Atlanta Non-Violence Project - Leadership Training January 20th, 2016

The Atlanta Non-Violence Leadership Project reached out to YO! and asked that we share their program and application with youth with disabilities. The project seems very inclusive and wants to make sure youth with disabilities are engaged. If you fit the application criteria please consider applying. If you are an ally please pass this information/application on.
The Nonviolence Leadership Project (NLP) is an all-new, one-week, high school summer program in nonviolence and leadership, empowering young people to take an active role in creating more a just and peaceful world.  Every student who attends comes with an idea or a dream or a vision for making a positive difference in their community. NLP coaches and mentors each student so they feel strong, confident and courageous in implementing their ideas when they return home. Our inaugural program will be July 24-30, 2016 in Atlanta, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Application deadline is March 1. Apply online at (capition included) 
For additional information please contact Dave Soleil. His information is below.
Dave Soleil
Nonviolence Leadership Project
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2016 Disability Leaders Survey January 5th, 2016

Happy New Year!  
YO! Volunteers and members are prioritizing and organizing a Disability Leaders Campaign for 2016. There will be many ways to contribute and participate. Our first ask is that you take a moment to tell us about the disability leaders and mentors you admire most. The Disability Leaders Campaign will highlight and honor individuals in our community each month. Our goal is to educate people with and without disabilities about the contributions people in the disability community have made while also engaging and motivating young disabled leaders to also make their own contributions that lead to positive change.  
There are eleven questions in the survey.  Each question includes a different theme involving individuals that are related to that theme. You will be able to select from the list of names or add a new name you feel relates to that theme best.  We have included a very brief description of each individual under the themes.
The Disability Leaders Campaign will kick-off lin recognition of Ed Roberts Day – January 23rd.
If you have any questions, please contact Kirk Aranda at or 916-325-1690.
The deadline to submit your favorite leaders  will be Friday January 15th at 5pm (Pacific Time).”
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YO! Shop for Positive Disability Swag December 8th, 2015

Did you know that YO! Disabled and Proud has an online store?

Each year we add new items based on the community organizing campaigns that our YO! members prioritize. We have a variety of cool posters with positive disability messages, mugs, buttons and t-shirts that would make memorable holiday gifts for friends and loved ones. The best part is that your purchases directly benefit the YO! Disabled and Proud program and the youth with disabilities we serve. 

Order YO! disability swag today! 
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Our final 2015 #ADA25 Forum for Youth and Adult Allies November 10th, 2015

We're wrapping up our #ADA25 Forum series at Menlo College in Atherton on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. YO! Disabled and Proud is co-hosting an intergenerational ADA conversation with the support of Menlo's PSYSCC 482 Understanding Disabilities Class. Students and community members are invited to attend and participate. Panelist will share their ADA stories, vision for the future of disability rights. We will have our disability history exhibit on display and our ADA photo booth at this event. Register today,

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 3:45pm - 5:30pm 
Location: Menlo College - Fireside Lounge
1000 El Camino Real, Atherton, CA 94027

To request an accommodation please contact Kirk Aranda at or (866)296-9753 by Friday, 11/13/15. 
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Join YO! in Anaheim for an #ADA25 Forum October 13th, 2015

YO! Disabled & Proud is hosting an #ADA25 Forum for youth and adult allies at the Dayle McIntosh Center in Anaheim on Friday, October 24th at 3:00PM. This will be our seventh #ADA25 Forum of the year, but first in southern California.

If you're looking for ways to get more involved in YO, want to hear ADA stories, share your own American with Disabilities Act stories, understand how the ADA become the law that protects and provides opportunities for us as individuals with disabilities or participate in a discussion about the what future of disability civil rights looks like to youth and young adults you won't want to miss this #ADA25 event. 

Register today at,

For questions related to the event please contact Kirk Aranda at or 1(866)296-9753. We look forward to seeing you next Friday! 
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What are you doing for Disability History Week? October 9th, 2015

August 6th, 2010 was an exciting day for many YO! Disabled and Proud members. They had been working tirelessly to get the California Legislature to pass Disability History Week. Their hard work paid off, and California became the twenty-fourth state in the country to pass Disability History legislation. The first state to pass legislation was lead by youth with disabilities in West Virginia. 

Although the legislation has been around for five years, many teachers and administrators do not know that it exists. If they are familiar, chances are that don’t know where to go to get disability history resources and curriculum to use in their schools and classrooms. That is one of the reasons why YO! Disabled & Proud has continued to work towards engaging schools by creating new activities and materials that can be used by teachers to effectively teach disability history to K - 12 students with and without disabilities. 

Disability History Week was intended to be a time during the year (the second full week of October) that schools and communities would take the time to learn about the history of the disability community and civil rights movement. It is not intended to be a day or week where we discuss disability awareness. Those sorts of activities can be done at other times during the year. 

Disability History Week is October 12 - 16, 2015. Through our online registration we've heard from a number of schools who plan to engage in Disability History Week activities in the upcoming weeks. We hope that more registrations come in throughout the month. If you're a student, parent, or community member we encourage you to ask your schools how they plan to honor Disability History Week, and invite them to checkout the long list of resources that YO! Disabled & Proud has organized and put online. They can visit:, to view the resources and register their school. 

Since the inception of Disability History Week, YO! Disabled and Proud has not only provided a library of resources for teachers to use, but also a series of posters which includes a different disability history theme that is developed by YO! Members annually. This year's theme is centered on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the youth who have lived the ADA, the #ADAGeneration. The poster looks amazing and can be ordered now at: 

We hope you find our online resources and tools to be helpful. Happy Disability History Week! 

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EdSource: Governor signs bill allowing diplomas for students who failed exit exam October 8th, 2015

Many students with disabilities have been negatively impacted by California's High School Exit Exam requirement, but some of those students will now be able to get their high school diploma retroactive. The High School Exit Exam is currently suspended until 2018. Here's the EdSource article with the details, 
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Are you a techie youth? August 18th, 2015

YO! Disabled and Proud is seeking youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 - 25 who use everyday technology (smart phone, tablet, etc.) to take a short survey. We are planning an upcoming event and want to highlight the variety of ways youth with disabilities use their technology to assist them with their disability needs. 

Please complete the survey by Friday, September 5, 2015. Feel free to also pass the survey link onto youth who may be interested in participating. 

For additional information contact Kirk Aranda at 1(866)296-9753 or 
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YO! is Hosting an #ADA25 Forum in San Jose August 12th, 2015

Since late May YO! Disabled & Proud has been organizing and co-hosting #ADA25 Forums for youth with disabilities and adult allies across the state. Our next stop is in San Jose! YO! Volunteer, Jake A. has put a lot of work into organizing this week's event at his local Independent Living Center, SVILC. Please join us for an intergenerational conversation on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Come hear stories about disability rights and listen to youth share their perspective on what the future of disability rights looks like to them. This is an opportunity to mingle with youth with disabilities, connect with your local Independent Living Center, share your advocacy stories and get involved in the disability community.

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: SVILC, 2202 N. First Street San Jose, CA 95131

People of all ages are invited to attend. ASL Interpreters will provided. Please register to attend,

If you have questions about the event or a future #ADA25 Forum please contact Kirk Aranda at or call (866)296-9753.
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Free Webinar: Youth Achieving CareerAccess on Thursday, 8/6/15 August 3rd, 2015

Disabled & Proud, The National Council on Independent Living, World Institute on Disability and Policyworks invite you to join us for a discussion on advocating for a better Supplemental Security Income, (SSI) for working people with disabilities.

If you are someone with a disability who uses benefits like SSI or Medi-Cal, and you want to have a job, it can be hard and stressful because of the complicated rules and lack of help available to understand it all. Without the right support you could lose your benefit or health care. The way the system is setup doesn’t make sense. It limits us from reaching our career goals. CareerAccess is here to help. Join our webinar and discuss with us the issues and solutions. Together we can work to make the system more meaningful for all of us who want to go to work and earn money.

 Moderator: Emily Ladau: CareerACCESS/abilicorp intern
 Panelist: Justin Harford
 Panelist: Andy Arias
 Panelist: Kristin Ansel or TBD

Thursday, August 6, 2015 from 3 - 4:30pm

Register today!

Questions or Comments, contact Youth Organizer, Kirk Aranda at
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YO! Disabled & Proud Volunteers Travel to Washington for ADA Anniversary Activities including NCIL Conference July 24th, 2015

“Generation ADA: Rise Up!" is the theme of this year's annual National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Conference in Washington, DC. The conference begins on the date of 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this Sunday, July 26th and will continue until Friday, July 31, 2015. YO! Disabled and Proud is excited about the conference for many reasons. Long time YO! Member and former YO! Volunteer, Allie Cannington, who did her service at Marin Center for Independent Living, has been working hard to make this year's NCIL Conference fun and engaging for the many youth with disabilities who will be attending. For nearly a year, Allie has been serving as NCIL's Youth Transition Fellow and has spent countless hours assisting with the planning of the "Generation ADA" Conference. 

Allie has worked closely with the NCIL Youth Caucus, who has also been dedicated to making this year's conference a memorable one for all youth in attendance. The Youth Caucus is chaired by former YO! Disabled & Proud Youth Advisory Council Member, Maddy Ruvolo. Maddy is the Systems Change Advocate for the Marin Center for Independent Living and is known as a youth leader in the Independent Living and Disability Rights Movement. 

For several months the Youth Caucus has been working on a fundraising campaign for youth. They started a #ADAYouthPledge campaign to mobilize as many #GenreationADA youth to the national conference. Several Independent Living Centers in California contributed to the campaign, and as a result of their hard work, YO! Disabled & Proud and the NCIL Youth Scholarship Fund are supporting two YO! Volunteer Corps members in attending this year's "Generation ADA: Rise Up!" NCIL Conference. 

YO! Volunteer, Jessica Jimenez, from the Independent Living Center in Claremont, California, Service Center for Independent and Life, and YO! Volunteer, Tangikina Moimoi from the Independent Living Center in Long Beach California, Disability Resource Center are both looking forward to traveling to the annual NCIL Conference and connecting with other youth with disabilities around the country who are also passionate about the Disability Rights Movement. Both young women will take part in a number of historical Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary events while in Washington, DC. They are honored and excited to be representing YO! Disabled and Proud in this unique capacity.
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You're Invited! The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at SFSU Patient No More Exhibit Opens Sunday in Berkeley July 23rd, 2015

Come Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act 
at the Ed Roberts Campus on Sunday, July 26th, 2015.

The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University is pleased to invite you to the launch of our exhibit, Patient No More: People with disabilities securing civil rights. After nearly three years of work, we cannot wait to share this great Bay Area story with you. The celebration will be particularly exciting as it will reunite many of the protesters from the 1977 Section 504 Occupation (the focus of our exhibit). You won't want to miss this historic opportunity coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To add to the celebration, please consider coming in your best 1970s attire: go deep into that back closet or neighborhood thrift to find those brightly colored bell bottoms and wide collars…you'll blend right in with the people pictured in our exhibit!

When: Sunday, July 26, 2015, 2:00 - 4:30 with a brief program starting at 2pm.
Where: The Ed Roberts Campus above Ashby BART, 3075 Adeline
Details: Free and open to the public. Event program will include ASL and captioning. Please refrain from wearing scented products.

LEARN how the course of disability history and a nation were changed over 26 days in 1977. 
EXPLORE a landmark moment in civil rights.
DISCOVER untold stories from protesters in the longest occupation of a federal building in US history. 
REFLECT on the grassroots origins of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 
RECORD your own protest slogan. 

Can't make it to the opening? Don't worry! The exhibit will remain at the Ed Roberts Campus until December 18, 2015 and a traveling exhibit will also bring this story to the greater Bay Area, August - December 2015. For additional upcoming events and information, visit: 
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#ADA25 Forum for Youth in Grass Valley July 17th, 2015

You're invited! YO! Disabled & Proud and FREED Center for Independent Living will be hosting an Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary Forum for youth and adult allies. Come participate in an intergenerational conversation on disability rights and hear what youth with disabilities think about the future of the disability rights movement. 

When: Saturday, August 8, 2015
           1:00PM - 2:30PM

Where: FREED Center for Independent Living 
             2059 Nevada City Hwy, Suite 102
             Grass Valley, CA. 95945

To request an accommodation or learn more please visit our website, 
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Sign the Petition to eliminate Freeburg Community High School Board of Education from using "Midget" as a mascot June 30th, 2015

 There are several high schools across the country that have coined "midgets" as their school mascot, including Freeburg High School in Freeburg, Illinois. Freeburg, Illinois, is near St. Louis, Missouri, where Little People of America will be hosting its national conference in July of this year. Please support us in urging Freeburg High School, "Home of the Midgets," to rename their school mascot. Further, we would also like them to stop all sales of the school's "midgetwear" merchandise.

Little People of America (LPA), a national, membership-based organization for short-statured individuals, aims to educate and raise awareness about the terminology preferred by members of its community. The term "midget" dehumanizes and objectifies people of short stature. The word was first coined in reference to people of short stature who were on public display for curiosity and sport, and the word evolved into a negative connotation. The preferred terminology is "dwarf," "little person," or "person of short stature."  

In the case of Freeburg, Illinois, while the term is not intended to do harm, any word that creates a hostile and unwelcoming environment with any potential student has no place as a school mascot. We want to ensure that Freeburg is creating a safe environment for all people, including those of short stature, that are in the area. We believe these changes can only have a positive impact upon the community and will only further support Freeburg High School's mission to, "enable all students to become productive and responsible citizens by providing them opportunities... in a safe, caring, learning environment."
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YLF Luncheon Tickets Now Available June 30th, 2015

California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) 
Community Networking Luncheon 

"YLF - Living the ADA" 
Celebrating Emerging Young Leaders with Disabilities and the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This year's luncheon will be emceed by YLF Alumna Jenny Roberts and will include two additional YLF keynote speakers. 

Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J Street, Sacramento, CA
Thursday, July 30, 2015 
Noon - 2:00pm 

Tickets to the luncheon directly support youth with disabilities attending future Youth Leadership Forums and other youth leadership opportunities.  

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Take the YO! YouthACT Survey on Transition June 29th, 2015

YO! Disabled and Proud is working to build opportunities for youth with disabilities who are transitioning and working towards reaching their independent living goals.  Last year, YO! was selected to be a part of a national effort lead by the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth to create a meaningful campaign that would support transitioning age youth in becoming more independent.
The YO! YouthACT Team has decided that our campaign would be focused on building relationships and networking opportunities between youth and their local Independent Living Center.  The campaign is in its early stages of gathering information. We want to learn about what youth with disabilities know or don't know about their local Independent Living Center.  

Please take a few minutes to answer the survey now, If you have questions in regards to the survey or the YO! YouthACT Campaign, please contact Kirk Aranda at 
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Comedian Nina G. is Raising Funds for YO! Disabled & Proud June 29th, 2015

She's at it again!  Nina G, America’s only female stuttering stand up comedian, author and professional speaker. is happy to announce her new collaboration with YO! Disabled and Proud, a project of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. 

Nina’s relationship started with YO! Disabled & Proud started many years ago when she was the keynote speaker at the YO! Anti-Bullying, "Own My Power Freedom from Bullying" Community Organizing Summit.  She was impressed by the emphasis on fostering activism and giving youth with disabilities a voice and tools to build their leadership skills.  Since then she has continued to collaborate with YO! and is now doing a 6 month stretch to raise funds for the program. 

Every six months Nina will be choosing a new organization to donate a portion of her professional speaking fees as well as CD and book online sales to worthy nonprofit organizations.  The organizations Nina chooses will also be featured on her social media outlets to increase their visibility .  The first organization selected is YO! Disabled and Proud.  YO! connects, organizes and educates youth with disabilities ages 16-28 throughout California. It provides leadership opportunities, training for community organizing, peer networks, internships and resource referrals for youth in transition. 

To learn more about the great work Nina G. is doing for the disability community check out her blog, 
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Save the Date: Disability Unity Festival & Conference June 26th, 2015

Disability Unity Festival Logo

YO! Disabled & Proud is excited to announce the upcoming Disability Unity Festival and Conference; Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and an Inclusive Community Where All People are Welcome. 

Date: Friday & Saturday, September 25 - 26, 2015
Where: The Conference will be held on Friday at UC Hastings Law Center in San Francisco from 10am - 5pm and Saturday morning from 8:30am - 10am.  
The Festival and Disability Unity Parade will be held the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza from 11am - 3pm.
Participants may chose to attend one day or both days. 

Additional details about the event will be made available as we get closer to the date. Please contact Christina Mills at or (916)737-5333.  
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Online webinar: The ADA & Disability Identity May 27th, 2015

The Institute for Educational Leadership is hosting The ADA & Disability Identity webinar on Friday, May 29th at 4:00 PM ET. Alex Miller (YouthACT Thundercats) and Sara Moussavian (YouthACT YO! Disabled & Proud) will be presenting with Marrisa Johnson.Please share the description and registration link below with your networks!
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 2015, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) is hosting a series of webinars aimed at ADA Generation youth (individuals with disabilities who have come of age since the passage of the ADA) and their allies. As youth with disabilities transition into adulthood, a core competency is gaining an understanding of disability history, culture, and disability public policy issues as well as their rights and responsibilities. This youth-driven webinar will provide youth and their adult allies with an understanding of the rights provided under the ADA and its impact on youth disability identities.

If you have not connected to a webinar before and think you might need assistance please contact the YO! Disabled and Proud office for support. 
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2015 Annual NCIL Conference Scholarship for Youth May 1st, 2015

July 27-30, 2015; Grand Hyatt, Washington DC

NCIL 2015 Annual Conference Youth Scholarship Application
Thanks to the tremendous support of The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation through the Youth Transitions National Support Fund, Walmart, and the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, NCIL is proud to release the NCIL 2015 Youth Scholarship Application. We are prioritizing applicants who are working directly with a CIL, SILC, a school, and other disability and / or social justice organizations to find additional funding. Please share this opportunity with your networks and with the Deaf and Disabled young people in your community!​  
Since the passage of the ADA, an entire generation of young people with disabilities has grown up: #GenerationADA. These young people and advocates are here; ready to be included and supported to lead. In honor of the ADA 25th anniversary, the 2015 NCIL Conference is committed to engaging and supporting #GenerationADA. As Deaf and Disabled young people, your attendance is integral to the Conference and your existence and advocacy is crucial to the Independent Living and Disability Rights Movement. Therefore, NCIL invites you to apply for this Youth Scholarship.  

The only requirements to apply are:
identifying as a Deaf person and / or a person with a disability or disabilities; and 
being 26 years old or younger (NCIL categorizes “youth” as 26 years old or younger).  Additionally, we would like to have as many youth as possible attend, thus we are more likely to grant funding to applicants who are working with Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Independent Living Councils, other disability and social justice organizations, and / or schools to gain additional funding. However, please apply even if you do not have other sources of funding! 

As we are committed to bringing a diverse group of youth with disabilities to the NCIL Conference, we encourage low income youth, youth of color, LGBTQIA youth, English Language Learners, returning citizens, and other multiply marginalized youth to apply.  
Please note: Due to limited funds, the scholarships will most likely not cover all costs. NCIL’s Youth Caucus will be soon releasing resource guides and tips for finding other funding streams. The scholarship deadline is rolling, so we will be accepting applicants until funding is fully committed. Please contact Allie Cannington, Youth Transition Fellow, and Maddy Ruvolo, NCIL Youth Caucus Chair, with any questions and / or comments at and 
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YO! Disabled & Proud is Hosting an ADA Forum at the State Capitol April 23rd, 2015

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act YO! Disabled & Proud is hosting an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Forum in the State Capitol on Disability Capitol Action Day, May 20th. The ADA is an important civil rights law for people with disabilities of all ages. It provides us access, (ramps, elevators, curb cuts, relay services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, materials in alternative format, accessible restroom stalls, etc.), and makes society easier to navigate. The ADA also gives us the opportunity to go to work and not be discriminated against based on our disabilities.

The ADA Forum for youth and adult allies is being sponsored by Senator Richard Pan. Throughout the forum participants will hear stories about what life with a disability was like before the ADA, the advocacy that went into passing the law and how the ADA benefits people with disabilities. The ADA Forum will include a discussion on what youth with disabilities see as the advocacy priorities of the future and the work that needs to be done to create more opportunities and equality for all.

In addition, YO! Disabled and Proud will be supporting youth around the state in organizing their own community ADA Forum. We will be sharing information on those forums in the coming month. Please contact Kirk Aranda at if you are interested in sponsoring or co-hosting an ADA Forum for youth in your part of the state.

To register or learn more about the ADA Forum on May 20th please go to,
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Students with Disabilities Can Now Access On-Demand Children's TV Programming March 31st, 2015

News from the U.S. Department of Education 

Thousands of students with visual or hearing disabilities can now access free, video-on-demand children’s television programming.

Dozens of children’s and family TV episodes may now be viewed online featuring closed captioning and descriptions through our Accessible Television Portal project. Among the shows: “Ocean Mysteries,” “Magic School Bus,” “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Expedition Wild” and “Peg + Cat.”

The portal is part of the Department-funded Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). It includes video-on-demand content provided at no cost by the major television networks, as well as producers and distributors like PBS Kids, Sesame Workshop, Cartoon Network, Sprout (NBC), the Fred Rogers Company, Scholastic Media, Litton Entertainment, Out of the Blue and Fremantle Television.

“In the digital age, the capability exists to deliver a higher level of personalized programming for students who were underserved in the past,” said Secretary Arne Duncan. “This type of large-scale collaboration between the Education Department and so many major television networks, producers and program distributors will allow greater access to television programming for all students.”

To view the content, teachers and school personnel, parents, and other professionals working with qualified students can visit  and apply for access to the portal.

Once approved, accessible content can be used with, and by, students in the classroom and at home via the Web, mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, and set-top boxes. The portal itself is fully accessible to those with sensory impairments. Children with disabilities can locate any featured program without difficulty.

Initially, the site will include 73 episodes of 19 different children’s television programs.  Additional content from other producers will be added over the next two years.

DCMP provides services to benefit thousands of students (early learning through grade 12) who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. These services include a library of free-loan described and captioned educational media, a learning center of information related to educational media access, a gateway to Internet resources related to accessibility, and guidelines for adding descriptions and captions to media.

The Department-funded DCMP is administered by the National Association of the Deaf.  More information is available at
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TiLT Challenge! - Film/Media Competition on Disability March 31st, 2015

TiLT asks young artists and media makers (ages 13-22) to share their experiences with disability—in their own lives or in the lives of others—in an effort to shift, or tilt, society's perceptions of people with disabilities. Basically, to use their art form and storytelling capacity to re-frame the way people think about disability through evocative, honest stories. Submission deadline is May 15, 2015

Questions: or (202) 416-8898

TiLT is a program of the Kennedy Center, Office of VSA and Accessibility
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25 Scholarships for Students with Disabilities to Study Abroad March 12th, 2015

Study abroad is a real option for students with disabilities, and now it will be even more within reach thanks to new scholarships designed to diversify who is studying abroad!
In partnership with MIUSA, CIEE has pledged to provide 25 scholarships to motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities to study in one of its many overseas program sites. CIEE and MIUSA are offering the scholarships, in part, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has expanded opportunities for people with disabilities since its passage in 1990.
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ASAN - Applications for Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) 2015 are due this Sunday, February 15, 2015. February 10th, 2015

The ACI summer leadership training prepares Autistic students to create systems change on their college campuses. Accepted applicants will travel to Washington, DC and participate in advocacy training from May 30 to June 6, 2015. Participants will acquire valuable skills in community organizing, policy formation, and activism. Travel and lodging are fully covered by ASAN.

View our flyer

Watch the video of our 2013 alumni sharing their experiences

Applicants must identify as Autistic and current college students with at least one year remaining before graduation. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network will cover travel and lodging costs for all ACI students. We specifically encourage students of color, LGBT students, students with intellectual disabilities, AAC users, and students from other or multiply marginalized communities to apply.

To apply, please submit a completed application by February 15, 2015 to Natalia Rivera Morales at with the subject line “2015 ACI Application”.

View and download the application here

If you need assistance or accommodations at any stage, please contact Natalia Rivera Morales at

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The ADA Program is seeking the next generation of disability advocates!Young leaders with a disability are encouraged to apply for up to $10,000 in funding

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities.

The ADA is a joint program of The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding for a project to benefit the disability community.

Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

To apply, please see the attached guidelines and application. You may also apply online at:

Applications must be received by April 10, 2015 (by 5:00pm ET).

 The HSC Health Care System

Caring. Serving. Empowering.

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Casey Youth Advisory Council February 2nd, 2015

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Justice Strategy Group (JJSG) is looking to establish an advisory Council of young adults currently or formerly involved in the juvenile justice system. The JJSG works with state and local juvenile justice stakeholders and agencies (such as probation departments, district attorneys, judges, etc.) to improve outcomes for youth who become involved in the juvenile justice system by eliminating the inappropriate use of secure confinement including detention, state commitment, group homes, and other forms of out-of-home placement. Applications are due by Friday, February 13. Apply today!
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American Youth Leadership Program - Cyprus (June-July 2015) January 29th, 2015

The American Youth Leadership is seeking and encouraging people with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds to apply for their upcoming summer 2015 American Youth Leadership Program - Cyprus. 

The American Youth Leadership Program is a leadership training and exchange program for U.S. high school students and adult mentors. It is supported by a grant from the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by Legacy International.  
The 26-day program focuses on the theme of environment and climate change and takes 16 US students to Cyprus.   Participants will explore why sustainable management of resources is imperative, learn about careers in science, technology and environmental resource management, and work cooperatively with Cypriot peers to promote environmental stewardship.
Eligibility requirements for youths:  Be between the ages of 15-18 with at least one year remaining in high school after fall 2015, a US citizen, demonstrated leadership skills, interest in environment and in Cyprus
Eligibility requirements for adults:  Minimum age of 25 years;  Active teacher or youth worker, Experience with and sensitivity towards inclusion of those with disabilities, a US citizen, Sincere interest in environmental issues and community engagement/service

Please share and post however you like.    
Application deadline is February 5, 2015.
For more information call (540) 871-0882 and email

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City and County of San Francisco Summer College Internship December 17th, 2014

San Francisco International Airport has a robust internship program and hosts more than 100 interns annually. Our College Summer Interns will work full-time, 40 hours per week, in an assigned Airport Commission section. Each intern will work directly with an SFO Mentor who will task them with both daily tasks and larger scale projects. Past interns projects have included preparing complex reports, conducting surveys, producing website or social media content, assisting in event planning, and other duties as assigned by their host office. Interns will also be given the opportunity to attend tours of SFO, Meet and Greets with Airport leadership, and other events aimed at professional development. 
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Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program December 15th, 2014

The summer 2015 Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program remains open for applications until January 28, 2015. 
The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) launched its internship program in 2013.  USICD's internship program focuses on youth with disabilities from across the U.S. who are interested in careers in international development or foreign affairs.  
The summer 2015 internship program will bring a group of talented graduate students, recent graduates, and rising juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, DC, for nine weeks.  This will include a one-week training and orientation program followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization in the Washington, DC, area.  Each intern is typically placed at a different host organization.  USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the program, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend.  It is anticipated that the program will run from May 24 to July 25, 2015. These dates may be subject to change.  
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, must identify as a person with a disability, and must be either a student or a recent graduate. Applications are accepted from candidates up to age 30.  In limited circumstances (for example, U.S. veterans), some candidates may be eligible up to age 35. 

To  learn more about the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program, the eligibility criteria, and the application process, please visit  You can also download a printable handout on the internship program.

Application deadline for USICD's summer 2015 internship program is January 28, 2015.
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Invitation to apply for the 2015 California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities December 11th, 2014

2015 Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF)

This is an exclusive invitation for California high school juniors and seniors who have all different types of disabilities to apply to the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF). Student delegate applications are now available for the 2015 YLF, held July 27-31, 2015 in Sacramento, CA. This program is provided to selected students with disabilities at no cost to them.

YLF is an annual five day leadership program that provides information and resources about employment, education, independence and assistive technology. YLF is held in Sacramento, and students will stay in the dorms on campus at California State University, Sacramento.
Students will have the opportunity to live on a college campus and join more than 1,200 alumni from across the state that have been a part of this unique program created specifically for young leaders with disabilities. Students who attend YLF make new, life-long friendships and resource connections to help them reach their personal, academic, and career goals.
Alumni of the California Youth Leadership Forum say it has forever changed their lives for the better.

Further information and instructions on how to apply are available at 
Deadline to submit applications: February 27th, 2015. 

If you experience any difficulty filling out the application, we can help you.  Please contact us by email at, by phone at (855) 894-3436, or by relay using 711. 
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Schools warned on legalities of anti-bullying October 24th, 2014

October 23, 2014 | By Jane Meredith Adams 

Citing an “ever-increasing” number of complaints about the bullying of students with disabilities, the federal government issued a letter this week reminding schools of their legal responsibility to stop such bullying or risk violating federal anti-discrimination laws.

Schools need to address the bullying of all students, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education acknowledged in its letter, but it reiterated that bullying can be a form of discrimination against students with disabilities, particularly if bullying interferes with students’ legal right to a “free and appropriate public education.”

Schools “cannot stand by” if they know, or should have known, that a student with disabilities is being bullied, said Maggie Roberts, associate managing attorney for Disability Rights California, a federally mandated watchdog group. “It is unlawful.”

The Office for Civil Rights received 58 complaints alleging harassment or bullying of California students on the basis of disability last fiscal year, the office said. Nationwide, more than 2,000 complaints about the bullying of students with disabilities have been received at the office since 2009.

Bullying is characterized as “aggression used within a relationship” where the aggressor has “more real or perceived power than the target, and the aggression is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time,” according to a 2013 letter from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of Education.

Students with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center, which is part of the Minnesota-based Pacer Center, a nonprofit organization that assists parents of children with disabilities.
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Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America's Schools October 22nd, 2014

As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated – including against America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities.
The Department issued guidance in the form of a letter to educators detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.

“While there is broad consensus that bullying cannot be tolerated, the sad reality is that bullying persists in our schools today, especially for students with disabilities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. “Basic decency and respect demand that our schools ensure that all their students learn in a safe environment. I look forward to continuing our work with schools to address and reduce incidents of bullying so that no student is limited in his or her ability to participate in and benefit from all that our educational programs have to offer.”

Since 2009, OCR has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools.
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Millennials, Help Us Mark the 25th Anniversary of the ADA October 17th, 2014

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the most important milestones in the history of disability rights, will turn 25 on July 26, 2015. The Millenial generation, people 30 and under, have grown up and become adults in this quarter century and their perceptions have been shaped by opportunities made possible by this legislation.

Are you a member of this "ADA Generation" or a family member? GCDD wants to hear your ADA story!

In a year-long lead up to the big ADA anniversary, Making a Difference magazine is collecting stories from people who want to share how they feel about the law and why. If you're 30 or younger, what has been the law's greatest impact on your quality of life such as your expectations for access to opportunity, education, technology and employment?

In 250 words or less, tell us your thoughts and you could be published in an upcoming edition of Making a Difference magazine. Stories should be submitted at 
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YO! Social Media Postings for Disability History Week- #DHW2014 October 16th, 2014

It's Day 4 of Disability History Week. Have you been positing and spreading the word about it? Sometimes it helps to have examples of posts that can be made on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Posting about Disability History Week, #DHW2014 educates new people about the campaign. You're welcome to use any of the posting examples below. We also encourage you to come up with your own social media posts, but we ask that you use #DHW2014 and #YODisabledandProud when you are posting. 

Sample Facebook Posts

[Name of Organization] is proud to be honoring and celebrating Disability History Week (DHW). The second week of October is Disability History Week in California, as passed by the legislature in 2010. Disability History Week is about educating youth with and without disabilities on the many contributions people with disabilities have made throughout American History. Throughout the week of October 13 – 17, organizations and schools across California will engage in a wide variety of activities to celebrate and honor the disability rights movement. Our organization will be [activity/event] to demonstrate our commitment to Disability History Week. To learn more about Disability History Week go to, [organizations website].

How are you planning to implement Disability History Week? Held annually on the second week of October, Disability History Week aims to engage schools in educating students with and without disabilities about leaders and historic moments in the Disability Rights Movement. California’s Disability History Week was established by the California legislature and Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled & Proud members in 2010. Learn more at,

Positive change has come out of the work of the Disability Rights Movement and many times those changes have impacted everyone in society. Did you know that [disability history fact] was made possible because of the disability community?

Sample Tweets

• Disability History Week is here! How are you honoring those who fought for our rights? #DHW2014

• October 13 – 17, 2014 is California Disability History Week. #DHW2014
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Share Your Favorite Disability History Story With YO! October 15th, 2014

Tell us about your favorite disability history story. It can be something you heard or learned about from someone, or it can be about how you are making disability history today. Stories should be about 200 words long.

Here’s a great example, submitted by Stacey Milbern,"My favorite disability history story was told to me by Leroy More, a black disabled activist who does a lot of media making around issues facing people of color with disabilities, when we were visiting the African American History Museum in Detroit together. He told me that Harriet Tubman had a traumatic head injury, and that it was acquired by violence from a plantation owner when she tried to protect an enslaved person. Her disability included narcolepsy and epilepsy, and she had many hallucinations. She used this to her advantage. Many community members were used to her “episodes” and wrote her off. This allowed her to move around without people becoming suspicious of her as a black woman. She found paths that became the Underground Railroad this way. I love this story because it speaks to how people with disabilities are so brilliant and use what we have."

Do you have a story you want to share? Send it to
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Online Survey for Parents of Transitioning Age Youth (16-28) with a Intellectual/Developmental Disability October 10th, 2014

Dear Parent:
The California Employment Consortium for Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (CECY) needs your help. CECY would like to improve life after high school for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who would like to go to college and/or get a job. To find out more about CECY please visit our About Us web page at 
We have put together a survey that will take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey has open-ended, multiple choice and yes/no questions. Some examples of the questions are:
·       How important is it to you that your son or daughter begins college within one to two years of completing high school?
·       Has a teacher or counselor from your son or daughter’s school worked with them to plan for their life after high school?
·       Is work a goal in your youth/young adult’s Individual Program Plan (IPP) with the Regional Center?
The survey results will help us create tools and materials to help young adults find services for going to college and getting a job. Please take our survey to help us increase choices for young adults.
Click here to take the survey: (
If you have trouble opening the link please copy and paste it into your browser. Please share the survey with other parents or caregivers who would be interested in taking it.  The results of the survey will be put on the Tarjan Center website. Tarjan’s website address is:
Thank you.
Area Board 9
State Council on Developmental Disabilities
200 East Santa Clara Street, Suite 210
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805-648-0220
Fax: 805-648-0226
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Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities October 7th, 2014

Studies have proven that volunteering or participating in an internship are the best predictors of future success in the workplace. The Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities gives college students with disabilities the opportunity to jumpstart their career path and gain a competitive edge.

Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities, funded by The UPS Foundation and coordinated by the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, is a highly competitive program that places top undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships nationwide that also provide them with meaningful leadership development and networking opportunities.
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HBO is Seeking a Young Disabled Male Wheelchair User October 7th, 2014

Who:  Male / Supporting / All Ethnicities / 20 - 30 year old who live in the Bay Area 
Character Description: Brent is described as being in his 20's/30's, he's been using a wheelchair since adolescence. He is intelligent, Quick-witted, campy, gay. and an app designer who meets Patrick and Kevin at a tech convention.
3 scenes - Accepting Gay and straight men for this role.
Auditions: 10/10/14
Please submit on or email me your headshot/resume or photo/and bio.

For additional information please email,
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Disabled Children Aren't Burdens - or Angels September 25th, 2014

In popular narratives, disabled children seem to be framed continually as either one of two things. They are either precious angels sent to Earth to teach us all a lesson, or they’re burdens dragging on the lives of their parents and family members, who are forced to make tremendous sacrifices for them. Neither is true, and both are incredibly harmful not just for disabled children, but also for the adults who they grow into — because strangely enough, disability doesn’t stop at childhood, and many disabled kids grow up to become disabled adults, living in a world surrounded by hateful rhetoric about disability. Some are even fortunate enough to encounter the words and comments of their own family members from their childhood, which is often unnerving and upsetting.

Casting disabled children as angels has obvious problems. It serves to objectify disabled persons, turning them into lessons and learning experiences and secret messages instead of human beings with their own needs, wants, wishes, and dreams. By suggesting that disability is somehow angelic, people skip over the realities of disability, some of which are harsh, frustrating, and demoralising. Insisting that disability is somehow a different category also allows people to maintain inaccessibility in society and in their attitudes.
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American Association On Health and Disability Scholarship Application September 18th, 2014

The deadline to apply for the 2014-2015 American Association On Health and Disability Scholarship is November 15, 2014. 

American Association On Health & Disability supports students with disabilities in pursing higher education in a field related to disability and health. Preference is given to students who plan to purse undergraduate/graduate studies in the field of public health, behavioral health, epidemiology, health promotion, disability studies, to include disability policy and disability research. Scholarships are limited to under $1,000 and are competitive. 

For additional information please contact Maria Manolatos, AAHD Scholarship Coordinator at 
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She Rode To Success On Her Family's Backs - Literally August 11th, 2014

A child with a disability in Cameroon is often considered to be cursed. Some of them are abandoned and left to die. Others are hidden at home.

Muluh Hilda Bih was blessed with a family that had a different attitude. She developed muscular dystrophy at age 4, losing the ability to use her hands and legs. But the support of her parents and siblings made all the difference.

Before she had a wheelchair, they literally carried her on their backs. "There was a lot of lifting," Muluh, now 34, says with a chuckle.

With her family's support, she's gone on to become a radio journalist who is one of her country's most familiar voices. She's an activist as well, seeking to help those with disabilities and mentoring young women through the Esther Project, a program she founded to empower girls to pursue an education.

Muluh was surely inspired by her own parents, who did everything they could to find out what was causing her weakness. They took their second child to hospital after hospital, hoping doctors could explain what was wrong. Each visit proved fruitless.

"Just diagnosing the problem is a problem in itself," she says. The family even visited faith healers and witch doctors. One said her disability was a sign of special powers. Others blamed her parents for passing on a curse.

Meanwhile, Muluh's disease was progressing. With no answers and no cure, she began losing hope for her future. Children at school taunted her, and people in the streets gawked at the sight of a little girl who had to be carried.

At 16, she even thought of suicide. "I just thought that I was not going to ever achieve any of the dreams I had," Muluh says. "I got frustrated and I thought, 'Well maybe there's no point in going on with this life.' "

But it was her faith and the thought of her family that kept her going. Her eight brothers and sisters often dropped what they were doing to help her, while her parents tirelessly searched for answers.

"I thought about [my father's] sacrifice, and I continued because I knew that it would please him," she says.

Today, Muluh uses her voice to push for better enforcement of legislation intended to help people with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, they're roughly 10 percent of the country's population. But while Cameroon has a law that requires ramps to be installed in all buildings, most offices and schools aren't wheelchair accessible.

Not even Muluh's office at Cameroon Radio and Television Corp., where she worked for roughly eight years. Her brothers had to carry her up the stairs.

"Our government sees what is happening in other countries," she says. "They copy and paste, but they do not implement."

Muluh also aims to change the way disabilities are perceived.

She remembers reporting on a severely disabled woman whose family had wanted to kill her when she was born. "The family suggested that because her body was so distorted, she must have been a bad omen," she recalls.

Luckily, a great aunt took in the girl, who learned to use her feet for daily tasks like cooking and laundry. The woman, now 28, never went to school but has started a successful business selling rice, beans and cooking oil.

When the story aired on the radio, people were shocked to hear an in-depth story about an issue that rarely goes public. Many listeners reached out, wanting to support the woman's business.

The more stories she shared, Muluh says, the more people she heard about people accepting their children. "A mother came to me and said, 'I never used to know that my son could be useful. Now that I heard your story, he's going to go to school no matter what it takes,' " she recalls.

That kind of family support makes a tremendous difference for a youngster — and for an adult as well.

At the hotel where Muluh and her sister, Honourine, are attending the Young African Leaders Initiative conference, Muluh gets ready to pose for a photo. Honourine quickly reaches over to fix her sister's hair, adjust her necklace and even cross her legs for her.

Just as quickly, she steps aside — out of the frame. As Muluh and I head toward the hotel lobby after our interview, I peer behind me and there's Muluh Honourine Tewah, always one step behind her sister.
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Do Attendance Policies Discriminate Against Disability? August 7th, 2014

Last week’s post on sending your kids off to college as independent souls hit a nerve. Read the comments for a lot of great conversation.

However, the blogger sillylegal, a recent graduate of a liberal arts college, thought the post was sorely lacking in its attention to the needs and rights of disabled students.  Perhaps it was, as I mentioned disability not at all, nor did I pay attention to the other ways that students are different from each other. I think sillylegal misread parts of the post, or perhaps just mischaracterized as we bloggers sometimes do when we write in haste, and I want to underline some choices I made when writing it. For example I deliberately did not use the phrase “helicopter parents” in the post, since the vast majority of parents mean well and it’s easier to reach people if you don’t mock them. For a similar reason, I did not characterize students who don’t meet faculty expectations as “lazy.” Lazy is a judgey, vague little garbage can that stands in for the many concrete reasons a student might not be doing well in school: instead, I highlighted misplaced priorities with which families can be complicit, and issues that faculty and students understand differently.

The point of the post was, in part, that when students and faculty have different expectations about things like attendance, the role of parents in making decisions, and handing things in on time, there may be some crossed wires involved. Parents can have a role in preparing their children to meet the new expectations of college by not actively interfering with college learning; while faculty could be a little less mystified and affronted when students have not yet acclimated to the college classroom.

But what about disabled students? Are attendance policies inherently discriminatory? As sillylegal, who has cerebral palsy, writes:

A sunny spring Saturday at the end of my senior year at Smith College found me sitting with a group of disabled students preparing for a Q and A about academic disability studies at Smith’s collaborative research symposium, the first panel of its kind. The professor facilitating the panel suggested a question about what we wished professors knew. Though far removed from our initial research topics, it felt great to have someone ask so the listing began.

Given the relatively predictable nature of my needs, I was surprised by a common complaint: strict attendance policies. Like the author, I assumed that being there was the way to show that I cared, and a reasonable expectation. Then a chronically ill friend explained to me that when a professor insists that students not miss class, not only does it unfairly pressure a sick student, but it encourages students to come even when contagious at great risk to students with suppressed or sensitive immune systems. Lesson learned.

Go to the post and read the list of things sillylegal has been thinking about. Faculty and parents of disabled students might want to learn more about how one student experienced overly rigid requirements in college.

So with sillylegal’s thoughts in mind, I would still like to say: when students aren’t in class, they are not getting the benefit of school. Administrators know this, and have to be accountable to the federal government for students success. Therefore, faculty (like myself) are often enforcing administrative policies that are not our own. On the other hand, should colleges work harder to keep disabled students in class? Yes. So let’s shift the focus and talk about what that would mean. (Caveat: there are many disabilities, they all have different effects on school attendance, and two students with the same disability may have very different needs.)

A disabled student needs to choose her college carefully, knowing that the school she wants and is qualified to attend might have a poor track record of accommodating her — or anyone else’s — disability. Even though accommodation is the law, some colleges and universities claim to have resources that they either lack or that are inadequate to the number of students who need them. Make no assumptions that the support your student had in high school will be replicated in college. Ironically, the schools everyone loves to love because of their small classes and cuddly relations with faculty — SLACs — sometimes aren’t very good at accommodating disability at all.

Why? First, because disabled students need faculty and administrators who are well-informed, well-supported and well-trained for all the personal attention of a SLAC to be effective. Why wouldn’t all SLACS do this? It’s a great question. And the answer is: Because it is really expensive. Really expensive. I have never heard anyone say this, but I suspect that many small, private schools actually choose not to make their campuses and classrooms disability friendly because it would make their campuses attractive to disabled students, and create even more demand for those expensive services.

Cynical, I know.

Here’s the news: schools that accommodate best, that are most physically accessible, that have learning and counseling centers staffed and run by well-paid professionals, are often big, public schools. Why? Because public schools can’t cherry pick; because their merits and demerits are open to public scrutiny; and because, compared to many small private schools, they have more robust budgets and student life staffs. When you and your prospective student are making a decision about what school he will attend, pay special attention to the actual resources. Ask what happens when students and faculty cannot agree on an accommodation, or if the agreed-upon accommodation isn’t working. Run through familiar scenarios from high school and ask how they would play out at the college level, and who would be in charge of coordinating a response. Ask to see the memo that faculty would get about accommodating your child and see if it outlines anything that would make sense given how you know your kid. What about the campus architecture? Can your mobility impaired student get into every building, or will they move her classes into accessible buildings, and not worry about whether she can attend talks, use the gym, see a friend in a dorm, confer with an advisor, or be in a play?

Do not take the word of the admissions office or a class dean that everything will be fine. Ask them to show you the money; they may surprise you and admit that there are things they don’t do well, and brainstorm a solution.

Students need to be fully engaged with their own education, but when disability accommodation comes down to a struggle over policy between a student and a member of the faculty (which it never should and often does), this is an outcome of perhaps unintentional, but certainly structural, discrimination against disabled students.

sillylegal, I am shocked that, in this day and age, a college like Smith was asking for direction from disabled students about what the school ought to be doing for them. Except that I am not shocked, because this is how people of good will at small colleges deal with a lot of issues that they ought to be hiring well-paid professionals to address: sexual assault, GLBTQ issues, and racism are but a few aspects of campus inclusion that you can hire people with advanced degrees and years of experience to take effective action on. No school administration should be asking students to educate them about something as basic as disability.

But they do. As sillylegal infers when she criticizes faculty who have strict attendance policies, invisible disabilities can make school far more difficult than being deaf, blind or mobility impaired. Invisible disabilities I have seen in my career include: chronic fatigue syndrome; seropositive status and other immune disorders; mental illness (anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disease are the most common); drugs that students take to control mental illness; learning disability; cancer treatments and other catastrophic illnesses; PTSD; and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Invisible disabilities may be the least well understood and recognized by faculty because they are not easily addressed with tutors and learning coaches, accessible classrooms or accessible course materials. They require flexibility about class attendance and the use of creative evaluation.

