Front Page Blog

Monday, December 1, 2014 - 09:17

December 3, 2014 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The goal of this observance is to foster understanding of disability issues and encourage support for disability rights as well as dignity and inclusion for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Worldwide, there are 1 billion people with disabilities. The disadvantages they face—limited access to health care, education and employment opportunities; exclusion in everyday life activities; poverty and mistreatment—are well-documented. Family and friends are also affected, effectively increasing the impact of disability. How can disability discrimination be recognized as anything other than a human rights issue? 

Yet, the U.S. Congress has declined to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), also known as the Disability Treaty, signed in 2009. The CRPD is the first international treaty to address disability rights and endorse self-determination of...

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 09:23

By Angelica P. Herrera, DrPH, MPH, Senior Research Analyst

November is National Caregiver Month, a time to pay tribute to the 44 million individuals caring for older adults and people with disabilities in the United States. Family caregivers have an increased risk of negative health outcomes, including the erosion of physical, emotional and financial health. What can we do to ease their burden? In addition to an array of aging support services provided through a complex network of federally funded programs under the Older Americans Act, Home and Community Based Service State Medicaid waivers, and other emerging programs, the advancement of assistive technology can help bridge the gap between the services family caregivers can safely and comfortably provide and the complete spectrum of supports their family member may need.

Assistive technology is a general term for an assortment of devices, supports, and systems, including: electronic medication...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 09:21

By Stephanie Mensh, Senior Analyst

October 29, 2014 is World Stroke Day and the launch of I am woman: Stroke affects me, a two-year, world-wide campaign sponsored by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) and supported by national organizations like the American Stroke Association (ASA). According to the WSO, women have a higher risk of stroke than men, a higher mortality rate from stroke than men, have worse outcomes from stroke than men, and often receive less care than men, despite responding equally well to care.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, and a leading cause of disability. In the U.S., someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, resulting in 790,000 Americans having a new or recurrent stroke each year. Globally, that number is close to 15 million. The...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 09:00

By Jane Rath, Vice President

As supervisors and managers, often we think of our responsibilities as meeting deadlines, managing costs and budgets, hitting our sales or profit goals and keeping our bosses and customers happy. And it does mean all of that, but there is also a responsibility to the people who help us make all these things happen – our employees.

When I was in school, learning about management and business, nobody talked about this aspect of the job. Yet finding the right people for tasks, keeping them engaged, providing them with the growth opportunities that allow us to build a stable and committed team can be one of our biggest challenges as managers.

It is a delicate match-making dance to bring together the right skill set to each and every task. Throughout this process we strive to tease out each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, shoring up the weakness with training and support and leveraging strengths for our team’s success. If...

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 09:19

Reflections on the NASUAD 2014 HCBS Conference

By Ellen Speckman-Randall, Policy Analyst

As population demographics continue to shift, long term services and supports are increasingly important to improve health and quality of life for individuals of all ages and abilities. A key component of long term services and supports are home and community-based services (HCBS), which provide opportunities for individuals, including people with disabilities and chronic conditions, to receive services in their own homes or communities.

As a member of the New Editions Money Follows the Person (MFP) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, I work to support states as they focus on improving and expanding HCBS through Medicaid waivers. In September, I joined several other MFP TA Center team members at the 2014 National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) HCBS conference in Crystal City, VA. The annual conference is a not-to-be...

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 09:22

College and Work: Students with Disabilities Can Do Both

By Jayme Pendergraft

September is College Savings Month—a month to remind and encourage people to start a 529 Plan.  Section 529 plans make it easy and affordable for the average family to plan ahead for the cost of college attendance and are available in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Across the nation, many activities are held during September to recognize the importance of saving for college.

Today, a college education is a costly, but often a necessary qualification to get a job. For those whose families didn’t save, it’s still possible to get that degree. Students with disabilities and their family members have some important resources available...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 13:42

Guide Dogs Enhance Independence and Offer Companionship

By Jonathan Cohn

September is National Guide Dog Month and celebrates the work of guide dogs in the United States, raising awareness, appreciation, support and money for guide dog schools and organizations.

In 1929, The Seeing Eye (www.seeingeye.org) became the first organization in the U.S. to breed, raise and train guide dogs. Today blind citizens and their guide dogs form teams that are protected by the American with Disabilities Act. In July, 2007, I entered the program at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Portland, Oregon. After four weeks of training, I returned home to the Washington, DC area with a 60 pound Yellow Labrador named Sultan. 

Sultan has been with me every day, except for...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 11:09

By Ebony Smith

 
August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, a national observance started in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment, giving U.S. women the right to vote. While 94 years may seem like a lifetime, and a lot of progress has certainly been made, there is still work to be done. Women’s Equality Day is great opportunity to call attention to women’s ongoing efforts toward achieving full equality. 

Strong women begin as empowered girls, and whether they are rocking the vote or rocking an instrument, everyone benefits from a sense of shared experience, friendship, community and support. That is why I am part of an organization known as Girls Rock! DC. Founded in 2007, Girls Rock! DC is an annual week long music camp designed to empower a diverse collective of female youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Campers from across the Washington, D.C. area participate in themed workshops, instrument lessons, and band rehearsals all...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 09:10

By Ben Spangenberg, Project Coordinator

It's August and everyone is ready to hit the road, or the air, or the rails. A summer break from the routine of life’s challenges is a right that many Americans take for granted, but it is not so simple for Americans with disabilities to exercise that right. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into effect over twenty years ago, the United States has become a much friendlier landscape for people with disabilities. Still, for people who use crutches, walkers or wheelchairs, travelling can be quite a challenge.  

I use a wheelchair and I have travelled to more than half the states and three foreign countries. I love to travel! Every trip is different, and every trip is an adventure. Probably the most challenging trip I took was when I went alone to Italy. Yes, there were cobblestone streets and buildings without ramps or elevators in Florence and Rome, but nothing was as difficult to maneuver as the...

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 09:16

Is the 24 year old Americans with Disabilities Act all grown up?

By Chris Law, PhD, Senior Accessibility Analyst

If the ADA were a person, it should be graduating college by now and looking for a job. However, workplace equality for people with disabilities is where the least progress has been made in the last quarter century, according to an informal poll of webinar attendees during “24 Years of the ADA: Progress, Pitfalls and Possibilities” hosted by Cornell University and the Northeast ADA Center on July 9, 2014. Where has the most progress been made? According to attendees polled, it is in the accessibility of physical spaces. Examine your workplace and you’ll find evidence of both. Are there accessible entranceways and accessible signs? Sure. How many of your co-workers have disabilities? Is the number representative of the...