Disability News Update – February 13, 2012

The Disability News Update is coordinated by the Lead On Update. The get weekly updates of disability happenings or to search by category, visit the Lead On Update at www.leadonupdate.wordpress.com

Upcoming Events

February 13 – March 9, 2012

Foundations of ASD: National Autism Online Training Series

Autism Spectrum Disorders are considered to be a lifelong neurological developmental disability which share many characteristics. With the number of individuals diagnosed with autism on the rise, there is a strong probability everyone will encounter someone with ASD either at work or daily life. This course will provide participants with an understanding of the primary characteristics of ASD, which include impairments in communication and social development and the presence of repetitive patterns of behavior. Secondary characteristics, including sensory processing differences and motor deficits will also be explored. The course will discuss the impact ASD has on the person as well as the family unit. The course will also provide an overview of learning styles, the history, cause, and early signs of ASD. Cost: $125 per individual, $500 for 5 individuals. Find out more & Register

 February 15, 2012

 Kaiser Event: Screening New PBS Doc on Regional Successes in U.S. Health Care

On Wednesday, February 15 at 12:00 p.m., the Kaiser Family Foundation will host an event featuring an upcoming PBS documentary with former Washington Post correspondent T.R. Reid – U.S. Health Care: The Good News – which explores efforts to provide low-cost, quality health care in the U.S. The film looks at variations in health spending across the country and showcases efficient health care delivery systems, like Grand Junction in Colorado and Group Health in Seattle, suggesting that these communities demonstrate that it is feasible to provide Americans with first-rate care while still controlling the cost.

The event will also feature a panel discussion, moderated by Kaiser’s Jackie Judd, to examine the issues raised in the documentary and the challenges, constraints and potential solutions for achieving affordable, effective health care in the U.S. Panelists will include:

  • T.R. Reid, former Washington Post correspondent
  • Dr. Elliott Fisher, Professor of Medicine and Director for Population Health & Policy, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
  • Carol Beasley, Director of Strategic Projects, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • U.S. Health Care: The Good News will be available for broadcast by PBS member stations on Thursday, February 16, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check local listings for the date and time in your area.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. ET
(A brownbag lunch will be provided at noon)

WHERE: Barbara Jordan Conference Center (Kaiser Family Foundation Office)
1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC (one block west of Metro Center)

RSVP: Please register online to attend this event.

Contact: For further information, please contact Erissa Scalera at (202) 347-5270

February 16, 2012

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

2:00 p.m. Eastern

Presenter: Lisa Stern, Lisa Stern Consulting


February 28, 2012

Talent Has No Boundaries Webinar – An Employers Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Individuals with Disabilities

Join the Department of Labor on February 28, 2012 from 1 — 2 p.m. to learn more about the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) from the experts!

  • Background on WRP’s mission;
  • How to use the WRP website to find talented employees;
  • How to provide efficient accommodations at your work site;
  • Business success stories that inform and inspire;
  • The tools and resources that are available within the Federal government to support and advance your employment efforts.

Register at wrpmarketing@dol.gov

March 1 – 2, 2012

Annual State of the Science Conference – Race, Ethnicity, and Disability: State of the Science Conference

VCU Project Empowerment, funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), invites you to attend Race, Ethnicity, and Disabilities: State of the Science Conference. Mark your calendar for this conference that will bring expert researchers and educators to present about the state of the science of disability research involving racial and ethnic minorities on March 1 and 2, 2012 at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.

For more information and Online Registration | Brochure | Registration Deadline is Feb 15.

March 4 – 7, 2012

SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference


March 7, 2012

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

More Info

May 30 – June 1, 2012

National ADA Symposium  Sponsored by the ADA National Network and held in Indianapolis, IN.

For more information 

June 26 – 29, 2012

APSE 2012 National Conference – Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA

The 23rd Annual Conference theme says it all – Employment First: A Capitol Idea! And now is the time to focus our energies on ensuring all people with disabilities have meaningful opportunities to bring their talents to the workplace. The conference will open with Temple Grandin, author, professor at Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences, and international speaker on the topic of autism and employment. Dr. Grandin, named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2010, will present “Learning Skills and Obtaining Employment for People with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.”