Parents: is the ethos of the school friendly to what your student needs? Does the school have the services it says it does? Are faculty trained to make accommodations? As importantly, are the faculty full-time? Contingent faculty — although they are often great teachers who care deeply about students — are simply not paid, nor do they have time, to substitute a 90 minute oral exam for a written exam (I often do this for students who are ADHD or OCD.) If they are teaching multiple classes, on one or more campuses, they cannot manage their own work lives if they have no help rescheduling for individual students; or are grading papers long after the class has ended and they have moved on to another semester’s overload, perhaps at another institution.

Finally, if your student has a learning disability, some kind of supported transition to independent college work may be required. If you cannot afford to pay for a coach, your student needs to attend a school with a learning center where people are trained to help properly, people who will notice if the student is going off the rails academically. Encourage your student to stay on whatever medication he is on and — very important! — not to sell it or give it away to other students who just want study drugs. Faculty can, and should, make accommodations, and be welcoming to students with disabilities. They should make sure to include readings about disability when appropriate, and they should educate themselves about disability. However, nothing about our graduate training comes close to the specialized knowledge of teachers who work with learning disabled students, nor do we know what to do when a student who has appeared to be high functioning begins to miss class, or stops handing work in, when she has gone off her meds.

Good news? Parents, you often do an awesome job of raising your disabled kids to stand up for themselves, be responsible for negotiating what they need and put the extra time into learning that they need to commit to in order to be successful. All the more reason to make sure they attend a school where they are appreciated and respected, and where what they have learned about navigating education will allow them to be fully included.

Readers, you did a great job on the last post: what am I missing?
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More Colleges Expanding Programs For Students On Autism Spectrum August 1st, 2014

Planning a route, getting gas and changing a flat tire don’t sound challenging to most young adults, but for students on the autism spectrum at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL, it was one of the greatest tests of their independence. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year a group of students successfully drove by themselves from Pensacola to a conference in New Orleans after guidance from the university’s Autism Inclusion Program. And West Florida isn’t the only school integrating these students.

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have always been on college campuses, but with the lack of screening technologies just a few years ago, they struggled through schooling virtually invisible. Today, however, the number of children on the spectrum has risen from 1 in 150 to 1 in 88 in less than ten years, and colleges are beginning to acknowledge that these young adults are eager to receive their college degrees.

The Harvard Review of Psychiatry recently released summaries of the latest findings in ASD research and highlighted that there is a significant upsurge of people with ASD arriving on college campuses.  It is difficult to pinpoint just how great this increase is, however, because many students choose not reveal this disorder according to Jane Brown Thierfeld, Ed.D, co-Director of College Autism Spectrum, an organization of professionals who assist students with ASD and their families and author of “The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum.” For every student receiving special services, there are 1-2 on that same campus who have not identified themselves to anyone, she says. According to Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, lead author of the review, we are only seeing the tip of the ice berg in terms of the number of these students seeking to access higher education.

With computers taking over jobs typically held by people on the spectrum, in areas like postal services and train operations, it is imperative that these perfectly capable students go on to earn degrees. Colleges and universities across the country have established programs to ensure that they will get enhanced services like academic and executive functioning tutoring, anxiety reduction instruction and social skill workshops. Most don’t need all these support services, however, and simply sign up for what meets their individual needs. The average program runs about $3,000 per semester on top of tuition.

How The Schools Are Responding

Rochester Institute of Technology is a co-op school, meaning that they require students to have real, paid work experience before they can graduate, and attracts about 20-30 students on the spectrum each year. The Spectrum Support Program there specializes in job preparation and offers a 15 week program involving in-depth seminars on job interviews, networking, resume building, behavioral based interview questions and body language tips that bolster students’ confidence in the job search process.  RIT caters to the more independent, high-functioning students. If a child has trouble waking up in the morning or remembering to take his/her medication, for example, RIT does not have someone who lives in the dorm knocking on their door.

“Every program looks very different, and families need to know how much time students will spend with program staff,” says Lurie Ackles, director of the RIT program. “It’s equally important to know what a program is not going to do.” Students meet with the staff at most three hours per week—one-hour group meetings and two one-hour individual meetings. First year students pay up to $1,600 per term at RIT on top of tuition, and upperclassmen with less support can pay up to $1,400.

For students looking for special social services, Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA offers an entire residence hall devoted to the Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) program. It is a Living Learning Environment that houses twenty-five students on the spectrum and one graduate student mentor. They provide optional meal gatherings, coordinate Asperger support group meetings, and group outings to events on and off campus. Dr. Brown remembers a student telling her that living in the Mercyhurst community was the first time she could suggest watching a Disney movie on a Friday night without people laughing at her.

There are, however, schools like Rutgers University that aim to totally mainstream their students on the spectrum. Rutgers students can be placed in dorms anywhere on campus and take any classes. “We want them to function as Rutgers students because they came here to be Rutgers students,” says Pam Lubbers, coordinator of College Support Program for Students on the Autism Support Spectrum (CAPS) at the university. The fee at Rutgers will be $3,000 in January.

Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will receive its first student this coming fall and offers a very individualized plan. Each student has a unique plan of support based on what they need assistance with, which always evolves over time. This school will offer 10 hour per week peer mentoring, monitored study hall two hours a day, five days per week, weekly psychoeducational group meetings, physical/occupational therapy sessions and have someone on call for 24 hours. They also plan to have students complete volunteer or paid work experience before they graduate so they can gain experience in the interviewing process, resume writing, working under a supervisor and with co-workers while they have support. The cost for these services is $8,000 on top of tuition.

Finding The Right Fit

Although there is no “one size fits all” program, each school offers something unique that works for the student in conjunction with the campus culture. “There has to be a really good match between the student and the whole university, not just the program,” says Susan Kabot, Executive Director at Autism Institute of Nova Southeastern University. “Look at the size of the campus, how easy it is to navigate, the number of students, class size and that the type of support offered is what matches what you think your child will need in a new, unfamiliar environment.”

In the future, Pinder hopes to see more schools offer summer transition programs. So far the field has done an excellent job in transitioning students from pre-school to elementary and so on, but lags when it comes from helping them make the leap from secondary school to college, according to Pinder’s review.  It’s also a good time to assess whether or not students are ready to make the jump, and could wind up saving parents a year’s worth of tuition. Boston College Summer Boot Camp already has a similar program in place that is designed to provide students with high functioning autism spectrum disorder the communication and social skills they are going to need to function most effectively on a college campus.

“The reality is, students on the spectrum are going to be your next door neighbor, the person in the cubicle next to you and the parents of your kids’ friends,” says Dr. Brown. “As long as you can understand the possibility of some social awkwardness, then people on the spectrum are equally as prepared and qualified.”
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National Youth Transitions Collaborative IL Scholarship July 10th, 2014

Jointly funded by The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation through the Youth Transitions Collaborative, NCIL is awarding scholarships to young people with disabilities to attend the Annual Conference.

The National Youth Transitions Collaborative IL Scholars must be people with disabilities, 26 years old or younger, and be available to attend the entire Annual Conference.

If the criteria is met,  each youth will receive a complimentary conference registration for the Annual Conference and the Pre-Conference, an invitation to join NCIL’s Youth Caucus, and two years of complimentary youth membership in NCIL, good through the end of 2015.

If this information applies to you, please fill out the registration form. 
For questions or concerns, please contact Allie Cannington at
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Millions in Funding Restored to California Program for Young Children With Disabilities July 9th, 2014

The California Department of Developmental Services has announced that funding for the state's Early Start program will be restored to pre-recession levels, increasing from $270 million in 2013-2014 to $293 million in 2014-2015. The program provides treatment for 30,000 infants and children under age 3 who have adaptive, cognitive, communication, emotional, physical or social disabilities.

"State Restores Some Funding for Kids With Special Needs" (Renner, HealthyCal, 7/8).
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CA Department of Education Shares a Reminder About Students with Disabilities Participating in Graduation Activities April 22nd, 2014

Date:               April 22, 2014
Subject:          Official Message from the State Director of the Special Education Division
Please distribute to all administrators and special education personnel.
As graduation day approaches, we would like to remind you that California Education Code (EC) sections 56390–56392 allows students with disabilities to participate in graduation ceremonies and activities. They may participate whether or not they have completed all state and local graduation requirements for a diploma or certificate or document of educational achievement.
The California Department of Education (CDE) is committed to ensuring that all students with disabilities achieve to their maximum potential. It is also important to recognize each individual student’s efforts in this regard. California law provides a way to recognize students with disabilities who are unable to earn a high school diploma or who have not completed all graduation requirements by the end of grade 12.
A student with disabilities who does not meet all state and local requirements for earning a high school diploma, may be awarded a certificate or document of educational achievement or completion if any one of the three criteria outlined in EC Section 56390 are met.  Awarding a student with an actual certificate is a local decision.
However, any student who meets any one of the three criteria, whether or not they are receiving a document such as a certificate or a diploma, shall be permitted to “participate in any graduation ceremony and any school activity related to graduation in which a pupil of similar age without disabilities would be eligible to participate,” such as walking in graduation ceremonies with their class.  (EC Section 56391)
Following are the three criteria outlined in EC Section 56391:
The individual has satisfactorily completed a prescribed alternative course of study approved by the governing board of the school district in which the individual attended school or the school district with jurisdiction over the individual and identified in his or her individualized education program, or 
The individual has satisfactorily met his or her individualized education program goals and objectives during high school as determined by the individualized education program team, or 
The individual has satisfactorily attended high school, participated in the instruction as prescribed in his or her individualized education program, and has met the objectives of the statement of transition services. 
If a student with disabilities, who is scheduled to earn a high school diploma by the end of their senior year, has not met all graduation requirements, the district is still responsible to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student until they complete their graduation requirements or turn age twenty two, whichever comes first, even if the student has participated in a graduation ceremony (EC Section 56026). The individualized education program team will determine appropriate annual goals and special education supports and related services, and also will determine the appropriate educational setting that will (a) prepare the student to meet all graduation requirements by age twenty two or; (b) provide the student with functional life skills and vocational preparation until age twenty two. Should the student and/or parent refuse the offer of FAPE, the student may exit special education and the district may award the student with a certificate of completion.
If you have any questions regarding certificates of completion or diplomas for students with disabilities, please contact Jill Larson, Transition Specialist, Focused Monitoring and Technical Assistance Unit IV, Special Education Division, CDE; by phone at 916-327-0866 or by e-mail at
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Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship April 21st, 2014

Application for the Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship
Announcing the 2014 Scholarship Competition for the Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship!

Purpose of Scholarship:
The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to people with disabilities who have been admitted to or are enrolled in a California college or university and who are committed to taking a leadership role in improving the lives of persons with disabilities.
Amount of Scholarship:
One (1) $500 scholarship will be given.
Any person with a verified physical, mental, or learning disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as defined in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, who has been admitted to or is enrolled in an accredited state university, community college, private college, or university in California may apply.
Award Criteria:
Applications for the scholarship will be rated as follows:
(1) 50% Demonstrated Leadership--Please attach a brief description of the activities in which you have been involved that has improved the lives of people with disabilities in California. Additionally, include your major and degree level that you are working towards. Looking for applicants studying in a disability related major is preferred.  Lastly, include a discussion of your involvement, if any, in intercultural activities and provide evidence of your development towards a positive leadership style.
(2) 50% Essay-- In a short essay outline your educational and vocational goals, activities, organizational memberships, and plans to serve as a role model or otherwise improve the full participation of Californians with disabilities in all aspects of community life. Include a statement of what you would do if you are selected as a winner of the Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship, to help improve the membership on the board, its membership as a whole, and how you would help raise funds for next year’s scholarship recipient for the CDR foundation.
How To Apply and Deadline:
HOW TO APPLY:  Go to to get the forms to fill out to apply for the scholarship, which has to be submitted on line or to Shira Leeder, the chair of CDRF by via e-mail:
DEADLINE TO APPLY: Monday, September 1st, 2014 on line
SCHOLARSHIP WINNER ANNOUNCED:       The CDR foundation website:  on: Monday, October 20th, 2014
Monday, October 27th, 2014


Please Type the Application in MS Word and put it into an attachment to an email.
1. Name:
2. Address:
3. Telephone:
4. Major / Educational Goal:
5. Vocational Goal:
6. College or University You Attend or Have Been Admitted to:
7. Class level (Circle one): Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate
8. Expected graduation date:
9. An Essay that has the following requirements: regarding your educational and vocational goals, activities, organizational memberships, examples of your leadership qualities, and plans to serve as a role model and/or otherwise improve the lives of Californians with disabilities.
1) Describe how this scholarship will help you to reach your goals.
2) If you are selected as a winner of the Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship, what would you do to help improve the membership on the board, its membership as a whole, its lobbying, and help raise funds for next year’s scholarship recipient for the CDR foundation?
Technical details:  • Not to exceed four typewritten pages; • Double spaced; • 14-point font.
• One inch margins; • Last name and page number on each page
Are you currently a member of CDR?  If not, we would like you to become a member, please do so at the website
*You must include the following information with your e-mailed application:
____ An essay regarding your educational and vocational goals, activities, organizational memberships, examples of your leadership qualities, and plans to serve as a role model and/or otherwise improve the lives of Californians with disabilities.
_____ Scholarship Application (downloaded from website)
_____ A letter of recommendation from a faculty member or other individual who has knowledge of your academic ability and achievements.
*You must include the following information with your e-mailed application:
Shira Leeder, 2425 Channing Way PMB #459, Berkeley, CA 94704
_____ Verification of disability (by DSS Director, Rehabilitation Counselor, doctor or other professional)
_____ Documentation of enrollment in or acceptance by an accredited college/university.
_____ A statement that verifies that the information on this application, and in the included documentation, is true, complete, and accurate and furthermore that the essay is my own work and not attributable to any other source.
_____________________________ ___________________
Signature                                         Date
*Completed application must be e-mailed to Shira Leeder: no later than Monday, September 1st, 2014 by 5pm Pacific Time.
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Webinar ~ Thursday April 3rd - YO! Paid Internships-Game On March 25th, 2014

YO! Paid Internships-Game OnAPRIL 3, 2014 • 3:30PM - 5:00PM (PST)
Tom Foley, World Institute on Disability/Add Us In CA Consortium Partner
Tari Hartman Squire, EIN SOF Communications, Inc./Add Us In CA Consortium Partner

YO! Disabled & Proud is an awesome partner for paid internships throughout the State of California for Spring, Summer or Fall. YO! is the talent pipeline partner to participate in the US Department of Labor's funded grant to increase employment opportunities of people with disabilities from historically-excluded communities.

Check out our YO! Add Us In Webinar on Thursday, April 3rd, from 3:30 - 5 pm to learn how you can apply for a paid internship this Spring, Summer or Fall. Internships include a charter yacht, dance studio, social media, marketing, and exotic predators. Check it out - join our Webinar April 3rd; from 3:30 - 5 pm.
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California Youth Leadership Forum - Strategic Plan Development March 24th, 2014

YO! Disabled and Proud is proud to support the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) is in the process to develop a strategic plan and hope that you will also by taking the survey below.

We are seeking input from people connected to and or familiar with YLF. We are also soliciting input from people who are affiliated with other youth leadership programs/organizations in California and the United States.

Please feel free to forward this message and survey link to others who might be interested in responding. The survey will end at 7:00pm on Friday, March 28th, 2014. It’s a short window to provide your responses, so we hope that you will complete the survey today!

The survey should only take about 15 minutes, and we look forward to your comments.

Link to 2014 YLF Strategic Plan Survey:

We thank you again for your time.


YLF Strategic Planning Project Team

Rachel Stewart

Sarah Triano

Adam Sutkus

Grace Person

Mike Yamagata
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NCPA 2014 Scholarship Application March 18th, 2014

If you are a high school senior interested in pursuing an interest in writing and publishing, we invite you to apply for a $350 scholarship toward your college education.

An interested senior’s application will consist of concise, well-written answers to six questions, along with submission of contact information.

The winning senior will be notified by mid-April and will be invited to attend the NCPA Award Dinner, Sunday, April 27 in Sacramento.

Application Instructions & Rules

  1. The application window is March 1 through March 31, 2014 by way of this website only.

  2. Eligibility is limited to currently enrolled high school seniors in Northern California.

  3. Applicants must intend to pursue a college education.

  4. No paper applications will be accepted.

  5. Only the first 100 online applications will be considered.

  6. Children and grandchildren of NCPA board members will not be eligible.

  7. A committee of NCPA board members will determine the winner based on their sole discretion and best judgment of applications received.

  8. Funds will be dispersed to the financial aid office—in the name of the winning applicant—at the college or university where the high school senior will be attending.

  9. At the time of application, the applicant need not have been formally accepted to his or her college or university of choice, but will need to eventually notify NCPA of the institution of enrollment before funds can be released.

  10. The winner will be announced on this website on or before Friday, April 18.

  11. Answers to questions are limited to 500 words each (approximately one typewritten page), but no more than 2,800 characters including spaces. (We suggest writing your answers on a word processor, then using the copy and paste function to insert answers into the web form field.)

Note: All fields in the form must be completed. Submitting the form with a blank field will result in an error message identifying the first blank field.

To Apply click here
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Advocate in Disability Awards (ADA) March 12th, 2014

Advocates in Disability Awards (ADA)

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in the United States. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities.

Funded by both The HSC Foundation and the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation, the selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for a project to benefit the disability community.

Examples of qualified applicants can include (but are not limited to): a student who is advocating for equal access to quality education, a young professional educating an employer about workplace accommodations, or a young person advocating for better policies for people with disabilities. This person does not have to be a “professional” advocate, but should be effectively working to make a difference. Overall, the ADA program seeks to recognize and award individuals who are advocates through their deep belief and commitment to the inclusion and empowerment of all people with disabilities. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at the time of application submission and recipient selection.
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Open Position: 2014 Youth Transition Fellowship March 6th, 2014

Open Position: 2014 Youth Transitions Fellowship

The HSC Foundation, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is now accepting applications for a paid fellowship position with the organizations’ disability youth transition and collaboration work. This fellowship is ideal for a person with a disability who has an interest in youth career transitions and employment solutions. The fellowship starts in June 2014, and continues for 12 months. Under the supervision of NCIL’s Executive Director, the Youth Transitions Fellow (YTF) will gain exposure to youth programs serving people with disabilities and will have the opportunity to facilitate collaboration among internship, fellowship, and apprenticeship programs based in the Greater Washington, DC area.

Preferred Skills and Qualifications:

  • Ability to facilitate collaboration among large groups

  • Ability to work with people in all levels of an organization, including young people with a variety of disabilities

  • Strong communication skills and strong organizational skills

  • Creative and innovative personality

  • Familiarity with technology and social networking tools

  • Strong interest in youth transition for people with disabilities and organizing.

Anyone who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability is invited to apply. You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this program will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability. Please Note: This fellowship is specifically for people with disabilities.
Please Provide the Following:

  • Please attach your resume in Microsoft Word format.

  • Please provide the contact information for four (4) references who are familiar with your qualifications relevant to this fellowship and your personal character.

  • Please attach in Microsoft Word format two (2) letters of recommendation from two (2) of the above-mentioned references.

What Happens Next:

  • Completed applications received by NCIL before 5:00 PM EST, Friday, April 18, 2014 will be collected and reviewed by our team.

  • Semi-Finalists will be contacted for short, preliminary telephone interviews.

  • Finalists will be contacted for formal telephone interviews.

  • The fellow will be selected and notified by May 15, 2014.

  • The fellow must be able to begin work by June 16, 2014.

The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Center 
The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Center is a collaborative learning community to benefit youth with disabilities and returning wounded veterans. The National Youth Transitions Center, developed by The HSC Foundation, will bring together the resources of multiple organizations to provide much needed transitions related services, research, public policy, best practices, pilot projects, and evaluation so that youth with disabilities can achieve their greatest level of independence. The Center will create a forum to enhance the ability of young people and veterans with disabilities to enter and reenter the workforce, participate in and contribute to community life, and become productive members of society. 
The National Council on Independent Living  
The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.
An outcome of the national Disability Rights and Independent Living Movements, NCIL was founded to embody the values of disability culture and Independent Living philosophy, which creates a new social paradigm and emphasizes that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, that they have crucial and valuable perspective to contribute to society, and are deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities.
Applications must be received by 5:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on or before Friday, April 18, 2014
Via Email:

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Calling All Youth & Disability Employment Advocates: Your Feedback Requested on the CareerACCESS Public Policy Initiative February 12th, 2014

The NCIL Board of Directors has officially endorsed the CareerACCESS policy initiative. The goal of the 12 year CareerACCESS pilot projects is to markedly increase employment rates for American youth with disabilities and provide more effective alternatives to current SSI rules.

This proposed legislative framework, using and building on existing, innovative practices, is designed to reverse these trends and increase employment success for American youth with disabilities. Piloted in up to 5 states, CareerACCESS will serve youth who are otherwise eligible for SSI, and eliminate the requirement for applicants to prove an inability to work. Youth with disabilities will be required to explore career options and develop a personal plan to achieve their goals. 

As a youth with a disability, help drive the CareerACCESS discussion by reviewing the CareerACCESS Summary and sending us feedback: Will this work? What’s missing that is essential to making it work?  [Read the full summary and instructions for sending your comments...]
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Share the Assistive Technology You Love for Valentines Day February 12th, 2014

Share the Assistive Technology You Love for Valentines Day

The ATNetwork is spreading the word about assistive technology and why people love it for Valentines Day on their ATBlog.  The assistive technology is can be any device or tool that you use to help you live more independently in the community.

All I need from you is:

  • Your first name

  • Your city

  • Name of your device or tool

  • 1-3 Sentences about why this assistive technology is so important to you and how it helps you to live in the community, work, shop, learn or play.

  • And a picture of you and your assistive technology.Here is an example:

Los Banos, CA
Andriod Phone Word Predictiion

"The AT that I adore is my word prediction on my android phone.  It allows me to type only part of a word and then select which word I mean to use.  This saves me so much time from having to type every letter out on an electronic keyboard."

Please send your submissions by Tuesday, February 11, 2014 to Rachel Anderson at
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U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release School Discipline Guidance Package to Enhance School Climate and Improve School Discipline Policies/Practices January 8th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), today released a school discipline guidance package that will assist states, districts and schools in developing practices and strategies to enhance school climate, and ensure those policies and practices comply with federal law. Even though incidents of school violence have decreased overall, too many schools are still struggling to create positive, safe environments. Schools can improve safety by making sure that climates are welcoming and that responses to misbehavior are fair, non-discriminatory and effective. Each year, significant numbers of students miss class due to suspensions and expulsions—even for minor infractions of school rules—and students of color and with disabilities are disproportionately impacted. The guidance package provides resources for creating safe and positive school climates, which are essential for boosting student academic success and closing achievement gaps.

"Effective teaching and learning cannot take place unless students feel safe at school,"U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "Positive discipline policies can help create safer learning environments without relying heavily on suspensions and expulsions. Schools also must understand their civil rights obligations and avoid unfair disciplinary practices. We need to keep students in class where they can learn. These resources are a step in the right direction.”

The resource package consists of four components:

The Dear Colleague guidance letter on civil rights and discipline, prepared in conjunction with DOJ, describes how schools can meet their legal obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating against students on the basis of race, color or national origin;

The Guiding Principles document draws from emerging research and best practices to describe three key principles and related action steps that can help guide state and local efforts to improve school climate and school discipline;

The Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources indexes the extensive federal technical assistance and other resources related to school discipline and climate available to schools and districts; and

The Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations, an online catalogue of the laws and regulations related to school discipline in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, compares laws across states and jurisdictions.

"A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,"Attorney General Eric Holder said. "This guidance will promote fair and effective disciplinary practices that will make schools safe, supportive and inclusive for all students. By ensuring federal civil rights protections, offering alternatives to exclusionary discipline and providing useful information to school resource officers, we can keep America’s young people safe and on the right path."

The guidance package is a resource resulting from a collaborative project—the Supportive School Discipline Initiative (SSDI)—between ED and DOJ. The SSDI, launched in 2011, addresses the school-to-prison pipeline and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system. The initiative aims to support instead school discipline practices that foster safe, inclusive and positive learning environments while keeping students in school. The Department of Justice enforces Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or national origin in public schools, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by schools, law enforcement agencies, and other recipients of federal financial assistance.

The guidance package also results from President Obama's Now is the Time proposal to reduce gun violence. It called on ED to collect and disseminate best practices on school discipline policies and to help school districts develop and equitably implement their policies. To both continue ED/DOJ efforts in connection with SSDI and fulfill the administration's commitment to "Now is the Time," the guidance package was developed with additional input from civil rights advocates, major education organizations and philanthropic partners.

To view the resource documents, visit State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies and schools may also request a copy of the package by calling Education Publications at (877) 433-7827. 
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Celebrate Ed Roberts Day 2014 with YO! December 19th, 2013

Photo for Celebrate Ed Roberts Day 2014 with YO! Ed Roberts was an international leader and educator in the independent living and disability rights movement. He is known as the Father of the Independent Living Movement and fought throughout his life to enable all persons with disabilities to fully participate in society. Ed was a true pioneer: he was the first student with a significant disability to attend UC Berkeley. He was the founder of UC’s Physically Disabled Students Program, which became the model for our nation’s first Independent Living Center, Center for Independent Living in Berkeley. He was the first California State Director of Rehabilitation with a disability and later co-founded the World Institute on Disability. Ed passed away in 1995, but his legacy lives on in all of us who believe in Independence.

All you have to do to participate is cut out the attached picture of Ed’s head and take a picture with him (Link to Download PDF):

Send your picture and a short description of it to between today and Friday, 1/17/14. For example our description to the picture included would be, Kirk is #independentwithEd while conducting YO! Volunteer interviews.

We will post your picture and description on the YO! Disabled and Proud Facebook page and start a photo gallery of all the photos collected on the YO! Disabled and Proud website the week of Ed Roberts Day, January 23, 2014. We also encourage you to post your own pictures with Ed and use the hashtag#independentwithEd on your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page. Our goal is to educate everyone about Ed Roberts and the Independent Living Movement he helped start.

The California Legislate enacted Ed Roberts Day in 2011 as a day of celebration. Ed was known to be a fun-loving, sometimes wild kind of guy. In 2014 YO! Disabled and Proud would like to honor Ed’s legacy by posting photos of you and Ed enjoying your independence together. Send us your unique and clever moments with Ed. It could be you and Ed at school, on the bus, at Sea World, at home, at a holiday party, etc. Anything that makes you feel proud to be independent. An example is attached.

If you have questions or need additional information about YO! Disabled and Proud’s Ed Roberts Day Celebration please contact Christina Mills,
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CCEPD: Stakeholder Input Requested on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in California's Health Workforce November 18th, 2013

Your stakeholder input is requested on inclusion of people with disabilities in California’s Health Workforce (Online Surveys). Please also share these surveys with your networks.

The California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD) is focusing our efforts this year on the health services sector. Jobs in California’s health services sector are slated to grow 27% by 2020 in order to meet the health care needs of the state’s growing and aging population (Recovery 2020: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020). California faces the challenge of supplying the number of qualified, skilled health care workers needed to meet the growing employer demand. The representation of people with disabilities in California’s health services sector is currently 3.7% (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey-2012 Data Compiled by:  EDD-Labor Market Information Division, Date:  August 2013).

As the statewide body charged with advising the California Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Labor and Workforce Development on all issues related to the employment of people with disabilities, one of the Committee’s objectives this year is to learn from employers, services providers, students and job seekers with disabilities about the barriers to and best practices in assisting people with disabilities to secure a career within California’s health services sector. Information gathered from these surveys will assist the Committee in the development and prioritization of policy recommendations.

If you are, or know of, an employer in the health services sector, a service provider helping people get jobs in this sector, a student or graduate interested in a career in this sector, or a current health care professional, please complete one of the surveys below.

The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. We would like responses to the surveys by Monday, December 2, 2013 but will accept responses until April 30, 2014.  If you have any questions or additional feedback, please contact: Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey and/or share them with your networks!

CCEPD Healthcare Employer Survey:

CCEPD Service Provider Survey:

CCEPD Students, Graduates, and Current Healthcare Professionals Survey:
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Study Abroad Scholarships Available to High School Students November 1st, 2013

Make the world your classroom! Expand your opportunities by studying in another country on one of these scholarship programs. Applicants representing the diversity of the United States, including students with disabilities, are encouraged to apply!
Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad) – Study in local high schools and live with host families in countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Balkans. Deadline: January 9, 2014. Learn more:
Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) – Spend an academic year in Germany living with a host family and attending a German school. Attend a four- to eight-week orientation and language camp. This program is open to high school students (ages 15-18), graduating seniors of vocational studies (age 18), and young professionals (undergraduates ages 18-24). Deadline: December 1, 2013. Learn more:
National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) – Learn a new language such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish while studying abroad for a summer or academic year in a country where these languages are widely spoken. Live with a host family while taking intensive language study. Previous language study is not required. Deadline: November 5th, 2013. Learn more:
Youth Leadership Programs – Travel abroad for three to four weeks to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and collaborate on solving global issues. Current programs operate in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Some programs draw from a national applicant pool while others are limited to a region or group of states. You may have the opportunity to host an exchange participant as well as travel abroad. Deadlines vary. Learn more:
Contact Mobility International USA for tips or other opportunities for participating in international exchange with a disability by visiting or emailing  
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Youth For Disability Treaty October 28th, 2013

recent poll of the disability community shows that young people really care about politicians’ records on disability-related issues and are willing to act accordingly. This is different from what we hear in the media that young people today aren’t politically active or concerned with current events.  We care about our rights; we want to make a difference and now is our chance.

We, as young Americans who care about the rights of people with disabilities, want ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD/Disability Treaty)!

What is the CRPD/Disability Treaty?

A Convention is an agreement among countries to follow the same rules around an issue and can help shape how each country’s government legislates around that issue. CRPD is an agreement by all countries that ratify it to ensure that people with disabilities receive equal treatment. The language of the the Disability Treaty was inspired by that of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which protects the rights of 57 million Americans every day.
What’s happening with CRPD/Disability Treaty now?

The United States has signed the Disability Treaty but requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate in order to ratify it.  Last December, the U.S. was 5 votes short of achieving ratification, but we’re not giving up. We are rallying our Senators for a hearing and for their support when it is time to vote. 

What will ratification mean for you?

Ratifying the treaty would not require any changes to U.S. law nor cost any money. What it does mean is that our government and advocacy organizations will have a seat at the table in discussing global disability rights. It means that when people with disabilities choose to live, study, or travel abroad they will in the future have similar rights abroad as in the United States. Students with disabilities represent less than 4% of students that go abroad. Together, we can begin to change these numbers and share the values of independence, accessibility, and inclusion with young people with disabilities all across the globe. 

Sounds great! What can I do?

Sign on to the petition below 

Dear U.S. Senators:

I, as a young American, support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD/Disability Treaty). I urge you to show your support for 57 million Americans and over one billion people with disabilities worldwide by voting YES to ratification at the next opportunity. CRPD ratification assures that people with disabilities throughout the world will enjoy the same rights as we do in the United States. Vote YES for ratification!

What’s next?

Share this message with all your friends. You can use #DisabilityTreaty, #ISupportCRPD, and #CRPD to share on Twitter and connect to the US International Council on Disabilities and Ratify CRPD Facebook pages. Check out some of the sample tweets below:#ISupportCRPD I signed this petition to show youth support #CRPD ratification now! Spread the word!   
@SenatorTwitterHandle #ISupportCRPD and so do young people across America! Vote YES for #DisabilityTreaty ratification

Connect with others and Contact your Senator to urge for ratification. Let them know why ratification is important to you, your friends, and your community.  You can even tweet to U.S. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman @SenatorMenendez and Ranking Member@SenBobCorker. Finally, be sure to check out for upcoming actions you can take! 
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Rising to the Challenge: Why Greater Investment in K-12 Education Matters for California's Students October 3rd, 2013

California’s K-12 schools face a unique set of challenges. Not only does California educate more students than
any other state, but economically disadvantaged students and English learners (ELs) account for a larger share
of students in California than in the rest of the US. Yet, even though California has more financial resources per
capita than the rest of the US, the state spends far less of its total personal income on K-12 schools. As a result, California
K-12 education spending continues to lag the nation by a number of key measures. Although Proposition 30, passed by
California voters in November 2012, is expected to increase state revenues and boost school spending over the next few
years, this revenue measure alone will not provide California schools with sufficient resources to meet the challenges of
educating the state’s students.

While California’s current financial support for schools falls well short of the state’s capacity to invest in K-12 education,
the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) – approved by the Governor and the Legislature earlier this year – is
an important step toward aligning state education funding with student needs. The LCFF fundamentally restructures
California’s education finance system and directs additional resources to disadvantaged students – specifically ELs,
students from low-income families, and foster youth. How the state allocates education dollars is especially important in
California, because its schools rely more heavily on state funding – and relatively less on local property taxes – than those
in the rest of the US. This is largely due to the limits that Proposition 13 of 1978 imposed on the local property tax as well
as policies enacted after Proposition 13 to help schools and local governments cope with the loss of local revenues. This
School Finance Facts compares California’s student demographics, education funding, and school spending and staffing
to that in the rest of the US, and shows why California will need to invest more to provide a high-quality education for all

Click Here to Read More
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Secondary Education: Requesting Accommodations and Obtaining Assistive Technology - Thursday September 26, 2013 1:30 - 3:00 PM ET September 9th, 2013

Heading to college, community college or some other secondary educational setting soon? Did you know that the way you can get help in these settings is very different than high school? In this webinar you will learn some of the differences, and ways to get and pay for the devices and accommodations you need to be successful. We’ll also discuss examples of assistive technology that can support your educational goals. Presented by the Michigan Assistive Technology Program (MATP) staff members and MI-AHEAD President, Dave Stokes.

Please register by September 19, 2013.

Kathryn Wyeth
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC)
"With Liberty and Access for All!"
Voice Mail: (517)333-2477 or (800)760-4600 extension 335
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CAPVI news: Youth Transitions Collaborative wants resumes of job seekers September 4th, 2013

Youth Transitions Collaborative is seeking the resumes of young people and young veterans with disabilities, who are looking for work (full-time or part-time) in the private sector. These resumes will be incorporated into a database that will help employers connect with qualified young candidates with disabilities. The National Youth Transitions Resume Database will be national in scope and will be open to young people and employers from across the country. If you know someone interested in submitting a resume, please have them send it to Once a resume is received, individuals will be asked to complete a short form which details their occupational and geographic preferences, etc.

More information about the National Youth Transitions Collaborative can be found here:
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Technology Grant ~ Inspiration Foundation for Blind or Visually Impaired August 30th, 2013

The Inspiration Foundation understands the important role adaptive computer technology plays in a blind or visually impaired person’s life. The Inspiration Foundation proudly grants Adaptive Technology Awards to  blind and visually impaired individuals who have been denied financial assistance for this expensive technology from federal and state funded programs.

This year, Inspiration Foundation will award a scholarship of up to $5,000.00 in adaptive technology to one individual that we feel is the best match for our program.

As of July 15th, we are proud to announce we are currently accepting applications for 2013 Inspiration Foundation Adaptive Technology Award online at:

To be eligible for this scholarship, an individual must be a blind or visually impaired legal resident of California or Arizona, and 18 years of age or older. All information on this application form is strictly confidential and will only be used to determine your need and ability to inspire independence.
Below are key deadlines for applicants to consider when submitting an application:

July 15th – Will begin accepting applications online
Nov.1st   - Deadline to receive application.
Dec. 15th – Announcement of Winner
If you have received this email we hope you will be able to spread the word to potential applicants who are in need of our services.
Thank you for your assistance!
Best Regards,
Isaac Shapiro
Inspiration Foundation
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Youth & Self-Advocacy
Tuesday, September 17 from 4:00-5:00pm EDT (FREE!!!)

In 2011 and 2012, self-advocacy summits were held all over the US. These summits gave state teams the chance to set statewide goals on self-advocacy. Many state teams created goals that talked about getting young people with disabilities involved in self-advocacy activities.  This webinar will assist statewide teams, organizations and individuals in empowering young people with disabilities to become self-advocates.  It may seem hard to get young people involved in self-advocacy, but it's not impossible!

There will be 3 parts to this webinar:

1)    A group of young people with disabilities from the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) will share some tips and tricks on how to get young people with disabilities involved in statewide self-advocacy activities

2)    Some of the states that included youth self-advocacy as a goal from the Summits will share their progress

3)    All participants on the call will discuss best practices of including young people with disabilities in statewide self-advocacy activities.

For questions on youth and self-advocacy, please contact:
Staci Forrest at<> or 302-545-0607
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Education Dept. to end rule for assessing students with disabilities Read more: August 27th, 2013

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Education Department said Friday it plans to phase out the so-called 2 percent rule used to assess students with disabilities.

Under current regulations, states can develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards for some students with disabilities and use the results for accountability reporting required by several federal acts, the department said in a release. They can use up to 2 percent of the modified scores when reporting.

The proposed regulations, published in the Federal Register Friday, emphasize the department's commitment to holding all students to high standards that better prepare them for college and career, officials said.

Under the department's proposed regulation, students with disabilities who have been taking modified academic achievement standards will transition to college- and career-ready standards and general assessments that are in line to those standards and accessible to all students, education officials said.

"We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefiting from that potential."
Topics: Arne Duncan

Recommended Stories

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Back to School: Teaching Kids How to Handle Bullying August 19th, 2013

Bullying can leave lasting emotional scars on a kid. And the way teachers, parents and other adults respond to bullying can affect the way kids perceive and respond to it. defines bullying behavior; identifies the warning signs of bullying and ways to prevent it; helps adults recognize kids who may be at risk; and provides information on how to respond to bullying when it happens.
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Deadline Extended: HCD Notice of Funding Availability Multi- Family Housing - Supportive Housing Component August 19th, 2013

Attention CCY Members:
The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) has extended the application deadline for the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the development of affordable and supportive housing, issued on June 28, 2013. Based on further legislative analysis of AB 483 (Housing Finance - Torres), the application date for the Supportive Housing NOFA has been extended to September 25, 2013. These funds represent the remaining Propositions 1C and 46 funds available for development of affordable multifamily housing.
At least 40% of the units in each development funded by the supportive housing program must be set aside for specific target populations, including homeless youth. To review the summary of amendments to the NOFA click here.  Below is a summary of the MHPSH funding:
Multifamily Housing Program Supportive Housing (MHPSH)

  • $6.7 million for multifamily rental or transitional housing

  • Maximum loan per project is $3 million

  • New construction for rehabilitation

  • Must contain at least five supportive housing units and at least 35% of the total units must be supportive housing

  • Supportive housing units must target homeless households with at least one disabled adult

  • Funding is compatible with 9% tax credits

For the NOFAs, Applications, and Power-Point Presentations please click here
Read More at Article Source August 16th, 2013

Resources for Independent Living of the Central Valley is gearing up for their 4th Annual Conference, which will be held on Friday November 15, 2013 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building. 

RICV is excited to announce many changes to the 2013 conference.  This year the Youth Transition Conference has transitioned into the 4th Annual Self-Advocacy Conference.  Persons with disabilities, regardless of age, can attend the Self-Advocacy conference and gain valuable information on Coping Skills, Job Skills, Self-Advocacy, Relationship Training and much, much more! 

More exciting news!  We have a great keynote speaker, Carol Blessing from Cornell University, who will present on "Person Centered Planning".  She will host her workshop in the auditorium, via live webex, along with facilitator Reva Guimont, from Exceptional Parents Unlimited.  More information to come on the keynote. 

Conference Registration is now open online at  If you will be attending keynote breakout session, please make sure to check mark the keynote session box, there is no separate fee to attend keynote session.
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California student test scores slip for first time in several years August 8th, 2013

August 8, 2013

California student test scores slip for first time in several years

By Phillip Reese

After years of steady increases, student test scores slipped slightly across California last year, a shift that education leaders blamed on budget cuts and changing curriculum standards.

About 51.2 percent of students performed at the proficient level or better on STAR math tests last year, down from 51.5 percent the prior year. Proficiency levels on language arts tests fell from 57.2 percent to 56.4 percent.

Previously, math test scores had increased for five straight years and language arts scores had increased for eight straight years.

State leaders tried to put a positive spin on the numbers, noting that far more students test proficient today than a decade ago.

"The big picture is one of remarkable resilience despite the challenges," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a release.

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Power in Numbers: A Profile of American Voters with Disabilities August 5th, 2013

Brought to you by the HSC Foundation.

Funded by The HSC Foundation, "Power in Numbers: A Profile of American Voters with Disabilities" was a combined telephone and online survey of 1,008 participants. Designed by maslansky + partners, a non-partisan polling and research firm, the survey was conducted in part by Research Now from late May 2013 through June 2013.

It included representative population samples and a mix of mental/cognitive, physical and sensory disabilities (including both vision and hearing impairments). It also incorporated responses from those who self-identified as having a disability or chronic condition or who qualified through the series of questions the U.S. Census Bureau uses to determine disability status (n=663), as well as family members and other caregivers of people with disabilities or chronic conditions (n=345). The margin of error of ±3 percent was at a 95 percent confidence level.

Overall, the survey found that people with disabilities and chronic conditions are politically just as diverse as the general population, with voting patterns and issue rankings in line with other Americans. However, respondents overwhelmingly reported they will vote against a candidate they otherwise support if that candidate supports cuts to existing government services for people with disabilities. It also shows that the enthusiasm for holding politicians accountable to the interests of the disability community is even higher among people with disabilities in the 18-to-30 age range.
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Change it! July 31st, 2013

First NCIL Conference Experience 

Last week, I attended my first National Council on Independent Living annual conference in Washington DC. I received a Youth Scholarship to attend, and didn’t do much research beforehand. Therefore, I wasn’t sure just what to expect. However, having been to the conference, I can say that I have mixed feelings toward it. While the participants were energetic about their cause and were welcoming towards new members, I felt that a lack of training for new members as well as a misperception of youth hampered the group’s efforts.

I flew into DC on Tuesday night, the night before the conference began. On the official schedule, the only things going on that day were a “Pre-Conference” and an “Orientation Session”, neither of which I knew anything about. Therefore, I thought it was ok to skip them; my scholarship didn’t cover the Pre-Conference anyway. However, I realized later that the Pre-Conference was the main youth event. Therefore, the youth who had gotten the scholarship to attend missed out on the most relevant session to them. During the opening ceremony, the youth of NCIL were praised for their hard work; work that excluded the winners of the scholarship.

Throughout the conference, participants were emphasizing various bills that they wanted passed by the House or Senate. These included Bill 1356 and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, as well as the reauthorization of the Rehab Act.  The general message promoted to the conference was to tell Senators and members of Congress to support these pieces of legislation. The only problem was that the content of these bills was never explained. Not only that, we weren’t told about the views of the opposition. Therefore, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my lawmakers about the bills. If they asked a question about a bills content, I wouldn’t be able to answer it. I also couldn’t counter the opposition’s argument. For these reasons, I actually chose not to do legislative visits on Capitol Hill. In fact, very few of the youth at the conference visited their lawmaker. To reverse this trend, I think that there needs to be more education about the bills at the conference, at well as opposing views, so that participants can have something substantial to say to lawmakers. In my experience, promoting a bill works best when you can say how it will personally affect you. This isn’t possible unless you know the content of the bill.

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3rd Annual My American Dream - Voices of Americans with Disabilities Video Contest July 30th, 2013

National Disability Institute is proud to announce the launch of its 3rd Annual My American Dream - Voices of Americans with Disabilities Video Contest today.
We want to hear from individuals with disabilities across America about their American dreams and the steps they are taking to achieve them. Whether it's landing a dream job, starting a career, owning a home, going to college, starting a business or taking steps toward financial independence, National Disability Institute encourages people with disabilities to share their goals and show that all Americans want the same thing - a piece of the American dream.
In keeping with our mission to build a better economic future for all people with disabilities, the contest prize package will help the grand prize winner take solid steps toward living his/her American dream

  • $1,000

  •  a digital tablet of his/her choice*

  • Sessions with a mentor to help the winner take positive steps toward achieving his/her dream

 *See Official Rules for details
To enter:

  1. Create a video no longer than three (3) minutes in length that shares your American Dream.

  2. Upload your video to your YouTube Account. Don't have one? Signing up is easy and free. Visit

  3. Send us your video's URL, your full name and phone number by Sept. 10, 2013 to

America will vote and select a winner from five (5) finalists beginning Oct. 1, 2013.*
To learn more about National Disability Institute's My American Dream - Voices of Americans with Disabilities Video Contest and for a complete list of submission guidelines and contest rules, go to Follow contest news on the website or join the conversation on Twitter @RealEconImpact and hashtag #NDIdream and on Facebook at
Do you know a person, colleague or family member that would be interested in entering this contest? Or a community group or organization that might have members who would be interested? Your cooperation in sharing the news about the contest has helped make it a great success in years past. We hope we can count on you again this year!
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Join YO! Disabled & Proud at the 4th Annual West Coast Pride Parade July 16th, 2013

YO! Disabled & Proud members and allies will be marching in solidarity at the 4th annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival on Saturday July 20, 2013.  If you are interested in marching with us or just want to come down and support the cause we'd love to see you there! 

We will meet at Centennial Plaza (Castro St. & W. Evelyn Ave.) in Mountain View at 10:00 am for the parade and march together with our YO! banner to the festival. This year's festival will include a resource fair, music, art, and fun family & youth activities.   

YO! Members are encouraged to wear their YO! t-shirts and anything else that screams Disabled & Proud! 

If you have questions about YO! Disabled & Proud's participation please contact Kirk Aranda at or call our toll-free hotline 1(866)296-9753.  

For general information about the West Coast Disability Pride Parade and Festival please visit, 
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NCIL ~ Scholarships Available for Youth with Disabilities to Attend the 2013 Annual Conference on Independent Living! July 15th, 2013

The National Council on Independent Living is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for 25 youth to attend the 2013 NCIL Conference on Independent Living. Through generous support, jointly funded by The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation through the Youth Transitions Collaborative, 25 applicants will receive a complimentary conference registration, an invitation to join NCIL’s Youth Caucus, and two years of complimentary youth membership in NCIL. Candidates must be people with disabilities, 26 years old or younger, and be available to attend the entire Annual Conference. These scholarships are sure to have real positive impact, as the IL Scholars’ participation in NCIL’s Youth Caucus will drive NCIL’s connection to young people with disabilities as they develop resources and policy to help other youth with disabilities transition from school to work and independent living.

