The articles published in the ALERT represent the opinions of the authors and are not an endorsement by the Association or necessarily representative of the views of the Association.
— From the President
— From the Editor
— Professional Development Calendar
— Affiliate News
— New Asperger's SIG and Community College SIG listservs
— AHEAD Announces Leadership Institute on Universal Design
— Awards and Honors for AHEAD Members
— Joel Bryan: Loss of an Activist
— Precedent-Setting Decision
— Say "Yes" to Readers
— New Resources Available from Mobility International USA
— Building Careers in Design Course
— Freedom Scientific News
From the President
AHEAD President Jim Kessler Updates Members on the
2005 Conference and the New Board Structure
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff at AHEAD, I hope that you had a safe and happy holiday.
Welcome back to school. Spring semester – just think, it is only about 15 weeks until examinations and the commencement ceremonies, and then a summer “break.” Remember that this year, the summer break will be a bit longer as the Conference will be in the first week of August (August 2-6) at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. To learn more about a “Great Place on a Great Lake,” go to the AHEAD website and click on “training” – 2005 Conference and click on “Get to know Milwaukee.” There is a lot to see and do after conference hours. And I can say with certainty, that after my last communication with Vicki Groser (UW- Milwaukee) and Colleen Barnett (Alverno College), the Conference Co-Chairs, they are more than ready for us. However, there are always important volunteer opportunities – don’t hesitate to let us know that you want to be actively involved. It has always been my position to accept assistance when offered.
You will be receiving more information about the Conference program in the not-too-distant future.
Who are “You”?
A quick follow-up to a previous notation. You will be receiving a “correspondence” from AHEAD to learn more about you. We really need this information and I ask that you take a few minutes to complete the information and send it back.
The “New” Board
In the last edition of the ALERT, I indicated that I would report back on the action of the Board, should the vote favor a change of By-laws. The approved changes, to become effective with the election this spring, removed specific titles of board members as well as specified assignments. The Officers titles and responsibilities are not changed. At the Board meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio (November 5-7, 2004), the Board restructured itself in the following manner. In addition to the Executive Council (President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer), there will be five (5) Councils, each rather global and would involve a broad range of the membership in its activities. The Councils (noting primary responsibilities) are:
A. Constituent matters (international, SIG, and Affiliates)
B. Membership Services (professional development, Publications, Affinity Programs)
C. External Relations (Partners – national/international, Legislative Affairs)
D. Communications (JPED, ALERT)
E. Diversity (providing direction, accountability and resources)
Each Council will have at least 2 Board members and depending on the issues and tasks, volunteers from the membership will be recruited to assist.
During Spring (2005) the Board will continue to define and refine the functions of each Council and develop policies/processes for the various activities. And without any reservation, I think that what this Board develops will be rather comprehensive and of high quality. It is a rather remarkable working group of people who have taken the mantle of leadership for AHEAD.
A complete report of the restructuring will be presented at the Conference in Milwaukee.
Things to Continue to Follow
IDEA reauthorization passed and the new “standards” for documentation are much different than before. Based on the new criteria, I believe that many would be happy to still be debating the three year rule. A question that was posed – “What is Higher Education going to do?” – would seem reasonable enough, if the assumption were that higher education (post-secondary) HAD to change because K-12 changed. I think an equally compelling question would be, “What are students in K-12 going to do when the criteria for eligibility for services and accommodations in the post-secondary environment are based on a different standard of documentation?” If we do not assume the responsibility to address this, it will become a logistical and political nightmare for everyone. You must be involved.
The announcement by GOOGLE to electronically scan text (starting with 40,000 books) in libraries at several major (aren’t we all?) universities has certainly gotten our interest. Of course our issue is format and access and we will keep you informed.
The next meeting of the Board will be April 8-10, 2005, in Milwaukee. There will be more details before the meeting, but if you have any business to bring to the Board, please feel free to contact me.
Have a good semester.
From the Editor
Happy New Year everyone! First, I offer my apologies for the delay in
publishing the ALERT. In spite of my best intentions, the beginning-of-the-quarter rush
consumed my time for the first few weeks in January. The good news is that this is a
very rich issue. There is great information about continuing education, particularly in
the area of design. There are also articles on new technology and resources that would
be useful for our students, as well as a great piece on the continuing value of using
human readers. Sadly, we are also carrying an article on the loss of one of the
University of California disability pioneers, Joel Bryan. I hope you find this issue to
be both interesting and informative. If you have any questions, or would like to submit
an article for a future issue, please contact me at email@example.com.
Keltie Jones, Editor
Professional Development Calendar
Take advantage of these upcoming events, conferences, and other opportunities to increase and share your knowledge.
Calls for Presentations and Articles
The ALERT is now being published every other month. Please keep those articles coming! Here is the schedule for submissions:
February 28, 2005
March 28, 2005
April 18, 2005
May 16, 2005
June 10, 2005
July 8, 2005
3rd SALT Center Conference Call for Presentation Proposals
A Generation of Experience: What's Next?
