Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NPR Radio Program - Talk of the Nation To Feature ADA- July 28, 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time -

Check your local NPR station for the exact time in your area. Call in to NPR with your Comments to 800.989.8255 during the program.

The NPR radio program "Talk of the Nation" will feature the ADA on Wednesday, July 28, at 2:00 P.M. eastern time. The program title is "20 years after the ADA." People with disabilities are encouraged to call in and describe the effect the ADA has had on their lives. The show will air on many local NPR radio stations at 2:00 P.M. eastern time tomorrow, July 28. To call in with your comments during the radio program, dial 800.989.8255.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Disability Awareness - AdCouncil Do Their Part

Official Google Blog: Honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Well... no Google Doodle... but with a little "googling" I was able to discover Google has acknowledged the importance of today.
[Cross-posted on Google Public Policy Blog]

Official Google Blog: Honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Bending, walking, breathing, hearing, seeing and sleeping are simple things that are often taken for granted, as are thinking, learning, and communicating.

Twenty years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This milestone legislation bans persons or companies from discriminating against anyone with limited abilities. It’s hard to imagine a world in which the right to participate in activities commonly enjoyed by the bulk of the population are denied or inadequately accommodated, but that was the case before ADA.

Read more at:

View Now House Judiciary Subcmte. Hearing on Americans with Disabilities Act

The year 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. This hearing on the legislation included House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who played a key role in getting the bill through the house in 1990. Jerrold Nadler chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights.  Four panels present information on CSPAN.
View by clicking here

Washington, DC : 2 hr. 35 min.

President Obama Speaks at the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act Event

 Today’s ADA celebration, which begins at 5:30 Eastern time, will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live. Please log in and share in the celebration. The live stream, barring any technical difficulties, will have available captioning either as picture in picture or another technical setup.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

iPhone/iPad Apps for AAC « Spectronics Blog

 iTunes now offers a multitude of applications (apps) for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad designed for individuals with speech difficulties and more specifically, individuals with autism. In fact National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) receives many proposals by researchers to fund the development of apps for alternative and augmentative communication.   Jane Farrall recently reviewed for « Spectronics Blog  iPhone/iPod touch/iPad Apps for AAC available on the iTunes store.  Her list sorts  apps into three groups -- Apps with symbols/pictures only, Apps with symbols/pictures and text-to-speech and Apps with text-to-speech only.

You may view the list here:

Discover more Assistive Technology news for Mac users at: http://atmac.org/

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Our Story- Celebrate 20 years of Americans with Disabilities

YouTube - ItsOurStoryProject's Channel

Join via Live Streaming on http://www.ada.gov:
Department of Justice Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Friday, July 23, 2010
10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
with Attorney General Eric Holder, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, former Congressman Tony Coelho, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, and presentations by ADA experts who played significant roles in the development and passage of the ADA in 1990.

Justice Department Settles Remainder of Voter Registration Case with State of New York for Violating Rights of Students with Disabilities

Happy ADA Day everyone!! Justice Department Settles Remainder of Voter Registration Case with State of New York for Violating Rights of Students with Disabilities
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a court-approved consent decree which resolves a lawsuit against the state of New York and its public university systems for their failure to provide voter registration services at offices serving students with disabilities at each public university and college campus in New York State.
"The voting process begins with registration and it is essential that all citizens, including individuals with disabilities, have unfettered access to voter registration opportunities," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "This decree ensures that college and university students with disabilities throughout New York State will be able to register to vote as easily and conveniently as possible."
The lawsuit, filed on April 15, 2004, in the U.S. District Court in Syracuse, N.Y., alleged that the state violated Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which in part requires that voter registration services be provided at offices that provide state-funded programs primarily for persons with disabilities. The United States asserted the NVRA applied to disability services offices at New York’s public higher education campuses and that the state violated the NVRA by failing to provide voter registration services to students with disabilities at those offices. In March 2010, the court agreed with the United States and issued an order upholding the United States’ position. The court gave the parties time, however, to negotiate an appropriate remedy to the violation, which resulted in the court-approved consent decree announced today.
Under the consent decree, by the start of the 2010-2011 school year, disability services offices at each public university and college campus in the state will provide voter registration services to students with disabilities. The decree also provides a program for training, oversight, reporting and publicity to ensure continued NVRA compliance at New York’s public universities and colleges.
Congress enacted the NVRA in 1993 in part to enhance citizen participation in elections, including those citizens with disabilities who, because of their disabilities, faced discriminatory barriers to voter registration.
Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be reported to the Justice Department at 1-800-253-3931. More information about the NVRA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting . Additional information regarding other laws regarding citizens with disabilities may be found at www.ada.gov.

