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March 27, 2015

Canada Post's Massive 2014 Profit Confirms: No Need To Withdraw Door-to-door Delivery - PRNewswire

OTTAWA, March 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Canada Post Group reported a massive profit from operations of $299 Million for 2014. The Canada Post segment reported profit from operations of $204 M and a profit before tax of $194 M. "This is affirming news for our members," said Denis...



PSAC achieves an agreement with Treasury Board on mental health task force - PRNewswire

OTTAWA, March 27, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - PSAC is very pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Treasury Board on the establishment of a joint task force on mental health. PSAC tabled the proposal in January to ensure a more proactive approach to improving mental health....



CHINA AID, the 10th China International Exhibition of Senior Care, Rehabilitation Medicine and Healthcare to be held in April - PRNewswire
SHANGHAI, March 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CHINA AID, the 10th China International Exhibition of Senior Care, Rehabilitation Medicine and Healthcare, second to none in China's senior service industry, will be held at Shanghai New International Expo Center on 22-24 April. On 25 February,...

GI Troubles May Be Early Sign Of Autism - DisabiltyScoop
Gastrointestinal issues common among many on the spectrum are often apparent in infancy -- well before individuals are diagnosed with the developmental disorder, researchers say.

Disability No Barrier For New White House Receptionist - DisabiltyScoop
Charged with welcoming world leaders and handling the official guest book, the newly-appointed White House receptionist just happens to be deaf.

North Dakota Passes ABLE Program - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

North Dakota's Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, HB 1373, has passed both chambers of the legislature and is now headed to Governor Jack Dalrymple. Once enacted, North Dakota will become the second state to enact ABLE legislation in 2015.

March 27, 2015

BISMARCK –North Dakota's Achievinga Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act,HB 1373, has passed both chambers of the legislature and is now headed to Governor Jack Dalrymple. Once enacted, North Dakota will become the second state to enact ABLE legislation in 2015. HB 1373, was sponsored by Reps. Mark Dosch (R-Bismarck) and Rep. Wayne Trottier (R-Northwood) in the House and and Sen. Kyle Davison (R-Fargo) in the Senate.

ABLE accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, allow families to invest in tax-free savings accounts for disability related expenses . Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 would not qualify orwould risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits. Enacted late last year, the federalABLE Actamended the tax code to disregard the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities for ABLE qualified programs.

“We are thrilled that North Dakota families are one step closer to having the opportunity to set money aside to plan for their children's future,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Adviser and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are very hopeful that Governor Dalrymple will sign the legislation in short order.”

Virginia, Louisiana and Massachusetts have already enacted legislation and West Virginia and Utah have passed ABLE in both state chambers. Additional states with pending legislation include the following: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

March 26, 2015

United Spinal Association's Advocacy Alliance Strengthens Voice of Wheelchair Users to Create Policy Change - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association, the single, largest membership organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with spinal cord injuries and diseases (SCI/D) nationwide, today announced the launch of its Advocacy Alliance,...



Teachers Fight Special Needs Accommodation - DisabiltyScoop
A teachers group is fighting a plan to allow a student with a disability to use a faculty restroom, all because they say the accommodation violates their right to exclusive facilities.

Georgia Autism Insurance Reform Deal Reached - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Chairman Charlie Bethel and Richard Smith announced at a joint press conference at the Georgia State Capitol that a deal has been reached to pass autism insurance reform SB 1, better known as Ava's Law, which had been held up in the House Insurance Committee.

March 26, 2015

ATLANTA— Chairman Charlie Bethel and Richard Smith announced at a joint press conference at the Georgia State Capitol that a deal has been reached to pass autism insurance reform SB 1, better known as Ava's Law, which had been held up in the House Insurance Committee. If passed and signed, Georgia could become the 41st state in the country to pass reforms that require coverage for autism related medical services.

“Today's announcement on autism insurance is a victory for thousands of children with autism living across Georgia who would receive the medical treatment they deserve under Ava's Law. We are grateful to both the Senate and House for passing this important legislation. Once signed into law, it will make a difference for so many families struggling to access affordable care for their loved ones,” said Judith Ursitti director of state government affairs at Autism Speaks.

The announcement was made after grassroots activists across the state took to social media and put in thousands of calls, emails and visits, leadership announced a deal had been struck.

“After seven years, I am ecstatic that Georgia children with autism will finally have the coverage they need. Thank you to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Senator Charlie Bethel and Rep. Richard Smith for working to find a path forward in Georgia,” said Anna Bullard, mother of Ava Bullard for whom the law is named.

Both chairmen indicated the law would go into effect later this year after being voted on in the Senate which already passed the non-amended version unanimously earlier this year. The end of the legislative session is on April 2 and coincides with Light It Up Blue, an international awareness campaign that kicks off Autism Awareness Month.


Leaky Roof Repaired, Thanks to SNAP Grant From BankPlus and FHLB Dallas - PRNewswire

JACKSON, Miss., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When it was raining outside at Jenice Luckett's home, her grandchildren would say, "Grandma, it's raining in your living room!" All she could do to keep the rain from destroying her home was to put pots on the floor. A tornado had...



Natchez Resident Receives New Roof Thanks to SNAP Grant from Concordia Bank and FHLB Dallas - PRNewswire

NATCHEZ, Miss., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Johnny Hardin's blood pressure rose every time it rained. His leaky roof caused him significant stress and extra work. He had to use kitchen pots to capture the water leaking from his roof into his 1930s home in the historic...


March 25, 2015

Disability-Related Education Complaints Trending Up - DisabiltyScoop
Federal education officials are fielding an increasing number of complaints related to disability discrimination in the nation's schools.
March 24, 2015

10 Albums - One Finger - PRNewswire

EAST LANSING, Mich., March 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Lee Abramson (http://leeabramson.com/) continues to defy all odds and inspire those around him with his limitless passion and creativity. Using just one finger, a touchpad and music notation software, he produces genre-crossing...



Despite Setback, Feds Push Forward On Caregiver Pay Protections - DisabiltyScoop
The Obama administration is pressing states to be ready to provide minimum wage and overtime pay to in-home care workers assisting people with disabilities.

Movie Featuring Actor With Down Syndrome Set For Wide Release - DisabiltyScoop
A film starring a man with Down syndrome is set for a nationwide release this spring.

Supreme Court Considers Police Obligations Under ADA - DisabiltyScoop
In a case before the nation's high court, justices are weighing the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act during encounters with law enforcement.
March 23, 2015

U.S. Senator Cory Booker Guest of Honor at Friendship Circle Banquet - PRNewswire
LIVINGSTON, N.J., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will be a special guest of honor at this year's annual Friendship Circle Banquet in Livingston, N.J. The senator's dedication to improving the lives of people throughout the state of New Jersey...

ABLE Act Proposes a Better Economic Future for Californians with Disabilities - PRNewswire
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, many Californians with disabilities may be allowed to save more than $2,000 without losing their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other public benefits. If legislated in California, the...

National Telecommuting Institute Files Suit Against the AbilityOne Commission - PRNewswire

BOSTON, March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a lawsuit filed Friday, March 20, 2015 in the United States Court of Federal Claims – Case No.: 1:15-cv-00293-TCW, by nonprofit National Telecommuting Institute (NTI), the federal jobs program AbilityOne and its advisor,...



Pennsylvania Support Service Providers to People Who are Deaf-Blind Participate in Training - PRNewswire

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, and the Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, in conjunction with the Statewide Independent Living...



