New federal agency may mean more focus on disability interests | "Visitability" campaign seeks to make houses more accessible | Michigan bill mandating insurance coverage for autism treatment is signed into law
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April 24, 2012
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Disability Update
New federal agency may mean more focus on disability interests
The Department of Health and Human Services created a federal agency to serve senior citizens and those with disabilities by combining the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Aging. The new Administration for Community Living could more prominently highlight disability issues by moving them to a higher level on the bureaucratic ladder, officials with the Obama administration said. Disability Scoop (4/17)
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"Visitability" campaign seeks to make houses more accessible
The Equal Rights Center and the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights launched a "visitability" campaign to make all single-family houses accessible to people with disabilities. Houses would need to have at least one entrance without steps and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom on the first floor. Kat Taylor of the Equal Rights Center said the measures would create more housing options and allow more people with disabilities to remain in their homes. Disability Scoop (4/18)
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Assistive Technology
Special educators find many uses for iPads in school
The iPad tablet computer has become a popular tool for special educators, particularly those working with students who have autism spectrum disorder or learning disabilities. Educators interviewed said the devices show promising results when used to help students improve communication or reading and math skills, as well as organize school work and calendars or improve note-taking. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/18)
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Ideas on using iPad apps with students who have special needs
Blogger Mari-Jane Williams -- who also is the mother of a child who has difficulties with speech, language and motor skills -- writes in this post that despite her initial skepticism, she finds that iPad tablet computer apps such as Sentence Builder can help children who have disabilities to improve their grammar and writing skills, while iWriteWords helps with handwriting and MeeGenius allows for reading practice. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/On Parenting blog (4/19)
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N.Y. mulls new graduation options for students with disabilities
New York state education officials are proposing to eliminate a series of less-rigorous exams used for students with disabilities to earn high-school diplomas. Under the proposal, students with disabilities would have three ways to earn a local diploma, a lesser diploma no longer available to those without disabilities who must earn a Regents certificate. The state also is proposing several new diplomas and a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential, designed to replace the I.E.P. diploma, which is not accepted by colleges or the military. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/SchoolBook blog (4/20)
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University program enrolls students with intellectual disabilities
A program at the University of North Florida is designed to allow students with intellectual disabilities to attend college. Students in the Arc Jacksonville Academy On Campus Transition Program audit two courses each semester and may live on campus and participate in other campus activities. The program also enlists students without disabilities to act as mentors for participants and help them integrate into college life. The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville) (4/17)
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UCP News
Actors honor awards recipients at UCP Annual Conference
Emmy-nominated actress Cheryl Hines, UCP Celebrity Ambassador and member of the Board of Trustees, and actress Meredith Eaton, well-known for her breakout role in the ABC hit series "Boston Legal," and granddaughter of one of UCP's founders, Nina Eaton, will participate in the UCP Awards for Excellence dinner during UCP's 2012 Annual Conference, Transitioning to Tomorrow, Friday evening. UCP's Awards for Excellence are presented annually to affiliates, individuals and companies whose exceptional activities, achievements and dedication exemplify the UCP mission. Hines will co-host the Awards for Excellence dinner and celebration along with UCP Board Chair Bruce Merlin Friend. Eaton will represent her family for a tribute to her grandmother, a pillar in the disability community up until her passing last month. Read the UCP announcement.
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Don't let our country make a long-term mistake
Learn more about the CLASS Act, its purpose, current status and potential, in a story authored by members of UCP's public policy team, Connie Garner and Kate Josephson.
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It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
-- Albert Einstein,
German-born physicist
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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

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