Disability News Update – February 20 – 26, 2012


USDA Expands Farming for Disabled Americans

Western Farm Press | February 22, 2012

Responding to the needs of a growing population of farmers and ranchers living with a disability, the USDA awarded 23 grants to organizations to help thousands of people with disabilities continue their chosen agricultural professions.

Read the article: USDA Expands Farming for Disabled Americans 

FTA Announces Availability of Veterans Transportation Grants
Applications due April 19, 2012

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the availability of approximately $30 million to create or increase access to local and regional transportation resources that veterans and military families depend on to get to work, school and other destinations. The transit funding would boost access to jobs and training that America's service members need and deserve.

The previous round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living grants, announced in November 2011, provided $34.6 million for 55 projects in 32 states and Guam. Demand for the program was strong, with the Department receiving 70 eligible proposals seeking $52 million in funding requests to create one-click, one-call transportation resource centers around the United States last year.

The second round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grants, funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will continue to help states and communities build or expand one-click, one-call centers that offer comprehensive information on local transportation options and other community services, with just a single phone call or click of the mouse.

The notice of funding availability for the program's second round of grants was published in the Federal Register. Proposals are due on April 19, 2012. A list of the projects that have already been funded under the previous round is available here.
Additional information on the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, including how to apply, is available at www.fta.dot.gov/veterans.

Causes of the Chasm: Factors that Impact Employment Among Persons with Disabilities  A Mathematica Issue Forum and Webcast Presented by the Center for Studying Disability Policy (CSDP)

Approximately 17.5 million working-age people in the United States live with a disability. Just 33 percent of these individuals are employed, compared with 73 percent of those with no disability. Underlying this persistent gap is a wide range of employment rates by disability type and demographic characteristics, but little is systematically understood about which groups have fared relatively well and why. The variation of employment outcomes across subgroups represents an opportunity to identify the factors that may reduce the employment gap and help facilitate the development of more effective policies, programs, and services.

Please join us for a forum on Thursday, March 15, 2012, 12:00 1:30 p.m. (EDT) at Mathematica’s Washington, DC, office 
Please register by 12:00 noon on Friday, March 9, for in-person attendance. All guests attending the in-person event will be required to sign in and present a photo ID.

To attend in person, click here. To attend via webinar, register here.         

Sheltered Workshops Offer Little Benefit, Studies Find by Michelle Diament

Disability Scoop | February 21, 2012 Sheltered workshops are significantly more costly, yet no more effective than supported, competitive employment at ensuring job prospects for individuals with disabilities, new research suggests.

Full Article 

Disability Community Calls for Greater Affirmative Action by Federal Contractors; Bazelon Center Leads Recommendations

Washington — February 23, 2012 — “Under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal contractors are required to take affirmative action in hiring people with disabilities,” stated Jennifer Mathis, deputy legal director for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

“However, current regulations do not require contractors to have goals concerning the number of people with disabilities in their workforces, do not require contractors to collect data that would allow them to evaluate the effectiveness of affirmative action efforts, and rely almost exclusively on voluntary action on the part of the contractors,” explained Mathis.

In December, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed changes to the rules regarding how federal contractors must implement and track nondiscrimination and affirmative action policies for people with disabilities. The proposed regulations would require large contractors to collect anonymous data about how many applicants and employees have disabilities and to ensure that people with disabilities comprise at least 7% of their workforce.

The Bazelon Center has spearheaded a coordinated disability community response to the proposed regulations, writing comments on behalf of 27 organizations and one individual. The Bazelon Center also coordinated efforts to draft and submit similar comments on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), with another 25 organizations signing on to that comment letter.

“Many additional organizations noted support for our comments or used them as a model for their own comments,” stated Mathis. “The comments express support for the proposed regulations and urge OFCCP to make them even stronger in three major ways.”

“First, while the 7% utilization goal for employees with disabilities is a start, a goal of 10% would be more appropriate and eminently achievable.

“Second, we urge OFCCP to include a separate goal for the employment of a more targeted group of individuals with disabilities who have historically had significantly lower employment rates than people with disabilities generally. For example, individuals with mental illnesses, individuals with intellectual disabilities, and blind individuals have experienced extremely low employment rates for years.