High-powered lineup of swimmers nominated to Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games Team - PRNewswire

TORONTO, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The first athletes have been nominated for selection to the Canadian Paralympic Committee for its Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games Team. Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young announced this morning the names of 40 swimmers at a poolside ceremony at the...



Maria Menounos Named Global Ambassador by Special Olympics - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Special Olympics announced today that author and television personality Maria Menounos of E! is joining the Special Olympics family as the movement's newest Global Ambassador. Menounos will support Special Olympics by leading a...



Green Cures & Botanical Distribution Inc. announces Rico Suave Energy now available on Amazon.com - PRNewswire

WINNETKA, Calif., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Green Cures & Botanical Distribution Inc. (OTC Pink: GRCU) ("Green Cures"), a cannabis and industrial hemp products innovator, announced today that Rico Suave Energy drink/supplement infused with hemp is now available for purchase...



Employers Learn To Embrace Disability Hiring - DisabiltyScoop
Efforts to increase work opportunities for people with developmental disabilities are largely centering on changing attitudes among employers.

2015 UCEDD Leadership Institute - Deadline Extended! - AUCD
After another successful year, the UCEDD Leadership Institute will be back in 2015! Please consider recommending your staff for the 2015 class of future UCEDD leaders representing the full diversity of the country.

UCP Signs on to Letter to Congress Supporting the ACA - UPC
In time for the 5th anniversary of President Barak Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, UCP has signed on to a letter expressing our support for maintaining affordable access to comprehensive health insurance coverage for people …
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La Conferencia de la ONU en Sendai adopta un marco de acción sobre la reducción del riesgo en los desastres, incorporando perspectivas inclusivas de los discapacitados - PRNewswire

TOKIO, 19 marzo de 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- La Tercera Conferencia Mundial de la ONU sobre la Reducción del Riesgo en los Desastres, fue celebrada entre el 14 y 18 de marzo de 2015 en Sendai, Prefectura de Miyagi. Por primera vez, una de sus sesiones de trabajo estuvo enfocada en la...


March 22, 2015

South Dakota Governor Signs Autism Insurance Bill - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

PIERRE- South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed SB.190, a bill to require coverage for autism related medical care including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children up to 18 years of age.

March 19, 2015

PIERRE- South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed SB.190, a bill to require coverage for autism related medical care including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children up to 18 years of age.

“We applaud the hard work by our advocates and South Dakota leaders who worked to improve the terms of autism insurance coverage. This bill will help many families throughout South Dakota and is an important step for South Dakota families affected by autism,” said Lorri Unumb, Vice President of State Government Affairs at Autism Speaks.

SB.190 sets an annual minimum benefit for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) at $36,000 for children through the age of six, $25,000 from ages seven to 13, and $12,500 for ages 14-18. The bill requires ABA therapy, but only by providers with master's or doctoral degrees. The bill also includes a provision for a workgroup to consider additional coverage options.

The legislation was sponsored by Senators Alan Salano, Corey Brown and Time Rave and Representatives Scott Munsterman, Justin Cronin, Brian Gosch, and Steve Westra. South Dakota joins 38 other states that have passed laws requiring insurance coverage for those with autism.

March 20, 2015

Pennsylvania Receives $8.5 Million HUD Award to Provide Permanent Homes and Services to Low-Income Individuals with Disabilities - PRNewswire
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an $8,557,014 award to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) to prevent individuals with...

Churches Work To Include People With Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
With greater awareness and education, religious leaders are increasingly looking for ways to welcome people with disabilities and their families.

Conferência da ONU em Sendai adota plano de ação para redução de riscos de desastres incorporando perspectivas que incluem deficientes - PRNewswire

TÓQUIO, 19 de março de 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A terceira Conferência Mundial da ONU sobre Redução de Riscos de Desastres foi realizada de 14 a 18 de março de 2015 em Sendai, Prefeitura de Miyagi e pela primeira vez teve como foco nas suas sessões de...



UCP ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE - UPC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org UCP ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE Annual awards honor exceptional people, programs and partnerships across the UCP affiliate network Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is honored to announce the …
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WORLD CP DAY 2014 IDEAS ANNOUNCED - UPC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      CONTACT:   January 20, 2014                                                                Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175                                                                                                                  krichards@ucp.org $50,000 prize pool for anyone who can bring the ideas to life! More than 400 ideas submitted through “Change My World in 1 Minute” contest to help people with disabilities around …
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UCP RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES - UPC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org UCP RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES  8th annual Case for Inclusion report ranks, compares states on Medicaid outcomes Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) …
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Former Deputy Secretary of Labor, LinkedIn VP, Business Leader to Contribute to UCP's Mission - UPC
  United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) elected ten members to its Board of Trustees during its 2014 Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee including three members new to the organization. Seth Harris, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, Pablo Chavez, LinkedIn's Vice …
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Father and Son Racing Duo Inspire Teams to Get Active, Support UCP - UPC
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is honored to announce that Team Hoyt, Rick Hoyt of Sturbridge, MA and Dick Hoyt of Holland, MA, will serve as the 2014 Steptember event Ambassadors. Steptember is a four-week event to raise awareness and support for …
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Accomplished Cross-Sector Leader Named UCP Chair - UPC
Effective October 1, United Cerebral Palsy’s Board of Trustees welcomed new members and several new officers to help lead the national nonprofit organization for people with disabilities and their families. UCP has more than 80 affiliates in the U.S. and internationally. Gloria …
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USAID Gives $2.2 Million to UCP Wheels for Humanity - UPC
UCP Wheels for Humanity (UCP Wheels), a subsidiary of United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties, has received a $2.2 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and JSI Research & Training Institute to support …
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New Resource for People with Disabilities Driven by Community - UPC
Washington, D.C. (January 6, 2015) –UCP is pleased to introduce a new community-driven resource for people with disabilities called My Life Without Limits. This initiative is a natural companion to UCP's My Child Without Limits program, which was developed for the parents and family …
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AUCD Selects Five Training Programs to Address Diversity and Inclusion of Family Members - AUCD
ITAC has selected five Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training programs to receive up to $7,000 each in supplemental funding to address priority technical assistance needs. Three projects will address trainee diversity, while the remaining two focus on the support and inclusion of family trainees and faculty.

Design Innovation Program Wins Grant from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation - UPC
United Cerebral Palsy’s Life Labs to Take Universal Design Thinking to Apple's iTunes U Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2015) – United Cerebral Palsy's (UCP) Life Labs initiative was  awarded a significant grant from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The grant will help fund …
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Andrew Imparato Visit Kicks Off the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (TN-UCEDD, LEND) 50th Anniversary Festivities - AUCD
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 and kicked off the festivities with a highly anticipated lecture by Andrew Imparato, J.D., executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Imparato delivered the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative lecture titled "The Future of Disability Policy," and spent two days with a packed schedule of conversations with VKC leadership, faculty, staff, and community partners.

February is Discipline Focus Month for Trainee Liaisons - AUCD
February is dedicated to learning more about different disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. Learning about other disciplines helps us become stronger leaders because we can better look at the whole picture. These are two ideas about how to go about this process:

Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang has been selected as Director of the Center on Disability and Development (CDD) at Texas A&M University - AUCD
Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang has been selected as Director of the Center on Disability and Development (CDD) at Texas A&M University, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Since 1996, Dr. Zhang has dedicated his career to enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities via research, service, and doctoral instruction and mentorship.

