public policy

Protesters arrested during congressional hearing on ADA reform (H.R. 620)

Disability rights activists were arrested by Capitol Hill police on Tuesday during a House Rules Committee hearing on H.R. 620. The protesters oppose policy reforms that would change ADA regulations regarding complaint waiting periods. Click here to read Cristina Marcos’s full report on TheHill.com.

Massachusetts urges hospitals to better prepare for dementia patients

Hospitals frighten many patients but they can be especially confusing and traumatic for people with dementia. According to a story for the Boston Globe by Felice J. Freyer, hospitals in Massachusetts are making an effort to better accommodate patients with memory loss. Freyer reports that the loud, high-tech hospital environment is disorienting to patients with “fragile minds,” and staff frequently rely on sedatives to calm confused patients. Freyer interviewed family caregivers, Alzheimer’s advocacy groups and hospital executives to learn more about the problem and how hospitals are making improvements.

‘Doomed by Delay’: NCDJ co-winner Callahan has new story on Krabbe disease

If a hospital fails to identify symptoms of a debilitating disease in infants it could spell disaster for patients as they grow up. In her story “Doomed by Delay,” Chicago Tribune investigative journalist Patricia Callahan describes the struggles of parents of children with Krabbe disease who weren’t properly diagnosed until it was too late to salvage their motor functions. Callahan is the 1st place co-winner, along with Michael J. Berens, of the NCDJ’s 2017 Katherine Schneider Award for Disability Journalism.

In a related report, Chicago Tribune photographer Brian Cassella interviews the mother and caretaker of a 6-year-old living with Krabbe disease.

Pittsburgh helping businesses remove step at entryways to improve accessibility

A step at the front door of a business can send the signal to customers with disabilities that the inside is also not accessible. In a story for Public Source online magazine journalist Stephen J. Caruso reports how the city of Pittsburgh is helping local business owners prevent this barrier to customer access and reconcile the problematic irregularities between state and city ADA compliance codes.

“One complaint we got from developers and architects was that most expensive part of the process was coming down to the city offices and paying for parking and waiting in line,” Meritzer said. By making a one-size-fits-all application, they could send in an application with a single email.

AZ Board of Regents committee rejects new major of Disability Studies

In a column for the Phoenix New Times NCDJ Advisory Board member Amy Silverman advocates for the creation of a Disability Studies major at Arizona universities. A sub-committee of The Arizona Board of Regents accepted requests for new majors last week and approved all the proposed majors except for Disability Studies. Silverman argues that there is a market demand for expertise related to disability issues. Click here to read Silverman’s full column.

Mom of daughter with Down Syndrome and heart defect fights transplant discrimination

Jackie Ward is the mother of a three-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. She recently became an advocate for disability rights after experiencing discrimination from doctors while applying for a heart transplant for her daughter. Ward is now teaming up with Ohio state legislators to pass laws that will give applicants with disabilities more leverage. Check out this article and video interview with Jackie Ward from the Columbus Dispatch.

“A 2008 survey by researchers at Stanford University found that 85 percent of pediatric transplant centers consider neuro-developmental status in the eligibility process at least some of the time, Hansen said. And in the same study, 62 percent of the centers said eligibility decisions based on disability tended to be made informally, making discrimination difficult to show.”

 

DeVos & Dept of Education defend purge of “outdated” disability guides

The U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos were criticized Friday after announcing news they rescinded 72 guidance documents related to education policies for students with disabilities. according to the Washington Post, the document purge was prompted by President Donald Trump’s initiative to reduce unnecessary federal government regulations. After Friday’s announcement raised alarm amongst disability and education advocates the Dept. of Education released a followup list of explanations saying the documents were “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.” Click here to read the Washington Post’s full report.

Click here to read a full list of the 72 documents rescinded by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Arizona special-ed funding goes to schools with fewest students

A new article by Alia Beard Rau for the Arizona Republic explains how Arizona’s system for funding special education unequally benefits different schools.

“It’s a direct result of how the state funds education for students with special needs: Arizona’s spending on special education benefits schools with the fewest number of students who require it.

About one-third of Arizona students attend schools — most of which are charters — that receive more state money to serve students with special needs than those schools  actually spend for that purpose.”