“Third, the comments also encourage OFCCP to clarify that contractors may not count toward their utilization goals individuals with disabilities in sheltered workshops with which the contractor has a subcontract; contractors may count only individuals hired into the contractor’s own workforce at regular wages.”

Read the full text of the Bazelon Center comments here. The CCD comments are available here.

Clemson Student Disability Services staff to present at international conferences

Posted February 20, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.

Full Post

Innovative Collaborations between Workforce Boards and Employers Helped Meet Local Needs

Government Accountability Office


Republicans Continue Their Misguided Attack on Workers' Rights

In addition to advancing regressive education policies, Washington Republicans continued their relentless and misguided attacks on workers' rights last week. House and Senate Republicans announced that they are introducing legislation to block a recent National Labor Relations Board rule that reduces the amount of wasteful pre-election maneuvering used by some employers to delay or deny workers' rights to a secret ballot election.

€œWashington Republicans are once again pushing anti-worker special interest legislation instead of addressing the real problems facing our country's economy, Rep. Miller said in response. If successful, this legislation simply encourages frivolous litigation to delay secret ballot elections or to frustrate workers' right to organize. It does nothing to put Americans back to work.

The fact is, the NLRB's reforms are just modest steps forward to help ensure that workers who want a secret ballot election get one without having to endure endless frivolous legal actions. It's time that Washington Republicans end these special interest attacks and work with Democrats to put more Americans back to work.



Board Releases Proposed Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

Access Board | February 9, 2012

The Access Board has released for public comment accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. Developed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the proposed standards address access for people with disabilities to examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other equipment used for diagnostic purposes. The standards are not final and are available for public comment for 120 days.

Read the article: Board Releases Proposed Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

People with learning disabilities deserve a safe NHS

23 February, 2012

We need a national group to champion the care of people with learning disabilities, says Jim Blair

Individuals with learning disabilities are admitted more frequently to hospital compared with the general population. Mencap's report in 2007, Death by Indifference, detailed the stories of six people with learning disabilities who Mencap and their families believed died unnecessarily in healthcare settings. The report focused on the care decisions taken suggesting that they were based on assumptions about learning disability and quality of life, and not on the life-saving interventions required.

Full Post

Health & Disability Advocates Lauds New Labor Dept. Proposal to Boost Federal Contractor Hiring of Qualified Workers with Disabilities

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HDA’s Think Beyond the Label provides tools and resources to help employers recruit prospective job seekers with disabilities

(PRWEB) February 22, 2012

Chicago, Illinois: Health & Disability Advocates, the parent organization of Think Beyond the Label, a public-private partnership that connects businesses to jobs for people with disabilities across the U.S., strongly supports a proposed Department of Labor rule to require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a goal for hiring qualified people with disabilities to 7 percent of their workforce.

“For far too long, businesses have publicly stated their interest in hiring people with disabilities, but for a variety of reasons they have not acted on that interest,” says Barbara Otto, CEO of Health & Disability Advocates. “The proposed rule will provide further incentives for businesses to hire, and with proper guidance and enforcement, will facilitate the increased employment of qualified workers with disabilities.”

Full Release

As state closes mental disability centers, local agencies brace for flood of need

By: Bryan McKenzie | Lynchburg News and Advance Published: February 19, 2012 Updated: February 19, 2012 – 8:42 PM

Virginia will close its training centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the next 10 years, putting more than 1,000 individuals into community-based programs that already have lengthy waiting lists for their services.

Residents in state institutions will return to their communities and to a system of group homes and day programs by 2021 as part of an agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice. The agreement ends legal action against the state started by department. The agreement will phase out four of five state institutions, which currently house about 1,000 residents total.

The state has agreed to provide funding for more than 4,000 additional people to be treated by community services agencies by 2021. But officials admit that will not cover all of the need. Thousands of people across the state have qualified for care in community programs but are receiving minimal treatment because no state funding is available.

Full Article

Turning government data into private sector products is complicated business

By Joseph Marks 02/09/2012

The government launched its massive data set trove Data.gov in 2009 with a clear mission: to put information the government was gathering anyway into the hands of private sector and nonprofit Web and mobile app developers.