The theme of NCIL’s 2013 Annual Conference on Independent Living is regeneration. We will gather in our nation’s Capital in order to embrace new leadership and seize the opportunity to generate new ideas and fresh growth. Young advocates will have access to dozens of workshops and events designed to give them the opportunity to gain new perspective, share their own experiences, and learn from the success of our veteran leaders. Those veteran leaders and advocates will also benefit from learning about the issues affecting young people with disabilities and together we will have a forum to develop proactive systems advocacy action and solutions to barriers new and old.

In recent years the NCIL Conference has hosted nearly 1,000 individuals including our grassroots advocates, CIL and SILC Executive Directors, board members, and staff. As the only cross-age and cross-disability national advocacy organization, NCIL’s Annual Conference draws individuals from all 50 states of all ages and disabilities.

If you are interested in joining us or would like more information, please contact Thea Ervin at with your name, age, and organization.
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YO! Member will be honored with 2013 National Diane Vietz Award in Washington, DC. July 12th, 2013

YO! Volunteer Sarah Moussavian

CFILC’s  YO! Disabled & Proud program is excited to announce that the 2013 National Council on Independent Living, Diane Vietz Memorial Award for Youth Advocacy will presented to Sara Moussavian of Palo Alto, California.

Diana Vietz was an energetic young woman with a disability, who dedicated her life to empowering young people with disabilities to take an active role in the Independent Living Movement. Through her work at a Center for Independent Living and the NCIL Board, Diana touched the lives of many youth with disabilities. NCIL wants to acknowledge, honor, and encourage young leaders who are promoting disability pride, spreading the Independent Living philosophy, and fostering the active participation of youth with disabilities in the Disability Rights Movement.

Sara Moussavian has  been a YO! Disabled and Proud Member since 2009 and was one of the leaders championing the passage of California’s Disability History Week Resolution. Sara served in the YO! Volunteer Corps at the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in 2011 and where she assisted in establishing SVILC’s Youth Advisory Committee.  Sara is now attending San Francisco State University and pursuing a degree in Sociology and minor in Persian Studies.
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California Embraces Comprehensive School Finance Reform and Protects Educational Services for Foster Youth July 12th, 2013

California’s legislature passed the new state budget on June 14, 2013. The budget language includes several provisions that hold promise for the thousands of school-age foster children in California. It changes the way education is funded, shifting greater control to individual counties and districts. Of even more direct impact, it protected $15 million for foster youth services, which provide a wide range of supports to individual foster children across the state.

The Local Control Funding Formula
Included in this year’s budget was a new school finance funding formula, also known as the local control funding formula (LCFF). By moving to the LCFF, Governor Jerry Brown thinks the new finance system will provide for maximum flexibility and local control for counties and districts. Governor Brown’s Budget Summary released in January 2013 claimed that the new budget will not only increase funding for districts but also allow “targeted investments in districts serving students with the greatest level of needs – recognizing that [the new state budget] will help the state reduce disparities, maximize student achievement, and strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth.”1

Under California’s LCFF, a specific dollar amount is allocated to educate each student and then additional funding is given to educate students with identified risk-factors or characteristics that may impact their learning. The LCFF is viewed by some as a key step towards redefining education reform through financial measures. However, its opponents argue that the LCFF will permanently eliminate the current state requirements that go with the categorical programs that represent more than approximately $7.4 billion in school funding. School districts in California funded in two different ways, “through unrestricted general purpose funds that may be spent for any educational purpose” and through “restricted funds—called categorical—earmarked for special programs and purposes.”2 Categorical funds are intended for specific programs, such as gifted and talented programs, pupil transportation, special education and professional development for teachers.3

In a time of tight state resources, other states with similar funding challenges are looking to move towards a weighted student formula system. Hawaii is currently the only other state that uses a pure weighted pupil formula (called a “WPF”). Hawaii is also the only other state with a single, statewide school district and whose residents’ property taxes do not fund public education. Hawaii’s State Board of Education adopted the WPF in the 2006-07 school year, which dictates that a large amount of state funding is distributed to public schools based on student’s needs.4 Their system also has a specific dollar amount allocated per student enrolled in school, coupled with additional funding for students with “special needs that impact their learning . . . Some characteristics that are considered weighted include economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners; and transience due to movements of students and their families.”5 Other states across the country are looking to following a similar WPF, including South Carolina. In recent years, a few states have implemented hybrid formulas that use weights to allocate a portion of overall funding to districts based on student’s needs, but distribute the huge majority school funds without a complex weighted formula.

In California, the LCFF is going to be phased in over five to seven years. Every year counties and districts will receive a percentage of the difference between what they are currently receiving and what the LCFF says they should receive. Once the LCFF is fully implemented, the formula’s structure will provide districts with a “base” amount of money per pupil and a supplemental amount for students who are English Learners (EL), low-income (free and reduced price meal) or in foster care. The grant will not be duplicated if students are eligible in more than one category; pupils who fall into more than one of these three categories will only be counted once. 

California’s Foster Youth Services Program
In the original budget proposal released in January 2013, California’s Foster Youth Services (FYS) programs were included in the removal of 47 of 62 “categorical” education programs under the LCFF. The proposed elimination of the FYS programs under the LCFF would have allowed for the approximately $15 million currently targeted for foster youth supports and services to be distributed to California’s County Offices of Education to use as they choose. The broader intention of removing categorical programs was to give local education agencies increased control over how to spend their funds while holding them accountable, in theory, for the academic progress of these educationally underserved groups.

FYS programs have operated primarily at the local level through the county offices of education to better coordinate with the other county agencies serving foster children. As a categorical program, FYS has included requirements that the funds be spent on children with open dependency cases who live in a licensed foster home, a residence defined as a licensed foster family home, a certified family agency home, a court-specified home, or a licensed care institution (group home). FYS staff have worked with current and former foster youth as well as school, juvenile detention, child welfare, probation department, and community services agency staff to help foster youth succeed in school. Local FYS programs have had broad discretion as to what types of services and supports they provide. Services typically include tutoring, mentoring, educational advocacy, data sharing, coordination, transition planning, and much more. A 2010 Legislative Report6 written by the California Department of Education to the Governor and Legislature summarized the goals common to all FYS programs:

  • Identify the educational, physical, social, and emotional needs of foster youth.

  • Determine gaps in the provision of educational and social support services and provide those services, either directly or through referral to collaborative partners. 

  • Identify inadequacies in the completion and timely transfer of health and education records to facilitate appropriate and stable care and educational placement.

  • Improve student academic achievement and reduce student truancy, dropout rates, and delinquent behavior.

  • Provide advocacy to promote the best interests of foster youth throughout California.7

Foster youth have emphasized the importance of these services. Marinda King, a high school senior and foster youth, pointed out that one of the FYS coordinators at the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Vivica Taylor, helped connect her with critical counseling services and guidance to ensure that she would meet her high school graduation requirements.8  Alexis Soria9, a graduating senior from the same district, said that she would “not be graduating without the help of FYS.” Soria credits Taylor with providing her the necessary “motivation that she lacked” in order to complete school and “considers [Taylor] a mentor, like a mom” that many foster youth are missing.

During the budget negotiations, foster youth supporters organized a series of advocacy efforts and hearings to help “save” the FYS program from becoming an eliminated categorical program under the LCFF. The major question for FYS advocates during the campaign became – “if FYS is dissolved as a categorical program, what incentives will be in place for counties and districts to serve this fragile student population?” Few school districts have the internal mechanisms to identify which of their students are in foster care. This would make it nearly impossible to hold districts accountable for the performance of these students and districts would be unable to provide these students with the supports they may require. California’s county child welfare agencies would find it much more expensive to comply with federal laws such as the Fostering Connections Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351)10 requiring child welfare agencies to monitor and track the educational progress of foster children. FYS programs currently provide assistance to child welfare agencies to minimize changes in school placement and facilitate the prompt transfer of educational records between educational institutions when placement changes are necessary. The counties would have to continue doing this, by federal mandate, even without dedicated FYS funding.

Furthermore, foster children face a unique set of educational challenges. Nationwide, their educational outcomes are significantly worse than those of other similarly economically disadvantaged students. On average, children in foster care may change schools two to three times per year.11 One study indicated that more than two thirds of children in foster care changed schools shortly after initial placement into foster care. Other studies show that:

  • Twice as many foster children repeat a grade12

  • 75% of foster children are behind grade level13

  • 67% of foster children are suspended from school, and 17% are expelled, more than three times the general student population14

  • Foster youth are twice as likely to drop out of school as their peers15

  • Only 1.8% of former foster youth complete a bachelor’s degree, compared to 24% of the general population.16

At Greater Risk, California Foster Youth and the Path from High School to College, recently released by the Stuart Foundation, found that even when compared with other economically disadvantaged students, “foster youth are less likely to complete high school, enroll in community college, or remain in community college for a second year.”17  The Report also reveals heartbreaking statistics about the educational outcomes of the California foster youth studied:

  • 45% of foster youth completed high school (compared with 53% of similarly disadvantaged youth not in foster care)

  • 43% of foster youth enrolled in community college (compared with 46% of similarly disadvantaged youth not in foster care)

  • 41% of the foster youth who enrolled in college remained enrolled in community college for a second year (compared with 48% of similarly disadvantaged youth not in foster care).18

Overcoming these unique educational challenges requires specialized supports different from those provided to disadvantaged children generally.  As articulated by one foster youth, Barbara “Cookeey” Ropati19, foster children are “bounced from house to house and school to school . .  . they often don’t get the [school] credits that they need.” For Ropati, FYS staff provided enormous support during her academic career. As she described it, having the “extra support system [of FYS] helps us feel like we are not alone. . . FYS is our village; it takes a village to raise a child.”

To Read more Click here
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Smithsonian Spotlights Disability History July 1st, 2013

With a new exhibit focusing on disability history, the Smithsonian Institution is ushering in a first for the venerable network of museums.

The exhibition from the National Museum of American History, which was unveiled this week, explores everything from stereotypes to laws, technology and issues in everyday home life for people with disabilities.

Featuring images documenting more than 50-years worth of objects and stories collected by the Smithsonian, the exhibit is the museum’s first to be presented exclusively online.

“Many stories and events related to people with disabilities never make it into the history books or shared public memories,” said Katherine Ott, curator of medical science at the National Museum of American History. “Knowing this history deepens the understanding of the American experience and reveals how complicated history is.”

Among the objects featured in the exhibition titled “EveryBody: An Artifact History of Disability in America” are prosthetics, items from protests, buttons and t-shirts used by disability activists, wheelchairs, medical devices, text telephones for the deaf and Braille writers.

Officials at the Smithsonian say they plan to build upon the permanent online exhibit, with additions and frequent updates as well as a vibrant social media presence.

The National Museum of American History previously highlighted people with disabilities with a physical exhibition at the Washington, D.C. museum titled “Disability Rights Movement” which was on display in 2000 and 2001.
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Calif. Groups Push To Enroll Young Adults in ACA Coverage June 3rd, 2013

Health care leaders across California and the U.S. are trying to persuade young adults to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act, the Los Angeles Times reports.


In California, more than two million residents ages 19 to 34 are uninsured, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Many young residents who are not covered by employer-sponsored health plans or by their parents' insurance might be eligible for Medi-Cal -- California's Medicaid program -- or to purchase plans through Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange.

Health care leaders want young adults to enroll in health plans to balance the effect of having older, sicker patients in the insurance marketplace.

Health Leaders' Concerns

Under the ACA, nearly every U.S. resident will be required to have health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a fine of $95 or 1% of their household income in the first year.

However, some observers are concerned that the fine is not enough to convince young people to sign up for coverage.

Oscar Hidalgo -- a spokesperson for Covered California -- said, "The penalty itself will not convince a young person, or any other person" to purchase insurance. He said, "Young people will need to understand the risks of not having health insurance."

Larry Levitt -- a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation -- said that the success of the ACA "depends on reaching everyone who is uninsured, but particularly young people who may feel like they don't need insurance." According to Levitt, convincing young adults to spend money on health insurance will be a "marketing challenge."

Boosting Outreach to Young Adults

Hidalgo said that Covered California is developing media messaging for young adults that is "a little edgier" than outreach efforts for older individuals. He said that the exchange seeks to promote the financial security of having coverage, telling young adults that a health plan can help save them money if they are hospitalized from events such as a car accident or a sudden illness.

Covered California also has granted millions of dollars to universities and public schools to help the campuses educate young adults about the exchange and help them enroll in health plans.

Tamika Butler -- the California director of The Young Invincibles, a policy and advocacy organization -- said the organization has launched a campaign and a mobile health application to raise awareness among young adults about health coverage.

She said the organization is encouraging young people to purchase insurance to have financial peace of mind and to receive preventive medical and mental health care services (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 6/2).

Read more:
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Senator Looks To Enhance Transition Services Nationwide May 31st, 2013

A key U.S. senator is pushing for expanded on-the-job opportunities for youth with disabilities while they are still in school and he’s making the issue a top priority as Congress looks to tackle a major employment bill.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he is currently working to bring a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act up for consideration. As part of that process, Harkin said this week that he would like to see vocational rehabilitation agencies take a bigger role in facilitating internships and other real-world experiences for students with disabilities who are in transition.

Currently, access to vocational rehabilitation varies widely from state to state, with employment services available to young people with special needs in some locations, but not others. Harkin is looking to change that.

An aide for the senator told Disability Scoop that Harkin wants to require vocational rehabilitation agencies in each state to set aside at least 10 percent of their funding to provide “pre-employment transition services” for students with disabilities. This could mean offering everything from skills training to internships, summer jobs and apprenticeships as a complement to the transition services provided by schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“I am committed to raising employment rates for Americans with disabilities, and one of the most effective and lasting ways we can achieve that is to ensure that young people with disabilities have access to the summer jobs, internships and experiences in competitive employment that can be a springboard to a career,” Harkin said in a statement to Disability Scoop. “Improving services to young people with disabilities will be a central focus for me in the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.”

Staffers for Harkin, who chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said early conversations with the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., suggest that there’s bipartisan support for the plan.

Harkin said he expects to have a bill ready for consideration by late summer or early fall.
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10th Annual DCAD Commemorative Poster May 21st, 2013

Today is your chance to be the first to get a 10th Anniversary Disability Capitol Action Day commemorative poster –and – support the future of DCAD!  Proceeds from this limited addition poster will go to planning DCAD in 2014.  But supplies are limited, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by…

Simply make a $25.00 suggest donation to the Disability Action Coalition today, and you can pick up your poster at the DCAD Resource Fair Information Booth on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at the Capitol.  Or for a $30.00 suggested donation we will mail it to you.  Donations can be made on line at the DAC website by CLICKING HERE, or you may call (916) 325-1690 for more information.

Posters are available in English, Spanish and Chinese and are available while supplies last.  Support the future of DCAD and order one today!

Pictured: DCAD10th Annual DCAD Poster
(18' X 24")

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Community College Accomodation & Technology Services April 30th, 2013

AT Network Events & Trainings
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM PST

Community College Accommodation and Technology Services
Presenter: Brian Brautigam, Riverside Community College Alternate Media Specialist
Location: Blackboard Collaborate Webinar Platform. Registered Attendees will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the webinar.

Brian Brautigam, Alternate Media Specialist from Riverside Community College, will discuss the technology and accommodation services that California’s community colleges’ Disabled Students Program & Services (DSPS) offer, the step-by-step process for a student to receive DSPS service(s), and the types of technology and equipment often used in a college setting.

To register please go to
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DREDF - Special Addition On How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting April 30th, 2013

Dear Friends and Family Caregivers,

This month's Special EDition focuses on how to PREPARE for an IEP meeting. Our next edition will consider ways to participate DURING the meeting.

Your participation is very important. As the IDEA notes:

"Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by... strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and ensuring that families ... have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home."

But to participate effectively, it is important for you to prepare ahead of time. So how can you prepare for what can be anxiety provoking, stressful meetings? Here are some ideas:

•Attend an IEP training or call your PTI (see below) and learn as much as you can about the IEP process and your child's rights ahead of time.

•Get organized. Gather copies of the recent progress reports, annual testing, attendance and discipline records, work samples and any notes or logs you have kept regarding your child's progress. Some parents find it useful to request a copy of the student file from the school district before a meeting.

Sample letter to use to request records. (PDF)

•Check in with your child's teachers, preferably in a way that documents the conversation. Don't forget to check in with the yard attendant, lunchroom staff, or PE teacher if you have concerns about non-academic progress (behavior, bullying or social skills).

•Create an agenda of issues you want to make sure the team discusses and bring it with you to the meeting. Talking points are hard to remember in the actual meeting.

•Request any accommodations or support you need. Meetings must be held at a mutually agreeable time, so if the meeting is scheduled at a time that doesn't work for you, write the scheduler immediately to ask for another time, and offer a few options. If you need a translator or have disability–related needs, let the District know as soon as possible.

•Let the District know if you plan to bring someone with you. They can then ensure that the meeting space is large enough, bring enough copies of reports, etc.

•If you are bringing an attorney, or planning on recording the meeting, you MUST give the District at least 24 hours notice.

•If you are bringing outside information to the meeting, try to get it to the team ahead of time. Mark out any information that does not specifically relate to your child's educational needs.

•If the District will be presenting new assessments or reports, request copies at least two business days ahead of time. It is hard to participate if you have not had enough time to read and process information. Let the scheduler know if you prefer to delay the meeting if the reports are not given to you prior to the meeting.

•Let the District know that you expect all team members to be in attendance for the entire meeting. The District must ask for your written permission to excuse someone. Think carefully before agreeing to do excuse team members—remember the IEP meeting is a collaborative process where the program is developed by the entire team.

•Arrive early, dress as you would for any important meeting, and don't hesitate to bring treats or thank you cards to someone who has been particularly helpful to create a sense of good will and collaboration.

If you have specific questions about education and students with disabilities ages 0–22, call your local Parent Training and Information Center (PTI).

Specific legal code on parent participation:
Top 10 Reasons why Parent Involvement is Crucial for IEP Success

A great summary of your rights around participation can be found at NICHCY:
Questions and Answers about IDEA: Parent Participation

Other resources on effective participation:
Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance for Parents

Disability Rights California's 18 Tips
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Hidden in Plain Sight: Counting California's Unsheltered Homeless Population April 23rd, 2013

A report commissioned by the Califronia Homeless Youth Project and prepared by the Youth in Social Environments Group of University of California at San Francisco Division of Adolescent Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, supported by funding from teh California Wellness Foundation. 

Homeless youth are a hidden population that has historically been under counted in local, state, and federal efforts to enumerate the homeless population. In recent years, researchers and advocates have emphasized the importance of considering the needs of homeless youth as a distinct sub-population of the homeless population overall.
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NFB STEM-X Science, technology, engineering, and math to the extreme! APPLY NOW! April 22nd, 2013

The NFB Jernigan Institute is pleased to announce the newest National Center for Blind Youth in Science program—NFB STEM-X. This inquiry-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program will provide students with learning opportunities in STEM disciplines ranging from engineering and robotics to the science of cooking. The program, to be held in the Baltimore metropolitan area on the campus of Towson University from July 29 to August 3, will serve fifty blind high school students from around the country.

The “X” in the program’s title draws inspiration from the aerospace community, where historically programs and missions have utilized the letter as an abbreviation for exploration, and as a statement that the effort seeks new solutions and new discoveries that surpass previously assumed barriers to scientific advancement. In this same way, the NFB STEM-X program challenges the notion that blind people are unable to pursue STEM fields, or on a larger scale, are predestined to a life of social welfare and government dependence.

Students will choose from one of five focus disciplines (chemistry, computer science, engineering, robotics, and space science) in which to specialize during NFB STEM-X. Students will spend half of each of the four instructional days engaged in their focus discipline, learning alongside fellow high school students with blind and sighted STEM professionals as their guides. All five focus disciplines will work collaboratively throughout the program, capitalizing on each other’s specialization to innovate creative solutions to complex problems.

Outside of their work in their focus discipline, students will have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities that will provide them with authentic learning experiences in a wider variety of STEM disciplines. Evenings will be filled with activities that will help students develop their leadership skills and build their confidence while having fun and socializing with blind teens from across the country.

To learn the who, what, where, when click here.
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Are you a 12- to 17-year old who makes a difference in your community’s disaster preparedness? Do you know someone who fits that description?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is looking for youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their communities, and who want to expand their impact as national advocates for youth disaster preparedness.

For the entire story from FEMA click here
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Join a Webinar to "Go Abroad with a Disability, Find Your Career Path" April 2nd, 2013

When: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 4-5 pm Eastern Time (1-2 pm Pacific Time)

Sure, going abroad is an excellent opportunity to travel and explore other cultures, but have you ever wondered how it can help you stand out to future employers or launch your career?
In this free webinar, presenters with diverse disabilities describe how their experiences studying, volunteering, and working abroad made a positive impact on their career paths. Staff from Mobility International USA (MIUSA) will share tips for how young people with disabilities can take the first steps towards exploring international exchange as an option for them!

Live captioning and ASL interpreting will be provided. Other reasonable accommodations provided upon request with advance notice. If you cannot access the registration form, please contact or 541-343-1284 ext 18.
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Tips & Tools for Serving Students with LD in Higher Education April 2nd, 2013

The Accesible Technology Colaition is offering a free webinar training, Tips & Tools for Serving Students with LD in Higher Ed. Register online. 
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Teen Makes Disability History At Mount Everest March 26th, 2013

A 15-year-old with Down syndrome is said to be the first American with the chromosomal disorder to make it to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain.

For 10 days, Eli Reimer trekked rugged terrain in below-freezing temperatures to make it to the base of Mt. Everest. Traveling along with his father, Justin, and six others, the Oregon teen ultimately reached an elevation of 17,000 feet.

Reimer was the first of his group to reach base camp, making history with his physical feat.

“I hope that this encourages people to get the concept that we’re all created uniquely and even though my son is disabled, he’s still a gift to those around him,” Justin Reimer told TODAY. “I think for Eli, it was just another fun day on the trail.”
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Last Week To Apply for the Youth Advisory Council ~ Deadline March 29, 2013 March 22nd, 2013

The YO! Disabled & Proud Youth Advisory Council (YAC) consists of youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 – 28 that assist in setting the advocacy and community organizing priorities for the YO! Disabled & Proud program.

The YAC meets at least once a month for 1 – 2 hours by telephone or online based on accommodation needs. Those who are selected to serve on the YAC can expect to gain leadership skills, build new friendships and list the YAC experience on their college or job application.

To apply you must be a youth with a disability between the ages of 16 – 28 and a resident of California. Applications are available online at

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 29, 2013.
To read more, go to article source:
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State of Our Schools March 19th, 2013

Students sent photos of their schools which were included in The Center for Green Schools Report which looked at the physical condition of America’s Elementary and High Schools buildings and how poor conditions
impact students ability to learn.
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YO! Disabled & Proud -Youth Advisory Council Applications due by March 29th March 12th, 2013

The YO! Disabled & Proud Youth Advisory Council (YAC) consists of youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 – 28 that assist in setting the advocacy and community organizing priorities for the YO! Disabled & Proud program.

The YAC meets at least once a month for 1 – 2 hours by telephone or online based on accommodation needs. Those who are selected to serve on the YAC can expect to gain leadership skills, build new friendships and list the YAC experience on their college or job application.

To apply you must be a youth with a disability between the ages of 16 – 28 and a resident of California. Applications are available online at

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 29, 2013.
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Scholarship for College Students with Disabilities March 12th, 2013

$1000.00 scholarships are being made available by “Disabled Person” online. To learn more go to
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Google Doodle Contest for K-12 Students March 8th, 2013

Doodle 4 Google is an annual program that invites K-12 students in the United States to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign our homepage logo for millions to see.
This year, we ask students to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “My Best Day Ever…” One talented student artist will see their artwork appear on the Google homepage, receive a $30,000 college scholarship, and a $50,000 technology grant for their school along with some other cool prizes!
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With 'World Of Jenks,' MTV Tackles Transition March 4th, 2013

MTV is putting a spotlight on the ups and downs facing those with disabilities as they transition to adulthood, with a documentary-style series following a 21-year-old with autism.

Chad DenDanto, left, who has autism, is one of three young adults whose lives are documented by filmmaker Andrew Jenks on MTV’s “World of Jenks.” (MTV)
Chad DenDanto, now 23, is one of three young adults featured on the network’s “World of Jenks” premiering Monday at 11 p.m. ET. The show, beginning its second season, features host and documentarian Andrew Jenks living with each subject for a year and filming their journeys.

In addition to DenDanto, Jenks also follows Kaylin, a fashion designer who has battled cancer, and D-Real, a street dancer who overcame his gang lifestyle and hopes to inspire others.

DenDanto — who is diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, which is on the autism spectrum, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — first appeared on the show in 2010 as the subject of a half-hour episode. But now Jenks takes a more in-depth look, moving into DenDanto’s Port Jervis, N.Y. home and tagging along for what’s described as the “biggest year of his life.”

“We realized (at MTV) that we had an opportunity to humanize and destigmatize what it’s like to have autism,” the show’s host, Jenks, 26, of New York, said. “One in 88 American children have autism now. It’s something prevalent that could use more mainstream media attention.”

DenDanto’s television debut nearly three years ago showcased not only the daily issues he faces having autism — including hypersensitivity to smells and noises, such as his classroom bell or cars honking, or severe anxiety over deviation from his schedule — but also his sense of humor and his sensitivity to being treated differently.

This season, viewers get to know DenDanto as he graduates from high school, tries to find a job and begins dating.

“During the first episode you’re thinking, ‘OK, one of the guys on the show has autism. That’s what his story is about.’ After the last episode you realize Chad is really funny, he has a great relationship with his girlfriend, he loves food and Italian culture and fart jokes, and you just know him as Chad. Autism no longer defines him,” Jenks said.
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YO! Disabled & Proud - Youth Advisory Council Applications Now Available March 1st, 2013

The YO! Disabled & Proud Youth Advisory Council (YAC) consists of youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 – 28 that assist in setting the advocacy and community organizing priorities for the YO! Disabled & Proud program.

The YAC meets at least once a month for 1 – 2 hours. Those who are selected to serve on the YAC can expect to gain leadership skills, build new friendships and list the YAC experience on their college or job application. 

To apply you must be a youth with a disability between the ages of 16 – 28 and a resident of California. Applications are available online at

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 29, 2013.
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National Federation of the Blind 2013 Scholarship Program February 19th, 2013

To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty national scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000.
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Vote for Your Favorite AT Video February 6th, 2013


You and your friends can help us choose the winners by casting your vote for your favorite videos.
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YID Internship Program February 5th, 2013

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is launching our first internship program, and I write to ask for your assistance in disseminating this announcement to potential applicants for this exciting program.

The Youth in Development program (YiD) will bring a small group of talented college students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities to Washington, DC this summer for immersion in the international affairs and development field.  Interns will serve for nine weeks in nongovernmental organizations that work within the field, participate in core training and networking activities provided by USICD, and have a unique opportunity to hone their experience and career trajectory.

Participating interns will be matched to a host organization and receive a stipend, travel expenses, and fully-accessible housing for the summer of 2013. 

The program follows from a vision, core to USICD's mission, to increase disability inclusion in U.S. foreign affairs by supporting future professionals to invest their skills and talents in this field.  A successful candidate will have shared in their application their preparation for a career in international development and foreign affairs, their vision of their future, and how a Washington, DC internship will aid their career development.

To learn more about YiD and how to apply, please visit USICD's Youth in Development Initiative page:
Please note: the application deadline for the 2013 summer program is February 18, 2013.
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Helpful AT for People With Cerebral Palsy ~ By Alexa McBride, YO! Disabled and Proud Volunteer February 5th, 2013

Hi! My name is Alexa McBride. I have cerebral palsy and have found a few adaptive devices that have helped me get through life easier.
For example, when I was in high school I started using a laptop computer. However, the way I navigated my way around my laptop is different then using a standard mouse with a computer. The "mouse" that I used was attached to my wheelchair on the sides of my headrest. It had two buttons that I could hit by tilting my head to the side.  One button would move the mouse cursor and another button would select the item that I would choose. The keyboard I had was actually on my screen of the laptop and I would use the same device located on my headrest to select the letter I wanted to type. This device quickly became easier for me to use and I became very accustomed to navigating with my head. This system works the best for me because I cannot really use my hands consistently. Unfortunately, this device was taken away from me when I graduated high school because it was on loan from the school district.

Low vision keyboard with keyguard
Now that I am in college, I decided that I had to teach myself how to use my hands and type on the computer with a keyguard.  A keyguard is designed to help people who may have trouble pressing only one key at a time.  It can be a plastic or metal frame that fits securely over the keyboard and provides physical separation between each key so that one doesn't accidentally hit the keys next to the one they are trying to hit.

Today I can use a mouse that works and looks like a regular mouse except it is a little bit larger and has a ball in the front of it that I use to move the cursor around. The large ball moves around just like the scroll wheel does on a standard mouse.  Both the keyguard and the trackball mouse make navigating the computer much easier for me.
In addition to the computer being adapted to my needs, I also own a van that has a ramp in the back of it for better wheelchair access.  All I have to do is drive up the ramp and sit in the back in my wheelchair. I am grateful for my car and the access to transportation that it gives me. Without my car I could not do -or have- the things that I do now. For example, if I didn't have my car I would not be going to Sacramento State College and pursuing my career dream of being a 7th grade math teacher. I also wouldn't be able to just hang out with my friends at the library. If I didn't have my van I would always have to plan my entire day in advance.

In conclusion,  I am very thankful for my all my assistive technology devices.  Without them, it would be very difficult to enjoy the same activities, work and study to pursue my career goals. I encourage everyone with a disability to explore the many amazing AT adaptations that can help people be independent.
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U.S. Department of Education Changes Students with Disabilities Debt Discharge Rule February 4th, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has enacted new rules that make it easier for students who acquire a disability to get their federal student loans forgiven. The new rules, which become effective July 1, 2013, recognize certain disability findings by the Social Security Administration as sufficient grounds to discharge student loans. Under the current law, borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are entitled to get their loans forgiven, but these students must go through a separate inquiry in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. This new rule will help students with disabilities avoid this double review of disability eligibility.

The new rule comes on the heels of a joint investigation by ProPublica and the Chronicle of Higher Education that found the Department's system to be "erratic, duplicative, and dysfunctional" and kept many eligible students with disabilities buried in debt. This investigation led Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, and Rep. George Miller, D-CA, to write a letter to the Department urging them to fix the disability discharge program. After proposing new rules in the Summer of 2012 and considering nearly 3,000 public comments that followed, the Department settled on these newly enacted rules.
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Advocates in Disability Award January 31st, 2013

The HSC Foundation’s  ADA Program is seeking the next generation of disability advocates!! If you are a young leader with a disability or know of anyone who is, you/they are encouraged to apply for the 2013 Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)!

The purpose of the ADA Program is to award and encourage a young individual with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26, who has dedicated himself/herself to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in the United States. The program also supports an innovative project developed by that young person with a disability that serves and empowers individuals with disabilities.

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) is a program of The HSC Foundation, funded in part by the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his/her past disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for his/her proposed project.

Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

The Advocates in Disability Award Program is part of The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Initiative (NYTI).

To apply, please see the attached guidelines and application. You may also apply online at:

Applications must be received by March 15, 2013 (by 5:00pm EST).
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Mills College Settles Disability Case January 29th, 2013

Mills College has agreed to make its classrooms and other buildings more wheelchair accessible and remove other obstacles to the disabled in a settlement with the federal government, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The agreement includes changes at 260 sites on the Oakland campus that government inspectors identified as apparent violations in a March 2010 survey, said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag's office. Mills denied that it had violated disability laws and did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.

Among other things, the college agreed to install more wheelchair ramps, handrails and grab bars, make some doors easier to open and adjust the height of some counters, drinking fountains and restroom facilities. Most of the changes are due by the end of 2014, while others are not required until 2023.

The settlement contains a partial exemption for Mills Hall, the school's oldest building. The hall was the college's original home when it relocated from Benicia in 1871 and has been designated as a California historical landmark.

Some office and meeting room doors are too narrow to meet legal standards but can't be widened because of concerns about historic preservation, the settlement says. It requires the college to relocate classes or meetings to other rooms when necessary to accommodate the disabled.

"We commend Mills College for its cooperation and commitment to providing people with disabilities unfettered access to its facilities," Haag said in a statement.

Mills, a liberal arts school for women, has about 1,500 students.
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White House: Schools Must Open Sports To Disabled January 25th, 2013

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.

He said schools don't have to radically alter games or stop choosing the most qualified athletes for competitive teams. They can look to "allied" or "unified" sports teams, in which students with disabilities participate with students without them. Schools can't deny a disabled student a slot on a sports team because a coach believes he can't compete.

Schools that don't comply risk losing federal funding, but civil rights cases rarely get that far.

"We think it's huge," said Kirk Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA, a national non-profit group established by Vietnam veterans that offers sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent disability.

He said 12 states require school sports programs to accommodate disabled students. Now, he said, other administrators "will start focusing on ways to provide those opportunities" to students who have a disability.

"It's really affording them access to terrific social situations that will hopefully break down some of the barriers and discrimination we've seen in the past," said Lindsay Jones of the Council for Exceptional Children, a national advocacy group.

The letter comes two-and-a-half years after a 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation that found students with disabilities participated in athletics "at consistently lower rates than students without disabilities." The report was historic, disabilities rights advocates say, because for the first time it put firm statistics behind what they'd been saying for years.

"We've definitely been waiting for it – we're excited to see it," Jones said. Friday's letter represents "a big change and a very positive one" for disabled students, she said. Though they've been integrated more than ever in other areas of school life, Jones said, "this has been an area that they've not been as included."
She and Bauer said a key development was the case of Tatyana McFadden, a Maryland wheelchair athlete who competed in the 2004 Paralympics games in Athens but who had to file a lawsuit to get a spot on her high school track team. McFadden went on to win medals in both the 2008 and 2012 games. Her case spurred interest from lawmakers, who asked the GAO to investigate.

The June 2010 report said the Obama administration had given schools "little information or guidance on (physical education) or extracurricular athletics for students with disabilities."

"The GAO found that schools needed more clarity on the issue, and so this is intended to provide that clarity," Galanter said in an interview.

Bauer said many disabled students, frustrated at the lack of opportunities in school, join private after-school sports clubs. "Parents are coming to them saying, 'My kid doesn't have any opportunity in the schools to participate in sports or to compete, so we come here to do this.' That's what Tatyana was doing. She was basically treated as sort of an add-on, and she didn't like that – and she knew how good she was."
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Ed Roberts' Legacy Lives on in Youths Living with Disabilities January 24th, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA - With the January birthday of Ed Roberts, "the father of the disability rights movement," Sara Moussavian reflects on the day she was leaving the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) in 2009, and was asked what changes she would like to see in the future. At the time, she had no idea her answer would be the seed for a statewide campaign. "As a high school student, I was taught about the history of particular movements, such as the African-American and Latino movements, but there was nothing about disability history," said Moussavian. "The impact and leadership of individuals like Ed Roberts have made an impression on me, yet many people, living with and without disabilities, don't know anything about the work of these leaders and aren't aware of our history. I was determined to see that change."

With the help of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers' (CFILC) program Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud (YO!), Moussavian and others initiated an eight-month disabilities campaign in 2009. The campaign resulted in the August 2010 resolution, ACR 162 introduced by Assemblymember Jim Beall, establishing Disability History Week.

"Youth with disabilities have proven to be a significant voice in addressing one of the biggest barriers facing people living with disabilities, that is, lack of awareness," said Liz Pazdral, Executive Director of the California State Independent Living Council. "Their ongoing commitment and leadership is a testament to Ed Roberts Day on January 23."

YO! was launched in March 2009 and is run by youth with disabilities. At their first summit, attendees 28 years of age and younger established program priorities. Their initial priority was taken from the YLF ( It was an issue that had come up for several years. The Forum is an annual education and vocational awareness event attended by approximately 60 selected California high school students living with disabilities who meet specific criteria, including demonstrating leadership potential.

The timing couldn't have been better. CFILC had received funding to start a youth-drive program, YO!, which gave them the ability to bring together 40 youth who were committed to seeing Disability History Week become a reality in California. They identified the goal of establishing a California resolution, crafted a community organizing plan and drafted language for legislation.

"Once we had the language, we needed an author," said CFILC Deputy Director Christina N. Mills. "Sara was living in the San Jose area and was in the process of becoming a member of the YO! Volunteer Corps and doing her service at the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. We encouraged her to reach out to her state representative, Assemblymember Jim Beall. She did, he responded and the rest is history."

On August 6, 2010, just after the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, the California Legislature unanimously passed the bill in both houses establishing the second week in October as Disability History Week.

Today, two years later, youth with disabilities have continued to be actively involved in educating students, teachers and administrators about Disability History Week in grades kindergarten through 12. Every year, members of YO! have provided presentations on disability history in classrooms throughout California, which include, among other components, PowerPoint presentations, Jeopardy-like games, all-school assemblies, storytelling and fact sheets on disability history.

"Although the legislation encourages schools to teach disability history, it doesn't mandate it," said Mills. "YO! members have worked actively to keep the message alive by visiting more than 40 schools statewide and teaching more than 4,000 students, teachers and administrators about the value of Disability History Week."

But more has happened. In 2011, California Senator Mark Leno authored a bill that passed as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act (FAIR Act) mandating, among other things, that disability and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) history be taught as part of social studies yearlong in public school grades kindergarten through 12, not just one week in October.

In light of the fact that California doesn't plan to publish new text books until 2015, YO! is working on a plan to get disability and LGBTQ history taught in schools sooner than later. Youth with disabilities are strategically partnering with LGBTQ community members in working with the Department of Education, school boards and superintendents to better understand what needs to happen to ensure both histories are now taught in school. In December 2012, YO! held a one-day FAIR Education Act Summit at San Francisco State University with educators, academics, LGBTQ youth and youth with disabilities to understand each other's perspectives and talk about how to work together in moving the Act forward. On January 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, youth with disabilities and LGBTQ youth in San Diego will spend National Service Day learning about each other's communities and coming up with a strategy to get more youth around the state involved in YO!'s efforts to implement the FAIR Act.

"Our communities are passionate about our history, and we value the incredible contributions leaders of our movements have made," commented Mills. "We're excited to finally have people with and without disabilities learning about it in the classroom with their peers. By educating youth in school and establishing relationships, we will move closer toward creating a more inclusive and accepting environment."

"I am extremely excited about what we've achieved so far in getting people to understand that individuals with disabilities deserve to be recognized for their historical achievements," said Moussavian. "More needs to be done, but I think Ed Roberts would be proud of what we have accomplished."

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Advocates Fear President Obama's Call for More Officers in Schools Will Hurt Kids with Disabilities January 18th, 2013

“School Resource Officers” Lack Necessary Training

WASHINGTON – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) expressed concern over President Obama’s call to increase the number of school resource officers (SROs) in our nation’s schools. The use of school resource officers is known to contribute to the disproportionate number of youth with disabilities and youth of color in the juvenile justice system

“President Obama’s call for more school resource officers will not improve school safety,” said Curt Decker, executive director of NDRN.  “In fact, our investigations have shown that the use of SROs has only increased conflict and hostility in schools.”

According to the National Center on Education Statistics, a school resource officer is a “career law enforcement officer, with sworn authority, deployed in community-oriented policing, and assigned by the employing police department or agency to work in collaboration with school and community-based organizations.”

“SROs are largely untrained in the techniques educators use to deescalate conflict, reduce bullying and harassment, or to seek peaceful solutions to the daily dramas that are a part of growing up,” continued Decker. “SROs rely too heavily on the use of handcuffs, restraint and seclusion, and referrals to the juvenile justice system for minor infractions. These punishments disproportionally affect children with disabilities and children of color and are a major factor in the explosion of the school to prison pipeline.”

The proposals were made during the president’s January 16th address to reduce gun violence

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NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR HSCF's Advocates in Disability Award (ADA). January 18th, 2013

The HSC Foundation’s  ADA Program is seeking the next generation of disability advocates!! If you are a young leader with a disability or know of anyone who is, you/they are encouraged to apply for the 2013 Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)!

The purpose of the ADA Program is to award and encourage a young individual with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26, who has dedicated himself/herself to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in the United States. The program also supports an innovative project developed by that young person with a disability that serves and empowers individuals with disabilities.

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) is a program of The HSC Foundation, funded in part by the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his/her past disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for his/her proposed project.

Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

The Advocates in Disability Award Program is part of The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Initiative (NYTI).

To apply, please see the attached guidelines and application. You may also apply online at:

Applications must be received by March 15, 2013 (by 5:00pm EST).
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Introducing the YiD Internship Program! January 18th, 2013

With the vital support of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF), USICD is launching its first internship program focusing on youth with disabilities who are interested in international development and foreign affairs careers. The project follows from a vision, core to USICD's mission, to increase disability inclusion in U.S. foreign affairs by supporting future generations of Americans to invest their skills and talents in this field.

The Youth in Development Program (YiD) will bring a handful of talented college students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities to Washington, DC this summer for nine weeks to expose them to the international affairs and development arena. Interns will receive a stipend, travel expenses, and fully-accessible housing.

To learn more about YiD and how to apply, please visit USICD's Youth in Development Initiative page.

Application Deadline: February 18, 2013

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18th Annual Autism Awareness Conference January 17th, 2013

SAVE THE DATE: 18th Annual Autism Awareness Conference
18th Annual Autism Awareness
Conference‐ “Bullying & Autism”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hodel’s Banquets
5917 Knudsen St.

Doors Open: 7:00 a.m. Conference Begins: 8:45 a.m.
KRC Ticket List available December 31st


Dr. Lori Ernsperger
Owner of Autism & Behavioral Consulting with 27 yrs of
experience in the field of autism.

Laura Nagle
Motivational speaker, adult on the spectrum and
autism advocate.

For further information please refer to our website at or FACEBOOK‐Kern Autism Network
Each year our conferences sell out, so don’t wait to get your tickets
today at: Eventbrite

To read the article source, click here:

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Tool Designed For Blind Students Proves Useful For Others, Too January 8th, 2013

By Lillian Mongeau | January 3, 2013 

Some school districts are turning to a new resource to help struggling readers: digital textbooks designed for blind students.  A Silicon Valley publishing company is helping develop this format, with a new injection of cash from the federal government.  Special education teachers are embracing the digital books.
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More local funds paying for special education in California schools January 8th, 2013

As costs to educate students with disabilities have risen and state and federal special-education funding has remained steady, the share of local funds used to pay for special-education services in California has increased to 39% from 32%, between 2005 and 2011, according to a report from the state Legislative Analyst's Office. The report predicts growth in the amount of funds needed to serve this student population, as there has been a 240% increase in diagnoses of students with autism and a 120% rise in the number of students with low-incidence disabilities that require costly services. 
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ASAN and Freddie Mac 2013 Internship Program January 8th, 2013

In partnership with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Freddie Mac, an industry leader in home mortgages, is seeking a paid intern for the third round of a program with ASAN to place qualified Autistic candidates in skilled positions within the company.
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Apply Now for Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities December 19th, 2012

If you are a high school junior or senior with a disability in California you should consider applying for the 2013 Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. It's a wonderful program and has impacted the lives of more that 1,000 young adults in our state.

Please pass along to anyone you think may be interested!
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More Special Education Students Receiving Diplomas December 11th, 2012

Graduation rates for students enrolled in special education are on the rise as fewer kids with disabilities drop out of school.

From 2009 to 2010, there was a 2 percent increase in the number of students with disabilities across the country who left school with a diploma, according to the 2012 Disability Statistics Compendium, released late last month.

The annual report from the University of New Hampshire synthesizes government data to paint a picture of the experiences of Americans with disabilities in education, health care, employment and other key areas by the numbers.

Researchers found that over 250,000 special education students earned a diploma in 2009-2010. At the same time, nearly 60,000 left school with a certificate of completion.

During the same period, the dropout rate for those with disabilities declined by 1.4 percent. Nonetheless, more than 84,000 dropped out of school.

Nationally, nearly 5.7 million students ages 6 to 21 were enrolled in special education in the fall of 2010, the report found.
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Six U.S. Senators Call for Establishment of a Presidential Youth Council December 11th, 2012

Six U.S. Senators call for establishment of
a Presidential Youth Council


Youth coalition applauds introduction of Senate Resolution 608

December 5, 2012 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Campaign for Presidential Youth Council applauds U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) for the introduction of S.R. 608 in U.S. Senate today supporting the establishment of a bi-partisan Presidential Youth Council.  U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) are co-sponsors of the resolution. The introduction builds upon U.S. Representative John B. Larson’s (D-CT) introduction of a similar resolution, supported by U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), to the House of Representatives. Today, the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council also calls on youth across the nation to write their member of congress asking them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 608.

“Young people bring a unique perspective that can help make our government more efficient, effective, and innovative,” said Alex Wirth, 19, organizer of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council. “I hope all young Americans across the nation will contact the President and their representatives in Congress and say that we showed up at the voting booth and now we want a seat at the table.”

According to the non-partisan CIRCLE at Tufts University young people decided the 2012 election comprising 19 percent of the electorate.  Yet only 29 percent of young Americans believe they have a say in what the government does, according to the Harvard Institute of Politics.  With issues from education reform to the federal deficit directly impacting the Millennial generation, a Presidential Youth Council would give the nation’s youth a voice in the national debate and provide useful insight to policymakers as they design and implement youth policy.

“It sends a very powerful message to the people in Washington that kids matter, that the youth of America matter," said U.S. Senator Scott Brown, “The decisions we're making today are going to affect our kids tomorrow."

“Creating a Presidential Youth Council would give lawmakers the insights we need about how our policies affect young people,” said U.S. Senator Tom Udall, “The least we can do is pull up a chair for you to join the discussion.”

