Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Supreme Court Favors Students with Disabilities

US SUPREME COURT-- On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled parents of special education students can seek government reimbursement for private school tuition. In the 6-to-3 ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens who wrote the majority opinion said, “We conclude that IDEA authorizes reimbursement for the cost of private special education services when a school district fails to provide a FAPE (blog author note: free and appropriate education) and the private school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education or related services through the public school.”

Increasingly, families turn to costly private schools specializing in serving students with emotional or learning disabilities when their children are unable to obtain services in the public school system or are ineligible for public school services. In the US, approximately 90,000 special needs students attend private schools.

Court Affirms Reimbursement for Special Education
Court Ruling Helps Special-Needs Students

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NRCA Announces New Medicare Draft

From the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association:
The three House committees with jurisdiction over health care—the House Ways & Means Committee, the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and the House Education & Labor Committee—have released draft health care reform legislation, including provisions to update the Medicare program. Importantly, the draft legislation (known as the “Tri-Committee” draft) would establish Medicare coverage of licensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists (blog author's note: CRC's are not mentioned). The legislation makes significant changes to the way the current health insurance marketplace works in the U.S., with the goal of building on our current system to broaden coverage and constrain health care cost increases.

Information on the legislation, including the bill text and a summary, is on the House Education & Labor Committee’s website at

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Report on Rehab Counselor Salaries

CRCC, US-- The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification released the "CRCC Issues 2008 Salary Report: An Update on Salaries in the Rehabilitation Counseling Profession".In May 2007, CRCC conducted constituent research among 1,220 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. The resulting 2008 Salary Report provides valuable insights and is a resource in helping to assess how individual compensation compares across fellow Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. Areas addressed include salary by demographics, disability, education, work setting, and length of time in the rehabilitation counseling profession.
The 2008 Salary Report is available on the CRCC website, News & Events page, or or at

GAO Finds Most Polling Places Inaccessible

From AAPD, WASHINGTON, DC - June 11, 2009 - The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an interim report on voting accessibility Wednesday comparing last year's presidential election to the 2000 election and the good news, according to Dickson, is there has been progress. The bad news, he said, is we have a long way to go and for voters who use wheelchairs, the nation still gets a failing grade for polling place accessibility.

In the 2000 election, only 16 percent of polling places were accessible to wheelchair users, according to the GAO report. In 2008, 27 percent of polling places were accessible.

Numbers released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office this week show people with disabilities had fewer impediments at polling places during the 2008 presidential election, but not all people with disabilities are able to access polls and vote privately and independently. The GAO will release a more detailed final report on the Election Day polling place accessibility findings in September. To read the initial report in its entirety, visit

Thursday, June 11, 2009

EEOC Sues United Airlines for ADA Violations

The EEOC recently filed suit against United Airlines for disability related employment discrimination. The EEOC alleges United failed to provide reasonable accommodations be transferring a workers with disabilities into available vacant positions for which they were qualified. The suit indicates that United terminated employees with disabilities or placed them involuntarily on leaves of absence even when willing, qualified and capable of working. A wide variety of workers report such discrimination, including mechanics, maintenance workers, flight attendants, and customer service employees.

EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru says, "The EEOC is focused on eliminating widespread disability discrimination in employment wherever we find it… employers in every industry should know that their failure to comply with the ADA's reasonable accommodation requirement will have legal consequences."

United Airlines Sued for Disability Discrimination
United Airlines to pay $850,000 settlement for disability bias

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sotomayor Diabetes Debate Heats Up- For the Wrong Reasons

President Obama’s pick for the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has Type I (Insulin Dependent) Diabetes. Sotomayor’s health and medical fitness for the top court position, along with diabetes more generally, is now the topic of hot political debate. The debate is likely to continue for weeks if not months, as Sotomayor’s diabetes becomes a national dinner table topic. Ominously, Time Magazine notes, “the potential for a catastrophic complication—by no means unique to her situation—highlights a serious deficiency in the nation's oversight of Supreme Court justices”.

It is difficult to read the increasingly alarmist coverage of Sotomayor’s health without catching strong whiffs of existential angst—that free-floating (and prejudicial) feeling of “discomfort, anxiety, defensiveness… experienced because of the fear of acquiring a disability”—so well described by Smart & Smart (2007). Clearly and regrettably the medical model of disability is alive, well, and being advanced by politicians and pundits of all sorts! What a shame so few of our opinion leaders and public figures are taking Sotomayor’s nomination as an opportunity to positively reframe not only diabetes, but also disability.
Come on, pols and pundits! Sotomayor gives us a great opportunity to discuss what people with chronic illness CAN do. Accurately and fairly reported, her experiences may reduce some myths about diabetes and insulin, and put positive, hopeful, and realistic information about Type I diabetes in the public eye. Hmm... a discussion of job accommodations and the ADA would be appropriate right about now, too.

Sotomayor’s Medical History Sparks Wider Debate
Sotomayor’s Diabetes: Will It Be a Handicap?,8599,1900962,00.html
Sweet Justice: Why Judge Sotomayor's diabetes shouldn't be ignored.
Don't Worry About Sonia Sotomayor's Diabetes