Announcing the  1st ever AUCD Trainee T-shirt Design Contest! - AUCD
The AUCD network has over 3,000 new trainee members at LENDs, UCEDDs, and IDDRCs each year. We invite you to design a T-shirt that, if chosen, all trainees will be able to purchase and wear at events such as the national Disability Policy Seminar to show their pride in being a part of a great interdisciplinary network focused on leadership in the field of disabilities!

REAL-START Risk Evaluation of Autism in Latinos (Screening Tools and Referral Training) - AUCD
The Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon Pediatric Society and Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership have partnered to launch a new research project called REAL START (Risk Evaluation of Autism in Latinos -Screening Tools and Referral Training). The goal of this project is to help primary care practices that serve many Latino patients to implement developmental screening in a sustainable and culturally-appropriate way.

"Winterize" to Prevent Falls: UM Faculty Highlights Guidelines for the Elderly - AUCD
Beautiful, cold, dangerous. All of these words describe winter weather in Montana. For older Montanans, falls are a major cause of winter-related injuries and some deaths. Dr. Mindy Renfro, a UM physical therapist and the Montana Adaptive Equipment Program Coordinator at the UM Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, wants to make this winter is safe, warm and wonderful for all Montanans.

High School Students Learn About Health Care Careers from Iowa LEND Trainees - AUCD
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education programs are for students in grades K-12 and according to STEM Connector data, females are about 25% less likely to be interested in STEM fields than males. University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) staff and Iowa LEND Trainees are trying to change that!

White House Honors Teen With Cerebral Palsy - DisabiltyScoop
A film about a high school student with a disability is one of 15 that is being honored by President Barack Obama.

La conférence de l'ONU à Sendai adopte un cadre d'action sur la réduction des risques de catastrophe incorporant des perspectives inclusives des handicapés - PRNewswire

TOKYO, 19 mars 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- La troisième conférence mondiale de l'ONU sur la réduction des risques de catastrophe s'est tenue du 14 au 18 mars 2015, à Sendai, préfecture Miyagi, consacrant pour la première fois l'une de ses séances de travail...



UN-Konferenz in Sendai verabschiedet einen Rahmenaktionsplan zur Risikoreduzierung von Naturkatastrophen mit Blickwinkel auf die Einbeziehung von Behinderungen - PRNewswire

TOKIO, 19. März 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Die dritte UN-Weltkonferenz über Risikoreduzierung von Naturkatastrophen fand vom 14. bis 18. März in Sendai in der Präfektur Miyagi statt. Themenschwerpunkt einer der Arbeitssitzungen war erstmals die „Einbeziehung von...


March 19, 2015

Easter Seals Greater Houston's BridgingApps Project Making Progress with Awarded CEA Foundation Funds to Help Seniors with Disabilities - PRNewswire

HOUSTON, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is making progress with support from the CEA Foundation to use technology to help seniors with disabilities. The funding allowed BridgingApps to expand its website content, create...



AUCD Welcomes Steve Brown, PhD as the New Diversity and Inclusion Fellow - AUCD
Steven E. Brown is a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow with the Association of University Centers on Developmental Disabilities (AUCD). He joins other faculty members from around the country in creating a blueprint for cultural and linguistic competence within the nationwide AUCD network.

MTA & AT&T Announce App Quest 3.0 Winners - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- An app that notifies riders about train arrival times with voice alerts as they approach the stations they most frequent and an app that allows riders to simply point their smartphone towards a bus stop to see departure times are the Grand Prize...



A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Inc. hosts Make & Take Free Crafting Event to Benefit Easter Seals' Make the First Five Count® Initiative - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WHAT A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts is teaming up with Easter Seals to host a free Make & Take crafting event.    Guests are invited to decorate their own personalized jigsaw puzzle.   After puzzle...



First Annual Walk, Run and Stroll for Cerebral Palsy Exceeds Expectations, Raises $34,000 For Nonprofit Voices for Cerebral Palsy - PRNewswire

MIAMI, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Voices for Cerebral Palsy, also known as Samantha's Purpose, kicked off National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month with the First Annual Walk, Run and Stroll for Cerebral Palsy (CP) on March 1. As the only CP fundraiser of its kind in South Florida,...



Professional Diversity Network Hosts Career Fair For Mid To Senior Level Job Seekers In Houston - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (Nasdaq: IPDN) announced it will host a Career Networking Fair in Houston, TX for diverse jobseekers including women, veterans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, people with...



U.N. Conference in Sendai Adopts Action Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction Incorporating Disability-inclusive Perspectives - PRNewswire

TOKYO, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The third U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held from March 14 to 18, 2015, in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, focusing one of its working sessions on "disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction" for the first time. The Post-Hyogo...



ABLE Accounts Get Green Light In First State - DisabiltyScoop
Three months after federal law established a new way for people with disabilities to save without jeopardizing their government benefits, the legislative hurdles are over in one state.
March 18, 2015

Wounded Warrior Project Presents 2015 Policy Priorities to Senate, House Veterans Affairs Committees - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) today unveiled its 2015 policy priorities during testimony before the Committees on Veterans Affairs for the Senate and the House of Representatives. WWP developed its policy...



SSI Flagged For Billions In Improper Spending - DisabiltyScoop
A federal program designed to aid people with disabilities doled out billions of dollars in improper payments last year alone, government investigators say.

American Institutes for Research: Closing the Pay Gap for Workers with Disabilities - Video Available - AUCD
New analysis by the American Institutes for Research finds that those with disabilities earn 64 cents to every dollar their colleagues make, a disparity on par with the gender pay gap. Considering that equal pay is vital to keeping those with disabilities financially independent and out of poverty, our panelists explored the key facts and the ways that policy can help equalize income. Speakers also discussed what recent changes to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act mean for workers with disabilities.

New York Housing and Community Living - Autism Speaks - Advocasy
New York operates Medicaid home and community-based (HCBS) waivers to serve people with developmental disabilities, including autism. These HCBS programs along with affordable housing services help New York residents with autism live fulfilling lives in the community.

New York operates Medicaid home and community-based (HCBS) waivers to serve people with developmental disabilities, including autism. This page contains recent news and updates about New York's housing and community living programs.

February 24, 2015

Read below for recent news and updates about New York's housing and community living programs...

The state is developing plans to make changes that will go into effect in 2019. Now is the opportunity to learn about these changes and get involved in these decisions that will affect individuals receiving Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).

New York has proposed changing its Medicaid waiver program for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in order to comply with a federal directive that prohibits services that "isolate" participants from the general community, and is inviting public reaction. The new rules will affect group homes, adult residential facilities, congregate living health facilities, and other settings.

This is a positive announcement from the Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities as it forces states to make sure services are developed in a person-directed manner.

Individuals with autism and their caregivers who receive or want Medicaid waiver funding can comment on thenew proposalthrough April 1. Further information is available at the OPWDD websiteHERE.

Informational Webinar

A third informational webinar on the Revised Transition Plan will be held on Tuesday, March 10 from 1-2:30PM. Register here!

To join the audio conference only, please call in one of the following numbers:

Local: 1-518-549-0500
Toll Free: 1-844-633-8697
Alternate Toll Free - (For callers not able to call the 844 Toll Free Number): 1-866-776-3553
Follow instructions you hear on the phone. The Cisco Meeting Place meeting ID: 640 465 742

Click here to view the slides of webinars held by OPWDD on February 23 and 24.

The 30-day public notice and public comment period for the draft transition plan is being held to solicit meaningful public input from recipients, providers and all stakeholders on the development of the draft transition plan. The public comment periodends March 18, 2015.