Sponsored by: The University of Arizona, SALT Center, September 22 - 24, 2005
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2005
Please send proposals to the attention of Dr. Diane Perreira Quinn: firstname.lastname@example.org or
The SALT Center
PO Box 210136
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0136
Proposals should respond to the conference theme: A Generation of Experience: What's Next? A generation of students with learning and attention challenges has now been educated through the benefits of laws that guaranteed them equal access to education at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. What have we learned? Just how far have we come? Has practice driven research? Or has research informed practice? How will the next generations of learners benefit from our experiences? In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the SALT Center, we will provide a forum for the exploration of the very best practices that support higher education for students with learning and attention challenges. Our theme "A Generation of Experience" is chosen to support the sharing of information on a broad range of topics that reflect on practice, research and the future of our field. Preference will be given to proposals that are research based and provide an opportunity for the marriage of research and practice in serving higher education students with learning and attention challenges.
AHEAD and Affiliate Events
Georgia AHEAD's Annual Spring Conference: The Practice: Balance and Professionalism in Disability Services, March 21-23, 2005 at the Desoto Hilton in historic Savannah, Georgia. Contact Marti Slaughter at email@example.com for conference registration.
The MN AHEAD Conference will be held at Northwestern College on Friday, April 22, 2005. MN AHEAD will feature a national speaker, Salome Heyward, at our conference this year. For questions about the conference, contact Kelly Friesleben at 866-437-2788, ext. 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about Salome M. Heyward, JD: Salome is the leading national legal expert in disability compliance in higher education. She is the author of Disability & Higher Education and The ADA and Graduate and Professional Schools. She also authored the Council on Law in Higher Education’s 2002 Disability Compliance Brochure. Over the last three years, Salome has provided legal services to over 100 institutions.
Other Upcoming Conferences, Trainings, and Expositions
Check out these offerings from our colleagues in the fields of disability and higher education:
Thompson Interactive, a division of Thompson Publishing Group, along with AHEAD, presents: The DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES (DSS) POLICY AUDIO CONFERENCE SERIES. Take the short course and fast-track your understanding of the thorniest disability and access issues in postsecondary education, including learning what the right policies and practices are and how to put them in place when you are confronted by them!
Go to http://www.thompsoninteractive.com/dss/ahead today for information on any and all of the five, information-rich, 90-minute interactive audio conferences that you and your colleagues can attend right from the comfort of your conference room or office. And the best news of all is that AHEAD members are entitled to a 10% discount off the regular audio conference rates!
#4 Making the Grade When Responding to Course Substitution Requests, Tuesday, February 8, 2005, http://www.thompsoninteractive.com/dss/ahead4
#5 Accommodating Students With Disabilities With Off-Campus Placements: Who and How? Tuesday, April 5, 2005, http://www.thompsoninteractive.com/dss/ahead5
CAST is pleased to offer a very exciting and new agenda of 2005
institutes for educators. CAST Institutes are two-, or three-day sessions that offer information,
awareness, and hands-on activities, focusing on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and other
important educational issues. Each institute features presentations from experts on UDL and other CAST
professional development staff. Institutes have a maximum of 24 participants which allows for small
group work, hands-on technology (one computer to two participants), individualized support from CAST
staff, and direct application to participants' practice. All institutes are held at CAST in Wakefield,
Massachusetts, a suburb approximately 15 miles north of downtown Boston and convenient to public
For more information contact: Grace Meo, email@example.com or call 781-245-2212, ext. 263.
To register contact: Leslie O'Callaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-245-2212, ext. 273.
Register online at http://www.cast.org/udl/index.cfm?i=2417.
Institute #: 06
Universal Design for Learning and Post Secondary Education
Featured Presenters: Tracey Hall and Skip Stahl
Dates: June 2-3, 2005
Time: 8:30 - 3:30
Audience: Post-secondary Faculty
Faculties from institutions of higher education are invited to learn about the principles of UDL and application to post secondary practice. This institute focuses on applying the UDL principles to the development of course materials, syllabi, assessments and goals to meet the needs of learners with diverse needs, backgrounds, experiences, and opportunities.
The Fifth Annual Multiple Perspectives On Access, Inclusion & Disability,
April 11 - 13th, 2005. Hosted by The Ohio State University at the Pfahl Executive
Education and Conference Center, Columbus, Ohio.
View past programs on our web site at http://ada.osu.edu/conferences.htm.
April 11, 2005 Pre-conference: Demystifying the Interplay of the ADA with FMLA and Workers' Compensation
Presenters: Kimberly Shumate, Associate Legal Counsel for The Ohio State University and President, Columbus Bar Association; Mike Travis, Litigation Manager for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation; Larry Watson, Regional Attorney in the Cleveland, Ohio Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Moderator: David Kessler, Attorney, Blaugrund, Herbert and Martin, Inc.
John Marshall, Attorney and Restaurant Critic for Columbus Monthly will host a wine & cheese reception.
For more information, go to http://ada.osu.edu/conferences/2005.htm.
Solidarity '05: Abilities in Motion
May 11-13, 2005, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Columbus, OH
Go to http://www.dnos.org or call 800-863-0344 for more information.
Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, Inc.
presents their 2005 Conference - The Vision for Accessible Information: Celebrating Achievement,
The 2005 National Conference is being held in Sydney from May 14 - 17. The Conference will showcase examples of best practice in the provision of accessible information to people with a print disability in the workplace and the community centre, including businesses, agencies, tertiary institutions, libraries, Commonwealth, State and local government.
