every American, including persons with disabilities, deserves the opportunity to succeed without limits, earn equal pay for equal jobs, and aspire to full-time, career-oriented employment.

Continued support and cooperation are needed from executive departments, agencies, and offices (agencies) to extend the Randolph-Sheppard priority to qualified blind managers through the State licensing agencies that implement the program. Therefore, I direct all agencies that have property management responsibilities to ensure that agency officials, when pursuing the establishment and operation of vending facilities (including cafeterias and military dining facilities) as defined in 20 U.S.C. 107e, issue permits and contracts in compliance with the Randolph-Sheppard Program and consistent with existing regulations and law. I further direct the Secretary of Education, through the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, to submit a report to the President on agencies’ implementation of the Randolph-Sheppard Program not later than 1 year from the date of this memorandum.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Secretary of Education is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


Full Text


Blogs & Social Media: 

The Voice„¢, the Official Newsletter of SNA

January, 2012 – Vol 6, Issue 2 



New Definition of Autism Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests

via the New York Times (01.19.12):

Full Post


Feds Crack Down On Schools Skirting Disabilities Act

By Michelle Diament

January 20, 2012

Full Post

Disability Rights: Sheltered Workshops Are Today's Institutions

by Kristina Chew

January 26, 2012

1:11 pm

Full Post


DOT slaps Spirit Airlines with $100,000 fine for disability violations

by: Arlene Satchell January 27th, 2012 | 2:06 PM

Full Post


Teens With Autism Avoid Email, Social Media

By Shaun Heasley

January 27, 2012

Full Post


The Need to Believe in the Ability of Disability

Posted: 02/ 1/2012 4:49 pm

Full Post


White House Plans Nine-City Disability Tour

By Michelle Diament

February 2, 2012

Full Post


Sheltered Workshops for Developmentally Disabled Should be Revisited

New Jersey Newsroom | January 30, 2012

By Salvatore Pizzuro

Full Article



Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis Announces Proposed Rule-making to Implement Statutory Amendments to Family and Medical Leave Act

U.S. Department of Labor | January 30, 2012

 The proposed language would extend the entitlement of military caregiver leave to family members of veterans for up to five years after leaving the military. At this time, the law only covers family members of “currently serving” service members. Additionally, the proposal expands the military family leave provisions of the FMLA by extending qualifying exigency leave to employees whose family members serve in the regular armed forces. Currently, the law only covers families of National Guard members and reservists.

Read the article: Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis Announces Proposed Rulemaking to Implement Statutory Amendments to Family and Medical Leave Act


Assistant Secretary Martinez Meets With Disability Employment Leaders at Kessler Foundation

U.S. Politics Today | January 28, 2012

Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), came to Kessler Foundation on Friday to learn more about employment programs supported by the Foundation and share her view on strategies for optimal employment policies for individuals with disabilities. Her visit follows Kessler Foundation’s announcement of $2.7 million in grant funding to disability employment initiatives across the nation.

Read the article: Assistant Secretary Martinez Meets With Disability Employment Leaders at Kessler Foundation


UNH research: US hospitality industry often reluctant to hire people with disabilities

DURHAM, N.H. People with disabilities trying to find employment in the U.S. hospitality industry face employers who are often reluctant to hire them because of preconceived notions that they cannot do the job and that they are more costly to employ that people without disabilities, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

UNH researchers Andrew Houtenville, associate professor of economics and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability, and Valentini Kalargyrou, assistant professor of hospitality management, analyzed data from 320 hospitality companies in the United States, and found similar concerns and challenges regarding employment of people with disabilities. The researchers used the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Employer’s Survey as their data source.

Full Article


Director of Administration Position Opening at NCD

Job Title: Director of Administration

Agency: National Council on Disability

Job Announcement Number: WA-583331-MJ

SALARY RANGE: $105,211.00 to $155,500.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD: Monday, January 30, 2012 to Monday, February 13, 2012 SERIES & GRADE:




DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy(s) – Washington DC Metro Area, DC United States WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: United States Citizens

JOB SUMMARY: The Director of Administration is the supervisory administrative officer for the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent Federal agency, subject to the provisions of Title 5 U.S.C. and established by the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1978, and the Rehabilitation Amendments of 1984 (PL 221), dated February 22, 1984. The NCD staff supports the Council, which is comprised of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Council's principal purpose is to develop recommendations to use in advising the President, the Congress, federal entities, the states, and occasionally international entities on policies and programs that promote full inclusion, independence, and equal opportunity for people with disabilities.



€¢           U.S. Citizenship Required

€¢           A one-year supervisory/managerial probationary period may be required.

€¢           Must successfully complete a background investigation prior to employment

€¢           Travel and Relocation expenses will not be paid.