The model for a Presidential Youth Council is a proven and established approach for engaging young people in organizations. The National League of Cities estimates that there are over 400 local youth councils in cities all across the United States. The State Department is building youth councils in U.S. embassies around the world and national organizations and fortune 500 corporations regularly bring young people together to garner their unique views and perspectives.

More than 100 local, state, and national youth-serving organizations including the America’s Promise Alliance,, The Forum for Youth Investment, Youth Service America, generationOn, Young Invincibles and the First Focus Campaign for Children support the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

About the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council is a bi-partisan, youth-led initiative created by young people from all across the country.  Our mission is to establish a Presidential Youth Council, comprised of young Americans ages 16-24, to advise the President on the perspectives of young people, offer suggestions on the design and implementation of youth policies, and to create shared recommendations on issues that will affect the long-term future of our country. To learn more and show your support visit:

Media contacts:

Kari Sherrodd, Inspire Now PR
(512) 850-5359 |

Alex Wirth, Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
(505) 231-7733 |

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AAPD Washington DC Summer Internships Program for Students with Disabilities December 11th, 2012

Every year, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) hosts a Summer Internship Program for students with disabilities.

AAPD’s Summer Internship Program offers college students, law students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities the opportunity to work in public service for ten weeks on Capitol Hill, at federal agencies, nonprofits and for-profit businesses. This ten week experience gives interns the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the workforce. Interns receive a stipend, travel to and from DC, and fully-accessible housing.

Past placements include:

•    Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
•    Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)
•    Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
•    Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
•    Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
•    Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
•    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
•    Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
•    Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
•    U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
•    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
•    The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
•    Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
•    National Disability Rights Network
•    U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The 2013 AAPD Washington, DC Summer Internship Program for Students with Disabilities is generously sponsored by Walmart and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF).


•Any college student (degree and non-degree seeking), law student, graduate student, or recent graduate who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability is invited to apply. You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this program will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a program run specifically for students with disabilities by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest cross-disability membership organization. Those selected for this program will be involved in various disability-focused activities and associated with AAPD and fellow interns with all types of disabilities throughout the program.

•Applicants chosen for the AAPD Washington DC Summer Internship Program release all information contained in their application for use on the AAPD website and in public press releases, including releases to the program funders and potential employers.
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VSA International Young Soloists Award Program December 11th, 2012

Since 1984, the VSA International Young Soloists Program has identified talented musicians who have a disability. The VSA International Young Soloists Competition annually selects up to four outstanding musicians from the United States and the international arena, and supports and encourages them in their pursuit of a career. These emerging musicians receive $2,500, professional development opportunities, and a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
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NASA internships December 5th, 2012

To Prospective NASA Student Interns with Disabilities,

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. NASA has a two-percent hiring goal for employment of people with disabilities and internships are a good way to get experience. Students can apply for summer internships now! The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, March 15, 2013, and we will begin extending offers to students as early as February 2, 2013. We encourage you to apply early because the best opportunities are likely to be filled early. Plus, your likelihood of being selected decreases the longer you wait. You can register for an account and look for internships anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at Summer 2013 internships run for ten weeks for college students and six to eight weeks for high school students, from early/late June through early/mid-August. College students receive a stipend of $6000 and high school students $1800. As an intern, you are responsible for your own housing. NASA internships for college students are also offered during Spring, Fall and Year Long Sessions.

NASA has internships for high school students and for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM fields. A rising freshman is a high school student who has been accepted to an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university, at the time of the internship. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, with a minimum GPA of 2.8 for college and 3.0 for high school; however, applicants must understand that the competition for internships is keen. High school students must be at least sixteen years old at the time the internship begins.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit a completed application whether they apply to an opportunity or not. However, applying to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center. Applicants may apply to as many as fifteen posted opportunities.  For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland because SDO is located there. Not applying to an opportunity means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Students who are selected for summer internships will receive an offer letter by E-mail sometime after February 1, 2012. They will then have five days to either accept or reject the offer through their OSSI: NIFS account. The offer will automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or help with applying.

Kenneth A. Silberman, Esq.
U.S. Supreme Court, Maryland, & Patent Bars B.A., M.Eng., J.D.
NASA Engineer & Registered Patent Attorney
Office of Education, Code 160
NASA/GSFC Mailstop 160, Bldg. 28, Rm. N165, Greenbelt, MD  20771, USA
Voice:  (301) 286-9281
Fax:  (301) 286-1655
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Show Off Your Assistive Technology Video Contest December 3rd, 2012

Does Assistive Technology (AT) play a role in your life?
Do you use an assistive device to get things done, or to make your life easier?
Have you modified a device to make it work better, or come up with your own device?


Then show off your AT!

Share your ideas and win some cash doing it.

The purpose of the contest is to showcase the creative ways people with disabilities use assistive technology in their daily lives. Many people with disabilities use assistive technologies to accomplish tasks they otherwise could not. Sometimes they modify a commercial device or improvise their own device to meet a specific need. By sharing your ideas and the solutions you created, you can motivate and inspire others who are looking for solutions of their own.

Five finalists will be selected from submitted videos and posted to the AT Network Channel on Youtube. Online voting by the public will determine the winner. The winning video will be featured on the new AT Network website.

The winning Video will receive,
1st Prize $400
2nd Prize $150
3rd Prize $75

How to Enter:
1.Create your video in accordance with the Official Rules and post it to your account.
2.Complete the entry form located at
3.Include your name, address, email, telephone number, age, a description of your video and the URL to your unlisted Youtube video.
4.Read and accept the Official Rules.
5.No more than 2 Entries may be submitted by any one Entrant.
6.Contest begins at 8:00 AM (PST), Wednesday, November 7, 2012.
7.All submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PST), Friday, January 18, 2013.
8.Tell your friends and family to vote for your video beginning February 6, 2013. The Online Voting period ends on 11:59PM (PST), February 28, 2013.
9.The winning entries will be notified via email by March 8, 2013.

* Participation constitutes the Entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Official Rules. By participating in the Contest, the Entrant is representing and warranting that he/she has read, understood and agrees to be bound by these rules. Entrants or entries that fail to conform to the Official Rules will be disqualified. California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Inc. reserves the right to disqualify any Entrant or Entry at its sole discretion.
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Man Sentenced to Jail After Teasing Disabled Girl November 30th, 2012

An Ohio man faces one month of jail time for teasing and taunting a 1o-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after a video of the incident went viral.

On Nov. 27, Judge John A. Poulos of the Canton Municipal Court sentenced 43-year-old William Bailey to 29 days in jail.

The taunting occurred on Sept. 26, when Tricia Knight and her mother-in-law were waiting for her children's bus to return from school. Knight's three children, including 10-year-old Hope, attend Walker Elementary with Bailey's 9-year-old son, Joseph.

What happened next was caught on an iPod camera by Knight's mother-in-law, Marie Prince.

William Bailey "was dragging his leg and patting his arm across his chest to pick his son Joseph up," said Knight. "I asked him to please stop doing this. 'My daughter can see you.' He then told his son to walk like the R-word."

The next day Knight posted the video on her Facebook page while Prince uploaded the video they called "Bus Stop Ignorance" to YouTube. Within days, the video went viral.

The Knight family has lived next door to the Baileys for the past two years, and the incident at the bus stop, according to Knight, is the culmination of rising tensions and intimidation against her kids.

In the days that followed the taunting at the bus stop, the Knight family filed a complaint with Canton City prosecutors.

Jennifer Fitzsimmons, the chief assistant city prosecutor for this case, says in the three years she's been in this role, she's never seen anything like this.

"I think when we look at cases, there's case law out there regarding people commenting and gesturing against race and religion. But when there's nothing out there regarding disabilities, it took me a little bit longer to come to a decision."

After Fitzsimmons reviewed the Knight family's complaint, a police report based on a phone call from the Knight family, and the video captured by Prince, she decided to press charges.

"It was settled without Hope having to relive what she saw and how it impacted her," said Fitzsimmons. "I think the trial could have been just as traumatic as the event itself."

Bailey, who works as a truck driver, was charged twice. He was originally charged for aggravated menacing, a misdemeanor of the first degree. In this charge, the victim was Knight, an incident she says took place the same day as the bus stop scene.

Bailey, she said, "was swinging a tow chain on his porch, saying he was going to choke me until I stopped twitching. I sent my kids with my mother-in-law to leave with them. My husband called the sheriff."

In Ohio, a menacing charge is a misdemeanor fourth degree, which carries a maximum of 30 days in jail.

The second original charge, for the bus stop incident, was disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor and carries no jail time.

Although Bailey's sentencing technically reflects the charges brought by his actions toward Knight, Hope's mother, Fitzsimmons explains how the plea deal enabled the sentence to cover his actions toward Hope.

"Because the menacing misdemeanor charge was directed toward Hope's mother, and they're all interrelated, the judge took into account all the actions of Mr. Bailey and the entire Holcomb family," said Fitzsimmons.

Bailey "entered a plea of 'no contest' to a menacing charge and to disorderly conduct," said Fitzsimmons. His sentence will go into effect on Jan. 2.

Judge Poulos required Bailey to pay $400 in court costs as well as other fees. He was given a credit for one day which is why his sentence is 29 days and not the maximum 30.

Following the Nov. 27 hearing, Bailey's attorney, John R. Giua, released a statement and apology on Bailey's behalf, according to the The Repository, an online newspaper for Stark County, Ohio.

"I don't think this sentence will change things because it hasn't so far," said Knight.

Knight says living next door to the Baileys affects their everyday lives.

Just last summer, said Knight, 9-year-old Joseph Bailey came over to play with Knight's children and brought over a pocket knife, threatening to "cut [Hope] up," followed by name calling. That harassment continued into the school year.

Since the bus stop incident, Knight has spoken with the bus driver and the school's principal. Knight now drives Hope to school every day while her other two children ride another bus to school.

Hope was born 29 weeks premature after Knight was involved in a head-on auto collision. When she was born, Hope weighed only two pounds, 12 ounces, which caused several medical problems resulting in two brain surgeries. Knight says her daughter fought for her life the first two years.

As for whether this case presents a new precedent in Ohio is another debate.

"I don't know if it sets a precedent so much maybe as it begins a conversation between people," said Fitzsimmons. "I think conversation starts progress, and I think if it can bring something else to light, it would be good."

Read More at Article Source

Internship Applications OPEN for Summer Internship with American Association of People with Disabilities November 20th, 2012

AAPD’s summer internship program makes the Washington, DC internship experience available to motivated people with disabilities, developing a new generation of leaders and offering host employers access to a talented, diverse work force. Each summer, AAPD places students and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid 10-week summer internships in Congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations.  AAPD provides accessible housing, a living stipend, and travel to and from Washington, DC for all summer interns.
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What do YOUTH with disabilities need? November 19th, 2012

YOU can help out the State Independent Living Council!

They are trying to figure out what Californians with disabilities need at home, school, work and play.

Tell them what YOU think!  Make sure the YOUTH VOICE is heard!

Fill out the survey below, it takes about 5-15 minutes to complete.
The SILC needs the survey by Friday, November 23rd

If you have any questions, or need help with the survey you can contact:                           Kira Gunther at  Mission Analytics Group
Phone: 415-796-0165
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CCEPD ~ Survey November 19th, 2012

Good Morning,

The California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD) is interested in hearing from you in order to encourage collaboration across local efforts working to address the employment of people with disabilities. The purpose of this survey is to identify local cross-agency/interagency committees and groups whose primary focus is on addressing local issues related to employment for youth and/or adults with disabilities. Some examples may include: local committees sometimes referred to as "Mayor's Committees", taskforces, commissions, councils, and informal groups.

This survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. To access the survey, please visit the following link:

The survey will be closed at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 17. If you have any questions or additional feedback, please contact: Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey!
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"It's About Ability!" Youth Video Contest November 13th, 2012

Calling all youth filmmakers!
Each year, UNICEF publishes a report called State of the World’s Children. Next year, the theme is on children with disabilities.  We’d like hear your voice, so send us a one minute video reflecting your perspective on disabilities.

Children living with disabilities have the same rights as all children: the right to live in dignity and to grow up in an environment that allows them to reach their full potential.

But too often, children with disabilities face difficulties that hold them back.
Take inspiration from the theme “It’s About Ability!” which takes a positive approach to disability.  Too often, children with disabilities are shown neglected, weak or in need of pity. But those images only perpetuate negative beliefs, which affect the way we behave.  Instead, we are looking for perspectives that can be empowering, constructive and eye-opening in their diversity.  After all, children with disabilities are children first.

Take a look at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and think about what it means to you. Do you have a disability and want to share what you’ve achieved in life or how you’re unique?  Do you know someone who is disabled – a friend or family member?  How do you see them facing daily life?  How does their life affect you?  Maybe you’d like to portray an example of how children’s rights are not being fulfilled. Or a situation where children are getting the rights they deserve and succeeding.

Make a one minute video showing what “It’s About Ability!” means to you, whether in the world at large or to you personally.

Be creative!
  We’re looking for videos that tell their perspectives in unique and creative ways.  It can be anything from drama to comedy, fiction or documentary, animation or live-action.

Some “Thoughts for Inspiration”:

Who are you?: You might have a disability, but who are you as a person? What are you interested in or proud of? What is your world like?  What are your dreams for the future?
Diversity: Children have a wide range of disabilities, including many that society doesn’t easily recognize. In addition, children with disabilities are diverse and embody a range of personalities and types.
Abilities: Children with disabilities have achieved many personal milestones and successes, either related to their disabilities or in general.
Barriers: What barriers exist that keep an individual from participating in society?  These might be physical, social or emotional.  Sometimes a small barrier can greatly hinder an individual’s progress.  What can be done to help break down those barriers?
Representation:  Do school curriculum and the media include representations of people with disabilities?  Education is not just in the classroom, and including these representations encourages society to embrace disability as part of human diversity.
Universal design: How can people design places and products that are usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their ages, ability or status.  This can address anything from buildings to television programs.

Your video will be watched by global panel of media makers and youth, who will select the finalists and winners.  The finalists’ videos will be displayed on the main UNICEF website.

The winning video will be used in the 2013 State of the World’s Children launch materials, made available for broadcast around the world, and distributed through online channels.
The winning video maker will receive a SONY HDV Flipcam.

Deadline is 15 December 2012.


■Video content must relate to disabilities, either by expressing a personal experience or commenting on the rights and challenges faced by those with disabilities (see “Thoughts for Inspiration” above).
■Videos must be respectful in the words and images it contains and how people are represented.
We welcome videos in all languages; however, for videos not in English, please provide an English language transcript of the script or subtitles.
■All videos must be one minute (60 seconds) in length.
Participants must be below 25 years of age.
■Submissions can be either by an individual or a group, and can be sponsored by an organization or corporation.
■Each individual or group is limited to one submission.
■All videos must be free of copyright materials, i.e. video footage or music used without permission of creator.  This means you cannot take clips from the internet or television and use these images in your video.

How to Submit

■Each video should be uploaded to one of the following video sharing sites:  YouTube, Blip, Dailymotion, or Vimeo
■Once you upload your video to one of the above sites, you must send an email to with the following information:
Link to movie upload
Title of movie
Postal address (with country)
Email address (if you have one)
Telephone number
■If you don’t have access to one of these sites, you can mail it as an .mov file on a CD/DVD via regular mail to:
International Children’s Day of Broadcasting
Room 933
3 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Short listed entries will be notified by 15 January 2013.

Short listed entries will be asked to submit master copies as an uncompressed MOV file or on a DVcam or MiniDV tape, via mail or digital upload.

Have questions?  Send an email to

Happy videoing!
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Bullied Girl With Special Needs Finds Unlikely Defenders November 6th, 2012

When Chy Johnson, who has a brain disorder, faced a torrent of bullies, she found an unexpected set of heroes in her high school’s football team.

Johnson, 16, came home from school crying every day after classmates picked on her because of her differences, even throwing trash at her. Fed up, Johnson’s mom reached out to a family friend in hopes of identifying the girl’s tormentors.

Instead, that friend — Carson Jones — took action. As a senior on the Queen Creek, Ariz. school’s varsity football team, Jones rallied the squad to support Johnson, inviting her to eat lunch with them and watching out for her during the school day.

The team’s efforts have made all the difference. “They save me because I won’t get hurt again,” Johnson told KTVK in Phoenix. “They’re not mean to me, because all my boys love me.”

Read More at Article Source

Athlete With Disability Leads Sports Illustrated Contest November 2nd, 2012

Down Syndrome didn't stop Eric Dompierre from getting on the football field, but an outdated state rule almost did.

Eric's story made headlines this year when the Michigan High School Athletic Association nearly disqualified him from his senior season at Ishpeming high because, at age 19, he was too old to play organized sports.

Media attention led the MHSAA to change its absolute age limit by allowing for certain exceptions, and the executive committee in August finally approved a waiver allowing Eric to play.

As an extra-point specialist, Eric didn't necessarily win a lot of games for his team this season, but he could help his school win a $25,000 grant.

His story, as documented in a new Sports Illustrated video, is among 10 finalists in the magazine's annual "underdogs" contest. Online voting opened this week, and Ishpeming currently is the front-runner for the grant and a 10-player trip to New York.

The mini-documentary includes commentary from Eric's family, coach and teammates, along with moving footage from his season debut. He missed his first five extra-point attempts, but with time winding down and the crowd chanting his name, his final kick rang true.

"I think when those kids see someone like Eric working hard to overcome his disability, I like to think it motivates them to do their best as well," his dad, Dean Dompierre, says in the video.

Eric played his final game of the season earlier this month, and his city marked the occasion with a celebration. Ispheming Mayor Pat Scanlon declared October 18 "Eric Dompierre Day," and firefighters chauffeured him to school in a fire truck.

Check out the Sports Illustrated video in the embedded player above, and head over to the "underdogs" website to vote for Eric and Ishpeming.

Read More at Article Source

Boy Kicked Out of School Because He Has Gene for Cystic Fibrosis October 30th, 2012

A California boy has been ordered to transfer to another middle school because he carries the gene for cystic fibrosis, even though he doesn't actually have the incurable, life-threatening and non-infectious disease. His parents have gone to court to fight the move.

Their son, 11-year-old Colman Chadam, was told last week that he’d have to transfer from Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, Calif., to a school three miles away because he posed a risk to another student at school who does have the disease, according to TODAY.

“I was sad but at the same time I was mad because I understood that I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Colman told TODAY. He added: “It feels like I’m being bullied in a way that is not right.”

An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis causes the body to create a thick mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. About 30,000 American adults and children have the disease and patients have an average life expectancy in the late 30s.

While it is not contagious, doctors say people with cystic fibrosis can pose a danger to each other through bacterial cross-contamination if they are in close contact.

“In general, we would prefer that there not be more than one cystic fibrosis patient in a school,” Dr. Thomas Keens, the head of the cystic fibrosis center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told TODAY.

The district’s assistant superintendent, Charles Young, told NBC News that officials relied on medical authorities who said “a literal physical distance must be maintained” between patients and that the "zero risk option" was to transfer Colman.

But Colman’s parents, who are home-schooling him while they await a court hearing next week, say the school is overreacting.

“Why take a child who’s new to the district, who’s just making friends, who’s just building a support network, who’s just getting to know his teachers, who’s been well his whole life ... why stigmatize him?” his father, Jaimy Chadam, said on TODAY.

Jennifer Chadam said her son has attended two other schools with students who have cystic fibrosis. “It has never been an issue. Ever,” she said.

Colman’s parents told the school about his condition on a form at the start of the school year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Colman has not suffered from lung problems, never needed treatment and had a negative result on a sweat test, the most accurate test for the disease, his parents told the Chronicle last week. They told the paper their son has never had a clinical diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.

“The school district freaked out," Jennifer Chadam told the paper.

TODAY’s Star Jones, a former prosecutor, and Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, said the district erred in transferring Colman.

Snyderman said Colman is not at risk for developing the disease, and said a student with the genetic marker for cystic fibrosis should not pose a health risk.

“The idea behind segregating these kids is that you don’t want them to get secondary infections because they have problems with their lungs and with their guts,” Snyderman told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Wednesday. “They are more at risk for infections but I just want to underscore he doesn’t have cystic fibrosis so this was in an ill-thought-out decision.”

Jones said a school district cannot unilaterally transfer a student without due process, and said the school was probably acting to head off a possible lawsuit if anything happened to the student who does have cystic fibrosis.

“It’s a pre-emptive strike,” Jones said. “They don’t want to exacerbate this child’s death by one extra day.”

She said the school can’t have it both ways with Colman. “You cannot deny his ability to be in the school without due process and then not use due process pretending that he has this disease,” she said.

Snyderman said that while the Chadams never could have anticipated that their disclosure would have led to a transfer, she said their case is reminder to parents that the information they provide on forms will be scrutinized.

“Everything you put down on any one of those nursing or doctor forms, man oh man, can it come back to bite you,” she said.

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Lawmakers Warn Of Special Education Cuts October 19th, 2012

Some 12,000 special education teachers and aides could lose their jobs in the coming months unless Congress acts to stop impending cuts, according to a new report from Congressional Democrats.

The warning is the latest from lawmakers on the impact likely to be felt from a series of automatic federal spending reductions expected to take effect Jan. 2 under a process known as sequestration. The cuts — totaling more than $100 billion — were triggered after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal last year.

The White House estimates that special education alone would lose more than $1 billion under the plan, which calls for most federal programs to be slashed by at least 8.2 percent.

The latest report from Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee suggests that the projected staffing reductions could affect over 500,000 students with disabilities.

While members of both political parties have expressed concern about the spending rollbacks, no action on the issue is expected until members of Congress return to Washington following the Nov. 6 election.
Read More at Article Source

State to Investigate SF's Handling of Special Education Services October 18th, 2012

Inquiry prompted by administrator's email seeking to limit summer program
By Trey Bundy on October 18, 2012 - 12:01 a.m. PDT

United Educators of San Francisco
In an email, administrator Lisa Miller urged teachers to re-evaluate offering summer school to special education students as a way to cut cost.The California Department of Education said it would investigate whether the San Francisco Unified School District violated federal regulations by improperly denying summer school services to students with special needs in order to cut costs.

The state investigation follows a report by The Bay Citizen that Lisa Miller – the district’s head of middle school special education – directed teachers and staff to consult with her prior to authorizing summer school for those students because the cost had become “exorbitant.”

“My big concern is whether they’re doing something illegal, in which case they have to correct it,” said Donna DeMartini, an education programs specialist at the Department of Education who will lead the investigation.

Special education teachers and attorneys said the directive – issued in a Jan. 4 email obtained by The Bay Citizen – violated the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which prohibits administrators from influencing a student’s education plan or denying services based on cost.

DeMartini has been reviewing the district’s special education practices since last year, partially in response to complaints that some students had not received federally mandated benefits. The state reviewed the education plans of about 80 of the district’s more than 6,000 students with special needs and found that the district had violated more than 100 state and federal regulations.

Summer school special education – called extended school year, or ESY – is meant to help students whose progress during the regular school year could be undermined by long breaks from school, she wrote.

In an email to The Bay Citizen on Tuesday, school district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe dismissed allegations that Miller’s directive violated the law.

“Some staff were in the habit of offering ESY to any special education student, rather than applying the law correctly,” she wrote. “Ms. Miller did not single handedly make the decision to address this issue. The district is training staff in how to analyze an offer of ESY.”

According to the district, 2,695 special education students were offered summer services this year, but officials would not say how many actually received them.

“No specific parent has had any grievance with the district regarding ESY since Ms. Miller sent the email you have written about,” Blythe wrote. “In fact, the number of students eligible for ESY went up last year as more training began to clarify the purpose of ESY.”

Advocates for students said Miller’s email fit a statewide pattern of school districts circumventing special education laws to save money.

“Miller’s email demonstrates what most districts do without putting it in writing,” said Rony Sagy, a San Francisco attorney, who is handling a lawsuit against the state on allegations of failing to enforce district compliance with special education regulations.

Sagy filed the lawsuit against the Department of Education last spring on behalf of the California Concerned Parents Association, a group of parents of students with special needs from roughly 20 school districts, including San Francisco. The organization began in Morgan Hill, where in 2008, parents filed a complaint with the school district contending that their children had been illegally denied appropriate summer school programs.

One of those parents, Linda McNulty, said several students went without summer school for two years in a row while the state investigated the matter.

Giorgos Kazanis, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said he could not comment on the case because it was “still tied up in litigation.”

Read More at Article Source

Teen's Online Plea To Be Mainstreamed Strikes A Chord October 12th, 2012

A 13-year-old with autism has taken to social media to persuade his school district that he ought to attend his local middle school rather than a segregated program for those with disabilities.

Henry Frost, who communicates using an iPad, has garnered thousands of supporters on Facebook and more than 2,300 signatures through an online petition asking his Tampa, Fla.-area school district to allow him to be mainstreamed at his neighborhood school.

According to the petition, Frost says that school officials told him he needs to prove that he can handle transitioning between classes and climbing the building’s stairs. He was also told that he would need to take tests before he could attend his local school.

Currently, Frost is taking online classes at home rather than enroll in the segregated class where he was assigned.

While school district officials said they could not comment specifically on Frost’s case, they said they work hard to provide for every student.

“I would like the chance to try,” Frost told NPR StateImpact Florida. To read more click here.
Read More at Article Source

U,.S. Department of Education Handles High Rate of Disability Related Civil Rights Complaints October 5th, 2012

Federal education officials are handling a record number of disability-related civil rights complaints in the nation’s schools.

The U.S. Department of Education released a report this week that says more there were more than 11,700 complaints alleging violations of disability rights that were filed with its Office of Civil Rights between 2009 and 2011; the highest number ever received in a three-year period!

4,600 complaints were related to the rights of students with disabilities to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

Commonly expereinced issues related to retaliation, exclusion/denial of benefits, academic adjustments, bullying and harassment, the use of seclusion and restraints, and a high suspension rate of students with disabilities.
Read More at Article Source

2012/2013 Youth Leadership Programs October 4th, 2012

The Youth Leadership Programs consist of four programs: the Youth Ambassadors, Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute, Youth Leadership, and American Youth Leadership Programs.

For more information about the individual programs, contact the administrating organization for your home country listed below or Please include your name, country of origin and reason for interest in the program in your message.

Youth Ambassadors Program
The Youth Ambassadors Program brings together high school students and adult mentors from 25 countries across the Americas to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities. Exchanges are primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States, but also include delegations from the United States to select countries. Participating countries/regions include:

Paraguay, UruguayArgentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and PeruCaribbean: Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and TobagoCentral America: Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and PanamaColombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Venezuela, Canada

Benjamin Franklin Summer Institutes
The Benjamin Franklin Summer Institutes are intensive academic institutes hosted by a U.S. college or university. These programs are more academic in nature than other Youth Leadership Programs, and focus on global issues, in addition to leadership and community service. American youth participate in these institutes, but do not travel abroad. There are two Benjamin Franklin Summer Institutes:

Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute with South and Central Asia: Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the United StatesBenjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute: Europe and the United States

Youth Leadership Programs
Youth Leadership Programs began in 1999 with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Youth Leadership and Teacher Professional Development Program. These programs now include both one and two-way exchanges. One-way exchanges bring foreign youth to the United States, but do not send an American delegation abroad. A two-way exchange sends a delegation to the United States and a delegation from the United States to another country/other countries.

Two-Way Exchanges

Youth Leadership Program with AzerbaijanIndonesia-U.S. Youth Leadership ProgramU.S.-Poland Parliamentary Youth Leadership ProgramYouth Leadership Program with Central Europe: Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, and SloveniaYouth Leadership Program with South Asia: Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives

One-Way Exchanges

Algeria Youth Leadership ProgramIraqi Young Leaders Exchange ProgramYouth Leadership Program with Bosnia and HerzegovinaYouth Leadership Program with the Philippines

Youth Leadership Program with Southeast Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
Youth Leadership Program with Sub-Saharan Africa (Bold Leaders): Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South AfricaYouth Leadership Program with Sub-Saharan Africa (States 4-H International Exchange Program): Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South AfricaYouth Leadership Program with Sub-Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger

American Youth Leadership Program
The American Youth Leadership Program is for participants from the United States to travel abroad to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. The destination countries include:

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Role of the MediaCambodia: Environment and Climate ChangeMalaysia and Singapore: Environment and Climate ChangeParaguay: Environment and Climate ChangePeru: Nutrition and Food SecurityUganda: Nutrition and Food SecuritySamoa: Nutrition and Food Security
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The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, and Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud Release Videos By and For Youth Who Discuss Disability Disclosure and Personal Assistance Services October 3rd, 2012

NCWD & YO! have posted eight videos for and by youth with disabilities.

The 411 on Disability Disclosure video features youth with disabilities discussing how their decisions to disclose their disabilities have affected them at school, at work, and in social situations.  This video is a companion to the publication, The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available online.

In the video, Making Your Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS), youth share how they use personal assistance services (PAS) and what’s involved in finding and managing their own services. This video is a companion to the publication, Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available.
Read More at Article Source

Presidential Proclamation -- National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2012 October 1st, 2012


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In the 22 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made significant progress in giving all Americans the freedom to make of our lives what we will. Yet, in times of prosperity as well as challenge, people with disabilities have had fewer opportunities in our workplaces than those without. As we work to revitalize our economy, it is essential that each of us can bring our talents, expertise, and passion to bear in the marketplace. But a stronger economy is not enough; we must ensure not only full participation, but also full opportunity. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the indispensable contributions people with disabilities make in our economy and recommit to building a country where each of us can realize the full extent of our dreams.

Because America's workforce should reflect the diversity of its people -- including people with disabilities -- my Administration remains committed to helping our businesses, schools, and communities support our entire workforce. To meet this challenge, the Federal Government must be a model employer. That is why I was proud to sign an Executive Order in 2010 that called on Federal agencies to increase recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities. In 2012, the Office of Personnel Management reported on our progress, revealing that we are moving toward meeting our goal of hiring an additional 100,000 people with disabilities into the Federal workforce over 5 years. Today, more people with disabilities work for the Federal Government than at any time in the past 20 years, and we are striving to make it easier to get and keep those jobs by improving compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

All Americans are entitled to an accessible workplace, a level playing field, and the same privileges, pursuits, and opportunities as any of their family, friends, and neighbors. This month, let us rededicate ourselves to bringing down barriers and raising up aspirations for all our people, regardless of disability, so we may share in a brighter future together.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2012 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to embrace the talents
and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

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Report: Parents With Disabilities At Risk September 28th, 2012

A federal agency is warning the White House that more protections are needed to ensure the parental rights of those with disabilities.

Even as an increasing number of Americans with special needs choose to become parents, laws across the country routinely undermine their rights, according to a National Council on Disability report which was sent to President Barack Obama on Thursday.

In two-thirds of states, courts are allowed to deem a parent unfit solely based on their disability. And, disability can legally be taken into account in every state when assessing what’s in the best interest of a child, the council found.

“Even today, 22 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, parents with disabilities are the only distinct community of Americans who must struggle to retain custody of their children,” wrote Jonathan Young, chair of the National Council on Disability in a letter to the president that accompanied the report.

Currently, some 6.1 million children in the United States have parents with disabilities. They are significantly more likely than other kids to be forcibly separated from their parents, the federal agency found.

Estimates suggest that among parents with intellectual disabilities, removal rates are as high as 80 percent. Similarly high rates are seen among parents with psychiatric disabilities.

Meanwhile, the council found that people with special needs are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce and have more difficulty adopting kids.

“A nexus should always be shown between the disability and harm to the child, so that a child is taken from a custodial parent only when the parent’s disability is creating a detriment that cannot be alleviated. However, this is not the reality,” Young said.

The council is urging the administration and Congress to collect data and fund research to better understand the experiences of people with disabilities as parents.

What’s more, the agency is recommending that new laws be implemented at the state or federal level to protect the rights of parents with disabilities. The report also indicates that social services agencies need to work to better understand and accommodate this population.
Read More at Article Source

Concerns Raised Over Independent Living Centers September 28th, 2012

Oversight of the nation’s Centers for Independent Living is severely lacking, a new audit finds, calling into question how effective the centers are at helping people with disabilities integrate into the community.

In a report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, officials found that the agency’s Rehabilitation Services Administration is doing far too little to assess the effectiveness of the independent living centers it oversees across the country.

The Centers for Independent Living provide information and referral services, training to help those with special needs live independently, peer counseling and advocacy services. As of 2010, there were 337 federally-funded centers across the country, all of which are run predominantly by people with disabilities themselves.

Between October 2007 and September 2010, investigators found that the Rehabilitation Services Administration conducted just 40 onsite reviews, a fraction of the 153 that are mandated under the law. What’s more, the report found that the locations selected for the reviews were not chosen randomly as required.

More problems were uncovered when the inspector general selected 12 independent living centers in 11 states to assess. While each location provided all of the services required, investigators found that poor record keeping permeated centers, with inconsistent reports on funding and how many consumers were served.

“As a result of the inadequate monitoring and oversight, partially supported performance reports and inadequately documented files, (the Rehabilitation Services Administration) did not have sufficient, accurate information to provide required oversight of the grant programs at the CILs reviewed,” the inspector general wrote. “Appropriate oversight is essential to ensuring that the program goals are met.”

Officials at the Rehabilitation Services Administration acknowledged the problems and told the inspector general that staffing and funding issues make it “extremely difficult” to review the growing number of Centers for Independent Living.
Read More at Article Source

Online Voter Registration Draws Critics September 26th, 2012

Sacramento --

California's new online voter registration system went live with much fanfare last week, but one group is not cheering: disabled voters.

On Tuesday, which was National Voter Registration Day, a coalition of groups that advocate for people with disabilities sent a letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen saying that the new system doesn't work for people with various disabilities.

Specifically, people with visual and reading impairments who need screen-reading technology to use a computer are not able to access the new registration system because the secretary of state's website is not compatible with that technology.

Multiple federal laws, including the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, require that government services are accessible to people with disabilities. With an Oct. 22 deadline to register to vote, the advocacy groups want the website  made accessible as soon as possible.

"It's something they should have investigated before launching the site," said Andrew Mudryk, deputy director of Disability Rights California. "This situation shouldn't be what it is."

A representative of another organization, the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers, contacted the secretary of state's office in late August offering to have people with an array of disabilities use the new system to make sure it was accessible.

"That didn't happen. We wish it had," said Teresa Favuzzi, executive director of the foundation. "We were paying attention and are making this call to action based on a real desire for people with disabilities to have equal access."

The secretary of state has a Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee to advise her on issues regarding people with disabilities, but advocates say that committee was not consulted on the new system, either.

Nicole Winger, spokeswoman for Bowen, said, "We're grateful for the disability community ... bringing this to our attention," but she did not know why neither the committee nor the advocates had been involved in the run-up to the launch of the site.

She said those groups are now involved in the process "to better understand the technical challenges and potential fixes."

Winger could not say whether the website would be made accessible before the close of the voter registration period. But, she said, the secretary of state's office staffers "are immediately on this."

One of the biggest problems is the use of what is known as CAPTCHA technology, which is used on many websites to verify that a person, and not a machine, is actually entering information. Users have to type in a series of letters and or numbers that are displayed in a distorted format.

In the letter to Bowen, the advocates wrote that they were dismayed the technology was used because it "presents a well-known barrier to people who are blind or visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing."

The online system actually has great potential to help people with disabilities, advocates said, because it mitigates issues people face in having to physically travel to register and it would allow them to do so independently.

"It's a really great opportunity for people with disabilities and we want to be part of it," Favuzzi said.

Wyatt Buchanan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

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Advocates Renew Call For Restraint, Seclusion Reform September 25th, 2012

More than 200 disability organizations are urging Congress to reignite efforts to regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.

In a letter sent last week to key legislators, a who’s who of disability advocacy organizations including the Autism Society, The Arc and the National Disability Rights Network said action is needed in order to ensure student safety.

“It is time for a national policy addressing restraint and seclusion in our schools for all children,” reads the letter sent to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives education committees. “America needs more than the current patchwork of state laws to ensure that every child is afforded protection.”

Since 2009, disability advocates have pressed Congress to establish federal regulations to govern the use of restraint and seclusion in schools after a series of government and advocacy group reports found widespread abuse and even deadly instances of the practices.

In response, the House of Representatives passed legislation in 2010 to establish national standards, but the Senate declined to act. As a result, a variety of state and local rules currently exist. (Read all of Disability Scoop’s coverage of restraint and seclusion »)

Thus far, the recent correspondence has garnered no reply. However, Jessica Butler of the Autism National Committee, who organized the effort, says she plans to send the letter again after hearing from additional groups who wanted their support included.

“As you know, our 200-plus organizations are concerned because of the lack of national protection for all children,” Butler wrote in an email to Disability Scoop. “The (Government Accountability Office) documented 20 stories of deaths in school from restraint and seclusion, and the news stories keep coming. It is important for Congress to act and pass legislation and extend these kinds of protections to all of our nation’s school children.”

At present, there are proposals in both chambers of Congress that would address restraint and seclusion in schools, but lawmakers have indicated no plans to take up the issue.
Read More at Article Source

Presidential Candidates To Skip Disability Forum September 25th, 2012

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will both send surrogates to represent them later this week at a one-of-a-kind presidential forum focused on disability issues.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will speak on behalf of Romney and Edward M. Kennedy, Jr. will represent Obama at the National Forum on Disability Issues this Friday in Columbus, Ohio, event organizers said.

McMorris Rodgers has a son with Down syndrome and has made disability issues a centerpiece of her work in Congress. Kennedy is the son of the late U.S. senator and serves on the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

The forum is sponsored by more than 80 organizations from across the country and is being promoted as the only event of the presidential campaign to exclusively address issues of interest to the disability community. McMorris Rodgers and Kennedy will each appear for 30 minutes to offer their party’s vision and answer questions presented by Frank Sesno, a former CNN White House correspondent, who will moderate the event.

In addition to the presidential candidates, those vying to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate were also invited to speak at the forum. Thus far, Democratic state Rep. Nancy Garland has confirmed that she will speak on behalf of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

A full house of 500 is expected at the event and more than 2,000 people have already registered to watch a live webcast, organizers say.
Read More at Article Source

Trainings ~ AT Network Has Three New Trainings Schedule September 25th, 2012

You may register for one or more of these trainings.

AT Network Training on What is AT & AT Network Services - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM PST

This webinar is an Assistive Technology (AT) 101: The Basics training to increase your knowledge of assistive technology and learn all about AT Network! Find out who we are, who we serve, and what services and resources we provide.

Training Type: Webinar

Location: Blackboard Collaborate Webinar Platform. Registered Attendees will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the webinar.

AT Network Southern California Regional Meeting - November 20, 2012 10:00am - 3:00pm PST

A great opportunity to collaborate as well as network with Disability community members, advocates, families, and educators to share knowledge between AT Network members, ILC-based (Independent Living Centers) AT Advocates and AT enthusiasts.

Training Type: In-Person

Location: California Endowment Los Angeles 1000 N. Alameda Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

AT Network Northern California Regional Meeting - December 6, 2012 10:00am - 3:00pm PST

A great opportunity to collaborate as well as network with Disability community members, advocates, families, and educators to share knowledge between AT Network members, ILC-based (Independent Living Centers) AT Advocates and AT enthusiasts.

Training Type: In-Person

Location: California Endowment Center Sacramento 1414 K. Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814

Training Type: In-Person

Location: California Endowment Center Sacramento 1414 K. Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814

A great opportunity to collaborate as well as network with Disability community members, advocates, families, and educators to share knowledge between AT Network members, ILC-based (Independent Living Centers) AT Advocates and AT enthusiasts.

Read More at Article Source

The AAPD Hearne Leadership Awards Program September 24th, 2012

The AAPD Hearne Leadership Awards Program

Paul G. Hearne: A Legacy of Leadership
AAPD founder Paul G. Hearne was a passionate advocate for increased employment of people with disabilities. Paul opened doors for thousands through his leadership of Just One Break, an employment agency for people with disabilities in New York City, and The Dole Foundation for Employment of People with Disabilities in Washington, DC.

AAPD is the product of Paul’s vision: an organization that would promote economic power and public participation for people with disabilities, while cultivating the next generation of leaders. Hearne Award winners are his living legacy.

Each year, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recognizes those outstanding emerging leaders with disabilities who exemplify leadership, advocacy, and commitment to the broader disability community. Two emerging as leaders in the cross-disability civil rights movement will each receive $10,000 to help them continue their progress and further connect their work with AAPD’s national outreach. The recipients of the 2012 Hearne Leadership Awards will also star in a short documentary film about their work and have an opportunity to join national disability leaders at the AAPD Leadership Gala in Washington, DC.

This year, AAPD will once again recognize outstanding individuals personifying leadership, advocacy, and dedication to and for the disability community at large. Two individuals, emerging as leaders in the cross-disability civil rights movement will each receive $10,000 to help them continue their progress as leaders and further connect their work with the national grassroots of AAPD. The recipients of the 2012 Hearne Leadership Awards will also have an opportunity to meet and network with national disability leaders at the AAPD Leadership Gala in Washington, DC in March 2012. U.S. residents with any type of disability are eligible to apply.

AAPD is now accepting applications for the 2013 Hearne Award.

Apply Online Now
Downloadable version

Application Deadline: 5:00pm Eastern Time, November 5, 2012

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Governor Signs California Youth Leadership Project Into Law! September 21st, 2012

Governor Signs California Youth Leadership Project Into Law!

September 20, 2012

(Sacramento, CA) Wednesday Governor Brown signed a bill (SB 803 DeSaulnier) into law, which will create the California Youth Leadership Project (CYLP) for the purpose of supporting and promoting youth civic engagement. The CYLP will award scholarships to youth from 14 to 18 years of age for youth and civic engagement programs that will improve the quality of life for California's disconnected and disadvantaged youth.

Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud members and YLF alumni testified at the capitol several times about the importance
of youth leadership development.  Shout Outs to Nellie DeMeerleer, Kevin Coffman, Cynthia Cadet and Liz Pope for educating the legislature!  

Scholarship award winners will be given opportunities to make meaningful recommendations regarding legislation and policies that impact their own lives and the lives of the thousands of other youth in California whose voices often go unheard.

The bill will give California Tax Payers the option to make a donation to a California Youth Leadership Fund when filing their taxes.

Programs that might benefit from CYLP include the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities, the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, the California African-American Youth Leadership Program, the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Program, the California Youth Connection, and the GSA Advocacy & Youth Leadership Academy (GAYLA), among others.

Please take a moment to call the Governor’s Office to say “thank you for signing SB 803 – the California Youth Leadership Project!” Office of the Governor: (916) 445-2841
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COSD ~ Robert Greenberg Award for Innovation 2012 September 6th, 2012

We are pleased to announce that the nominations for the Sixth Annual Dr. Robert Greenberg Award for Innovation are now open!  The award will be presented at the COSD 13th Annual National Conference Luncheon on Thursday November 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.

Qualified nominations may be a person, institution, employer or program / initiative demonstrating cutting-edge techniques or strategies in the area of preparing or recruiting or hiring college students with disabilities.  The deadline for nomination submission is September 21st, 2012.  To submit a nomination, please use the form located here.

If you would like to nominate someone (yourself or someone you know) who has created or expanded a great idea that assists in the career employment of college students with disabilities, please click here for more information and to complete the form.  Once completed, please scan the form and e-mail it to Alan Muir at

Eligible nominations can be from:

Higher education in preparation of college students with disabilities to be more competitive in the career search;


Employers using effective recruitment and hiring strategies focused on college graduates with disabilities.


A panel of judges will review the nominations and the winner will be notified in early October 2012.  The award recipient will have a free Conference Registration and two nights' stay at the Sheraton Gateway LAX.  Please note that the deadline for nominations is September 21st, 2012.  To submit a nomination, please use the form located here and scan the completed form and send to Alan Muir at

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Teens WIth Disabilities Face higher Rates Of Bullying September 4th, 2012

Roughly half of adolescents with autism, intellectual disability, speech impairments and learning disabilities are bullied at school, new research suggests.

That’s significantly higher than the rate of bullying faced by typically developing students, about 1 in 10 of whom are victimized by their peers.
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Governor Considers California Youth Leadership Project August 29th, 2012

In the next 30 days or so, Governor Brown will decide the fate of a bill (SB 803 DeSaulnier) that would create the California Youth Leadership Project (CYLP)  for the purpose of supporting and promoting youth civic engagement. The CYLP would award scholarships to youth from 14 to 18 years of age for youth and civic engagement programs that would improve the quality of life for California's disconnected and disadvantaged youth.

Scholarship award winners will be given opportunities to make meaningful recommendations regarding legislation and policies that impact their own lives and the lives of the thousands of other youth in California whose voices often go unheard.

The bill would give California Tax Payers the option to make a donation to a California Youth Leadership Fund when filing their taxes.

Programs that might benefit from CYLP include the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities, the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, the California African-American Youth Leadership Program, the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Program, the California Youth Connection, and GSA Youth Leadership Network, among others.
Governor’s Office:
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Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council August 27th, 2012

The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council was launched on Global Youth Service Day 2012 to recognize the millions of young Americans that serve their communities.  The campaign will capitalize on both the Democratic and Republican parties’ need to win the youth vote in 2012.

We are calling on both of the Presidential Candidates to tell the 104 million young Americans that, if elected, he will create a Presidential Youth Council and work to increase youth engagement in our government.

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USDOL to Host Student Hiring Webinar August 27th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy will host a webinar on September 11 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). The WRP is a is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The webinar is entitled “Put Your Abilities to Work: A Student's Guide to the Workforce Recruitment Program” this webinar is intended for eligible candidates and campus coordinators at colleges and universities.
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President Obama Engages with Youth with Disabilities August 24th, 2012

Watch how President Obama is bettering the lifes of those with disabilities.
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Airline iPad Policy Sparks Disability Dispute August 21st, 2012

American Airlines is taking heat for requiring a teen who is nonverbal to stow the iPad she relies on to communicate during a recent flight.

Carly Fleischmann, a 17-year-old with autism from Toronto, lambasted American Airlines on her Facebook page earlier this week for limiting access to the iPad she uses to speak.

On her way home from Los Angeles last Friday, Fleischmann said that a flight attendant told her to put away the tablet for takeoff and landing and was unwilling to bend even after Fleischmann’s aide explained that it was a communication device.