More Information & Online Registration – Early Bird Registration Rates end on Mar 30 

July 12, 2012 


2:00 – 3:00 PM ET  Webinar sponsored by JAN.

For more information

November 28 – December 1, 2012

 2012 TASH Conference, Long Beach California

Call for Proposals (Due April 5, 2012)

Blogs and Social Media

Autism Society Rocked By Suspected Fraud By Michelle Diament

February 9, 2012 – Disability Scoop

Full Post 

Disability and Domestic Violence by Laurie Crosby

Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:00 PM PST

The Daily Kos

Full Post 

A Chance to See Disabilities as Assets By PEGGY KLAUS

Published: February 4, 2012 – The New York Times

Full Post 

Broadway Adds More Autism-Friendly Shows By Shaun Heasley

February 8, 2012 – Disability Scoop

Full Post 

HBO To Air New Film Tackling Disability Caregiving By Michelle Diament

February 7, 2012 – Disability Scoop

Full Post

 Worksupport.com e-Newsletter – February 2012


ODEP Business Sense – February, 2012 – What Can YOU Do? Show Us!


 ODEP News Brief – February 10, 2012


 AAPD News – February 3, 2012


 USICD News – February 2012


 Social media aids diplomacy, disaster response By Joseph Marks

02/03/2012 – Nextgov

Full Post 

The Voice – Official Newsletter of the Special Needs Alliance

February 2012 – Vol. 6 Issue 3


Raising the Floor Newsletter – February 2012


 Seeding Change – A Newsletter of the NTAR Leadership Center

Issue 18: February 2012


 VA kicks off Wi-Fi buy, plans national rollout By Bob Brewin

02/08/2012 – Nextgov

Full Post


Kindle Fire – An Accessibility Device for the Disabled by Charlotte Gerber, About.com Guide  

January 31, 2012

Full Post

Funding Opportunity: Effective Communication Solicitation  

The National Council on Disability is interested in evaluating effective communication for Americans with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies.  

Since 2005, NCD has noted in multiple publications the need for research and evidence-based knowledge to support national efforts on emergency management and disability.  As a result of this work, NCD was given responsibilities regarding emergency management in the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act (PKEMRA).  As part of these responsibilities, NCD recently participated in two events that illustrated the need to place additional emphasis on effective communication.  In September 2011, NCD held an all-day meeting with FEMA’s Regional Disability Integration Specialists, where the agencies discussed the current state of emergency management as well as barriers and facilitators to the inclusion of people with disabilities.  Also in September 2011, NCD cosponsored FEMA’s Getting Real II conference, which highlighted promising practices in inclusive emergency management.  During both meetings, issues related to effective communication were raised as a critical area needing attention.

Effective communication throughout all phases of emergency management (preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation) must be fully accessible to all people with disabilities.  NCD is interested in examining the accessibility of communication before, during, and after emergencies for people with sensory disabilities (deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low-vision, deaf-blind, and speech disabilities) as well as people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and people with psychiatric disabilities.  NCD will document successful practices and identify facilitators and barriers to providing effective emergency-related communication.  Through this study, NCD will aim to educate emergency planners, as well as state and local officials, about how to provide effective communication to all people with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies.

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.

For full notice of funding opportunity, go to:


Want an iPad? Pentagon CIO thinks you should be able to have one.

By Bob Brewin – 02/08/2012 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Teri Takai, the Defense Department’s chief information officer, kicked off a speech at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Cyberspace Symposium on Wednesday by asking, “Everyone wants an iPad, right?” and then implied quick deployment of tablet computers and smartphones across the department without defining the timeline.  

Full Article  

Pick Your Avatar By Brittany Ballenstedt

February 13, 2012 – Government Executive  

Federal cybersecurity workers might not be far from being able to access top-notch training directly from their computer desktops.  

Robert Hollingsworth, director of the security engineering and computer security training division at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Training Center, told Wired Workplace on Thursday that State and the Homeland Security Department have begun training federal cyber pros using virtual worlds, where each user has an avatar and is walked through different cyber scenarios  

Full Article


ABA Joins Disability Advocates in Pressuring Law School Admission Council by Karen Sloan

The National Law Journal  – February 9, 2012 

The American Bar Association has sent a message to the Law School Admission Council that it’s not happy with that group’s handling of requests for special accommodations by takers of the Law School Admission Test. 

