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 A publication of the New England ADA Center                          January 2013

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May 12-15
San Antonio, Texas
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Whithouse Graphic White House:  Sports Are a Civil Right - Schools Must Open Sports to Disabled

The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the USA that they must give disabled students equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making.

In a letter to schools due out Friday, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow disabled students to participate - for instance, providing a deaf track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear. 

BAC Entrance Before and After Renovation
BAC main entrance before and after renovation.
IHCD Helps Boston Architectural College Renovate and Improve Access to 951 Boylston Street 

The Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) is pleased to announce the opening of 951 Boylston Street by the Boston Architectural College in December.  IHCD designed the renovation of this historic Richardsonian police station, later used as the first Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston.  
The renovation was done in three phases with the second and third floors renovated to provide eight studios on each floor completed in 2008.  In 2009 the project was suspended and restarted in 2012 in order to complete the first level, mezzanine and exterior renovations/restoration. The renovation integrates environmental sustainability and universal design with historic preservation.  Five artisans who are alumni of North Bennett Street School collaborated on the project along with Coco Raynes Associates, Cyr Sign, the LIghting Research Center at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Acentech. Corporate partners included Toto, Hafele and Humanscale.
Vermont Agency of Education Building Accessibility Must Be Maintained Even in the Face of Security Concerns
The  Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) recently sent out the following announcement regarding security plans and accessibility:
It has come to Secretary Vilaseca's attention that heightened security concerns resulting from the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut have caused some schools to lock doors, intended as accessible entrances for visitors with disabilities, during school hours and when the building is in use for public events. This is a reminder that, under both state and federal law, schools must be accessible at these times. If you have questions about these requirements and/or would like technical assistance in meeting accessibility requirements please contact Kim Brittenham, Civil Rights Manager, Vermont Center for Independent Living, at (800) 639-1522 or
New Hampshire State Seal New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Disability Plans Educational Presentations in 2013
One of the core responsibilities of the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Disability (GCD) is to educate both state and private business and the general public about the Americans with Disability Act and the five Titles. One way of filling this responsibility is the effort of the GCD staff to coordinate the ADA Coalition. At the March (2012) meeting the Coalition agreed to revisit its mission and restructure its meeting to facilitate:
  • Increased involvement of professionals in understanding ADA principles,
  • To share with each other ADA activities and resources,
  • Increase our collaboration efforts by working together on a work plan for 2012-13 and
  • Increase ADA awareness for NH citizens and individuals with disabilities.
If you would like more information please send an email to Carol.Conforti-Adams@NH.Gov. Read more about the Commission's plans in 2013.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Graphic
Maine Childcare Worker Claims Hearing Loss Led to Firing
A Friendship, Maine woman who worked 31 years at a local nursery school claims she was fired after the Maine Department of Human Services refused to relicense the facility with her as an employee because of her hearing loss.

In response, Rosemary S. Kelley is suing the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' division of licensing and regulatory services, and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

The federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Dec. 21 argues that the state's actions violated the Maine Human Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the federal Rehabilitation Act. Read the full story.
Boston Centers for Youth and Families Graphic Boston Centers for Youth and Families Job Fair Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Boston Centers for Youth and Families is hosting its first-ever job fair for youth, and teens with disabilities are encouraged to attend! 
The event will feature over 100 organizations who will talk about possible jobs, and some will conduct interviews on-site! The Job Fair is being held on Saturday, February 16, from 11:30 until 2 p.m. at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.
Commissioner Kristen McCosh will be in attendance to support any youth with disabilities who need accommodations or have questions about employment or accessibility.

For more information call (617) 635-4202 or view the flyer for the event here.

Visit the website for Boston Centers for Youth and Families.

Teens can also apply to work with the Boston Youth Fund this summer. For more information about this opportunity, please see the HOPELINE flyer, or visit the Boston Youth Fund website.
New Hampshire Governors Commission on Disability Banner
Invitation to Join an Architectural Plan Reading Primer in Concord, New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Disabilities and the New England ADA Center are jointly offering a three-hour primer in architectural plan reading. The target audience is individuals with disabilities and their family members, area agency advocates, builders and contractors.

Participants are invited to bring parts of existing plans and will have the opportunity to review them so that the primer is immediately useful.

The training will take place Wednesday, February 27, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 57 Regional Drive in Concord, New Hampshire in the Board of Pharmacy Conference Room.

If you would like to take part, please RSVP by February 20, 2013 to Jillian Shedd, Accessibility Specialist at 603-271-4177 or via email at

Easter Seals Assistive Technology Regional Centers Graphic Easter Seals Upcoming Assistive Technology Events - All events are Free
February 7 Thursday 10:00-12:00 Courtney Hildebrand from Toby Churchill will demonstrate the company's communication devices, including the popular LightWriter SL40 Connect and the new Swift.

AppShare - We are starting a brand new series called "AppShare". These are drop-in times for people to come into our center with their devices (both Apple and Android) to share and learn about apps in an informal and relaxed setting. If you enjoy talking about apps or want to learn about new ones - this is the place to be! All AppShare days are on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Drop-in times are 11:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-2:00pm.