Comments and suggestions can be mailed to:

OPWDD
44 Holland Avenue, 4th Floor
Albany, New York 12229
Attention: DQI HCBS Settings

Comments and suggestions can be emailed toQuality@opwdd.ny.gov. Please reference "HCBS Settings Transition Plan Comments" in the subject line.

OPWDD will also accommodate input through private or group telephone contact no later than April 1, 2015. Contact Alicia Matulewicz, OPWDD Division of Quality Improvement, at (518) 473-9050 to make arrangements to provide verbal comments

What's the issue?

Early this year, the federal government issued new guidelines that may affect how you as an individual with autism or a caregiver will receive services through Medicaid. New York has proposed revising its Medicaid program to comply with the new regulations, which can affect services such as in-home or out-of-home residential support, day activities like supported employment or day habilitation, and other services like respite and family support. For more information about these rules, check out this replay from Autism Speaks'live chat.

What can you do about it?

New York is now required to seek public input. This is your opportunity as an individual with autism or a caregiver to affect how these changes take place in your state.

The new rules were published in early 2014 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for administering the Medicaid program. The regulations outlined criteria for certain HCBS programs operated under specific Medicaid waiver programs.

Medicaid HCBS programs provide a variety of services and supports that individuals with autism need to live in the community. These programs offer an alternative to institutional services for people with disabilities who need ongoing support to meet their functional needs. All states operate HCBS programs that serve individuals with developmental disabilities, like autism, but these programs vary widely from state to state in terms of eligibility requirements and available services. More information about Medicaid HCBS is availableonline.

What do the new rules mean?

The rules require all Medicaid HCBS programs to allow individuals to be able to choose their services and have access to the community. In particular, states are prohibited from using HCBS funding for settings that isolate individuals from the broader community. This is an important new protection that could help individuals with autism live in settings that are more integrated with the community.

However, in implementing this new requirement, each state Medicaid office has significant discretion in determining whether a given setting results in “isolation.” As a result of the rules, states are beginning to 1) identify the type of settings that may no longer be in compliance with the new rules, and 2) develop plans on how they will change their HCBS programs.

CMS developed these rules over a number of years, and Autism Speaks has long been involved in helping ensure that the needs of the autism community were represented in the development of these new standards. Now that the rules are final, states are beginning to implement the necessary changes to their programs includingidentifying the type of settings that may no longer be in compliance with the new rule, and to develop plans that outline any changes they will make to their HCBS programs as a result.

What is Autism Speaks doing and what can autism families do?

During this process, states are required to obtain input from advocates and Autism Speaks urges each state to seek and incorporate stakeholders' views on what constitutes isolating settings and how best to integrate individuals into the broader community. For more information on Autism Speaks' position on Housing and Residential supports, view our position statementhere.Individuals with autism and their family know firsthand the barriers to true community integration and are the most appropriate individuals to help define isolating settings.

Not sure what to say?
  • Medicaid policy can be very confusing and the state documents that describe programs aren't written in a way that most people can understand. But that shouldn't stop advocates from expressing their opinion. CMS has published two sets ofexploratory questionsto assist states in assessment ofresidential settingsandnon-residential HCBS settings,that advocates can use to help them think about their experiences and create their message to state officials.

If you are in a waiver program already, usethese questionsto tell about your experience. For example:

  • What was your experience planning your waiver services? Were you able to choose the services you wanted and get them where and how often you wanted?
  • Does the place where you get your services reflect your needs and preferences? Did you have options to choose from?

If you are not yet receiving waiver services(because you are on a waitlist or otherwise) but expect to be using waiver services in the future, usethese questionsto talk about what services will be important to you in the future. For example:

  • Do you want to be able to work? If not, what type of meaningful non-work activities would you like to be involved in?
  • Would you like to have roommates or live on your own? How often would you like to have visitors? What types of supports are necessary for you to live as independently as possible?

CAMP LIVING WONDERS: Overnight Camp for Jewish Children with Developmental Disabilities Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2015 Campers and Staff - PRNewswire

ATLANTA, March 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Summer camp – and all the excitement of swimming, campfires and color war -- is a happy rite of passage for many children. But for those with developmental disabilities such as ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, Fragile X, Down's Syndrome,...


March 17, 2015

Hundreds of California Small Home Care Facilities Warn of Closures in 60 Days, Potentially Leaving Thousands of Low-Income Residents Homeless and Thousands of Caregivers Jobless - PRNewswire
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- 72 Cents Makes No Sense became the rallying cry today at the State Capitol as providers, family members and caretakers asked legislators: Isn't the care of our frail elderly and disabled adults worth more than 72 cents an hour?...

Graduation Rates Inch Up For Students With Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
An increasing number of students with disabilities are graduating high school, federal officials say, though they still receive diplomas at far lower rates than other students.

Autism Largely Rooted In Genetics, Study Finds - DisabiltyScoop
Genes may be more responsible for autism than previously thought, researchers say, with the developmental disorder traced to heritability in the vast majority of cases.

TSA Says It Can Help Travelers With Special Needs - DisabiltyScoop
With spring break travel beginning in earnest, officials at the Transportation Security Administration say they want flyers with special needs to know that help is available.

Daline Derival Tells All About her Public Health Career (VT LEND) - AUCD
Daline Derival, M.P.H., completed UVM's Post-Baccalaureate Premedical program in 2014. She is Program Evaluator and Public Health Core Faculty member for the VT-LEND program, whichprovides graduate-level interdisciplinary training, services, and care to improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents with disabilities.
March 16, 2015

EFE Releases Striking New Findings About Students With Disabilities In 45 Chicago Charter Schools - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chicago Public Schools Board of Education will soon vote on reauthorization for charter schools operating in Chicago. Reauthorization is essentially the only opportunity for meaningful public oversight of these schools for the...



Zoo Proves Transformative For Teen With Severe Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
A teen once isolated and unable to speak is now a public speaker and mentor in a turnaround that may offer evidence of the power of human-animal interaction.

March Trainee Liaison Focus is Alumni - AUCD
Every month Trainee Liaisons have a different focus area to help engage their centers and the network of trainees. March is dedicated to getting in touch with our trainee alumni.

Easter Seals and A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Inc. Launch Crafting A Better World For Kids Spring Campaign - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This spring, there is an easy and crafty way to ensure that all children have the right tools to succeed in the earliest years of life.  For the sixth consecutive year, A.C. Moore craft stores are teaming up with Easter Seals'...


March 13, 2015

States Moving Forward On ABLE Accounts - DisabiltyScoop
Just months after federal lawmakers created a way for people with disabilities to save without risking their government benefits, most states are working to make the new accounts available.

Study Links Autism Genes To Higher Intelligence - DisabiltyScoop
Children who inherit genes that raise the risk of autism but don't actually develop the disorder may inherit higher-than-average intelligence, researchers say.

IRS Issues States Assurances on ABLE Accounts - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

The IRS has issued guidance assuring transition relief to states creating savings accounts made possible by The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) enacted at the federal level last year. ABLE accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, allow families to set aside funds in tax-preferred accounts for disability-related expenses.

March 11, 2015

The IRS has issued guidance assuring transition relief to states creating savings accounts made possible by The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) enacted at the federal level last year. ABLE accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, allow families to set aside funds in tax-preferred accounts for disability-related expenses.

The guidance offers assurances that moving forward the IRS will “provide transition relief with regard to necessary changes to ensure that the state programs and accounts meet the requirements in the guidance, including providing sufficient time after issuance of the guidance in order for changes to be implemented.”