For more information, go to http://www.e-bility.com/roundtable/
Postsecondary Disability Training Institute, June 7-11, 2005, in
Portland, Maine. The objective of this Training Institute is to assist concerned professionals
to meet the unique needs of college students with disabilities. Participants
can select from a variety of Strands, Single Sessions, and a Saturday Post-Session
taught by experts in the field, which provide participants with in-depth information
and adequate time for questions and follow-up discussions. Participants also
have opportunities to share information and network with each other at various
activities throughout the week. For more information, go to www.cped.uconn.edu or contact
Carrol Waite, Institute Manager
University of Connecticut
Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability
249 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2064
Storrs, CT 06269-2064
Phone: 860-486-3321, Fax: 860-486-5799
3rd SALT Center Conference: A Generation of Experience: What's Next?
Sponsored by: The University of Arizona, SALT Center, September 22 - 24, 2005, at The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
A generation of students with learning and attention challenges has now been educated through the benefits of laws that guaranteed them equal access to education at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. What have we learned? Just how far have we come? Has practice driven research? Or has research informed practice? How will the next generations of learners benefit from our experiences?
Jean Ashmore, AHEAD’s Director of Constituent Relations – U.S., updates us on AHEAD Affiliate happenings.
Virginia AHEAD is now a formal Affiliate of AHEAD. Virginia AHEAD has been active in their state for a number of years, and the Board of Directors welcomes them to the growing group of regional Affiliates. There are now twenty (20) AHEAD Affiliates. For information about the Affiliate program with AHEAD, go to the "About Us" section of www.ahead.org.
Affiliate Programs and Events
Georgia AHEAD's Annual Spring Conference: The Practice: Balance and Professionalism in Disability Services, March 21-23, 2005, at the Desoto Hilton in historic Savannah, Georgia. Contact Marti Slaughter at email@example.com for conference registration.
The MN AHEAD Conference will be held at Northwestern College on Friday, April 22, 2005. MN AHEAD will feature a national speaker, Salome Heyward, at our conference this year. For questions about the conference contact Kelly Friesleben at 866-437-2788, ext. 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about Salome M. Heyward, JD: Salome is the leading national legal expert in disability compliance in higher education. She is the author of Disability & Higher Education and The ADA and Graduate and Professional Schools. She also authored the Council on Law in Higher Education’s 2002 Disability Compliance Brochure. Over the last three years, Salome has provided legal services to over 100 institutions.
New Asperger's SIG and Community College SIG listservs
If you would like to join the newly formed Asperger's SIG listserv or the newly formed Community College SIG listserv, please send an email request directly to Neal Fox at the AHEAD office, Neal@ahead.org.
AHEAD Announces Leadership Institute on Universal Design
AHEAD is inviting members to apply for participation in a leadership institute on universal design. This two-day pre-conference institute for twelve pre-selected AHEAD members, representing twelve institutions, will be held on Monday, August 1st and Tuesday, August 2nd at the AHEAD Milwaukee conference site. The purpose of the institute is to further explore reframing disability, re-designing disability services and infusing universal design concepts in postsecondary campuses and AHEAD. Resource materials to be used before, during and after the session will be included. As an incentive for participation, some financial assistance (one night lodging and meals and breaks during the institute) will be provided.
Participants will be required to make a one-year commitment to continuing thenwork both within AHEAD and on their campuses. This commitment will include:
- reading materials to prepare for the leadership institute
- participation in the institute
- developing a one-year plan of action to implement UD on campus
- sharing ideas, experiences, and resources with the leadership group and the AHEAD membership
AHEAD’s “UD Initiative” leaders will serve as mentors to the pilot leaders for one year through the use of a listserv and other outreach activities. Goals of the institute are:
- To provide leadership development on disability studies, sociopolitical conceptualizations of disability and universal design
- To develop and support practices informed by disability studies, socio-political models of disability, and universal design
- To increase leadership and advancement opportunities for AHEAD members
- To collaborate with twelve campuses to create inclusive campus communities
- To foster individual and collective leadership and accountability that promotes justice, equity and diversity
- To educate higher education about the work of AHEAD
Members of AHEAD
It’s time to creatively apply contemporary conceptualizations of disability and universal design. This requires resourceful leaders informing themselves and working together. This institute will provide members with intensive theoretical and practical training to cultivate their skills to be more effective change agents on their campuses. Participants will experience group presentations, facilitated small group discussions, guidance in creating campus action plans, and opportunities for networking with other professionals.
The institute will provide one night lodging and two days’ meals. Those attending will provide their own transportation to and from Milwaukee.
How to Apply
Please complete the online application at http://www.ahead.org/members/entry_leadinst_ud.php* and submit electronically no later than March 1, 2005. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than April 1, 2005. Selection criteria will include: size and type of institution, geographical location, and clarity and quality of responses to application questions.
*The application and information regarding this program are located in the “Members Only” section of www.ahead.org. You will need to have registered and logged in, in order to access these pages.
Awards and Honors for AHEAD Members
AHEAD Member Receives Prestigious Award
Alan Muir, a co-founder and Executive Director of Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD), was recently announced as a recipient of the 2004 Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Award. From a field of 125 applications, Alan was one of three honorees. This prestigious award from American Association of Persons with Disabilities carries a cash award of $10,000 for each recipient to use toward the project or organization with which he or she is affiliated. The Awards Gala will take place on March 9, 2005 in Washington, DC.
Alan, whose disability is dwarfism, worked in banking for 16 years in New York for Chase Manhattan Bank where he was a Vice President-Commercial Lending Officer. He and his wife Laura moved to Knoxville where his career moved toward direct services to promote employment of students in higher education who have disabilities. As a result of work with Bob Greenberg at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the organization Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities began in 2000. COSD has a membership of close to 450 now, has grant funding, and is very well regarded by corporate employers across the country. COSD focuses on linking Disability Service and Career Service staffers at the university level to better prepare students with disabilities for employment and then with employers to educate and involve them in recruiting and hiring SWD. Major corporations are very involved with COSD, sponsoring conferences and developing resources for their hiring personnel on interviewing students with disabilities and informing their supervisors about accommodation strategies.