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Apply to Serve on the NYLN Governing Board August 21st, 2012

The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is accepting applications for our Governing Board (GB).  NYLN is a membership-run organization. This means our members lead the work we do.

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Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation ~ Peer & Family Support Program August 20th, 2012

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Peer & Family Support Program (PFSP) empowers people living with paralysis, their families, and their caregivers by helping them to go forward living healthy, full lives.

By providing emotional support, guidance and by sharing real-world experiences with people seeking advice, those who are living well after paralysis can help to answer questions and find solutions to life's common challenges through confidential discussions and demonstrations.

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As Medi-Cal Soars, Higher Education Loses August 13th, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Obama administration's health care law opens the door for millions more to get coverage through the expansion of Medicaid, the public health insurance for the poor. But if history is any guide, college students could feel the pinch as states cut aid to higher education to expand health care.

Why? Now Medicaid is split between states and the federal government. And although the federal government will pay the entire cost of the expansion beginning in 2014, three years later states will have to begin sharing the cost. That might leave less money than ever for higher education. The result: higher tuition and fees as academic institutions scramble for ever-scarcer dollars from state budgets.
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Young Adults Poised To Gain Coverage Under Medicaid Expansion August 13th, 2012

About half of the estimated 15 million uninsured U.S. residents who could obtain coverage under the federal health reform law's Medicaid expansion are between ages 19 and 34, according to a study released Friday by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/10).

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Report:Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School for Students with Disabilities August 7th, 2012

Today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report about Students with Disabilities entitled "Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School."

What GAO Found

Students with disabilities face several longstanding challenges accessing services that may assist them as they transition from high school into postsecondary education or the workforce-services such as tutoring, vocational training, and assistive technology. Eligible students with disabilities are entitled to transition planning services during high school, but after leaving high school, to receive services that facilitate their transition they must apply as adults and establish eligibility for programs administered by multiple federal agencies. Students with disabilities may face delays in service and end up on waitlists if these programs are full. In addition, while all five states GAO contacted have taken steps to coordinate their transition services and assist families with the transition process, officials said that it is still difficult for students and their parents to navigate and for providers to coordinate services across different programs. Officials and parents GAO spoke with also noted a lack of sufficient information or awareness of the full range of service options available after high school on the part of students with disabilities, parents, and service providers. In addition, state and local officials said students with disabilities may not be adequately prepared to successfully transition to life after high school. This may be due, in part, to limited opportunities to engage in vocational and life skills training or obtain work experience while in school.

The Departments of Education (Education), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (Labor), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) coordinate transition activities to some degree, but their coordination has limitations and they do not assess the effectiveness of their efforts. One coordinating body involves all four agencies and focuses on transition services. However, that group's primary coordination activity is information sharing among staff-level representatives rather than developing common outcome goals and establishing compatible policies for operating across agencies. Agency officials told GAO that a lack of compatible outcome goals for transitioning students and differences in statutory eligibility criteria are among the barriers that hinder interagency coordination for this population. While agencies collaborate to some extent, their efforts represent a patchwork approach and there is no single, formal, government-wide strategy for coordinating transition services for students with disabilities. Moreover, it is unclear what impact coordination has on service provision because agencies do not assess the effectiveness of their coordination activities.

Why GAO Did This Study

The transition out of high school to postsecondary education or the workforce can be a challenging time, especially for students with disabilities. Multiple federal agencies fund programs to support these students during their transition. In 2003, GAO reported that limited coordination among these programs can hinder a successful transition. GAO was asked to provide information on the (1) challenges students with disabilities may face accessing federally funded transition services; and (2) extent to which federal agencies coordinate their transition activities. GAO reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, and agency documents from Education, HHS, Labor, and SSA, which administer the key programs that provide transition services. GAO also administered a data collection instrument to gather program information from these agencies. Finally, GAO interviewed various stakeholders, including state and local officials, service providers, parents, and students with disabilities, in five states selected based on the number of federal grants they received to fund transition services.

What GAO Recommends

To improve the provision of transition services for students with disabilities, GAO recommends that Education, HHS, Labor, and SSA develop an interagency transition strategy that addresses (1) operating toward common outcome goals for transitioning youth; (2) increasing awareness of available transition services; and (3) assessing the effectiveness of their coordination efforts. All four agencies agreed with the recommendation.

To learn more and to get a copy of the report go to article source link.
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COSD FULL ACCESS SUMMIT: Apply Today August 6th, 2012

The COSD FULL ACCESS: Student Summit for Career Exploration co-sponsored by Cisco Systems and Lockheed Martin is composed of two half-day sessions, starting at noon on Friday, November 9th. Students will end at noon Saturday, November 10th. Employers will have a follow-up luncheon ending at 2pm Saturday November 10th.

According to COSD (Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities) Executive Director, Alan Muir, this Student Summit themed "Full Access," is destined to give students with disabilities 'full access' to the corporate ranks. Additional information and resources are available throughout the website, so please review all information and submit your application to attend.

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Steinberg Creates Task Force on Autism Treatment Access August 2nd, 2012

On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) announced the creation of a new task force to examine disparities in the distribution of autism services in California's minority communities. The panel aims to complete its recommendations by late October.
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2012 July 30th, 2012

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

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Youth Advisors wanted for California Employment Consortium for Youth July 30th, 2012

California Employment Consortium for Youth is a project that wants to increase the number of youth and young adults with developmental disabilities who are getting good jobs and earning money by working in careers of their choice.

The Tarjan Center is seeking youth to serve on an advisory group for CECY, a project that wants to increase the number of youth and young adults with developmental disabilities who are getting good jobs and earning money by working in careers of their choice.
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Fulbright Student and Scholar Webinars for Applicants with Disabilities July 26th, 2012

Mobility International USA is promoting several webinars for U.S. students with disabilities interested in applying for Fulbright grants. The Fulbright Student Program awards approximately 1,500 grants annually to graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to pursue post-baccalaureate academic study, English Teaching Assistantships or supervised research abroad. Grants are awarded for activities in more than 125 countries worldwide, in a wide range of subject fields, or for instruction and supervised practice in selected professional fields such as art, music, law, business, and others. A Webinar for students is August 29.
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California Bullying Laws Further Strengthened July 24th, 2012

California Bullying Laws Further Strengthened

SACRAMENTO - Nora Campos (D-San Jose) announced on July 23rd that Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1732, a bill that further strengthens anti-bullying laws. Nora Campos has been a strong anti-bullying advocate with last year's passage of Assembly Bill 746, land mark legislation which made clear that posting messages upon a social media site was covered under the Education Code anti-bullying provisions, and now this year's Assembly Bill 1732.

"To me, this bill is about making sure that we are able to preserve the childhood and adolescence of our children. All of us have encountered bullying in one form or another growing up. But, today's bullying is a steroid version of what we had to go through."

Assembly Bill 1732 adds language to the Education Code that would further empower school districts to identify cases of online bullying when dealing with a pupil who has created a "Burn Page" or "False Profile" with the purpose of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person.
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New Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus Chaired by California Congressman Mike Honda July 24th, 2012

Congressman Mike Honda is Chairing the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus (CABC); which is a bipartisan caucus comprised of Members of Congress committed to the belief that all communities deserve a safe environment to thrive, and that our nation is in urgent need of solutions that stop bullying - both offline and online - now and forever.

You can learn about their featured anti-bullying legislation, and read their report:
"Bullying: Framework of Federal Efforts & Current Legislation"

You can connect with the CABC by visiting:
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Department of Education Proposes New Rules for Student Loans July 24th, 2012

Yesterday, the Department of Education proposed new rules to ease and clarify the discharge process for disabled borrowers and create a new income-contingent payment system for borrowers.

The new federal student loan regulations would amend the Federal Perkins Loan program, the Federal Family Education Loan program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program to help borrowers receive forgiveness on their student loans. In 2011, there were 78,390 disability applications out of the 179,958 loans outstanding.

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Southern California Rehabilitation Services ~ Youth Leadership Week(s) July 18th, 2012

SCRS will be hosting two Youth Leadership Week(s) ~ If you or someone you know is between the ages of 13 - 25 and would enjoy getting together with other youth, we have a week-long program starting soon; one taking place in Downey, the other in East Los Angeles. For details and to register, please contact our Youth Services Specialist Deserie Ortiz this week at 562-862-6531 Ext. 121
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AAHD Accepting Applications for 2012-2013 Scholarship Program July 17th, 2012

AAHD is accepting applications for the AAHD Scholarship Program (2012-2013) which supports students with disabilities pursuing higher education in a field related to disability and health. Preference is given to students who plan to pursue undergraduate/graduate studies in the field of public health, behavioral health, epidemiology, health promotion, disability studies, to include disability policy and disability research. Scholarships are limited to under $1,000. Scholarships are competitive each year. Please visit the AAHD website at to download application. Deadline for submission is November 15, 2012. For further information, please contact Maria Manolatos, AAHD Scholarship Coordinator,
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No End in Sight? Young Invincibles Releases Report on Youth Jobs Gap July 17th, 2012

"Our generation has lived through the worst economic times since the Great Depression. But the scary thing is that the recession may never end for young people," said Rory O'Sullivan, Policy Director at Young Invincibles. He continued "But this is not an acceptable option, and the challenge is solvable. We know that investments in youth initiatives like AmeriCorps can get young people back to work and back on track. We just need political leaders with the will to enact necessary solutions."

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Check out one of our awesome YO! members in this article! July 13th, 2012


For many new high school graduates, this is their summer of anticipation: On the pad, waiting to launch into the college world.

The trajectory for Louis Do, Westminster High School Class of 2012, will be to the San Francisco Bay area - but the impact is always greater than the distance.

Louis Do, 19, follows the voice of Andy Griffin, an orientation and mobility specialist with the Westminster school district. Do learns to ride a bike in the Westminster High's parking lot. Although Do is blind, that hasn't stopped him from wrestling, white-water rafting, snow skiing or mountain biking. Do maintained his balance and enjoyed the biking experience.


"I'm breaking away," he says. "I am being who I want to be."

Sounds like an anthem for misbegotten youth, but in this case it has special meaning. Louis, born in Vietnam, is blind as a result of his premature birth.

That's what Louis is but it's not, well, who he is.

He also graduated magna cum laude, was named Lion of the Year, and spoke at graduation to a standing ovation.

Don't focus on the fact that he is blind, Louis instructs, but don't make him sound supernatural or amazing.

"I'm just somebody who does what needs to be done."

• • •

You might call Louis, 19, a tad assertive.

He starts by telling me how I should write this: He wants readers to see him as an ambassador for the notion that human potential isn't defined by appearance or, in his case, eyesight. Look past the fact that he's blind -- because for Louis, that's no excuse. He anticipates a productive life.

"I want to help society," he says, explaining his plan to teach history after college. "I've gotten all this education. What use would it be if I am going to just sit at home?"

Andy Griffin, an orientation and mobility specialist with the district, remembers Louis calling him in 2009 to say that he was an incoming transfer student. Louis told Griffin support services he would require.

"I've never had a kid advocate for himself," Griffin says. "I've never seen this tenacity."

Transferring as a sophomore, Louis was pre-registered into honors and advanced placement classes. Because his records indicated he was in special education, the school figured it was a mistake.

"I said give me a trial and see how I do. I stayed in there and never left."

Wendy Schwartz, a transition specialist with the school's workability program, has advised students in special education for 28 years. She took Louis to Los Angeles in April when he swore the oath of allegiance as a new U.S. citizen.

"We have a lot of amazing kids," she notes, "but not many Louises. He sets his own objectives. He's always been told what he can't do. His response is: So, he will."

Louis says he's tired of hearing "you can't" from people who look at him but don't see.

If it's scary to cross the intersection guided only by a white cane, imagine wrestling, white-water rafting, snow skiing or mountain biking when you're blind. Louis has done it all.

Why? Because he wanted to -- and because he can.

As president of the youth program at the Braille Institute in Anaheim, he organized a fundraiser for cancer research. At "Dinner in the Dark" guests ate blindfolded. He wants to help fight cancer, Louis explains, because that disease poses a "real" challenge.

• • •

Traditional Asian culture, he explains, assumes that he needs to be taken care of because he is blind.

"A lot of blind people are very sheltered. They surround themselves with other blind people, their parents coddle them, and they are not exposed to society ...They end up at home."

Louis has made other plans.

He's been reared by an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins and moved frequently. Each new school: a new set of bruised shins. Since seventh grade he has always been the only totally blind student at his school.

He prefers liberal arts to math and science. In geometry, his teacher taped BBQ skewers to paper to illustrate theorems.

"I appreciated the innovation in the process," he observes wryly.

Next month he will be leaving for the Hatlen Center for the Blind in San Pablo, where the curriculum is life skills. He will share an apartment with a blind roommate and start college part-time.

Louis grins anticipating independence: Paying bills, washing dishes, using mass transit and eating an omelet if that's what he feels like.

Thanks to technology, he's already linked to the world. An avid fan of spy novels, Louis speed reads in Braille. He uses a PDA for the blind that displays in Braille or talks to him and a computer with software that translates from his screen.

Now he wants to experience that world. His plans and funding sources are nearly finalized. Then he will announce his intentions to his relatives.

He's discussed them with his teachers, however, who are clearly a support system. They also include health teacher Leonard Ibarra and his case manager Josh Amstone.

"Mr. Ibarra understood my fears of independence," Louis says. "It's a whole new world. Should I? Really? I have to do it."

As his teachers describe it, Louis has created a kind of No Excuses Zone around himself. No parking allowed for pity.

In his graduation speech, he advised students: Don't always take the safe route.

"I use a cane to navigate my way literally, but we all navigate figuratively with our own canes, tentatively feeling our way forward into the future," he said. "Find your own cane and walk your own path."

As we finish, I realize Louis had his way with my interview, after all.

We've spent hours talking about what he can do - and practically no time at all discussing what he can't.

Louis can be reached at

Contact the writer:
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3rd Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival - July 21, 2012 July 12th, 2012

SVILC is hosting the 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade. There are transportation scholarships available go to SVILC's website for details.
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Feds: Least Restrictive Environment Applies To Transition Too July 10th, 2012

By Michelle Diament
July 10, 2012

By law, students with disabilities are supposed to be included in general education to the greatest extent possible. Now, federal officials say the same tenet of inclusion should apply to transition as well.

Informal guidance issued recently from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that the requirement in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, that students be placed in the "least restrictive environment" extends beyond the confines of the classroom.

Specifically, the concept should apply to work placements if such experiences are part of a student's individualized education program, or IEP, officials at the Education Department said.

"Placement decisions, including those related to transition services (including work placements), must be based on these (least restrictive environment) principles and made by the IEP team," wrote Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs at the Department of Education. "The IDEA does not prohibit segregated employment, but the (least restrictive environment) provisions would apply equally to the employment portion of the student's program and placement."

The guidance from Musgrove comes in response to a series of questions from officials at Disability Rights Wisconsin, a federally-mandated legal advocacy service, regarding the responsibilities school districts have in administering transition plans for students with disabilities. News of Musgrove's letter was first reported by Education Week.

Much like traditional requirements for least restrictive environment in the classroom, Musgrove said that schools must offer supports at job placements if such assistance will allow a student to be successful in an integrated environment.

"Removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily," she wrote.
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"Autistic" Comments Put Rapper 50 Cent On Hot Seat July 10th, 2012

By Michelle Diament
July 9, 2012

Rapper 50 Cent is apologizing after he was lambasted for a series of comments on Twitter that were seen by many as critical of those with disabilities.

When a fan contacted 50 Cent on Twitter recently to say "release the album or get shot again," the rap artist reportedly responded by saying "yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic."

Subsequently, 50 Cent followed up to say "I dont want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else."

The Twitter comments garnered harsh reaction on the social network, leading actress Holly Robinson Peete - who has a son with autism - to take on the rapper.

"I hope you can see how what you might see as a benign insult - or not - was so randomly hurtful, immature and misinformed," Robinson Peete wrote in an open letter on her website. "If you've read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make 'autistic' the new 'R-word' under our watch."

In response, 50 Cent took to Twitter again Sunday, telling his 6.8 million followers, "I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize."

The original tweets were also removed from 50 Cent's Twitter feed.
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A Report & Guide on Bullying Youth with Disabilities July 5th, 2012

The journey addressing the issue of bullying and children with special needs began when identified the need to provide information to parents who all too often struggle to find ways to help their child with bullying. Over the course of several months, staff and writers interviewed experts, educators and parents regarding this escalating issue facing children with special needs. It became apparent
that the demographic most vulnerable to bullying also had the fewest resources.

A voice for these families is missing from the national dialogue. This report and guide is an effort to make that voice heard. These children and parents are desperate for resources, advocates and awareness so the physical and emotional toll their children experience may be prevented. They need their children's classmates, teachers and community to "walk a mile in their shoes."

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Online Bullies: Half the World's Kids Fear Them July 2nd, 2012

A major concern shared by kids across the world, according to a new report, is the fear of being bullied online. In fact, over half the kids surveyed (age 8 to 17) share this worry, and nearly one-quarter of them admit to having their fear come to life.

The report, issued by Microsoft's Safety & Security Center, surveyed kids in 25 countries, including Malaysia, Qatar, Russia, and the U.S.

Surprisingly, online bullying in the U.S. is lower than the 25-country average of 37 percent. Twenty-nine percent of children ages 8-17 in the U.S. say they have been subjected to it.

Read more,
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Students with Disabilities Experience the Greatest Risk of Suspension June 29th, 2012

A report released in April of 2012 Suspended Education in California

This report covers an assessment of nearly 500 school districts and reveals to the public the unusually high levels of risk for suspension as well as the stark differences in discipline when these risks are presented by race, gender and disability status.

Students with Disabilities Experience the Greatest Risk for Suspension: The 2009-2010 Office of Civil Rights survey collected discipline rates for students with disabilities for all suspensions, and for the first time included short term suspensions of one day or more. This allowed us to compare their suspension rate with those of their non-disabled peers.

It found that students with disabilities experience twice the risk for suspension statewide, compared to their non-disabled peers. Approximately 1 in 7 students with disabilities (13.4%) received an out-of-school suspension statewide compared with about 1 in 16 students without disabilities (6.4%). Strikingly similar patterns can be seen across all racial groups-in every case, students with disabilities were more likely to have been suspended out-of-school than those without.
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National Disability Bullying Conversation: Strategies & Partnerships for Change June 28th, 2012

You are invited to participate in an Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living ,(APRIL)

IL Conversation

July 19, 2012
3:00 - 4:30 pm Eastern Time

Call the APRIL Bridgeline number: 218.339.2699 - pin code 922899
This is not a toll free call. Your regular long distance charges will apply.
There is no registration fee.

(NOTE: When calling the Bridgeline, if you are put on hold for an extended period of time, please hang up and recall.)

This IL Conversation is presented by the CIL-NET. The CIL-NET is operated by the Independent Living Research Utilization program at TIRR Memorial Hermann in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living. Support for the presentation was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. No official endorsement of the Department of Education should be inferred.

Bullying: Strategies and Partnerships for Change

John Johnson - Options Resource CIL
E. Grand Forks, MN

Join us to:

* Discuss the prevalence of bullying against youth with disabilities and the types of bullying.

* Find out who the best community partners are in a successful anti-bullying program.

* Learn what goes into a successful anti-bullying law and how your state rates.

* Explore what CILs can do to promote anti-bullying programs in their communities.

* Review a sample school survey on the extent of bullying.

Call in from a quiet location and join the discussion or feel free to just listen in.

IL Conversations is a CIL-Net presentation hosted by APRIL in cooperation with ILRU and NCIL, and provides IL practitioners with an opportunity to talk with colleagues about the nuts and bolts of running a center for independent living and providing core and other services, as well as to address broader state and national issues impacting CILs, SILCs, and people with disabilities. Watch for our next IL Conversation Announcement! Different facilitators who are currently working in the field will join us to lead the discussion, answer questions and refer participants to additional resources.

Again, to join your colleagues in discussing this IMPORTANT Independent Living issue, call the APRIL Bridgeline,
218.339.2699 - pin code 922899, on July 19 at 3:00 pm

IL Conversations originated with the University of Arkansas, CURRENTS.

For more information, call:

Kathy Hatch
Training and Technical Assistance
APRIL and the IL Net
390 Crepe Myrtle Drive
Greer, SC 29651
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Study: Students With Disabilities Often On Both Ends Of Bullying June 27th, 2012

Special education students are more likely than their typically developing peers to be bullied. But new evidence indicates they're also often the ones doing the harassing.

A new study looking at over 800 students ages 9 to 16 from nine different schools finds that bullying experiences vary dramatically between special education and general education students.

And even among students with disabilities, the type of special needs a child has can further separate one student's experience from the next, according to the study published online in the Journal of School Psychology.

Using school data on student involvement in bullying situations, researchers found that kids enrolled in special education were more likely to both perpetrate and be victims of bullying. They were also more likely to be sent to the school office for disciplinary problems than those in general education.

"These results paint a fairly bleak picture for students with disabilities in terms of bullying, victimization and disciplinary actions," wrote Susan Swearer, a professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who led the study.

Among special education students, those with language, hearing or mental impairments exhibited the highest levels of involvement in bullying, the study found, while those with less visible conditions like learning disabilities were part of fewer incidents.

Typically developing students often experienced the most bullying in fifth grade before the behavior started to subside, but those with disabilities didn't appear to get the same relief. Their level of bullying involvement remained constant throughout the grade levels studied, the researchers said.

The study adds to a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence surrounding the experiences of students with disabilities and bullying. A study released last year looking at children with disabilities and special health care needs found such students experienced more bullying and felt less safe at school than other kids.

And, a survey released earlier this year found that children with autism are bullied three times more than other kids and are also frequent perpetrators of bullying themselves.

Swearer and her colleagues said that schools need to do more to emphasize positive socialization among students. They also said that increased mainstreaming of students with visible disabilities in general education classrooms may help prevent bullying.
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Get Your Tickets for the YLF Leadership Luncheon! June 26th, 2012

YLF Luncheon

Thursday July 26, 2012 - 12:30 to 2:30 pm
Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J Street, Sacramento

Deadline to register - 3:00 pm JULY 10, 2012

Visit to register now!

You are cordially invited to attend the 21st Annual California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) Luncheon on Thursday, July 26th, 2012, in Sacramento, CA. The YLF provides an opportunity for outstanding high school juniors and seniors to attend a five-day intensive program focused on employment preparation and leadership development.

The YLF Luncheon will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center, located at 1400 J Street, Sacramento. Please arrive by 11:45 am. The purpose of this luncheon is to provide an opportunity for student delegates to meet and talk with adults with disabilities who work in a variety of career areas, and meet individuals who have supported YLF. The luncheon also provides valuable information and resources for their future.

The YLF Luncheon Keynote Speaker will be Dana LaMon. Dana LaMon, who became blind when he was four years old, is a retired administrative law judge. He graduated from John Marshall high school in Los Angeles in 1970, Yale University with a bachelor's degree in math in 1974, and from the University of Southern California Law School in 1977. Dana is the 1992 World Champion of Public Speaking with Toastmasters International. He has been speaking professionally since 1991 and recently completed speaking trips to Malaysia and China. Dana is the author of four books to help the reader to live a meaningful life.

The YLF Alumni Speaker will be Jenny Robert. Jenny Robert is an alumni of the 2000 YLF and works for Orange County as a Career Consultant and Job Developer. She is the number one job developer, and in 2011 she received the Excellence Award for her work. Jenny was diagnosed with a learning disability, Dyscalculia, in elementary school and attended mainstream and special education classes through high school. Through her own self-advocacy, she was admitted to Cal Poly and earned a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science. Jenny feels that through YLF she gained the confidence, leadership abilities and resources to become the successful person she is today.

The YLF Luncheon Alumni Emcee will be Ammy Joseph. Ammy is a 2001 YLF alumni and has been YLF staff every summer since 2003. She is actively involved in her San Francisco community as an advocate for improving the quality of life for youth through educational and vocational opportunities. Ammy served over three years as the Student Assistant for the Youth Employment Opportunity Program in the San Francisco One Stop Career Center and receives requests to speak at important community events because of her amazing ability to articulate the issues facing young adults in the disability community.

The YLF Luncheon Sign Song Performer will be Cathy Bain. Cathy is a sign language interpreter, sign song performer, author and motivational speaker. She currently works as a sign language interpreter at UC Davis where she specializes in interpreting for Deaf medical students and Deaf doctors. Cathy has been actively involved in YLF for over 20 years, and is best known to us as the Talent Show coordinator. Her sign/song performances are her way of expressing her passion for the Deaf and Disability community for over 35 years.

In an effort to make YLF a self-sustaining program, we are asking for your financial support to cover the cost of your lunch. General ticket is $30.00, Youth (Age 17-23) $15.00 and Limited Income is $15.00. If you are unable to afford a ticket, please contact Christine Foisy at 916.653.5992 or

Because seating for the luncheon is limited, we must accept reservations on a first come basis according to the order received (and we may not be able to accommodate late responses). Thank you in advance for your participation in this important event.

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U.S. Senate to Revisit Seclusion & Restraint June 26th, 2012

Lawmakers are set to consider the use of restraint and seclusion in the nation's classrooms in the coming weeks, rekindling efforts to establish first-ever federal rules governing the practices.

The topic is expected to be front and center at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on July 12, 2012.

The use of restraint and seclusion in schools has been a hotbed for disability advocates since 2009 when an advocacy group report uncovered widespread abuse and even deadly instances, problems which were later confirmed in a government report as well.

Students with disabilities were most often subject to the questionable practices, the reports found.

In response, legislation sharply restricting restraint and seclusion was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, but when Senate talks fell apart later that year, action on the issue largely fizzled.

Currently, a patchwork of state and local rules exist. Disability advocates say that federal requirements are needed to ensure student safety.

However, at least one group representing educators - the American Association of School Administrators - opposes such regulation arguing that it is unnecessary and would put school staff at risk.

The hearing planned for July marks the first time this year that Congress will consider the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Currently bills are on the table in both houses of Congress that call for the practices to be restricted, though support for the legislation is scant.

On the Senate side, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is the lone sponsor of a bill he introduced last December. The measure would bar any type of restraint from being used outside of an emergency situation and prohibit the tactics from being included in a student's individualized education program, or IEP, among other limitations. (Read all of Disability Scoop's coverage of restraint and seclusion »)

Meanwhile, there are 44 backers of a House version of the bill and the top Democrat on the body's education committee is urging leaders to take up the issue. However, the committee's Republican chair, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., remains reluctant.

"State and local leaders are taking steps to ensure school practices are safe for students, and have made great progress in achieving this shared goal," said Kline spokeswoman Alexandra Haynes Sollberger. "Chairman Kline remains concerned that federal intervention could obstruct these efforts, ultimately doing more harm than good to students and educators. For this reason, the committee has not scheduled any action on restraint and seclusion legislation at this time."
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Youth with Disabilities 3 times more at risk for sexual abuse June 25th, 2012

Advocates for Youth released a the following report: "Child Sexual Abuse II: Resiliency and Prevention", in which they identified that youth with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities are over three times more at risk for child sexual abuse than their non-disabled peers, and may not be able to disclose to a trusted adult because of a disability which impairs communication.

To read the full article go to Article Source
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26% of Disabled Community College Students Report Having to Drop or Withdraw from Classes Due to Lack of Access June 21st, 2012

The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office released a report this week "Effects of Reduced Funding on Disabled Student Programs and Services in California Community Colleges" in which 26% of disabled students surveyed reporting having to drop or withdraw from classes due to a lack of available accommodations through the disabled student service programs.

Click here to read the Full Report...
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School Bullying: Legal Protections for Vulnerable Youth Need to be More Fully Assessed June 11th, 2012

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the nature and extent of protections available to students who are bullied depend on the laws and policies where they live or go to school. Education and Justice have taken important steps in assessing how federal civil rights laws can be applied and Education has completed a study of state bullying laws, but neither agency has assessed state civil rights laws and procedures as they may relate to bullying.

More information about state civil rights laws and procedures is a key missing link that is needed by administration officials and decision makers alike, to assess the extent of legal protections available to students who have been bullied. Furthermore, while multiple efforts to collect information about bullying have been under way for several years, the prevalence of bullying of youths in certain vulnerable demographic groups is not known. A greater effort by key federal agencies to develop more information about the extent to which a broader range of demographic groups are subject to bullying and bullying-related discrimination would better inform federal efforts to prevent and remedy bullying. This information, together with an assessment of federal and state legal protections, could also aid policymakers in determining whether additional actions are needed to protect vulnerable groups of youths who are most often the target of school bullying.

To allow for a more comprehensive assessment of federal and state efforts to address bullying, our report includes recommendations to Education to compile information about state civil rights laws and procedures that relate to bullying and to develop procedures to routinely inform individuals who file complaints of discrimination stemming from bullying about the potential availability of legal options under their state's anti-discrimination laws; and to Education, HHS, and Justice to develop information about bullied demographic groups in their surveys of youth and to use this information and other information from studies of state bullying and civil rights laws to assess the extent to which legal protections against bullying exist for vulnerable demographic groups.
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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils New Web Site to Help Students Connect Education and Careers May 29th, 2012

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today unveiled the new California Career Center External link opens in new window or tab. Web portal to help middle school and high school students explore their options and plan their next steps toward productive careers.

"Studies show that helping students connect their schoolwork to their future in the workforce helps keep them on track and headed for success," Torlakson said. "The California Career Center Web portal gives students, parents, and teachers a one-stop shop to help demystify the process of moving from the classroom to careers."

The portal, launched as part of Torlakson's Career Readiness Campaign - Initiatives & Programs, provides the state's first central, comprehensive Web site of career and college resources for students.

Students can use the free interactive Web site to build a personalized account that allows them to save critical information, or simply use the left-hand navigation bar as a tool to help them through the exploration process.

Under the "Middle & High School" link, users can learn how to get the most out of their middle and high school experiences. Through the "Career Options" link, users can match their interests and skills with potential careers. The "Education & Training" link tells users what education or training is needed for certain careers.

The "Getting a Job" link offers tips on job searching, internships, résumé writing, and job interviews. The "Challenges" section is designed for students who may have special needs, such physical or learning disabilities, or are foster youth, undocumented youth, and youth from juvenile court programs.

The "Money Management" link offers information on financial literacy and how to make smart financial decisions. Finally, videos produced by students and teachers are posted on the Web portal to help students explore career and college options. There are also Educator and Parent/Guardian sections with content unique to those users.

Research shows that high school students who participate in career exploration programs are more likely to take college entrance and Advanced Placement examinations, graduate from high school, and go to college.

The California Career Center Web portal is a collaboration between the California Department of Education, San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the California Career Resource Network program established under California Education Code Section 53086.
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Seeking to Fund Orgs. Who Include Students with Disabilities in Student Run Businesses May 24th, 2012

The Tarjan Center at the University of California Los Angeles, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, has partnered with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) to support inclusive, student-run businesses. The Tarjan Center will provide small grants to help schools and community based programs include secondary school-age students with and without disabilities in socially responsible student-run businesses. The orgs. selected will help uncover best practices for including all students in entrepreneur leadership activities.
Awardees will receive up to $2500 along with a video camera, and other exciting promotional materials. All businesses must include students with and without disabilities. We are open to schools/youth teams that have a great idea for a socially responsible business, and are looking for resources to make that idea a reality. We're also open to more established student run businesses that would now like to integrate students with disabilities or elements of social responsibility. Application deadline is July 20th, 2012.Any school within the U.S. is eligible to apply. To learn more about the application, visit:
Contact Karen Leventhal, Director of the Tarjan Center Service Inclusion Project, for more information at 310-825-0067 or
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Save the Date: Youth Leadership Forum Annual Luncheon May 23rd, 2012

Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities
22nd Annual Leadership Luncheon
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Sacramento Convention Center
Sacramento, CA.
Visit for more information

Contact Name: Chris Foisy
Telephone Number: 916-653-5992

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Partnering with Youth/Young Adults in Behavioral Health to Live Happy, Healthy, Productive Lives May 21st, 2012

Recovery Month Webcast: Discusses mental and substance use disorders among teenagers and young adults and effective approaches to preventing underage drinking and use of illicit drugs. Examines the role of family, schools, and community in prevention, treatment, and recovery.

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Secretary Bowen Launches Survey to Assess Needs of Voters with Disabilities May 17th, 2012

SACRAMENTO - As Californians prepare to vote in the June 5 Presidential Primary Election, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen launched the state's first online survey to help elections officials assess and address the needs of voters with disabilities.

"Voting is our most sacred right in a democracy and everyone should be able to exercise that right independently and privately," said Secretary Bowen, the state's chief elections officer. "While California elections officials offer many resources to voters with disabilities, I want to know if these voters are aware of all the options and services available to them, as well as whether they are encountering unnecessary challenges when voting."

The Secretary of State's office established the eight-member Statewide Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) in 2005 to provide guidance to elections officials serving voters with disabilities. Since then, the Secretary of State's office updated 10-year-old polling place accessibility guidelines and provided training to county elections staff on the federal and state requirements for accessible polling places, all in collaboration with the VAAC and the California Department of Rehabilitation. Now the Secretary of State is asking voters with disabilities to participate in a brief confidential survey, available through June 29. Survey results will help identify whether there is a need for more training, modified services, or enhanced outreach programs for voters with disabilities.

Following are key resources that are available to California voters with disabilities.

Large-Print and Audio Formats: Official ballots and the Secretary of State's Voter Information Guide are available in alternate formats for voters with visual disabilities. For more information about large-print or audio formats of ballots in a specific precinct, voters should contact their county elections offices or, at the polling place on Election Day, ask a poll worker for more information about using a special voting machine. To download the MP3 audio version or the large-print version of the Secretary of State's Voter Information Guide, go to here. The Secretary of State also takes phone orders for state voter guides, which are available in 10 languages (see below for phone numbers).

Polling Place Accessibility: State and federal laws require polling places to be physically accessible to voters with disabilities, and every person who works in a polling place on Election Day is there to ensure voters' rights are protected. In California, each polling place has at least one voting machine that allows voters, including those with disabilities, to cast a ballot without assistance. California law also permits up to two people of a voter's choice, excluding the voter's employer or union representative, to assist in marking the ballot. If a voter cannot come into the polling place, "curbside voting" is an option in which a poll worker carries a ballot outside the polling place to the voter.

Voting by Mail: Any California voter may vote in the comfort of home by asking to vote by mail. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the state primary election is May 29. A registered voter may request a ballot by using the application printed on the back of the sample ballot booklet (mailed to the voter by the county elections office) or the uniform application available, go to here.

Voter Hotlines: The Secretary of State offers phone assistance to voters in 10 languages and Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD):

English - (800) 345-VOTE (8683)
Spanish - (800) 232-VOTA (8682)
Chinese - (800) 339-2857
Hindi - (800) 345-2692
Japanese - (800) 339-2865
Khmer - (888) 345-4917
Korean - (866) 575-1558
Tagalog - (800) 339-2957
Thai - (855) 345-3933
Vietnamese - (800) 339-8163
TDD - (800) 833-8683

For more information on how voters with disabilities can vote privately and independently, go to here.

Keep up with the latest California election news and trivia by following @CASOSvote on Twitter. To subscribe to state election news via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to go to here.

To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to go to here.
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A Call to Youth Organizers - Take the National Survey on Media and Youth Organizing! May 16th, 2012

Attention youth organizers for justice! We need your help! DataCenter, in partnership with the Global Action Project, is conducting a national survey of youth organizers to better understand how media is being used to advance social justice work throughout the United States. What are the stories you're trying to tell? What's the change that you want to create? What are the things that are limiting your ability to tell your story, and what are the things that are helping?

This survey seeks your expertise on the media practices of movement organizations and youth organizers. Our goal is document how media in all its forms is being used for organizing, framing community stories, and conducting analysis. Your knowledge will help us identify trends, needs, and challenges to integrating media into advocacy and organizing efforts led by young people involved in immigrant justice, educational justice, racial justice, gender justice and other struggles. The project will capture best practices and examine how youth are integrating media in new ways. It will also identify barriers and gaps you're facing in this work. There are a few important assumptions we've made that we want to share with you.

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Path To Adulthood Rocky For Most With Autism, Study Finds May 15th, 2012

Transition is proving especially difficult for those with autism as compared to other disabilities, with most on the spectrum struggling to move into the workforce or additional schooling.

Research published Monday indicates that in the first two years after high school more than half of those with autism did not work or attend school, a lower rate of participation than any other disability group studied. The situation improved somewhat with time, yet more than six years after leaving high school some 35 percent of those with autism still had no work or further education.

The findings suggest that current transition planning for young people with autism is inadequate, researchers said in the study published in the journal Pediatrics. What's more, they say the struggles facing those with autism are particularly troubling given the growing number of children with the disorder.

"Many families with children with autism describe turning 18 as falling off a cliff because of the lack of services for adults with ASDs," said Paul Shattuck of Washington University in St. Louis who led the study. "The years immediately after high school are key. They are the time when people create an important foundation for the rest of their lives."

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In First, Feds Issue Advice On Restraint And Seclusion May 15th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education weighed in on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools Tuesday with a 45-page resource document, but stopped short of issuing formal guidance to educators.

The move marks the most detailed instruction to date from federal education officials about the practices which have become highly controversial in recent years.

The issue came to the forefront after a 2009 advocacy group report uncovered widespread abuse and even deadly examples of restraint and seclusion in schools - most involving students with disabilities - problems which were later confirmed in a government report as well.

Since that time, disability advocates have pressed Congress to enact federal standards on the use of restraint and seclusion, but such efforts have sputtered.

The Education Department document released Tuesday outlines 15 principles to guide educators and other stakeholders in the creation of policies surrounding the use of restraint and seclusion. It emphasizes the importance of preventive measures and indicates that restraint and seclusion should never be used as punishment. The federal document also highlights the need for staff training and communication with parents about any use of the practices.

"Ultimately, the standard for educators should be the same standard that parents use for their own children," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. "There is a difference between a brief time out in the corner of a classroom to help a child calm down and locking a child in an isolated room for hours. This really comes down to common sense."

Federal officials said they disseminated the new document to stakeholder groups and posted it on their website, but would not actively distribute it to all of the nation's school districts since it's not official guidance. Rather, a Department of Education spokesman called the document "thoughtful encouragement."

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We Can't Wait: White House announces nearly 300,000 summer jobs and other employment opportunities for youth and new online tool to help youth access opportunities May 7th, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - Today, Secretary Solis will join Mayor Nutter at Philadelphia's City Hall to announce that the administration has secured additional commitments from 95 companies and nonprofits, three cities, two federal agencies and the White House to provide 110,000 new summer jobs and other employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected youth this year as part of the Summer Jobs+ initiative for a total of nearly 300,000 opportunities. Employment opportunities include 90,000 paid jobs and thousands of mentorships, internships and other training opportunities. The administration will also launch the Summer Jobs+ Bank, a new online search tool to help connect young people to jobs, internships and other employment opportunities this summer and year-round.
"In January, we called on the private and public sectors to help us address record unemployment among America's youth. Today, we are proud to announce that cities, federal agencies, nonprofits, and companies from across the country have come together to provide hundreds of thousands of summer jobs and employment opportunities for our young people," said President Obama.
"The Summer Jobs+ Bank and the growing list of organizations stepping up to answer the president's challenge are important to maintaining our commitment to the next generation of the American workforce," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "There's no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck, and whether young people are looking for a job at the retail store around the corner - or at a national park states away - they now have one place to start their search."
The president proposed $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24 in the American Jobs Act as part of the Pathways Back to Work fund. When Congress failed to act, the federal government and private sector came together in January to commit to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer. Since the announcement of the initiative in January, nearly 100 more private sector partners nationwide have answered the president's challenge to provide young people summer jobs, mentorships, internships and other opportunities to build skills.
As pathways to careers, summer employment is critical to the success of young people, good for business and important for our country. But today's youth are struggling to get the work experience they need for the jobs of the future: last summer, the unemployment rate among youth ages 16-24 set a near-record high, and only 21 out of 100 low-income teens had a job. According to a recent report, taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion in direct costs and lost tax revenue to support young adults disconnected from school and work in 2011 alone.

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3rd Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade May 3rd, 2012

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)
Co-organizer the Office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese
Present the
3rd Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival
on Saturday, July 21, 2012

NEW LOCATION! Downtown Mountain View

Last year, SVILC held the 2nd West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival and it was a great success with more than 800 event attendees! We are contacting you to see if you would be interested in supporting the 3rd Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival that will be held on Saturday, July 21, 2012 this year in Downtown Mountain View. We hope California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) will joining us again this year!

We know everyone has been financially impacted these last few years but we are asking the Disability Community, Service organizations, businesses and community allies to share the expense of this valuable Disability Community event and day of fun for all community members. To see a powerful video from the 2011 event, picture is worth a thousand words... CLICK HERE.

Attached you will find a sponsorship form and details of the benefits of each sponsorship level as well as an event flyer. Please complete the form and return via email at your earliest convenience. Please contact me with any questions you may have at 408-894-9041 x209.

Based on the overwhelming success of last year's parade and festival, we are estimating that +1,000 supporters will join us this year. Get involved by being a sponsor, volunteering and/or participating in the parade procession! Your support ensures SVILC will continue our mission that creates fully inclusive communities that value the dignity, equality, freedom and worth of every human being. Hope to see you there!

With Disability Pride,
Ruth White

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New Publication on Bullying & Harassment of Students with Disabilities May 3rd, 2012

Disability Rights California releases a new publication "Bullying & Harassment of Students with Disabilities". This 6 page publication has lots of timely information about bullying, including: What is Bullying, What is Disability Harassment, what laws govern bullying, bullying and the Disabilities Education Act, School District responsibilities, helpful tips for parents to determine if their child is being bullied, using the IEP to address bullying, and important procedures to obtain relief. This pub is available in both English and Spanish.

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May 3rd is the Bully Free World Online Day of Action for Special Needs May 2nd, 2012

Over 60% of children with special needs have been bullied. That's far too many. This toolkit gives adults and children valuable tools to stop bullying when they know its happening, and prevent it from happening in the future.

Tomorrow, May 3rd, we will be participating in in an online day of action for kids with special needs

Be a part of the Bully Free World online Day of Action for special needs this Thursday, May 3. Here is what you can do:
• Share a link to the toolkit with your social networks.
• Tweet with the hashtag #BullyFreeWorld.
• Like, Share and Retweet our #BullyFreeWorld messages.
• Share your story about how bullying of kids with special needs affected you.
• Encourage your friends to get involved.
• RSVP to our event on Facebook.
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Being Bullied Tied to Anxiety, Depression in Special-Needs Kids May 2nd, 2012

More than chronic conditions themselves, maltreatment by peers added to mental distress in small study.

SUNDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Special-needs youth with chronic medical conditions or developmental disabilities are at risk for anxiety and depression if they're excluded, ignored or bullied by other young people, a new small study says.

It included 109 youngsters, ages 8 to 17, who were recruited during routine visits to a U.S. children's hospital. The patients and their parents completed questionnaires that screen for symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the youngsters also completed a questionnaire that asked them about bullying or exclusion by their peers.

The patients in the study had one or more conditions such as: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (39 percent); cystic fibrosis (22 percent); type 1 or 2 diabetes (19 percent); sickle cell disease (11 percent); obesity (11 percent); learning disability (11 percent); autism (9 percent); and short stature (6 percent).

The researchers found that being bullied and/or excluded by peers were the strongest predictors of increased symptoms of depression or anxiety in the young patients.

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Kids With Disabilities Face Fallout From Bullying, Exclusion May 1st, 2012

Being left out or bullied is more likely to lead to depression in children with developmental disabilities than any facet of their condition, new research indicates.

The findings come from a study of 109 kids ages 8 to 17 with various special needs. Researchers asked the children and their parents to fill out questionnaires designed to identify signs of anxiety and depression. Then, the kids were screened to assess whether or not they were bullied or excluded by their peers.

"What is notable about these findings is that despite all the many challenges these children face in relation to their chronic medical or developmental diagnosis, being bullied or excluded by their peers were the factors most likely to predict whether or not they reported symptoms of depression," said Margaret Ellis McKenna, a senior fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina who presented the research Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Boston.

Other factors that McKenna and her colleagues considered included age, gender and the presence of chronic health conditions, but none came close to the influence of the negative peer experiences.

Accordingly, the researchers said that children who report being bullied or excluded should be carefully observed for signs of depression or other internalizing behaviors.

"Professionals need to be particularly alert in screening for the presence of being bullied or ostracized in this already vulnerable group of students," McKenna said.
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New Jersey Boy with Autism Records Teachers' Alleged Abuse April 26th, 2012

A New Jersey dad who suspected something was "horrifyingly wrong" at school when his autistic son began acting violently had the boy wear a digital recorder and discovered teachers verbally abusing him.

Stuart Chaifetz, 44, described his 10-year-old son Akian as a "sweet and gentle child" with a penchant for acrobatics and a deep bond with his three dogs.

So Chaifetz said it was totally out of character when he began receiving reports from Horace Mann Elementary School that Akian was hitting his teacher and a teacher's aide.

"The thing that said to me that something horrifyingly wrong was going on was that he was hitting the teacher and the aide. I have never seen him hit anyone. He's just not a violent kid," Chaifetz told

Akian spent six months working with behaviorists and other specialists who were trying to find the problem. Finally, Akian was put in a controlled scenario that pushed him to his limits and, still, he did not lash out violently.

"I realized that there was something terrible going on in that classroom and I needed to know what it was," Chaifetz said.

Chaifetz put a digital recorder in Akian's pocket on a February school day. Akian is in a self-contained autism class with five other students and the device recorded six-and-a-half hours of audio.

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Actor Noah Wyle, Disability Advocates Arrested In DC Protest April 26th, 2012

Dozens of disability advocates - including actor Noah Wyle - were arrested Monday on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol while protesting possible changes to Medicaid.

The activists - many in wheelchairs - were participating in a demonstration organized by the disability rights group ADAPT. Members of the organization positioned themselves in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building and refused to leave prompting the arrests, according to ADAPT representatives.

Officials with the U.S. Capitol Police said they arrested 76 individuals at the protest who were charged with unlawful conduct and demonstrating in the Capitol.