“Guidance issued from the IRS on ABLE accounts is a big step forward to ensure that families across the country will have access to the accounts.” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Adviser and Counsel at Autism Speaks.

Federal ABLE legislation which was signed into law in December of 2014 amended the tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs and disregards the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities. Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 would not qualify orwould risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits.

An excerpt from the guidance is below.

“The Treasury Department and the IRS do not want the lack of guidance to discourage states from enacting their enabling legislation and creating their ABLE programs, which could delay the ability of the families of disabled individuals or others to begin to fund ABLE accounts for those disabled individuals. Therefore, the Treasury Department and the IRS are assuring states that enact legislation creating an ABLE program in accordance with section 529A, and those individuals establishing ABLE accounts in accordance with such legislation, that they will not fail to receive the benefits of section 529A merely because the legislation or the account documents do not fully comport with the guidance when it is issued. The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to provide transition relief with regard to necessary changes to ensure that the state programs and accounts meet the requirements in the guidance, including providing sufficient time after issuance of the guidance in order for changes to be implemented.”

Read more on ABLE accounts HERE.


Utah Passes ABLE Act, Bill Headed to Governor - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Thursday the Utah Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program and Tax Credits bill, SB 0292, 50-18 to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The legislation already passed the House and is now headed to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

March 13, 2015

SALT LAKE- Thursday the Utah Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program and Tax Credits bill, SB 0292, 50-18 to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The legislation already passed the House and is now headed to Gov. Gary Herbert for hissignature.

The accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, require state level implementation after ABLE was enacted at the federal level last year. Utah's ABLE legislation was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Salt Lake) and becomes the second state to pass ABLE legislation this week alone.

“We are thrilled to see the hard work by Utah families pay off and thankful for the leadership of Sen. Weiler who championed ABLE in the state as the sponsor of SB 0292,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are also excited at the growing momentum to make ABLE accounts available to families so that they can better prepare for their children's future.”

Utah joins West Virginia and Virginia with legislation heading to the governor's desk. Louisiana and Massachusetts have already enacted legislation and 45 total states are now pursuing ABLE accounts for disability-related expenses.

Federal ABLE legislation, signed into law in December of 2014, amended the tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs and disregards the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities for ABLE qualified programs. Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 would not qualify orwould risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits.

(Read the 10 Things You Need To Know About The ABLE Act HERE)

March 12, 2015

Basketball Players Walk Off Court To Defend Girl With Down Syndrome - DisabiltyScoop
When some in the crowd began taunting a cheerleader with special needs during a school basketball game, a group of players decided to put a stop to it.

Utah's Sachin Dev Pavithran Elected Chair of the U.S. Access Board - AUCD
The U.S. Access Board unanimously elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as its new Chair on March 11. Pavithran of Logan, Utah is Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities. He was named to the Access Board by President Barack Obama in 2012.

West Virginia Senate Passes ABLE, Headed to Governor's Desk - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Wednesday the West Virginia Senate passed ABLE legislation, HB 2902, 33-0 to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt 529 savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The legislation passed the House last week and now heads to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for his signature.

March 12, 2015

CHARLESTON- The West Virginia Senate passed ABLE legislation, HB 2902, 33-0 to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt 529 savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The legislation passed the House last week and now heads to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for his signature.

HB 2902 was sponsored by Rep. Denise Campbell (D-Randolph) and made possible at the federal level by the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act enacted in December of last year. The tax exempt savings plans are managed on the state level and require state implementation.

“We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support of the West Virginia legislature including Rep. Denise Campbell who sponsored the ABLE bill so that families will have the opportunity to plan for their children's future,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are hopeful that Gov. Tomblin will promptly sign this important legislation for West Virginia families.”

ABLE accounts will enable people with autism and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses if related to their disability. Assets in ABLE accounts will be exempt from a $2,000 cap on conventional savings accounts; exceeding the cap voids eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

“We are thankful for the hard work by families across the entire disability community who contacted their legislators and the result was almost unanimous support for ABLE,” said Jill McLaury, Autism Speaks State Policy Chair for West Virginia. “We are hopeful that Governor Tomblin will sign ABLE to help people with autism prepare to lead more independent lives as adults.”


Hawaii Senate Passes Autism Insurance Reform with Overwhelming Support - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

HONOLULU- The Hawaii Senate approved an autism insurance bill, SB 791 sponsored by Senator Josh Green (D-Kohala/Kona) by a vote of 24-1. The legislation requires coverage for children with autism up to the age of 10.

March 11, 2015

HONOLULU- The Hawaii Senate approvedan autism insurance bill, SB 791 sponsored by Senator Josh Green (D-Kohala/Kona) by a vote of 24-1. The legislation requires coverage for children with autism up to the age of 10.

SB 791 would require state-regulated insurance plans to cover autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care. The legislation also requires plans to cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) with a maximum of $30,000 per year for children for up to four years for children between the ages of three and nine; or $30,000 per year for children up to the age of six and $25,000 per year for children between the ages of seven to ten.

The legislation received broad support from three Senate Committees: Health, Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Ways and Means. If passed in the House of Representatives, Hawaii would join 38 other states that have passed laws guaranteeing insurance coverage for those with autism.

March 11, 2015

DocuSign Enters into Sponsorship Agreement with Special Olympics - PRNewswire

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- DOCUSIGN MOMENTUM '15 -- Today, DocuSign, Inc. (DocuSign®) announced a new sponsorship with Special Olympics to help minimize the hassles of paperwork. As part of the relationship, DocuSign has provided Special Olympics with its...



Disability Advocate Wins Acclaimed International Prize - DisabiltyScoop
An award that's previously gone to the likes of the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa will this year honor a man who's focused on making life better for people with developmental disabilities.

In Memoriam: James Michael Gleason - AUCD
James Michael Gleason passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife, Deborah and beloved daughter, Anne, by his side. Born in New Britian, CT, he was the son of the late Marie (Harper) and John Gleason and was the husband of 35 years to Deborah Jean (Kukla) Gleason of Holliston. Jim attended Boston University where he received his BS and MS degrees in Physical Therapy. He was an Associate Director at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disabilities. Jim was an integral part of the LEND Program as well as a key member of the health promotion research team at Shriver, where he participated in many projects as an expert on physical activity for people with disabilities.

Matt Hallat wins bronze in final race of his career on home course at Para-Alpine World Championships - PRNewswire

PANORAMA, BC, March 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Three-time Paralympian Matt Hallat, of Squamish, BC won a hard-fought bronze medal at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, B.C. today, earning his first ever world championship medal on the very last day of his 13-year national...



Disney Faulted In Disability Access Complaints - DisabiltyScoop
A civil rights commission has found reason to believe that Disney discriminated against theme park visitors with developmental disabilities after altering its disability access policy.

ABLE Legislation Sees Nationwide Momentum - Autism Speaks - Advocasy
45 States Pursue Tax Preferred Savings Accounts

Since The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) was enacted at the federal level last year, 45 states are pursuing ABLE accounts this year to allow families to set aside funds in tax-preferred accounts for disability-related expenses.

March 10, 2015

Since The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) was enacted at the federal level last year, 45 states are pursuing ABLE accounts this year to allow families to set aside funds in tax-preferred accounts for disability-related expenses.

The accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, now require state level implementation. Louisiana and Massachusetts have already enacted legislation and Virginia currently has legislation headed to the governor's desk. 29 other states have already filed ABLE bills this session and an additional 14 are active or are in the drafting phase and are expected to introduce those bills.