The next COSD conference will be in Boston July 20-21, 2005, hosted by Merck and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and sponsored by approximately 15 other national companies and organizations including AHEAD! Go to www.cosdonline.org for further information.
In addition to his outstanding leadership in the establishment and development of COSD, Alan Muir is active with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Tennessee Disability Vote Committee, the Knoxville Disability Resource Center and Little People of America. AHEAD salutes Alan on his selection for the prestigious Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award!
Nursing Students with Disabilities Change the Course (2003) by Donna Carol Maheady, published by Exceptional Parent Press, River Edge, New Jersey, has been selected for the 2004 American Journal of Nursing (AJN) Book of the Year Award for Nursing Education and Continuing Education.
Joel Bryan: Loss of an Activist
Ward Newmeyer shares this piece on the life and recent passing of Joel Bryan, a friend, colleague and disability activist, prepared by Mary Jo Bryan with contributions from Dan Clark and Ward.
Joel Y. Bryan, a pioneer in crafting philosophical foundations for serving college and university students with disabilities, died Wednesday, January 19, 2005 from complications due to pneumonia. He was 67 years old. Joel was active in AHEAD when it started as the Association on Handicapped Student Service Programs in Postsecondary Education (AHSSPPE), and presented a paper on “pre-admission counseling” at the 1977 Wright State Conference.
Joel’s family was in the Philippines when he contracted polio in 1950 at the age of 12. He became quadriplegic and used a wheelchair the remainder of his life. He continued schooling in the United States and received his BA in Psychology in 1964 from the University of California, Riverside. During college, he took a year off to join his family in Karachi, Pakistan and taught algebra and geometry at the American School. Also while in college, he interned at the California Institute for Women.
Joel was the first wheelchair user to attend UC Riverside, and the university worked with him on accommodations as problems arose. While he was a student, a new wing of the Library was planned with steps at the main entrance. Joel organized fellow students with disabilities to demonstrate at the library and drafted correspondence; his efforts succeeded, and a fully accessible Library wing was built. Eventually, in 1966, the university adapted a barrier-free building program.
After graduation, Joel began his career in the Student Placement Center at UC Riverside. In 1969, Joel was asked to start and direct the disabled students program at UCR. UCR was in a unique position with its relatively barrier-free environment. Joel worked with the campus architect, involved students in reviewing new buildings and retrofitting old ones, did a campus needs assessment and institutionalized student input. Joel’s philosophy was to treat students as adults, letting them make their own decisions and learning from them. He coined the oft-used term “disability management.” It was important that each student was in charge of him or herself, using the experience to develop the skills they would need throughout post-collegiate life. Joel developed a wheelchair repair center and an Educational Resource Center.
Music was always an important part of Joel’s life. With some adaptation for holding a harmonica, Joel played with rock and roll groups at UC Riverside and as the featured artist with a jazz group in Newport Beach. As part of the Jan DeNeau Quartet, he was featured in Downbeat magazine in June of 1966. Through his music, Joel was able to express his feelings of pain and loneliness. He once said, “I could harness those feelings and blow them through that instrument.”
In 1973, Joel and his family relocated to UC Davis where Joel started and became the Coordinator of Services to Handicapped Students. He oversaw the program’s growth from a small office of two persons to a comprehensive services program employing over fifteen regular staff and hundreds of students. However, his overall goal was to put his office out of business as, ideally, the university develops a fully inclusive environment for people with disabilities. His visionary thinking continues to influence the fast-growing field of “disabled student services” in higher education. Over the years, Joel mentored many students and colleagues in the principals of independent living. Many of his former students and staff members are now leaders in disability-related fields and have greatly affected disability-related policies and practices in California and nationally.
Throughout most of his life, Joel was part of a broader disability movement that, at its core, empowered individuals with disabilities to take control of their lives. Joel was a perfect example of this by the way he lived his life and expected to participate in life as an equal. In the fall of 1975, Joel and other local disabled activists founded Resources for Independent Living (RIL) and Joel was its first Chairperson. RIL was a new breed of non-profits that promoted the Independent Living philosophy of consumer empowerment. Joel also served on the Statewide Task Force on Funding for Students with Disabilities and the City of Davis Handicapped Access Board of Appeals.
In 1986, Joel received the California Governor’s Trophy for promoting employment of persons with disabilities, one of many honors over his career. Joel retired in 1987 as post-polio syndrome affected his respiratory system. He is among the disability civil rights leaders interviewed for the University of California, Berkeley’s archival and oral history collection on the “Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement” at UCB’s Bancroft Library. His papers can be viewed at the Bancroft Library.
Joel is survived by his wife of 35 years, Mary Jo, and two adult sons. Scores of friends, colleagues, former students, and disability rights advocates mourn our loss of Joel.
A celebration of Joel’s life will take place on Saturday, February 19th at the Davis Art Center, 1919 F Street, Davis, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Contributions, possibly tax-deductible, to the Californians for Disability Rights (CDR) Foundation scholarship program or to the Yolano Chapter of CDR can be made to 1610 Sycamore Lane, Davis, California 95616.