Members of ADAPT say they are speaking out amid a "dire national Medicaid crisis." Specifically, the group opposes a Republican plan to cut federal Medicaid funding and favors an elimination of the so-called "institutional bias" whereby states provide nursing care to individuals with disabilities in institutional settings, but often are not required to offer similar assistance in the community.

"Cutting or changing Medicaid without thoughtful reform has very real life or death consequences for people with disabilities and people who are aging who live on fixed incomes that are significantly below the poverty level," said Marsha Katz who traveled from Montana to participate in the ADAPT actions. "Washington should be putting our tax dollars into cost-saving community based services, not costly nursing homes and institutions."

Wyle, who is best known for appearing on NBC's "ER" and is a vocal advocate for universal health care, joined the protesters and was among those detained.

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Join Disability Rights California's Southern CA Latino Conference April 24th, 2012

Los Angeles, CA - Disability Rights California is providing a networking and information exchange opportunity for advocates, people with disabilities, service providers, parents of children with disabilities and community leaders interested in improving life for Latinos with disabilities. This first conference will offer workshops and information exchange about key topics, such as mental health, benefits, advocacy skills, employment, housing, special education and voting rights.

The theme is "One voice: strength through advocacy." Due to our poor economy, serious cutbacks of services and benefits are threatening to erode decades of progress in building an accessible, inclusive California. It is urgent to increase knowledge in the Latino community about the legal rights to services and supports that Californians with disabilities have. We need to come together to raise the voice of the Latino community against cuts to critical services.

Please register soon and let us know at least 10 working days in advance if you need sign language interpretation or documents in Braille or large print. Free lunch will be provided to those who pre-register, and space is limited. Call toll free: 800.776.5746 and ask for Mary Rios.

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Suspicious Deaths Unsolved at Developmental Centers April 19th, 2012

Some of the most severely disabled people in California are cared for at state-run developmental centers. The state spends about $300,000 a year on each of the 1,800 patients living at the centers. But an eight-month investigation with KQED's partner California Watch has uncovered a pattern of abuse, and a failure to hold staff accountable

For 42 years, Van Ingraham lived in a Spartan room at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, one of five centers for the disabled around the state.

As a child, Ingraham couldn't form words and was diagnosed with severe autism and other disabilities. As he grew, he was constantly in motion and difficult to control. So his parents turned to Fairview for help.

"They saw that it was a safe environment for him, that he was gonna be safe and taken care of," Larry Ingraham, Van's brother, said.

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Survey for CA Community College Students April 12th, 2012

Dear California Community College students,
MPR Associates is conducting a study for the Community College Chancellor's Office about the effect of reduced funding on programs and services for students with disabilities. It is very important that your voice be heard by the Chancellor's Office and state legislators. Included in this email is a link to a survey that asks you to provide feedback on the services that you have received as a student with disabilities. I want to encourage you to take the survey and to answer as honestly as possible. The survey is anonymous and individual students will not be identified in any way. The results of this survey will be used to provide information to the Chancellor's Office, the Legislature, the colleges, and other stakeholders to guide and support effective policy, program and resource decisions.

Also, if you would prefer to complete the survey using a paper format, you can print out a hard copy of the survey ( You may mail the survey yourself (using instructions on the survey). If you have any difficulty accessing the survey, you can call MPR Associates at 1-800-677-6987 between 9 am and 5 pm. The phone line will not be staffed at all times, but you can leave a message and a call-back number.

As an additional incentive, 500 student respondents, selected randomly, will receive a $10 gift certificate for completing the survey. We are collecting responses through April 27.

For more go to Article Source.
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Workforce Recruitment Program Videos: Your Job Search April 11th, 2012

This series of videos addresses various topics that will help young people with disabilities navigate the job search process. The videos star young professionals that either have disabilities themselves or work with college students with disabilities. These videos are intended to provide you with real-life information and personal experiences. If you have additional questions about anything that you see or hear in the videos, you are encouraged to address the questions with your Disability Services or Career Center professionals on your campus.

Videos on the following topics:
Effective Resumes
Using Social Media
Effective Techniques
Your Job Search
Strategies for Interviewing
Paid Vs Unpaid Internships and Compensation
Disability Disclosure and Accommodations Requests
Preparing for an Internship
Professional Attire
Skills for Success
On the Job Etiquette
Making the Most of Your Internship Mentoring and Networking
Making the Most of Your Internship Informational Interviews
Time and Stress Management
Lessons Learned
Lessons for the Future
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Spark Action Opportunity Challenge April 10th, 2012

Youth-driven solutions, self-expression, first-hand experience - that's the spirit behind SparkAction's new SparkOpportunity Challenge that will launch on April 12. Jon Bon Jovi, rock star and philanthropist supreme, is helping spread the word about this exciting competition that encourages young people to share their solutions for rebuilding pathways to education and jobs. (Adults allies are invited to compete - with each other - too!) Submit your ideas, vote for your favorites and help spread the word!

To read more go to Article Source
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Task Force Calls for Overhaul of California Mental Health Law April 9th, 2012

A task force is recommending an overhaul of a California law governing the involuntary commitment of residents to psychiatric hospitals, the Los Angeles Times reports (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 4/8).

Report Findings

In March, the task force -- the California Treatment Advocacy Coalition -- released a report suggesting that the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act does not provide adequate access to treatment for people with the most severe mental illnesses.

The report found that Californians with severe mental health conditions are four times more likely to be in jail than in a hospital or outpatient clinic that provides appropriate services.

The authors provided 14 recommendations for changing the law.

The report states, "The primary recommendation of the task force is to develop a system that deals with the reality of the setting of mental health treatment right now."

It recommends that every California county enact Laura's Law, which provides court-ordered outpatient treatment for people with mental illnesses who do not realize they require care. Only Nevada County has fully implemented the law.

Laura's Law is set to expire at the end of this year, but Assembly member Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa) has introduced a bill (AB 1569) that would extend the law until 2018 (California Healthline, 3/19).

Proposed Changes

The coalition is calling for several changes to the law, including:

Allowing involuntary commitment of people deemed incapable of making their own decisions about mental health treatment;
Expanding the use of conservatorships;
Lengthening involuntary hospital stays; and
Standardizing how the law is applied across different counties.

Consensus in Question

According to the Times, many of the changes being sought by the task force likely will receive broad consensus among lawmakers, such as standardization of the law's implementation across the state. However, proposals to broaden the terms of involuntary commitment and conservatorship likely will prompt debate (Los Angeles Times, 4/8).

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Feds Back Off Special Education Funding Plan April 9th, 2012

After appearing to give school districts the green light last summer to decrease spending on special education, the U.S. Department of Education is making an about-face.

Under federal law, schools are required to maintain or increase their funding for special education from one year to the next. If they do not meet the standard known as "maintenance of effort" without obtaining an exemption from the Department of Education, districts can lose out on future federal funding.

But when the Education Department weighed in last June about the spending standards districts must meet in the years after they fail to abide by the maintenance of effort requirement, government officials got an earful from special education advocates.

The reason: Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs at the Education Department, signaled at the time that the department would only require schools to spend as much as they did the prior year - whether or not they had followed the rules.

Now, however, Musgrove appears to be backing down. In response to a critical letter from the Center for Law and Education, Musgrove and a colleague wrote this week that they are rescinding their previous guidance.

"After further review, we have determined that the level of effort that (a school district) must meet in the year after it fails to maintain effort is the level of effort that it should have met in the prior year," wrote Musgrove and Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services.

The move has advocates breathing a sigh of relief, with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates writing that they are "very pleased" and a joint statement from The Advocacy Institute and the Center for Law and Education indicating that they are "overjoyed."

Despite the change of heart, however, the issue may not be fully decided. The Education Department said they plan to seek public comment on the matter.

To read more go to Article Source.
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Register for the Youth Symposium at the 19th Annual Greenlining Economic Summit April 6th, 2012

Greenlining's 19th Annual Economic Summit:
By The People for the People - Communities Creating Change

When: Friday, April 20th, 2012
Where: Downtown Los Angeles (The Center at Cathedral Plaza)
Why: Because We Can't Wait Around for Solutions -
We Have to Create them Ourselves!

Youth Symposium:

This year's summit will also include a youth leadership track for college students entitled, Youth Creating Change. This minds-on, hands-on program will explore topics like art and activism, power mapping, online organizing, non-traditional fundraising and coalition building. Please refer youth leaders to our program for free registration and more information.

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National Summer Jobs Clearing House Opens April 5th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor recently opened the Summer Jobs Plus Bank: an online resource for young people to find jobs, internships, mentorships and training opportunities. Companies can list summer job opportunities through a three-step process.

The bank is part of the federal Summer Jobs Plus Initiative, which asks businesses, nonprofits and government leaders to come together to provide 250,000 employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected youth this summer. The initiative has been supported by the Forum for Youth Investment along with Ready by 21 National Partners, such as SparkAction, Corporate Voice for Working Families and America's Promise Alliance.

To read more go to Article Source.
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HHS & Education Department Launch New "Stop Bullying" Website April 2nd, 2012

Building on the momentum the Obama administration started more than a year ago to stop bullying in schools and communities, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan today unveiled a revitalized Stop Bullying websitev - - to encourage children, parents, educators, and communities to take action to stop and prevent bullying.

The website provides a map with detailed information on state laws and policies, interactive webisodes and videos for young people, practical strategies for schools and communities to ensure safe environments, and suggestions on how parents can talk about this sensitive subject with their children. The site also explores the dangers of cyberbullying and steps youngsters and parents can take to fight it.

Research shows that bullying is physical and emotional abuse. Students who are bullied are more likely to struggle in school and skip class. They are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, be depressed, and are at higher risk of suicide. There is a Get Help page, which is directly linked to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which means young people can get immediate help for themselves or others if needed.

"Bullying is not just an education or health problem, it is a community problem," said Secretary Sebelius. "We are committed to working together at the federal level to help communities, schools and families address it as a single problem."

The enhanced site responds to feedback from the March 2011 White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and the September 2011 Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit that awareness alone will not prevent bullying. The site now gives concrete steps that students, parents, educators and community members can take to prevent and stop bullying.

"We've come a long way in the past year in educating the public about the health and educational impacts that bullying can have on students. But simply being aware of the problem is not enough," said Secretary Duncan. "Everyone has a role to play, and features ways we can all take action against bullying."

For more information go to Article Source
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CAPED Calls Community to Action for Disabled Student Programs & Services March 30th, 2012

California Association of Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) Calls to Action the Disability Community to:

Reject the Governor's proposal to "block-grant" Disabled Student Programs and Services.

Support the CAPED request that a portion of the additional funding which would be available if the tax increases are approved be allocated to restore funding for DSPS to a level where the reductions to that program are proportional to those for the community college system as a whole.

Regardless of what happens with the proposed tax measure, do not allow any further cuts to DSPS services. We recognize that the severe budget crisis means that all programs must face cuts, but DSPS programs in our community colleges have already been cut much more drastically than the community college system as a whole. Unless this situation is addressed, we will effectively be excluding the most educationally disadvantaged students from our colleges. Please help us stop the dismantling of programs which ensure that students with disabilities receive the accommodations to which they are entitled under the law.

A budget hearing is scheduled in Sacramento April 9th!

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Cesar Chavez Honored by Grandson in Anderson CA March 30th, 2012

ANDERSON - Some 100 people marched here Wednesday night, circling Anderson City Hall as chants of "Sí, se puede" filled the streets.

At the front, several people clutched a banner commemorating Cesar Chavez, the civil rights advocate who fought for the rights of farm laborers in the second half of the 20th century.

"He was the Martin Luther King Jr. of the Hispanic movement," said Antonio Damian Jr., who drove from San Diego to Fresno to march with Chavez in the mid-1970s.

On Wednesday Damian, 57, marched with Cesar Chavez's grandson, Anthony Chavez, 26.

Anthony Chavez was the honored guest at the 10th annual Cesar E. Chavez Day, in which Latinos and others march to celebrate the historic figure's life, and also hand out scholarships to honor his love of learning.

"My grandfather only finished eighth grade. My parents only finished high school. I've been able to finish four years of college," Anthony Chavez said. "I hope (the students) continue to do more and go forward.

"As my grandfather taught us, the end of all education should be service to others."

Juan Flores, 17, received one of the scholarships from the Northern Hispanic Latino Coalition, which organized the event.

He said he plans to use the scholarship to help pay for his education at Sacramento State University.

He said he plans to study criminology and become a lawyer.

Damian said he had come to the Chavez Day celebration to see the grandson of the man with whom he marched in Fresno in 1975 after driving up from San Diego at 18.

"It's pretty amazing," he said. "It's good to see him doing the same thing that his grandfather did. It still needs to be going (on)."

The inequality of the farm hands, such as being unable to take a break or go to the bathroom, shocked and motivated Damian to support Cesar Chavez. He said the marches brought about a camaraderie among the participants akin to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Anthony Chavez said much headway was made by his grandfather and those who worked with him, such as Damian. However, problems and abuse of workers still happens.

"Even thought there's many good laws on the books, the laws in the fields are much different," he said.

The celebration also featured folk dancing, music and tostadas after the march.

Worries about the weather shortened the marching route from previous years, said Alan Phillips, chair of the coalition.

After the march, Eva Jimenez spoke on the importance of embracing change.

"When we hear the word 'change,' we think we have to lose something. Always think of change as, 'I'm going to add something to my life,' " said Jimenez, Shasta College's dean of Business, Agriculture, Industry and Technology.

Anthony Chavez said he would come after Phillips invited him. He's been up to Mount Shasta previously, but his experience with the region has been limited.

"I've mainly passed through. It's really beautiful country. A lot of people don't know about all the riches in Northern California," he said. "Every time I come up here I learn more and more."

Most state offices will be closed Friday in observance of Cesar Chavez Day.
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Friday March 30th National Day of Mourning for Youth with Disabilities Killed by Parents March 30th, 2012

Friday March 30th National Day of Mourning for Youth with Disabilities Killed by Parents

After a number of cases in recent years of parents killing their kids with disabilities, self-advocates are working to focus attention on victims rather than the stresses their caregivers face.

Members of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network say that far too often parents who kill their children with disabilities receive sympathy while little is said of the victim.

In response, the group is planning a national day of mourning this Friday. Self-advocates in a dozen cities are on board to host candlelight vigils where they will read victims' names and draw attention to how these deaths are treated in the media and by the public.

"I've seen articles explicitly ask the reader to 'put themselves in the shoes' of the non-disabled murderer, but I've never seen an article ask readers to imagine what it's like to be a disabled person murdered by someone you love and trust, like your parent," said Zoe Gross, a member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who is behind the effort, which is also being backed by the National Council of Independent Living and the Autism Society, among other groups.

Gross, who lives in Oakland, Calif., was spurred to action when she heard about the case of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old with autism who was murdered March 6 by his mother at their Sunnyvale, Calif. home. Hodgins' mother - who subsequently killed herself - was reportedly overwhelmed by her caregiving responsibilities.

Frustrated that news accounts of the Hodgins case largely disregarded the victim's perspective, Gross organized a candlelight vigil earlier this month where participants also honored 36 others with disabilities who have been killed by their loved ones since the early 1990s.

One of the victims mentioned at the vigil was Tracy Latimer, a 12-year-old Canadian girl with cerebral palsy who was killed by her father in 1993. Coincidentally, on the same day Gross held the vigil, Latimer's father, Robert who served seven years in prison for his daughter's murder, spoke out on Canadian television calling for the legal killing of people with disabilities.

When Gross and other members of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network learned about Robert Latimer's comments, they were inspired to make a national push to honor victims with disabilities.

"We are sending a message that violence against disabled people is unacceptable," said Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. "We are concerned that when acts of murder occur, the folks being killed are written out of their own story. It ends up being the tragic story of the parents, which in a lot of ways legitimizes the act and allows it to occur further."

In the Hodgins case, experts interviewed by local media emphasized the extreme stress that parents can experience when their child has a disability.

"Parents of kids with autism are under a terrific amount of stress," Jennifer Sullivan, the executive director of a local autism center that Hodgins attended told the San Francisco Chronicle. "There's no question these children are difficult, and these families need help."

But other disability advocates emphasize that parents who resort to violence are outliers.

"These are tragic situations that are irrational responses to very challenging circumstances, and they need to be understood as criminal acts by desperate individuals," said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. "The vast majority of parents of children with disabilities never commit these crimes or resort to murder-suicide. It's not something done by people of healthy and sound minds."

Currently, vigils are scheduled Friday in a dozen cities including New York, Washington, Chicago, Boston, Tampa, Fla., Fort Worth, Texas and Portland, Ore., organizers said.

"This is an opportunity to say we need a healthier discussion about people with disabilities in our society," said the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Ne'eman.
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Family Participation Fund March 20th, 2012

CalSTAT is a special project of the California Department of Education, Special Education Division. One of our activities is funding the Family Participation Fund. The Department established the Family Participation Fund to provide financial assistance to families, who do not have any other agency support, to become active members of decision-making committees, task forces and other policy-making bodies. The Family Participation Fund provides assistance for family members to attend and participate in policy-making meetings. Over the life of CalSTAT*, the project has modeled and encouraged, family participation and partnership with educational agencies to improve education for all children. Since the program originally began it has helped families attend over 12,000 meetings.

For more information go to Article Source.
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Invitation to Apply to Serve as On-site Volunteer Staff for YLF 2012 March 15th, 2012

The 21st annual California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) will be held this summer. As you may know, the success of this nationally acclaimed program is dependent on the committed volunteers who understand the importance of youth leadership and development.

The application form includes a list of volunteer staff positions, the YLF Ground Rules and Guidelines and the Definition of Confidentiality for the 2012's California YLF. The forum will be held July 22-27, 2012, at California State University, Sacramento for staff. If you are interested in serving as an on-site volunteer, please complete the enclosed application and return it with one letter of recommendation and the signature page in the application by April 2, 2012, by close of business. The return address is on the application form.

We are pleased to inform you that in 2012, more than twenty other states will be conducting a YLF based on our California Model. There are now thousands of YLF national alumni and we are especially proud of our California YLF alumni who continue to serve our state as YLF volunteers/paid.

If you are offered a position, we will need a firm commitment that you can participate in the seven-day event. All selected staff will receive specific information regarding their position and information on making travel arrangements. As noted in the enclosed "YLF Ground Rules and Guidelines," all staff must participate in a mandatory staff orientation and are required to stay at the forum site at California State University, Sacramento, for the entire duration of the YLF program. Additionally, because the YLF program involves minors, all staff applicants will be subject to self-disclosure statements and/or background checks, and a confidentially agreement statement.

Because there is so much interest from individuals who want to serve as YLF volunteer staff, we regret that not all applicants may be selected to serve for 2012 even though you may have served as YLF Volunteer Staff in the past years.
If you have any questions about the YLF Volunteer Staff application and/or the application process, please call Trina Dangberg King at EDD at (916) 653-0882 (voice) (916) 654-9820 (tty)

We sincerely appreciate your interest in YLF and look forward to hearing from you.

For more information go to Article Source
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FEMA Calls for Nominations to the National Youth Preparedness Council March 15th, 2012

FEMA is looking for youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their community, and who want to expand their impact as a national advocate for youth preparedness.

Are you a 12 to 17 year old who wants to make a difference in your community that could help save lives? If you have contributed to youth disaster preparedness in your community or lived through a disaster and want to share your experiences, you could be on FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council!

Similarly, if you know of a young person with any of these qualities, you could also nominate him or her to serve.

Youth Preparedness Council nominees will represent a variety of kids: current or former students, a youth member of a local Citizen Corps Council, a youth club, or a member of a faith-based organization who is vocal and active in preparing peers, family, and neighborhood for potential emergencies.
Nominations must be received by April 6, 11:59 p.m. EDT.
About the Council

FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for a select set of youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council, to participate in a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington D.C., and to voice their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions, and questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of national organizations working on youth preparedness.

Selection Criteria

Nominations can emphasize youth disaster preparedness activities that the nominee has participated in, or can be related to a disaster the nominee lived through. Nominations should describe a specific emergency situation and/or examples of youth disaster preparedness activity that would qualify the nominee to serve on the Council. FEMA asks that applicants limit themselves to describing no more than five examples.

Sample preparedness activities include, but are not limited to:
• Teen CERT in Action
• Citizen Corps Council Activities
• After School Activities
• Faith-based Youth Preparedness Activities
• Camp Activities
• Youth Club Activities (e.g., Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts)
• National Preparedness Month Participation
• Increasing Local Disaster Awareness
• Resources: Doing More With Less
• Rural Area Programs
• Using Social Media
• Pet/Service Animal Preparedness
• Underrepresented Communities Programs
• General Youth Preparedness Programs
Youth Preparedness Council Participants will be announced in May 2012, and will be FEMA's honored guests at a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington, D.C. on June 28 and 29.
Nomination Process
Complete instructions are available at: If you have any questions about the process that are not covered there, please email

Nominating yourself? You must submit a recommendation letter as an attachment to your nomination. The letter can be from any adult, like a parent, guardian, community first responder, or teacher. Please name the file "[Your First Name]_[Your Last Name]_Letter." (For example, "Nick_Halpern_Letter.") Self- nominations that do not include a letter of recommendations will not be reviewed.

Nominating someone else? Feel free to include a letter of recommendation, but this is not mandatory. If you do, please name the file "[Nominee First Name]_[Nominee Last Name]_Letter." (For example, "Nick_Halpern_Letter.")

For more information go to Article Source
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Apply to be a Fall 2012 White House Intern March 14th, 2012

The White House Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today's young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities.

The White House Internship Program's mission is to make the "People's House" accessible to future leaders from around the nation.

To read more go to Article Source
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Students With Disabilities Most Often Restrained March 9th, 2012

First-ever national data released Tuesday indicates that students with disabilities are significantly more likely than others to be restrained at school.

The new statistics come from a survey of 72,000 schools, representing 85 percent of the nation's students, that was conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.

In all, 38,792 of the students represented in the survey were physically restrained by an adult at school during the 2009-2010 academic year. The vast majority of those restrained - 69 percent - had disabilities, even though students with special needs made up just 12 percent of the survey sample.

This is the first time that information on restraint and seclusion was solicited as part of the Education Department's regular civil rights data collection. The government agency began releasing findings this week broken down by location as well as some results from the national sample. However, a full picture from across the country is not expected for another month, officials said.

In addition to the disproportionate use of restraint on students with disabilities, the Education Department data indicated that boys are more likely than girls to be subject to restraint and seclusion. What's more, students from some racial groups were more frequently subject to the disciplinary tactics.

Meanwhile, students with disabilities were more than twice as likely to receive out-of-school suspensions as compared to their typically developing peers, the survey found.

The findings were released the same day disability advocates at the National Disability Rights Network issued a report blasting the Education Department for failing to do more to rein in the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.

The organization first brought concerns about the tactics to the forefront in 2009 with a report that found dozens of cases of injury and even death resulting from the practices.

Since that time, members of Congress have attempted to pass legislation to limit restraint and seclusion in schools, but to no avail.

"(The Department of Education) has not provided any meaningful leadership to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion - despite the fact that students are continuing to be confined, tied up, pinned down, battered and nearly killed on a regular basis," said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, in the organization's latest report.

The group is urging federal education officials to issue "strong national guidance" to schools about the use of restraint and seclusion much like they have done to address concerns about bullying.

Last year, Alexa Posny, the Education Department's top special education official indicated that such guidance would be forthcoming, but it has yet to be released.
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New Effort to Strengthen Accountability for Students with Disabilities March 9th, 2012

The Department of Education recently announced new steps to help close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by moving away from a one-size-fits-all, compliance-focused approach to a more balanced system that looks at how well students are being educated in addition to continued efforts to protect their rights.

While the Department has effectively ensured access to educational resources for students with disabilities, not enough attention has been paid to educational outcomes, which have not sufficiently improved. This is partly due to the fact that federal policy has focused more on procedural requirements and not enough on critical indicators like increasing academic performance or graduation rates for students with disabilities.

"For too long we've been a compliance-driven bureaucracy when it comes to educating students with disabilities," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We have to expect the very best from our students - and tell the truth about student performance - so that we can give all students the supports and services they need. The best way to do that is by focusing on results," Duncan said.

Throughout the coming year, the Department will work closely with stakeholders to develop and implement a new review system that takes a more balanced, results-driven approach to assessing how states are educating students with disabilities and better targets monitoring to where it's needed most.

Since the current process of conducting on-site state compliance reviews has not focused enough on improving student outcomes, the Department will not be carrying out the visits scheduled for the 2012-13 school year to allow it time to develop a new and more effective system. However, the Department will continue to review annual performance reports as well as monitor state supervision systems.

For more information about the work of the Department's Office of Special Education Programs, see
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Deadline for California Endowment's President's Youth Advisory Council March 9 March 1st, 2012

It is important to officially recognize the voice, creativity, and passion of young people who share a vision of a healthier and more opportunity-laden California. The California Endowment and The Statewide Youth Leadership Coordinating Team are pleased to announce two great opportunities for youth and youth workers to participate in shaping the future of youth leadership within Building Healthy Communities and The California Endowment. The formation of The Presidents Youth Council and The Statewide Steering Committee on Youth Leadership will partner to ensure that each group work to strengthen youth voice and leadership across sites, and on a state and national level.

In capturing the vision for youth empowerment, Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment, will form a President's Youth Council as a platform for building on and increasing youth leadership opportunities within The California Endowment efforts. These efforts support and strengthen youth engagement, youth leadership, youth advocacy and youth/adult partnerships.

The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. As such, The Endowment has embarked on Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a ten-year campaign to improve the health of young people residing in vulnerable, at-risk communities through stronger and innovative prevention approaches. The Endowment believes that youth empowerment is the key to the healthy and equitable transformation of communities they envision.

President's Youth Council

What is the President's Youth Council (PYC): The PYC is a committee that provides guidance and feedback about youth leadership efforts and youth engagement to the President of The California Endowment. PYC members will meet with the President up to three (3) times a year, as well as attend two (2) additional council meetings. The council will advise and share with the President their input on the Building Healthy Communities Initiative, and other initiatives as well. PYC members will earn a $1,000.00 stipend, and be able to further their skills and development, as well as have access to networking and mentoring opportunities. Members will participate in youth development opportunities, and work to continue strengthening their leadership skills.

PYC Responsibilities:

Provide an on-going youth perspective on the upcoming phases of the Building Healthy Communities initiative;
Help prioritize ways of strengthening the youth voice and youth leadership within various California Endowment initiatives;
Work in partnership with the Youth Steering Committee members and the Youth Policy Group members to support and connect youth with regional, state and national youth empowerment campaigns;
Participate in youth development opportunities, work to continue strengthening leadership skills; and
Be a representative of the youth leadership body of The California Endowment.

Who will be on the PYC: PYC membership will be comprised of up to seven (7) youth leaders, between the ages of 16-24, and up to five youth workers. Participating youth will represent each region, and shall include racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation diversity. They will be drawn from youth serving in leadership positions throughout their community and/or affiliated HUB; participants in the 2011 Youth Convening's; youth engaged in TCE funded statewide campaigns and projects; and other youth who have distinguished themselves. Each PYC member will commit to serving on the council for a minimum of one year.

When will the PYC start: The PYC will launch in March 2012, with the first meeting taking place early Spring 2012.

Where will the PYC meet: PYC members will be expected to meet with the President as a group up to three (3) times throughout the year, and attend two (2) additional council meetings (meeting locations to be determined).

How will PYC members be chosen: This is a competitive application process. Members will be chosen based on their geographic location, age, experience, involvement in their local Building Healthy Communities work and/or other evidence of leadership abilities. Online application submission period will be open February 17, 2012 through March 9, 2012.

Apply to be the PYC : The application for both the President's Youth Council and the Statewide Steering Committee for Youth Leadership can be found at here or

To read more go to Article Source
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YO! Webinar: Own YOUR Power Ways to Prevent Bullying February 28th, 2012

OWN YOUR POWER! Ways to Prevent Bullying

Friday - March 23, 2012 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Join the YO! webinar that focuses on how to promote an end to bullying! We will identify some statistics about bullying, who bullies are, and ways to combat bullying. We will also cover the connection between how teaching disability history in schools may be the number one way to prevent bullying.

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CDRF Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship February 24th, 2012

Californians for Disability Rights Foundation

This scholarship is in memory of our past President, Laura Williams. Laura was known and respected for her work on behalf of people with disabilities and seniors, including the state's compliance of the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision and passage of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. She was a constant voice and visible presence at State Capitol hearings and meetings on issues including In-Home Supportive Services, developmental services, access to public accommodations for children and adults with disabilities, mental health needs, and issues involving seniors.

Purpose of Scholarship
The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to people with disabilities who have been admitted to or are enrolled in a California college or university and who are committed to taking a leadership role in improving the lives of persons with disabilities.

Amount of Scholarship
One (or more) $500 scholarship(s) will be given each year in the Spring semester.

Any person with a verified physical, mental, or learning disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as defined in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, who has been admitted to or is enrolled in an accredited state university, community college, private college, or university in California may apply.

Award Criteria
Applications for the scholarship will be rated as follows:

50% Demonstrated Leadership
50% Essay

Contact Kathleen at with any questions or comments.

Scholarship Award Date
Scholarship will be awarded on April 30, 2012.

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Obama's Budget Leaves Funding Unclear for Disabled College Students February 17th, 2012

President Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 may signal a murky future for a fledgling program that helps students with intellectual disabilities go to college and succeed while enrolled.

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

By the end of the five-year plan, an estimated 6,000 students would have gone through higher education programs, earning certificates, completing internships, joining clubs and organizations, and more, program directors say. The five-year period would also be enough time to provide key data to school officials and policy analysts alike about what constitutes success for students with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation and autism spectrum disorder.

"With these modeled programs, it's the first time we're showing the effectiveness of allowing students with intellectual disabilities to go on to college and four-year universities, and how effective they are in helping them to become more employable," says Kim Musheno, director of legislative affairs at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). "Already, just into the second year, the evaluation program part of this is showing that young adults in these college programs are much more likely to find jobs afterward. That's a very positive development."

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Obama Plan For Special Education Leaves Advocates Disappointed February 15th, 2012

Despite a heavy emphasis on education in the president's budget proposal this week, advocates are worried that students with disabilities are being left out.

Funding for special education would remain largely flat under President Barack Obama's proposed budget for 2013 that was released Monday.

Meanwhile, money for new programs like Race to the Top - a competitive grant program that awards money to states that commit to reform models - would grow dramatically.

And that has some advocates concerned.

"In this context, level funding is a cut," said Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children, which lobbies on behalf of special educators.

School districts are already reeling from the loss of stimulus dollars and reduced state and local funding, Jones said, not to mention inflation. At the same time, districts are seeing more students with diagnoses like autism that incur a high level of need and significant expense.

"It's difficult to see so much investment in competitive grants when there's so much need in foundational programs like IDEA, so we're disappointed," Jones said.

There was one bright spot, however, for special education. Obama proposed an additional $20 million for early intervention services for children with disabilities in their first years of life.

The budget plan reflects Obama's priorities for federal spending for the 2013 fiscal year, which will begin in October. However, much like last year, the president's proposal is likely to face an uphill battle in Congress, which must approve any final spending plan.
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Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success February 10th, 2012

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced the release of "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," a collection of career development exercises and activities designed to help sharpen the commu nication and other "soft" skills of young workers, including those with disabilities.

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

"Dressing appropriately, showing up on time and networking with co-workers are all crucial to finding and keeping a job," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "For many young people these skills are not intuitive. We hope educators, human resource professionals, job clubs and faith-based organizations will use the curriculum to help our youth build the skills to succeed in the workplace."

Available in English and Spanish, "Skills to Pay the Bills" was field-tested by youth service professionals and students across the country. The Massachusetts Migrant Education Program tested the materials in Spanish and seven other locations tested them in English. "The Soft Skills activities are fabulous," said Virginia Dever, a facilitator from Louisville, Ky. "It is our obligation to teach our youth what is needed to succeed in life and in work, and these Soft Skills exercises fit the bill." Brandon Pursley, a student from Madison, Fla., who used the curriculum and also designed its cover art, said that learning these skills "was an experience going beyond my dreams."

Visit ODEP's website at for more information and to download the curriculum in English or Spanish.

For more information go to Article Source.
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Department of Education Reminds School Districts of Their Obligations Under the ADA & Rehabilitation Act February 9th, 2012

The Department of Education's (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (Amendments Act). The letter and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) provide additional guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in elementary and secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments Act.

"We must continue to take steps to enable every child, regardless of disability, to reach their full potential," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This guidance reiterates the Department's commitment to ensure that educational opportunity is provided free from disability discrimination."

The Amendments Act, effective Jan. 1, 2009, amends the ADA, as well as the Rehabilitation Act. The Amendments Act broadened the meaning of disability and, in most cases, shifts the inquiry away from the question of whether a student has a disability as defined by the ADA and Section 504, and toward school districts' actions and obligations to ensure equal education opportunities.

Today's Dear Colleague letter and FAQ discuss the various obligations of school districts, such as the requirement to evaluate students for disability, and provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, as well as the changes made by the Amendments Act.

"It is critical that school districts remain vigilant in their duty to protect the civil rights of all their students, including students with disabilities. When Congress changes the law affecting those rights, districts must ensure that their policies and practices reflect this altered landscape," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali.

To review the Dear Colleague letter, please visit The FAQs are posted at More information about OCR can be found at, as well as and Twitter (@Edcivilrights).

To read more, please go to Article Source.
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FULL ACCESS Student Summit--San Jose February 6th, 2012

APPLY TODAY for the Full Access Student Summit

The application deadline is Monday March 26, 2012

This exclusive event brings together up to sixty college students or recent alumni with disabilities and ten select national and regional employers for a networking and education summit. FULL ACCESS is not a career fair. It is not an opportunity to interview one-on-one with individual students and there should be NO expectation to extend a job offer at the Summit. FULL ACCESS is a golden opportunity for employers to meet up to 60 prospective employees with disabilities.


College students and recent alumni with disabilities will be comfortable with employers

Better understanding of college students and recent graduates with disabilities

Encourage inclusion of these students with Corporate Diversity recruitment plans



Learn to comfortably interact with employers through workshops and seminars

Learn how to professionally network with potential employers

Interact with other students with disabilities with similar interests

Attend workshops that will teach students how to present themselves professionally ranging from what to wear to an interview to proper etiquette for meals with employers

Our screening and selection processes allow for a diverse group of college and post graduate students with disabilities. College juniors, seniors, graduates and post-doctoral students are all expected to be in attendance at the 2011 Full Access Conference. Not only is there diversity among disabilities, but also diverse groups of ages, levels of experience, majors and ethnicities.

Past employers have included a wide variety of private and public sector entities such as AIG, AT&T, American Airlines, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Bridgestone Firestone, Bureau of Land Management, Cisco, Dow Chemical, FritoLay, The Gap, Google, HSC Foundation, Internal Revenue Service, Johnson Scholarship Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Northrop Grumman, Office of Naval Intelligence, Procter & Gamble, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Shell Oil, Social Security Administration, SunTrust Bank, Tropicana, U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration, Wachovia Bank, Walmart, and the Walt Disney Company.

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Conference: Building an Effective, Comprehensive CIL Youth Program February 1st, 2012

Join us at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel Galleria in Houston Texas to explore innovative ways to design and operate programs and services that support youth in transitioning to adulthood.

You will learn:

How "nothing about us without us" is especially important when involving youth in CIL programs

What services and programs successful CILs are offering to support youth transition

How successful CILs design, fund, staff, and operate their youth transition programs

How to support transition from school to work, post-secondary education, adult health care, and independent living

Target Audience:

CIL staff involved in youth transition services and supports, and those interested in expanding services in their centers and increasing the capacity of the youth in their communities.

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Nationwide Video Contest Seeks Creative Video Spots to Help Challenge Perceptions about Disability and Employment February 1st, 2012

Campaign for Disability Employment Announces

Nationwide Video Contest National Outreach Effort Seeks Creative Video Spots
to Help Challenge Perceptions about Disability and Employment

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2012 - Today, the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE), a collaboration by leading disability and business organizations funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), announced the launch of its second nationwide video contest to promote the talent and skills that people with disabilities bring to America's workforce and economy. A follow-up to a similar contest held in 2009, this year's competition seeks videos in several categories to supplement the CDE's award-winning "What can YOU do?" public education efforts.

Every day, people with disabilities can and do add value to America's workplaces and economy. However, in both good economic times and bad, people with disabilities have far fewer job opportunities than the general population. Built around a coordinated outreach effort titled "What can YOU do?," the CDE promotes the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities through public service announcements, educational materials and other grass-roots outreach activities.

"Our video contest is an opportunity for filmmakers of all ages to convey positive messages about the value people with disabilities add to the workforce and to help viewers re-think their negative assumptions about people with disabilities in the workforce," said Tracie Saab, Campaign for Disability Employment project director. "It's their chance to drive positive change by illustrating that at work, it's what people CAN do that matters."

About the "What can YOU do?" Video Contest

The CDE is looking for creative, fun, compelling videos of all genres that reflect the diversity of skills that people with disabilities offer, challenge misconceptions about disability and employment, and/or highlight employers' inclusive employment programs and practices. The CDE will recognize winners in up to three specific categories (General Public, Youth and Employer), and the public will be encouraged to select a People's Choice winner.

The deadline for entry is March 30, 2012. Videos should be one to three minutes in length (depending on the category entered) and reflect one or more of the campaign's key themes, which are outlined on the contest website, Individual and group entries are encouraged. Applicants must be U.S. citizens to enter.

Winners will receive a chance to participate in the CDE's public outreach activities, and several selected videos may be showcased on the campaign's website and at future CDE events. Other prizes may be awarded. More information and the official contest rules are outlined on the competition website.

About the Campaign for Disability Employment

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) is a collaborative effort among several disability and business organizations that seek to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace, as well as the dividend to be realized by fully including people with disabilities at work. These partners include: American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); Job Accommodation Network (JAN); National Business and Disability Council (NBDC); National Council of La Raza (NCLR); National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); Special Olympics (SO); and the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The CDE is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). For more information, visit

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30 Seconds: AAPD's Campaign to Stop Bullying January 30th, 2012

End bullying in our schools.

Over 85 percent of students with disabilities have experienced some form of bullying.

Bullying is more than kids being kids-it can make school a hostile place and prevent students from receiving the education that is their civil right.

This silent epidemic must be stopped.

Students are the most powerful argument against bullying. That's why we encourage you to view and share AAPD's public service announcement, "30 seconds."

The PSA features three real students sharing a simple message: people with disabilities are powerful, self-determined individuals-not victims.
What can you do?

Use "30 Seconds" as a tool to start conversations about keeping schools safe and respectful places for all students regardless of disability. Share it with your family, friends, co-workers, schools, and congregations.

Get informed about current legislation and initiatives aimed at ending bullying.

Join the conversation.
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Sharing the Voice and Diversity of Youth: Auditions for Youth Advocates with Disabilities January 27th, 2012

Please distribute this widely to all of your networks, contacts. Very humbled to share this project  in conjunction with World Enabled/Pineda Foundation for Youth. We are looking for talented Youth to Audition for
Sharing the Voice and Diversity of Youth:
Auditions for Youth Advocates with Disabilities

Be a part of an exciting Global Disability Advocacy and Education Project! If you are between the ages of 12-30, you are eligible to be part of a global education project. You may be selected to share your voice in a user generated disability etiquette video.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Pope Program Coordinator, World Enabled/Pineda Foundation for Youth at:
 After signing up you will receive instructions on how to audition. The Deadline to Apply is: February 10, 2012. The Online application can be found at article source

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Events Across the State Honor Disability Rights Pioneer January 23rd, 2012

California Celebrates 2nd Annual Ed Roberts Day
"I am convinced that we are making the most profound social change that our society has ever known." - Ed Roberts, 1990

SACRAMENTO, CA- Californians will honor the life and legacy of Ed Roberts, a champion for disability rights on the 2nd Annual Ed Roberts Day, January 23, 2012.

"Celebrating Ed Roberts' Day is a time to honor the life of a pioneer for disability rights and to celebrate the legacy that lives on in the ability of people with disabilities to shape their own future," said Teresa Favuzzi, Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living.

Coinciding with the day of honor, Roberts, a 2011 California Hall of Fame inductee is recognized for his contributions to California's history and the cause of disability rights in an exhibit at Sacramento's California Museum. On January 23 the museum will offer discounted admission to visitors attending the exhibit.

"Learning about disability leaders like Ed Roberts shows young people with disabilities that we can be leaders of change just like Ed was," said Jamie Caron, a student at Ohlone College in Fremont. "Today's events will help more people learn that people with disabilities have - and will continue - to shape history for the better."

Roberts, who passed away in 1995, was an international leader, educator and champion of persons with disabilities. Roberts began his advocacy efforts at UC Berkeley, where he was the first student with significant disabilities to be admitted to the campus. He later became one of the founders of the Center for Independent Living Inc. in Berkeley. In 1975, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as the first Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation with a significant disability he served in that position until 1983, at which point he went on to become a co-­‐founder of the World Institute on Disability.

The California Museum acknowledged these achievements by naming him one of the 2011 California Hall of Fame inductees and featuring an exhibit that showcases his accomplishments. On Ed Roberts Day (January 23rd, 2012) the museum will offer a discounted admission of $6 to museum patrons who indicate they are visiting to "Celebrate Ed Roberts."

Two of the campuses Roberts spent time attending, the University of California, Berkeley and the College of San Mateo, are also planning events to honor his life and work on Monday. The Disabled Student Services Program at the College of San Mateo will be acknowledging Roberts in the Student Senate and the Disabled Students' Program (DSP) and the Berkeley Center of Independent Living will cosponsor an event to celebrate Roberts at UC Berkeley while providing information to high school students with disabilities looking to attend University. Over 100 high school students are expected to attend the event and speakers will include State Senator Loni Hancock (D-­‐Berkeley) and Zona Reports.

Passed with overwhelming support in the California State Senate in 2010, the bill declaring January 23 as "Ed Roberts Day" was authored by Senator Hancock. Congress member George Miller (D-­‐Martinez) authored a similar resolution which was adopted by Congress.

Ed Roberts Day Events:

California Museum Celebrates Ed Roberts Day
Discounted admission rate of $6.00. Patrons wishing to participate should advise the Museum ticket office that their visit is to "Celebrate Ed Roberts." LOCATION: 1020 O Street, Sacramento CA 95814

Ed Roberts Day Celebration at UC Berkeley
Featuring information on post -- secondary options for high school students with disabilities Speakers: State Senator Loni Hancock and Zona Reports. LOCATION: Cal Alumni House, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720.

The College of San Mateo Recognizes Ed Roberts
The College's Disabled Student Services program will recognize and honor the life and work of Ed Roberts at their Student Senate. For more information on this event, contact Beverly Madden LOCATION: College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402
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Scholarship: American Foundation for the Blind January 22nd, 2012

We are now accepting applications for the 2012 AFB scholarships. Please read through the instructions carefully, as our application process has changed from previous years.

It is in your best interest to review the entire application before submitting the application. Most of AFB's scholarships are designated for specific fields of study. Please read the scholarship descriptions carefully, so that you choose scholarships that are available for your field of study. You will only be considered for the scholarships that you select on the application.

Applications and supporting documents must be received by AFB no later than April 30, 2012.

The Scholarship Committee will review only those applications that are complete with supporting documents and meet all scholarship requirements.

The AFB Scholarship Committee will not send reminders or notices to students who are missing documentation. It is your responsibility to make sure that your documentation is in order. When you submit your application, a checklist will be sent to you via email which will guide you in assembling your scholarship package.

American Foundation for the Blind
1000 Fifth Ave.
Suite 350
Huntington, WV 25701
Attn: Tara Annis

For additional information contact:
AFB Information Center
Telephone: (304) 523-8651
Toll Free: (800) 232-5463

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Scholarship: National Federation of the Blind January 21st, 2012

National Federation of the Blind
2012 Scholarship Program

Our new and improved online application form for our 2012 scholarship program is now fully functional. The link is posted below.

2012 Deadline: All scholarship applications and documents must be received by the scholarship program no later than March 31, 2012.


To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty national scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000.


All applicants for these scholarships:

- Must be legally blind (PDF document) in both eyes, and must be residing in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, and
- Must be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, postsecondary course of study in a degree program at a United States institution in the 2012 scholastic year, except that one scholarship may be given to a person employed full-time while attending school part-time, and
- Mmust participate in the entire NFB national convention and in all of its scheduled scholarship program activities.

In addition to a scholarship, each winner will receive assistance to attend the 2012 National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention in July, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations.


November 1, 2011: The program for 2012 commences. The application is made available online and, upon request, in print.

March 31, 2012: Deadline today for all applications and documents to be received by the NFB Scholarship Program and applicants must have requested an interview. The interview may take place after March 31 but before April 15.

April 2012: Interview reports are required by mid-April. In late April, the NFB Scholarship Committee chooses the 30 winners for 2012.

May 2012: After all 30 winners are personally notified that they are a scholarship winner this year, the complete list of winners for 2012 will be posted on Applicants who are not listed here did not win an NFB scholarship. With the financial assistance of the NFB, all 30 winners attend the 2012 Annual NFB Convention, to be held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, from June 30 to July 5, 2012, departing for home on July 6.

2012: After convention the scholarship checks are sent directly to the winners in time for their 2012 fall semester.

2012 Deadline: All scholarship applications and documents must be received by the scholarship program no later than March 31, 2012.

What kind of student wins an NFB scholarship? You may read about past NFB National Scholarship recipients in August-September "convention issues" of the Braille Monitor.

Braille Monitor, August-September 2011
Braille Monitor August-September 2010
Braille Monitor August-September 2009
Each year, information on the NFB Scholarship Program is made available online, in print, and in a fall issue of the Braille Monitor (available in large print, in Braille, recorded, and online). Subscribe to a free e-mailed copy of the Braille Monitor (11 issues per year) to know when to apply for each year's contest and to read other news of interest to blind Americans.