Once that data was out, the White House imagined, developers would set about turning it into useful products–optimizing Census Bureau statistics for marketers; Commerce Department data for exporters; and Housing and Urban Development Department information for building contractors, mortgage brokers and insurance adjusters.

Full Article

We're Sexy and We Know It! Webinar for Women with Disabilities

Join us on February 22nd for a Free Webinar on how to take charge of your sexuality and relationships.

3:00pm to 4:00pm EST

Part of the “From Within” series for women: An open and frank presentation which emphasizes how “you are not your disability” and how you can be a sexual and sensual being who can enjoy the holy trilogy of sex.

National Spinal Cord Injury Association's (NSCIA) From Within Webinar Series for Women



The Grassley Proposal: Outlining a New Vision for Ensuring Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Significant Disabilities

In an editorial published in The Hill on February 8th, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) outlined major structural problems with Medicaid, and suggested a new conceptual framework for the provision of long term supports to people with disabilities in the future.

Grassley’s vision encompasses a growing frustration that individuals with disabilities, their families and practitioners of personalized supports have with constrained Medicaid supports that are too often entrenched in archaic models that convey an institutional bias and lack of individual choice. Growing trends in state Medicaid programs transitioning into managed care models are increasing the anxiety of the disability community that personalized supports geared toward optimizing and individual’s opportunities to live and work in the community are going to disappear.


Unlawful Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Caregiving Responsibilities Widespread Problem, Panelists Tell EEOC

AAPD News via HHS (2.15.12)

At a time when most pregnant women want and need to work, and more American workers struggle to balance work and family, discrimination against pregnant women and workers with caregiving responsibilities remains a significant problem, experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at a public meeting today

Full Release

O’Malley, Advocates Participate in Developmental Disabilities Lobby Day

Posted on February 21, 2012  By KELSEY MILLER

ANNAPOLIS (September 21, 2012) — Gov. Martin O’Malley told advocates for the developmentally disabled Tuesday that his proposed budget provides more support for their needs, and that he’ll assure lost millions will be returned to the Developmental Disabilities Administration.

O’Malley spoke to the crowd at the annual Developmental Disabilities Lobby Day about his FY2013 budget priorities, which include an increase of $30 million in total funds for services from the previous year. That brings this year’s total funding to more than $837 million.

Full Post

D.C. class-action nursing-home lawsuit to go forward By Annys Shin

February 14, 2012 – The Washington Post

The District has lost an effort to have a federal judge throw out a class-action suit brought on behalf of nearly 3,000 nursing home residents.

Judge Ellen Huvelle on Tuesday rejected the city's contention that it has complied with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing services to nursing home residents who want to live in the community. The ADA requires states and local governments to provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting possible.

Full Article

Disability advocates recount sterilizations' without consent ny Barbara Miller

Updated February 15, 2012 09:04:17

Disability advocates have recounted distressing tales of disabled women who learn they have been sterilized years after the fact.

It comes as Federal Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes raised concerns about the increasing number of procedures being carried out without court approval.

Stella Young, editor of the ABC’s disability website Ramp Up, says she was almost sterilized as a young child.

“When I was four I was on holiday with my parents in Adelaide and I broke my leg while I was there and they took me to the hospital and they re-set my leg,” she told PM.

Full Article

ADAP Advocacy Association Praises President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget’s Commitment to Cash-Strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Program; Budget proposes $102 million increase to alleviate ADAP waiting lists

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 14, 2012) – The ADAP Advocacy Association, also known as aaa+, today praised President Barack Obama for his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, and its commitment to shoring-up the cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) under the Ryan White CARE Act. Nationwide, as of February 9th, there were 4,111 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States being denied access to appropriate, timely care and treatment on ADAP waiting lists. President Obama is proposing an increase of $102 over the current fiscal year for ADAPs.