Precedent-Setting Decision on Emergency Evacuations for People with Disabilities Issued in Maryland
In a case in which AHEAD filed an amicus curiae brief, the court finds that places of public accommodation must consider people with disabilities when making evacuation plans.
The Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs issued the following announcement about their success in a case regarding evacuation plans for people with disabilities. AHEAD, along with several other groups, filed an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief in the case. Amicus briefs give organizations who have a strong interest in the outcome of the case to present legal arguments, even though they are not parties to the suit.
For the first time, a court has declared that the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) requires places of public accommodation to consider the needs of people with disabilities in developing emergency evacuation plans. This groundbreaking decision – issued on December 28, 2004 by Judge John W. Debelius III of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland – means that shopping malls, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and other private entities subject to the ADA throughout the country, whether landlords or tenants, must now seek to accommodate people with disabilities in the development and modification of emergency evacuation procedures.
"This is a significant decision that should greatly enhance the safety of persons with disabilities in the post-September 11th world,” said Elaine Gardner, Director of the Disability Rights Project at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. “The ADA always has been understood to help get people with disabilities into places of public accommodation. Now, for the first time, it also has been found to require that public places try to get those same people out in the event of a fire, terrorist attack, or other emergency.”
The court’s significant decision arises out of a lawsuit that was filed in Spring 2003 by Katie Savage, a Washington, D.C. resident who became trapped during an emergency evacuation in a local shopping mall that had no accessible exits for persons with disabilities. Ms. Savage, who uses a wheelchair, was shopping at a Marshalls store in Silver Spring, Maryland’s City Place Mall on September 3, 2002, when the store and the Mall were evacuated. After Marshalls required her to exit into an area of the Mall that is below ground level, Ms. Savage found that she was trapped there and unable to evacuate, because the elevators were shut down and all the exits had stairs. Abandoned by store employees and trapped, Ms. Savage resolved to use her terrifying ordeal as a vehicle for ensuring that fellow citizens with disabilities would not be similarly victimized in emergency evacuation situations. Ms. Savage joined the Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington (the DRC) in filing a lawsuit against Marshalls and City Place Mall that alleged violations of the ADA in both the Mall’s emergency evacuation plan and Marshalls’ corporate-wide evacuation policies.
In briefs filed with the court last Fall, Marshalls took the position that the ADA does not require places of public accommodation to modify evacuation plans in order to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. The court, however, rejected Marshalls’ view and held that “a store’s nationwide evacuation procedures would certainly constitute a public accommodation’s ‘policies.’” Therefore, the court wrote, “it is certain that Title III of the ADA does apply to this situation.”
"I am delighted by the court’s decision and hope that it has a lasting impact on improving safety for people with disabilities,” said Ms. Savage. “Regrettably, Marshalls and other major retailers have seen fit to evacuate non-disabled persons, while leaving people with disabilities to fend for themselves in an emergency. That is not only a poor business decision. It is also now against the law.”
One of Ms. Savage’s attorneys, Steve Hollman, agreed. “We’ve all heard stories about people with disabilities being trapped and left to die on September 11th and in other emergency situations,” said Mr. Hollman, a partner with Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. “Hopefully, this decision will serve as a wake-up call to public accommodations across the country that they must start considering the needs of people with disabilities in their evacuation plans.”
The Opinion of the Court also was significant for refusing to allow a tenant to abdicate its responsibility to patrons with disabilities by merely placing them outside a store’s entrance in an emergency evacuation situation and leaving actual evacuation to a shopping mall’s owners. Additionally, the Opinion recognized Ms. Savage’s standing to bring her ADA claims against Marshalls. Despite the fact that Ms. Savage had not visited the Marshalls fitting room at City Place Mall, she was found to be able to seek barrier removal there, as “a Plaintiff need not encounter every barrier in a store to bring a claim for all the store’s ADA violations.” Moreover, the Court found that Ms. Savage had standing to remedy Marshalls’ corporate-wide emergency evacuation policy – which is in effect at more than 672 Marshalls stores – because “where the harm alleged is directly traceable to a written policy . . . there is an implicit likelihood of its repetition in the immediate future.” The Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington also was found to have standing to proceed. As a result, the case will now proceed to trial to determine whether Marshalls and City Place Mall are in violation of the requirements of the ADA. The trial date will be set at a hearing on January 14.
Ms. Savage is represented by the law firm of Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. An important Amicus Curiae brief was submitted to the Court by the law firm of Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, on behalf of the American Association of People with Disabilities and several other organizations of people with disabilities.
Say "Yes" to Readers
Jim Marks, Treasurer of AHEAD and the Co-chairman of AHEAD's Special Interest Group on Blindness and Visual Impairments, offers his perspective on the value of human readers for our students.
Whenever I want to get at information quickly, I use human readers. My blindness prevents me from reading print, so I use a variety of alternatives to access information and to communicate effectively. On my desks at work and home are the best computer technologies one can buy. I also read audio books on tape cassette, digital audio, and electronic text from a variety of sources. Each of these functions uniquely, and I would hate to give up a single alternative because it takes many tools in the toolbox to get the job done. However, of all the tools I use, readers make it possible for me to deal with the mountains of paper I face every day. Take my readers away, and I would not be able to function effectively.