“The momentum for enacting ABLE across the country would not be possible without the tireless work of our advocates, organizational partners and the legislators who are committed champions for our families,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Adviser and Counsel at Autism Speaks.

Federal ABLE legislation, signed into law in December of 2014, amended the tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs and disregards the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities for ABLE qualified programs. Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 would not qualify orwould risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits.

(Read the 10 Things You Need To Know About The ABLE Act HERE)

*States with pending legislation include the following: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland , Minnesota, Missouri , North Dakota , Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

March 10, 2015

Ha dejado ciegas a más de ocho millones de personas en el mundo - PRNewswire

MIAMI, 10 de marzo de 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "Mira por tus ojos" es la nueva campaña educativa sobre glaucoma para concientizar en América Latina sobre la importancia de su diagnóstico temprano y tratamiento adecuado y así prevenir la pérdida progresiva de la...



Study Finds Merit In Autism Blood Test - DisabiltyScoop
A blood test may be able to accurately identify children with autism as young as 12 months, new research suggests.

Former Prison May Become Home For Adults With Special Needs - DisabiltyScoop
A nonprofit is planning to modify a former state prison to create a community where adults with special needs could live and receive job training.

Entrepreneur With Asperger's Raises $3.8 Million - DisabiltyScoop
Amid one of the most successful crowd-funding campaigns ever, an entrepreneur with Asperger's is using his place in the public eye to shine a light on life with the developmental disorder.
March 9, 2015

LMU Commemorates 25th Anniversary of Disability Rights Act with 2-Day Global Summit - PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES, March 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 25 years ago this July. On Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, local, national and international experts will gather at Loyola Marymount University for a global summit to...



March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month - AUCD
To increase awareness of the contributions of people with developmental disabilities during the month of March, AUCD wants to hear from individuals with developmental disabilities! Your stories may be featured in an AUCD video.
March 8, 2015

Alana Ramsay leads the Canadian Team in 7th at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships Giant Slalom - PRNewswire

PANORAMA, BC, March 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Another day of racing has wrapped up at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship, where Alana Ramsay of Calgary, Alta. led the Canadian team with a 7th place finish in today's Giant Slalom (standing) at Panorama Mountain Resort. It was a blue...



On behalf of the International Paralympic Committee: Canadian Chantal Petitclerc awarded International Women's Day Recognition by the IPC - PRNewswire

As part of International Women's Day, Canada's most successful Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc has been recognised for her work within the Paralympic Movement since her retirement. BONN, Germany, March 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Twenty one-time Paralympic medallist Chantal Petitclerc,...


March 7, 2015

Canadian Paralympic Committee celebrates one-year anniversary of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games - PRNewswire

OTTAWA, March 7, 2015 /CNW/ - It was one-year ago that the world gathered in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. They were memorable Games for Team Canada, who finished ranked third in the medal standings with seven gold medals, two silver and seven bronze. More Canadians...


March 6, 2015

Department of Human Services Increases Commitment to Pennsylvanians with Intellectual Disabilities - PRNewswire
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Wolf and the Department of Human Services (DHS) have declared March as Intellectual Disabilities Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to raise awareness of the challenges and achievements of people living with intellectual and...

Film Premiering At Tribeca Explores Love On The Spectrum - DisabiltyScoop
A documentary on romance among adults with autism will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival alongside films featuring Hollywood veterans Richard Gere, James Franco and Dakota Fanning.

More With Disabilities On The Job - DisabiltyScoop
As the job market continues to improve, the number of people with disabilities who are employed is also edging up.

Virginia Autism Insurance Reform Heads to Governor's Desk - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

The Virginia General Assembly voted overwhelmingly today to provide autism insurance coverage to thousands more children across the Commonwealth. With the end of the 2015 session looming, the Senate voted 36-0 to pass HB 1940. It was then sent quickly to the House of Delegates which followed suit by a vote of 79-17.

February 27, 2015

RICHMOND- The Virginia General Assembly voted overwhelmingly today to provide autism insurance coverage to thousands more children across the Commonwealth.

With the end of the 2015 session looming, the Senate voted 36-0 to pass HB 1940. It was then sent quickly to the House of Delegates which followed suit by a vote of 79-17. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk for signature.

The bill was sponsored by Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudon) who also sponsored Virginia's original autism insurance which was passed in 2011.

If signed, Virginia will join 11 other states that have expanded their original autism insurance reform laws, including Vermont, Texas and Louisiana which all raised the age caps.

Virginia's existing autism insurance law requires large group plans in the fully funded market to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism for children six and under. HB 1940 will raise required coverage to children ten and under.

Treatment includes psychiatric and psychological care; speech, occupational and physical therapy; and behavioral health treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA coverage is capped at $35,000 per year.


Utah Medicaid Holds Open Meeting Addressing ASD Services - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

A meeting will be held Tuesday, March 31 from 1:00-3:00PM at the Utah Department of Health and will provide call-in information for those who cannot attend in person.

March 06, 2015

In July 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees state Medicaid programs, provided an informational bulletin to Medicaid agencies throughout the nation. The bulletin informed state Medicaid agencies that they must begin providing autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-related services to children under 21 through the general Medicaid benefit. This is a significant change from previous CMS guidance.

A meeting will be held Tuesday, March 31 from 1:00-3:00PM at the Utah Department of Health and will provide call-in information for those who cannot attend in person.

Through a home and community based waiver program, Utah Medicaid currently offers ASD-related services to a limited population (children ages 2 through 6). Under the recent CMS guidance, Medicaid will be required to serve any Medicaid eligible client under 21.

Over the past few months, the Medicaid agency has been developing draft ASD services policy. Throughout the initial development, Utah Medicaid sought the advice and guidance of experts from Primary Children's Medical Center, the University of Utah and Utah State University.

At this point, Utah Medicaid would like to discuss the CMS guidance, Utah Medicaid's draft policy, and the impact the new policy will have on the current Medicaid Autism Waiver with a broader group of families, providers and other stakeholders.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Utah Department of Health

Cannon Building, Room 125

288 North 1460 West

Salt Lake City, UT

For those unable to attend in person, a call-in line will be available:

1.Dial the access number:1-877-820-7831

2.Enter Passcode: 988316#


Strategic Thinking Report: LEND and DBP Programs - AUCD
This report outlines the results of January 2015 conversations among program directors and maternal and child health stakeholders that sought to better understand the emerging environment in which MCH training programs are operating, as well as the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Five thematic directions are highlighted in this report.

West Virginia House Passes ABLE Legislation - Autism Speaks - Advocasy
NOW HEADS TO SENATE

Wednesday evening the West Virginia House of Representatives passed ABLE legislation to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt 529 savings accounts for disability-related expenses.

March 06, 2015

Wednesday evening the West Virginia House of Representatives passed ABLE legislation to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt 529 savings accounts for disability-related expenses.

The accounts were made possible by the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which was enacted federally in December of 2014 with bipartisan support. Now states, which manage Section 529 programs, must enact ABLE on the state level.

HB 292 was sponsored by Rep. Denise Campbell (D-Randolph) and will now be considered by the Senate.

“We are incredibly grateful for Rep. Campbell for championing ABLE legislation in West Virginia and we look forward to the opportunity to meet with Senators from across the state to tell them how important HB 292 is to our families,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks.