“On behalf of the thousands of patients who rely on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, but are being turned away from their life-saving medications, we’re extremely thankful for the President’s commitment to this vital safety-net program,” said Brandon M. Macsata, CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association. “The ADAP Advocacy Association has been calling on the federal government to renew its commitment to ADAP because it has a proven Return on Investment to the taxpayers, as well as providing essential access to care and treatment for those patients who otherwise would not have it. The additional $102 million is a significant step in the right direction.”

Full Release

Office of Rural Health Policy Offers Funding Opportunity

The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of the FY 2012 Public Access to Defibrillation Demonstration Project (PADDP) Grant Program (announcement number: HRSA-12-085). ORHP's PADDP grant program supports projects that will increase public access to emergency medical devices and services. The purpose of this grant program is to 1.) purchase automated external defibrillators (AED) that have been approved, or cleared for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration; 2.) provide basic life training in automated external defibrillator usage through nationally recognized courses; 3.) provide information to community members about the public access defibrillation demonstration project to be funded with the grant; 4.) provide information to the local emergency medical services (EMS) system regarding the placement of AEDs in unique settings; and 5.) further develop strategies to improve access to AEDs in public places.

Applicants may propose funding for up to three (3) years. The maximum award is up to $100,000 per year. We expect to make up to three (3) awards. Eligible applicants must be a political subdivision of a State, a federally recognized Native American Tribe, or a Tribal organization.

Link to funding synopsis

Link to apply

The deadline to submit an application in grants.gov is March 19, 2012. ORHP strongly recommends that applicants submit their applications prior to the due date to avoid any technological problems. All applications have to be submitted electronically in www.grants.gov.

For further questions on this funding opportunity, please contact the program coordinator, Michele Gibson at 301-443-7320 or mpray@hrsa.gov

Health Resources from Reference Points, an activity of TATRA, a project of PACER Center

Transitions Checklist This checklist, developed by Healthy and Ready to Work Center, it is now part of the new National Health Care Transition Center toolkit. Available in English and Spanish, it helps a youth and their family assess and discuss their readiness for transition to adult health care.

Parent Engagement Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health “Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health,” a new resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, synthesizes research and best practices related to parent engagement in schools and describes strategies for connecting with parents, engaging parents in school health activities, and sustaining parent engagement.

Resources for Parents from the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) “Conversation Generation” is an online resource providing parents (and foster parents, guardians, and other parenting and caring adults) with knowledge and skills to help them begin and maintain two-way communication with adolescents about sex, sexuality, and relationships and tips for getting the conversation started. OAH was established through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 to coordinate adolescent health promotion and disease prevention programs and initiatives across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

New Family Guide: Integrating Mental Health and Pediatric Primary Care from NAMI From NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness designed this guide to help families navigate the integrated care landscape. It provides practical information for families on incorporating mental health care into primary care settings.

Also from NAMI: Online Fact Sheets on Childhood and Adolescent Health Conditions These and any more resources for families on mental health issues are available on the NAMI Web site: www.nami.org


2012 National Transition Conference

From May 30 to June 1, join the New England TACE Center and the NIDRR-funded Transitions RRTC for Transitions 2012, a national conference focusing on college and careers for youth with disabilities. This conference brings together youth and young adults, families, educators, voc rehab and employment professionals, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and more to discuss the latest research and information in the field. The call for papers should be out now and registration opens in March. 

Obama’s Budget Leaves Funding Unclear for Disabled College Students Federal funding for a five-year program for students with intellectual disabilities is not guaranteed. By Katy Hopkins

February 14, 2012 RSS Feed Print President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 may signal a murky future for a fledgling program that helps students with intellectual disabilities go to college and succeed while enrolled.   

The Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grant, a five-year plan started in fiscal year 2010, was intended to be the first widespread program to track and analyze best practices for getting students with intellectual disabilities to and through college. With federal funding of about $11 million a year, 27 institutions€”including the University of Kentucky and the University of Delaware€”created model programs with a particular focus on vocational training students need to succeed in the job market.

Full Article

Exquisite: Beauty Is Disability  

Exquisite: Beauty Is Disability strives to redefine the image of disability as another valued aspect of human diversity. Exquisite is a three part project, established by American University student leaders, Allie Cannington and Ki'tay Davidson. Exquisite will address beauty perception, body image, and sexuality in relation to disability through an education panel on ableism awareness, an one-day seminar for women with invisible and visible disabilities and an art gallery featuring the beauty of women with disabilities.