Because using human readers is so effective for me, I'm baffled by why it is that there seems to be so much resistance to using readers in higher education. The resistance comes from disability support offices as well as students with print disabilities. Even the civil rights laws and regulations stack the deck against readers. I learned how to use readers in college. Many of today's college students do not get the opportunity to learn the art of managing readers as much as they should. From the perspective of one who relies on readers a great deal, I think students are denied a cornerstone in acquiring self-determination and self-reliance.
The biggest barrier to using readers seems to lie in the emphasis on accessibility. In this case, accessibility means acquiring alternative formats to print. Readers render print accessible, but more and more people define accessibility as alternative formats and shun the use of readers. Equal access is without a question an intrinsic part of first class citizenship. But access is not the answer for everything. When one has a disability, the choices are to either modify the environment or to modify one's behaviors, skills, and attitudes. Blending the choices together gives people with disabilities the greatest flexibility and responsiveness in living independently. If all the focus centers on modifying the environment alone, then people with disabilities fail to learn how to do for themselves what they can do for themselves. Somehow, people with disabilities must become personally responsible or risk becoming dependent on external factors such as the availability of alternate formats. Over emphasizing accessibility does more harm than good. It's as though people believe that if only enough accessibility is laid on, disability goes away. I am blind, and no amount of accessibility to information makes blindness disappear. So, learning and applying the alternative techniques of blindness, which includes the use of readers, is absolutely essential and permits the opportunity to take advantage of accessibility for the best possible outcomes.
Managing readers is a major pain in the proverbial you-know-where. My first experience with readers was a disaster. The state agency for the blind paid for my readers, but let me find, hire, and manage my own readers. I found a couple of classmates who said they were willing to read my textbooks, and I gave them my books, a tape recorder, and plenty of tapes. When midterms rolled around, I called my readers up and asked for their tapes. They hemmed and hawed, and said things like, "Sorry, man, but I haven't done much yet." "OK," I said, "Just give me what you have." The tapes were terrible. The tape recordings were full of noisy background sounds like children crying and chainsaws whining, yawns and sneezes, and a general butchery of the English language. Very quickly, I learned that I needed to be present when my readers read for me. That way, I could record the reading, take notes, and direct what was being read. The directing part proved to be the most valuable of all. Readers well managed can jump around the text and get to the important parts quickly. Print involves a lot more information than the mere words on the page. Features like text boxes, highlighted or bolded text, and graphics communicate meaning. I discovered that I could direct my readers to get at critical information quickly and effectively. I ended up dumping the tape recording stage since it turned out to be not as functional as I thought. Of course, there is not enough time in the day to use readers for everything. I still used talking books and assistive technology. But pound for pound, readers earned their place as a well-worn and well-loved tool in my toolbox. The care and feeding of readers remains a vital skill for me even still. And I am very thankful I learned how to manage readers well while I was in college.
Many people with print disabilities resist the idea of using readers because they believe managing readers is more trouble than it is worth. In addition, many tend to over emphasize accessibility and believe they have the right to alternative formats to anything in print. The sense of entitlement to accessible information renders the use of readers undesirable since readers require large doses of personal responsibility and skill acquisition. For sure, reading a talking book offers far more convenience than does the hassles of recruiting, hiring, and directing readers. Trouble rears its head when alternatives to print cannot be obtained. We live in a print world. Should people with print disabilities insist on alternative formats and rule out the option of readers, they will self-inflict limitations in accessing print. One must stay focused on the ends of accessing information and communicating effectively and employ several means used to achieve the ends. Until the day arrives when alternative formats of everything in print is readily available from bookstore and library bookshelves, smart people will apply any alternative that delivers access to the information. In the job place, where alternatives to print are even more limited than they are in college, the value in a diversity of means of getting at information elevates even higher. Yes, managing readers is a pain. But the pain of being excluded from the mainstream is worse.
The civil rights laws that protect people with disabilities contain a catch-22 that results in an inherent bias against readers. Both Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act include clauses that permit higher education to deny readers for personal use and study. The laws specifically name readers as one of many auxiliary aids and services that higher education must provide to otherwise qualified students with disabilities, but they do not require readers for personal services. For more information on this, go to the 1998 US Department of Education pamphlet entitled, "Auxiliary Aids and Services for Post-secondary Education Students with Disabilities," located at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/auxaids.html#skipnav2.
The pamphlet states, "… readers may be provided for classroom use but institutions are not required to provide readers for personal use or for help during individual study time." The catch-22 is that higher education is told to provide readers in the classroom, but not readers for study outside the classroom where almost all post-secondary students reading occurs. College level study usually means that students read their textbooks independently. On one hand, the US Department of Education tells colleges and universities to provide readers. On the other, the Department limits what must be read by restricting reading to the classroom where reading is hardly ever done. The pamphlet even goes so far to include an answer to the question about whether colleges are obligated to provide auxiliary aids and service for accessing course materials in the campus library. The answer says, in part, "…if material is required for the class, then its text must be read for a blind student or provided in Braille or on tape. A student's actual study time and use of these articles are considered personal study time and the institution has no further obligation to provide additional auxiliary aids.
Confused? Any thinking person ought to be. It seems that the Department splits hairs by making reading and study separate functions, a dichotomy that defies reason and harms accessibility to information by students with disabilities. I wish the Department would say that readers linked to study as part of a course are required. No one soberly argues that higher education should provide readers for personal use such as reading private mail or pleasure reading. The over-zealous interpretation of what constitutes personal use functionally removes the use of readers from the accommodation process in higher education. Interestingly enough, The civil rights laws and regulations say that readers for personal use and study are not required and do not make the leap to limiting reading to classroom use. The classroom restriction on readers is an interpretation by the Department of the laws and regulations, an interpretation that cries out for clarification. It is as if the Department cooked up its interpretation without the ingredient of knowing how people with print disabilities actually use readers to access information.