Friday, July 16, 2010

No Restraint and Seclusion in IEPs, Protect IDEA Rights! - Wrightslaw.com

No Restraint and Seclusion in IEPs, Protect IDEA Rights! - Wrightslaw.com

Call Senate: No Restraint/Seclusion in IEP; Protect IDEA Rights!

This week, as the Senate drafts its final version of the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, S. 2860, a very dangerous provision is creeping in. The Senate would let school staff put restraint/seclusion in a child’s IEP or 504 plan. Call your Senators now and ask them to reject this proposal. See Instructions below on how to contact Congress.

Senators: Please Do Not Allow Restraint/Seclusion to be Added to the IEP in S.2860. Currently, in both House and Senate bills, Sec. 5(a)(4) forbids including restraint/seclusion in an IEP as a planned intervention. The Senate should not change it. Evidence shows that when student plans contain restraint/seclusion, staff use them as a first resort, not last resort. Restraint/Seclusion provide no educational benefit; instead, they kill, injure, and traumatize. They do not belong in IEPs.

Senators: S. 2860 should require that all students receive IEPs which treat them with dignity, with positive interventions, and appropriate services. These are the techniques that prevent dangerous behavior. They help deescalate hot situations and prevent them from arising. Those in Congress who say they don’t work are wrong. 70% of the parents surveyed in Unsafe in the Schoolhouse (J. Butler, COPAA, 2009) reported that their children received only restraint and seclusion--not positive interventions. The planned Senate bill, while supporting school-wide positive interventions, wouldn’t require positive interventions in individual student plans, but it would permit restraint/seclusion instead.

Senators: The Proposed Amendment to S. 2860 Will Take Away IDEA Rights. Unlike IDEA, 504, and ADA, the Restraint/Seclusion bill has been written to prevent parents from seeking to enforce it in with lawsuits. It is like NCLB and FERPA. By adding a provision permitting restraint/seclusion in IEPs, the bill may be used to prevent parents from challenging those IEPs under the IDEA. This appears to be inadvertent, but it would have a major impact on exercising IDEA rights! The new law (S. 2860) would take precedence over the old law (IDEA).

Parents might be unable to invoke stay put to stop the new IEP; to demand that it not be implemented without their consent; to seek an IEE to challenge elements of it; and to go to mediation and due process to fight it. This will occur unless the Senate puts in language to protect those IDEA IEP rights.

The Senate bill would not require fully informed consent from parents before IEPs include restraint/seclusion. The amendment wouldn't require giving out a notice of procedural safeguards. The Senate bill has no requirement that the IEP team consider medical and psychological contraindications to r/s (e.g., no pressure to a child with brittle bones or chronic pain; sensory issues for children with autism; avoiding physical restraint for an abuse victim).

Putting R/S in an IEP Is NOT necessary to plan for crises.
Some Senators claim that restraint/seclusion should be in an IEPs when a person is in danger of injury and the student has a history of injuring others. They may tell you this when you call them. But the current bills always allow restraint/seclusion to be used when someone is in danger of injury (Sec 5(a)(2). Adding it to the IEP isn't needed to make this effective. Nor is it needed to plan for violent students, a claim made by the amendments supporters. Students who continue to be aggressive need strong positive interventions and solid de-escalation techniques.

The bills already allow schools to undertake school-wide and other safety plans that aren't specific to an individual child (Sec. 4). These will take care of crisis planning needs (e.g. “If a teacher cannot safely move a large child into the seclusion room, Mr. X should be called.”) And certainly nothing in the bill stops staff from talking about what they would do in an emergency. Nor is the IEP IEP provision needed to simply add protections for children to IEPs (e.g., permit a nonverbal child access to assistive technology). The current bill only forbids adding restraint/seclusion as a “planned intervention.” It doesn’t prevent anyone from adding protections to an IEP.