ABLE accounts will enable people with autism and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses if related to their disability. Assets in ABLE accounts will be exempt from a $2,000 cap on conventional savings accounts; exceeding the cap voids eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

March 5, 2015

ArtStir Denver Announces New Nonprofit Partnership with VSA Colorado/Access Gallery - PRNewswire

DENVER, March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ArtStir Denver 2015, voted Best New Festival by Westword Magazine in 2014, has announced a new partnership with VSA Colorado/Access Gallery, an inclusive nonprofit organization that engages the community by opening doors to...



Drugmaker Ordered To Pay Man With Autism Over Breast Growth - DisabiltyScoop
A jury has awarded $2.5 million to a man with autism who grew size 46 DD breasts after taking a drug commonly prescribed to those with the developmental disorder.

Breakthrough Paralysis Research Powered By Every Step Taken At The Wings For Life World Run - PRNewswire

SALZBURG, Austria, March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It all started with a single toe. Even today, Dr. Susan Harkema recalls the words spoken by one of the research participants: "Look Susie, I can move my toe." The patient's name was Rob Summers and he was completely paralyzed...


March 4, 2015

Marcoux brothers capture gold at the IPC world para-alpine championships - PRNewswire

PANORAMA, BC, March 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste Marie, ON, guided by his brother BJ Marcoux, shaved a whopping four seconds off their Downhill (visually impaired) training run time to claim Canada's first gold at the 2015 IPC World Championship in Panorama, B.C. This is the...



Thousands With Disabilities To Get Rental Assistance - DisabiltyScoop
Millions of dollars are heading to over two dozen states to help people with disabilities access community-based housing and support services.

AUCD Trainee T-Shirt: Order Yours Today! - AUCD
Show your AUCD pride by purchasing the 2015 trainee-designed t-shirt! It's perfect for the Disability Policy Seminar and local Center events. Many thanks to the 20+ people who submitted designs, and congratulations to Angela from Westchester, NY and Brandon from Iowa for contributing to the winning design.

Special Olympics and Best Buddies Celebrate 7th Annual Spread the Word to End the Word® Day on March 4th - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and supporters from around the world will unite today on the seventh annual Spread the Word to End the Word® Day to continue building awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the...


March 3, 2015

Governor Wolf's 2015-16 Department of Human Services' Budget to Focus on Stronger Supports for Pennsylvania's Most Vulnerable and Efficient Service Delivery - PRNewswire

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Wolf's proposed 2015-16 budget for the Department of Human Services (DHS) commits critical funding to Pennsylvania's most vulnerable families by focusing on outcomes, creating efficiencies and realizing cost savings...



Speech Impairment @CSUN Conference: Discover 'my-own-voice', a World Premiere for Voice Replacement - PRNewswire
MONS, Belgium, March 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Users about to lose the ability to speak with their own voice can now re-create it synthetically, in 10 languages, enabling them to keep this essential part of their identity. Learn more about it @CSUN event. We are pleased to invite you to...

Obama Task Force Urges Improved Police Interactions - DisabiltyScoop
A presidential task force is encouraging police departments across the nation to be more mindful of their dealings with people who have disabilities.

Doctors Often Skip Protocols For Antipsychotics, Study Finds - DisabiltyScoop
As an increasing number of kids are prescribed powerful antipsychotics, a new study finds that many doctors are deviating from established medical guidelines when they dole out the scripts.

Everyday Items Offer Assistive Technology On The Cheap - DisabiltyScoop
Nicknamed the "MacGyver of assistive technology," an occupational therapist is sharing her tricks for creating tools for people with disabilities on a budget of $5 or less.

The ECP March Guest Blogger is Zach Goble - AUCD
AUCD is happy to announce the Early Career Professionals March guest blogger - Zach Goble. He is a former University of Kentucky UCEDD trainee, former Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center LEND trainee and a School Psychologist.

Videos Show That #CerebralPalsyCAN During Awareness Month - UPC
March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Throughout the month, United Cerebral Palsy will be encouraging people with cerebral palsy to share the many things they enjoy and can do using the hashtag #CerebralPalsyCan on social media. On March 25, National CP Awareness …
Read More
March 2, 2015

Canadian Paralympic Committee and Fasken Martineau announce new corporate partnership - PRNewswire

Official Legal Partner brings legal expertise and fundraising component to Paralympic movement OTTAWA AND TORONTO, March 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee and Fasken Martineau are pleased to announce a new partnership that will see the law firm support the...



Share Why You Connect to the MS Movement During MS Awareness Week March 2-8, 2015 - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's annual awareness campaign kicks off March 2–8 and will provide opportunities for people across the country to unite, raise awareness, and find new ways to help people with MS...



New Housing Concept Emerging For Those With Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
Construction is underway on a gated community specifically designed for people with developmental disabilities that planners say could become a new national model.
February 27, 2015

ASL Services Inc. Named Finalist in the First Annual Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards - PRNewswire
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ASL Services Inc., announced today that it has been named a finalist in the first annual Bright House Networks Regional Business Awards in Central Florida. ASL Services Inc. was named a finalist in the large business category for the awards,...

High Court Rejects Autism-Vaccine Case - DisabiltyScoop
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by a woman who says her son's autism was caused by vaccines he received.

Boy With Special Needs Hospitalized Following School Attack - DisabiltyScoop
An alleged bullying incident at a middle school sent a 74-pound student to the hospital for five days and outraged lawmakers.

On the heels of Models with disabilities walking the runway during NY Fashion Week, Models of Diversity USA announces a disabled model competition with Global Disability Inclusion - PRNewswire

SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla., Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Models of Diversity USA and Global Disability Inclusion, LLC launch a model competition to find the next face of fashion and beauty who just happens to have a disability.  The model competition will run from February 27th...


February 26, 2015

ADA 25th Anniversary Legacy Tour Stops at Los Angeles Abilities Expo, March 6-8 - PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the historic passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA25), the long-anticipated ADA Legacy Tour will make a stop at Abilities Expo Los Angeles on March 6-8, 2015 at the LA Convention...



Wireless Technology Helps Visually-Impaired - PRNewswire

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Feb. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The blind and visually impaired often have to rely on others for help with basic life tasks such as matching clothing, distinguishing bills or reading a menu at a restaurant. There's some technology that can help, but it often...



Wounded Warriors Canada Set to Host the 2015 Heroes Hockey Challenge in Toronto - PRNewswire

March 27th at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens  TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2015 /CNW/ - Wounded Warriors Canada is proud to host the 2015 Heroes Hockey Challenge in Toronto. This year's event will see Canadian Armed Forces members from the Toronto Garrison faceoff against...



Airbus Group extends contract with CGI for support of global HR system - PRNewswire

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AUCD Strategic Map 2015-2016 - AUCD
AUCD is pleased to present our 2015-2016 Strategic Map. This map outlines five key priority areas and corresponding sub-goals for our organization and network over the next two years, and serves as a guide for our collective work and mission.

CCD Letter to House of Representatives urging Members to not support HR 5 as currently written. - AUCD
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February 25, 2015

Quantum Rehab Supports The ALS Association as Premier-Level National Partner to Provide Support for People Affected by ALS - PRNewswire

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Virksomhedsulykkesforsikring betaler for første gang i Tyskland udgifterne til et ReWalk-system - PRNewswire
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New York Developing Plans to Change Medicaid Waiver Services - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Public comments in writing on the draft transition plan from the Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities sought through March 18. The second webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 24.

February 24, 2015
The state is developing plans to make changes that will go into effect in 2019. Now is the opportunity to learn about these changes and get involved in these decisions that will affect individuals receiving Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).

