October 20, 2018

HEATH wishes to thank the following sources for their information:

  • The Disability Law & Policy e-Newsletter is the collaborative product of Editor-in-Chief David W. Klein, Ph.D., Executive Editor William N. Myhill, M.Ed., J.D., Managing Editor Deepti Samant, M.S. (Rehab), M.S. (ECE); and Associate Editors Janelle Frias, B.A., Lauren Chanatry, B.A., Shawna Castells, B.S., Aaron Gottlieb, B.A., Carly Pavlick, Amanda Bernasconi, and Nicole Loring.
  • The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition E-News supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and (Cooperative Agreement No.H326J000005) available at
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2008 ACT College Readiness Report News Release

This news release and accompanying documents report information about students in the high school graduating class of 2008 who took the ACT. States, districts and schools receive similar information about their students. ACT releases national and state data. For information about specific local district or school datayou must contact district and school offices for local information.

Jumpstart on College and Careers: Dual Enrollment Research, Policies, and Effective Practice (September 2008)


Dual enrollment, in which high school students take college courses, has become a popular strategy to help students transition to, and be successful in, college. The American Youth Policy Forum developed this status report on dual enrollment: what the newest data show, how policy is stimulating participation and shaping practice, and ways in which dual enrollment is being incorporated into career and technical programs to prepare students for both college and careers.

University of Iowa Provides College Education to Young Adults with Disabilities

The University of Iowa recently introduced Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH), a two-year certificate program for young adults aged 18-25 with learning and cognitive disabilities. Students in the program will live in residence halls and participate in university life while learning career development, computer and interpersonal skills, as well as enhancing their academics and receiving post-program internship and employment help. The program focuses on fostering independence and self-sufficiency while helping its students make positive life choices. Eligible students must be identified as having learning or cognitive disabilities that interfered with his or her school performance and have a high school diploma or certificate of completion from a certified secondary school. For additional information and requirements, visit

Full Story:
Brian Morelli, Making College Life a reality,, October 15, 2008, available at:

Technology / telecommunications

Will Technology Replace Service Animals?

Researchers at Georgia Tech are working to develop a robotic device that would perform the same functions as service dogs. Service dogs assist individuals with visual and other impairments by doing tasks such as fetching objects, opening doors, and safely guiding navigation. Individuals often have to pay up to $16,000 for the dogs and then wait up to two years to allow the dog proper training. In response to the growing demand for service dogs, researchers wanted to develop a cheaper and more available robotic device for individuals with visual impairments. The robots have a point-and-click laser function in which users gesture at the object they want, and in response, the robot locates the object and uses its sensors to retrieve the item for the user. However, the robots cannot perform the more complex functions such as opening doors and windows.

Full Story:
R. Colin Johnson, Research Seeks to Replace Service Dogs with Robots, EETimes, October 28, 2008, available at

Healthcare / benefits

Social Security Administration Releases 2009 Cost of Living Adjustment

In October 2008, the Social Security Administration released the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2009, based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for the current year to ensure Social Security beneficiaries receive a pension that adjusts for inflation. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 5.8 percent COLA for 2009, a significantly larger increase than the 2.3 percent adjustment for 2007 and the 3.3 percent adjustment for 2008. With this increased COLA adjustment, the average Social Security Disability Insurance payments will increase from $1,006 to $1,064 per month, and the SSI Federal Benefit Rate will increase from $637 to $674 per month.

Full Story:
Social Security Online, 2009 Social Security Changes,, October 2008, available at

REFERENCE POINTS: Paper Compares Experiences of Pre- and Post-SSI Youth The results of a new study, summarized in the paper "Changing Circumstances: Experiences of Child SSI Recipients Before and After Their Age-18 Redetermination for Adult Benefits," provide an analysis of the dynamics of the transition of child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients into adulthood. Findings suggest that youth with mental and behavioral disorders are much less likely to receive SSI benefits after turning 19. A major concern is that these youth are not sufficiently prepared for life without SSI. The report may be found at


ODEP Releases New Monthly Data Series on the Employment Status of People with a Disability

This month the Office of Disability Employment Policy published new data on the employment status of people with a disability. (ODEP). In June 2008, questions were added to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to identify persons with a disability in the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and older. The addition of these questions allowed BLS to begin releasing monthly labor force data from the CPS for persons with a disability. The collection of these data is sponsored by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Publication of CPS disability data began in February 2009 with the issuance of labor force data for January 2009. Explanatory materials are available on the frequently asked questions page. These materials provide information on comparisons with other data sources, variability of the data, and the types of data available. Additionally, links to historical data and alternate formats are locateat:

Tips for Employers: How to Ensure Compliance with the ADA Amendments Act

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008, effective January 1, 2009, may require businesses take extra steps to ensure their compliance within the ADA. The Amendments reinforce the original intent of the ADA and directly attacks some key decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court, which effectively narrowed the definition of disability under the ADA. Employers in some states such as California, New Jersey and New York will have little to change because their state laws are more expansive than the amended ADA.

Employment lawyer Burton Fishman recommends that before January 1st, employers nationwide do the following: 1) review their policies and procedures to assure an interactive process when accommodating individuals with disabilities; 2) reassess their job descriptions ensuring the accuracy of essential job functions and designate which functions may require accommodations; and 3.) ensure procedures exist for keeping records of accommodation requests, determination of such requests, and information explaining the determinations made.

Full Story:
Burton J. Fishman Fortney & Scott, LLC, More Workers Protected from Disability Discrimination under ADA Amendments Act,, October 3, 2008, available at

New Resource on Employment and Women with Disabilities

Why is work important to women with disabilities? And why do fewer women with disabilities participate in the workforce than men with disabilities or women without disabilities? These are two of the questions explored in the new ³Impact: Feature Issue on Employment and Women with Disabilities² published by the Institute on Community Integration, and its Research and Training Center on Community Living and Employment, at the University of Minnesota. This new issue of Impact is now available online at

Print copies of this Impact are also available from the Institute's Publications Office at 612-624-4512 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it The first print copy is free, and additional copies may be ordered at $4 each by completing and mailing in the order form at

For more information contact: Vicki Gaylord Publications Office Institute on Community Integration (UCEDD) University of Minnesota This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

A Description and Analysis of the Federal and Selected State Policy Frameworks Regarding Order of Selection Under Title I of The Rehabilitation Act

Policy Analysis/Report by Bobby Silverstein
Silvestein, B. (2008). A Description and Analysis of the Federal and Selected State Policy Frameworks Regarding Order of Selection under Title 1 of the Rehabilitation Act. Executive Summary of a Report Prepared for the Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VR-RRTC). Boston, MA: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts-Boston. 


New Program Allows People with Disabilities to Vote by Phone

Individuals with visual impairments in Vermont and four other states had the option to cast their ballot by using the Vote-By-Phone system in this year's presidential election. The program is in response to the 2002 Help America Vote Act, designed to ensure equal voting access for all people. The phone call accesses a computer that provides verbal prompts leading voters through the ballot, listing the candidates for each office. When the voter's choice for each office is read, the voter presses the number 5, which has a raised bump in the middle for people working by touch. In the past, voters with visual impairments and other disabilities had to bring a friend or poll worker into the booth with them in order to help them read and fill out paper ballots. The goal of the Vote-By-Phone method is to give voters the same sense of independence and privacy that those without disabilities have. Despite its benefits, only 29 people in Vermont used the device this year due to lack of knowledge of the existence of the technology, as well as the availability of absentee voting.

Full Story:
Dave Gram, Disabled Now Can Vote by Phone, News Times, November 9, 2008, available at