Senators: Schools have the upper-hand in IEP negotiations; parents rarely are equals. Some Senators think that IEP meetings are even-sided negotiations and parents who oppose restraint/seclusion could simply say no. They need to hear from you about how one-sided IEP meetings are. Every person reading this has stories about how unequal IEP meetings are; the Senate needs to hear those. Even if the Senate requires informed consent, parental consent is often coerced and parents are not aware of their rights, or fully informed of the dangers.

Please Call the Senate Now

If you want to impact the amendments being written, now is the time to be heard! The Senate is drafting the amendments now. The professional lobbyists for school districts are making themselves heard. Why not you?

Instructions for Calling Your Senator

  • Always use the bill number, S. 2860, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. Please call; Senators pay more attention to calls. Email may get lost. Use Email only if you must.
  • Dial 202-224-3121 (TTY 202-225-1904) or go to www.senate.gov, click on Senators for contact information (including local numbers). You will have 2 Senators. When you call, ask for their Education or Disability Aide. Leave a detailed voicemail message if they are not available. Be sure to identify the bill by name, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act and use the number, S. 2860.
  • Please call your Senators - but especially if you live in these states on the Senate HELP Committee: AK, AZ, CO, CT, GA, IA, KS , MD, MN, NC, NH, NM, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, UT, VT, WA, WY. If you are in these states, check the HELP Committee website so you call the Senator on the Committee, http://help.senate.gov/. If you have friends or family in the Committee states, please get them to call. And even if you are not in a Committee state, please call. Senators from all over the country are impacting this bill.
  • Call Senator Tom Harkin and ask for his disability counsel (phone 202-224-3254, fax 202-224-9369). Senator Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, http://help.senate.gov/ and has much power over this bill. He needs to hear from parents and advocates from around the country; he certainly is hearing from the other side.

Please feel free to distribute and share this alert as long as you include my signature block below in full.

Jess Butler

About the Author

Jessica Butler, Esquire

As the mother of a child with autism, Jess is currently Congressional Affairs Coordinator for the Autism National Committee (www.autcom.org) which has worked to promote civil rights for people with autism for two decades. She previously was Chair of the Board of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and cochaired its Congressional Affairs efforts from 2004-09, authoring Unsafe in the Schoolhouse, Abuse of Children with Disabilities (COPAA 2009). http://www.copaa.org/pdf/UnsafeCOPAAMay_27_2009.pdf

This alert is a personal statement by Jess and reflects her views.


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Last revised:
Created: 07/15/10

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From The Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities

Message From the Commissioner

As the new Commissioner of ADD, it is my intent to shape our direction by relying on the voices and experiences of individuals with disabilities, their families, their communities, the public, and of course, our DD Network partners. In that spirit, ADD is seeking your input as we begin to consider future plans and how ADD can best meet the diverse needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, and their
families, across the country.

ADD seeks to utilize our resources to work on the priorities of the developmental disabilities community, and we hope to focus our energy on the most pressing and relevant concerns affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families.  As such, we are looking for your thoughts regarding the focus of future Projects of National Significance (PNS).

The purpose of PNS is to:

*       Create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to directly and fully contribute to, and participate in, all facets of community life; and

*       Support the development of national and state policy development, with the support and assistance of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, to reinforce and promote the self-determination, independence, productivity, inclusion, an integration of these individuals into all facets of community life.

What we focus on next depends upon you.

Your challenges, your needs, and your experiences are essential in ensuring that PNS funds will empower successful and forward-thinking projects that address current issues. Ideal PNS efforts are sustainable, can be replicated, promote systems change, and encourage collaboration. They  may include, but are not limited to, initiatives related to family support, data collection, technical assistance, information and referral, self-advocacy support, educating policymakers, federal interagency initiatives, support for the participation of racial and ethnic minorities, youth transition, quality assurance, aging adults and aging caregivers, access to generic community services, community economic development, increased community living options, positive behavioral supports... or, of course, other emerging needs.

With your help, we can best our resources to further ADD's mission, support systems change, and ensure we are prioritizing based upon the needs of the community.