On March 27, 2012, there will be an education panel featuring disability activists and scholars on the issue of ableism and beauty perception of disability.

The following Saturday, March 31, 2012, there will be a one-day intensive workshop for 15-20 young women with all types of disabilities, ages 18-28. The program will feature prominent women in the disability community that will speak and lead group discussions, individualized reflections, and artistic expression. The sessions of the day will consist of disability identity and pride, disability and sexuality, and disability and body image. All portions of the day will conclude with a final art workshop, in which every woman will use a medium of choice to create a self portrait of internal beauty. With written permission, a professional photographer will be taking portraits of each woman to correspond to their art pieces. Overall, this one-day event will work to create a safe environment in which every attendee will work to begin or continue their journeys towards holistically seeing themselves as beautiful.

The final portion of Exquisite will be an art gallery, held in mid April, open to the DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities that feature the workshop participants' art and photographs. The gallery will spread awareness and truth that women with disabilities, of all types and of all backgrounds, are beautiful.

With meaningful goals at hand, we are reaching out to your academic institution to spread the knowledge of Exquisite, as well as to recruit potential workshop participants. The only requirements to register include being of the ages 18-28, identifying as a woman, and having some type of disability, invisible or visible. For more information, please reach Ki'tay Davidson and Allie Cannington at exquisite.disabilities@gmail.com or (202) 643-7245

Applications for New Awards – National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, etc.

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)–Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR Center)

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-13.
Applications Available: February 14, 2012.
Date of Pre-Application Meeting: March 6, 2012.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 16, 2012.

Full Text of Announcement: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-14/html/2012-3414.htm

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project–Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-13.

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program–Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) administered by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice announces a priority for a center on knowledge translation for disability and rehabilitation research (KTDRR Center). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for a competition in fiscal year (FY) 2012 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need.
DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective March 15, 2012.

Full Text of Announcement: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-14/html/2012-3416.htm

Building Inclusive High School Communities

Series Available February 20 through March 20, 2012 — TASH invites you to learn about Building Inclusive High School Communities by participating in this exclusive webinar series featuring leading experts on inclusive education. Creating a truly inclusive high school can be an arduous and complex process, especially as schools already face the challenge of raising academic standards through rigor and high-stakes testing. But as the gateway to adult life, high school should embrace and support all students by creating opportunities for:

  • Self-advocacy
  • Differentiated instruction and Universal Design for Learning
  • Youth Engagement
  • Relationship building and social interactions
  • Engaging in preparation for the quality of life they deserve in the community

This series is intended for anyone interested in developing inclusive schools, including parents of middle and high school students, special and general education teachers, special services staff and directors, school administrators, inclusive facilitators and other personnel.

Download the webinar flyer or learn more online at www.tash.org/webinar 

Scholarship Opportunities – Disabiliy.gov 



Windows 8 adds more features to help disabled users

February 15, 2012 2:26 PM – Sean Ludwig 

Microsoft will be adding new features to its upcoming Windows 8 operating system designed to help people with disabilities navigate and better use the OS, the company said in a blog post Tuesday.  

€œWindows 8 is a product we design for an incredibly broad spectrum of people around the world, wrote Microsoft Windows head Steven Sinofsky. One of the areas where we have worked to deliver an even greater level of innovation is in ensuring that Windows 8, particularly the new Metro style experience, is accessible to everyone regardless of their physical abilities.  

Microsoft will be adding features such as an updated version of Magnifier, which helps people with low vision. This product is actually in Windows 7, but the company admits there are still a few issues that need to be fixed with high contrast colors. You can see Magnifier in action above pin-pointing a certain part of the Windows 8 screen.  

Full Article

Smartphone app helps people with a disability access the city By Kent Sutherland

07:38 February 15, 2012  

How do you figure out how to pilot a wheelchair around your city? Around 10 percent or more of the population live with a disability, so chances are that you, or someone you know, has this problem. You can’t be certain if wheelchair access is available unless you laboriously phone ahead to inquire for every route and every destination. Some web information is available, but knowing where to find it and what search strings to use can be a real challenge. Enter the Ldn Access smartphone app, that helps people with disabilities easily find where there are step-free access ramps, usable toilet facilities, and other services for the disabled.  