€¢           Must provide latest SF-50 if applicable

DUTIES: As the Supervisory Administrative Officer you will:

€¢ Provide, secure and/or negotiate for the services needed to manage and run the administrative operations of an independent Federal agency.  These services may include budget preparation and funds management, human resources, management analysis, procurement, contract administration, property management, space management, security administration, travel, meeting management, reports management, data base management and data mining. 

€¢ Develop budget estimates and justifications; assure that funds, either appropriated or gifted in accordance with the NCD authorizing statute, are tracked and that expenditures are appropriate and align with Council goals and priorities as well as NCD by-laws and the annual operating budget.

€¢ Serve as a liaison with the servicing human resource specialist to find solutions to management problems arising from changes in organizational workload or priorities which impact jobs and employees. 

€¢ Advise on and negotiate contracts, agreements and cooperative arrangements with other government agencies at the Federal and State levels, universities or private organizations.

€¢ Supervise a permanent staff, in addition to contractor personnel and staff members on temporary assignment to meet short-term program needs and exercises a full range of supervisory responsibilities including, but not limited to, planning and assigning work, evaluating work performance and recommending performance awards; advising and instructing employees on work methods and strategies; overseeing and approving the hiring of personnel; hearing and resolving complaints; and creating and implementing ways to eliminate or reduce significant bottlenecks and barriers to production, promote team building, or improve business practices. 

€¢ Recommend selections for subordinate supervisory positions and for work leader, group leader, or project director positions responsible for coordinating the work of others. 

€¢ Provide oversight to assure that Council member meetings; NCD staff meetings; and, meetings between Council members, stakeholders and NCD staff, as applicable, meet all Federal, state and local requirements for accessibility and support the specific needs of attendees with disabilities.  Also perform special assignments, studies or projects that are of a confidential or sensitive nature for the Executive Director that involve changes in managerial policies, practices, methods, procedures and/or organizational structures.

About the National Council on Disability: NCD is a small, independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. NCD is comprised of a team of fifteen Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees, an Executive Director appointed by the Chairman, and eleven, full-time professional staff members.  Staff members work on a wide array of interesting subjects.  We offer both flexible work schedules and an opportunity for challenging and interesting work.

Link to full description: http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/307529400

 ODEP News Brief – January 27, 2012


 ODEP News Brief – February 3, 2012


JAN e-News: Volume 10, Issue 1, First Quarter 2012




NASA to hire more STEM students with disabilities

To Prospective NASA Student Interns with Disabilities,

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. We have a two-percent hiring goal. Students can apply for summer internships now! The deadline for submitting applications is February 1, 2012. They can register for an account and look for internships anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): Student On-Line Application for Recruiting interns, fellows and scholars (SOLAR) at http://intern.nasa.gov/ . Summer 2012 internships run for ten weeks from early June through early/mid August. NASA internships are also offered during Spring, Fall and Year Long Sessions.

In order to be eligible to apply, students must be accepted as freshmen at an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university at the time of the internship. This is what we call a rising freshman. NASA has internships for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM fields. A minimum GPA of 2.8 is required to apply; however, applicants must understand that the competition for internships is keen. The age limits for interns are eighteen years and up.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit a completed application whether they apply to an opportunity or not. However, applying to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center. For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland because SDO is located there. Not applying to an opportunity means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Students, who are selected for summer internships will receive an offer letter by E-mail sometime after February 1, 2012. They will then have five days to either accept or reject the offer through their OSSI:SOLAR account. The offer will automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

Please see the below attached recruitment letter, the recruitment flier, and the instructions for how to use the on-line application system.  Also, please feel free to contact me for more information or help with applying.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help with applying.

Kenneth A. Silberman, Esq.

U.S. Supreme Court, Maryland, & Patent Bars B.A., M.Eng., J.D.

NASA Engineer & Registered Patent Attorney Education Office Code 160 NASA/GSFC Mailstop 160 Bldg. 28 Rm. N165 Greenbelt, MD  20771, USA

More Info



TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical
conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787 2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.

€œTSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process, said TSA Administrator John Pistole. This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.

Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger's specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.

Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger's abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.

TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. The agency works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. TSA holds quarterly meetings with this coalition to inform them about current training and screening procedures used in airports. TSA recently hosted a teleconference with members of these groups to announce the long-standing plans to implement TSA Cares for travelers and inform them of the upcoming launch.

All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA's website.

All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1 866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov

Please see the below links and press release regarding a new service from the TSA for travel.



Effective Communication Before, During, and After Emergencies

The National Council on Disability is interested in evaluating effective communication for Americans with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies. Effective communication throughout all phases of emergency management (preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation) must be fully accessible to all people with disabilities.  NCD will document successful practices and identify facilitators and barriers to providing effective emergency-related communication.  A key piece of this research will include a thorough examination of the current state of affairs concerning the accessibility of emergency-related communication.  This analysis must address all phases of emergency management and be cross-disability and demonstrate sensitivity to diversity matters/issues that can impact outreach and response.  The research must include what is occurring in this area on both the national and state level. The estimated contract period is 10 months. 

