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As the U.S. Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, National Council on Disability Issues Annual Progress Report

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Thursday, July 23, the National Council on Disability (NCD) will release its annual "National Disability Policy: A Progress Report."

The 2015 edition of the annual report from the independent federal agency—which fulfills NCD's statutory mandate to annually report and make recommendations concerning the state of disability policy in the United States—holds special significance as the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26. In recognition of this landmark legislation, NCD has dedicated this report to exploring how the ADA and other federal legislation has been implemented by five specific state and local agencies.

"NCD's 2015 Annual Progress Report celebrates and explores the impact of the first 25 years of the ADA and lays out the agency's vision for the next 25," said NCD chair Jeff Rosen. The 2015 report focuses on five NCD policy areas: employment, education, health care, transportation, and housing.

NCD's 2015 Annual Progress Report concludes with NCD's vision for 2040 when the ADA will turn 50, with additional recommendations to help the nation realize this vision. Highlights of those visionary recommendations follow below.

The Annual Progress Report will be released during the agency's quarterly meeting the morning of Thursday, July 23 with a panel discussion of emerging and seasoned advocates providing cross-generational perspectives what should be the next steps in achieving the full promise of the ADA.

DETAILS:

Date: Thursday, July 23

Time: 10:15 am – 11:15 am EST

Location: 1331 F Street, Suite 800

Speakers: Moderator and NCD Council member Janni Lehrer-Stein, will facilitate a panel discussion featuring:

  • Day Al-Mohamed, senior policy advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Former NCD Executive Director and Chair, Lex Frieden—professor of biomedical informatics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
  • Robert L. Burgdorf Jr, Professor of Law Emeritus at the David A. Clarke School of Law in WDC.
  • Brian Lucas, law student at the Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina. Currently interning at the National Association of the Deaf.

Highlights of NCD's vision for 2040, along with recommendations:

  • Work incentive programs for SSI/SSDI beneficiaries, such as the Ticket-to-Work program, will receive the support necessary to enhance their effectiveness. Congress should provide additional guidance to state agencies and mandate closer collaborative, rather than competitive, relationships between state vocational rehabilitation agencies and Employment Networks to identify and develop models that more effectively contribute to employment for people with disabilities.
  • The sub-minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be eliminated, guaranteeing competitive wages for all people with disabilities. Congress should amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to eliminate the allowance of sub-minimum wages for people with disabilities once sub-minimum wage employment is phased-out.
  • Workplace accessibility, a reasonable accommodation, will be extended to people with disabilities who work remotely. Congress should amend the tax code to allow for an expansion of presently available tax credits to include access modifications in home offices.
  • The school-to-prison pipeline for students with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds will be dismantled. SEAs and LEAs should offer social skills instruction and individualized wraparound supports to connect students with disabilities to community services. These agencies should also adopt positive behavioral systems and end zero tolerance disciplinary practices. Federal, state, and local education agencies should allocate funding to support school-based mental health service providers. The U.S. Department of Education should support research that determines factors that contribute to the disproportionality of students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system, as well as evidence-based practices to address these factors.
  • Technology will be readily available to support students to participate and succeed academically. SEAs should collaborate with institutions of higher education to identify basic learning standards involving technology and students with disabilities for pre-service teachers. The U.S. Department of Education should collaborate with states to identify funding options that would allow students transitioning out of the purview of their local education agency to maintain devices provided by an IEP or 504 plan, or secure a comparable device within a timely manner. Further, local, state, and federal education and health agencies should collaborate with private and public health insurance providers to establish clear plans and policies to ensure that students with disabilities have access to the necessary assistive technology.
  • People with disabilities will benefit from stronger consumer protections with health insurance and throughout the health care delivery process.HHS and state regulators should encourage public deliberation and stakeholder engagement in the design and operations of health care policy and programs. This could include promoting and implementing stronger ombudsman programs, consumer majority advisory councils, and public forums that address consumer protection issues.
  • Commissions and regulatory entities that regulate taxi services will operate fleets that consist of at least 50 percent accessible taxis, 100 percent accessible mobile technology, and staff who are responsive to the needs of passengers with disabilities. State agencies should collaborate with TLC services to develop a strategic plan to increase the number of accessible taxis with features such as wheelchair access and auditory systems.
  • Autonomous vehicles will be a viable transportation option for people with disabilities. DOT should collaborate with private sector research firms to design and invest in autonomous vehicle research to help refine the technology that powers this initiative and explore the implications for people with disabilities.
  • All new homes and apartments will meet universal design accessibility standards.State housing commissions should mandate that universal design accessibility principles be incorporated into the permitting requirements for all new homes and apartments.
  • The United States will ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The White House should continue to promote the CRPD through its outreach efforts, explicitly identify and address common misconceptions about the CRPD, and highlight the benefits of ratifying the treaty. In addition, government agencies should post information on their websites about the implications of ratifying the CRPD for their stakeholders with disabilities.

To get a copy of NCD's 2015 Progress Report, including key findings, recommendations and objectives, go to: https://www.ncd.gov/ncd-progress-report-celebrates-25-years-ada-envisions-next-25

NCD members and staff are available for interviews on the findings of the 2015 annual report and the ADA anniversary: To arrange an interview please contact Public Affairs Specialist Lawrence Carter-Long at: LCarterLong@ncd.gov or call 202-272-2112

About the National Council on Disability (NCD): First established as an advisory Council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.

CONTACT: Lawrence Carter-Long Public Affairs Specialist National Council on Disability Phone: 202-272-2112 Email: LCarterLong@ncd.govSource:National Council on Disability