Full Article  

AAPD’s Hearne Leadership Award Winners Announced – Advocate and Entrepreneur to be honored at March 21 Event 

Feb. 14, 2012, 2:09 p.m. EST   

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce Mark Barlet and Amber Smock as the winners of the prestigious 2012 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award.   

Barlet, of Harper’s Ferry, WV and Smock, of Chicago, IL will be presented with their awards, which are given to emerging leaders within the national cross-disability community, at the 2012 AAPD Leadership Gala, an awards ceremony and dinner, on March 21, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C. The two were chosen by a national advisory committee to receive $10,000 each to further their work in the disability community.   

AAPD’s Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award carries on the work of one of AAPD’s founders, Paul G. Hearne, a renowned leader in the national disability community and realizes his goal of cultivating emerging disability rights leaders.   

Full Release  

Technological Innovations in Transportation for People with Disabilities- February 23

This Federal Highway Administration report presents the results of a workshop on February 23, 2011 held to explore technological innovations in accessible transportation and to better understand the requirements of pedestrians and travelers with visual impairments or other mobility disabilities. The workshop brought together a panel of speakers made up of disability experts, academic professionals, transportation industry experts, and other professionals to discuss applications of technology for accessible transportation, identify knowledge gaps and opportunities, and highlight barriers to implementation.


Abilities Expo, The Nation’s Largest Event for People With Disabilities and Their Caregivers, is Coming to Atlanta on February 17-19

Feb. 9, 2012, 9:06 a.m. EST 

ATLANTA, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — More than three thousand visitors–people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals–are expected to attend Abilities Expo on Friday, February 17, through Sunday, February 19, 2012 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Admission is free and show hours are Friday 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm.   

Abilities Expo has put together an impressive line-up of exhibits, workshops, celebrities, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities–including physical, learning, development and sensory disabilities. Complimentary loaner scooters and wheelchair repair will also be available onsite during show hours.   

“It is our privilege to provide this forum for the Community of people with disabilities in Atlanta to come together and gain access to life-enhancing technologies, education and resources,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “Between the adaptive events, the dynamic workshops and the thousands of products and services on display…this is a must-attend event for everyone in the Community.”

 Full Release



From the White House

Helping People with Disabilities and the 2013 Budget

Posted by Francesca L. de Quesada on February 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM EST

President Obama laid out a blueprint in his State of the Union address for an economy that's built to last an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.  The President released a budget that illustrates how we put that blueprint to work.

Yesterday in his message to Congress, the President explained that we are in a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get there. The Budget targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security: education and skills for American workers, innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and infrastructure. It is built around the idea that our country does best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

Full Article

Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities

We now face a make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. After decades of eroding middle-class security as those at the very top saw their incomes rise as never before and after a historic recession that plunged our economy into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover, it is time to construct an economy that is built to last. The President's 2013 Budget is built around the idea that our country does best when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We must transform our economy from one focused on speculating, spending, and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating, and building. That begins with putting the Nation on a path to living within our means by cutting wasteful spending, asking all Americans to shoulder their fair share, and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. The Budget targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security: education and skills for American workers, innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and infrastructure. The Budget is a blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.

To expand opportunities for people with disabilities, the 2013 Budget will:

Full Article

On the Hill

The Grassley Proposal: Outlining a New Vision for Ensuring Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Significant Disabilities

In an editorial published in The Hill on February 8th, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) outlined major structural problems with Medicaid, and suggested a new conceptual framework for the provision of long term supports to people with disabilities in the future.

Grassley’s vision encompasses a growing frustration that individuals with disabilities, their families and practitioners of personalized supports have with constrained Medicaid supports that are too often entrenched in archaic models that convey an institutional bias and lack of individual choice. Growing trends in state Medicaid programs transitioning into managed care models are increasing the anxiety of the disability community that personalized supports geared toward optimizing and individual’s opportunities to live and work in the community are going to disappear.