In order to get your input and gain from your experiences and opinions, ADD has posted a web-based survey here (survey will be available online from July 15th - Sep 1st, 2010):

Your voluntary participation will help us design projects that meet your needs and serve your communities. Please feel free to forward this invitation to participate to other interested stakeholders.

I look forward to working with you.



Sharon Lewis
Commissioner, Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Administration on Children and Families
200 Independence Avenue, SW Room 405-D
Washington, DC 20201
voice (202) 690-6590
fax (202) 205-8037
website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/add/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Contest to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The National Disability Institute (NDI) has launched a nationwide video contest encouraging persons with disabilities and their families to capture their American Dream and how they are working to achieve it on video. One grand prize winner of the Defining the New American Dream video contest will receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. for their winning video to be viewed at NDI’s Real Economic Impact Tour’s (REI Tour) National Kick-off at the National Press Club on Oct. 19, 2010.  Entries must be received by August 13, 2010.  

To learn more about the Defining the New American Dream video contest, go to http://dream.realeconomicimpact.org.
National Disability Institute (NDI) is a non-profit, strategic partner working with NCB Capital Impact to promote independence for persons with disabilities.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And Alvaro Del Bosque finally mets his idols,

He had asked his father, coach, Vicente del Bo many times...
His father , coach , Vicente del Bosque, had promised if Spain did well in the World Cup, he would let him board the bus of champions. And yesterday , the technician met that commitment with Alvaro, his son, who has Down syndrome. The boy included in the celebrations was on the bus as a member of the team.  And even in the Moncloa Palace, surrounded by his idols and President Rodríguez Zapatero, he took the Jules Rimet Cup and lifted with a style that envied Iker Casillas.
Álvaro finally fulfilled his dream. He had asked many times to go to Salamanca.
He wanted to know Iniesta , Xavi , Cesc ... Footballers that all dream of being. However, Del Bosque, tanned man, respectful of the code that says that no one outside the group enters the locker room,  the sacred place, stopped him again and again. But the third of his sons, his greatest football fan, asked again, almost pleading. So long ago, had assured him that if they won the title he'd be on the bus.

And it happened. Alvaro, with a blue shirt, like the unforgettable Spanish team dressed in Sunday's game at Soccer City in Johannesburg, the dorsal six on the back and as a sign identifying Del Bosque, Madrid ran side by side/elbow to elbow with the new world champions.

His father, the coach discovered, not offended by it. With one eye following the celebration, and the other watching his son, the coach sat flattered with all the attention surrounding his son. Dream accomplished.  Finally.  After so many times asking Vicente. "I can not deny it. He is obsessed with getting on the bus and this time I'll have to skip the protocol to make your wish a reality, " he said. And he kept it. 

English translation written by Donna Martinez . See original story at: http://tinyurl.com/27t9t7f MUNDIAL SUDAFRICA 2010  Y Álvaro Del Bosque conoció, por fin, a sus ídolos
Se lo había pedido en múltiples ocasiones a su padre, el seleccionador, Vicente del Bosque

13.07.10 - 00:02 / J. M. M. |

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meeting of DPOs and NGOs promoting the implementatation of CRPD

To all interested organizations: The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is convening a meeting of NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) committed to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

The purpose of the meeting is to allow for an exchange of information between IDA and other organizations on their current activities supporting the full and effective implementation of the CRPD.  We are especially interested in having participation from DPOs (Disabled Persons Organizations) working at the national or regional level and human rights and development organizations interested in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in their work.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on August 31st, between 9 am and 1 pm, in New York, in the Double Tree Metropolitan hotel, located at 569 Lexington Avenue.

The date has been chosen assuming that many interested organizations are planning to take part in the third session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD that will start on the day after.

In order to facilitate the planning of the meeting, we would welcome confirmation of attendance via email (stromel@fundaciononce.es) by July 31st.

Hoping to see you in New York.

Diane Richler
International Disability Alliance (IDA)

Please note that a welcome breakfast will be served from 8 am onwards just outside the meeting room.

 International Disability Alliance IDA
Disabled Peoples' International, Down Syndrome International, Inclusion International, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,
Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union,
World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind,
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry,
Arab Organization of Disabled People, European Disability Forum,
Pacific Disability Forum, Red Latinoamericana de Organizaciones no Gubernamentales de Personas con Discapacidad y sus familias (RIADIS)