Confirmation of Legal Blindness (PDF document). Are you eligible?
Submissions Checklist. A complete application consists of one Scholarship Application Form (either online or print), one essay, other documents as detailed in this checklist, and one interview. Complete applications tend to have an advantage in the competition. The NFB Scholarship Committee takes no responsibility for notifying you if required information is missing from your application.
Frequently Asked Questions (Scholarships FAQ). Answers include useful advice for any applicant.
"The Secret to Winning a National Federation of the Blind Scholarship" by Scholarship Chairperson Patti S. Gregory-Chang, Esq.
2012 Scholarship Application Form, online edition. The application period is open from November through the following March. (Complete either the online edition or the print edition.)
2011 Scholarship Application Form, print edition -- available upon request. The application period is open from November through the following March. (Complete either the print edition or the online edition.)
2011 List of Scholarships, $12,000 to $3,000. Fill out only one application for the program to be in competition for all 30 scholarships. The NFB Scholarship Committee decides which scholarship each winner will receive. All questions should be directed to the chairperson. E-mail is preferred.

Chairperson Patti Chang, Esq.

NFB Scholarship Program
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Office: (410) 659-9314, extension 2415
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Department of Education Issues ADA Amendments Act Dear Colleague Letter to Provide Guidance Under Amended Legal Standards January 19th, 2012

The Department of Education's (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued a Dear Colleague letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (Amendments Act). The letter and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) provide additional guidance on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in elementary and secondary schools, given the changes to those laws made by the Amendments Act.

"We must continue to take steps to enable every child, regardless of disability, to reach their full potential," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This guidance reiterates the Department's commitment to ensure that educational opportunity is provided free from disability discrimination."

The Amendments Act, effective Jan. 1, 2009, amends the ADA, as well as the Rehabilitation Act. The Amendments Act broadened the meaning of disability and, in most cases, shifts the inquiry away from the question of whether a student has a disability as defined by the ADA and Section 504, and toward school districts' actions and obligations to ensure equal education opportunities.

Today's Dear Colleague letter and FAQ discuss the various obligations of school districts, such as the requirement to evaluate students for disability, and provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, as well as the changes made by the Amendments Act.

"It is critical that school districts remain vigilant in their duty to protect the civil rights of all their students, including students with disabilities. When Congress changes the law affecting those rights, districts must ensure that their policies and practices reflect this altered landscape," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali.

To review the Dear Colleague letter, please visit

The FAQs are posted at

More information about OCR can be found at

Twitter (@Edcivilrights).

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Special Education Gets Funding Boost January 19th, 2012

Despite several recent threats to cut funding for special education, federal spending on students with disabilities will increase this year.

Congress approved an additional $100 million for special education under a budget passed in late December.

Though the increase is modest, advocates say any extra funds represent a win given Washington's recent focus on trimming costs.

"It's a good outcome," said Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children, which lobbies on behalf of special educators. "We always want more money and we're nowhere near full funding, but considering the political climate, this is fine."

When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act became law in the 1970s, Congress committed to funding 40 percent of the program's cost, but that never happened and today the federal government pays for less than 20 percent.

Jones described last year as a "roller coaster," which began with a proposal to cut $557.7 million from the federal special education budget. As a result, advocates say they're breathing a sigh of relief now that funding did not shrink.

In addition to the $100 million added to special education, Congress also provided an extra $5 million for programs supporting young children with disabilities as well as increases in funding for parent information centers and technical assistance.

Like all education programs, however, special education was subject to an across the board cut of nearly 2 percent, so the true growth in funding for this year compared to 2011 will be slightly less than the $100 million increase.

School districts will receive their next round of funding from Washington this summer and that's when the newly-approved increases from this year's budget will head their way.

Despite the good news this year, advocates say next year's budget could spell trouble, however. Since lawmakers were not able to reach a deal last fall to reduce the federal deficit, automatic spending cuts are slated to hit many programs, including education, in January 2013.
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Claim: Girl Denied Transplant Because She is 'Mentally Retarded' January 19th, 2012

A Philadelphia hospital is taking heat after reportedly telling one mom her daughter would not be able to receive a kidney transplant because the 3-year-old has an intellectual disability.

Chrissy Rivera wrote about her daughter's experience at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in a blog post last week. Since then, more than 18,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the hospital to reverse course.

Rivera's daughter, Amelia, has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a chromosomal disorder affecting about 1 in 50,000 people that's marked by the presence of intellectual disability, developmental delay, seizures and distinct facial characteristics.

In the posting, Rivera wrote that a doctor told her that the children's hospital would not perform a much-needed kidney transplant because Amelia is "mentally retarded." The doctor emphasized concerns about the girl's quality of life given her limited cognitive abilities, according to Rivera's account.

Rivera wrote that she protested, arguing that Amelia would likely die in six months to a year without the operation, but was unable to change the doctor's mind.

"We are in the year 2012 and my child still does not have the right to live, the right to a transplant, because she is developmentally delayed," Rivera wrote.

Officials at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said they could not speak to the Riveras' experience specifically due to privacy laws. However, in a statement they said that they do not discriminate based on disability.

"The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia does not disqualify potential transplant candidates on the basis of intellectual abilities," the hospital's statement said. "We have transplanted many children with a wide range of disabilities, including physical and intellectual disabilities. We at CHOP are deeply committed to providing the best possible medical care to all children, including those with any form of disability."

Now, it appears that the hospital - which got an earful on its Facebook page - may be changing course. USA Today reports that the Riveras have been asked to come back to the hospital to talk about a transplant.

It is unclear how common situations like the Riveras' are. But a 2006 study from Ohio State University looking at the success of kidney transplants in those with intellectual disabilities found that survival rates were similar to those of transplant recipients with typical cognitive abilities.
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HSC Foundation Advocates in Disability Award -- Nominate a Youth Leader Today! January 13th, 2012

The purpose of the ADA Program is to award and encourage a young individual with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26, who has dedicated himself/herself to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in the United States. The Program also supports an innovative project developed by this young person with a disability that serves and empowers individuals with disabilities.

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) is a program of The HSC Foundation, funded in part by the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his/her past disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for his/her proposed project that focuses on serving and empowering individuals with disabilities.

The ADA program seeks a deserving young person who has distinguished himself/herself through contributions in the area of disability. Some examples of qualified applicants could include (but are not limited to): a student who is advocating for equal access to quality education, a young professional educating an employer about workplace accommodations, or a young person advocating for better policies and legislation for people with disabilities. This person does not have to be a "professional" advocate, but should be effectively working to make a difference. The ADA seeks to recognize and award individuals who are advocates through their deep belief and commitment to the inclusion and empowerment of all people with disabilities.

Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection.

The Advocates in Disability Award Program is part of The HSC Foundation's National Youth Transitions Initiative (NYTI). The Advocates in Disability Award Application is available at:

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Kristy McNichol Comes Out of the Closet to Help Bullied Kids January 8th, 2012

Kristy McNichol, famous for her roles on the TV series "Family" and "Empty Nest," has come out of the closet in an effort to help children being bullied.

McNichol, 49, has lived with her partner Martie Allen, for the past two decades.

She decided to make a statement about her sexuality and share a photo because she is "approaching 50? and wants to "be open about who I am," People Magazine reported.

She "is very sad about kids being bullied," her publicist Jeff Ballard told People Magazine. "She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different."

McNichol was best known for her roles on the drama "Family," for which she won two Emmy Awards, and later "Empty Nest." She has also starred in several films, including "Little Darlings" in 1980 with Tatum O'Neal.

McNichol was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992, and subsequently ended her television career. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

"She is very happy and healthy," says Ballard, according to People Magazine. "And she enjoys living a very private life."
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Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally Challenged Youth January 6th, 2012

In recent years, important changes in public policies and attitudes have resulted in improved opportunities for people with physical and mental disabilities. Now, people living with disabilities assume their rightful place in society as the equals of non-disabled people. Unfortunately, societal attitudes have changed less in regard to sexuality and disability. Even today, many people refuse to acknowledge that all people have sexual feelings, needs, and desires, regardless of their physical and/or mental abilities. As a result, many young people who live with disabilities do not receive sex education, either in school or at home.

This summary addresses sex education for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities-including, but not limited to hearing, sight, and motor function impairments; Down syndrome; cerebral palsy; paraplegia and quadriplegia; developmental disorders; and mental health issues. Beginning with a few statistics on disability among American youth and an overview of common myths and facts about the sexuality of people living with disabilities, the document also provides general guidelines for parents of physically or mentally challenged children and youth and offers a select, annotated bibliography of sex education materials and resources.*

For more information, go to article source.
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Higher Education and Disability: Improved Federal Enforcement Needed to Better Protect Students' Rights to Testing Accommodations January 5th, 2012

Among accommodations requested and granted in the most recent testing year, approximately three-quarters were for extra time, and about half were for applicants with learning disabilities. High school and postsecondary school officials GAO interviewed reported advising students about which accommodations to request and providing documentation to testing companies, such as a student's accommodations history.

Testing companies included in GAO's study reported that they grant accommodations based on their assessment of an applicant's eligibility under the ADA and whether accommodation requests are appropriate for their tests. Testing companies look for evidence of the functional limitations that prevent the applicant from taking the exam under standard conditions. They also consider what accommodations are appropriate for their tests and may grant accommodations that were different than those requested. For example, one testing company official told GAO that applicants with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder all might request extra time, but may be granted different accommodations given their limitations--extra time for an applicant unable to maintain focus; extra breaks for an applicant unable to sit still for an extended time period; a separate room for an easily distracted applicant.

Documenting need and determining appropriate accommodations can present challenges to students and testing companies. Some applicants GAO interviewed found testing companies' documentation requirements difficult to understand and unreasonable. Most applicants GAO spoke with said they sought accommodations that they were accustomed to using, and some found it frustrating that the testing company would not provide the same accommodations for the test. Testing companies reported challenges with ensuring fairness to all test takers and maintaining the reliability of their tests when making accommodations decisions. Testing company officials said that reviewing requests that contain limited information can make it difficult to make an informed decision. Some testing company officials also expressed concern with being required to provide accommodations that best ensure an applicant's test results reflect the applicant's aptitude rather than providing what they consider to be reasonable accommodations.

Federal enforcement of laws and regulations governing testing accommodations is largely complaint-driven and involves multiple agencies. While Justice has overall responsibility for enforcing compliance under the ADA, Education and HHS have enforcement responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act for testing companies that receive federal financial assistance from them. Education and HHS officials said that they investigate each eligible complaint. Justice officials said they review each complaint at in-take, but they do not make a determination on every complaint because of the large volume of complaints it receives. Justice has clarified ADA requirements for testing accommodations primarily by revising its regulations, but it lacks a strategic approach to targeting enforcement. Specifically, Justice has not fully utilized complaint data--either its own or that of other agencies--to inform its efforts. Justice officials said that they reviewed complaints on a case-by-case basis but did not conduct systematic searches of their data to inform their overall approach to enforcement. Additionally, Justice has not initiated compliance reviews of testing companies, and its technical assistance on this subject has been limited. GAO recommends that the Department of Justice take steps to develop a strategic approach to enforcement such as by analyzing its data and updating its technical assistance manual. Justice agreed with GAO's recommendation....

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School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked January 3rd, 2012

Students who miss a lot of school often have symptoms of psychiatric disorders, according to a new study.

The study of more than 17,000 children found that a high rate of absenteeism is linked to a higher prevalence of mental health problems later on in adolescence.

The research also found that mental health problems during one year predict missing additional school days in the following year for students in middle and high school.

"We've long known that students who are frequently absent from school are more likely to have symptoms of psychiatric disorders, but less clear is the reason why," said Jeffrey Wood, associate professor of educational psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the study.

"These two aspects of youths' adjustment may at times exacerbate one another, leading over the course of time to more of each."

The researchers looked at children in first through 12th grades using three sets of data: the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades seven to 12; the Johns Hopkins Prevention Intervention Research Center Study, a study of classroom-based interventions involving children in grades one to 8; and the Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers trial, a study of children in grades one through 12.

Researchers interviewed students and parents annually or biennially, and they gathered information from school attendance records. In addition, students, parents, and teachers filled out questionnaires.

The study found that between grades 2 and 8, students who already had mental health symptoms, such as antisocial behavior or depression, missed more days over the course of a year than they had in the previous year and than students with few or no mental health symptoms. Middle and high school students who were chronically absent in one year of the study tended to have more depression and antisocial problems in subsequent years.

For example, 8th graders who were absent more than 20 days were more likely to have higher levels of anxiety and depression in 10th grade than were 8th graders who were absent fewer than 20 days, Wood says.

"The findings can help inform the development of programs to reduce school absenteeism," Wood said. "School personnel in middle schools and high schools could benefit from knowing that mental health issues and school absenteeism each influence the other over time.

"Helping students address mental health issues may in turn help prevent the emergence of chronic absenteeism. At the same time, working to help students who are developing a pattern of chronic absenteeism come to school more consistently may help prevent psychiatric problems."

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies.

Source: Society for Research in Child Development

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Bullying of Students with Disabilities Puts School Districts on the Defensive January 2nd, 2012

While you might think that students with physical disabilities, students who are on the autism spectrum and with other needs might have protections against bullying, a recent case in Maryland underscores that this is not so. According to EdWeek, Jonathan Brice, school support network officer for Baltimore city schools, says that one-quarter of students who are bullied in the system are special education students. Earlier this year, Edmund and Shawna Sullivan sued their Maryland school district and two principals, charging that they had failed to address the bullying of their then-8-year-old son. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was only 13 weeks old; the bullying he endured was such that he had to be placed in a psychiatric institution.

EdWeek reports that the case went to trial last week and a jury ruled in favor of the school district, citing a lack of evidence. Some jurors noted that the parents had not filed a state-mandated bullying and reporting form, which school officials said had been available to them for two years. But one of the principals showed what Ellen Callegary, an attorney and special-education advocate for more than 30 years, called a shocking "lack of empathy" for students with disabilities:

[The principal] ...testified that although reports the boy and his sister were beaten and robbed "may have been mentioned," "bullying has become a buzzword."

The principal's reference to bullying as a "buzzword" reveals a deep lack of understanding about the reality of bullying and the additional challenges students with disabilities face in telling teachers, administrators and parents about being bullied. Students with disabilities may already have communication challenges (some students, including my son, may have very minimal language or be non-verbal) or fear that no one will believe them, or fear repercussions from the bullies if they report what happens....

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After Jail, Youth With Disabilities Need Special Support to Stay Out January 2nd, 2012

When young people with disabilities end up in the juvenile justice system, they're less likely to return to youth prisons after their sentence is up if they have jobs or go to school quickly after being released, a new paper says.

However, comprehensive programs that help these youth go from prison to the outside world are scarce, says this piece from Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. And juveniles with disabilities have a high recidivism rate-more than the 55 percent rate for youth without disabilities.

The report looks closely at the practices in four states-Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, and Oregon-when it comes to supporting all juveniles, including those with disabilities, who are leaving the justice system.

Some common practices the report found in states with programs intended to reduce recidivism for these young people include: a continuum of supports for youth that begins in prison and keeps going once they leave; transition facilitators or coordinators who are dedicated to working with these youth; and programs for reentering society that are comprehensive, addressing education, employment, social and behavioral skills, mental health, substance-abuse issues, housing, and transportation. Another common theme in the report? Budget problems often keep these programs from going long-term...

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School Accused of Putting Autistic Student in Duffle Bag December 22nd, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A 9-year-old autistic boy who misbehaved at school was stuffed into a duffel bag and the drawstring pulled tight, according to his mother, who said she found him wiggling inside as a teacher's aide stood by.

The mother of fourth-grader Christopher Baker said her son called out to her when she walked up to him in the bag Dec. 14. The case has spurred an online petition calling for the firing of school employees responsible.

"He was treated like trash and thrown in the hallway," Chris' mother, Sandra Baker, said Thursday. She did not know how exactly how long he had been in the bag, but probably not more than 20 minutes.

Mercer County schools Interim Superintendent Dennis Davis said confidentiality laws forbid him from commenting.

"The employees of the Mercer County Public Schools are qualified professionals who treat students with respect and dignity while providing a safe and nurturing learning environment," Davis said in a statement.

State education officials said they were investigating.

Chris is a student at Mercer County Intermediate School in Harrodsburg in central Kentucky. The day had barely begun when his family was called to the school because Chris was acting up. He is enrolled in a program for students with special needs.

Walking toward his classroom, Baker's mother saw the gym bag. There was a small hole at the top, she said, and she heard a familiar voice.

"Momma, is that you?" Chris said, according to his mother.

A teacher's aide was there, and Baker demanded that her son be released. At first, the aide struggled to undo the drawstring, but the boy was pulled out of the bag, which had some small balls inside and resembled a green Army duffel bag, Baker said.

"When I got him out of the bag, his poor little eyes were as big as half dollars and he was sweating," Baker said. "I tried to talk to him and get his side of the reason they put him in there, and he said it was because he wouldn't do his work."

Baker said when school officials called the family to pick him up, they were told he was "jumping off the walls." Days later, at a meeting with school officials, Baker said she was told the boy had smirked at the teacher when he was told to put down a basketball, then threw it across the room.

At a meeting with school district officials, the bag was described as a "therapy bag," Baker said, though she wasn't clear exactly what that meant. She said her son would sometimes be asked to roll over a bag filled with balls as a form of therapy, but she didn't know her son was being placed in the bag. She said school officials told her it was not the first time they had put him in the bag.

So far, almost 700 people have signed a petition on the website Lydia Brown, an autistic 18-year-old Georgetown University freshman from Boston, said she started it after reading a story about Chris.

"That would not be wrong just for an autistic student. That would be wrong to do to anyone," Brown said.

Advocates for the autistic were outraged.

Landon Bryce of San Jose, Calif., a former teacher who blogs about issues related to autism, said the school's treatment of Chris was "careless and disrespectful."

"A lot of the damage that we do to students with all kinds of disabilities is by treating them as though they deserve to be treated in a way that's different from other people," Bryce said.

Baker said she heard different accounts about her son's behavior that day.

Baker stopped short of calling for the dismissal of school employees, but she said they should be suspended. They also need more training, she said.

In Kentucky, there are no laws on using restraint or seclusion in public schools, according to documents on the state Department of Education's website.

A July letter from the state agency to special education directors said the state had investigated two informal complaints this year.

In one, "a student (was) nearly asphyxiated while being restrained," and in the other, a student vomited from panic attacks after spending most of an academic year "confined to a closet, with no ventilation or outside source of light," according to the letter.

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More Students With Disabilities Heading to College December 20th, 2011

When Andrew Van Cleave thought about what he wanted to do after high school, this son of two university graduates came up with the same answer many his age come up with: go to college.

Until the past decade, though, college wasn't much of an option for students, including Mr. Van Cleave, who have significant intellectual impairments. This month, the 24-year-old, who has an intellectual disability and ADHD, became one of the first graduates of a two-year program at Vanderbilt University designed for students with severe cognitive disabilities. He starts a job next month.

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2.5 Million Young Adults Gain Health Insurance Due to the Affordable Care Act December 16th, 2011

Results released by the National Center for Health Statistics demonstrated that the extension of dependent coverage up to the age of 26 has resulted in over 2.5 million young people gaining healthcare coverage, even more than prior analyses had suggested. This policy was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act and took effect for insurance plan renewals beginning on September 23, 2010. From September 2010 to June 2011, the percentage of adults 19 to 25 with insurance coverage increased from 64% to 73%. This means that 2.5 million additional young adults now have health insurance coverage.
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Summer Jobs Plus December 15th, 2011

American Youth are Struggling to Get the Work Experience They Need for Jobs of the Future

Youth employment is a critical element of success for young people. As a pathway to careers and education, meaningful summer employment not only helps young people develop workforce and leadership skills to get and keep good jobs, but also connects them to long term economic opportunity.

Unfortunately, the recession has had a particularly hard impact on youth employment. Only 45 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed the end of August, including only 33.8 percent of African American youth. This is significantly lower than the 54.5 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 56.1 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago. Only 21 out of every 100 teens in low-income families had a job this past summer.

In 2009 and 2010, Recovery Act funding supported over 367,000 summer and year-round job opportunities for low-income youth. This past summer, the Department of Labor set a goal of obtaining 100,000 summer job commitments from the private sector - and nearly reached that goal with 84,000 jobs despite a lack of funding.

Summer employment helps introduce youth to the working world and provides the skills and experiences they need to launch their careers. According to a Department of Labor report, nearly 75 percent of low-income youth who participated in the 2009 federal summer jobs program reported increased work readiness skills. Additionally, young people reported that, in the absence of their summer jobs, they would be competing with more experienced adult workers for jobs or doing nothing productive over their summer breaks.

The Private Sector Can Help

We believe every US company can play a part in creating pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth. In January 2012, the President will challenge businesses to commit to connecting low-income youth to summer employment. Recognizing that in a difficult economy not every business is in a position to hire, the Administration's new Summer Jobs Plus program will recognize and support not only businesses that hire youth, but also those companies that provide additional pathways for youth. Summer Jobs Plus identifies three key ways for companies to help connect youth to a better future while simultaneously deriving benefits for their businesses, such as increased employee engagement, customer loyalty and employee retention.

Businesses can accept the President's challenge and make a "Pathways Pledge" by choosing at least one of the following three pathways to employment for low-income youth:
  • Life Skills: Provide youth work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork, through coursework and/or experience. For example, your company could offer resume writing or interview workshops or provide employee mentors.
  • Work Skills: Provide youth insight into the world of work to prepare
    for employment. For example, businesses can host job shadow days.
  • Learn and Earn: Provide youth on-the-job skills in a learning environment while earning wages for their work. For example, businesses can offer paid internships, and/or offer permanent positions that provide on-the-job training. Business can also partner with schools and higher education institutions to give youth the opportunity both to strengthen their academic skills while working as well as to connect learning to the context of work.

Tools for Employer Success

To support companies that make pledges to Summer Jobs Plus, the Corporation for National and Community Service will make available a Youth Employment Partnerships toolkit. The toolkit will provide information on how businesses can create clear, community-supported, mutually beneficial pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth. Complete with case studies of best practices, the toolkit will guide businesses down one of the three pathways that best matches the company's assets and readiness to provide youth the skills they need for employment and adulthood.

Conveniently available in print and online, the toolkit will walk businesses through four key stages to identify and define a successful program.
  • Assess and Select: Employers take an assessment survey which guides them to select one of three engagement models (Life Skills, Work Skills or Learn & Earn).
  • Define Scope: Employers walk through an exercise to define the scope of their company's model.
  • Plan and Pilot: Users are guided through a plan to build their company's pilot program.
  • Refine and Grow: Employers set up for ongoing program development and refinement.

Additionally, employers who commit to support youth employment in one of the three pathways will register their commitments with the Summer Jobs Plus Bank, an easy-to-use tool that helps low-income youth and communities find job postings from companies looking to hire them. To help ensure youth can find these Summer Jobs Plus opportunities, the Administration will engage public and private sector resources to train employers and providers on how to "tag" listings for jobs as well as corporate mentorship opportunities and other "Pathway Pledges."

Making a Pathways Pledge

Companies who join the Summer Jobs Plus challenge will commit to the following:
  • Create new or expanded opportunities for a specific number of low-income youth ages 16-24. Each commitment will provide a specific number of young people they plan to engage in Summer 2012.
  • Hire youth, or to support youth via one of the three pathways to employment: Life Skills, Work Skills, or Learn and Earn
  • Participate in the Summer Jobs Plus Bank, including tagging listings for jobs, corporate mentoring experiences and other "Pathways Pledges."

    Summer Jobs Plus Commitment Tracker Sheet...
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Settlement Puts Community- Based Mental Health Services for Foster Care Youth on the Medi-Cal Menu of Services December 13th, 2011

Each day thousands of foster children in California are needlessly confined in institutions or large group homes because they cannot get the mental health services they are entitled to under federal law.

Dec. 5, 2011 - Federal District Court Judge A. Howard Matz approved a landmark agreement between advocates and the state of California that will provide intensive home- and community-based mental health services for children in foster care or at risk of removal from their families. The agreement in the class-action suit Katie A. v. Bonta comes nine years after the case was first filed.

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NCWD Youth Wants Your Input on "Guideposts for Success" Deadline 12-22-11 December 13th, 2011

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth is conducting an online survey to learn whether and how individuals and organizations use the "Guideposts for Success", a national framework that identifies what all youth need for successful transition to adulthood. NCWD Youth is conducting a survey--please follow article source link to participate in the survey.

If you have not seen the Guideposts for Success resources check them out at:
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Disabled New Targets of Anti-gay Initiatives December 8th, 2011

Anti-gay activists have added people with disabilities to their targets in the latest attempts to undo Senate Bill 48, also known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act.

SB 48 requires that students learn about the historical contributions of LGBT Americans and people with disabilities, among others.

In the coming months, Californians could face multiple bids to gut the state law, which was authored by gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and is set to go into effect January 1.

A proposed initiative reportedly filed with the state attorney general's office Tuesday, December 6, brings to five the total number of efforts to diminish SB 48's impact.

One of the most recent proposals, "Repeal SB48," filed by Richard Rios, chair of the Christian Coalition of California, strikes people with disabilities from the groups whose historical contributions have to be taught to students. In another part of his proposal, Pacific Islanders are removed from the law, among other changes. He previously submitted documents to exclude LGBTs.

Many feel excluding LGBTs and others from the law means children won't get an accurate picture of history....

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FEMA Provides Youth-Based Technical Assistance Workshops December 7th, 2011

FEMA Provides Youth-Based Technical Assistance Workshops

Leading educators and scholars in the field of preparedness education consider our nation's youth to be the best envoy for taking preparedness messages home to their families. In order to better prepare our nation's youth to bring preparedness home, FEMA is providing technical assistance workshops to state and local practitioners who support youth-based programs and who are interested in integrating preparedness education into their offerings.

As part of these workshops, participants hear from experts who have developed and delivered some of the most successful youth preparedness programs across the country. In discussing their programs, they also emphasize the following:

• Getting Started & Engaging Partners
• Identifying Curriculum
• Implementing the Program
• Promoting the Program
• Sustainment & Evaluation

You don't have to wait for a workshop in your area to get started. For more information about integrating preparedness education into your local youth programs, send a message to
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Celebrate Inclusive Schools Week December 6th, 2011

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network at Education Development Center, Inc., which is held each year during the first week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.
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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Youth Achievement Award Call for Nominations December 2nd, 2011

Nominations are now open for the ninth annual Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Youth Achievement Award. This $1,000 award recognizes the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD. It will be given to a student 19 or younger for demonstrating initiative, talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field-including art, music, science, math, athletics or community service. Honorable Mentions will also be awarded.

Deadline to apply is February 28, 2012
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GSA Network Youth Empowerment Summit December 10, 2011 December 1st, 2011

Register NOW for the GSANetwork Youth Empowerment Summit YES!

YES is an annual conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender, queer, questioning and intersex youth activists and allies who are dedicated to defeating homophobia and transphobia, and creating safe, supportive, schools for everyone. YES is youth planned and youth led.

Conference cost: $0-15 sliding scale pay what you can, now one is turned away for lack of funds

Conference will be held at the Buena Vista Horace Mann Community Center School in San Francisco, on Saturday December 10, from 9am to 8pm

For more information go or email or call 415-552-4229
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Apply for Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities DEADLINE January 13, 2012 December 1st, 2011

This is an invitation for California high school juniors and seniors who have disabilities to apply to come to Sacramento and attend the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF) July 23-27, 2012.

Students will have the opportunity to live on a college campus and join more than 900 alumni from across the state that have been a part of this unique program created specifically for young leaders with disabilities. At no cost for the student!

Students who attend YLF make new, life-long friendships and resource connections to help them reach their personal, academic, and career goals.
Alumni of the California Youth Leadership Forum say it has forever changed their lives for the better.

What to learn more? Go to for more information and a copy of the application and instructions.

If you experience any difficulty in filling out this application, we can help you. Please contact DOR by phone at (916) 558-5407, or by email at or by TTY at (916) 558-5403.

Deadline to submit applications, January 13th, 2012.

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Celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2011 December 1st, 2011

Theme for 2011: "Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development"

Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 10 per cent of the world's population, eighty per cent of which reside in developing countries. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.

Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society.

Experience shows that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead the process of development, their entire community benefits, as their involvement creates opportunities for everyone - with or without a disability. Including persons with disabilities and their communities in developmental efforts is important to advance the development agenda.

Thus it is imperative that development efforts around the world include disability issues when determining policies, programmes, as well as allocating funds for developmental programmes and projects. Mainstreaming disability in development is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby contributing to the realization of a "society for all" in the twenty-first century.

The General Assembly in its most recent resolution 65/186, seeks to convene a High-Level meeting on disability in 2012, with a view to strengthening efforts to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development efforts....

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California Coalition for Youth Taking Action Conference November 30th, 2011

Join us the California Coalition for Youth for an amazing 3 days of fun, leadership development, learning and advocacy!

CCY's annual Taking Action Conference empowers youth and youth advocates with strategies to create change and improve the lives of California's youth. It's your chance to come to our state's capital to share ideas, energy and experiences with transition-age youth, youth-serving programs and youth advocates from throughout California.

This year, we've decided to do our conference superhero style (hence the title, California Youth Powers Activate ! - a riff off the WonderTwins slogan). We are so excited to once again bring together youth advocates and service providers, state legislators, and amazing youth from across California for an exciting mix of fun, leadership development and advocacy. Register for the conference today and book your room ASAP for big savings!

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New Study Dispels Stereotypes About Young Voters Ahead of 2012 Elections November 30th, 2011

A new CIRCLE study, "Understanding a Diverse Generation: Youth Civic Engagement in the United States," shatters stereotypes and dispels conventional myths about the ways in which young people ages 18-29 are involved in the United States political system.

The study from CIRCLE, which is part of Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, uses U.S. Census data on young voters from across the United States and compares youth engagement in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles. Despite the over-simplified portrayal of young Americans in the news media, their political engagement is diverse. The study shows that at least three quarters of youth were somehow engaged in their community or in politics in both 2008 and 2010. But they engaged in very different ways. The key finding of the study is that young Americans were divided into six distinct patterns of engagement in recent years. In 2010, the clusters were:

• The Broadly Engaged (21% of youth) fill many different leadership roles;

• The Political Specialists (18%) are focused on voting and other forms of political activism;
• The Donors (11%) give money but do little else;
• The Under-Mobilized (14%) were registered to vote in 2010 but did not actually vote or participate actively;
• The Talkers (13%) report discussing political issues and are avid communicators online, but do not take action otherwise; and
• The Civically Alienated (23%) hardly engage at all.

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Low Cost Computers & Broadband for Students & Families November 17th, 2011

Yesterday, at a public school in Washington, DC, joined by cable and technology executives and nonprofit leaders, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced an unprecedented effort to help close the digital divide, bringing low-cost broadband and computers to millions of low-income Americans.

Right now nearly one-third of the country - 100 million Americans - doesn't have high-speed Internet at home. Compare that to Singapore and Korea, where broadband adoption rates top 90 percent. Minorities and low-income Americans are the hardest hit by this divide. Research shows that cost, relevance, and digital literacy are the primary reasons many people aren't connecting. Whether we're talking about jobs, education, or health care, in this day and age, getting online is a necessity, not a convenience.

The "Connect to Compete" effort will offer millions of families eligible for the National School Lunch Program discounted $9.95/ month broadband Internet, $150 laptop or desktop refurbished computers, and free digital literacy training. This represents a $4 billion in-kind offering for tens of millions of Americans. And it won't spend any taxpayer dollars.

Yesterday, President Obama said: "This important partnership between my Administration and American businesses represents a major step towards closing the digital divide -- connecting more families to the 21st century economy, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities, and helping America win the future....

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Schools Must Teach More Gay, Disabled History November 16th, 2011

SACRAMENTO - For the most part, California high school students may grasp the legacy of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and President Barack Obama's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" doctrine toward gays in the military.

But how many have heard of Frank Kameny, a civil servant who was fired from the Army Map Service because he was gay and became a pioneer in the gay rights movement at a time when psychiatrists labeled it a mental disorder?

Helen Keller is an icon in the blind and deaf community and, thanks to "The Miracle Worker," hers is one of the most recognizable names in American history.

But few social studies courses relate the role activist Justin Dart played in passing the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act that has changed the lives of millions of those who are blind, use wheelchairs or cannot hear.

Often obscure, figures and events in the history of the gay rights and disabled rights movements will soon have a mandatory place in the classroom right along side Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Susan B. Anthony.

It's part of a first-in-the-nation law that has drawn fierce protest, particularly among those committed to the belief that parents - not teachers or lawmakers - should be the ones deciding how to approach children about the still-delicate subjects revolving around gay figures and history.

A referendum drive, which would have delayed implementation until voters could decide the law's fate, failed to gather enough signatures. There is some talk of a November 2012 ballot measure.

"Our history is more complete when we recognize the contributions of people from all backgrounds and walks of life," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said after the legislation was signed into law in July.

Supporters say Senate Bill 48 could also help prevent bullying by presenting those who may be viewed as different in a positive light. The law also outlaws new textbooks and materials that reflect adversely on religious beliefs, and adds Pacific-Islanders to those whose contributions should be noted.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, pushing districts to quickly formulate teacher guides....

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Teachers Caught on Tape Bullying Youth with Disability November 15th, 2011

When a 14-year-old student with a disability in Ohio told her father she was being bullied at school, he figured it was something that many teenagers endure.

Then he realized it was his daughter's teachers doing the bullying.

"We were shocked,'' he tearfully said. "We couldn't know. We didn't know.''

After being told repeatedly by school administrators that his daughter was lying about being harassed and bullied, he outfitted her with a hidden tape recorder under her clothes. For the next four days, she recorded a series of abusive and cutting remarks from a teacher and a teacher's aide at Miami Trace Middle School in Washington Courthouse, Ohio.

The father, Brian, and his daughter, Cheyanne (their last names were withheld in the interview), appeared on TODAY with their attorneys Tuesday as snippets from the secret audio tapes were played.

When asked by Ann Curry how all of this made her feel, Cheyanne simply replied, "Sad.''

'Are you that damn dumb?'

The tapes reveal teacher Christie Wilt and her teacher's aide, Kelly Chaffins, saying disturbing things to Cheyanne in the classroom. Cheyanne, who is now in high school, was in Wilt's class for three years of middle school. Chaffins has since resigned, while Wilt had to undergo eight hours of anti-bullying and child abuse training. On Monday, Wilt was put on unpaid leave for the rest of the school year, but Cheyanne's family is hoping to prevent her from ever teaching or working with special needs students again.

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Lighting the Capitol Green for Runaway & Homeless Youth Month November 7th, 2011

November is recognized in California as Runaway and Homeless Youth Month.

To raise awareness and support the California Coalition for Youth will be lighting the state capitol green. The event will be held on Saturday November 12 at 6:30 with a lighting ceremony with the building being lit up at 7:00. This event coincides with Second Saturday Art Walk and we will be working with the local businesses to hang green lights and leave out information about RHY as well as the California Youth Crisis Line.

Why are we doing this?

There are thousands of homeless youth in California. We don't know exactly how many and estimates vary widely because homeless youth are hard to find and hard to count. What we do know is that during 2008-09, about 81,000 services, ranging from shelter beds to street outreach contacts, were provided to homeless youth in California. Many more homeless youth do not receive any services. It is likely that 200,000 youth ages 12 to17, along with thousands of 18 to 24 year-olds, experience homelessness over the course of a year in California.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2011 November 7th, 2011

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is annually recognized on
December 3.

This year's theme is "Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development." Priorities Identified this year are:

Mainstreaming disability: including a disability perspective in all development processes

Gender: including women and girls with disabilities in development

Including children and youth with disabilities in development

Accessibility: removing barriers and promoting disability-inclusive development

Promoting data collection and statistics on disability

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California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Seeks Members October 25th, 2011

The California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities is seeking nominations for committee members. This committee is mandated in the California's Workforce Inclusion Act, Assembly Bill 925 as amended in Assembly Bill 119 of 2011, to consult with and advise the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the California Health and Human Services Agency on all issues related to full inclusion in the workforce of persons with disabilities.

Membership includes: representation from individuals with disabilities; business representatives with experience in employing persons with disabilities; representation from the California Health Incentive Improvement Project, from the California Workforce Investment Board, from community based one-stop centers to be nominated by the California Workforce Investment Board, and state departments with disability related programs. Members serve on a voluntary basis and will be compensated for necessary travel expenses.

The Department of Rehabilitation is currently accepting applications, and we invite you to nominate persons who would be interested in serving. Self-nominations will also be accepted. Individuals nominating themselves should provide a letter of support.

This selection process is competitive, nominations will not be considered without a completed copy of the application and if needed, a letter of support. Resumes may also be included with the application, but are not required. Appointment notifications shall be made at the discretion of the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

The application process and background information on the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities are available at the following link

Please submit all materials by November 11, 2011 to:
Department of Rehabilitation
External Affairs
721 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
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One Girl's Take on Disability History Week October 24th, 2011

By Sarah Moussavian,
YO! Corps Volunteer at Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

Born with a disability, I know how hard it can be to go to school every day, feeling 'different'.

Since I was one of only a few students to have a physical disability in Elementary and Middle School I didn't have many friends to turn to when I was a victim of bullying.

As I was growing up, my classmates were afraid to be friends with me because they thought my disability was "contagious." After graduating, I thought about many of the friendships I missed out on and realized I wanted to break down the barriers that so many people with disabilities face every day.

I decided to join a leadership group for young people with disabilities, and that's where I first participated in fighting to change things. I got the chance to help author the proposal to create a Disability History Week in California.

We're celebrating the first Disability History Week this October. I believe that change will happen, and people with disabilities will eventually no longer fear being bullied.

To listen to the commentary visit
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From Being Bullied To Changing The Law October 21st, 2011

Youth Radio Features YO! Corps Volunteer Sara Moussavian

Born with a disability, I know how hard it can be to go to school everyday, feeling 'different'. Sometimes I was even bullied by other students who didn't fully understand my situation. I was born with Apert Syndrome, which is a genetic defect condition. Since I was one of few in my academic classes to have a disability in Elementary and Middle School with a physical disability the times that I was a victim of a bullying incident I didn't have many friends to turn to for support.

As I was growing up, my classmates had a fear of being friends with me because they thought my disability was "contagious" so they were afraid to even be near me. After graduating, I thought about many of the friendships I missed out on and that's when I realized I wanted to make a difference and break down the barriers that so many people with disabilities face every day.....

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Celebrate Disability History by Supporting YO! October 13th, 2011

Do you want to CELEBRATE Disability History Week?

With a $10 donation to YO! Disabled & Proud you can receive the 2011 Disability History Week poster that depicts a critical moment in our history: the 504 Sit-in

With a donation of $25 you can receive the the incredible documentary
"The Power of 504"

YO! has teamed up with Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund to make a special October offer--with a $30 donation to YO! you can recieve the Poster and the Documentary

Make your donation today, in celebration of our history!
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Despite Support, Prospects are Slim for Federal Bullying Law October 13th, 2011

Despite the high profile of bullying over the past two years - including a White House summit to discuss the issue - prospects for a federal bullying law are dim.

It's not for a lack of proposals. At least six bills have been introduced in Congress this year that would boost the federal government's role in bullying prevention. They range from allowing a grant to be used for anti-bullying efforts to enacting federal protections for gay and lesbian students.

But none of those six have had a committee hearing or a vote.

Supporters of some of those bills say they're working behind the scenes to have their language added to whatever replaces the federal No Child Left Behind education law....

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YO! Corps Volunteer Katie Laackmann Discusses Disability History Week with Capitol Public Radio October 12th, 2011

Disability History Week is the topic of discussion on Capitol Public Radio Insight program this morning....

Disability History Week The Second Annual California Disability History Week will be celebrated around the state this week. We'll speak with the deputy director of California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Christina Mills, and Katie Laackmann, a Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud volunteer.

KXJZ 90.9 Sacramento KKTO 90.5 Tahoe/Reno KUOP 91.3 Stockton KQNC 88.1 Quincy KXPR 88.9 Sacramento KXSR 91.7 Groveland/Sonora KXJS 88.7 Sutter/YubaCity
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Opponents of FAIR Education Act Fail to Qualify Referendum for 2012 Ballot October 11th, 2011

Today, anti-equality advocates announced that they have failed to collect the required number of signatures to place a referendum for the November 2012 ballot to overturn the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act.

The FAIR Education Act, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California and GSA Network, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year. It requires schools to integrate age-appropriate and factual information about historical roles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, people with disabilities and people of color into existing social science instruction.

"The FAIR Education Act will simply ensure that California's students learn an honest, accurate, and inclusive account of history, but opponents of equality have grossly distorted the intent and the effect of the FAIR Education act in their quest to secure signatures for this referendum. Today's victory shows that their lies cannot stand up to our truth," said Roland Palencia, Equality California Executive Director and Interim Executive Committee Co-Chair of the coalition to protect the FAIR Education Act. "But we know that opponents of equality won't stop here. We remain vigilant, not only to make sure that people know the facts about the FAIR Education Act, but also to continue preparing for new attacks on the FAIR Education Act at the ballot box, in the legislature and in courts of law."

"Now it's time to focus on implementing the FAIR Education Act and demonstrate to the public that our opponents' lies are nothing more than smear tactics designed to censor the historical contributions of LGBT people, people with disabilities and people of color from social studies classes," said Laura Valdez, Interim Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network and Co-Chair of the Interim Executive Committee of the coalition to protect the FAIR Education Act. "Already, we are working with school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community groups to ensure the fair and accurate portrayal of historically marginalized groups in schools, and we will continue to work to educate the public."

"Today's news is welcome and it comes as the Second Annual Disability History Week in full swing, a reminder that youth with disabilities are powerful voices for change and tolerance," said Teresa Favuzzi, Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living. "We look forward to getting to work to implement this important law and to ensure that disability history is included in a full, inclusive, study of our history."

Since July, FAIR Education Act supporters across the state have built a broad coalition to protect the law and educate the public that spans people of faith; labor organizations; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights groups; disability rights advocates; racial justice organizations and many others who care about equality. These organizations remain committed to strengthening the coalition and protecting this important law. For more information, please go to

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment.

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. In California alone, GSA Network has brought GSA clubs to 56% of public high schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students at 850 schools. GSA Network's youth advocates have played a key role in changing laws and policies that impact youth at the local and state level. GSA Network operates the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites more than 30 statewide networks of GSA clubs throughout the country. GSA Network is also the founder of the Make It Better Project, which aims to stop bullying and prevent suicide.

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Governor Signs Seth's Law October 10th, 2011

Governor Brown signed into law last night Seth's Law, a bill that will improve
school procedures and policies to prevent bullying in California schools. A very timely signature, as October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Congratulations to YO! members who educated policy makers about the impact of bullying on youth with disabilities. Your letters, emails and visits ensured that youth with disabilities were included in this new law.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced the legislation "As a former teacher, I know how important it is for our students to feel safe at school," Ammiano said in a statement after the state Senate passed the bill. "We have a moral duty to our youth to prevent bullying … before a tragedy occurs."

To learn more visit our Own MY Power Freedom from Bullying Campaign

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Youth-led Movement Launches Second Annual California Disability History Week October 10th, 2011

Youth-led Movement Launches Second Annual California Disability History Week

Dozens of school events planned throughout the state to celebrate the Second Annual California Disability History Week

Sacramento, CA - The Second Annual California Disability History Week will be celebrated around the state this week (October 10th- October 14th), the result of a long-fought effort by young people with disabilities determined to create a better understanding of the contributions people with disabilities have made to our society. In honor of this important week, students, teachers and schools around the state are preparing dozens of activities to take place both during and after school.

"California's youth with disabilities led the effort to create Disability History Week because we know that by learning about the past, we can help change the future." said YO! Volunteer Penelope DeMeerleer.

"Giving teachers the chance to create lesson plans and encourage conversations in class about the history of the disability history will go a long way in helping to reduce ignorance on campus and increase awareness and tolerance" Jonny Vallin, a student at CSU Los Angeles, explained.

Part of a national youth-led movement to increase awareness of disability history, California's Disability History week encourages schools and colleges to highlight the disability rights social movement, the disability leaders and actions that led to Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in the Olmstead case. Schools are planning events including: rallies, classroom activities, panels, assemblies, outreach, and guest speakers.

Efforts to pass the resolution to create Disability History Week, authored by Assemblymember Jim Beall (D-San Jose), were supported by the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and YO! Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud and comes after youth movements in several other states were successful in gaining recognition of Disability History Weeks. Nationwide, efforts to recognize disability history are supported by the federal Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

"Our history is so rich and diverse in California, yet many of my peers have never learned about the history of the disability community. I think this lack of knowledge is a major reason why so many young people with disabilities experience bullying at school," said Ania Flatau, a student at Monterey Pennisula College. "This is why it is so important for Disability History Week to get started. I know that if my classmates had more information about the disability community, there would definitely be a greater understanding between students with and without disabilities."

The Second Annual Disability History Week will be particularly timely, as an effort to overturn the recently adopted Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act at the ballot will be required to submit over 500,000 valid signatures on October 12th in order to qualify. The FAIR Act will lead to schools including information about the disability rights and LGBT rights movements in social studies and history classes in K-12 education. A month after Governor Brown signed the FAIR Act into law, several anti-gay groups launched an effort to prevent the historic Act from going into effect. Youth with disabilities from around the state are determined to make sure that these efforts to exclude certain parts of our history do not succeed.

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ODEP Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month October 7th, 2011

The Office of Disability Employment Policy each October, recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme, "Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities," focuses on improving employment opportunities that lead to good jobs and a secure economic future for people with disabilities - and America. This theme emphasizes the dividend we all gain by increasing employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.
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Palo Alto Unified School District Passes Disability History Week Resolution! October 7th, 2011

Last week as a result of the advocacy by Youth Organizers at the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, the Board of Education of the Palo Alto Unified School District passed a resolution designating the second week in October Disability History Week, to acknowledge the role and contributions of individuals with disabilities in our society.

GREAT WORK SVILC and YO! Volunteers
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AAHD Scholarship Program September 30th, 2011

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is proud to announce that applications are being expected for the 2011-12 Scholarship Program.