From the Federal Register

Education Department
Applications for New Awards:  
  Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program ,  
  82288233 [20123421]


  National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, etc. ,  
  82238228 [20123414]


Final Priority:  
  National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, etc. ,  
  82348236 [20123416]


National Institutes of Health
  8889 [20123445]


  National Institute of Mental Health ,  
  8890 [20123428]


  National Institute on Aging ,  
  88898890 [20123453]


  National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders ,  
  8888 [20123544]


  88878888 [20123569]



Blogs and Social Media

Disability Advocates Press Case for ABLE with Congress

February 16, 2012 Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks joined with advocates from the nation's other leading disability organizations today to make the case before Congress for ABLE€”a bill that would allow families raising children with disabilities to save tax-free for their future needs. The briefing was organized by Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) all cosponsors of HR.3423, the House version of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. A panel of disability experts, including Stuart Spielman, senior policy counsel with Autism Speaks, addressed the briefing.

Full Post

Disabled America

Slate | February 22, 2012 By Matthew Yglesias

The U.S. government has two main programs that give money to nonelderly, nonworking adults. One is unemployment insurance, which you only get if you’re actively seeking a job, and the other is disability insurance, which you only get if you’re physically or mentally unable to work. In theory those should be hermetically sealed populations.

Read the blog: Disabled America


Sheltered Workshops Offer Little Benefit, Studies Find

Disability Scoop | February 21, 2012 By Michelle Diament

Sheltered workshops are significantly more costly, yet no more effective than supported, competitive employment at ensuring job prospects for individuals with disabilities, new research suggests.

Read the article: Sheltered Workshops Offer Little Benefit, Studies Find

UT Named One of America's Most Disability-Friendly Colleges By Rose Cahalan in 40 Acres, Special on February 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm

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Minorities Show More Severe Signs Of Autism By Michelle Diament

Disability Scoop – February 23, 2012

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Book by Fred Pelka offers history of disability rights movement

By STEVE PFARRER Staff Writer The Amherst Bulletin Friday, February 24, 2012

Today, most people don’t think twice about the accommodations that give people with disabilities greater access to the public sphere. Wheelchair lifts on buses and vans. Ramps and railings outside buildings and curb cuts on streets. Sign language interpreters in courtrooms. Children with physical or developmental disabilities in regular classrooms.

But 50 and 60 years ago – or even more recently – that was hardly the case. There were separate schools for children with disabilities, with grim, Dickensian names like Boston’s Industrial School for Crippled Children. People with mental illness were locked up in facilities more like jails than medical institutions. Using a wheelchair restricted access to most public buildings and transportation.

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Motor Impairments Core Feature Of Autism By Shaun Heasley

Disability Scoop – February 21, 2012

Kids with autism often have difficulty with everyday activities like running and writing. Now, researchers say they've linked these motor skills troubles with the presence of autism itself.  The finding reported in the journal Autism offers firm evidence that motor skills difficulty is related to autism, not something that simply runs in families, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis said.

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AAPD News February 21, 2012


AAPD News – February 24, 2012


Ed Labor Insider – 2.23.2012


ePolicyWorks This Week in the News

February 23, 2012


ODEP News Brief – February 24, 2012


Governor Rick Scott Proclaims The Month of March as Disabilities Awareness Month

The following is what is written on the document that was signed by Governor Rick Scott on February 20th 2012

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

WHEREAS, people born with developmental disabilities are a part of every community, socioeconomic class, religion and country; and

WHEREAS, developmental disabilities are natural parts of the human experience that should not diminish the rights of individuals to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to communities, and experience the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstreams of society; and

WHEREAS, more than 40 million Americans have developmental disabilities, resulting in substantial limitations in self care, communications, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida supports more than 50,00 citizens with developmental disabilities through services provided by state agencies, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Division of Blind Services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida also works with dozens of partner organizations and thousands of private-sector and community providers to support those with developmental disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Florida provides citizens with developmental disabilities the opportunities and support to make informed choices, live in their communities, exercise their rights, pursue productive lives, contribute to their city, state and nation, and achieve full inclusion in society.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend greetings and the beast wishes to all observing March 2012 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.