The ABA’s House of Delegates voted unanimously on Monday to adopt a resolution urging the council to “ensure that the exam reflects what the exam is designed to measure, and not the test taker’s disability.” The vote came during the ABA’s midyear meeting in New Orleans. 

Full Article 

UC Regents Hit With Disability Lawsuit by Laura Martin

Monday February 06, 2012 – 3:51PM – The Guardian  

Alexander Stern, a fourth-year student at UCSB, is suing the University of California after he was unable to receive a job at the university due to his disability. The lawsuit Alexander Stern V. Regents of University of California prevents disabled students under the Disabled Students Program from receiving university jobs.

In response to Stern’s lawsuit, UCSB officials announced that the DSP has modified its policies to aid disabled students in receiving jobs.

“As of January 26, student clients of DSP will join all other undergraduate and graduate students in being able to immediately access the department’s online applications for the student note-taker and test-proctor positions at DSP,” UCSB News Director George Foulsham said in a statement.  

According to a Jan. 25 article in The Bottom Line, Stern said that the director of the Disabled Students Program Gary White claims that hiring an individual with disabilities creates additional liabilities and his job is to minimize potential liabilities. 

Although the 1990 American Disabilities Act made job discrimination against individuals with disabilities illegal, Stern claims that the university application process does not inquire about the skills of a disabled individual.  

Full Article 

Individualized Learning Plans NCWD/Youth launches new webpage on Individualized Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth’s new webpage on Individualized Learning Plans features various publications and resources for understanding and using Individualized Learning Plans. The web page includes information about the latest research, policies, and practices. An Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) is a tool that students in secondary school use – with support from school counselors and parents – to define their personal interests and goals related to their career and postsecondary education and to plan what courses to take and what activities to participate in during high school to further their interests and achieve their goals. For more information and resources, visit the ILP webpage.


New Guidance on State Option to Put Dual-Eligibles Into Managed Care 

Last week, the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office and the Center for Medicare, parts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), released more detailed guidance to private insurance plan sponsors about the capitated financial alignment demonstration. This demonstration attempts to integrate financing and care for dually eligible individuals, or people with both Medicare and Medicaid. Under this demonstration, which was initially announced in July 2011, interested private insurance plans will enter into three-way contracts with federal and state governments. Those dual-eligibles subject to the demonstration will receive both Medicare and Medicaid coverage from private plans, including for long-term care services and supports. The demonstration is required to produce reduced Medicare and Medicaid spending, without adversely affecting—and ideally improving—the quality of care that dual-eligibles receive.

The memo generally describes how CMS and states will determine prospective capitated payments, as well as the adequacy of plans’ provider networks. In addition, the memo includes timelines for both the approval of state demonstrations and the selection of participating plans. CMS anticipates that for this demonstration, beneficiaries who are affected will have effective plan enrollment dates of January 1, 2013. As a result, many key deadlines will occur in 2012: states will have to submit their demonstration proposals, insurance plans will have to submit their letters of intent and plan models, and CMS will have to review and approve both. The memo also sets forth key programmatic area requirements, explaining existing federal requirements for plans under Medicare and Medicaid, as well as pre-established or preferred requirements for the new demonstration. Many of the requirements under the demonstration are hybrids of the existing Medicare and Medicaid requirements, though some will be negotiated through the CMS approval process.

According to the memo, 26 states are still exploring the capitated financial alignment demonstration. 

Read CMS’ guidance to “Organizations Interested in Offering Capitated Financial Alignment Demonstration Plans.” 

69-Time Gold Medalist and Multi-Sport Wheelchair Athlete Named Spokesperson for National Mobility Awareness Month

Feb. 7, 2012, 3:22 p.m. EST – PRNewswire 

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Mike Savicki, a quadriplegic triathlete, has been named spokesperson for National Mobility Awareness Month, the new May celebration encouraging people with disabilities to live active, mobile lifestyles. The goal is to develop awareness for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles as well as the many other transportation solutions that can improve the quality of life for veterans, seniors and those with disabilities. Savicki is a proud partner along with such sponsors as the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), Toyota, SanTan Honda Superstore in Chandler, Ariz. and Chrysler LLC.  