The AAHD Scholarship Program supports students with disabilities who are pursuing higher education. Preference will be given to students who plan to pursue undergraduate/graduate studies in the field of public health, health promotion, or disability studies, to include disability policy and disability research. Royalties from the Disability and Health Journal partially fund the the AAHD Scholarship Program.

Please visit to learn more about the Scholarship Program and to download the application. Applications are due by November 15, 2011.

If you would like to make a donation to the AAHD Scholarship Program, please send your contribution to American Association on Health and Disability, 110 N. Washington Street, Suite 328-J, Rockville, MD 20850. All donations to the Scholarship Program are used 100% for scholarships. For additional questions, please contact Maria Manolatos at or Roberta Carlin at or 301-545-6140 ext. 202.

Please feel free to circulate this announcement to your friends and colleagues.
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Disabled Boy Kills Himself After Bullying Attack September 30th, 2011

The death of an 11-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy months after his assault by a bully has shined a spotlight on bullying in Canada's schools.

Muscular dystrophy left Mitchell Wilson struggling to do simple things like walking around the block or climbing stairs. He also had to use a walker at school. Doctors had urged him to exercise regularly to stave off the disease's effects, something that was growing increasingly difficult for the boy.

Wilson was mugged last November by a 12-year-old boy from his school. The assailant was after the iPhone Wilson borrowed from his dad. The bully was arrested and removed from the Pickering, Ont. school they both attended.

"He was never the same," said Craig Wilson to the Toronto Star, the boy's father and the one who found the boy's body in his room with a plastic bag tied around his head earlier this month.

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Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults With Disabilities up to 8 Years After High School September 29th, 2011

The report describes the experiences and outcomes of young adults with disabilities in postsecondary education, employment, independence, and social domains during their first 8 years out of high school.

Selected findings include:

Sixty percent of young adults with disabilities reported having continued on to postsecondary education within 8 years of leaving high school.

Ninety-one percent of young adults with disabilities reported having been employed at some time since leaving high school, holding an average of four jobs.

Ninety-four percent of young adults with disabilities reported having been engaged in employment, postsecondary education, and/or job training during this post-high school period.

Fifty-nine percent of young adults with disabilities had lived independently (on their own or with a spouse, partner, or roommate), and 4 percent had lived semi-independently (primarily in a college dormitory or military housing).

The participation rate of young adults with disabilities in any one of three types of social and community involvement activities—lessons or classes outside of school, volunteer or community service activities, and organized school or community groups—was 52 percent, ranging from 20 percent to 39 percent of young adults across the three types of activities.

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Victory for Kids in California September 28th, 2011

The class action known as Katie A. v. Bonta was filed in July 2002. It challenges California's failure to provide home-based and community-based mental health services to children who are in the foster care system or at risk of removal from their families. Of special concern is California's practice of confining children with mental health needs in hospitals and large group homes instead of providing services that would enable them to stay in their own homes and communities.

In 2003, Los Angeles County settled its portion of the lawsuit, agreeing to close the notorious MacLaren Children's Center and develop appropriate services in the community. However, an expert panel found in August 2005 that the county had not yet even developed a plan to provide community services to the 50,000 children in its foster care system--the nation's largest. In an effort to refocus the county's efforts, lawyers for the children asked the district judge to compel the county to comply with the settlement agreement.

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No Child Left Behind Proposals Trouble Special Ed. Advocates September 22nd, 2011

Proposed changes by some Republican senators to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now called No Child Left Behind, could push more children with disabilities away from taking the same kinds of tests as their classmates. That could limit how many students with special needs are included when schools and districts are held accountable for their students' progress, the National Center on Learning Disabilities told several senators in a letter this week....
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Stop Bullying Speak Up: Launched by Time Warner and Facebook September 20th, 2011

Bullying is a prominent problem that greatly impacts the lives of teens everywhere and there have been various initiatives to raise awareness and help stop bullying in schools across the country. In July, ABC Family, Seventeen Magazine and Twibbon launched an anti-cyberbullying campaign on Twitter and Facebook after ABC Family aired the biting drama "Cyberbully." Formspring also took steps to help stop bullying and Barack and Michelle Obama used Facebook to help spread their anti-bullying message. Now Time Warner has teamed up with Facebook to help stop bullying through a new social pledge app called "Stop Bullying: Speak Up."

The app, named after the original initiative that was launched by Cartoon Network, is targeted towards bystanders who witness bullying. It encourages students, teachers and parents to take actions that will stop bullies in their tracks. Users can take the pledge, share stories, recruit others to join the movement and create their own bullying prevention groups on Facebook for their particular school. The app includes a personal message from Anderson Cooper as well as articles about bullying, hazing and how to make a difference.
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SVILC & CRIL Present Annual Disability History Week Teacher Training September 9th, 2011

SVILC and CRIL would like to invite teachers to the Annual Disability History Week Teacher Training. During this training educators will learn classroom lessons, and are asked to commit one class period per section to teaching a lesson about Disability History. There are 20 spots available, and are accepted on a first come, first serve spaces. Registrations sent in after we have reached our limit will be placed on a wait list. If you have any questions, please contact

Sara Moussavian ( - Santa Clara County)

Dolores Tejada ( - Alameda County).

Thank you!
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CA Bill To Require Health Plans To Cover Autism Therapy September 8th, 2011

As the end of this legislative session nears, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is trying to advance a bill (SB 946) that would require private health insurers to cover an autism treatment, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Details of Bill

The bill would require private health plans to cover a therapy, known as behavioral health treatment or applied behavioral analysis, for children with autism.

Under the legislation, public health plans -- such as Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program -- would be exempt from the requirement to cover the behavioral therapy. Therefore, the bill would not add costs to the state's general fund.

If lawmakers approve the bill, the coverage mandate would take effect July 1, 2012, and last two years. However, Steinberg has said that he would work to extend the requirement.

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Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults With Disabilities up to 6 Years After High School September 8th, 2011

The National Longitudinal Transition Study provides a unique source of information to help in developing an understanding of the experiences of secondary school students with disabilities nationally as they go through their early adult years. This report addresses questions about youth with disabilities in transition by providing information over a 10-year period about a nationally representative sample of secondary school students with disabilities who were receiving special
education services under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act in the 2000–2001 school year.
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Students Fight Harrassment on Campus September 6th, 2011

With the school year beginning, many kids are dreading returning to class. Yet for many gay youth, it's not schoolwork they fear. It's going back to a hostile campus where they are often bullied. But a group of California students are trying to counter that harassment...

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Don't Erase People With Disabilities From Our History Books September 6th, 2011

YO! Corps Volunteer Katie Laackmann from River City High School published an article in the California Progress Report

For me and other youth with disabilities, the "back to school" season has special significance this year. Over the summer, our state legislature passed a bill that will finally require California public schools to include the history of the disability rights movement in social studies and history lessons and on July 14, Governor Brown signed it into law.

In 2010, youth with disabilities led the effort to establish the second week in October as Disability History Week and on the heels of that victory, SB 48 (Leno), the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act will now ensure that our peers in K-12 schools learn about the contributions people with disabilities have made in our country...

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NCLD Report:The State of Learning Disabilities September 1st, 2011

The National Center for Learning Disabiltiies' newly released report provides a national and state-by-state snapshot of learning disabilities in the U.S., and their impact on the ability of students and adults to achieve educational success and employment.

Click to learn more...
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Seeking Youth and Young Adult Transition Stories September 1st, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy is currently working on a publication that is intended to be a complete transition guide as youth and young adults (age 14-25) with disabilities move from high school to post-secondary settings, including but not limited to full-time jobs, vocational training (being an apprentice), service, internships; and junior college and university settings. Since experiences are a great way to learn, they are trying to collect stories from youth and young adults with disabilities about their transitions. This project is open to youth with different types of disabilities, from all backgrounds, and from all across the country!

Please feel free to contact Hamza Jaka at or Laura Ibanez, at:
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California Tour of Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities August 31st, 2011

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. Co-sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Department of Defense with the participation of many other federal agencies and sub-agencies, the WRP has provided employment opportunities for over 5,500 students since 1995.

Starting October 17 through November 10th, WRP recruiters will be interviewing students at 28 different colleges and universities.

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Education Department Backs Away From Fix to Help Disabled Student Borrowers August 29th, 2011

ProPublica and Chronicle of Higher Education

After suffering from panic attacks and episodes of psychosis, Donita McDonald was diagnosed with a severe mental illness in 2009. She was unable to work or attend school, so the Social Security Administration declared the 21-year-old disabled. After the ruling, McDonald's family turned to the Department of Education, appealing to also have her thousands of dollars in student loans forgiven. The department is supposed to forgive the loans of former students who develop severe and lasting disabilities, such as McDonald.

But rather than accept the Social Security Administration's ruling, the Education Department has forced McDonald to go through a separate, arduous and largely duplicative review that has left her facing continuous collection efforts, even though she is unable to handle her own finances.

McDonald's experience is far from unique. As ProPublica, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the Center for Public Integrity detailed in an article in February [2], the department's dysfunctional process for evaluating disability is keeping many genuinely disabled applicants in debt. Internal reports by the department's own ombudsman found that the program has suffered from "fundamental deficiencies" including "no written medical standards for determining disability," "no formal appeals process" for denials and "undue burden and costs" on borrowers.

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Assistive Technology is Going Back to School August 26th, 2011

As students are getting ready for the new school year, I wanted to find out what kind of Assistive Technology (AT) youth are using these days in college. So I decided to interview Nellie, a youth volunteer for the Youth Organizing (YO!) Disabled and Proud Program.

Nellie is 21-years-old and is also a third year student at Sacramento City College (SCC)...

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One in Five Teens Report Being Bullied Online August 25th, 2011

Nearly one of every five kids between age 12 and 17 report being "cyber bullied," according to a recent survey that examined the connection between social networking sites and substance use.

Out of 1,037 teens polled by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 19 percent of respondents said they had someone post "mean or embarrassing things about them" on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook.

Girls were far more likely than boys (25 percent versus 14 percent) to report having been bullied.

The figure is significantly lower than earlier surveys of youth about online bullying. In a 2004 survey of 1,500 students, in grades four through eight, 42 percent reported having been bullied online and 35 percent reported being threatened online.

Compared to teens who are not cyber bullied, "teens who have been cyber bullied are more than twice as likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana," according to the survey, which mostly asks about the use of drugs and alcohol by teens and their attitude about substance use.

To read more link to source article below

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Youth Transition Conference, RICV Fresno August 25th, 2011

2011 Youth Transition Conference
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial District, 808 4th Street, Clovis, CA 93612
When: November 3rd at 8:00am to 3:30

Save the Date!
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Seeking to Fund Teachers Who Include Students with Disabilities in Student Run Businesses August 24th, 2011

UCLA Tarjan Center and SAGE Mitsubishi Inclusion will fund up to three schools to include students with and without disabilities in, socially responsible, student run businesses. Like any business, socially responsible businesses, provide a needed product or service to the community. Socially responsible businesses take extra efforts to help people and protect the planet.

The selected schools will receive an annual $2000-$2,500 Project Stipend to support their participation. The teachers in selected schools will be designated as a SAGE-Mitsubishi Inclusion Fellows. In addition, each selected school will receive a video camera. The students participating in the student run businesses, at the selected schools, will be responsible for shooting video footage of their experience. These individual team videos will be compiled and edited to create a "Making Entrepreneur Inclusion Happen" project video, which will demonstrate best practices for including all students in entrepreneur leadership.

Also, each student business team, within the selected schools, will receive a public relations package (including T-shirts, buttons and other promotional materials) and be expected to promote inclusion in their school and local community. If a team desires, they can also participate in the national SAGE competition, where their room and board will be covered. Successful applicants will be funded for a 21 month program period (approximately 2 school years) 10/31/2011 through 8/1/2013. The second year of funding is contingent upon satisfactory performance in year one, and other programmatic decisions.

For more information go to article source
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Preteens and Young Adults Embrace Rude, Crude Online Culture August 23rd, 2011

San Jose Mercury News
Exploring the frontiers of newfound freedom, many tweens and teens quickly embrace the raunchy, rude lingo of cyberspace, casually flinging insults, obscenities and taunts that make their chat room sound like a barroom.

"Foul language is just what is popular," said Rachel Carrasquillo, a junior at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif. "I think half of the stuff people say on Facebook they'd never say face-to-face."

But now, as kids head back to school, they may find more adults are paying attention. Educators increasingly are joining in to challenge the crude culture of social networks, which they fear unleashes cyberbullying and sexting, heightens the social drama of puberty and teaches the wrong values

To read more follow the link below

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Bullying Can Ruin Children's Lives August 23rd, 2011

Sensational stories of students being bullied, causing physical and mental illness or even death, by their own hands or others’, have sadly become too common. Television viewers are becoming desensitized to dangers lurking around school yards or computer desks.

It is heartbreaking to see children’s lives ruined by the behavior of other kids, whose parents and teachers seem not to care.

When we were kids, bullying was confined to a classroom or school yard. Nowadays, bullying is worldwide, and has intensified in meanness and manipulation.

I was shocked to see how many TV programs have to do with bullying—mean girls, liars, real housewives, and what have you!

Fat, thin, short, tall, ugly, too pretty, quiet, braces, wrong clothes, wrong accent, gay, nerdy, dumb, poor, too rich. No one is safe from bullying.

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State Lawmakers Honor Local Autistic Teen for Community Leadership August 18th, 2011

For 17-year-old Shane Bonetti, autism isn't something that's holding him back from being a leader in his community.

He recently was one of 60 student delegates from across the state selected to attend a Youth Leadership Forum for students with disabilities.

They gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to show lawmakers they have what it takes to become the leaders of tomorrow.

"I was excited when I found out," Shane said. "I want to go back next year as a staff member."

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Young Minds Competition: Calling ALL Youth Voices August 18th, 2011

Calling All Youth Voices
The Young Minds competition is looking for exceptional young people from ages of 18 to 24 who are changing their communities and the world. These "future world-changers" will have the opportunity to join over 400 of the planet's top leaders and biggest brains - from businessmen to bloggers and inventors to activists - at Google's annual Zeitgeist event. Applicants should submit a one minute video describing how they're making a difference. Before you know it, you could be in Arizona chatting with Desmond Tutu or Will.I.Am

Watch Youth Videos and Apply NOW!
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SSI Program for Youth at Risk August 18th, 2011

The SSI program for children is rapidly expanding, with the biggest increase among kids with mental, behavioral and learning disorders, including ADHD, speech delays, autism, and bipolar disorder. But as it pulls in children like Hulston, the program is sparking criticism in Congress. The Boston Globe fueled a lot of the backlash with a series last December that termed the children's SSI program "The Other Welfare" and followed several families whose children's eligibility for the program was questionable. Several of the families, the articles reported, believed that they had to medicate their children with psychotropic drugs in order to qualify for the benefit.
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Study: California Community College Completion Rate Low August 15th, 2011

The report, titled “Divided We Fail: Inland Empire Regional Profile,” shows that 70% of students who enrolled in a California community College still had not completed a degree or a certificate or transferred to a four-year school after 6 years. When the data was broken down by race, it showed that the number of Latino and black students who failed to achieve any of the above objectives was between 75% and 80%.

It tracked more than 250,000 students who enrolled in community colleges throughout California and tracked their progress over the next 6 years. Statistics for Inland Empire mirror those of the rest of the state
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Youth Who Use Facebook do Worse in School August 10th, 2011

That Facebook is hugely distracting is hardly stop-the-presses kind of news, but parents might be dismayed to learn that the social-media site can hobble learning and make kids less healthy and more depressed.

Research has found that students in middle school, high school and college who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period got lower grades. Other studies have discovered that teens who use Facebook tend to have more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults who are active on the site display other psychological disorders. And daily use of media and technology — what teen doesn't use tech each day? — makes kids more prone to anxiety and depression.

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AT Network Webinar: Assistive Technology What Happens After High School? August 9th, 2011

AT & Transition: What Happens after High School?

Do you have questions about how to access the tools you need for success once you are out of the education system? Do you know which systems pay for what, and how to advocate for what you need? This webinar will answer these questions, plus provide info on how to best coordinate services within the Regional Center, Department of Rehab, college, and medical insurance systems. Personal experience stories will be shared, so you can learn how it can work, and how to make it work for you!

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National Arts & Disability Center Announces Grants for Artists August 8th, 2011

The purpose of the California Arts and Accessibility Technical Assistance Program is to enhance opportunities for participation in the arts by people with disabilities. This is done through small, but critical grants of $500 or $1000 to artists with disabilities and arts organizations. Grants for artists with disabilities are intended to support those who are committed to advancing their work and their careers. Applications are encouraged from artists in all artistic disciplines. Artist grants are for specific projects that contribute directly to their growth and development as professionals. Funding will be available through May, 2012 Please read Grant Guidelines carefully as there have been changes to the program.

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CFILC Seeks Full-Time Youth Advocate August 5th, 2011

CFILC is seeking energized and motivated candidates for our Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud Youth Advocate position.

The YO! Advocate is responsible for developing presentations and doing outreach and recruitment for YO! events. The YO! Advocate is responsible for identifying topics and speakers for YO! statewide webinars.

The YO! Advocate will provide logistical support to the Youth Advisory Council, YO! Corps Volunteers, YO! Campaign Organizers, and the advancement of YO! organizing campaigns for social change.

The Youth Advocate is responsible for responding to the YO! Information and Referral Line as well as developing materials and resources for YO! Line callers. This position is responsible for data input and collection for the YO! Line database.

This is a full-time position working 40 hours per week and is based in the CFILC offices located in Sacramento California

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YO! Announces Youth Advocacy Summit August 5th, 2011

The Own My Power Youth Advocacy Summit will launch YO! Disabled & Proud's anti-bullying campaign during the weekend of September 16th to 18th, at Sierra Health Foundation's Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola California.

At this summit, youth and adult allies will come together to discuss bullying, share their experiences and create an organizing plan to bring the Own My Power campaign to their schools and communities.

Grizzly Creek Ranch is an accessible camp and participants will enjoy a real camp experience, including a ropes course and campfire!

Space is limited
A committment to volunteer to work on the campaign throughout 2012 is required

Register Today!
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YO! Announces Youth Statewide Webinar Series August 3rd, 2011

Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud is launching a statewide webinar series focused on issues impacting youth with disabilities. The first webinar will be an overview of
Issues Impacting Youth with Traumatic Brain Injuries Tuesday - August 16, 2011 • 3:30-4:30pm, brought to you by the Central Coast Center for Independent Living.

Future webinars will cover Youth and Personal Assistance Services, Youth Work Incentives and Disability Benefits, Independent Living Transitioning to Adulthood.

Sign-Up Today!

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Bullying More Common Among Students with Disabilities July 29th, 2011

Kids with disabilities and other special health care needs are at increased risk for bullying and generally show less motivation to succeed in school, new research indicates.

The findings come from a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics that looked at more than 1,450 students in fourth through sixth grade attending three rural school districts in Maryland and West Virginia.

Through surveys of the students and their parents, researchers found that about 1 in 3 kids in mainstream classrooms at the schools had some type of special health care need ranging from asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to emotional and behavioral disorders.

When the survey responses were matched up with school records, it became clear that children with disabilities missed more days of school and had lower grades, according to the research team from the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins and Marshall University.

These kids also reported higher levels of bullying and were less likely to feel safe in school, the study found.

Moreover, when it came to academics, students with special health care needs were less likely to report that getting good grades mattered to them.

“These problems threaten both their well-being as youth and their future flourishing as adults,” the study authors write. “Health and school professionals will need to work together to identify these children much earlier, ensure that they receive appropriate supports and services and monitor the effectiveness of services.”

Of the students surveyed, boys were twice as likely as girls to have special health care needs. Children from lower income households were also at increased risk for falling into this category, which could explain the high rate of the conditions among students in the study sample.
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YO! Receives Herb Levine Legacy Fund Grant July 26th, 2011

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers

Sacramento, CA – The Herb Levine Legacy Fund has announced its grant to the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers’ program YO! Disabled and Proud. This grant will support the YO! Disabled and Proud Volunteer Program by providing one youth stipend for one full year. In addition, this funding will support that volunteer to attend the YO! Disabled and Proud Youth Summit in September.

The Herb Levine Legacy Fund is designed to foster grassroots disability rights activism in California. Named after former Independent Living Resources Center San Francisco Executive Director, Herb Levine, the fund is working to foster grassroots projects that are in line with the mission of working to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, both within their families and in a fully accessible community. Grant recipients.

YO! Disabled & Proud Connects, Educates and Organizes youth with disabilities, ages 16 to 28, by offering opportunities for youth with disabilities to build community with each other, develop a sense of history, leadership, a positive disability identity, as they organize and mobilize each other on issues that impact their lives. Our YO! Volunteer Corps supports over a dozen youth across California who have collectively volunteered over 2,000 hours in the last year.

This year, YO! will launch an anti-bully campaign at a Youth Summit on September 16th -18th at Sierra Health Foundations’ Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola California. During the Summit, Youth with disabilities from across California will develop a plan to connect, organize and educate our communities about this issue through the development of videos and materials, story collection, training and outreach events.

Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud is a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, our mission is to support Independent Living Centers in their local communities through advocating for systems change and promoting access and integration for people with disabilities.

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California DREAM Act signed by Governor Brown July 26th, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday extending scholarship opportunities to undocumented immigrant students, part of landmark "Dream Act" legislation vetoed by Brown's predecessor.

"Our future is uncertain if we neglect those children," Brown told supporters at Los Angeles City College. "But it's absolutely abundant if we invest in their education, their child care, their future, their neighborhoods."

Assembly Bill 130 allows students who are in the country illegally but qualify for in-state tuition to apply for private financial aid. The Democratic governor is likely this year to sign a broader companion bill, Assembly Bill 131, allowing illegal immigrants to seek public aid, including Cal Grants.

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Presidential Proclamation - 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act July 26th, 2011


July 25, 2011

Attached is a proclamation signed by the President today regarding the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also, see text below.

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 25, 2011
- - - - - - -

Generations of Americans with disabilities have improved our country in countless ways. Refusing to accept the world as it was, they have torn down the barriers that prohibited them from fully realizing the American dream. Their tireless efforts led to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation in our Nation's history. On this day, we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ADA and the progress we have made, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans.

Each day, people living with disabilities make immeasurable contributions to the diversity and vitality of our communities. Nearly one in five Americans lives with a disability. They are our family members and friends, neighbors and colleagues, and business and civic leaders. Since the passing of the ADA, persons with disabilities are leading fuller lives in neighborhoods that are more accessible and have greater access to new technologies. In our classrooms, young people with disabilities now enjoy the same educational opportunities as their peers and are gaining the tools necessary to reach their greatest potential.

Despite these advancements, there is more work to be done, and my Administration remains committed to ending all forms of discrimination and upholding the rights of Americans with disabilities. The Department of Justice continues to strengthen enforcement of the ADA by ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to community-based services that allow them to lead independent lives in the communities of their choosing. Under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, insurers will no longer be able to engage in the discriminatory practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and Americans with disabilities will have greater control over their health care choices. And last year, I signed an Executive Order establishing the Federal Government as a model employer for individuals with disabilities, placing a special focus on recruitment and retention of public servants with disabilities across Federal agencies.

Through the ADA, America was the first country in the world to comprehensively declare equality for citizens with disabilities. To continue promoting these principles, we have joined in signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At its core, this Convention promotes equality. It seeks to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities as all people, and are able to lead their lives as do other individuals.

Eventual ratification of this Convention would represent another important step in our forty-plus years of protecting disability rights. It would offer us a platform to encourage other countries to join and implement the Convention. Broad implementation would mean greater protections and benefits abroad for millions of Americans with disabilities, including our veterans, who travel, conduct business, study, reside, or retire overseas. In encouraging other countries to join and implement the Convention, we also could help level the playing field to the benefit of American companies, who already meet high standards under United States domestic law. Improved disabilities standards abroad would also afford American businesses increased opportunities to export innovative products and technologies, stimulating job creation at home.

Equal access, equal opportunity, and the freedom to make of our lives what we will are principles upon which our Nation was founded, and they continue to guide our efforts to perfect our Union. Together, we can ensure our country is not deprived of the full talents and contributions of the approximately 54 million Americans living with disabilities, and we will move forward with the work of providing pathways to opportunity to all of our people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, July 26, 2011, the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I encourage Americans across our Nation to celebrate the 21st anniversary of this civil rights law and the many contributions of individuals with disabilities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

# # #
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Governor Signs Cyber-Bullying Prevention Law July 20th, 2011

An existing California law that gives school officials the right to suspend or expel a student for bullying another student over the Internet or by other electronic means has been updated to include bullying others through social networking websites.

The bill, AB 746, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose) goes into effect Jan. 1, after it was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.

"My hope is that the conversation will be more about what will happen to you if you engage in bullying on social networks,'' said Campos.
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Governor Signs FAIR Education Act: Requires Disability History be Taught in Schools July 18th, 2011

The legislation, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, was approved in the Legislature along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The governor's office announced this morning that Brown had signed the bill.

Senate Bill 48 requires public instruction in social sciences to include the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as people with disabilities and members of other cultural groups.

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Gender Spectrum Teen Conference 7/29 to 8/1 in Berkeley CA July 10th, 2011

Gender Spectrum Teen Conference features a variety of workshops, events, and activities for youth between the ages of 13 and 19. This year's conference will feature two tracks of programming, one for teens between 13 and 15 years of age, and the second for those 16 to 19. At times the two groups will be together, but many of the needs for these two groups differ, and this content must also adjust accordingly.

Current plans includes a variety of workshop topics, including Talking about Gender, Making & Keeping Friends, Dating and Relationships, Transgender History, Youth Empowerment, Health Decisions and Information, Knowing Your Rights in Schools, Being an Advocate/Working for Justice, and Talking about Religion. In addition, the Teen Conference will feature a mentor component, specific sessions for siblings, opportunities for writing and reflecting, social events and more.
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Herb Levine Legacy Fund July 5th, 2011

It is with great pleasure that the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF) announces the establishment of an annual fund designed to foster grassroots disability rights activism in California. Our esteemed Executive Director, Herb Levine, is retiring after more than 30 years of visionary leadership in the Independent Living Movement and we want to honor his legacy of service by making a sustained commitment to fostering grassroots projects that and are in line with our mission of working to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, both within their families and in a fully accessible community.

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220,000 CA Youth Could Fail to Access Health Insurance Due to Immigration Status June 30th, 2011

Restrictions on programs created by the federal health reform law could prevent as many as 220,000 California children from obtaining health coverage, according to a policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Key Findings

The study found that as many as 20% of uninsured California children might not enroll in health reform programs because they or their parents were not born in the U.S. Researchers estimated that about...

Read more:
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Disability Pride Parade Transportation Assistance Scholarships Available: Deadline July 6th June 28th, 2011

Disability Pride Parade Transportation Assistance Scholarships Available

Transportation grants will be considered for Disability Community members who would like to participate in the 2nd Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade & Festival by joining in the Parade procession, the Disability Resource Fair and Festival. Registration in the Parade is REQUIRED. Scholarship funds are limited. All scholarship requests will be reviewed and those funded through a reimbursement process will be notified on/or before July 8, 2011.

Submit your request for transportation assistance no later than July 6, 2011. For additional information, or assistance, contact Firdosh Agarwal at SVILC 408-894-9041(voice),866-945-2205(TTY), or email
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Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor opens up about her diabetes June 22nd, 2011

WASHINGTON — The parents of Sonia Sotomayor, the future Supreme Court justice, knew something was wrong when their daughter, 7 years old at the time, was always thirsty, began wetting the bed and fainted in church.

In heartfelt remarks before a group of 150 children Tuesday, Sotomayor recalled being taken to the hospital for tests. When a technician pulled out a needle to draw blood, she was so scared that she tore from the room, ran out of the hospital and hid underneath a parked car. After hospital staff dragged her back, "kicking and screaming," and completed tests, things turned scarier: Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It was the first time she saw her mother cry. The doctor told her diabetes wasn't so bad, and Sotomayor thought, "If it isn't so bad, why is my mommy crying?"

Sotomayor's diabetes has long been known, yet she has never spoken so publicly and in such personal terms about her life with the condition. Over the course of a half-hour at a downtown Washington hotel Tuesday, Sotomayor spoke as a group of children in bright blue T-shirts — ages 4 to 17, from around the nation — sat rapt before her on the floor of a large conference room.

She opened her remarks at the event sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with the shame of wetting the bed after drinking too much water and the fear of her disease. She quickly moved into how she learned to manage it and the discipline diabetes has given her.

After living with it, she said, she discovered "it wasn't so bad, but it was still bad."

She told the children, diabetics like her, that they could become anything they wanted. If you want to be a Supreme Court justice, she said in response to a 10th-grade boy from Michigan, "do the things you like to do and do them well."

She told one of the smallest girls in the audience, from South Carolina, that life as a diabetic will get better as she grows up, figures out what's happening to her body and learns to manage her blood sugar.

Sotomayor, who will turn 57 Saturday, said she constantly calculates how a meal will affect her and said that no matter where she is having dinner, she will give herself a shot of insulin. Unlike most of the children in the room who get their insulin through a pump, Sotomayor said she uses needles about four times a day.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation estimates that about 3 million people in the USA have type 1 diabetes and, like Sotomayor, must regularly test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections.

Sotomayor, whose parents came from Puerto Rico, grew up in the Bronx. When she was 9, her father died. Her mother, who eventually became a nurse, worked long hours to support her daughter and son.

In an era before disposable needles, Sotomayor recalled getting up early to boil water and sterilize needles. She said she was so little, she had to pull a chair over to the stove.

Sotomayor stressed the discipline cultivated over the years, such as learning what foods are best for her. "Unlike other people, I actually pay attention to my body," she said, noting that she can usually tell when she is getting sick.

The juvenile diabetes foundation says that even with insulin injections, complications from diabetes can arise, such as kidney failure, blindness and heart disease.

Sotomayor went to Princeton University and earned a law degree from Yale. When President Obama appointed her to the Supreme Court in 2009, she became the first Hispanic to sit on the nation's highest court.

In what she described Tuesday as "the job of my dreams," Sotomayor said she watches how the stress of the court business might affect her blood-sugar level and always checks it before she takes the bench for the hours-long oral arguments.

She accentuated the positive side of having diabetes, telling the youths, "It affects you in knowing how precious it is to have good health."
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President Obama Announces “How to Make Change” Series for Young Americans June 19th, 2011

Last week, President Obama met with young Americans in the West Wing to de-brief on the “100 Youth Roundtables” Initiative. In that session, young folks reflected on the feedback given to the White House during the course of the initiative. They discussed issues regarding environmental regulations, community organizations, legislation that the President supports, and how to really make a difference all around. To follow up on that feedback, the President announced a new series that will take us through the summer, called, “How to Make Change.” Check out his announcement...
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DRA Seeks Students Denied Accommodations in California Colleges June 16th, 2011

Disability Rights Advocates ("DRA"), a non-profit legal center, is investigating complaints concerning cuts in services for students with disabilities in the California Community College system, the California State University system and the University of California system.

The affected services include:

* Note-Taking Services
* Availability of Documents in Alternative Formats
* Mobility Assistance
* Sign language Interpreting
* Assistive Computer Labs
* Other Essential Accommodations

If you have recently had your request for accommodations denied, or if you have experienced significant delays in obtaining accommodations, or know of individuals who have experienced such problems, please contact:

Kara Werner at
(510) 665-8644 ex. 138

All communications will be kept confidential.

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Register NOW for YLF Luncheon July 27th June 16th, 2011

YLF Community Leadership Luncheon

Celebrating the 20th Annual California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. Meet the New Generation of Young Leaders From the Disability Community

Showcasing 20 Years of YLF Alumni
Recognizing our YLF Supporters
Honoring our YLF Founders

Wednesday July 27, 2011 from 12:30- 2:30 PM
Sacramento Sheraton Grand Hotel, Grand Ballroom
1230 J Street, Sacramento, California

Register Now! (Deadline to Register-JULY 15)
Private Sponsors Include: Wells Fargo Foundation and Molina Health Care
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Champions of Change: Nominate a Youth June 15th, 2011

Every day in communities across the country, ordinary individuals are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of others and strengthen their communities.

President Obama has challenged us all to help win the future by out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building our competitors in the 21st century.

Know someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change. We’ll consider your nominations as we feature people who are bringing about change in their communities on the White House website to share their ideas on how to win the future.

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Anti-Bullying Programs Hurt by Federal Budget June 15th, 2011

From 1987 through 2009, Congress sent hundreds of millions of dollars a year in Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities grants to the states. That money funded violence prevention programs in almost every school district in the country.

But those programs have been running on fumes for the last two years. Faced with federal budget problems, Congress opted in 2009 to eliminate Safe and Drug Free Schools grants entirely. Because districts were allowed to spend Safe and Drug Free School grants they received in 2009 over the course of 27 months, the funding shortfall is just now beginning to be felt.

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Webinar Exploring Issues for College Students with Traumatic Brain Injury June 13th, 2011

ILRU Presents a National Training Webinar June 21, 2011

Topics include:

What are the concerns and experiences of college students with TBI?

How do changes in cognition and social development impact students' college experiences?

What services are currently available to students?

What do students with TBI need in order to be successful in college?
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Youth Leaders Advise Whitehouse June 13th, 2011

Young leaders were joined by Obama Administration Senior Advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a listening session on the topics that young leaders discussed in their respective roundtable sessions all over the country. The leaders briefed the White House on their conversations and solutions around jobs for young people, youth entrepreneurship, workforce development, energy & the environment, global poverty, racial & ethnic profiling, human rights, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) policy.

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Justice Department Says State Should Let School Staff Administer Insulin May 31st, 2011

The Obama administration recently weighed in on a California Supreme Court case, saying school employees should be allowed to give insulin shots to students with diabetes if no nurses are available, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Department of Education Issues Guidance on Rights of Students with Disabilities When Educational Institutions Use Technology in Institutions of Higher Education May 31st, 2011

We write to express concern on the part of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education that colleges and universities are using electronic book readers that are not accessible to students who are blind or have low vision and to seek your help in ensuring that this emerging technology is used in classroom settings in a manner that is permissible under federal law.

This FAQ is a follow-up to the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that we sent to college and university presidents on June 29, 2010, regarding the use of electronic book readers and other emerging technologies in educational settings.

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Department of Education Issues Guidance on Rights of Students with Disabilities When Educational Institutions Use Technology in Elementary and Secondary Schools May 31st, 2011

As the use of emerging technologies in the classroom increases, schools at all levels must ensure equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of the technology for all students, including students with disabilities.
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Unisured Young Adults Delaying Care May 27th, 2011

Report: Many Uninsured Young Adults Delaying Care

In 2010, nearly 58% of uninsured young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 delayed care because of costs, compared with 34% of insured young adults in that age group, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund. The report notes that provisions of the federal health reform law are expected to increase coverage among this age group in the coming years.
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Palo Alto Teens with Tourette Syndrome Learn to Tell Their Stories May 24th, 2011

It's not easy for a teenager to be different, let alone stand up in front of a class at school to talk about it.

But two Palo Alto eighth-graders -- who live with the disruptive, involuntary motor and vocal tics caused by Tourette Syndrome -- have learned to do just that.

Since being diagnosed with Tourette in elementary school, Peter Lenicheck and Mark Smeets each have tried many times, with varying degrees of success, to explain their unusual behavior to classmates.

Recently, their parents took them to Washington, D.C., to be trained by the national Tourette Syndrome Association as official "ambassadors" for explaining the neurological condition.

Mark and Peter are scrapping their homemade presentations for official handouts from the association, but their task of explaining hasn't really changed.

"It's not one of the disabilities everyone knows about," said Mark, a student at Jordan Middle School.

Read More of the Article...
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So Cal Peace Jam Slam 2011 "The Power of Youth Voice" May 24th, 2011

There is ONLY 2 Weeks until Early Bird Registration closes for this year's PeaceJam Slam and spots are filling up quickly! Have you registered to guarantee your spot?

The SoCal PeaceJam Slam is an opportunity for youth ages 13-18 in Southern California to participate in an inspiring day-long conference. The goal is for youth to leave inspired to develop service-learning projects that will make an impact on their local and/or global communities. This year's SoCal Slam will focus on the Power of Youth Voice and the different mediums by which youth can have their voices heard. Students will be introduced to the Global Call to Action, a campaign designed by Nobel Peace Laureates through the PeaceJam program. The goal of the campaign is for youth around the world to complete 1 billion service projects
by 2025.

Space is limited, so it is strongly recommended that groups sign-up fast! Student and adult costs are $25.00 if registered by Friday, June 3rd by 11:59pm PST. Youth are required to attend in groups of a minimum of three (3) with at least one (1) adult chaperon/sponsor. Larger groups are encouraged to have more adult chaperons with a suggested ratio of 5:1.

Click on the link below to register TODAY! For large group registration, feel free to contact Bryan Banville directly on how to help make the process easier for your group.

Bryan Banville, Excel Youth Zone
619-599-8205 xt 3
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USA TODAY, one in six children have a developmental disability May 23rd, 2011

The number of children with developmental disabilities has increased by 17% in 12 years, driven largely by big jumps in diagnoses for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, research shows.

More than 15% of school-age kids — about 10 million children — had a developmental disability in 2006-08, according to a study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics. That's up from 12.8% in 1997-99.

The study suggests that three or four children in a typical elementary school classroom have development disabilities. Some of the increase may be the result of the rise in premature birth, which leaves some babies with lasting impairments, says study author Sheree Boulet of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in eight babies today are born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes.

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National Transition Conference Announced for November 2011 May 23rd, 2011

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Service announces the National Transition Conference, “College and Careers for Youth with Disabilities,” that will take place in Washington, D.C. November 7 – 9, 2011. This conference will bring together stakeholders to discuss and exchange innovative ideas, transition practices and research discoveries. Attendees will include young adults, family members, advocates, educators, vocational rehabilitation programs, employment and training professionals, researchers and state and federal officials. For more information, visit:
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Blind Chemistry Camp May 23rd, 2011

Last year, when Hoby Wedler was considering what kind of graduate degree to pursue, he gave himself two choices: the thing he really loved, which was chemistry. Or, the thing he liked, history, which seemed practical. His chemistry professor said: "Go with history."

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Katie Laackmann to Be Honored with Molina Healthcare of California Community Champions Award May 20th, 2011

Molina Healthcare to honor six community leaders for their dedication to the community

SACRAMENTO, CA - (May 20, 2011) - Katie Laackmann will be honored as one of the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to make the Sacramento a better place. The Fifth Annual Molina Healthcare of California Community Champions Awards dinner will be take place on Thursday, June 23, 2011.

In addition to Laackmann, five other everyday heroes will be honored for their extraordinary service and civic contributions. Laackmann was nominated by California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and will receive a grant to be given to an organization of their choosing and a Molina Healthcare of California Community Champions Award trophy, named in honor of Molina Healthcare’s physician founder, Dr. C. David Molina.

"Molina Healthcare is proud to honor Katie Laackmann as the Volunteer Community Champion," said Lisa Rubino, president of Molina Healthcare of California. "This event is unique in that community members selected Katie as their champion. The grant the winners receive enables them to "pay it forward” to another deserving community organization."

Katie is the youngest member of the Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud Volunteer Corps and is committed to changing the lives of young people with disabilities. She volunteers two to three days a week where she supports activities related to California’s Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities, attends YO! events, and participates in the Disability History Week campaign. Katie isn’t volunteering because of a high school graduation requirement; she volunteers because she is passionate about disability issues and wants to educate others about getting involved in their community.

About Molina Healthcare
Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE: MOH) provides quality and cost-effective Medicaid-related solutions to meet the health care needs of low-income families and individuals and to assist state agencies in their administration of the Medicaid program. Our licensed health plans in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin currently serve approximately 1.6 million members, and our subsidiary, Molina Medicaid Solutions, provides business processing and information technology administrative services to Medicaid agencies in Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, and West Virginia, and drug rebate administration services in Florida. More information about Molina Healthcare is available at

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Justice Department Settles ADA Complaint Involving Children with Autism at Preschool Program May 20th, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a state-funded private preschool program, Beginning Montessori Academy, located in Baldwin Park, Calif. The Justice Department initiated its investigation of the Montessori Academy after a student’s parent filed a complaint alleging violations of Title III of the ADA. The parent filed the complaint after the school alerted her that the student was not accepted to the school for the following year, despite having been a student there for some time. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Montessori Academy will ensure that it will not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability, including autism.
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The Fleecing of Foster Youth May 19th, 2011

About 30,000 of the nation’s foster children age out of the system each year, most often at age 18. They are expected to become independent, self-sufficient and contributing members of society with little or no assistance from others. According to this report, the foster care system creates huge problems that make the expectations unrealistic. Only about 3 percent of children in foster care ever earn four-year degrees, and by age 24, less than half of foster care "alumni" are employed.
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Youth Voice in the White House: You Make the Call May 19th, 2011

Those who think young people should have a greater voice in the development of federal youth policies have a chance to shape how that would happen: The Forum and its fellow advocates are gaining momentum in their call for the creation of a National Youth Council to work with federal policymakers. The council would be composed of young people who are charged with conducting outreach to their peers and building productive working relationships with senior policymakers in Washington.

With that idea moving forward, it's time to get specific: How do you think the council should be set up?
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International Year of Youth: Fact Sheet on Youth with Disabilities May 19th, 2011

Fact sheet: Youth with Disabilities
  • Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and poorest of all the world’s youth.
  • UNESCO estimates that 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school and 99% of girls with disabilities are illiterate.
  • Youth with disabilities face dual disadvantages as individuals with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty even in developed countries

Throughout the world, youth are dropping out of school and being excluded from the economy. However, young women and men with disabilities commonly face more discrimination and severe social, economic, and civic disparities as compared with those without disabilities, even in developed countries. For many young people with disabilities, exclusion, isolation, and abuse, as well as lack of educational and economic opportunities are daily experiences. Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and poorest of all the world's youth, whose basic rights are not well met and for whom full societal acceptance is often out of reach.

Disparities in education, employment, and relationships are more pronounced in youth with disabilities. Like adults with disabilities, youth with disabilities do not enjoy the same human rights or equal access to goods and services as peers without disabilities. The international community recognized this and after three years of negotiation, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2006 to ensure that persons with disabilities, including the youngest ones, enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. Effective implementation of the Convention requires a focused effort by all sectors to guarantee that young people with disabilities participate in mainstreamed as well as in disability specific programs on an equal basis with others.
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Service Dogs Teach Educators About Disabilities May 16th, 2011

Photo for Service Dogs Teach Educators About Disabilities Many disabled people say that life without their service animals is unthinkable. And while public institutions are required to admit service animals without question, some public schools claim they cannot handle the disruption of a dog in a busy classroom.

Disabled students are hoping new federal guidelines will help them avoid legal battles over their animals.
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Media Strategies that Work: Making the Case for Children, Youth & Families in the Budget Debate May 4th, 2011

On May 13, 2011 join SparkAction, the Children's Leadership Council, the Coalition on Human Needs and Voices for America's Children for an important webinar - Media Strategies That Work: Making the Case for Children, Youth & Families in the Budget Debate.

Friday, May 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm EDT

In today’s combative media environment, stories regarding children, youth and families are often dismissed by reporters as merely “human interest”. As advocates, we know the long term success of these populations is critical to our nation’s future.

Join the communications firm of Slowey/McManus as they discuss tips and strategies to capture the attention of print and electronic journalists. They will also cover pitching stories so they’ll be picked up, best practices for moderating, posting and commenting on blogs, and using personal stories to explain complicated policy issues.

Check back soon for more information!

We will also discuss running an effective communications campaign in the absence of a communications staff position.
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Rock the Vote, Don't Block the Vote May 4th, 2011

Rock the Vote is tracking state efforts to limit voting rights especially for young adults and college students.

YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED. There is a war on voting going on and your rights are under attack. Politicians are trying to block young people from voting with shady new photo ID and residency laws. They are getting rid of things that make it easier for people to vote, like Election Day registration, early voting and pre-registration laws.

IT IS TIME TO STOP THE BULLS**T. In America, we rock the vote, we don't block the vote. Join our campaign. We'll send you updates and get you plugged into the action in your state.
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Just Where's the Cure for the Summer Time Blues? May 4th, 2011

More than 50 years ago, Eddie Cochran captured the frustration of American teenagers with his hit single Ain't No Cure for the Summer Time Blues. He sang about a young man lamenting that he has to work all summer long, doesn't get time to spend with his girlfriend, and can't borrow the family car if he doesn't have money. Today's teens would sing a much different and far worse song. They can't get jobs in the first place.

For the last four summers, America's teens have been employed in record low numbers, and this summer is gearing up to be no different. The number of teens working has declined precipitously over the last decade, falling from 45 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010, a major employment crisis for youth.

This summer, the Center for Labor Market Studies anticipates that only one in four teens between 16 and 19 will have employment. This means about 12 million of the nation's young people will be idle. Without work, many of these teens will waste three months being non-productive or, worse, involved in dangerous or criminal activities.

Low-income youth and minority youth of all income levels are far less likely to obtain employment than whites. In June 2010, black teens of all socioeconomic levels had an employment rate of only 15.2 percent, making them 53 percent less likely to work than white teens. Low-income black teens fared far worse, with only 9 percent of them employed. Although Hispanic youth were the most likely minority group to work, they still lagged behind whites. Black male teenagers living in urban communities are the least likely to obtain summer employment. They are also the ones most at risk for engaging in perilous activities due to lack of connection to positive summer opportunities. The teens who need employment and stand to gain the most from the experience are the least likely to get it.

Teens who cannot obtain employment are at a disadvantage. Summer employment is known to reap several benefits for youth, particularly low-income youth, including academic gains in mathematics and reading, greater attachment to the labor market, higher earnings in early adulthood, and decreased involvement in violent or criminal activities. Many low-income youth also use the earnings from summer jobs to supplement family income, to purchase necessary clothing and school supplies for the upcoming school year, and to support their recreational activities that parents could not otherwise afford.

In the last ten years, the nation has experienced two economic recessions. The recession of 2001 was marked by a significant decrease in teen employment. As the nation recovered and employment rolls began to increase, employment rates for the teen population