New York has proposed changing its Medicaid waiver program for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in order to comply with a federal directive that prohibits services that "isolate" participants from the general community, and is inviting public reaction. The new rules will affect group homes, adult residential facilities, congregate living health facilities, and other settings.

This is a positive announcement from the Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities as it forces states to make sure services are developed in a person-directed manner.

Individuals with autism and their caregivers who receive or want Medicaid waiver funding can comment on thenew proposalthrough March 18. Further information is available at the OPWDD websiteHERE.

Click here to view the slides of webinars held by OPWDD on February 23 and 24.

The 30-day public notice and public comment period for the draft transition plan is being held to solicit meaningful public input from recipients, providers and all stakeholders on the development of the draft transition plan. The public comment periodends March 18, 2015.

Comments and suggestions can be mailed to:

OPWDD
44 Holland Avenue, 4th Floor
Albany, New York 12229
Attention: DQI HCBS Settings

Comments and suggestions can be emailed toQuality@opwdd.ny.gov. Please reference "HCBS Settings Transition Plan Comments" in the subject line.

What's the issue?

Early this year, the federal government issued new guidelines that may affect how you as an individual with autism or a caregiver will receive services through Medicaid. New York has proposed revising its Medicaid program to comply with the new regulations, which can affect services such as in-home or out-of-home residential support, day activities like supported employment or day habilitation, and other services like respite and family support. For more information about these rules, check out this replay from Autism Speaks'live chat.

What can you do about it?

New York is now required to seek public input. This is your opportunity as an individual with autism or a caregiver to affect how these changes take place in your state.

The new rules were published in early 2014 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for administering the Medicaid program. The regulations outlined criteria for certain HCBS programs operated under specific Medicaid waiver programs.

Medicaid HCBS programs provide a variety of services and supports that individuals with autism need to live in the community. These programs offer an alternative to institutional services for people with disabilities who need ongoing support to meet their functional needs. All states operate HCBS programs that serve individuals with developmental disabilities, like autism, but these programs vary widely from state to state in terms of eligibility requirements and available services. More information about Medicaid HCBS is availableonline.

What do the new rules mean?

The rules require all Medicaid HCBS programs to allow individuals to be able to choose their services and have access to the community. In particular, states are prohibited from using HCBS funding for settings that isolate individuals from the broader community. This is an important new protection that could help individuals with autism live in settings that are more integrated with the community.

However, in implementing this new requirement, each state Medicaid office has significant discretion in determining whether a given setting results in “isolation.” As a result of the rules, states are beginning to 1) identify the type of settings that may no longer be in compliance with the new rules, and 2) develop plans on how they will change their HCBS programs.

CMS developed these rules over a number of years, and Autism Speaks has long been involved in helping ensure that the needs of the autism community were represented in the development of these new standards. Now that the rules are final, states are beginning to implement the necessary changes to their programs includingidentifying the type of settings that may no longer be in compliance with the new rule, and to develop plans that outline any changes they will make to their HCBS programs as a result.

What is Autism Speaks doing and what can autism families do?

During this process, states are required to obtain input from advocates and Autism Speaks urges each state to seek and incorporate stakeholders' views on what constitutes isolating settings and how best to integrate individuals into the broader community. For more information on Autism Speaks' position on Housing and Residential supports, view our position statementhere.Individuals with autism and their family know firsthand the barriers to true community integration and are the most appropriate individuals to help define isolating settings.

Not sure what to say?
  • Medicaid policy can be very confusing and the state documents that describe programs aren't written in a way that most people can understand. But that shouldn't stop advocates from expressing their opinion. CMS has published two sets ofexploratory questionsto assist states in assessment ofresidential settingsandnon-residential HCBS settings,that advocates can use to help them think about their experiences and create their message to state officials.

If you are in a waiver program already, usethese questionsto tell about your experience. For example:

  • What was your experience planning your waiver services? Were you able to choose the services you wanted and get them where and how often you wanted?
  • Does the place where you get your services reflect your needs and preferences? Did you have options to choose from?

If you are not yet receiving waiver services(because you are on a waitlist or otherwise) but expect to be using waiver services in the future, usethese questionsto talk about what services will be important to you in the future. For example:

  • Do you want to be able to work? If not, what type of meaningful non-work activities would you like to be involved in?
  • Would you like to have roommates or live on your own? How often would you like to have visitors? What types of supports are necessary for you to live as independently as possible?
February 24, 2015

Helen Keller International wins BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Development Cooperation for its family-led agricultural programs, proven effective in the fight against malnutrition - PRNewswire
MADRID, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The seventh annual BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category goes to American non-governmental organization Helen Keller International (HKI) for...

Join Easter Seals Thrive for an Interactive Twitter Chat About the Representation of Disability in the Beauty Industry - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WHAT Easter Seals Thrive, a community based mentorship program that empowers young women with disabilities to achieve their goals, is hosting a live Twitter chat on the topic of disability fashion and beauty.   "The Ability...



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Training Aims To Tackle Autism Knowledge Gap Among Doctors - DisabiltyScoop
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Lottery Winner Hopes To Boost Cerebral Palsy Awareness - DisabiltyScoop
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Welcome, Sarah Boundy! - AUCD
AUCD welcomes Sarah Boundy to our team! Sarah is an intern from the Lab School of Washington, working to support all AUCD departments as she fulfills her junior year internship requirement. She will be with us through May of 2015.
February 23, 2015

Government of Canada helping Canadians with disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area gain job skills - PRNewswire

ETOBICOKE, ON, Feb. 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to find jobs. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), on behalf of the Honourable Candice...



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Photos Shine Light On Need For Medicaid Waivers - DisabiltyScoop
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February 20, 2015

Oregon Adopts Change To Attorney Ethics Rules To Include Protections For Gender Identity And Gender Expression Reported By Attorney Bonnie Richardson, Special Taskforce Representative - PRNewswire

SALEM, Ore., Feb. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 19, 2015 the Oregon Supreme Court signed an order amending the Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to all attorneys practicing in Oregon.  The amendment to the rule now states...



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Effort To Prevent Birth Defects Hits FDA Roadblock - DisabiltyScoop
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Autism Speaks Salutes John Boehner for His Work To Pass ABLE Act - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Speaker of the House John Boehner says he's very proud of his association with ABLE (Achieving Better Life Experience) Act

February 20, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner says he's veryproud of his association with ABLE (Achieving Better Life Experience), a law enacted in December that will allow the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for people with disabilities.

He told Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright hetakes personal pride for mobilizing House floor managers to separate ABLE from other tax bills so it could pass the Congress as a standalone bill.

To find out more about ABLE, go to the links below:

ABLE Act Helps Give New Choices for Individuals With Disabilities

10 Things to Know About the ABLE Act

NY Times Highlights ABLE Act for Disability Savings

February 19, 2015

Enjoy A Little Piece of Paradise at Victory Living Programs' Annual "Cheeseburger in Paradise" Event - PRNewswire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For one night only, Victory Living Programs will once again transport guests to an island paradise-themed event complete with the best burgers in town, cocktails, music and more! The annual Cheeseburger in Paradise event will be held on...



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Safety campaign seeks to relieve stigma about dementia and expands to four additional multilingual communities in Ontario - PRNewswire
TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - The Alzheimer Society of Ontario, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, is expanding the award-winning Finding Your WayTM   program by reaching out to Arabic, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu communities. The multicultural safety awareness...
Last updated : March 29, 2015 - 20:18:20
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