Feb. 14, 2013    Academics - Gr. K-5
Mar. 14, 2013   Early Childhood
April 11, 2013    TBA
May 9, 2013       TBA

To register or for more information, contact Easter Seals at:
Assistive Technology Regional Center
89 South Street
Boston, MA 02111
Accommodations available upon request. 
Lesley University Graphic Justice Department and Lesley University Agree to Ensure Meal Plan Is Inclusive of Students with Celiac Disease
The Justice Department today announced an agreement with Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to ensure that students with celiac disease and other food allergies can fully and equally enjoy the university's meal plan and food services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The settlement agreement was reached under the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public accommodations, including colleges and universities, in their full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and facilities. Read more
Seal of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Boston Property Owner Settles Claims of Housing Discrimination Against Tenant with Assistance Dog
A property owner from Newton has agreed to pay $15,000 and make extensive policy changes at his businesses, settling allegations that a manager at one of his apartment complexes discriminated against a disabled tenant with an assistance dog. Read more.
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Stories from Other States 

NIDRR Logo NIDRR Co-Sponsors New Study on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth

The Institute of Medicine's Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, with support from multiple agencies and organizations including The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), will study and report on sports-related concussions in youth, from elementary school through young adulthood, including military personnel and their dependents. Read more.

National Center for Parents with Disabilities and Their Families Graphic Participate in the National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families Fall 2013 Scholarship

The NIDRR-funded National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families and Through the Looking Glass are now accepting applications for the Fall 2013 scholarship program. The program is open to college students currently enrolled in, or high school seniors planning to attend a two- or four-year college in Fall 2013, who have at least one parent with a disability. Essays and applications are due March 11, 2013. Selection criteria, application packages, and frequently asked questions are available from the project website. View the announcement and application.

National Institutes of Health Logo
U.S. Launches Extensive Alzheimer's Studies in Search for New Treatments

Four U.S. government-funded clinical trials will search for new therapies for Alzheimer's disease.
The five-year effort will look at drug and exercise treatments for patients with early stage disease, test if the generic drug prazosin can reduce agitation in Alzheimer's patients, and examine a new approach to speed testing of drugs in clinical trials. 
The trials, which could cost as much as $55 million, are projects of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a consortium of academic medical centers and clinics established in 1991 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Read the full story.


OFCCP Logo Department of Labor Releases Regulatory Agenda

The NIDRR The Department of Labor recently released its fall 2012 Regulatory Agenda, including the agenda of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Chief among the OFCCP's projections is the publication of final regulations governing affirmative action for veterans and persons with disabilities with an anticipated date of April 2013. Some of the new elements of these proposed requirements include the development of detailed written accommodation procedures as part of the Affirmative Action Plan and invitation for applicants to self-identify as a protected veteran and/or an individual with a disability. Read the full story.

U.S. Access Board Logo
New Online ABA Complaint Form Available for Public Review

The ABA, one of the first laws passed by Congress addressing access for people with disabilities, requires that federally funded facilities be accessible according to established standards. The law applies to facilities designed, built or altered with Federal dollars or leased by Federal agencies. The ABA covers a wide range of government buildings, including post offices, social security offices, and Federal office buildings.

The new online submission form will make it easier and more convenient for the public to file ABA complaints with the Board. It also will improve how the Board monitors and tracks complaints. Members of the public are invited to view and try out the proposed complaint form which is available for comment until February 15. Read more.

For further information, contact Lisa Fairhall at, or visit the Board's website.
HUD Logo HUD Awards Grants in Nine States to Convert Apartments into Assisted Living Facilities
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $26 million in grants to the owners of multi-family housing developments for elderly residents in nine states. HUD's Assisted Living Conversion Program grants provide private, nonprofit owners of eligible developments with resources to convert units into an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or Service-Enriched Housing (SEH) for elderly residents seeking to age in place. Read more.
US Department of Justice Logo Crime against Persons with Disabilities: 2009 - 2011 Statistical Report
The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics report highlights estimates of nonfatal violent crime (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault) against people age 12 or older with disabilities from 2009 to 2011. Among the statistics reported is that for females with disabilities, the rate of violence was 53 per 1,000 in 2011, compared to 17 per 1,000 for females without disabilities. Read more.
amazon logo Consumer Groups File Complaint Against Amazon for Failing to Provide Internet Captioning

Deaf and hard of hearing consumer groups filed a complaint at the FCC against Amazon claiming violation of new FCC Internet captioning requirements. Television shown online without the captioning included top programs such as "Fringe," "CSI: NY," "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," and "Revolution."  The new rules state that beginning on September 30, 2012, most full-length, non-live video programming published or exhibited on television with captions must also include closed captions when delivered online. Read the full story.
Whithouse Graphic
White House to Respond to Sign Language Petition
A grass-roots effort calling on the U.S. government to formally recognize American Sign Language is poised to get an official response from the Obama administration.

More than 32,000 people from across the country signed a petition on the White House website this fall seeking to gain stature for the visual language. The Obama's administration has pledged to provide an official reply to any petition on the site that attracts at least 25,000 signatures within 30 days. Read the full story

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The New England ADA Center is a member of the ADA National Network funded by US Department of Education through National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research Grant # H133A110028.