Full Release  

Advocates File Lawsuit Against NH’s Failing Mental Health Care System  

Concord, N.H. – February 9, 2012 – Advocates from the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Disabilities Rights Center, the Center for Public Representation and Devine, Millimet & Branch, PA, filed a class-action complaint today on behalf of New Hampshire residents with serious mental illnesses who are or are at risk of being institutionalized in state-run facilities due to the state’s failure to provide community-based mental health services.  

Over the last twenty years, New Hampshire has favored funding costly institutions over providing the community-based services and supports people with mental disabilities need to enjoy a full life in the community like anyone else.   

“The vast majority of people with serious mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities can lead fulfilling lives in their communities, provided they have the community services and supports they need to succeed,” said Ira Burnim, legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “Living independently, maintaining meaningful relationships and having gainful employment should be the goal for people with mental disabilities.”  

State officials have failed to provide treatment in the most integrated setting possible, say advocates, and are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) provisions of the Nursing Home Reform Act. The complaint calls for New Hampshire to expand services with proven success rates, including mobile crisis services, assertive community treatment, supportive housing and supported employment.   

Advocates filed a complaint after New Hampshire failed to respond to an April 2011 finding from the United States Department of Justice that New Hampshire’s state mental health system is in violation of the ADA.  In November 2010, advocates sent a letter to two of the complaint’s defendants, Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and Administrator Erik Rivera of the New Hampshire Bureau of Behavioral Health, describing the state’s violations and seeking negotiations. The complaint was filed when negotiations reached an impasse.   

While the administration continues to implement health reform, the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider several challenges to that law with much more at stake than just health care. The second session of the 112th Congress is also underway. The House has passed a bill to repeal health reform’s long-term care services and supports program. Appropriators defend funding for mental health and criminal justice programs. And the debate over education reform intensifies.  

Also in this issue of The Reporter, the Supreme Court and the administration consider “disparate impact” discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.    

Read this issue of The Reporter…


Section 503 Comment Period Extended

US Labor Department extends comment period on proposed rule to improve employment opportunities for workers with disabilities

Feb. 7, 2012, 1:45 p.m. EST – PR NewsWire  

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Interested parties may submit comments through Feb. 21  

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has announced a 14-day extension of the comment period for its proposed rule to revise regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which obligates most federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunity for qualified workers with disabilities

Full release  

Comment on Improving Opportunities for Workers with Disabilities

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has extended the comment period for its proposed rule requiring federal contractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their employees be qualified workers with disabilities. Interested parties now have until Tuesday, Feb. 21, to analyze the issues raised in the proposal and to provide their comments.

Read the News Release

Submit Comments 

US Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy releases comprehensive soft skills curriculum for young workers

Feb. 9, 2012, 5:25 p.m. EST – PRNewswire  

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced the release of “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” a collection of career development exercises and activities designed to help sharpen the communication and other “soft” skills of young workers, including those with disabilities.  

ODEP’s curriculum, which covers communication, networking, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking and professionalism, is based on the results of a survey of prominent businesses to determine what they believe to be the most important competencies and skills for young workers. According to recent surveys, nearly three-quarters of employers indicated high school graduates were deficient in such basic skills as punctuality, verbal communication and working productively with others. Businesses across the nation have identified soft skills as crucial to the hiring and employment success of all workers.  

Full Release  

Keeping employees could be tougher than attracting them, officials say By Amanda Palleschi

Government Executive – February 7, 2012  

Although recent figures suggest that fewer college students plan to enter government service than in prior years, federal officials say holding on to new hires is perhaps a bigger human capital challenge.

Speaking at an event sponsored by Government Executive, chief human capital officers at the Education and Veteran Affairs departments said the numbers from a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey released earlier this week are “disconcerting” — and both are still seeing plenty of interest and resumes from younger applicants .  

“Secretary Arne Duncan is prone to say he’s amazed, as he talks to stakeholders and does speaking engagements, there are so many that enjoy the mission of the Department of Education and want to get in,” said Robert Buggs, chief human capital officer at Education. “And then when we look at our employee surveys, it appears that there are too many who say they want to leave.”  