NCD will distribute its Effective Communication study Notice of Funding Opportunity to interested parties on February 8, 2012.  NCD will expect interested parties to submit their responses by March 7, 2012.  Copies of the Notice of Funding Opportunity will be available on grants.gov and ncd.gov and may be requested by mail or picked up at NCD on or after the issue date of February 8, 2012.

For more information, contact Robyn Powell, rpowell@ncd.gov, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850, Washington, D.C. 20004; 202 272-2004 or 202-272-2074 TTY.

Direct Link 

Assessment: What It Is…What It’s Not…and Why to Use It

February 16, 2012 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Presenter: Lisa Stern, Lisa Stern Consulting


Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Webcast: Best Practices in the Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Government

March 7, 2012

More Info



Department of Education Issues ADA Amendments Act Dear Colleague Letter to Provide Guidance Under Amended Legal Standards

January 19, 2012

Contact:  Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

 The Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (Amendments Act). The letter and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) provide additional guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in elementary and secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments Act.

 “We must continue to take steps to enable every child, regardless of disability, to reach their full potential,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This guidance reiterates the Department’s commitment to ensure that educational opportunity is provided free from disability discrimination.”

 The Amendments Act, effective Jan. 1, 2009, amends the ADA, as well as the Rehabilitation Act. The Amendments Act broadened the meaning of disability and, in most cases, shifts the inquiry away from the question of whether a student has a disability as defined by the ADA and Section 504, and toward school districts’ actions and obligations to ensure equal education opportunities.

 Full Article


Department of Education Issues ADA Amendments Act Dear Colleague Letter to Provide Guidance Under Amended Legal Standards

From REFERENCE POINTS — an activity of TATRA, a project of PACER Center

 The Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (Amendments Act) yesterday, January 19th.  The letter and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) provide additional guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in elementary and secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments Act.

The Dear Colleague letter and FAQ discuss the obligations of school districts, such as the requirement to evaluate students for disability and provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, as well as the changes made by the Amendments Act.

 To review the Dear Colleague Letter

The FAQs




VA struggling with disability backlog

By Steve Vogel, Published: January 29 | Updated: Monday, January 30, 12:00 AM

 The Department of Veterans Affairs is facing a growing backlog of disability claims, fueled by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and a policy change making it easier for Vietnam veterans to file Agent Orange-related claims.

The number of pending claims before the VA stood at 853,831 on Friday, an increase of nearly 100,000 from last year and nearly 500,000 from three years ago.

€œNearly 1 million veterans today are stuck in the backlog and more than half wait at least half a year to find out if their claim has been processed, said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Although the VA has processed nearly a million claims over the past year, another 1.3 million new claims were filed during the same period.

Of the approximately 2.2 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 624,000 have filed disability claims and many more are expected. In addition, more than 200,000 Vietnam War veterans have filed claims based on new regulations adopted in 2010 making it easier to get compensation for health problems caused by exposure to defoliants such as Agent Orange.

Full Article


CLASS Act Repeal Passes House

Politico | February 1, 2012

The Republican-led House on Wednesday voted to repeal a financially troubled part of the 2010 health care law that was designed to provide affordable long-term care insurance. The House vote comes months after the Obama administration suspended the Community Living Assistance Services and Support program, known as the CLASS Act.

Read the article: CLASS Act Repeal Passes House 

Virginia to transform system of caring for developmentally disabled

By Anita Kumar, Thursday, January 26, 10:06 AM

RICHMOND €” Virginia will close four state institutions for the developmentally disabled and move thousands of people to their own homes, their family's houses or group homes as part of a massive settlement announced Thursday with the U.S. Justice Department.

The agreement follows a scathing federal report of the training centers, which found the state harmed residents by keeping them in large institutions instead of providing smaller, community-based homes.

Full Article


On the Hill:

H.R. 1173, The Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011

Detailed Summary: H.R. 1173 would repeal the CLASS program.

Status of the Legislation: Latest Major Action: 1/24/2012: Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 522 Reported to House. Rule provides for consideration of H.R. 1173 with 1 hour of general debate. Motion to recommit with or without installowed. Measure will be considered read. Specified amendments are in order. The resolution makes in order the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Energy and Commerce now printed in the bill for the purpose of amendment.

Full Bill


From the Federal Register: 

Presidential Documents
RandolphSheppard Vending Facility Program; Federal Support (Memorandum of January 20, 2012) ,  
39153918 [20121750]


Special Observances:  
  American Heart Month (Proc. 8775) ,  
  53735374 [20122592]


  National African American History Month (Proc. 8776) ,  
  53755376 [20122616]


  National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (Proc. 8777) ,  
  53775378 [20122634]



Just for Fun:

 Eye Controlled Arcade Game