Sadly, the classroom restriction kills the use of readers on many campuses. One could say that readers for study outside the classroom are not required, and that's exactly what happens at many institutions of higher education across the US. Resources in higher education are becoming more and more difficult to obtain. If a service is optional, some legally choose to deny the use of readers as a way of monitoring scarce resources. Fortunately, lots of colleges still provide readers that are directed by students who use the accommodation. Others, however, abandoned the provision of readers altogether in favor of providing students audio recordings made by the disability support office. Students at these schools never get the chance to learn an essential disability skill. Plus, the audio recordings almost always turn out to be of a very poor quality. If you question this, try reading a tape cassette made by a disability support office, and you will soon understand what it is like to listen to these recordings. Should disability support offices provide readers directed by the students with disabilities, the quality barriers evaporate. Students can direct readers to read print as they want, thus getting the disability support office out of responsibilities that best belong with students anyhow.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) adopted at its 2004 convention a resolution calling for higher education to provide readers when requested by blind students and for the US Department of Education to clarify the rules involving readers so that blind students will not be denied readers for study. The NFB, which champions many issues relevant to blindness such as Braille literacy, technology accessibility, and best educational practices, believes that readers are an essential tool in the toolbox. More advocacy for the provision of readers will undoubtedly occur. Resolution 2004-03 may be found at http://www.nfb.org/bm/bm04/bm0408/bm040813.htm.
Whenever colleagues and students ask me about readers, I urge people to use readers in conjunction with other means of accessing information. Moreover, I recommend that the student take control and be the employer of readers. Payment for readers does not present much of a problem because reader wages are usually affordable and because not much reading time is required. Readers do not have to be highly skilled since students with disabilities will direct the reading. On occasion, it may be necessary to find readers who are literate in esoteric subjects, foreign languages, math, and science texts. It is rare for full time students to use more than 20 hours per week of reading time since most reading tasks are satisfied by talking book libraries and technology solutions. In addition, most state vocational rehabilitation agencies will pay for all or part of reader costs for qualified clients of the agency. In fact, when students encounter disability support offices that refuse to provide readers by applying the classroom restriction, I urge students to bypass the disability office and secure readers through the agency. A strong case can be made that the agency should pay for readers when the college will not, especially when the student/client can demonstrate that readers are a necessary rehabilitative service for achieving the vocational goal. People have to read somehow, after all.
Sometimes, the civil rights laws fail the people they are intended to benefit. Disability support offices should sometimes look beyond mere legal compliance and provide services that are in the best educational interests of students with disabilities. We turn to best practice models to guide us in this regard. Any best practice model worth a hoot that concerns equal access to information and effective communication should include readers as one of the primary means. Just handing a student a tape in lieu of letting students direct readers will not prepare students for additional challenges in and outside of higher education. At the same time, higher education must control its resources and not squander them on services we do not have to provide. Disability support offices may set limits on how much reading is allowable as well as what kind of reading may be done with readers provided by the college. In addition, disability support offices should assist students in learning how to manage readers effectively. Managing readers well takes time and skill to develop fully. For instance, students may be encouraged to sit with their readers while reading and not just pass audio recording equipment to the student and hope for the best. Students should be encouraged to be the boss, complete with taking on all the responsibilities a good boss should.
Jim Marks is the Director of Disability Services at the University of Montana-Missoula. Jim may be reached at (406) 243-2373 or email@example.com.
New Resources Available from Mobility International USA
Mobility International announces the release of three new publications:
“Preparing for an International Career,” “Rights and Responsibilities:
A Guide to National and International Disability-related Laws for International
Organizations and Participants,” and “A Practice of Yes! Working
with Overseas Partners to Include Students with Disabilities.”
“ Preparing for an International Career: Pathways for People with Disabilities”
Released on the International Day of Disabled Persons, a new online resource from Mobility International USA/National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange titled “Preparing for an International Career: Pathways for People with Disabilities” encourages young adults with international interests to explore careers in the international affairs, exchange and development fields. As one International Affairs graduate, who is blind, shares, “The Berlin Wall fell when I was in high school, and I had a world history teacher who gave us global current events every single day of class. I thought, ‘Wow, what an interesting time to be alive. How wonderful if I could have a career affecting it in some way.’”
This downloadable booklet, available at www.miusa.org, highlights different
types of international occupations, job prospects, tips to prepare for an international
career, insights from role models and emerging leaders with disabilities in
these fields, and the international exchange and fellowship programs they participated
in to get them where they are today. Go to www.miusa.org/publications to find
information on many activities one can participate in as stepping stones to
an international career!
“ Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide to National and International Disability-related Laws for International Exchange Organizations and Participants”
Wondering how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to U.S. students while studying in another country? “Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide to National and International Disability-related Laws for International Exchange Organizations and Participants,” a newly updated 125-page booklet, explores different insights on the interpretation of the ADA and its impact on international educational exchange policy and practice. This publication also looks at non-discrimination laws in other countries, shares stories and perspectives from students with disabilities and disability service advisors, and provides case studies to show how various laws may be interpreted in international exchange settings.
