Legislation includes workforce reforms for individuals with disabilities | FDA aims to encourage treatments for rare pediatric illnesses | Disability advocates allege voting discrimination in Calif.
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July 15, 2014
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Disability Update
Legislation includes workforce reforms for individuals with disabilities
The House has passed a bill that seeks to increase competitive employment for individuals with disabilities. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requires individuals to try vocational rehabilitation before placement in a sheltered workshop and calls on schools and state vocational agencies to partner to help students transition to the workforce. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill. Disability Scoop (7/10)
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FDA aims to encourage treatments for rare pediatric illnesses
The FDA has established a strategic plan for encouraging the development of novel treatments for rare diseases that affect pediatric patients. The framework includes greater private-sector engagement, utilization of biomarkers and a faster approval pathway. The idea is to address some of the challenges involved in developing devices and drugs for rare conditions in pediatric patients, including the small number of patients who can take part in trials. PMLive.com (U.K.) (7/9)
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Assistive Technology
MIT researchers create finger tool that reads text aloud
A prototype of a reading tool that fits on the index finger and aims to assist individuals with vision impairments access printed text has been developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The FingerReader was developed using a 3D printer and uses vibrations to alert users when they stray from the text. The Associated Press (7/8)
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Project uses art to better understand autism
The Autism & Visual Art Project uses art to help bolster cognitive and communication skills among students with autism. The project grew out of a pilot program between Western Michigan University and the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency. Students taking part in the pilot drew more detailed images of animals when they had both visual and auditory stimulation. WMUK-FM (Kalamazoo, Mich.) (7/7)
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D.C. council to consider proposed special-education changes
The Council of the District of Columbia this fall will consider several proposed changes to the special-education system. Proposed changes include shorter evaluation timelines and improved transition planning. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/10)
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When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises."
-- Angela Merkel,
German chancellor
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About UCP
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

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