Federal Special Education Website Goes Dark (disabilityscoop.com) – On February 8, 2017, twenty-four hours after Betsy DeVos–a strong opponent of public education, especially the education of those with disabilities–became confirmed as Education Secretary, the government Website, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, went down. “The servers hosting our idea.ed.gov website are experiencing technical issues,” says the disclaimer under the title of the site. “As we work to resolve this issue, information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can be found below.” This statement is followed by six links. The White House claims that there have been problems with the site since the end of January. It is also claimed that the problem is only a computer glitch and is being addressed. [Editor’s note: 3 days later, the site is still down.]
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS GUIDE (The Simple Dollar) – Have you ever wondered what illnesses and disabilities are covered under Social Security? This is just one of the many questions that this excellent resource article answers! Included in this document are the following:
The reality of finding a job with autism (CNN) – This report appeared in 2013 but the issues that it highlights have not changed much for the people dealing with trying to work in environments that are not necessarily conducive to success. Jareen Imam focused on the fact that many AS adults cannot get satisfactory jobs that employ their talents and intellect and that even the jobs they do get, they cannot maintain due to various issues.
Shopping for a child on the Spectrum – If you are a parent of a child with Asperger’s or Autism, you may be at a loss as to what toys you, your relatives, and/or friends should give to your child for his or her birthday and other major holidays. Here are two links that you might find helpful.
- Amazon.com – offers suggestions for toys for Autistic children. And if you purchase toys from them through Amazon Smile (toys for autistics), you can help Asperger Works at the same time.
- Toys “R” Us – offers a list of sensory toys that are appropriate for children with Autism and other disabilities. In the UK, they also offer “quiet shopping hour” for children on the Spectrum.
Disability No Reason To Deny Organ Transplants, Lawmakers Say (disabilityscoop.com) – Jocelyn Samuels, director of the Office for Civil Rights says “many transplant centers and surgeons continue to refuse to provide access to transplant registries and transplantation surgery to qualified people with disabilities.” There are some states that have passed legislation prohibiting this type of discrimination. “Such discrimination directly violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and does not abide the American values of fairness and inclusion that we hold so dear as Americans, for all our communities,” according to U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D – CA).
‘We all have worth’: Governor’s summit aims at boosting employment of disabled (www.al.com) – Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama, the father of a disabled son, gave an impassioned speech at a summit encouraging employers to consider the disabled when filling vacant spots in their companies. The summit “showed how state resources can be used to train, coach and equip the disabled to thrive in a workplace environment.” As many who are either working with people in the disabled community, have disabled family members, and/or are themselves disabled know, there are great difficulties abound when trying to gain and keep employment.
New Rules Designed To Curtail Subminimum Wage Employment (disabilityscoop.com) – Good news for people with disabilities! Gone are the days when businesses could get away with giving their disabled employees subminimum wages. Because of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that went into effect in July of this year, “[f]or the first time, young people with disabilities must satisfy a series of requirements before they can earn what’s known as subminimum wage. “What’s more, those who already work for less than the minimum must regularly be provided opportunities to explore other career options.” This does not end an employer’s ability to pay less to disabled workers, but, according to the article there is the potential that the “pool of potential employees is likely to shrink.”
Tax-free account available for families with disabilities (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis) – According to Rick Locker, in Tennessee individuals with disabilities and families of the disabled may “open special tax-free savings accounts to pay for qualified expenses, with 14 investment options provided by the state’s Treasury Department.” The ABLE TN (Achieving a Better Life Experience Tennessee) allows disabled people to save money for approved expenses such as “education, housing, transportation, employment, training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, financial management, administrative services, legal fees, health and wellness, oversight and monitoring, and funeral and burial expenses.” Tennessee is the first state in the country to take advantage of such a savings plan under a federal law that was recently approved by Congress.
Autism At Center Of New TV Drama (disability scoop) – The topic of Autism that no one talked about until recently is explored in this new drama on the Sundance Channel. “The A Word” is a story about a “messy, extended family with a child with autism at its center,” according to the network.
Autism Can Be An Asset In The Workplace, Employers And Workers Find (npr.org) – Here is some good news for the Aspie community! “[W]ith baby boomers starting to retire, and with talent in increasingly short supply, companies as varied as Microsoft, Walgreens, Capital One, AMC Theaters, and Procter & Gamble are all starting to actively recruit people who have autism spectrum disorder,” writes Yuki Noguchi. “They aren’t yet putting a lot more people to work, but their recruiting and training programs are becoming models for other firms.” According to the article, more and more companies are beginning to realize the potential behind hiring people on the Spectrum. Still, 40% of young adults get lost in the shuffle of everyday living. Once they leave school, services dwindle and young autistic adults cannot get jobs nor do they continue their education, according to recent research.