Full Article  

2012 Student Database Launched

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities database now has information for employers on 2,700 job seekers, including 153 veterans with disabilities. On Tuesday, nearly 400 federal hiring managers, recruiters and HR specialists attended an event hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to showcase the database. Among the speakers was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Policy Kathy Martinez. “WRP provides a pipeline for agencies to bring people with disabilities on board both today and for years to come,” said Martinez in a call-to-action, urging federal agencies to actively hire candidates from the database. A webinar for federal employers will be held on Feb. 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. EST.

Buck Stops With Managers on Hiring By Tom Shoop

February 7, 2012 – Government Executive FedBlog  

At a Government Executive Leadership Briefing this morning, two chief human capital officers at major agencies had a fairly blunt message for federal managers: Get with the program on hiring reform. Asked what was the biggest impediment at this stage to meeting or beating the Obama administration’s goal of driving average time to hire down to 80 days, both John Sepulveda of Veterans Affairs and Robert Buggs of Education pointed the finger at the managers who are ultimately responsible for deciding who they want to add to their teams.  

Full Article  

OPM Proposes Changes in Disability Appointments 

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is proposing to amend its regulations pertaining to the appointment of persons with disabilities. The proposed changes eliminate the requirement that an applicant supply a certification of job readiness and provide clarification on appointments under this authority. In addition, OPM is cognizant of a change in terminology as evinced, for example in “Rosa’s Law,” which Congress enacted in October of 2010. Although Rosa’s Law is not applicable here, it has prompted us to reconsider our own use of terminology, and we propose to substitute the phrase “intellectual disability” for the phrase “mental retardation” throughout this Part, without any change in the intended coverage.

OPM will consider comments received on or before April 9, 2012.  

Click here for today’s FEDERAL REGISTER notice.

Telework Failures By Brittany Ballenstedt

February 6, 2012 – Government Executive  

A major hurdle for federal agencies implementing a 2010 telework law is simply determining which roles and jobs can be completed while working remotely, according to a recent survey by the Congressional Research Service.  

The survey — requested by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and John Sarbanes, D-Md. — found that even as some agencies have a high percentage of desk jobs, many have a fairly prohibitive telework eligibility and low rates of telework participation.  

The Veterans Affairs Department, for example, has classified 87.5 percent of employees as ineligible to telework and failed to provide CRS any detailed information to justify having such high rates of ineligibility. The Homeland Security Department also has classified 70 percent of employees as ineligible for remote work, with an average of just 0.016 percent of employees teleworking during the average pay period, CRS found  

Full Article  

Forum Number 18: Causes of the Chasm: Factors That Impact Employment Among Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, March 15, 2012 • 12:00-1:30 p.m. (rescheduled from February 16)
Mathematica’s Washington, DC, office

John O’Neill, Professor, Hunter College
Lucie Schmidt, Associate Professor, Williams College
Purvi Sevak, Associate Professor, Hunter College
Frank Martin, Researcher, Mathematica  

Register to attend:Register Now (lunch will be provided)
or Via Webinar

More Info


Nike Prosthetic Leg Shoes – The Daily What

Nike Prosthetic Leg Shoes of the Day: Nike is tapping into a new market with a shoe specifically designed for runners with prosthetic legs.

The Nike Sole is designed to fit Össur running blades, like the ones worn by Olympian Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius. It was created in collaboration with triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, the first woman on a prosthetic leg to finish the Ironman World Championships.

It has an outsole and a midsole, like a traditional running shoe, to provide running blade users with a better grip and a more natural stride. The shoe grips the carbon fiber blade using an anchor and a rubber strip.

Full Post

Google HUD Glasses – The Daily What

Google HUD Glasses of the Day: Google is working on a pair of computer-enhanced glasses with a heads-up display (HUD) in one lens, according to a leak obtained by 9to5google.

The glasses are said to have a small front-facing camera to identify objects, take photos, and perhaps work with augmented-reality apps. They’re controlled by head tilts and nods, and the system is said to be surprisingly easy once a user gets accustomed to it.

Read More