“A Practice of Yes! Working with Overseas Partners
to Include Students with Disabilities”
Designed for exchange professionals working with overseas institutional partners to place students with disabilities in exchange programs, includes common concerns voiced by overseas partners and real world answers from experienced exchange professionals. Topics addressed in this publication include: assessing personal and institutional policies; barriers to participation by students with disabilities; reaching partner agreements; and best practices.
All three are Mobility International USA/National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) publications. NCDE is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is an organization that empowers people with disabilities around the world through international exchange and international development. MIUSA also manages the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. Through the NCDE, MIUSA provides information and resources for people with disabilities to learn about opportunities for international exchange, including study abroad, volunteer service, research and teaching programs and helps international exchange programs increase their number of disabled participants. To learn more, please visit www.miusa.org.
Building Careers in Design Course
San Diego State University announces a new online course for vocational and career counselors designed to help them advise people with disabilities who are interested in a career in design.
Registration is now open at www.careersindesign.org for the Building Careers in Design course. We hope you will promote this online course to vocational and career counselors in your area. This 6-week 30 CRC credit course begins March 7 and is offered through the Interwork Institute of San Diego State University, in cooperation with Adaptive Environments, Boston, MA. Daniel Hunter, ASLA, is the course instructor and Jacklyn Butcher, CRP, is course facilitator. The course fee is $275.
The course will provide counselors with skills and knowledge that they can use with people with disabilities to help them begin training for quality careers in a range of design fields. Design fields are often overlooked as career options for people with disabilities. Developed by Adaptive Environments through a contract with the RSA National Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center, the course is part of 'Building Careers in Design,' a web-based training and technical assistance project that includes extensive web resources on design careers for consumers, counselors, human resource personnel, and families.
Counselors from VR agencies in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, New York and Michigan participated in the course that was offered twice in 2004. The counselors applauded the in-depth content, access to successful designers with disabilities, and easy to use online resources that enabled them to assess interests and develop well-documented Individual Plans for Employment (IPE).
In addition to the online course there are extensive web resources that introduce the design fields to career seekers, people with disabilities, counselors, families, educators, potential employers, and service providers. The web resources include useful information about how to identify interests leading to a career in design, introduces designers with disabilities in a wide range of fields, illustrates design studios and highlights accommodations.
Building Careers in Design encourages people with disabilities into careers in the design fields, including architecture, landscape design, web design, urban design, and industrial design. The Building Careers in Design project is part of Access to Design Professions, which is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Leadership Initiative in Universal Design. Access to Design Professions was developed by Adaptive Environments as a living memorial to the late Ron Mace FAIA, with the belief that the practice of universal design will be improved by the involvement of designers with disabilities.
Freedom Scientific News
Freedom Scientific Debuts the SARA (Scanning And Reading
Appliance) and Lowers Prices on Braille Device.
Freedom Scientific unveils new assistive technology that could be very useful in higher education and announces lower prices for existing technology.
Freedom Scientific recently announced the SARA, an easy, compact, and very affordable scanning and reading appliance for the blind and those with low vision.
The colorful SARA is so simple to use that it works right out of the box. Just place a book, magazine, newspaper, bill, or other document on the scanning surface and press a button. SARA reads aloud in a crisp clear voice. Absolutely no technical or computer experience is needed. SARA can read columns and sidebars as well as text in a huge array of type styles and colors.
SARA's design recognizes the special needs of its users. A small group of large buttons perform all the basic functions any user needs. The buttons on a straight-forward keypad, are colorful, with tactile symbols that convey each button's use. If assistance is needed to identify a button, a Help key can be pushed to speak the button's name and function. Front-mounted stereo speakers make SARA easy to hear, and the RealSpeakR voice can be changed for the user's preference. The speaking speed and volume can be adjusted while reading or controlled to read a single word or line at a time. Users can even have SARA spell words to get a better understanding of what is being spoken.
SARA remembers hundreds of thousands of pages and handles everything from small-print phone book pages to your favorite novel. SARA's built-in CD player gives the user options to read books saved on disk. SARA also can be attached to a computer monitor or TV for colorful, large print to complement the speech. You can adjust the print, type style, color, spacing and size to meet your needs.
While packed with features, the SARA also is one of the most affordable scanning and reading appliances on the market. Freedom Scientific will price the SARA at $2,595 retail and plans to begin taking orders in December for January shipping.
Freedom Scientific Lowers PAC Mate Braille Display
Freedom Scientific recently announced lower prices for its PAC Mate™ 20 and 40 cell braille displays. The PAC Mate 40 display has been reduced 20 percent, from $3995 to $3200. The PAC Mate 20 display has been reduced 30 percent, from $1995 to $1400. This represents a new industry benchmark and is less than half the price of competitive braille displays.
As well, an improved design eliminates seams between the cells, giving the display a crisp paper-like feel for a more comfortable reading experience.
“We first set the standard in braille display affordability last year when we initially released the PAC Mate Portable Braille Displays,” said Dr. Lee Hamilton, CEO of Freedom Scientific. “Now we are offering an improved product at an even lower price.”
Concurrent with this announcement, Freedom Scientific is lowering the price of the world's most popular braille notetakers, the PAC Mate QX440 and BX440, by $200 to $5595, 10 percent below its nearest competitor, while delivering 25 percent more braille cells.
“This announcement coupled with our recent SARA™ and Focus 40/80 Braille Display product announcements and pricing structure, shows our commitment to offering the industry's best technology at the best prices,” said Brad Davis, Vice President of Freedom Scientific.
For more information, go to www.freedomscientific.com.